Class of '54
October 2000

Hello, ’54mates!

In late September we had our class agents' meeting on the campus. I can't believe the changes, not least those in the wake of the tornado. $85m in construction during the last 28 months…the student center with its Evelyn Young dining areas, new student apartments, a state-of-the-art Olympic-sized track, on and on. On another front, how great to hear such items as these in the reports from campus officials to us. The theme I picked up time and again from them was this; "Gustavus has never been as strong."

  • We're the #1 small college in the Midwest for the number of alumni currently serving as Peace Corps volunteers.
  • We're one of six Minnesota private colleges to be listed among the nation's top 20 undergraduate colleges for the numbers of students we send overseas; about 30% of the graduating seniors have a study abroad experience. (Six of those twenty schools, by the way, are in Minnesota, a measure of quality of life.)
  • We're still in the top quarter of the nation's national liberal arts colleges in the percentage of alumni who make gifts of record.
  • We're showing up well on a number of factors in a study the college commissioned Hardwick and Day polling service to conduct by interviewing alumni of Gustavus and competitor institutions in order to analyze our comparative advantage. Among them:
  • 91% of our grads lived on campus for most of their college years vs. 66% reported by grads of the other Minnesota private schools
  • 52% gave high ratings to the balance between their academic, social and personal development vs. 33% for ELCA colleges.

While browsing in the briefing book given to us for that meeting, I was struck by evidence of involvement of members of our class through the years in the life of the college. Roger Carlson and John Chell have been members of Board of Trustees, Dick Brubacher, John Chell, Dick Dee, Jean Kirkvold Emholtz, Vianne Lager Engwall and Jean Benson Erickson have all served on the Alumni Board.

Now to shift gears to words from the team of us who have initiated the discussion of a collective gift to the College, The Class of 1954 Carillon. We now follow up with more information which will help us realize the vision of the college chaplain and organist for this instrument so needed since the old one was destroyed in the tornado. We are convinced that this is a solid and exciting vision, one that we hope you will share. The Class of 1954 Carillon will give us a focus for our giving at a time in our lives we are more free to consider the legacy we wish to leave. It is an interesting pilot experiment for the Development Office as they analyze how we respond to the idea of a class gift.

As you read in the earlier statement by college chaplain Brian Johnson and organist David Fienen, we need to raise about $40,000 for the carillon. With that in hand, we need to gather an additional $100,000 for an endowment to assure maintenance, plus a fund to support carillon performances, workshops (e.g., for church bell choirs) and other initiatives through which the sounds of those bells and chimes reach out to many people.

We have asked the college's Advancement Office staff to write the next paragraphs of this letter, to help us understand how we can make gifts to the carillon. They write thus (or contact Jim Isaak at 800-726-6192 for more specific information):

CASH is the most common form of gift to the College and has immediate impact.

STOCKS, BONDS and MUTUAL FUNDS provide great giving potential. These gifts allow the College to sell the stock at fair market value to convert the gift to cash. The donor receives a tax deduction based on the fair market value of the shares on the day of the gift, with no capital gains tax on any appreciation of the securities. By giving stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, the donor can use his cash to replace these securities at a stepped-up basis.

GRAIN and LIVESTOCK gifts eliminate the self-employment tax for some donors. A commodity gift has a value approximately 20% more than a cash gift resulting from the donor's sale and the cost of taxes on the same commodity.

PERSONAL PROPERTY provides a simple method of helping the college. In many cases, donors may give fully depreciated property (the deduction is limited to the donor's depreciated basis) while Gustavus has available the full appraised value of the asset.

BARGAIN SALES are appreciated assets, usually stock or real estate, from which the donor seeks only to recover the cost of the initial investment. The donor's tax liability is limited only to the proceeds from the sale. The balance is an outright gift with no associated capital gain.

These are complicated issues. We urge you to contact the Advancement Office at 800-726-6192 for more specific information and answers to your questions. We are eager to know your reactions to the idea we as a team have developed. During the coming weeks, we will unfold a plan to receive your contributions. Our goal is to have raised the money before perhaps well before our 50th class reunion. What an event for us to have our own class dedicatory concert when we come together in 2004!

 Mike Anderson (

 Rog Carlson (

 John Chell (

 Arlene Waxlax Sonday (

 Dave Johnson (

 Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer