Class of '54
January 2007

Dear Classmates,

With a large mug of coffee or whatever, in had, let me say, “HUGE THANKS for your donations to the Alumni Fund and to “keep the bells ringing!!”  As of January 15, 2007 we gave $6,225 for the Bells Endowment Fund―leaving $6,775 needed to complete this commitment!!!

Congratulations―we’re on the way!  Thanks also to our Giving Planners who provide the energy and focus―Roger C., Jim A., Howie R. and Sharon A. Bower!

And yes, our gifts to the Alumni Fund help Gustavus “be there” for more students!  A great gift!!  THANKS!

You’ve heard a little bit about 2009 when we’ll celebrate our 55th class reunion; but, did you know that Dick B. and Roger C. did some “serious” looking for a “place to put it?”  Do read on…by Bru and Crew…”Italy in a Nutshell”…



Bru & Crew

The 1953-54 Gustavus senate officers cast their line into deep waters as Bru & Crew spent three weeks in Italy looking for a location for their class’ 55th anniversary gathering.

Dick and Mary Brubacher and Roger and Janet (Christenson ’53) Carlson, using the touring services of Grand Circle Travel, sped away to Rome on September 24, and nothing was heard from them until October 5.  “We were looking for a possible site for our next class reunion,” Dick remarked as he stepped off the sky-way at the Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.  “Well, did you find one?  Do you have a recommendation?” asked David Johnson who met them in the terminal.  “I believe we have several options,” remarked Roger.  “Here is what we learned.”

Rome was their first destination as they toured the Eternal City and discovered Rome wasn’t built in a day!  With the help of a guide they toured in great detail the Colosseum, the most famous building of ancient Rome, and of course the Pantheon, the most preserved of all the Roman monuments.  It was erected in 27 B.C. and consecrated as a church in 609 AD.  Like so many structures in Rome, it had been plundered, restored and remodeled.  “Ancient and preserved‑that’s us,” said Bru!

Three days later they boarded their tour bus and were off to Southern Italy and Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast.  Driving along the Mediterranean coast, enjoying the wonderful food and wine, was an experience to remember.  A side trip, by boat, to the Isle of Capri with its international jet-set culture was a wonder, and it caught Dick’s eye as a possible location for the reunion.

“Tour buses and a well informed guide make travel in a foreign land enjoyable and educational,” said Dick as they embarked for Mt. Vesuvius and the rediscovered cities of Pompeii-Stabiae and Herrulenium.  What an experience it was to see how people lived in 79 AD and the volcano erupted and buried the three cities with hot fly-ash, mud and stone.  “Let’s not have our gathering here, said Roger.  It may erupt at any minute and Bru & Crew would be blamed.”

We all agreed that Southern Italy was beautiful and enjoyable but there was still much to do before decision time.  They boarded the bus for a full day’s ride to mid-Italy and Montecatini and Tuscany and into the heart of the Renaissance.  Side tours were arranged to Pisa, Siena and Luca.  We were treated to a delightful lunch at a Tuscan farm home and toured several art galleries and many churches.  A former classmate, Rod Hake, along with his wife, Avis, was also on the trip.  Rod was momentarily Lost in Siena, but we found him.

In Florence we marveled at the beauty created by the great Italian artists and architecture.  Surprise!  We found David!  Two of him!  Breath-taking, awesome, powerful, overwhelming were these geniuses of the Renaissance.  We relaxed with wines, pasta, and cuisine of the Tuscany region and discovered how Olive Oyl could be “extra virgin.”

“Well,” said Bru “we have several choices for our class reunion and it would be lovely if we could encourage the class to visit Italy.  “You know,” said Mary, “it’s pretty hard to beat St. Peter, Minnesota, and besides, they don’t speak Swedish very well over there.  St. Peter has everything we need.”  Dave gave a knowing gesture and made a management decision:  “By declaration, I, David Johnson, President of the Class of 1954, hereby declare that St. Peter and the Gustavus campus will be the location for the 2009 reunion.”  Bru & Crew agreed.  Italy was wonderful, but St. Peter is better!

There’s no place like home…GAC.  Thanks Bru and Crew!!

While the 1953-54 Gustavus senate officers were “looking” in Italy, Woody Chaffee and 5,000 others were attending the 42nd Nobel Conference on campus…Thanks, Woody for giving us a glimpse and thoughts about this annual incredible event:


Over 5,000 people attended the 42nd Nobel Conference on October 3 - 4, 2006, held in Lund Center Arena on the Gustavus campus on the subject of “Medicine, Prescription for Tomorrow.”  Physician-researchers, along with a bioengineer, an economist, and a philosopher led us into in-depth discussions and enlightening lectures dealing with the promises of medical research and the changing nature of the health care system and their implications for our lives.

Just prior to the opening session Gustavus conferred an honorary degree upon J. Michael Bishop, Chancellor and Arthur Rock and Toni Tempe Rock Distinguished Professor at the University of California, San Francisco.  Dr. Bishop shared the 1984 Nobel Prize in physiology/ medicine with his colleague Harold Varmus for discovering the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes.  Their work eventually led to recognition that all cancer most likely arises from damage to normal genes, and this recognition provided new strategies for detection and treatment of cancer.

All seven lecturers were excellent and stimulating and were followed by panel discussions and then questions from the audience.  The give and take of the discussions and the exciting answers given to the questions from the audience added much to the presentations.

As the Conference continued we heard about the promise of genomics, and how to make primitive cells turn into lung tissue, a field known as “tissue engineering.”  We also heard about nanotechnology applications in medicine and we were warned about the prospect of worldwide epidemics that were frightening to consider.

Another enjoyable feature of the Conference was the music presented by groups from Gustavus that made presentations before the lecture sessions.  These included the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, The Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, as well as the Vasa Wind Orchestra.

Next year’s Nobel Conference will deal with “The Energy Debate” and will consider the problems of global warming and declining oil reserves.  I was so stimulated and moved by this year’s Conference that I plan to make it to the ones coming up as long as I can still live, breathe, and walk!  Here’s hoping you plan to do the same.

Woody Chaffee

Dave Gillis writes:  “I have been retired from the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel for seventeen years.  My wife, Fran and I have three grandchildren.  Jacalyn is a freshman at Lake Forest, Emily is a high school junior, and Matthew is twelve years old and driving the golf ball well past mine.  Our son, Rick is an MD, assistant professor of medicine, associate dean for clinical informatics, director of the office of clinical informatics Medical College of Wisconsin Medical and medical director of health information Froedtert Lutheran Hospital.  Fran and I enjoy golf with many good friends.  I occasionally paint, sculpt, design and build furniture.  And enjoy photography.  Some of the photography is on our web site:

I would enjoy exchanging jokes, pictures, stories or whatever from other Gusties.  My email address is:

More from Dave G.  You may recall the mention in previous class letters of our telling each other, about ideas or events we’ve appreciated.  From The Wall Street Journal, Jonathan Clement’s article “Getting Going” he writes about “The Pursuit of Happiness:  Six Experts Tell What They’ve Done to Achieve It.”  I’ll reprint it here.  Thanks Dave!

Yes, money can buy happiness.  But you have to spend it with care.

Take your dad to the Super Bowl.  Buy a home near the office.  Get married.  Go out to dinner with the family.  Take a memorable vacation, and be sure to buy souvenirs.

Where does this advice come from?  I talked to half-a-dozen academics who specialize in “happiness research” ―and asked what changes they had made in their own lives.

۰Relishing the day.  Possibly the biggest obstacle to greater happiness is so-called hedonic adaptation.  Sure, you are thrilled when you first get promoted or get a pay raise.  But soon enough, the thrill fades and you are lusting after something else.

“When something good happens, you want to find a way to hold on to it for longer,” says David Schkade, a management professor at the University of California at San Diego.  For instance, you might go out to dinner to celebrate even modest career accomplishments.  Similarly, you should purchase souvenirs or take photos when you’re on vacation, so you remember the trip for longer.

Prof. Schkade tries to follow his own advice.  As an undergraduate, he attended the University of Texas at Austin.  When the Longhorns won the national championship in January at the Rose Bowl, he bought t-shirts that marked the occasion, so he wouldn’t quickly forget the team’s victory.

“You have to combat adaptation,” Prof Schkade says.  “You want to celebrate the small things, not just the big ones.  If you save all your celebrations for getting married or becoming vice president, you won’t celebrate very much.”

۰Dodging traffic.  Studies have found that commuting ranks as one of life’s least enjoyable activities.  The reason:  While folks often adapt to changes in their lives, both good and bad, it’s tough to adapt to commuting, because you can never be sure how much traffic you’ll hit.

“Lack of control is what tends to induce stress in human beings,” notes Andrew Oswald, an economics professor at England’s Warwick University.”  It made me re-evaluate whether I should be a long-distance commuter.”  A few years ago, Prof Oswald moved closer to his office, slashing his commuting time from 60 to 20 minutes.

۰Seeing friends.  If commuting makes people so unhappy, why do they take jobs or buy homes that will mean a long commute?  Folks rely on their initial reaction―and, at first; the long commute may not seem so bad.  “People don’t think about how things will play out over time,” says Cornell University economics professor Robert Frank.

Suppose you have the chance to take a higher-paying job that will leave you with less time for socializing.  At first blush, that might strike you as a reasonable trade-off.  But in all likelihood, you will quickly take the larger salary for granted.

Meanwhile, you’ll miss out on seeing friends and family, which surveys suggest are among our happiest times.  “Earlier on, I tended to sacrifice my family time to try and push research ahead,” recalls Richard Easterlin, an economics professor at the University of Southern California.  “I do that much less now.  Going out to dinner with family for me is always an enjoyable experience.”

۰Buying memories.  Some folks are inherently less happy and some more so, and this basic temperament seems to be remarkably enduring.

Nonetheless, you may be able to boost your level of happiness by thinking carefully about how you spend your time, says Princeton University economics professor Alan Krueger. On that score, try "buying memorable experiences," he suggests.

As an example, Prof Krueger cites taking his father to the 2001 Super Bowl, which pitted the New York Giants against the Baltimore Ravens. "I got a lot of mileage out of that," he says. "I had the anticipation of the game, as well as the game itself I framed my ticket, which reminds me of the trip." Still, he adds, "it would have been better had the Giants won."


۰Limiting options.  Having lots of choice might seem like a good thing.  But in fact, it can lead to unhappiness.

Consider a study conducted by professors Jane Ebert and Daniel Gilbert.  Participants were allowed to choose an art poster to take home.  Some were told that, if they didn’t like the poster, they could exchange it for another.  Others were told their decision was final.

“Who was happiest with their choice?” asks Prof. Gilbert of Harvard University.  “Those for whom the choice was irrevocable.  When options are open, the mind generates debate.  When options are closed, the mind generates satisfaction.”

This insight spurred Prof Gilbert to limit his own choices.  “It made me realize that I ought to propose to my girlfriend,” he says.  “Sure enough, now that she’s my wife, I’m happier.”

Jean Simonson Rolloff, Moline, IL, writes, “we spend our summers playing golf and enjoying ‘play weekends’ in Chicago.  We spend six weeks in Maui in February and March.  We have four grandsons in Chicago, ages 2, 3, 5 and 7…it makes for active times!”

Marilyn Peterson Reaser, Rapid City, SD, sends this note, “I am a retired English and Spanish teacher after 40 years in the classroom.  My husband and I live in a townhouse that is part of a continuing care community, where I am developing friends older than the 16 or 17 year olds I spent my working life teaching.  Retirement is even better than I dreamed it could be!

October 28, 2006 was a great day in Morris, Minnesota.  CONGRATULATIONS      DAVE JOHNSONDick and Mary Brubacher wrote the following account of the day:

October 28, 2006 was a day of celebration for the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM) and especially for our own David Johnson!  Dave was honored and recognized for his many contributions to UMM during his years as chancellor, from 1990 until his retirement in 1998.  To mark this day, UMM renamed its Independence Hall (a student residence) the “David C. Johnson Independence Hall,” as this is where Dave lived during the first quarter that he served as chancellor.  Yes, he moved in with the students, as he hadn’t had time to find housing in Morris.  He lived with students for 12 weeks, sharing their lounge and food service facilities.  Two former students―the RA from Dave’s section and a student body president―spoke with great affection about his genuine interest in the students and of his uncanny ability to remember everyone’s name, their hometown, interests, families and how he would challenge their thinking while maintaining his humble demeanor.  Any anxieties the students may have had about living so close to the “head honcho” were quickly dispelled, and he became affectionately known as “Chancellor Dave.”

The two chancellors who followed Dave spoke with respect about his effectiveness as an administrator and for his deep understanding of the many faceted role of a liberal arts college.  He loved to tell UMM’s story, to articulate its vision and mission, and took great pride in the accomplishments of its students, faculty, staff and alumni.  Dave was instrumental in securing legislative funding for UMM’s state-of-the-art science facility and for the regional fitness center, a campus/community partnership.

Dave helped UMM become a nationally ranked liberal arts college and it continues to be ranked among the top three or four public liberal arts colleges in the nation, according to US News and World Report and other college rating systems.  Congratulations for your part in this David C. Johnson!

Many of Dave’s friends and classmates from Gustavus were in Morris to help celebrate the day―watch for a picture in the next Quarterly.  We were all proud of Dave and very happy for him!

Janet Hanson Jones sends notes from St. Peter.

Notes from St. Peter

In our April 2006 class letter I listed faculty, administration and spouses from our era who were still living.  Shortly after sending my notes off, Myrtle Hollingsworth passed away.

Construction of the new football stadium is well underway.  The old stadium is still in place in case it is needed for commencement exercises in 2007.  After that, it will be torn down and the football games in the fall should be in the new stadium.

On November 19, Ellis and I attended the “F. Melius Christensen Concert” at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis at which five Lutheran college choirs from Minnesota performed:  Augsburg, Concordia-Moorhead, Concordia-St. Paul, Gustavus, and St. Olaf.  The Gustavus Choir represented the college very well.  While they were resetting the stage for the massed choir number, the M.C. asked anyone in the audience who is an alumnus of any of those five choirs to stand.  I did, of course, and when the lady seated next to me asked which college, I very proudly answered “Gustavus!”

December is a very busy time in the community and on the campus as it is most everywhere.  We generally host a breakfast early in the month for 20 - 30 friends, most of whom have Gustavus connections.  We did so this year on the 2nd after attending the wonderful buffet and Christmas in Christ Chapel service the evening before.  The Tuesday after C in CC, the Wind Orchestra (known as the band when we were in school), which does not participate in C in CC, gave a mini-concert during the regular morning chapel time.  Several of us “locals” attended that and then enjoyed coffee in the Courtyard Café in the lower level of the Student Union.

On December 7, the college celebrated St. Lucia Day at the Chapel service and a very festive buffet luncheon in Alumni Hall (that was the gym floor level in our day).  It is a very popular event and sells out within two weeks.  It was fun for us this year to have my cousin from Northfield join us:  Ann Hopman McGovern ’67.  Another cousin from Litchfield, Sylvia Wilson Kittelson ’64 had planned to join us, as well, but family illness prevented her attending.  Next year, she says!

Each year a Scandinavian breakfast is held; this year it was on December 14.  That, too, is a very popular event for people in the area.  We usually sing a carol or two in Swedish!  The Dining Service is extremely busy during December, but the food is always terrific and the decor very festive.

Although not technically a college event, on the afternoon of December 17 the Mankato Children’s Choruses (five of them at different levels, I think) held their concert at Christ Chapel and it was well-filled with people and good music.

The president and deans of the college held an open house for the faculty and staff on the 19th in Alumni Hall.  More good food!

At our church’s (First Lutheran) Sunday school program on December 17, we saw Marlys (Setterholm) and Bob Gamm, both from our class, who had grandchildren in the program.

Greg Aune, who directs the Gustavus Choir, also directs our church choir.  This morning (January 7) we wished him and his wife, Julie, a good trip as they leave with the choir this week for Spain and Portugal.

To quote Barb Eckman Krig ’52 in their December class letter, “Christmas in Christ Chapel was celebrated this past weekend along with the emotional finale, ‘O Come All Ye Faithful.’  First-year students and their parents may have heard it for the first time, seniors with tears in their eyes performed it for their last time, and thousands of alumni returned to experience it once again.  Capsulated in that moment is so much of what makes Gustavus special―it’s about family and friends, welcoming new members into the Gustavus family, remembering our past and being a part of the present.”

~Janet Hanson Jones

Thanks, Janet!

So much gratitude to our Alumni Office staff for helping our class in several ways!  Sure means a lot to “feel like we’re in this together!

A CD is available of songs from the1952-53 and 1953-54 Gustavus Choirs.  The disc includes Brahms Motet, Christ Awakes, O Lord Increase My Faith, Sicut Cervus, Ye Sons of Israel, I Will Magnify Thee Forever, Little David Play on Your Harp, Swedish Tune & Little Lamb, Humble, and Triggare Kan Ingen Vara.  In addition, several songs by today’s Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Band, and O Come, All Ye Faithful from Christmas in Christ Chapel are included at the end of the CD.  The cost is $10 and can be ordered through the Alumni Office at:  800-487-8437 or send a check payable to Gustavus.

I hope this offer will help you “remember while you’re away.”  It means a “ton” to me for lots of reasons…What a blessing―those four years at Gustavus!


Alumni Starring in The Cherry Orchard

The Department of Theatre and Dance is celebrating 75 years of theatre at Gustavus this year with two featured events:  Theatre Reunion May 11-12 and a gala performance of The Cherry Orchard followed by admission to the cast party on February 10.  The Cherry Orchard will be Professor Rob Gardner’s final directing work before retirement.  A cast of professional theatre alumni will join the student actors for this very special production.  The alumni cast includes:  Peter Breitmayer ’87, Karen Esbjornson ’80, Kevin Kling ’79, Scott Novotny ’75, and Michael Glenn (Waldhauser) ’97.  A sold-out performance is expected for this unique celebration, so order your tickets soon.  For more information and to order tickets, go to the Cherry Orchard site from <>.

Lindau Symposium brings Richard John Neuhaus to campus

The Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, a well-known conservative Catholic intellectual, will address “Religion in American Public Life” at the inaugural Lindau Symposium at Gustavus on Tuesday, May 8, 2007, 7:30 p.m. in Alumni Hall.  A gift to the College from Phil ’58 and Nancy Lindau, given prior to Phil’s death last April, established the symposium at Gustavus that bears his name.  Lindau, a commodities broker and executive who served Gustavus as a board member, campaign chair, and longtime volunteer leader, was passionate about the faith-life intersection and the church-relatedness of his alma mater.  The symposium, which the Lindau family and College officials anticipate will be an annual event, aims to provide a forum in which diverse intellectual voices and mainstream beliefs and values can be brought together in a liberal arts environment.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, Realtor, or other professional?  Make it a Gustie!  Look in the Gustie Pages, 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 become your customers.  Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website at:  <>.

One of Gustavus biggest supporters, cheerleader and class agent, Wilt Croonquist ’59, died on October 14, after year-long battle with bladder cancer.  Wilt loved his class, the College, and the Willmar/Kandiyohi area of Minnesota.  Wilt constantly bragged about Gustavus to his friends and recommended Gustavus to many students who went on to attend.  He is survived by his wife, Betty, who assisted Wilt with his final class letter on September 25, son, Jeffrey and Daughter, Pamela Jo.  I understand that at his funeral a list of 10 things that have changed in heaven since Wilt arrived were read which I think you will find interesting:

10)  Each morning everyone is awakened with trumpets playing the Gustie rouser.

9)   Everyone in heaven has been assigned to a Canasta, Whist or a 500 team.

8)   Signs have been posted proclaiming, “Kandiyohi County is where the lakes begin.”

7)   Every chariot has been outfitted with a brand new set of Firestone tires.

6)   Everyone in heaven is well aware that the Willmar High School Class of 1955 was

       the single greatest graduating class in the history of the world.

5)   Wilt was elected the president of Heaven’s chapter of Future Farmers of America.

4)   Angels no longer have to work on June 6th—Swedish National Day.

3)   Ice and coffee machines have been installed on every corner.

2)   There is NO limit on the number of Mulligans you can take in a round of golf.

1)   Every Sunday night the dinner menu includes lutefisk and buttermilk.  I would add to that―I am certain Wilt is in heaven arranging reunions of everyone there and has formed a welcoming committee as each of us arrives in the future.  We will all miss Wilt and his enthusiasm for life in general and Gustavus in particular!

Give Every Year to Gustavus?

Do you give to Gustavus every year and plan to give every year in the future?  Then you should become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society.  Members of the Cec Eckhoff Society simply make the public commitment that they plan to give financially to Gustavus every year.  It does not matter how much you give and this is not a formal pledge for a certain amount of money.  Cec Eckhoff ’56 led the alumni office from 1963-1994.  Cec believed that part of being an alum of Gustavus was to give monetarily each year to the College.  To become a member of the Cec Eckhoff Society, please call The Gustavus Fund office toll-free at 866/487-3863 or e-mail <>.  Thank you for your support of Gustavus!

Summer Sport Camps at Gustavus

Gustavus’ strong athletic tradition is evident with numerous summer sports camps featuring knowledgeable coaching staffs, acclaimed athletic facilities, and quality dining service and housing accommodations.  Camps offered this year include: golf, hockey, basketball, tennis, volleyball, soccer, throwing, and swimming.  For more information go to <> or contact the Athletic Department at 507/933-7617.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus String Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Spain and Portugal January 11-30.  Performances are scheduled for Lisbon, Seville, Malaga, Grenada, and Madrid.  The Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota, Madison and Milwaukee, WI and Chicago.  The String Orchestra will be in Nebraska, Kansas, and South Dakota.

Upcoming Alumni Events

The Cherry Orchard Gala Performance – February 10

Orlando Gustie Gathering – February 13

Tampa Bay Gustie Gathering – February 15

Naples/Marco Island Gustie Gathering – February 17

Tucson Gustie Gathering – March 16

Phoenix Gustie Gathering – March 17

Sun City Gustie Gathering – March 18

Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion – May 11-12

Thanks to all you dear people who contributed to this “written” time together!  It’s pure pleasure to hear from and about you―and let’s move with vigor to whatever is ahead―as a friend of mine once said, ’For all that has been, thanks; for what will be, yes.”  We’ll “Keep the Bells Ringing,” with loving, living, learning…laughing!

Take care,

Helen Forsgren Hokenson

1954 Co-class Agent