Class of '54

October 2011

Dear Classmates,

While at Augustana Seminary we had a professor called A.D. Mattson, a teacher for whom we had a great respect.  I never did find out what the “A. D.” stood for and it didn’t seem to matter because as students we just enjoyed calling him “A. D.”  He taught and lectured by sitting behind the desk at the front of the class where there was always a pitcher of water and a glass.  One day he came to class and startled us by doing something different.

Suddenly as he was lecturing he stood up and walked to the front of the desk and kept on talking.  Without missing a beat he picked up the pitcher of water and began to pour it into the glass.  He kept on lecturing and pouring until the glass of water overflowed and spilled over the desk and unto the floor.  When he was done he set the pitcher back on the desk and said, “Gentlemen, I have done this for a reason.  I want you to remember the Greek word “perrisson” which means ‘abundantly’ and which was used by Jesus as he taught the crowds and us by saying, “I came that you might have life and have it abundantly.”

Well, that is what is happening at Gustavus as we begin this Sesquicentennial Year of celebration which looks back on 150 years of history!  And Wow!  This campus is exploding with activities and the excitement of many events and remembrances along with the coming of the largest freshman class in the history of Gustavus numbering close to 800 new students.  The Christ Chapel carillon bells (a gift of the class of 1954) continue to ring out inviting us to worship and the abundant life which can be ours today and for all the time to come.


  • Gustavus Adolphus College has been a co-educational institution since its inception in 1862.  That is 20 years before any other Augustana Synod-sponsored school!
  • Did you know…eight St. Peter residents (three of them being Gustie alumni) have been elected to serve as governor of Minnesota?
  • The SS Gustavus Victory was a cargo ship named for the college that served the United States Navy during World War II.
  • How high is our hill?  The first floor of Old Main is approximately 922 feet above sea level.
  • The first gymnasium was built on the campus in 1886, paid for with donations raised by students of Gustavus.  Talk about school spirit!
  • On April 4, 1902, a train carried about 250 Gusties to Northfield, Minnesota, for the first state oratorical (forensics and speech) contest.  The use of ebony and gold banners on the train trip was the basis for the college’s colors.
  • Buzz Aldrin carried a Gustavus pennant to the moon in 1969.


Instead of class agents, many of which have served for years and years, we now have class officers which will serve much shorter terms with elections occurring at the time of major class reunions which now are held every five years, our next reunion now being planned and happening in the spring of 2014.  It was interesting to learn that in February of 1954, 18 alumni returned to campus at the invitation of President Edgar Carlson ’30 and Alumni Association President Millard Ahlstrom ʼ34.  In the basement of Rundstrom Hall, this group of volunteers took a model developed by Dartmouth College and organized Gustavus alumni by classes, led by class agents.  These class agents have served with great leadership and accomplishments through the years.  Following is a list of our leadership team and their responsibilities:

Helen Forsgren Hokenson (Co-President and 60th Reunion Chair person)

Woody Chaffee (Co-President)

Dianne Anglemyer Clinton (Student Recruitment Chair)

Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer (Student Recruitment Chair)

Roger Carlson (Annual Fund Chair, Scholarship Fund)

Paul Vollan (Annual Fund Chair, Scholarship Fund)

Vic Carter (Communication Chair)


Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal colleges in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual college rankings for 2012.

Gustavus ranked 88th in 2009, 80th in 2010, and 79th in 2011.




This memo is my attempt to record a bit of history and expose some of my St. Peter classmates.

In the 1940’s Gustavus was an active, but much smaller facility.  In fact my close friend Bimby Meyer and I herded cattle on horseback on the area that is now Wahlstrom Hall.  Bimby’s parents owned the farm and later sold to Gustavus.  We bought many gallons of unpasteurized milk at 10 cents a gallon from the farm−bring your own container.  My older brother, on leave from the Navy, used our go-cart (no brakes) to bring milk down the hill.  He hit the RR tracks at high speed with the milk going one way and he skidded another.  Fortunately he was able to return and help finish WWII.

While in high school Rich Faust ʼ55, Bimby and I attended a few Gustie football games.  There was no charge if you went over the wall.  For several years the New York Giants and Frank Gifford held preseason training at the college.  Emlen Tunel, a defensive back injured his back in a scrimmage.  After checkout by medical they put him in the back of a pickup and we transported him to the hospital.  They were real men.  The US Navy also used Gustavus for V12 training.  In the evenings some of us would park our bikes near the top of College Avenue and give the sailors a ride to downtown St. Peter for 10 cents.  Now that was exciting.

Many of our Class of ʼ54 were studying hard at St. Peter High in preparation for college.  Winston Anderson ʼ55 was a very good student.  John Annexstad ʼ56, Bimby and Rich were good students and good athletes.  But for real brains and good looks we have to go with the girls – Val Olson, Mary Krough, Mary Jane Monson, and our valedictorian Sharon Anthony.  It was much later we discovered that the girls mature earlier than boys.

And finally there were many St. Peter students and all five of my family attended Gustavus.  So for me the importance of college education was not fully appreciated, but local recognition high.  After college started my new friend and student was giving me a ride and speeding on College Avenue when we were pulled over by Professor Anderson who was also the Mayor.  He acknowledged Paul driving, but unleashed a guilt trip on me for allowing that to happen.  That driver was Paul Olson ʼ50 who remains my friend to this day.

Vic Carter

1954 Communications Chair


The annual Nobel Conference of Gustavus is the first ongoing educational conference of its kind in the United States.  Again last week more than 5000 people attended the sold-out 47th annual Nobel Conference on the subject:  The Brain and Being Human, with eight presenters engaging audience members with topics and discussions in the field of neuroscience.  Here are some highlights:

Larry Young, a professor from Emery University School of Medicine spoke on his study of prairie vole animals during the opening session.  His research may help reinforce bonding for those suffering with autism.  The autism-vole connection is ultimately an investigation into why and how creatures form bonds.

Vilyanur Ramachandran, a professor at the University of California in San Diego, spoke via teleconference on the big screens because of a family emergency he couldn’t be there in person.  One of his areas of study is the phantom limb pains which are well known phenomena of amputees reporting pain in a non-existent body part.  Sufferers of phantom limb pains have reported such things as non-existent hands which are clenched so hard that they can feel their fingernails digging into their palms.  The brains of such people do not know how to unclench non-existent hands that are not really there.  Ramachandran pioneered a treatment that used mirrors reflecting the other hand of patients that fooled the brain into releasing the terrible feeling of pain that is not there.

Once again there was featured a Nobel Conference Concert that was absolutely free with no ticket required.  This year there was experienced vocal solo music written in the past ten years and provided insight into the creative minds of a number of composers who call Minnesota home.  There were also presentations by Pulitzer Prize-winning composers.

Now Gustavus is looking ahead to the 48th Nobel Conference which will be entitled Our Global Ocean and will take place October 2-3, 2012.



Both Kay and I were graduates of Excelsior High School in Excelsior, Minnesota.  Our high school alma mater, however, is now a part of a merger with Deephaven is now known as Minnetonka High School in the Twin City area.  Kay married George R. Noren on June 18, 1955.  They have four children:  Kara, Christopher, George, and James.  Kay’s husband has a new hobby of canvas mounted box frames which have pictures protected from sunlight and atmosphere.  I have a picture of a yellow bird on such a canvas made by George and hanging in my office.  It is a delightful gift and is so realistic that sometimes I hear the bird chirping!


A recent conversation with Dick reminded me that he was a member of the Gustavus track team along with me.  He was certainly an outstanding athlete.  He graduated from Gustavus with a business degree and today lives in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.  Dick attends all football and basketball games as well as the Gustie Breakfasts in the Twin Cities.


Roger who is a great member of our leadership team has informed me that his wife, Janet Christenson Carlson ’53, has gone through knee replacement surgery and has now been transferred to the Masonic Home in Bloomington, Minnesota.  From personal experiences such surgeries are a painful recovery and require a great deal of physical therapy.  Janet, we wish you a speedy recovery and know that Roger is doing a good job as a helpmate.


Sylvia has one of those great names after her marriage to Dwight Johnson ʼ56 (deceased) who was also a graduate of Gustavus.  Together they had three children:  David ’78, Laura, and Kenji.  Recently she was honored for her many years as a Sunday school teacher in her home congregation.  She is now spending the month of October in Japan and visiting the mission fields where she and Dwight served for many years.  We wish her a great visit and a safe journey home.


Paul graduated with our class with majors in business and history.  He married Andrea J. Brown on September 17, 1960, and together they have three children:  Michael, David, and Kristin.  Paul and Andrea live in Devon, Pennsylvania, where Paul has become a RED CROSS HERO and is honored after donating blood for the 400th time!  He is the number one donor in the Pennsylvania - Jersey region and his goal now is to give blood for the 500th time.  Paul states, “I am 79 years young.  I feel great.  It’s just 120 minutes with a needle in your arm.”  Since his blood is O negative he is a universal donor and his blood is in much demand.  Furthermore since he is able to give platelets needed for cancer patients, he is able to give twice a month.  Paul told me that he is able to donate twice a month by having the required iron count and platelet count.  He states that, “Platelets are needed, but they have a shelf life of only five to seven days!  I think giving blood is a healthy thing to do.  It rejuvenates me!”  Paul was an assistant vice president for the Penn Central Transportation Company.  He is very active in community affairs, Little League, and coached youth football for seven years and has served on the Tredyffrin Township Board for 32years.  What a Hero!


Word has been received of the sudden death of Marilyn because of heart failure on September 16th at Silver Spring, Maryland.  A memorial service will be held at the Christ Congregational Church in Silver Spring on Saturday, November 5, at 2:00 p.m.  She is survived by her husband Richard, and their children Kristen, Patricia, and Lauren.  Marilyn graduated with our class with majors in biology and chemistry.  She was a member of the Inter-Sorority Senate and served as president of the Iota Beta Sorority and of course both she and Richard were faithful members of their Congregational Church.  Marilyn had many friendships with members of our class through the years of her life.  In fact I just found out that Marilyn was the maid of honor at the marriage of Helen Forsgren Hokenson and Rod Hokenson ʼ53!

Certainly we offer our sympathy to her husband Richard Meyer and to their children and families as well as their many friends.


Our class continues to give monies to our Class Scholarship Fund and this past year we have been able to award our first scholarship of almost $2000 to Jacob Lorence ʼ13 (a junior) of White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  How exciting is that!  Thanks to all of you for the gifts to this Scholarship Fund.  As of August 31, 2011 our Scholarship Fund is at $43,040 with a market value of $47,189.  Not only that but we have been told that we will be able to award another scholarship to some needy student in November.  What’s exciting to me is that we are using only the interest so that the amount we can give will continue to grow.

We continue to hope that more of you will join us in the quest to raise our goal of $100,000 for this Scholarship Fund by our 60th Reunion to be held in the spring of 2014.  Roger Carlson and Paul Vollan are working hard to build up this fund so that we can give more scholarships each year.  They will be educating us about estate planning and our wills and bequests that will be a help in all of our giving not just to Gustavus.  This kind of giving is the kind of giving that keeps on giving.


Dear Classmates,

Fall arrived at Gustavus with much energy and spirit!  But, I can’t imagine that new students were as excited as we were in 1950.  The first-year class has a record number of almost 800 students.  They arrived on a campus that certainly has far more facilities than we had.  A new 125,000 square foot academic building was occupied for the first time in September and it’s known as the Warren and Donna Beck Academic Hall.

As you know, our goal is to grow the Class of 1954 David C. Johnson Scholarship Endowment which you heard me address before.  Student debt is a concern and our scholarship is there to help students reduce this debt.  We can be proud of the students we are helping with their college education.  I recently read a note from Matt Swenson ʼ11 who graduated last May.  Matt said, “I couldn’t be here at Gustavus if it wasn’t for your support.  Gustavus provided me with an excellent education.  The diversity of religious benefits has helped and challenged me to strengthen my faith and further define my values and benefits.”  These are the kind of students we support through Scholarship Endowment.

Our anniversary gifts started the Class Endowment Fund.  Are there other ways to provide larger, non-cash gifts to enlarge the Fund?  I earlier wrote that we can designate Gustavus Adolphus College as the beneficiary of assets by a Will or Trust.

Gustavus can also be the beneficiary of your life insurance or IRA, 401(K) or 403(b).  This avoids probate and the possibility of double taxation (income from an estate).  Litigation may even maximize other estate gifts to family.  Qualified funds (IRA’s, etc.) are tricky to pass on to family because they have never been taxed before.  Gustavus can be designated as a beneficiary of a percentage of those funds.  The college could not be taxed and those funds would be just a part of your estate.  Other assets can be left to beneficiaries that would not be taxed.

Another idea:  We know about Required Minimum Distributions from IRA’s after age 70-1/2.  We can make a gift of those funds directly to the Class of 1954 Scholarship Endowment.  It counts toward the required distribution.  The distribution is NOT TAXED!!

If you want or need more information about beneficiary designations and making a distribution directly from your IRA, I again encourage you to contact Paul Tillquist ’63 at:

Thanks so much for your encouragement in our efforts to grow the Endowment Fund and make a difference in the lives of students at Gustavus.

Roger Carlson  & Paul Vollan

1954 Annual Fund Co-Chairs




One of the great motivational slogans that we are hearing over and over again in this Sesquicentennial year of celebration are the words Make Your Life Count!  There are many things and many ways in this wondrous place we call Gustavus that has made our life count through the years.  There are some further words that I recently saw in an advertisement for Gustavus that has great meaning for all of us that also touched my heart and spirit and I hope it does yours.  To Make YOUR Life Count and I paraphrase a bit…

Dig deep and venture into the unknown

Touch the world and let the world touch you

Unleash the power of education and reading and participation

Look forward!  The best is yet to be…

Even down to old age.

Forrest “Woody” Chaffee

1954 Co-class President (along with Helen Forsgren Hokenson)

Here is a list of our unlocated classmates.  If anyone knows the whereabouts of any of these folks, please let the Alumni Office know ( or 800-487-8437).

Alice Mitchell Alexander

Adelle C. Anderson

Donald L. Anderson

Gerald Anderson

Gwen M. Anderson

Seldon C. Anderson

Gordon P. Bakken

Alice G. Barnholdt

Joan Swenson Dybing

Mary L. Jacobson

Joan K. Johnson

Marilyn Nelson Leverenz

Donna Lind

Nathalie M. Lindgren

Marilyn Ulrich McGroarty

Elizabeth Nylund

Yngve V. Thorberg

Campus News

Campaign Gustavus Announcement

At the Sesquicentennial and Campaign Kickoff Dinner held on campus on Friday Sept. 30, Board of Trustees Chair Mark Bernhardson announced the official kickoff a comprehensive fundraising campaign, Campaign Gustavus.  The financial goal of the campaign is to raise $150 million by the end of 2015 to fund the strategic initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150.  The focus of Campaign Gustavus is to ensure the College has the resources to continue providing opportunities for teaching and learning in a caring community.  To find out more about Campaign Gustavus and how you can be involved, visit:

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on October 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1991 Women’s Gymnastics National Championship, won with the final routine of the meet.

Christmas in Christ Chapel

As the College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus:  Light from the Old World, Light to the New brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2011 go on sale online on October 17 at noon at  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520 after noon on October 17 to place your credit card order.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  November speaker will be Rob Gardner, interim artistic coordinator for Christmas in Christ Chapel.  The St. Peter Breakfast will be held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on Nov. 9, and the Twin Cities Breakfast will be held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on Nov. 16.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail Hope to see you bright and early!