Class of '56
January 2011

55-Year Reunion― May 27-28, 2011

Guest Writer:  Gene Flaten  (Rochester, MN)

Dear Classmates,

Thanks to Carolyn for her reflections in September.  It seems that this society needs to be reminded, often, of the obvious which has occurred in our midst.

Much of my time these days is spent in writing:  my memoirs, the story of Nira’s father homesteading in Montana nearly one hundred years ago, recounting special friendships formed over the years and a variety of pieces based on true experiences.  I have no interest in fiction.

One of my writing advisors suggested that when I hit the wall, run out of notions, I should list the 100 things I love, and do a half page or more on each.  I have done so and now have forty-four such accounts in my compendium.  The following is one of those.  I am having a lot of fun harking back to the time when Esby referred to me as “an irreverent breath of fresh air.”


I must admit I love Gustavus Adolphus College.  That is the case despite having no significant knowledge of the place prior to walking onto the campus in 1949.  My plans that summer did not include higher education.  Having a less than illustrious class rating upon graduating from High School -- tied for twenty-second in a class of fifty-two -- I was envisioning joining the military.  My mother had other plans for me.  One day late in August when I returned from my labor at the Northern States Power plant, she approached and placed a small roll of currency in my hand and said:  “You go down to Gustavus and register.”  I sat on my bed and counted out $286.00.  It must have taken her many hours of work and saving that money at the expense of other family needs was tough duty for her.  That took a while to sink in.  So, off I went, aware that other kids in town were there and at least I would know a few people.  Tuition at the time was $135.00 per semester!!  It was a fun environment and at times the frivolity exceeded the demands of the classroom.  However, I was accepted into the college choir, lettered with the track team, helped win the intramural softball title while trying with minimal success to decide on a major field of study.  I met Nira Elizabeth Larson ʼ55 and the future soon took shape.  Along came marriage, two years of military service and then back on the G.I. Bill to settle on social work and psychology.  Graduation occurred in 1956 to the relief of myself and the college.

So now I can reflect with some reasonable level of maturity on the institution which endured my five years plus a summer session on its turf.  This statement of love for GAC must include respect, admiration, fond recollections and appreciation for those educational elements which resulted in my B.A. degree.  Professors, coaches, advisors and a very wise and forgiving Dean mentored and guided my rather lengthy and sometimes exasperating trip to the cap and gown.  Patience was afforded me in degrees beyond my deserving.  In consideration of the economics of the time, Gustavus assisted me in making the wisest investment of my life.  The loans obtained and the employment provided were appreciated then, much more so today.  In consideration of what Gustavus means to me, I can only state “I love her.”


A writer’s problem does not change.  He himself changes and the

world he lives in changes but his problem remains the same.  It

is always how to write truly, and having found what is true, to

protect it in such a way that it becomes a part of the person who

reads it.                                  ……..Ernest Hemingway



This is not your Driver’s Training reminder; rather it is an appeal to you to attend our 55th Class Reunion.  Bring your memories, your gratitude and thanks to the place of your cap and gown.  Come by, recount the changes, and compare the past with the present.  Hear what future plans are in store on the Hill.  GAC invested in you!!  Show her your returns.

We remain upright, mobile and generally content, so come to our reunion in May and talk to each other.  Sooooo much has transpired, so many events caused or affected by our College and class over the years.  Come to visit, to share, to rejoice.  The Arboretum in May will be glorious.  A chapel seat will await you.  Stroll the campus and recall the graces afforded you there.  Here is a chance to reconnect.  Opportunity will not knock on your headstone.

Gene Flaten

Reunion -- May 27-28, 2011

Thanks to all of you who returned our questionnaire.  The responses were very diverse and it is difficult to please everyone!  Perhaps SIMPLE will best facilitate the renewal of friendships and offer the most opportunities for congenial camaraderie.

FRIDAY EVENING for those in town: 

            Join us for dinner at Whiskey River restaurant (make your own reservations) and then a get-together on campus (place to be announced in the April class letter).


            1) Our designated ʼ56 hospitality room will be the faculty/staff lounge in the Campus Center.  You are welcome here throughout the day and we will post any special events.

            2) There will not be a separate breakfast, brunch or lunch for our class, but, instead, we encourage you to attend the Alumni Luncheon for the 50 Year Club.  This program is always well-planned with lots of good entertainment/memories.

            3) At 3 p.m. we will have a memorial service for departed classmates in our designated hospitality room (faculty/staff lounge).


If so, let us know in advance and we’ll schedule a time just for you!

GAC’s printed schedule for the day will look similar to this (taken from the 2009 brochure) on the registration form which you will receive in the spring:

            7:30 a.m.         Registration

            9 a.m.              Seminar

            10 a.m.            Refreshments and Conversation

            10:30 a.m.       Seminar

            Noon               Alumni Luncheon for the 50 Year Club

            2 p.m.              Seminar

            3 p.m.              Campus Tour, Granlund Tour, etc.

            3:30 p.m.         Vesper Service in Christ Chapel

            4:30 p.m.         President’s Reception

            5 p.m.              Alumni Banquet

            8 p.m.              Gustavus Symphony Orchestra Concert

Complimentary housing in the college dormitories will be available or, if you prefer, the AmericInn and the Viking Jr. Motel are in St. Peter and ten or so others in Mankato.

HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE,  Carolyn and Jo

Scholarship Recipient

Thanks to Kay Rethwill Moline, we have lots more information about Deirdre “DeeDee” Arnold ʼ12, a junior from Bovey, MN, and our class scholarship recipient again this year.   DeeDee is a health fitness major preparing her for a future career choice as a physical therapist.  She is still a member of Proclaim, a Christian worship group that meets weekly to have a Bible lesson and sing hymns.  She is also a member of The Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Big Partner/Little Partners and, of course, the softball team.  It will be a big thrill for her to go to Hawaii with her softball team in late January.  Prior to this trip, however, she will be “shadowing” a physical therapist in her hometown.

DeeDee lives in Wellness House, one of the 7th Street houses the college has purchased.  Living in these houses are a privilege for students “with a theme” and a goal of service.

Kay quotes DeeDee as saying that she could not have come to Gustavus if it had not been for generous people like those in the Class of 1956 giving her a scholarship.

NOTE:  Our class scholarship distribution to Deirdre this year will be $3,429.  You can designate your gift to Gustavus for the Class of 1956 Scholarship which will enhance the principal of this endowment

Class News

Several of you were at Gustavus to attend CHRISTMAS IN CHRIST CHAPEL the first weekend in December.  Lorraine Youngquist Anderson traveled from Kansas City, MO and has a granddaughter in the chapel choir.  Mimi (Johnson) and Gerry Eisele were also there and have a grandson in the choir.

Charles “Dewey” Parrish writes from Beaver Dam, WI that he “was very upset I could not make the 50th reunion, but just had a second hip replaced at that time.”  He is doing okay now and definitely plans to be an enthusiastic part of the scene at our 55th.  He is back playing golf and even got to a Gustie football golf outing!  After graduation, Dewey taught science and physical education in Park Rapids, MN.  He started the wrestling team, which won the Regional championship four years later, and also assisted with football.  In the early ʼ60s, he changed his career -- spent a couple of years in real estate and then was with Merrill Publishing for 26 years, seven of them as vice president regional manager.  He retired in 2000 and enjoys winters in Destin, FL with his wife, Patricia, where they have Gustie get-togethers with families of Paul Brostrom ʼ57 and Cubby DeCorsey ʼ57.  They have also been on a few mission trips to rebuild houses, the latest in Oakville, IA.

Donna Lindquist Chommie is NOT retired!  She continues to work as a travel agent in Bismarck, ND, and hopes to attend our reunion.  She was fortunate to be able to spend part of last October in France visiting her son.

Kent and Carol (Lindberg) Musser took a spring tour of Spain and Portugal and then had a special nine days with one of their granddaughters in England and Scotland.  Faye Reber was on an eventful fall tour of Spain and Portugal -- again playing “Ms. Grace” while sightseeing at the Rock of Gibraltar where she tripped and fractured her shoulder.  After an ambulance ride, x-rays, sling and pain pills, she had to take a two-hour ride to catch up with the tour.

Congratulations to Kay Rethwill Moline on being selected for another three-year term on the Alumni Association Board.  Kay writes that “I really like my work.…It is interesting and fun too.  It is great to meet so many of the younger folks that don’t treat us like something that should stay home and read or knit.”

Carolyn Jens Brusseau                                   JoAnn Johnson Lundborg                         

(651)774-7381                                                                        (808) 933-2404

Campus News

Dr. Bernard LaFayette to speak in Chapel on MLK Day – January 17

Martin Luther King Jr. Day will be celebrated on Monday, Jan. 17, with a public lecture by civil rights movement activist Bernard LaFayette, Jr. and a performance of African America by Minneapolis’s Mixed Blood Theatre.  LaFayette will give the College’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture in Christ Chapel as part of the College’s daily chapel service at 10 a.m.  A question-and-answer session will follow LaFayette’s presentation at approximately 11 a.m. LaFayette co-founded the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in 1960 and played a leadership role in several key Civil Rights Movement events in the early 1960s, including the Nashville sit-ins in 1960, the Freedom Rides in 1961, and the Selma, Alabama, voting rights movement in 1965.

Call for Distinguished Alumni Citation Nominees

Each year the Gustavus Alumni Association presents Distinguished Alumni Citations.  The Distinguished Alumni Citation recognizes outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as to bring unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Criteria appropriate to selection shall include the difficulty of accomplishment; quality, creativity, and distinctiveness of performance; recognition by professional peers; and lasting contribution to the world of ideas and affairs.  While the citation is a professional award, humanitarian achievements may also be weighed.  Nominees are now being accepted by the Alumni Board of Directors; please e-mail a resume or curriculum vitae to Randall Stuckey ’83, director of alumni relations, at .

Gustavus Choir Tour

The Gustavus Choir will embark on a tour of Italy this month.  The 57 student musicians, under the direction of Greg Aune, will travel to and sing at various locations in Italy Jan. 13-28.  As is the case with each Gustavus international music tour, it includes an educational component.  The students are learning about the Italian Renaissance in the month-long Cultures of Creativity course taught by Chaplain Brian Johnson ʼ80.  Joining the Gustavus Choir will be a companion tour of 15 Gustavus alumni, parents, and friends.

Gustavus Wind Orchestra Tour

Under the direction of Douglas Nimmo, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will tour Minnesota and Wisconsin between the January Interim and Spring Semester.  All concerts are free and open to the public.

  • Saturday, Jan. 29, 7 p.m. – Tornstrom Auditorium, Brainerd
  • Sunday, Jan 30, 3 p.m. – Central High School Auditorium, Duluth
  • Monday, Jan. 31, 7 p.m. – Wausau East High School, Wausau, WI
  • Tuesday, Feb. 1, 8 p.m. – Lawrence University Memorial Chapel, Appleton, WI
  • Thursday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m. – Schauer Arts and Activities Center, Hartford, WI
  • Friday, Feb. 4, 7 p.m. – St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, Middleton, WI
  • Saturday, Feb. 5, 7 p.m. – St. John Lutheran Church, Owatonna

The tour will wrap up with a home concert on Saturday, Feb. 12. at 2 p.m. in Christ Chapel.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts. New this month: breakfasts in both Minneapolis and St. Peter!  Minneapolis breakfasts are the 3rd Wednesday of the month, St. Peter breakfasts are the 2nd Wednesday of the month.

Speakers at the Minneapolis venue are Brett Petersen, men’s hockey coach, and Mike Carroll, women’s hockey coach.  The event is Wednesday Jan. 19, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd. Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter speaker for January is Tom Young ’88, vice president for institutional advancement.  The breakfast is Wednesday, Jan. 12, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Upcoming breakfasts include Thomas Crady, vice president for enrollment management, in February; Kate Knutson, political science professor, in March; and Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant, in April.

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have many travel dates planned in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  Please mark your calendar if you live in or near one of these locations:

  • Seattle – January 27
  • Tucson – February 8
  • Phoenix – February 10
  • Denver – February 11
  • Boston – March 2
  • New York – March 4
  • Washington, DC – March 5
  • Jacksonville, FL – March 26
  • Orlando – March 28
  • Tampa – March 29
  • Naples – March 30
  • Chicago – April 2