Class of '54
January 2004

Dear Classmates,

It is great to have the opportunity to write a guest class letter on behalf of Helen Forsgren Hokenson our new Class Agent.  Certainly her first class letter was full of Gustavus happenings as well as news of our classmates.  She, of course, represents the courageous and caring spirit of our class and her letter writing style is superb.  Having served as class agent for several years I know that it takes a certain amount of extra effort and a concerned spirit for Gustavus and fellow classmates to follow through.

One of the great moments in our lives this past year was the selling of our Iowa home and the purchase of a new one near the Gustavus campus.  It certainly has enabled us to be closer to our children and grandchildren.  We can see out our front windows the Gustavus Arboretum and some of the campus buildings.  It is a thrill to see the Christ Chapel spire and to hear the sound of the new Carillon Bells.  Since my wife, Judy (Johnson ’61) is also a graduate of Gustavus we share a common bond of love and concern and appreciation for what Gustavus has meant to us.

Speaking of the Carillon Bells ― It is inspiring to hear their sound echoing across the beautiful Minnesota Valley and within the confines of our own home.  Their sound is like a wondrous call to worship and praise the Lord our God.  We can appreciate the work and effort that went into this gift from our class on the occasion of our 50th Class Reunion.  Gifts and pledges for the Carillon Bells now total $117,071.  We can be reminded that more monies are needed for the Endowment Fund set up ($140,000 goal) for the upkeep of these bells in the years to come that they may continue their songs and sounds for many generations.  If you are thinking about a special gift for Gustavus remember the Carillon Endowment Fund.


Old Main has served the Gustavus campus since 1876 when it housed the entire campus.  To keep Old Main a functional part of campus, a complete renovation of the building will begin in February. Classrooms and offices will be reconfigured and updated to accommodate current teaching technology. Central climate control and an elevator will also be added.  Mattson Hall has been built west of Schaefer Fine Arts to house faculty and staff during the renovation. The new residence hall being built southwest of the football field is progressing and will be ready for fall semester

Did you know that the college has gone wireless? Wireless computing, that is? Many buildings support wireless connectivity and outdoor connectivity is being broadcast from several roofs. Gustavus continues to increase the number of wireless locations on campus every month.

Gustavus music ensembles will tour soon.  The Gustavus Choir will take a 17-day East Coast tour (January 20-February 5), the Wind Orchestra (formerly the Gustavus Band) will tour nine days (January 28-February 5) in Minnesota, North Dakota and Montana, and the String Orchestra will tour nine days (January 29-February 6) in Iowa, Nebraska, and Colorado.  The Gustavus Choir, Wind Orchestra, and Symphony Orchestra will perform at the Gustavus Music Showcase, St. Andrew Lutheran Church, Eden Prairie, on March 20.

The Gustavus athletics website received the Pride of CASE V Gold Award at the District V Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference in December. The district includes educational institutions from Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

Announcing a new tool for all Alumni: The Gustavus Gift Planning website is a resource for alums of all ages to learn more about planning for their financial future.

The site explores some basics like the need for a will and health care proxy.  It also provides information about planning for the transfer of assets to benefit you and your family, a gift calculator to see how to make a gift that pays you and also provides tax benefits, e-brochures for more information, and how to have a meaningful impact on a non-profit organization important to you.  Check it out today at

The 2003-2004 Honor Roll of Donors is now available under the Gustavus Fund at The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2003 and May 31, 2004. To find your name or check out your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer. For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866-487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Boston Chapter with Gustavus Choir– Jan. 24
  • New York Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 and Gustavus Choir – Jan. 26
  • Washington, D.C. Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Jan. 29
  • Tampa Bay Chapter with Gustavus Choir – Feb. 2
  • Marco Island Chapter Boat Cruise Luncheon – Feb. 5
  • Diversity Center Reunion/Building Bridges Conference – March 12
  • Tucson Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 18
  • Phoenix Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 19
  • Sun City Chapter with Professor Dick Martin – March 20
  • Twin Cities Gustavus Music Showcase – March 20
  • Seattle Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 1
  • Bay Area Chapter with President Jim Peterson ’64 – April 2
  • Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors (G.I.V.E.) day of community service – April 30


Gordon and Sharon Anthony Bower, Stanford, CA celebrated “Retiring Half Time” by taking a cruise through the Panama Canal over Thanksgiving.

Eunice Johnson Cox, King, NC sent a note expressing her appreciation for the “Gustavus reunion coffee mug" that was sent to her.  She was unable to attend our 50th reunion because of suffering firom a debilitating osteoarthritis.  Strong pain medicine enables her to live a somewhat normal life.

Rhoda Roadfeldt Cocca, Pasadena, CA is retired but continues to travel and do volunteer work at the hospital.

Carol Lester Lassiter, Boynton Beach, FL writes that they have survived two Florida hurricanes and feel lucky that they have had only minor damage.  After the first hurricane they left for Italy and spent almost five weeks in Tuscany.  They rented a villa and loved it!

Adelaide Rethwill Meyer, Tucson, AZ states that they have recently returned from a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia.

Jean Simonson Rollof, Moline, IL keeps busy with AAUW and her church, Faith Lutheran.  She also continues to enjoy traveling and golfing with Cal.

Carolyn Pryor Sarrail, Hacienda Heights, CA continues to be very active serving as a volunteer.  She is presently in her second year as the president of the Historical Society in Whittier, CA and active in the Assistance League for Kids On the Block.

Virginia Swenson, New Richland, MN has recently returned from a vacation time in Norway.

You are encouraged to send news about yourselves to our Class Agent Helen or to the Alumni Office.  These bits of information are the first thing that many would turn to when they receive the class letter or the Quarterly.  Such news continues to bind us together as a class and feeds the spirit of courage and concern.

May your New Year be full of health and joy and peace.

Forest “Woody” Chaffee

1954 Guest Letter Writer