Class of 1956
55- Year Reunion

April 2011

Reunion Dates- May 26-27, 2011

Dear Classmates,

Ten years and 35 class letters (thanks to many inspirational guest writers) later, Carolyn and I are ready to step down as class agents and provide others the opportunity of class leadership.

This has been a wonderful experience for both of us.  It has rekindled our relationship with not only each other, but also with our alma mater.  We followed in the succession of great class agents − Cec Eckhoff, Faye Reber, Don Dennison, Nancy Lea Roberts, Dallas Blenkush, Vonnie Anderson Casserly, Robert Erickson, Charles and Kay (Rethwill) Wold, and Bob Erdman.  Now it is time to pass the torch to someone else.

At our 45th reunion, Bob Erdman made the request for someone to take over his role as class agent and Jo thought it was a good idea if Carolyn (who was sitting next to her) would share the responsibility.  Carolyn said “not on your life,” but two glasses of wine later and numerous plaintive pleas, Jo felt that the resistance might be softening and emphasized how much fun this could be.  The final hook was Jo’s statement noting that the first class letter would be due in January and it would be a terrific time for Carolyn to come to the Big Island in Hawaii!!!  That was the charmed comment and since that time, Carolyn has traveled to Hilo/Kona every winter for the last ten years to further enhance our correspondence with each of you.  And we’ve enjoyed every moment!

This is our last class letter and we are going out with the force of a tsunami dramatizing our grand finale.  The Big Island is now in the process of recovering from the destructive waves that were generated by the gigantic earthquake in Japan.  The day after the tsunami, we surveyed the substantial damage on the Kona coast especially at the adjacent Four Seasons Resort which had to be evacuated and then temporarily closed.  We saw that the beach front restaurant, where we had had lunch the previous day, was almost totally destroyed with tables and chairs thrown helter and skelter inland.  Pools and ponds were filled with sand and debris.  Lava boulders blocked the walking path along the coastline where we previously had watched the green sea turtles basking in the sun.

Carolyn is beginning to feel like she is a moving target for disaster, as her tour group departed Egypt two days prior to the revolutionary protest demonstrations!  Then she arrived on the Big Island as the volcano was erupting− and in the course of events, there was a tsunami!

Of course, our futures will include the usual winter sojourns in Hawaii.  Carolyn will still be very involved in community activities and Jo will continue to be involved in leisure activities and welcoming guests!

Class Scholarship

Thanks to Clyde Allen, our ʼ56 class scholarship was presented to Gustavus in 2006 with the value of $72,833.  Total gifts and income to the fund, as of 11/30/2010:  $86,320   Market value as of 11/30/2010: $74,207

Approximately $13,000 has been distributed to our scholarship recipients to date and another $3,270 will be given for 2011-12 school year.  We hope this will encourage you to designate part or all of your alumni gift to our ʼ56 scholarship fund.  This year’s Annual Fund closes May 31st, so it is not too late to send your $$$ to Gustavus.

Our current scholarship recipient, Deidre “DeeDee” Arnold ʼ12 wrote in early March that “ This semester is going great for me.  Softball started in February and we went to Hawaii over touring break which was amazing!  We have played at the Rochester and St. Cloud domes the past two weekends and the team did pretty good overall.  I have been playing right field.  We have practice almost every day during the week so I have been busy.  My major, athletic training, is going good.  I am working with the gymnastics team right now and will soon move on to tennis.  Other than that, with work and softball, I am pretty busy each night.  I am still involved with FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) and Big Partner Little Partner Program.  I hope we don’t get any more snow or else we may not be playing softball games any time soon.”

New Alumni Class Leadership Model

Gustavus has announced a new class leadership model “designed to substantially increase and sustain Gustavus alumni relations to historic new levels of participation and support.”  The older classes may continue to function in the way that is familiar to us, but the younger and larger classes will have a President who will serve as the lead officer of the class for a term of five years. Additional class officers will include an Annual Fund Chair, Communications Chair, Reunion Chair/Vice President and Student Recruitment Chair.  We should have more info at reunion time.

Reunion -- May 27-28, 2011

You have already received the registration brochure.  Be sure to promptly let Gustavus know that you will be attending.

FRIDAY EVENING for those in St. Peter:

The results of our questionnaire showed insufficient interest in having a formal Friday night get-together on campus, BUT several of us have made reservations at 6:00 p.m. for dinner at the Whiskey River restaurant.  Please join us and when you call in your reservation (507-934-5600), let them know you are from the class of ʼ56 so, perhaps, we can all be seated in close proximity.  No program is planned.

After dinner or if you arrive in St. Peter at a later hour, we will have a casual get-together in the Community Room of the Carlson International Center (see enclosed map).  Coffee and light dessert will be provided.  Bring your own wine/beer!  If you opt to stay in a campus dormitory, be sure to include that request when you return your registration form which is a part of the Reunion Weekend brochure.  You may be housed in the International Center if space is available.


Our hospitality room will be the Faculty/Staff Lounge in the Campus Center.  You are welcome here throughout the day.  Kent and Carol Lindberg Musser will be our official host and hostess.

You can have breakfast a la carte in the campus dining room OR you can get your breakfast from the dining room and carry it into the faculty/staff lounge.

We encourage you to attend the Alumni Luncheon for the 50 Year Club.  This program is always full of good entertainment and memories.  Also, of course, we hope to see you at the Alumni Banquet.

At 1:30 p.m., a class photo will be taken on the Campus Center stairs.

At 3:00 p.m., an “in memoriam” a service of remembrance for our departed classmates will take place in our hospitality room.  Mimi Johnson Eisele will be in charge of arrangements.

The schedule of seminars, tours, etc. are listed in the registration brochure.  This brochure offers you the opportunity to stay in a college dormitory or, as you know, there are several motels/hotels in St. Peter and Mankato.

Class News

We are saddened by the death of Paul Piche last December in Virginia Beach, Virginia.  Paul told us about his outstanding Naval career, his dedicated work with Special Olympics and his recent medical challenges in our September 2009 class letter.

In January, Dick and Lucy Fogelstrom DeRemee went to Italy with the Gustavus choir for a two week tour and study of the Renaissance.  Lucy writes that “Reasons to love travel in Italy are obvious, but add to that the chance to see and hear the Gustavus choir sing in concert and at mass surrounded by the beauty and acoustics of great cathedrals, including St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City and St. Mark’s in Venice, and the experience was indescribable.  We were part of the Companion Tour Group of alums and choir parents.  Camaraderie with the students was wonderful.  They are a great group of Gusties.  We had such a good time that two weeks after our return we went to Gustavus for the homecoming concert and a reunion of our tour group.  We were cheerleaders for the choir and we all sat in the front rows for the concert as we did in Italy.”

We were in error when we reported that Donna Lindquist Chommie continues to work as a travel agent.  She is a realtor with Bianco Realty, Inc. in Bismarck.

Carl and Faith (Walfrid) Lindell enjoyed a New Zealand cruise in February and then stopped in Hawaii to visit Carl’s brother in Hilo.  Taking a break from sightseeing and snorkeling, they met with Dick and Jo Johnson Lundborg for a “talk-story” breakfast.

Much aloha!  Thank you for letting us have this great experience and hope to see you at our reunion.

Carolyn and Jo

1956 (Retiring) Class Agents

Campus News

Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

Sesquicentennial Award

In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year.  The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College.  The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” will acknowledge and pay tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

  • Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college;
  • Have set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the College as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”; and/or
  • Have brought particular dignity or honor to the College.

Please submit nominations online at  For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  The speaker at both the St. Peter and Minneapolis breakfasts for April will be Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, April 20, 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 breakfast will be Wednesday, April 13, 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.

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have traveled to many parts of the country and made 15 stops in various cities, in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  There is still one more on the calendar, so if you live in the Chicago area, please mark your calendar for – Friday, April 29.

Summer will bring another round of picnic gatherings – so please mark your calendar if you live near one of these locations

Mankato, MN – May 31

Rochester, MN – June 1

Sioux Falls, SD – June 6

Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN – June 7

St. Cloud, MN – June 8

Apple Valley, MN – July 12

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – July 13

Long Lake, MN – July 14

Duluth, MN – July 26

Grand Rapids, MN – July 27

Brainerd, MN -  July 28