Class of '54
September 2006

Dear Classmates,

It’s beginning to feel and look like fall and the Gustavus campus begins to explode with color.  Naturalist, Jim Gilbert ’62 describes this time of the year with all the leaf changes as the display of “the illuminated woods.”  The Carillon Bells ring out at the appointed times and call us to ponder the times of worship and the opportunities to serve and give, and to thank and praise.

Speaking of the “Bells” you will notice in this class letter that the Carillon Bells, which as you know are a special gift from the Class of 1954 to Gustavus, need some further giving to complete the project.  Please note also that we begin a special campaign to complete the giving of this gift posthaste.

You will also find here the news from some of our fellow classmates and hope that you will be inspired to write notes of what is going on in your lives.  You are a special class with unique talents and abilities and to hear a word from you is to remember you and care for you.  As a class we are in our seventies and rapidly approaching the eighties, in fact, some are already there.  It is good to hear from you about your cares and needs as well as the ongoing events in your life.

Believe it or not we are also looking forward to our 55th Reunion so please note some of the beginning planning.


Amy Wampler Adamson

She and her husband, Art ’51, continue to live in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, where they are members of Gethsemane Lutheran in Hopkins, as well as members of the Gustavus Association of Congregations.  They have three sons, Stephen, Paul ’77 and David ’81.  As you can see here two of them are graduates of Gustavus.

Sharon Anthony Bower

Sharon has been in the speech and theatre departments at Louisiana State University and San Jose State University and in the speech and English department at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, California.  In 1982 she became the founder and president of Confidence Training Inc. in Stanford, California.  Presently she is semi-retired along with her husband, Professor Gordon Bower, who is at Stanford University.  She is an emeritus board member of Theatre Works, a professional theatre company in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Since St. Peter is her hometown she returns to this area and of course finds the time to be a part of Gustavus.  Presently she is a new member of our 55th Reunion Planning Group serving on the Communications Committee.

Roger Carlson

Roger and his wife, Janet (Christenson ’53) along with their close friends, Dick and Mary Brubacher are headed for Italy for three weeks.  Roger writes, “We should have brushed up on our Italian, but hopefully, our Swedish will help bridge the gap, ‘ya, sure.’  Jan broke her leg and wrist all in one year, but she is doing great and completely mended.  I'm still in one piece, but my friends say I have a few screws loose, if you know what I mean!  We still spend six months at our cabin on Leech Lake (Minnesota) and the balance of the time in Minnetonka, Minnesota.  I still look back with great joy and cherish the friends I made at Gustavus.”

John Chell

John is going through a cardiac rehab program at Southdale Hospital as an outpatient after having five stints placed within the arteries of his heart to open them up.  He writes, “Actually, I am doing fairly well, out walking daily, and fulfilling some of my interfaith activities, events, and responsibilities.  In fact, you may be interested to know, that I just returned a few minutes ago from the groundbreaking of the Anusjid An Nur Mosque just off of Lyndale Avenue and Broadway in the near north side of Minneapolis.  What a landmark event!  This will be a domed mosque with a minaret―the first of its kind in the Minnesota religious community.  I was an invited guest along with others like Father Michael O’Connell, Rabbi Marcia Zimmerman, Council member Don Samuels, State Representative Keith Ellison, to name a few.”

Vianne Lager Engwall

Vianne and husband Dick ’53 continue to live in Minnetonka, Minnesota, and send a note saying, “We enjoy seeing the Brubachers (Dick and Mary) and the Carlsons (Roger and Janet) at many events of the American Swedish Institute and we especially enjoy the woodcarving groups with Dick and Roger―as Jim Ford ’53 would say, ‘pax.’”  Vianne has served on the Gustavus Library Association and the Gustavus Alumni Board.

Rollie Herbst

Retirement for Rollie has been a time to serve as a volunteer.  He is a member of the Planning Group for our 55th Reunion and serves on the Communication Committee of that group.  Rollie is also a Board member of WECAH, a charitable organization in the Loretto, Minnesota area that has its own Food Shelf and a placement service that helps the homeless and others to pay necessary bills.

Helen Forsgren Hokenson

Our Co-Class Agent who does so many excellent things to help and promote the Class of ’54 writes, “I continue to enjoy volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and my church as well as writing the class letter.  How great it is to be able to visit Gustavus and remember when!!!  Life is full!”  She and her husband, Rodney ’53, live in Adrian, Michigan.

David Johnson

Dave has received a special honor through the Board of Regents of the University of Minnesota.  One of the first dorms on the Morris campus where he served as Chancellor will be rededicated on October 28th with his name on it!  Dave writes, “That dorm has a special meaning for me.  Jean Lunnis Johnson, my wife, was packing up the house in St. Peter while I was getting started out there.  I lived in a section of that dorm with fifteen students those eleven weeks.  Imagine their faces the night we met, they on the first night of their liberation from the tyranny of parents and community, only to find a sixteenth section-mate, one who increased the mean age of the section considerably.”  Congratulations!

Mary Jane Monson

Mary writes that she is a retired educator and back working for Hennepin County Accounting in Minneapolis. “Living in downtown Minneapolis is great.  I can walk to the new Guthrie Theater and our fantastic new Public Library.”  She is a member of Lutheran Social Services of Minnesota and a past Board member of the Midland College Board of Directors.

Howie Ruggles

Howie sent a note saying, “Together my wife, Ann (Borneman ’57) and I are living life to the fullest.  Each year we spend four months in California and eight months in Minnesota enjoying family and grandchildren and the lake.  We continue to pray for good health and more good years.”

John Sandquist

John shared with us some of the highlights of his life.  He served in the United States Army in southern Germany learning counterintelligence and was a commercial insurance agent from 1958-95.  Together with his wife, Kathryn, they have three children and now are proud of three grandchildren.  One of his daughters, Myra, is a graduate of Gustavus ’90.  In Red Wing, Minnesota, he served on the City Council for 12 years (1984-96) and is presently running to serve on the Council again.  In Red Wing he started and continues to serve as the Director of the Clothing Shelf, a free clothing operation.  He has organized an “Understanding Islam” group in Northfield, Minnesota.


The Class of 1954 Carillon Project, as a gift to Gustavus, was a huge success and the bells can be heard daily throughout the campus and into the Minnesota Valley.  They have been welcomed by everyone and I hope you have had the good fortune of hearing them while at the college.  If not, do yourself a favor and make a special trip.  It’s worth it!

Our gift commitment of $140,000 was a big challenge and we almost met it.  We raised $127,000 but still have a shortfall of $13,000.  Please help us by sending any contribution you can so that we can get this project “off the books.”

The following is my suggested graduated scale of giving which will finalize this project: 

25 gifts of $100 - $150

20 gifts of $150 - $200

15 gifts of $200 - $300

5-10 gifts of $300 +

Just think, our 55th graduation anniversary is only three (3) years away in May of 2009!

Thank you very much for any help you can give us at this time.

David Johnson

President, Class of 1954


Back to School

The 2006-07 academic year kicked off September 6, with the annual opening convocation where President Jim Peterson ’64 encouraged students, faculty, and employees to remember, live, and teach the College’s mission―to prepare students for fulfilling lives of leadership and service to society.  And some students who arrived on campus prior to the opening day of classes were already living the Gustavus mission.  Students here early for athletic practice or residential-hall training helped with storm clean-up following tornadoes that hit the area at the end of August.  More students will help with clean-up as long as there is a need.  The tornado damaged property in Nicollet, by Lake Emily, and farms outside Cleveland.  The Gustavus campus and St. Peter received no damage.

Class Reunions/Homecoming

Class Reunions and Homecoming Weekend will be Oct. 6-8.  This is a reunion time for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, and 2001, but all alumni are invited to attend the events, even if it is not their reunion year.  The full schedule this year includes musical performances, athletic events, seminars on terrorism and the Linneaus Arboretum, as well as a performance by alums Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83.  The schedule is designed to provide activities for alumni and families.

Honor Roll of Donors

If you haven't had a chance to find yourself online, please go to to check out the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors. The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006. To find your name or check 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).

Nobel Conference - Medicine:  Prescription for Tomorrow

The 42nd Nobel Conference, to be held October 3 and 4 will celebrate the successes of modern medicine and consider how it may further enrich our lives; at the same time, the conference will explore possible public policy and medical care delivery problems, from cost to decisions on who will receive the treatments.  Moral and ethical issues abound.

Join the Gustavus Choir as They Reign in Spain

The Gustavus Choir will embark on a three-week concert tour in Portugal and Spain in January 2007 as part of the choir's 75th-anniversary year celebration.  College staff and Seminars International, Inc. are organizing a two-week companion tour of the Iberian Peninsula January 15 - 28 for alumni, friends, and parents, to be led by Russ ’74 and Jan (Ledin ’74) Michaletz, choir parents and Gustavus alumni.  Companion tour participants will have the opportunity to hear the choir in Seville, Costa del Sol, Granada, and Madrid . . . and perhaps meet the choir for dinner once or twice!  The cost per person is $3,495.  Contact Dean Wahlund, Gustavus Choir tour manager, at:  800-726-6198 or e-mail him at: for information no later than September 20.  Come; join the Gustavus Choir on the Spanish Riviera!

Omega Kappa Fraternity Celebrates 100 Years

The OKs will celebrate 100 years of Modesty, Diversity, and Brotherhood on Saturday, October 21, at the Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul.  The evening will be filled with stories, photos, shared memories, artifacts, histories, and singing.  For more information, go to

Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday, September 30, Gustavus will induct the following people into the Athletic Hall of Fame:  Deborah Jungwirth Borman ’87 - Volleyball, Tina Pulido Draper ’87 - Gymnastics, John Huepenbecker ’80 - Football, John Jambeck ’62 - Swimming, Deanne Sand Johnson ’89 - Tennis, Dick Kumlin ’55 (posthumously) – Basketball, Dan Prochnow ’78 - Golf, Jerilyn Ree ’88 - Basketball, and Stacey Rodman ’89 - Swimming.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Athletic Hall of Fame Induction – September 30
  • Nobel Conference "Medicine:  Prescription for Tomorrow" – October 3 - 4
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 - 8
  • Omega Kappa Reunion – October 21


Through the Alumni Office you will find enclosed here a Gustavus window sticker that can be placed on any glass or mirror finish.  It operates on a static electric principle so it doesn’t work too well on an automobile bumper, but would certainly work and be well noticed on an automobile window and when removed doesn’t leave any sticky stains.  I have one on a hall mirror and others on our automobiles.  It certainly is a way of advertising and promoting Gustavus.  In fact, just the act of placing them arouses that old Gustie Spirit!


Believe it or not the following classmates are working on our 55th Reunion which will be held on graduation weekend in May of 2009:  Sharon Anthony Bower, Roger Carlson, John Chell, Jean Kirkvold Emholtz, Rollie Herbst, David Johnson, Jim Anderson, Howard Ruggles, John Sandquist, as well as Helen Forsgren Hokenson and Woody Chaffee as Class Agents.  We are also thankful for Betty Lindstrand Abrahamson and Marilyn Reiten Meyer who are serving as volunteer callers.

Preliminary plans include a short Memorial Worship Service in Christ Chapel followed by a wine and cheese fellowship hour and then the Friday evening banquet.  Saturday morning will feature a choice of lectures, programs, and musical presentations.  A Saturday Celebration luncheon will conclude our reunion festivities.  All events will be held on the Gustavus campus and a special folder with registration information will be mailed several weeks before the reunion.

We are thankful for the assistance and guidance in all of our planning of Kathy Erlandsen who is the Associate Director of the Gustavus Fund and coordinates reunion committee volunteers.  She is the essence of grace and enthusiasm and rejuvenates within us the Gustie Spirit.

If you have any suggestions for our 55th Reunion please let any of the above members of the Reunion Committee know.

Alumni Fund Giving

Thanks to all of you who participated in the Alumni Fund giving.  This is a significant fund since from 85% to 90% of it goes to helping students with scholarships and financial assistance that makes it possible for them to attend a great college like Gustavus.  With a total tuition around the $30,000 mark for a year many quality students need the help.

Our total giving that is credited to our class for this past year is $33,742 which is a $7,427 increase over the past year.  Wow!  We are certainly thankful for you who were part of this giving.  At the same time since only 54.9% of our class participated, we are hoping that the number of participants will increase.  You can be confidant that your giving is carefully managed and serves a great cause at Gustavus!

If you have read this far you know that the Class of 1954 is still full of vitality and meaningful life.  You are part of the “illuminated woods” of this season!  Certainly because of the gift of growing faith which was nourished in our lives through Gustavus we can say with Robert Browning, “Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be,” even if an earthly tomorrow is replaced by eternity.

Best Wishes,

Forrest “Woody” Chaffee

1954 Co-class Agent

(with Helen Forsgren Hokenson)