Class of '55
January 2010

55-Year Reunion ― May 28-29, 2010

Dear Classmates:

The class of ’55 is having a 55th!  Our “Golden” Gustie reunion!  Dick DeRemee announced the plans for this reunion in his December letter, and I am emphasizing it once again.  He called a few of us together for a luncheon meeting on the campus early in November to plan a 55th reunion.  With one or two people turning down the invitation to write this class letter, I was made the offer I didn’t feel I could refuse!  So here it is.  I enjoy writing, but I have never had this task.  You’re lucky─my writings are usually of a political nature─I won't go there with this!

I am going to take you on a stroll around the Gustavus Adolphus College campus.  The day of the meeting was an unusual, warm, sunny and cloudless day so I decided to linger there a while.  I roamed around amongst students as they went about their business taking advantage of a lovely day.  Gals and guys alike were dressed in cut‑off jeans and tee shirts.  Many of them were sitting with their books at the attractive natural wood Adirondack chairs that were all over the campus.  Many of you have frequented the campus over the years on a regular basis.  You have had sons and daughters, grandchildren, attend Gustavus.  Or perhaps you go to Christmas in Christ Chapel frequently, or to the Nobel Conference, and other special events, as I have.  But how often do we just attend an event and don’t bother to walk around to see what is new, or go inside of buildings, or make note of what no longer exists!

I started out visiting the Hillstrom Museum down the hall from the Book Mark in the Campus Center where there was a spectacular show of three-dimensional cloth stitchery paintings done by Peruvian women─an extraordinary exhibit.  I ran into Dottie Johnson Lutz ’51, whom many of you remember I am sure, and she told me about an interesting show in the art building so I went over to the Fine Arts complex in the southwestern part of the campus, and to my surprise, found a display of Dean Wilson's ’67 creative contemporary furniture.  Dean is a professor of sculpture at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design.  I knew Dean as a little kid in my hometown of Litchfield.  His family lived across the corner from us.  I believe he, all his siblings, and his parents all went to Gustavus.

I wandered over to the unique Linneaus Arboretum and its very Swedish contemporary building.  From there I proceeded to the old “Hello Walk” to observe where Wahlstrom Hall met its demise four years ago.  It is just a nice green slope now.  I don’t remember when I last walked “through” Old Main─probably when I was in Dr. Glass’s zoology class when the building smelled of formaldehyde!  The Nobel Hall of Science, which was one of the first new structures that went up after we graduated, of course houses all the science labs now.  “Old Gus” had been moved to a new place of prominence close to Old Main, I believe after the tornado.  The old guy still is adorned with caps and gowns, and who knows what else!  I walked on to the spot where Johnson Hall once stood, and had to be razed after the tornado, as well as the row of houses on the street below that were occupied by foreign students.  There is an attractive new dorm now which is an International village.  I proceeded to the library, which is one of the best.  There aren’t many colleges that have an organization like the Library Associates that significantly enhances the funding for new materials.  I made my way toward the new stadium, which was glistening in the sun against the blue sky with its impressive entrance and memorial plaques, significantly funded by 1955 classmates!  I believe our class still has the record for the largest 50th reunion gift to the college.  The entire athletic complex in the northwest corner of the campus is impressive with the Lund Arena venues, all the playing fields and track, the tennis center with a magnificent sculpture near the entrance done by Nick Legeros ’77, a Granlund protégé.  I studied with him a few years ago.  The legacy of Paul Granlund ’52 is evident all over the campus with his sculptures.

I think about what this college campus looked like just a week after the tornado that devastated St. Peter and Gustavus some 13, 14 years ago─don’t remember the exact year.  I was there and it looked like a war zone.  There was structural damage to every building.  There wasn’t a blade of grass or a single tree left on the front hill.  The spire on the chapel was bent over like a broken toothpick.  What a transformation was made in a short time!  It is an impressive campus with its many newer functional academic buildings, dorms, wide-open spaces, and the most creative, maturing landscaping you will find on any campus in Minnesota.  A new academic building and a west mall are being planned.  Gustavus will be observing 150 years in 2012 – Minnesota’s oldest college launched in a little old house in Red Wing, with a different name then.  It has evolved through its history to being one of America’s top 100 Liberal Arts colleges.

There are just four structures left that were there when we were students. If you weren’t able to come to our 50th, or if you haven’t been back to the campus for quite some time, if you are able, you owe it to yourself to come back and see this wonderful place, and discover what is still standing, hopefully never to disappear.

In addition to the impressive rankings Gustavus has recently received, Gustavus has been rated recently amongst just a handful of colleges that has the best campus food in the U.S!  I can guarantee you will have culinary pleasure, fellowship, and fond memories if you attend this reunion event.  You all come!

Jackie Carlson

1955 Guest Letter Writer

Class News

From Gerald Christianson:  Gerald is emeritus professor of church history at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA, where he teaches early and medieval church history.  He had a sabbatical in Geneva, Switzerland and conducted research.  Before teaching in Gettysburg, he was pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Gary, Indiana.  He has served as visiting professor at Lancaster Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School.  In 1980, Dr. Christianson founded and chaired Music, Gettysburg!, a musical series.  Since 1976 he has hosted a weekly radio program.  He performs as narrator for “American Song.”  He serves on the board of the Adams County Historical Society and is on a design committee for a new Civil War museum on the seminary campus.  In 1990 he received the Pennsylvania “Salute to Teaching” Award for outstanding teachers from the Pennsylvania Academy for the profession of teaching and in 1995 was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Citation from Gustavus.  He founded the International Seminar on Pre-Reformation Theology at Gettysburg Seminary and is serving as co-chair of the Gettysburg Conference, a biennial meeting of scholars.  Gerald has authored or co­authored several recent works.

Campus News

Martin Luther King Day Events

The Diversity Center is sponsoring two events in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Speaking at Chapel on Monday, Jan. 18 will be C. T. Vivian, a minister, author, and close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. during the American Civil Rights Movement. Daily chapel will begin at 10 a.m., with Rev. Vivian speaking from 10:20-11 a.m. and answering questions from 11-11:15 a.m. Also on Jan. 18, Mixed Blood Theatre will be presenting the play “Daughters of Africa” at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall. Both events are free and open to the public.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  Upcoming speakers:  Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, Speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives – Jan. 20; Doug Minter ’79 Director of Student Financial Aid and Kirk Carlson ’95, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid – Feb. 17.

Upcoming Events

  • Jan. 20 – Twin Cities Breakfast, guest speaker - Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90
  • Jan. 26 – Job Transition Workshop – Transfiguration Lutheran Church
  • Feb. 9 – Destin, Florida brunch – Another Broken Egg Cafe
  • Feb. 17 – Twin Cities Breakfast – Gustavus Financial Aid Officers
  • Feb. 19 – Tucson Chapter Event – Warren and Donna (Gabbert) Beck ’67 ’66 residence
  • Feb. 20 – Phoenix Chapter Event – Larry and Deone (Nordquist) Cartford ’59 ’59 residence