Class of '56
May 2000

Bonjour, Classmates of '56 and '57,

I (not Bob) am practicing language communication skills for a trip to France at the end of this month. I did take French from the late Dean Lind, yes, the Dean Lind who pranced upon the stage holding a rose in her teeth while singing "The Yellow Rose of Texas." I remember translating some stories the night before graduation so my diploma would be real and true I'm wondering now if my memory is serving me well―I suspect it is. C′est la vie!

I say "early" May because time is of the essence. The Gustavus Fund drive closes May 31, 2000, and we (Class of '57) need to close in on our numbers. We are down in donors from last year, we performed at 50%, and we surely don't want to come in dead last in our decade in $s so you are hereby reminded. Bluntly put: I need you (to make me look good), Gustavus needs you, and private higher education in the USA needs you. Look how many needs you will satisfy with just one generous check.

A while ago I carefully read the Fall 1999 Gustavus Quarterly. I urge you to read President Steuer's "From the President" on the liberating arts. Did you know we are among the very few? "Over the last 50 years [we haven't had our 50th yet!]…reportedly fewer than four percent of college graduates currently receive the sort of broadening and challenging education associated with the traditional liberal arts." Doesn't it make sense to you to help the current generation have this rare privilege? Your commitment to support Gustavus does just this, it supports the liberal/liberating arts education that is so important in the new millennium―and so rare! Please be generous. And write that check as soon as you put this letter down, better yet, before you finish it, and put it in the mail so it gets there on time!!

Having left my phone number on the last class letter I wrote for any and all to use indiscriminately, I did hear from a few of you―yes, gently scolding me. I had scolded Nancy Irgens Derauf ’57 for not sending news with her check. I quickly got a call from Dick '56. Nancy has had a very scary time health-wise, a brush with death, really. You'll want to talk to her for specifics since it's too complicated for me to repeat a virus in her brain I'm remembering. Oh, Nancy, I am so very glad you are still with us! And, I did say "A Golden Gustie from our class was inducted into the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame" in the person of Gary Gustafson ’57 in my last letter. There are more residing in that Hall!―Gene Sandvig ’57, Bob Wahman’57, and Fran Bradley ’57. I'll leave you to wonder which one of these reminded me there are others than Gary.

Mike '58 and Marcy Halgren Dale ’57 had their first Grandchild, yes, capitalized!, January 4, 2000. Boy or girl? Have you been to that once-in-a-lifetime fishing trip, Mike, or is it coming up in June? And Marcy, who is still at Ridgeview Medical Center in Waconia, will be traveling to Saskatchewan with Mike for a reunion of Torgrimson descendants―Norwegians, "maybe even some Swedes!" Nancy Reiter Grimes ’57, I have news here dated December 1999 that you retired in 1997. Has it been that long? I know you've made great use of the time.

Marlys Mattson Nelson ’57, our inveterate class reporter, called recently about C.J.'s column in the Minneapolis Star Tribune. It featured information about the Spare Key Foundation established in memory of Derian Keech, son of Rob and Pat Keech. Rob is son to Lois Knutson Keech '57 and Bob Keech '56; Derian was their first grandchild. Derian, at 2 1/2 years old, died about three years ago after numerous heart surgeries. During this time Rob and Pat observed the financial hardship endured by the young parents whose children had serious, long-term illnesses and subsequently established the Spare Key Foundation to help make house payments for those parents, help with a first month or more salary to pay bills, etc. Oprah―yes, the Oprah―got wind of their generosity and one day Rob and Pat got a surprise call to be told that "the taping would be on Thursday, could they be there?" Bob and Lois took the train, they were all there, and the Foundation was $50,000 richer! The address for the Foundation: Spare Key Foundation, P.O. Box 612, South St. Paul, MN 55075. Their annual fundraiser is called Derian's Dash, a 5 K Run/Walk, held on Saturday, August 5 this year in South St. Paul. For more information call the Foundation phone number: 651/457-2607. I have travel plans during that time or I would be prone to get together with some Gustie alums and have a Gustavus contingency walking or running in Derian's Dash. Bob is retired from 3M and Lois from teaching. They spend their time with four grandchildren and traveling. Kudos to their son Rob and his wife, Pat!!

Rummaging through our class letter files, I came across some old news (around 18 months old) sent from the Alumni Office and gathered the last time I called with Phonorama, Fall 1998. That's not that long ago is it? Even though late, I am going to quickly report it assuming you are like I am―the class letter is the first piece of mail I open when it arrives, eager to catch up with the comings and goings of our illustrious classmates―of course, we are all illustrious! Roger Olson ’57 and his wife, Dorothy, have both retired from teaching at Dana College, Blair, NE, he in mathematics and she in elementary education. Each received the HunTel Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching and have an endowed scholarship in their honor as well as having endowed a scholarship. They are also most generous to Gustavus. I thank you for your contributions to American private education, Roger and Dorothy, financial and otherwise.

Carole Swanson Minor ’57, are you still running conferences for the CIA? The last, according to my information, was in Berlin in May '99―subject: Berlin, the Cold War Intelligence Capital. Are you still a member of the Washington, D.C. Opera Society? Judy Anderson Tucker ’57, I don't think there is anyone in our class who can come close to the physical activity you put forth. Judy is heavy into retired life in Las Vegas, NV, joined a dance company (tap dance), has run marathons, the best time being 3:48 in '81, in the Twin Cities, and qualified for the Boston. Wow! I'm impressed. Joan Carlberg Nordenstrom ’57 spent the winter of '98 in Texas. Is that something you continue to do, Joan? Charlene Lind Olson ’57 has two kids in Boston, one of my favorite cities, and spent time some time ago on Prince Edward Island. Carol Bonderson Nelson ’57 spends winters in Arizona and has a daughter, Sarah, graduated from Gustavus, who is a family practice doc in Two Harbors.

So, that's it. We do want your news for these letters. It is absolutely vital!

Bob here, for the Class of '56--and a great class it is! Thanks, Lynn ’56 and Bev (Runez) Carlson ’56, for the news. Both are retired and heavily into volunteer work--Bev at church and Lynn as president of a local Homeless Shelter Board, hospital volunteer, and member of the Wisconsin Council on the Problem Gambling Board. Lynn also volunteers his time to the Lutheran Teens Athletic Association, a group he helped found in the 60's. They had a great time with Gustavus friends at the Hamline vs. Gustavus game last fall. They're Packers fans as well. Well, if you live in Beaver Dam, WI we Viking fans can understand your support for the Pack! Lue (Gesme ’56) and Jim Chell ’56 greet us from their new retirement abode in Hinton, Alberta, Canada, T7V IX7, that's Box 6416, having moved in Nov. '99 from Jasper, Alberta. Jim was serving there as interim pastor for the past two years. The beauty of living in a national park setting enabled Lue to pick up on her interest in watercolor with the local art community. Hinton is a little east of Jasper, wooded acreage, mountains in view, and family close by! Sounds like retirement was well planned. Moon Mullin ’56 not only was our last letter's guest writer, but has interesting news for this one, too. Working for H&R Block for the past three years has been educational, "actually exciting," he says, "and my reason for writing of this is simple: I have found a good supplemental income in which I can pretty much name my hours." Well, Moon, when you’re managing the largest office in the Peoria district I suspect you can name your hours! Moon says his contract runs through April 17 and then he has the rest of the year to boat, play golf or whatever he chooses. H&R Block is in need of tax preparers! Thanks for the tip Moon, for some this may be just the ticket. Clyde Allen’56 and Lois (Madsen ’59) are receiving a Greater Gustavus Award this spring. The Allens are honored for their longtime dedicated volunteer service and leadership with the Board of Trustees, Alumni Association and the Gustavus Library Associates. They are definitely two people who are well-recognized on the Gustavus Campus!!

The Class of '56 has 168 potential donors. For the time period, June 1, 1998 to March 15, 1998, out of the 168 members we had 84 donors for a 50% participation rate (not bad, better than most classes). From June 1, 1999 to March 15, 1999 we had 98 donors for a 58.3% participation. Only three other classes out of 60 classes, or since 1940, had a higher percentage of participation--that's great! But, we are down in dollars and we need to do better here!! This is the time for the "Bulletin Blooper" that I enjoyed reading, in The Lutheran, I believe: "I'll up mine. Up yours!"

The Cecil F. Eckoff Memorial Sculpture, ORBISC (designed like the mobius strip he so often won for Gustavus), a Granlund sculpture, will be dedicated Saturday, May 27, 2000 at 3:30 p.m. near Hello Walk. Cec, our classmate and emeritus vice president for Alumni Affairs, will be honored. I know many of you will be there. I know all of you would like to be there.

I know you would also like to know of the retirement this spring of Chaplain Richard Q. Elvee, the planner and inspiration behind the annual Nobel Conference. There will be an hors d'oeuvres supper at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington on Tuesday, May 16, 5:30 p.m., $25 per person. RSVP by May 12 to the Alumni Office: 800-487-8437 or email:

Other campus news:

International House Being Built - Ground was broken during the first week in March for the new international house. The residence hall will house Crossroads, the Swedish House, and the Office of International Education. This new facility will support the mission of bringing an international perspective to the curriculum and preparing students to communicate and compete in the new millennium. The 80-bed, 30,000 square-foot facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2000. The $5.4 million building is going up west of Olin Hall.

Reunion Weekend for the 50 Year Club (including The War Years), Class of 1950, and V-12/5 is May 26 & 27. A schedule of events and registration material was sent in mid-April. Homecoming 2000, September 29 & 30, will feature gatherings for anniversary classes from 1955-2000. Class reunions will be in the Twin Cities Friday evening, and events will return to campus on Saturday. A schedule of events and registration material will be mailed in August.

Forensics Team Earns International Awards ― The College speech and debate team captured two championships and six other awards at the recent International Forensics Association tournament in Paris, France. Both Gustavus debate teams compiled a 3-1win-loss record. The team's strong overall performance earned Gustavus a fourth-place Sweepstakes Award. Gustavus attends international forensic competitions every other year.

Men’s swimming and diving team completed its most successful season in Gustavus history finishing undefeated in both non-conference meets, with a record of 7-0, and conference meets, at 6-0. At the MIAC Championships, Gustavus placed first for the first time since 1960. They beat conference power St. Olaf, who had won 20 consecutive MIAC titles before this year. Earlier in the year, the Gusties also handed the Oles their first conference dual meet loss since 1981, breaking an Ole streak of 96 straight wins. Please read the Spring Quarterly for complete winter sports recaps or visit the athletics site at

Thank you, one and all, for all you have done for your Alma Mater! You have done well. Remember, at one time you needed Gustavus. Now Gustavus needs you! We look forward to your commitment in $$$$s and news!! And do come back to campus whenever you can. It will make you feel so good to see how wonderful it looks--in comparison to when we were there as well as what has been done in the recovery from the '98 tornadoes!

Your Class Agents '57 and '56,

Judy (Lund) & Bob Erdman