Class of ’54

October 2013

Dear Classmates

Nobel Conference 49 — The Universe at its Limits

Now in its sixth decade, the Nobel Conference at Gustavus continues to set a standard for free debate of contemporary issues relating to the natural and social sciences.  This 49th Conference was held on October 1 and 2, 2013, with the theme of “The Universe At Its Limits.”  It explored some of the most fundamental questions of science in light of recent discoveries:  What is the universe made of?  Where did it come from?  Where is it going?

Among the speakers were three Nobel laureates who helped the Conference search for the connections between the vastness of the universe and the tiniest bits of matter.  The Conference’s organizers took care to pick speakers who were not only at the cutting edge of their fields but who could condense the most important parts of their findings to a regular audience which this year consisted of 4,500 people.

One of my favorites was Lawrence M. Krauss who is the professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration in the department of physics and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University in Tempe.  As a young teenager he was captivated by the books of physicists like Einstein, Feynman, and Gammow reading them from cover to cover.  When asked about the practical significance of his work he quickly pointed out that like art, literature, and music, it has cultural significance and helps us to connect to the cosmos and, in a profound way, helps us understand our origins.  In his spare time, Lawrence Krauss enjoys mountain biking, fly fishing, and meeting new people, but he really enjoys his work, having time to think about things and writing.  He says of his work with the Origins Project at Arizona State University that it is “like being a kid in a candy shop.”

Our Great Leader Helen Forsgren Hokenson

Helen Forsgren Hokenson has been our Class of 1954 leader for many years and has been one of those great detail persons with whom I have had the privilege of working as a co-leader.  As a result of being checked over by a series of doctors she has been diagnosed as having the beginnings of memory loss which has exhausted her.  She and I have been in close communication and she has now resigned from her position.  One of the tasks that she has handled through the years is writing out personal thank you notes to all of our classmates that have been giving to Gustavus.  Wow!

Many thanks to you Helen for all that you have done.  You will remain in our special prayers.  We certainly will be in much conversation in all the time to come.

Gustavus Class of 1954 – 60th Reunion

Our 60th reunion will be held on Friday-Saturday, May 30-31, 2014.  Our first reunion planning session took place on Friday, September 13, 2013.

Mike Anderson

Dick Brubacher

Roger Carlson

Vic Carter

Woody Chaffee

John Chell

Clare Berntson Hibbard

Helen Forsgren Hokenson

David Johnson

Sylvia Johnson Johnson

Lewis Moon

Dick Niemi

Arlene Waxlax Sonday

Betty Lundgren Schlotthauer

Class letters will be mailed monthly to keep you informed according to the following schedule:

January 2014 – David Johnson

February 2014 – Dick Brubacher

March 2014 – Arlene Waxlax Sonday

April 2014 – Vic Carter

May 2014 – John Chell

Plans as of now include:

Friday, May 30, 2014:

Memorial Worshp – 2:00 p.m. – Christ Chapel

Evening Banquet

Song Fest

Saturday, May 31, 2014:



Best Wishes Always,

Woody Chaffee


Class of 1954 David C. Johnson Scholarship Fund

The Class of 1954 David C. Johnson Scholarship fund was initiated in the year 2000 with a target of $100,000 to be reached by the year 2014, sixty years after graduation.  The Fund has a current market value of $69,000 with contributions of $59,000 from 73 contributions.  The graduation size of our class was 140.

Scholarships to students are currently in the range of $2,500/year, or 4% of market value, and will reach $4000/year once the $100,000 goal is achieved.

We can reach this goal of $100,000 by our class reunion in May 2014 by implementing the following strategy:

  •  Earmark each financial commitment/gift to the College for the Class of 1954 David C. Scholarship Fund.  This fundamentally means earmarking undesignated gifts.
  • Class letters written during the months of October 2013 through April 2014 will address the Scholarship Fund and encourage classmates to contribute to this fund.

This fund and those who solicit for the fund recognize that many gifts to the College come through memorials at the time of death.  For this reason we encourage all class members to name Gustavus and this fund in their wills.

It should also be remembered that the Class of 1954 contributed approximately $100,000 for the Carillon Bells in Christ Chapel and their maintenance.


Roger Carlson

1954 Annual Fund Chair