Class of '54
October 2004

Dear Classmates,

Isn't it strange and surprising how, even at this time in life, we can find ourselves doing something we'd not considered previously???  So it is for me as the Class Agent for ’54 role becomes an opportunity on my "plate."  This new experience begins with deep appreciation and thanks to each of you who have "walked this walk" earlier, and of course most recently.  Dave Johnson…and what an awesome piece of work he did!!  Thanks, Dave!  Yes, and CONGRATULATIONS are in order for at the class agents' September meeting Dave was honored as "Class Agent of the Year."  The class of ’54 is proud!!!  How I wish Dave had been there to receive the applause and honor of all those present!  Super moments!

What meaningful years these fifty have been with each class agent bringing his or her own gratitude and style to keeping us "connected" and aware of the continuing effectiveness of our Alma Mater!!

Hearty thanks to each of you for your part in making our Golden Anniversary class reunion a memorable event that, God willing, we don't forget…huge thanks to Dave Johnson, John Chell, Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer, and others who planned and implemented our time together!  So much gratitude, as well, to the Alumni Office and staff for their encouragement, and support and how about the warm hospitality our Alma Mater shows us!  Adelaide Rethwill Meyer wrote, "Reunion weekend was a wonderful experience.  Thanks very much―the college and alumni department staffs as well as my classmates who planned our reunion."

Yes, thanks for the memories and inspiration…the memorial service, the banquet, the luncheon, the seminars, the art auction, seeing friends, sharing stories, the remembering and the joy of the Carillon dedication!  What a great feeling to have heard the Carillon and to anticipate hearing it during future visits at Gustavus knowing the Class of ’54 with the leadership of a great steering committee, made it happen…It will ring out long after "our bells" are silenced.  That Carillon steering committee was Mike Anderson, Roger Carlson, John Chell, Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer, Arlene Waxlax Sonday and Dave Johnson.  Thanks to each one!

Thinking about the Carillon gift…of the $140,000 total needed; as of September 9, 2004 the total given was $115,855.71…well we're on the way!  How soon can it be completed??  Your thoughts and inspiration??  Gifts…even!  Thanks for what you'll do!  As Dave wrote in the May 2004 letter, "the money we need now doesn't have to be in cash; it can be a deferred gift for it will be for the instrument's endowment, an assurance of both its proper maintenance and that there will be concerts and clinics for visiting choirs forever."  Thanks to each donor!!

Carilloneur Level, $5,000 or more:

  • Anonymous
  • Roger Carlson
  • Vic Carter
  • David Johnson
  • Paul Olson
  • Ardis Peterson Schwarz
  • Arlene Waxlax Sonday
  • Paul Vollan
  • John Wright

Carillon Tower, $3,000-$4,999

  • Jim Anderson
  • Sharon Anthony Bower
  • Dick Brubacher
  • Barbara Gruse Johnson
  • Lavern Johnson
  • Sylvia Johnson Johnson
  • Janet Hanson Jones
  • Adelaide Rethwill Meyer
  • Marilyn Peterson Reaser

Carillon Bells, $1,500-$2,999

  • American Express Fdn.
  • Darrell Anderson
  • Mike Anderson
  • Forrest Chaffee
  • Dick Dee
  • Jean Benson Erickson
  • Bob and Marlys Setterholm Gamm
  • Jean Kovacs Larson
  • Marion Vorlicek L'Ivers
  • Carole Duffy Miller
  • John and Lois Myers
  • Howard Ruggles
  • Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer
  • Gloria Brouillette Strom
  • Phyl Johnson Wegner
  • Grace Ronholm Westlund

Carillon Chimes Level, up to $1,500

  • Amy Wampler Adamson
  • Phyllis Anderson Adamson
  • Valerie Olson Andrews
  • John Bjorkquist
  • Fran Gabrielson Blomgren
  • Patricia Dirks Carlson
  • Adolph Carlsted
  • Del Hanson Cedarholm
  • John Chell
  • Dianne Anglemyer Clinton
  • Rhoda Roadfeldt Cocca
  • Roy Daumann
  • Mildred Jacobson Dorow
  • Nancy Pringle Ellingson
  • Marilyn Wang Engwall
  • Vianne Lager Engwall
  • Elaine Wellendorf Fink
  • Shirley Lund Flom
  • Pauline Melin Glenchur
  • Duane Goese
  • Olga Gray
  • Mary Lundgren Hauck
  • George Haun
  • Rollie Herbst
  • Clare Berntson Hibbard
  • Helen Forsgren Hokenson
  • Donna Norlund Holmgren
  • Dianne Johnston Janda
  • Paul Kaus
  • Jeanette Larson
  • Russell Larson
  • Carol Lester Lassiter
  • Marilyn Nelson Leverenz
  • Waldo Lindberg
  • Don Malm
  • Kenneth Manfolk (dec.)
  • Marjorie Wise Mann (dec.)
  • Bernice Hecht Martino
  • Dayton Martinson
  • Duane McEwen
  • Bryan McGroarty
  • Marilyn Reiten Meyer
  • Donald Miller
  • Mary Jane Monson
  • Lewis Moon
  • Grant Mooney
  • Mary Lou Peterson Munroe
  • Harlan Nelson
  • Kathleen Norman Noren
  • Lou Winberg Nuss
  • Arne Peterson
  • Paul Peterson
  • Augusta Nelson Rinta
  • Jean Simonson Rolloff
  • Ellen Togikawa Ryusaki
  • John Sandquist
  • Carolyn Pryor Sarrail
  • Alan Slettehaugh
  • Virginia Stenberg Smereka
  • Marilyn Ahlgren Stewart
  • Virginnia Swenson
  • Art Tangwall
  • Carl Towley
  • Shirley Thornquest Welch
  • Verne Wussow

Phonorama 2004 happened during the last two weeks of September.  Thanks to Dick Brubacher, Roger Carlson, Rollie Herbst, John Sandquist and Arlene Waxlax Sonday for the conversations you've had.  That connecting and pledging is important for Gustavus, important for each of us and important for the Gustavus students.

The Gustavus Alumni Fund goal for 2004-05 is $1.25 million.  A healthy challenge!  Jason Sawyer ’93 is the Alumni Fund chair.  He is honored to do this important work!  We can help!

Another part of connecting is the news, "pieces of our lives" that we send along for our newsletter.  It's fun to know what we do with some of our time whether it be…volunteering, service clubs, church, family, Gustie events you've attended, my mailbox can hold many notes…so do send them to:

Helen Hokenson

2880 Park Drive

Adrian, MI  49221

Or send them to the alumni Office at Gustavus.  Thanks loads!

Meanwhile, Gustavus carries on doing its significant work, in education, evaluating its past, visioning and planning for the future.  President Jim Peterson ’64 spoke to the class agents with thoughts that got my attention:

Ø      "This college campus community lives strong teamwork."

Ø      "Five core values that are central to Gustavus are excellence, community, justice, service and faith."

Ø      "Make a difference and move forward."

Ø      "Move from really good to really great."

Some areas of focus for the future that President Peterson mentioned were:

·        Diversity - help students sense the global community in which they'll live

·        Improve faculty-student relationships, maintain small classes

·        Strengthen relationships with the ELCA and with its congregations.  How could your congregation help Gustavus?

·        Facilities – thoughtful plans and discussions are in process

·        Technology – tech support in five years will be very different, Gustavus can't get too far behind.

·        How do we keep Gustavus affordable?  Enhancing endowment, summer camps…senior housing…are some options for exploring…yet, "do it differently and more" is a key thought.

"Gustavus knows where it's going."  …With alumni support always and long term the future will develop.  President Peterson suggests the Gustavus family needs to be "louder and prouder."  Why not?

Our gifts are so needed for student scholarships; the Alumni Fund is also used for financial aid, which has suffered government cuts.  There is a t-shirt that says, "I touch the future, I teach."  And so it is with our donations to Gustavus, as we help make education accessible for students with limited resources.

C. Eddie Johnson, 1942 Class Agent tells this story…we share it and thank him. 

"I've been a class agent since the Alumni Fund was started and over the years my wife and I have been totally convinced that the focus of the college has always been on the student.  The energy of the board and administration, the faculty and the alumni has always been on the student and the welfare of the student.

Some years ago my wife and I invested in a company that has done very well.  The stock price grew and there were some splits to increase the number of shares and the stock price kept growing.  And we left the dividends alone and that increased the share total even more.  We really made a pile of money―on paper.

We were thankful for our good fortune.  Very thankful.  And after mulling it over we realized that we ought to do something with it.  The options were pretty clear.  We could sell it.  But that meant we would have to give a big chunk of it to the government.  So that pile would shrink considerably.

We could leave it in our estate and our boys would eventually get it.  And we thought about that a good deal.  But we were optimistic about their future.

So with confidence and gratitude we decided to give it to the one institution that has made a great impact on our lives for most, if not all, of our years.

Once the decision was made we called the Advancement Office to get things started.  They were most helpful because we quickly learned that there was a right way to do this kind of thing and a wrong way.  The Advancement people helped us do it the right way.  Our total gift went to the college―no dealing with transfer agents, no commissions to brokers or other expenses that might creep in.  And so we did it.

I should mention that through this entire process we sensed how thankful we were that we could do it.  'The gift is more important to the giver than it is to the receiver, as Jesus said.  The thought came with new meaning.

We chose to make the gift in the form of a charitable gift annuity.  And we are very thankful.

By the way, the tax benefits turned out to be a kind of added blessing that showed up on our income taxes, which the Advancement people also helped with.

In many of my class letters I have emphasized that 'Gustavus had to do with what is best in us today.'  We are thankful to Gustavus and for Gustavus.

It was the Earl of Devonshire who left this epitaph:

What we spent, we had;

What we gave, we have;

What we left, we lost."

The Alumni survey taken and compiled recently tells us interesting even inspiring information; of those alumni responding…

·        94% said Gustavus prepared them very well/adequate for continuing their education

·        Greatest influence on acceptance to graduate school was overall quality of Gustavus education

·        82% said Gustavus prepared them very well/adequate for continuing their employment

·        71% feel alumni giving is a way to help others have access to education; scholarship funding was the preferred recipient for alumni giving.

·        82% have maintained contact with Gustavus alumni

·        85% would very strongly/strongly recommend Gustavus to a prospective student

Gustavus does so much to make us all proud…surely the Nobel Conference is major.  Some of our class attended including Roger Carlson.  I asked Roger to write up some comments.  He had this to share:

What a Jewel!

I attended, along with 6,000 other attendees, the 40th Nobel Conference at Gustavus on October 5 & 6, 2004.  This year's conference was entitled, "The Science of Aging", and as an aging member of the class of 1954, the title interested me when we decided to enroll and I found the program content and its conclusions stimulating.

I must say from the onset, if you have never attended a Nobel Conference, do yourself a favor and do so.  You will be educated by the very best in the theme's message, entertained by great music from the music department, and at once you will come to realize that Gustavus is a first class institution dedicated to the liberal arts not only for its students, but to the public in general.  Several speakers referred to the magical environment of the Gustavus community.

I would be very presumptuous to recap for you all that was presented by an extraordinary field of presenters who are specialists in their field of work.  However, I can list the titles of their presentations and I'll give you some highlights, which struck me:

  • "Human by Design," Jay Olshansky, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • "Longevity Determinants, Aging and Age-Associated Diseases," Leonard Hayflick, University of California, San Francisco
  • "Aging, Amyloid and Alzheimer's Disease," Dennis Selkoe, Harvard University
  • "Motivation, Emotion and Aging," Laura Carstensen, Stanford University
  • "From Worms to Mammals:  Regulation of Lifespan by Insulin/GF-1 Signaling," Cynthia Kenyon, University of California, San Francisco
  • "The Dementia of Alzheimer's Disease:  The Wisdom of Just Aging," Peter Whitehouse

First, it was important for me, and I assume for you, that we come to know some definitions to help clear the way for understanding:

  • Aging:  passage of chronological time
  • Senescence:  biologically we age at different rates
  • Lifespan:  duration of life for an individual
  • Life Expectancy:  average number of years for a population
  • Maximum Life Span:  the world record for lifespan (122 years)

Knowing these definitions helped me to understand the population growth in the past 150 years.  Causes of death (diseases and child birth) especially for infants, has been greatly reduced which has created a redistribution of death from the very young to the very old.  In less than one century we have doubled life expectancy.  Using the Indianapolis 500 Auto Race as an example, humans do wear out as they are designed to last, exclusive of diseases and premature death, just so long.  Yes, some parts can be replaced, but not the brain.  There is no evidence that lifespan has ever been modified so that humans can live longer.  The three major causes of premature death are:  heart diseases, cancer and strokes.  "Biological aging is the random, systematic loss of molecular fidelity that eventually exceeds repair."  To put it another way, "aging is not determined by your genes:  aging is not a disease, it's rust."  And, what would happen if all elements, which effect health were solved?  It would not change our lifespan.

Having a close friend inflicted with Alzheimer's disease, I was particularly interested in this disease of the brain.  I learned that it is the most common cause of dementia, 3.4 million people are afflicted in the U.S.A, or 360,000 cases a year and 20.0 million worldwide with a $100 billion annual cost associated with research, medical and hospital and lost productivity costs.  As our population grows, so do the numbers increase:

  • At age 75: 4.3% of the U.S. population
  • At age 80: 8.5% of the U.S. Population
  • At age 85: 16.9% of the U.S. Population
  • At age 90: 25.5% of the U.S. Population

The causes of Alzheimer's are unknown; however, the probability of one being afflicted is higher if the mother and/or father is afflicted.

Having reached the ripe age of 72, I was not surprised to know that processing capacity declines with age, regardless of, sex, race or socio/economic status.  However, the use of experience and knowledge does not decrease.  The speaker referred to this as wisdom, a special dose of emotions and values of which we all have some.  It was encouraging and instructive and we were admonished to:  live for the moment, know what's important, invest in sure things, deepen our relationships and concentrate on what you want to do with the remaining time.  What a game plan for old age!  Older people, you know, do regulate their emotions and are better than the young at responding to the positive more than the negative.  In fact, we tend to eliminate the negative.

Well, that's what I took away from the conference.  I'm sure there was a lot more but I have to admit that "blocking" is a great tool if used discreetly!

Yes, the Nobel Conference is a jewel and as Bob Peterson ’58, retired vice president for College Relations at Gustavus and one of the key organizers of the first Nobel Conference said,

"Long before the movie, "Field of Dreams," organizers of the first Nobel Conference knew that if they built something special, something distinctive among liberal arts colleges, people would come.  Now, 40 years later, the conference serves not only as a wonderful legacy to the memory of Swedish scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist Alfred Nobel, but also as a standard of intellectual excellence at Gustavus Adolphus College."

Roger Carlson

Class of ’54

Thanks Roger, for your comments.  Now for some news from classmates:

Dodie Ketola Coulson writes, "Greetings to my 1954 graduation class from "Down Under" in Tasmania, Australia…I've been married for almost 29 years to John Coulson, born and bred in Tasmania.  We live in a rural suburb 15 minutes from the city of Launceton.  I continue to remain healthy, as do my 4 children, 12 grandchildren plus 4 stepchildren and 5 step-grandchildren.  By the way, my youngest son, Matthew, acquired the nickname "Gus" when he grew up because of the Gustavus sweatshirt he wore in Tasmania.  He prefers to be called "Gus" and so that is what I call him too!"  A special "toast" to all of you!

Janet Hanson Jones tells us, "My grandson, Paul Wojahn, is a 2003 Gustie grad; his sister, Elizabeth, is a second semester junior and a new member of the college choir, the G-Choir!  The G-Choir sang at the October 4 Nobel Conference at Gustavus.  Great experience!"  (Editor's note:  Thanks to Janet, who will keep us informed with a local slant on Gustavus activities.)

Amy Wampler Adamson has this to share, "Art and I will be going up to Dwight and Carol (Matson) Holcombe's with Dr. Ken and Lois (Anderson) Quist and Dr. Dick ’53 and Vianne (Lager) Engwall for our annual Gustie Fishing (now golf) trip―less our dear friends who are fishing in heaven; Jerry Finn, Buckets Rolloff and Gordie Swanson ’52."

Carl Towley sends, "I can't tell you how much I appreciate Gustavus!  I've retired from the chair of the department of pastoral care/cpe at Berkshire Medical Center and incorporated a new way of offering pastoral care to the community.  A delightful time of life!"

Dave Johnson sends this note, "Fran Gabrielson Blomgren, Vic Carter, Paul Olson, John Wright and I were among a group of 36 hikers, many Gusties among them, who trekked for two weeks in late September in the mountainous area of Romania called Transylvania.  I have to report that Vic demonstrated a weird attraction to werewolves and John and Paul to vampires.  Meanwhile, Fran and I got to know Count Dracula pretty well and have invited him to be a part of our next class reunion."

Sanfield "Ditt" Dittbenner, after retiring in 1994, toured with his family, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  He remembers the great sports teams in the early ’50s, the great education offered by Gustavus, its excellent staff and some of the lasting friendships.

Helen Forsgren Hokenson, "How grateful I feel for those years at GA and each campus visit since!!  The preparation for "moving on" with life…the positive spirit of caring, learning and sharing continues!!!  Funny…it always seems like "Homecoming" to be on campus and to remember the "friends we made here."  It was great to connect with Roger and Janet (Christenson ’53) Carlson "Up north" in September as we were returning home from Minnesota via Michigan's UP!  Beautiful!"

Our sympathy to the family of Thomas Mattson, our classmate who died September 1, 2004 in Albert Lea, MN.

Campus News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was held on Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Charlotte Area Gustavus Gathering – October 30
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005

Again, thanks for a great reunion!!  We missed all of you who couldn't be there!  Thanksgiving, then Christmas will not be far off when this "connection" arrives at your place!  May you and yours celebrate well with joy and anticipation―and with thanks to our Creator for all that has been and is…with "yes" to the challenges and opportunities before us…

And may "Gustavus Live Long!"

Helen Forsgren Hokenson

1954 Class Agent