Class of '54
October 2005

Dear classmates,

It feels great to have these “moments” to say “hi,” to think about Gustavus and to “remember the times we’ve had here”…not forgetting “to come back someday.”  What a pleasure it was to go back to Gustavus for the Volunteer Leadership Day, formerly called Class Agent’s Day in September.  But even better, to return home knowing that Forrest “Woody” Chaffee said, “yes,” to sharing the class agent role!  When something is fun, why not share it?!  Thanks, Woody!!

This day was different from others in that it involved class agents, alumni board members and some reunion planning committee members…planning and hoping for stronger alumni involvement, engagement and support for Gustavus.  The day’s theme was “Engage Yourself…It’s What Gusties Do!”  It was a significant day…planting seeds for the future…an exciting day!  We’ll be looking for more ways to do “what Gusties do!”  Dick DeRemee ’55 and Susan Johnson Chwalek ’85 were named “Class Agents of the Year.”  Congratulations to them for responsibility so very well taken and carried through!

Have you visited Gustavus campus lately?  It is so beautiful―and impressive―and always changing, moving into the future!!  A good road trip―for some of us a long one (and worth it)!

From President Jim Peterson ’64, this update: 

Welcome back to all of us!  As we get into the new academic year, classes are getting into full swing, new daily/weekly routines are becoming familiar, anticipation and expectations build, and the campus is becoming fully alive once again.  It’s a good feeling!

I’ve mentioned in a number of venues already, some of the things we hope to accomplish this year.  We will finalize plans and build momentum in a number of important areas for the College.  The faculty and interim deans will articulate the academic direction we will move in  the next several years.  We will focus on enhancing our revenue base and the vital roles that we all play in helping to do that, be they traditional or possibly unconventional.  Decisions and timelines will be set in place for developing wind power on the campus, and the football stadium and athletic fields project will move forward.  Comprehensive reviews of each of the Colleges divisions will also be completed.

Over the summer two in-depth studies were begun, one focused on the church-related aspects of our campus including the Chaplains Office, Center for Vocational Reflection, Church Relations, and related areas; and another on non-traditional education opportunities for the College to pursue or continue.  Initial ideas from the latter project, led by Steve Griffith, have been presented and several campus work groups will fully explore a number of these in coming weeks.  The task force reviewing our church-related programs and offices, led by former interim president Dennis Johnson, will finish its work in the coming weeks as well and make recommendations as to how Gustavus lives out its relationship(s) with the Church into the future.

There are so many important things to accomplish this year.  These are but a few.  I am expecting a very good and productive year, in classrooms and labs, on athletic fields, in offices, in performance spaces, and other areas across the campus.  Again, I welcome you back and look forward to our work together.

Can you imagine Wahlstrom Hall gone??!  Janet Hanson Jones writes:  “One day in August our grandson called from Bloomington, MN, to tell us that the demolition of Wahlstrom Hall was being shown live on the Gustavus web site.  We had driven by several times and observed the progress and, after his call, kept an even closer watch on it via the computer.  It was a strange feeling to watch it come down―I had lived there for three years!  When we returned to St. Peter on Labor Day after a week in Orlando attending the North American Festival of Wales, all of the rubble had been cleared away and it appeared to be ready for sod.  Part of the land will be used for a parking lot.  Before Wahlstrom fell victim to the wrecking ball, it was used by firefighters from St. Peter, Kasota, and North Mankato for practice in fighting fires and rescue in a multi-story building under the guidance of South Central College’s (Mankato) Public Safety Instructor.”

Woody reflects on Wahlstrom as well:  “Since we live just west of the Gustavus campus it is exciting to see the campus progress in many ways.  Whether it’s planning for brand new buildings or renovating old ones, the Gustavus campus is always changing.  Every day I drive by the new Southwest Hall, a 200-bed residence located across Campus Drive from the arboretum on the west side of the campus.  It offers multiple floor plans, kitchenettes, and generous lounge space.  What astounds me is the demolishing of the old Wahlstrom Hall.  This residence has served students since 1947 and is certainly full of memories for you who are reading this as well as for me and my wife, Judy (Johnson ’61).  Wahlstrom Hall was decommissioned on May 28, 2005 and completely demolished in August.  Now when I drive by this site old Wahlstrom Hall is not only demolished, there is no rubbish, no sign of its existence.  It is as if it has vanished into thin air!  There is now much green space, beautiful trees, and a new spectacular view of the campus.  Even so, many memories remain.  There is now room for another building (perhaps another dormitory) as the campus and enrollment increases.  Yes, the Gustavus spirit of ministering to and development of the whole person, physically, mentally and spiritually is alive and well.”

Thanks Janet and Woody…even buildings come and go!

Old Main is renovated and back in service.  The Mankato Free Press carried an article on September 20, 2005 about this “matriarch,” Old Main―some excerpts from the article sent by Janet Jones:

Gustavus’ Renovated Matriarch is Looking Good, Ready to Open

by Robb Murray, Free Press Staff Writer

   St. Peter―To the passing motorist on Minnesota Avenue in St. Peter, Old Main is―and always has been―the stately matriarch of the Gustavus Adolphus College campus.

   Christ Chapel may be the campus’ geographic center and moral soul, but when it comes to history and collegiate feel, Old Main is the epicenter.

   So when it came to the question of Old Main’s health, there really was no question.

   You don’t want to mess with Old Main,” said Steve Waldhauser, Gustavus’ publications coordinator.

   Construction began in February, back when Old Main still included one hulking, reinforced-concrete staircase, no elevators and no central air-conditioning.  Instead, the building’s exterior was dotted with dozens of window-unit air conditioners.

   And, perhaps most importantly, there was not elevator, making the upper two floors and basement inaccessible to people in wheelchairs…

   A few surprises popped up during renovation.  Workers discovered the box where the rope that rang the clock tower bell once hung.  They also found the original arched doorways in the hallways on the second and third floors, and two large cisterns underground in the basement…

   The classics, philosophy, political science and religion departments will occupy Old Main’s office space, and some faculty already have begun moving in.

   One of them is Chris Gilbert, chairman of the political science department, whose office has been in Old Main since he came to campus in the early 1990’s.  Gilbert and the rest of the political science department toured the new Old Main for the first time last week.

   “To me it’s a very powerful metaphor about the college,” Gilbert said.  “Since we’ve become a college, every generation of Gusties has used that building in one form or another.  For me it creates a very powerful bond with the past.”

   The renovated Old Main will be rededicated at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 8.

Yes, so much “good stuff” is happening…and each of us is a part of it…by the gifts we give to the Alumni Fund to walk with our Alma Mater into the future while valuing with gratitude what we received “back then”…lots!  In our 50th anniversary year 70% of us participated in giving $43,958; in our 51st year, 59.9% participated in a total of $24,710―what will we determine to do in 2005-06?  Our gift of the carillon to Gustavus is wonderfully pleasant to hear and to celebrate.  We need $15,556 to complete our goal of $140,000.  Hearty thanks to those who have brought the balance to this amount!  Please can we work together and “top it off” in 2005?  That will allow us other creative opportunities to work for and with Gustavus.  Our dollars go into the future…where maybe we can’t.  Thanks for what you can and will do!  We thank Dr. Fienen for his news of the carillon:

Carillon Update--The new Carillon, gift of the Class of 1954, continues to ring around the clock on campus, marking morning, noon, and evening hours with its chime based on the pitches G, A, and C!  In addition, it rings a peal as a call to worship for Sunday and daily Chapel services.  It will again be used during the Christmas in Christ Chapel services in December to augment a few low pitches with the Handbell Ringers.  On a recent Sunday, the Choir of Christ Chapel, accompanied by the Gustavus Philharmonic Orchestra, presented a movement from the John Rutter Requiem.  The Carillon was used in that performance to play the part written for harp.

During the summer, as another augmentation of the total bell program of the college, we used part of the class gift to purchase three octaves of hand chimes.  These are used by the handbell choirs to provide a very different tonal color in some of their pieces.  Handbell composers are increasingly writing music that calls for the addition of hand chimes, so this makes possible access to a considerable amount of new music for those ensembles.

When you are on campus, listen for the bells ringing the hour chime at 8am, noon, and 6pm.  Now that the renovation of Old Main is completed, we plan to connect the cast bell in the tower of that building to the controller for the new carillon so we can set that bell to ring the other hours of the day.  ~David Fienen

Ann Hogberg, Office of Advancement Services at Gustavus, tells us, “You have all done a wonderful job in your fundraising.  Thanks for all your hard work.”  (And thanks Ann, for the compliment.)  Yet…can we be “louder and prouder” in our gifting??  LET’S!

From the 2005 Alumni Survey of 3,179 alumni from 1937 ― 2005, some findings…

  • 81% felt Gustavus prepared them very well/adequate for employment.
  • 71% are employed in their career field.
  • 93% said class size was an advantage.
  • 88% said the critical thinking process learned at Gustavus was a high contribution to their educational and personal growth skills.

The Alumni Board has elected Jason Sawyer ’93 and Jan Ledin Michaletz ’74 as their president and vice president.  The 21 members of the Board have divided into committees to work on special areas.  The committees of the Board are:  Alumni Fund, Engagement, Nominating and Recognition.  These committees will do most of their work outside of regular scheduled Board meetings and they will involve other alumni in their work.

Have you noticed how time seems to fly by?  Having noticed this “piece of life,” Woody and I are “getting on” with putting together a reunion planning group looking ahead to 2009 when we gather for our 55th…the 50th came so quickly!  Sooo as you reflect on reunions, which events, occasions…whatever…meant the most to you…what would you hope to have happen in 2009?  We’ll need to hear about it by August 2006!  THANKS!!

Woody Chaffee

1203 Rockbend Parkway

St. Peter, MN  56082


Helen Forsgren Hokenson

2880 Park Drive

Adrian, MI  49221

Campus News:

Athletics Hall of Fame

On Saturday, September 24, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletics Hall of Fame:  Holly Brodmarkle Cervin ’87, track and field; Marc Illies ’85, baseball and football; Marc Iverson ’89, football; Gretchen Koehler, coach; soccer; Rich Skanse ’84, tennis; and Dick Walters ’75, hockey.  Jay Rooker ’85 and Mary Mansour ’85, softball, have also been selected but will be inducted Fall 2006.

Campus Progress

Whether it’s planning for brand new buildings or renovating old ones, the Gustavus campus is always changing.  A new web site has been designed to keep you updated on the changes taking place on campus.  Check it out at:

Wind Orchestra Tour

Join Gustavus alumni and parents on a companion tour with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra to Eastern Europe January 17-27, 2006.  The trip includes visits to the Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria and will be hosted by Tom Emmert, professor of history, and Jon and Anita (Thomsen) Young ’77 ’77.

Evelyn Sponberg Young, one of Gustavus' best ambassadors of goodwill, hospitality and spirit, and friend of many, many Gusties through the years, died at her home on September 29, at the age of 93.  Evelyn graduated from Gustavus in 1933 and taught English in several schools in southern Minnesota.  She returned to campus in 1949 as director of the College's dining service, serving the College 32 years until her retirement in 1981.  A memorial service will be held at Gustavus Adolphus College, Thursday, December 8, 2:00 p.m., followed by a reception in the Evelyn Young Dining Room.

What has been happening in your lives…??  I hope it’s been GOOD!

Jean Kirkvold Emholtz tells of a gathering of eleven of our classmates at Gloria Brouillette Strom’s home in early October…lots of good times remembered; it was fun to hear Jean mention her visit with Dr. Carlson, in our years, about allowing dancing on campus…a “trailblazer” even!!  Golly times do change!

From Betty “Babs” Lindstrand Abrahamson we learn that she enjoys living near Grand Marais.  She writes, “always happy to share my place with anyone who would like to visit.  The coffee pot is always on…I only make Swedish coffee.”  Why not give her a call sometime:  218/387-2228.

Ellis and Janet Hanson Jones have enjoyed visits with “several Gusties from our era” ―Ardis Johnson Haglin ’55 at the funeral of Rev. Ruth Louise Esbjornson ’68; and at the funeral of Jack Clark ’52 they had a good chat with Maynard Jacobson ’52 and Ernest Lanto ’52.  Other happier times provided more chats with several ’50, ’51, ’52 ’53 and ’56 grads.  It’s so pleasant to strengthen ‘our roots’…in various ways.”

Lois Anthony, mother of our classmate, Sharon Anthony Bower, died in early September.  Her long, loving life was celebrated September 10 in St. Peter.  Our sympathy to Sharon and Gordon and family.  Sharon and Gordon have recently, temporarily moved to Austin, Texas where Gordon is teaching.  Their new temporary address is:  5329 Western Hills Drive, Austin, TX  78731.

Our sympathy to Stanley and Elaine Wellendorf Fink.  Their son, Jonathan, died last spring―how difficult to “let go of a child.  Elaine mentioned that they speak of him often.  Yes, the love and healing in remembering.  Elaine and Stanley have moved to:

800 NW First Drive, #404

Austin, MN  55912


Our sympathy to the family of our classmate, Jean Benson Erickson whose funeral was September 6.  May rich memories be consoling to Roger ’53 and their children:  Susan, Paul, Marybeth and Katherine.

So many of us remember Bobby Krig ’53, who also left this life recently.  Our sympathy to his wife, Barb (Eckman ’52) and their family.

Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33.  Yes, “Ma Young” has died.  She was to be honored at “First Frost” A Royal Affair on October 29.  What an incredible life!  I recall her spirited energy at basketball games, supporting our team while Gus, her husband, was coaching.  Her fabulous “limpa,” Swedish rye bread and all the banquets she “orchestrated!!”  Her life will be remembered.  Her love and caring I’m sure will be felt at the “Royal Affair!”  She fed us well.

Reflecting a bit on the passing of Evelyn Young, Carolyn Gooder Towley writes:  I am intrigued by the thought and memories that pop into my mind and take me “back” 50-some years.

Fall seems an appropriate season to mentally meander through our “Gustie years;” after all, fall was a ‘beginning’ for us; we had exchanged the warm comforts of our families and embarked on a heady voyage:  we were on our own (albeit a precarious journey)…we were college students, by golly, and we had the world by the tail.

We were a motley mix:  perhaps in high school we had been fairly big frogs in the pond, not a little impressed with ourselves, yet here we were in a bigger pond―with bigger frogs and we were too naïve to be daunted.

Meal ticket books, upper or lower bunk, trying to figure out a schedule:  That class is closed that professor is a bear.  Oh, there is that class again, but it convenes at 0800 hours―I’ll never get my eyes open much less have breakfast on Mondays and Wednesdays, for a whole semester!  Groan…even Evelyn Young the “Lady of the Ladle” doesn’t provide room service.”

Thanks be to God for the lives we yet share here and for the joy, inspiration, memories, love and energy of those who have “moved on.”

Roger Carlson writes to us of the Nobel Conference 2005:

“Gustavus Adolphus College and the Nobel Conference celebrated the achievements of one of the most admired scientists of all time:  Dr. Albert Einstein.  It is a century since Albert Einstein published his ground breaking papers on special relativity and what better place to celebrate these achievements than at a Nobel Conference!

On September 27 – 28, 2005, the college campus was over-flowing with instructors, teachers, scientists, college and high school students, alumni and friends to learn more about a legend.  No one was disappointed!  Between lectures given by a wide variety of scholars and Nobel Laureates from such institutions as:  M.I.T., California Institute of Technology, University of Maryland, Carnegie Observatory and the University of Cape Town, South Africa, there was ample time to meet new friends, renew old friendships, visit and walk the campus and enjoy the warm and sunny fall weather.

Each morning and afternoon, before the lectures began, one of many Gustavus musical organizations performed for the audience of over 3,000:  the Vasa Wind Orchestra, the Trombone Choir, the Gustavus Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band.  Each musical organization left a very positive impression of the Gustavus quality of music.

Here are some notes that I made while listening and trying to comprehend the subject:  The Legend of Einstein:

“I have no particular talent.  I am merely inquisitive.”

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

As the program stated, “Einstein had many strengths, and although modest, his curiosity and determination contributed to his scientific powers.  However, his greatest quality was his rebellious attitude, which allowed him to adopt maverick and unpopular positions.”  So perhaps one of the messages of Einstein’s memory for all of us, in addition to being inquisitive and hardworking is to embrace mavericks.”  Nobody ever won a Nobel Prize confirming what we already know.  His greatest error was when he sided with the establishment and suppressed the next generation of mavericks”

In the evening there were a wide variety of choices of entertainment, which fit in with the Einstein theme:

Ø      Lecture:  “Einstein and Religion” by John H. Haught, the Thomas Healy Distinguished Professor of Theology at Georgetown University.

Ø      Hillstrom Museum of Art:  “Pressure Points:  Recent Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnizer.”

Ø      Anderson Theatre:  “Clockworks:  Einstein Time” world premiere.

Ø      Christ Chapel:  “Einstein:  Music He Inspired, Music That Inspired Him.”

The College has developed a tradition of honoring laureates visiting the campus with honorary degrees.  Since 1950, 84 laureates have been so honored and 60 laureates who have appeared at one or more Nobel Conference since 1965.  This year Nobel Laureate Wolfgang Ketterly, John D. MacAuthur professor of physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was honored for his work in the field of physics.

There were many Gustie grads on campus and it was great fun seeing old friends and visiting the new dorm and classroom building.  The campus is outstanding in many ways and if you haven’t been on campus for a while, do yourself a favor and visit your Alma Mater.  Next year’s conference theme is:  “Medicine:  Prescriptions for Tomorrow.”

A distinguished panel of Nobel Laureates, molecular biologist, researchers, health care policymakers, and medical historians is being assembled to speak on science and faith in medicine and society.  Come back to campus in October 2006 and take part in truly a wonderful and educational experience.”   ~Roger Carlson

Thanks Roger!

The warm weather will no longer make the Gustavus chapel “stuffy”…for it is newly air-conditioned.  Janet Jones mentioned that Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 is back this year after a year’s sabbatical at Yale University…"the bulletin for the opening convocation listed nearly twenty groups affiliated with Christ Chapel which are open to students with varying interests!”

Have you seen the 2005-06, 16-month, Football Calendar?  It’s pretty neat!  I was glad to get one―(the Book Mark at Gustavus has them).  The calendar tells of plans for the new facility―improvement for future football at Gustavus!  We’ll be hearing more!  How about some football stories for a future class letter??  Some of us only watched the game. ☺

Hearty thanks to the 2005 Alumni Fund callers:  Rollie Herbst, Howie Ruggles, Woody Chaffee, Helen Forsgren Hokenson and Dianne Anglemyer Clinton.  Nice to “catch up!”  And to invite us to participate in the significance of our Alma Mater.

Announcing the Gustavus 2006 Alumni Fund Campaign

“When you get your invitation in the mail or receive a call from a Gustie student or classmate, commit to making your gift to the Alumni Fund this year,” encourages Jan Michaletz ’74, alumni board member, class agent, and 2006 Alumni Fund Chair.  The Michaletz family―Russ ’74, Mara ’02, Annie ’05, and John ’08―have agreed to chair this year’s alumni fund drive.  The 2006 Alumni Fund goals are to achieve 9,000 donors and $1,185,000 dollars in alumni giving.  The 2006 fiscal year began June 1, 2005 and ends May 31, 2006.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund will immediately support current Gusties in the classroom, in labs, on the playing field, in the library, and more.  Tuition does not cover the real cost of educating students today, nor did it when you were a student at Gustavus.  Since its inception in 1954, the goal of the Alumni Fund has been to help keep the Gustavus educational experience accessible for current students.  Give the gift of Gustavus to a current Gustie by making your Alumni Fund gift this year.

Thanks for this time…keep in touch…share some thoughts and events in your life with us…enjoy the autumn and Holiday seasons.  Know we all matter and are needed, and ‘til next time…I’ll be completing a volunteer recruiting opportunity for one of two “Thrivent Builds with Habitat” pilot projects preceding a major build in 2006…It’s a good trip and thinking of various trips―a quote from a sermon I heard recently…

“How to live life…Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming…”Wow, what a ride!”

May the gifts of PEACE, LOVE, JOY and SERVANTHOOD be yours,

Helen Forsgren Hokenson

1954 Co-class Agent (with Woody Chaffee)

P.S.  Woody says “hi!”