Class of '56
January 2006


Reunion dates ― May 26 & 27, 2006

Greetings to all retired, restless, and rambling ’56 Gusties –

Someone mentioned to me that if you are retired, you are then either restless or rambling.  And if you are restless, you should retire and do some rambling.  Or if you are now rambling, then you’re probably tired and not resting.  So be it.

50 YEARS:  When one passes the watershed mark of celebrating or surviving one’s 50th high school reunion, complete with fuzzy memories and blank recollections, one has entered the sloping plateau filled with “those were the good old days” adages.  And so we now mark another “50 years ago” milestone.

50 YEARS:  As this is being written in December 2005 in Florida, yours truly remembers 50 years ago this week when I was in Ft. Lauderdale with Vic Gustafson ’42 and the Gustavus swim team.  Now those were “good old days.”

50 YEARS:  You have noticed another aspect of this 50th reunion in these monthly ramblings from restless class agents.  Some of my cohorts are enlisting part-time scribes to help them, which seemed like a good idea.  As I always was contributing favors to my Johnson Hall roommate, Lee Carlson, I thought it appropriate to ask him to return a favor by sharing thoughts in this newsletter.  When I called him for this, he conveniently suggested lunch and discussion.  We did have the lunch; he avoided the discussion.

50 YEARS:  As each of us recalls “the good old days” at Gustavus, there are a ton of memories to whet the appetite for recall and reminiscence.  Some of you have since returned to the fond old campus on the hill, and others might not have been back since May 1956.  Regardless of whether you have sojourned to the old stomping grounds or not, there are still vivid memories of when we strolled the campus – back then.  And if and when you return to the campus in 2006, you will continue to remember what it looked like, with comments like – “remember when we had class there” and “didn’t there used to be a building here” and “that sure doesn’t look like it used to.”

So go ahead.  Come stroll the campus with me.  See what you remember from 50 years past, and how it looked to you back then in the “good old days.”

50 YEARS:  Whether we enter St. Peter from the Mankato side on Highway 22, the New Ulm roadway on #99, through Gaylord on #22, or down from the cities on 169, we turn west on College Avenue and head up the hill past the President’s House.  Upon entering the campus we recognize Rundstrom Hall on our immediate left.  Let’s go in there and park so we can get out and stroll some of the familiar walks.  Just over the hill on the south end of the campus is Wahlstorm Hall, with more memories rolling in – some fondly; others of a different sort.

Now turn back to the long walk up the hill to the Bernadotte Library, where the wind always whistled and the snow always blew.  We won’t go in to see if the stacks are still rendezvous points, but continue on past the Book Store on our left with the often visited Post Office behind it.  Johnson Hall is across the way on our right with Eppies hanging out the windows, and the Health Service is in the basement.  Then we smile as we pass South Hall, the Nurses’ residence, and Commerce Hall next to it.  Or was it called Business Administration?  We move on to Old Main – recently remodeled and still sitting atop College Avenue and overlooking the Minnesota River.  The sidewalk here was called Hello Walk, and we wonder if today’s Frosh have to wear green beanies when they walk here.

Next comes the Administration Building which was more noted for the Chapel upstairs, where assigned seating was just another requirement those days along with curfew hours and no dancing on campus.  We then pass North Hall and more classrooms together with offices for some of the Profs.  As we near the navigable-challenging Uhler Hall we can either drop down to the Canteen for a quick snack or continue to the other side of Uhler for the Cafeteria, and Ma Young’s culinary offerings for the day. 

If we really have to go to class, it means disappear behind North Hall and head to the Classroom Annex and Little Theater, which was built for the V-12 in the days before we entered.  And if we have to get in one of our required phy-ed classes, we tromp alongside the CA over to the Gym and Pool, where we all had to learn to bathe in chlorine.

50 YEARS:  Does any of this look or sound familiar?  Try taking the same walk these days, and if you do get back for the May 26-27 reunions, take the same stroll and see what was missed.  Oh – and by the way – we just reminisced about some 20 locations that impacted and/or involved us back in ’56.  And of those 20 structures, only THREE remain for us to revisit today.  Rundstrom Hall is there to signal our entry to campus, revamped Old Main still sits atop College Avenue, and Uhler Hall continues to anchor the north end of the entry hill.  The Library is now the Anderson Social Science Center and the Gym/pool is the Johnson Student Union.  All the rest of the aforementioned buildings are gone or used for different purposes.  Take the stroll.  See what memories―and 50 years―does for you.

Bob Erickson

1956 Guest Letter Writer

(, rambling (international travel), restless (volunteer work) and semi-retired (adjunct professor at St. Thomas and Boise State University) class agent from the 1980’s. Shalom  .  .  .

WEEKEND 2006:  Plans are still formulating for the 1956 Reunion the weekend of May 26-27, but past celebrations indicate the schedule might again feature:

Friday, May 26 – registration all afternoon at Jackson Campus Center

6:30 p.m.  Dinner in the Alumni Hall

8:30 p.m.  Post-Dinner Social

Saturday, May 27 – Reunion Seminar and walking tours in the morning

12 p.m.    Luncheon in the Campus Center Banquet Room

Campus News:

Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus continues to be a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Consistent with its mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus was ranked seventh in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of the institute’s "Open Doors 2005" report.  Gustavus was one of four Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20.  The report was based on study abroad statistics from the 2003-04 academic year.  Gustavus students engage in international learning through various programs in more that 100 locations throughout the world, ranging from Australia to India and Ecuador to Sweden.  In recent years, 50 percent of Gustavus graduates have participated in at least one study-abroad experience.

New Carnegie Classification for Colleges and Universities

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education.  Gustavus’ classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete a traditional liberal arts major, such as political science, classics, or biology.  The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting.  Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus. 

Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association, in partnership with Meyer and Associates and Liberty Mutual, offers an insurance program to alumni and their families.  Products include insurance policies for life, short-term medical, auto, home, and renters.  For life and short-term medical insurance call Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801 or visit  For auto, home, and renters insurance call Liberty Mutual at 800-524-9400 or visit

Gustavus to Perform at Orchestra Hall

The Gustavus Music Showcase will be Sunday, March 12, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  The Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform.  This is a unique opportunity to hear three premier ensembles from Gustavus in one concert.  This showcase also allows prospective students, parents, and alumni from the area to meet and connect.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall box office at 800/292-4141.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.


Two big stories from the fall sports are that Hailey Harren won the national NCAA Division III cross country title and the men’s soccer team became the first MIAC school to play in the national championship game and finished second, losing 1-0 to defending national champion Messiah.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and the Choir of Christ Chapel.  The schedule is:  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will tour Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances are scheduled for Nurnberg and Heidelberg, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Krakow and Bielsko Biala, Poland; Bratislava and Stara Tura, Slovakia; and Salzburg, Austria.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Minnesota Jan. 27-Feb. 11, with performances in West St. Paul, Grand Rapids, Duluth, Bemidji, Morris, Marshfield (Wis.), Red Wing, and Winona.

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.