Class of '56
April 2002

Greetings from St. Paul…..

Jo arrived just in time for the April snow (!!!) and joined Carolyn and Faye Reber for the Gustavus Phonorama this week.  So grand to talk to many of you…and thanks for your pledges!

Jo Cipra, who has “finally moved out of the Arizona heat” and is now living near Santa Rosa, CA on the Russian River, also came to visit Minnesota friends so several ’56 gals gathered for a high volume, catching-up, sharing pictures and talk-story luncheon today at the “Steak and Ale” in Bloomington.  Jo and the other attendees had a terrific reunion:  Mona Amundson Burns, Ruth Hanson Westlund Haberman, Lucy Fogelstrom DeRemee, Bev Johnson Anton, Jean Brown Larson, Vonnie Anderson Casserly, Bette Bainbridge Moe, Carol Lindberg Musser, Faye Reber, Carolyn and Jo.

It was sad to learn that Linnea Setterlind Morrison and David Nelson passed away last fall (see In Memoriam section of spring Quarterly).  They were both special people and certainly will be missed.

Paul Piche sends his best wishes from the East coast and says that he is “still kicking” and is “finally getting around to catching up on Gustavus.”  He is “retired-retired-retired” (guess he means it!), but has been involved with Special Olympics for a number of years and is now the Chairman for the Virginia Falls Championships.  Congratulations, Paul, on being named the "Virginia Volunteer of the Year" for your work with Special Olympics.  He and his wife, Mary, do most of their traveling to see the children and grandkids…daughter in Texas, son in Maryland and another son in Virginia Beach.  Paul says that after his many years in the Navy, he is glad to sit back and relax, but he does hope to get back to Minnesota this summer.

Donna Lindquist Chommie lives in Bismarck, ND and continues to work in real estate.  Her job allows her to travel “whenever the spirit moves me.”  She visited Asia in December/January―had Christmas with her son and his wife who live and work in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and also has lots of stories to tell about her water rafting in Bali and her sightseeing in Bangkok.  Her daughter and family live in Colorado so that is another favorite destination.  Donna, like most of us, is looking forward to her 50th high school class reunion.  However, she (like Paul Piche) gets to return to St. Peter for that gala event!!

Update on Cynthia “Woody” Olson Heinrichs:  She passed the CT scan with flying colors.  “There was nothing new or suspect.  It was the first scan since I was completely off chemo so I didn’t know what to expect.  My doctor even gave me a high five!”

George Hieber, a civil engineer/land surveyor and owner of Hieber and Associates in Monroe, WA, recently vacationed with wife, Harleen, in Myrtle Beach, SC, Atlanta, GA and Florida for ten days.

Joan “Jody” Lindall lives on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound and is enjoying retirement and her rose garden!  She is learning how to be a financial manager as she has the power of attorney for her middle son, an army intelligence officer, who has been deployed to a Muslim area of Eastern Europe.

Vonnie Anderson Casserly e-mailed from Naples, Florida last month saying she and Murray have had lots of time for hobbies and reading this winter as fewer friends are traveling due to the impact of 9/11 and the economy. 

Ray “Padre” Johnson writes that he continues to enjoy “the process of providing my guest lectures, visual art and slide presentations involving my 15-year global adventure/journey with the interesting expressions of ethnic, cultural, religious/non-religious, family and people diversity in 159 nations across our planet.  The continuing invitations to exhibit my art and share my interpretive insights into the purpose of our human existence and the opportunity to celebrate our common human similarities and also those features that make each individual fingerprint unique and interestingly different are extended from churches of all denominational markings, civic groups and schools from the elementary through the university graduate levels.

Since 9/11, the larger portion of my presentations expanding Q&A period has been devoted primarily to sharing reflective perceptions from my actual living experience with the cultural and religious thought variations in the tradition of Islam across the continent of Africa, through the entire Arabian Peninsula and into all of the Muslim dominated republics of the former Soviet Union.  However, at the present 2002 time period, the listeners/participants are especially interested in the response I share concerning my fascinating personal experience with the various shades of Islam in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province bordering Afghanistan – followed by my special permission close living connection with a fiercely independent Afghan Mujaheddin “freedom fighter” unit during the retreat of the Soviet Russians in 1989.  During this final chapter with the different heritage expressions of Islam in Pakistan and Afghanistan, I wore the same cultural dress as all the other men in my host country.

Understandably, and just as timely as Afghanistan, are my many educational experiences through the years with the interesting variety of Israeli and Palestinian family units and belief systems which occupied most of the Q&A time in my most recent college presentation.

My book, Journeys with the Global Family, is about to enter its third printing.”

Hope you are as impressed as we are that Ruth Hanson Westlund Haberman and husband, Dwight, can keep track of birthdays and other special events with their 22 grandchildren!!  Ruth writes that “all of you grandparents surely understand those treasured moments.”  Traveling has had a high priority since retirement.  “The joy of kayaking off Maui shores on the Pacific Ocean to hiking in the Rockies and the Alps have been highlights for us.”  And a couple of years ago, Ruth did a trip with European friends to southern Africa and the Seychelles Islands.

Karen Johnson Krueger resides in Palm Beach County, Florida and does believe she voted properly!!  She has participated in Habitat for Humanity and is a docent at the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach.  She especially enjoys giving tours to students and offers to give any of us a personal tour if we are in her area and give her a call.  “It’s an interesting place with quite a history.  It would also be a good time to have lunch and get acquainted all over again.”  It was a pleasure to read Karen’s e-mail, which emphasized that “the value of a liberal arts education continues on and on.  I first realized how much when I was given a tour of Westminster Abbey and felt I knew so much about the medieval times and realized that I was back in Dr. Lindemann’s class in Shakespeare.  It came through again in Greece when I was able to appreciate the ancient ruins because of my classes in church history, the history of drama, and philosophy.  In a recent conversation, my friend and I both agreed that an art history course is interesting at the time, but the value really comes in a greater appreciation of art long after the class is completed.  Study of the arts may not enrich the bank account, but it certainly does enrich life and travel.”  Now doesn’t that inspire you to send $$$ to Gustavus before the day is over???!!!

Here’s another inspiration that should send you immediately to your checkbook.  Remember the Alumni Fund year ends May 31, 2002!!!!                         MUSINGS  by Gene D. Flaten


At the height of his power, Alexander the Great visited the sage Diogenes.  Despite his status, accomplishments and sagacious manner, he felt somewhat awed in the presence of such a revered personage.  “Is there anything I can do for you?” the Ruler inquired.  The reply was succinct:  “Only stand out of my light.” The message was clear ― do not place yourself between me and the light I need to proceed with my work.  Do not cast your shadow over me, but allow the light to reach my point of concentration so that I may continue to learn ― and to teach as the opportunity arises.  Diogenes’ dominant will was never more pre-eminent than at that moment.

Fast forward to 1862 – the belief and the practices of Erik Norelius in the establishment of what was to become Gustavus Adolphus College – and the parallels appear.  Enlightenment was paramount in his plans and dreams.  The provision of opening new educational vistas for young people loomed as the silver lining on the dark cloud of ignorance which dominated the rural scene of the day.  That commitment to belief in expanding educational opportunities gained fruition through forms of procedural sod-busting, sowing seeds of progress and hard-won factors of nurturing for personal growth.  Beginning  with the individual, moving to the collective and on into society in a broad sense, those efforts have become predominant in the institution we know today as Gustavus Adolphus College.

Fast forward again to 1949 or so.  Concentrate with me on this business of enlightenment as it was provided to me and a host of others on the Hill.  Never before had I been afforded the opportunity to learn in such a free-flowing manner!!  Don Fryxell in English grammar was unforgetable.  Mrs. EEE in social pathology, Floyd Martinson in family, and Louis Hartson in psychology – each provided a bright light on available knowledge.  Emmer Engberg ’30 once provided me with a remarkable compliment on a written assignment, and did so in front of the entire classroom.  Dr. Allwardt and I developed a special bond, which I cherish today in memory.  There was a constant in their collective teaching process.  When I auditioned for the College Choir, Prof. Wilbur Swanson inquired, “Where did you learn to read music?”  My response was “in fifth grade.”  He did not blink an eye and assigned me to the first tenor section.  The light showed through these faculty.  None of them wavered one iota from the task at hand – that of enabling and facilitating the learning process.  Many years of learning, doing and experiencing have proven the facts of time waste, of poor choices and failures to utilize the light provided by the faculty.  Liberal Arts practices at Gustavus were and remain remarkable in their offerings of clear alternatives for the student.  I never experienced a shadow clouding me from an assignment.  The light of opportunity was a constant.  Perhaps in my next life I may return to take better advantage!!

So fellow Gusties, when you contemplate that which you accomplished in your college days, as well as that which escaped you by whim or happenstance, be assured that the light today shines brightly for your successors on the Hill, and that no combination of terror, economics, tornado or other catastrophe will ever dim the bright LIGHT on the college we love so dearly!!


The Gustavus Alumni Fund campaign ends in just ONE month.  As we go to press 20 more donors of the ’56 class are needed to reach our class participation goal.  Classmates of ’56 have always been generous contributors to the Alumni Fund, and for this, on the behalf of the College, we say THANK YOU.    But…more PARTICIPATION is needed.  Foundations that give grants look at that figure to help them decide whether to give to an institution.  A high percentage of participation tells them that the alumni care about their institution.  Please, please, please…if you have been an infrequent or inactive financial participant in the Alumni role at Gustavus, let this be the year you say YES!!!  Any amount is welcomed!  That single action WILL make a difference; perhaps it will be in the life of a student; perhaps in an enriched campus environment…somehow, your YES will be a positive force at Gustavus – our wonderful alma mater – which has left an indelible imprint on the lives of each one of us.  The Alumni Fund campaign concludes May 31.  ‘Nuff said……..thanks for your support.

A campus note:  The Gustavus Dance Team competed at the UPA Americup national competition, winning the Collegiate Jazz/Funk division and received top honors at the National Grand Championships.  You’ve come a long way, Baby!    More campus news to follow……….

Carolyn Jens Brusseau       (651) 774-7351  St. Paul

JoAnn Johnson Lundborg  (509) 548-6574  Leavenworth, WA


Campus News:

Hi!  This is Tracey Hanson ’02 again writing from the Alumni Office.  For those of you who haven’t previously heard from me, I am a senior double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management.  I am a seasoned Alumni Office veteran, as this is my fourth (and final) year here.  After not having taken a J-Term class, spring semester and the homework it entails has been hitting me hard.  Contrary to popular belief, the “senior slacker” final semester has been just the opposite for me.  My time at Gustavus has flown by, especially this final year.  The fact that it is March and I am still without a job is beginning to be a constant thought in the back of my mind.  It also seems to be a constant thought in the minds of my parents, although it seems closer to the front of theirs!  Spring semester has also been the final opportunity to be all together with classmates, so much time has been spent socially with roommates and friends.

As I will be graduating in June, this will be the final time you receive updates from me.  I now will also move into the alum category and step into the real world.  I’m not sure I’m completely ready for the change, but I’m darn sure that I better get ready because it’ll be here before I know it!  Here is some news from Gustavus.

President Steuer resigns, interim president named: After eleven years as president, the longest tenure since Edgar Carlson, President Axel Steuer has announced his resignation effective mid-June.  History will record his presidency as a period during which Gustavus advanced in its national academic standing, strengthened its financial condition, and with Steuer’s leadership, recovered remarkably after the tornadoes of 1998.

The Board of Trustees of Gustavus announced that it has selected The Reverend Dennis J. Johnson ’60 as the interim president.  In 1985 he accepted the position as Vice President of Church Relations of Gustavus Adolphus College and in 1996 was named Vice President of College Relations.  During his tenure in the College Relations position, he twice served as interim Vice President for Development.  Previously, he served on both the Gustavus Board of Trustees and the Alumni Board.  He retired from Gustavus in 2000.  In the last year, he has served as the Bishop’s Associate for the Minneapolis Area Synod of the ELCA.  Dennis and his wife have two children.

Hello Walk On-line Alumni Community ( has been launched and Gusties of all ages are invited to join this meeting place for anything from small talk to debate to caring conversations.  Hello Walk at Gustavus is the sidewalk running from Uhler Hall on the north side of campus past the front of Old Main to Pittman Hall on the south side, which, for decades, was the main “artery” and gathering point on campus.  Even though the campus landscape has changed, the spirit of Hello Walk continues with you joining the conversation on the virtual Hello Walk.  Associate professor of political science Chris Gilbert will guest host a discussion on politics for the months of May and June.  Check it out at

Reunion Weekend for the 50 Year Club and Class of 1952 is May 31 & June 1.  A schedule of events and registration material was sent in April.

Homecoming 2002 & All Sports Reunion Celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Intercollegiate Athletics is September 21.  Homecoming Weekend will include reunion gatherings for classes of 1957, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1977, 1982, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2002.  Class reunions will be held in Bloomington at the Radisson South Hotel Friday evening, and Homecoming events including class and all-sports reunion events will return to campus for activities Saturday.  A schedule of events and registration material will be mailed in August.  A schedule will be published in the summer and fall issues of the of the Quarterly.

It was an extremely successful winter sports season at Gustavus.  Women’s hockey won the MIAC regular season championship with an undefeated record and advanced to the Frozen Four National Tournament, finishing third in the nation. The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won MIAC titles, the first time in Gustavus history.  The women’s Nordic ski team won its first MIAC championship.  Men’s basketball placed second in the MIAC during the regular season and MIAC playoffs, and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen before losing to number one ranked Carthage College.  Men’s hockey finished second in the MIAC regular season and playoffs.  Women’s basketball finished fourth in the MIAC and advanced to the conference playoff for the first time ever. The women’s indoor track team finished second and both the men’s Nordic ski team and men’s indoor track teams placed fourth in MIAC action.  The women’s gymnastics team advanced to the NCGA National Championships.  Five Gustavus coaches were named Coach of the Year in their respective sports – Jon Carlson (women’s swimming & diving), Mike Carroll (women’s hockey), Mickey Haller (women’s basketball), Scott Jerome (women’s Nordic skiing), and Brett Petersen (men’s hockey).

Evelyn Sponberg Young’s 90th birthday celebration

The Twin Cities Chapter of the Alumni Association invites all Gusties and friends of former Gustavus food service director and 2002 Alumni Fund Chair Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 to her 90th birthday celebration on July 25, 2002 at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church, 5025 Knox Avenue South, Minneapolis, at 6:30 p.m. with a 7:30 p.m. program.

Evelyn will be serving her famous red velvet cake and all guests will receive a loaf of her famous Swedish rye bread. A book of remembrance will be compiled as a gift for Evelyn.  Please send remembrances and stories of Evelyn to Alumni Office, Gustavus Adolphus College, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082.  Reservations should be made with the Alumni Office at 800-487-8437, e-mail at or visit our web site at, alumni, events.

NOBEL CONFERENCE® XXXVIII, The Nature of Nurture – The Early Years, will be held on campus October 1 & 2.  The conference will explore the forces that are most important in shaping a child’s personality, gender identity, and language acquisition and learning ability.  History, discoveries, research, and clinical studies will all be surveyed to draw a better understanding of biological forces and environmental influences on brain development.

For more news and information about Gustavus, check out the web site at