Class of '57
October 2004

Dear Classmates—

I attended my first Class Agents’ meeting in September and found it very informative.  (I didn't make last year’s because I had a case of benign positional vertigo and could barely stand up; I almost missed this years because I overslept and never heard Marlys pounding on the door).

President Peterson gave a very informative overview of a recent alumni survey.  He said that on that survey diversity was one of the primary concerns of parents, students and alumni.  He said that the “traditional” student base is shrinking and that this is particularly true in the Metro area churches.  He stated that Gustavus was now less diverse than any suburban high school.  This demographic change will eventually influence the demographics at Gustavus.  The Office of Admission has also made diversity a priority.  They have more money designated for scholarships; have hired a male African-American staff person to recruit in the Twin Cities; and have hired a Hispanic woman to recruit in southern Minnesota.  When students come to campus, they also meet with faculty and staff of color.

A 2004 graduate spoke about a program that she had been involved in this past summer.  It is a federally funded program that is designed to give young people who are eligible for free and/or reduced lunches the opportunity to see what college can be like and to raise their expectations for themselves.  It was targeted at rural poverty in the Mankato, St. Peter, and surrounding area.  The targeted audience was Somali, Sudanese, and Latinos.  It was a five-week day camp.  There were 3,000 that qualified and from the applicants, 250 were selected.  The students ranged in age from 10 to 16.  The average daily attendance was 165.  The young woman who spoke about the program thought that it had been very successful and gave several anecdotal comments.

President Peterson also spoke to the need of creating new revenue streams and that often means a new way of thinking.  He said this was particularly important as the Church lessens its monetary support.  He spoke of the success of the summer athletic camps and their generation of revenue.  He indicated that an idea that was being explored that would build housing for seniors on campus.  (He was speaking about us old folks not the fourth year class!)  This might be attractive to persons who wanted to return to St. Peter or those that were interested in living in a campus environment.

I found the questions from the class agents to be particularly interesting.  One class agent asked about the diversity of political opinion on campus.  He asked if there was a range of political opinion and if students felt free to express their opinions.  This issue was raised in response to a recent newspaper article about St. Olaf.  The response was that students on the “right” had been talked with, and they responded that even though they new the inclinations of many professors, they felt that their opinions were not being pushed.  Gustavus has a broad perspective of political opinion.  There are very conservative professors and students on campus in addition to liberal thinkers.

There was also a question about students voting.  The response was that Gustavus has a very high percentage of students voting.  The political clubs are very active on campus and are registering voters.  They also provide shuttle service to the polls on Election Day.  Most students vote in St. Peter.  Periodically there is concern expressed from the local people that students may elect a mayor or a school board member, but that has not happened.  It is necessary for the college sometimes to remind that it is entirely legal for students to vote in St. Peter when they are residents at Gustavus.

Other questions dealt with technology, the international house, and a focus on the museum and arboretum.  It was a very interesting meeting and I look forward to next year’s.  Marlys has handled all of the class news and the information on giving to the annual fund.  We do look pretty “puny” compared to the other classes in our decade!  When you read this, Vada Peterson Carlson and I will have just returned from a three-week adventure tour in Vietnam.  We're hoping the “old legs” hold up.

Hoping to see your name on the donation list,

Nancy Reiter Grimes

1957 Co-class Agent

Dear Classmates,

I have just gotten the forward of Nancy's letter so I had better get on the stick and do my part!  With the weather so nice, it is hard to settle down.

Before I forget, for those of you who get The Lutheran magazine, the September issue had a wonderful article about a Renaissance Festival at Arnie Walker's church in Gatlinburg, TN.  Arnie, you just don't let any grass grow under your feet.  You will never get old! 

I have been down to Gustavus a couple of times since I last wrote.  The first time was the end of July when I went down to work on letters for membership in Gustavus Library Associates.  The other was for the Class Agents' meeting.  Bernard LeVander, class agent for the class of 1937, rode home with us.  What fun!  Would that I would have a mind as good as his when I get there.  He asked about Clem's brothers, he asked if I had any relatives in Thief River Falls and remembered my cousin, Imogene Mattson Nuoci '37, who had been at Gustavus with him.  Wow!  (I will get back to that meeting later.)

I made my usual trek to the State Fair this year.  Of course I stopped at the Gustavus booth in the Education Building.  I started singing the "Rouser."  The young man at the booth said that I must have been an alumna.  Then he asked when was the last time I had been down at Gustavus.  I said I thought it was about July 28.  1 think I surprised him!  Ha!

We got the Augustana Heritage newsletter last week.  I read the whole thing from cover to cover.  Me and my nostalgia!  I so wanted to be at Gustavus last June when there was a big gathering of "old Swedes."  Alas, I was not able to be there.  I read that Charlie Hendrickson wrote and narrated a drama on "The Music of the Augustana Synod."  Oh, but that would have been fun to have taken part.

I was also given a copy of a wonderful story from 1941 and the Gustavus Symphonic Band.  Percy Grainger was on campus as visiting artist and went on tour with the band.  Charlie Hendrickson put this all together with wonderful pictures and program.  I will try to remember to bring it to our next reunion (number 50 on the campus―graduation weekend―2007).

As I think about that weekend, it isn't all that far away.  What can we do as a special gift to Gustavus as a class?  If you have an idea, I would love to hear it.  I will talk to Alumni Director, Randall Stuckey ’83 and ask him for suggestions too.  My mind goes blank when I try to come up with something.

Did you know―

  • That the renovation of Old Main will begin in February of next year.  It is old and tired and needs to be helped!
  • That a new dorm is being built on the southwest comer of the campus.  It will replace Wahlstrom Hall.  (I spent two wonderful years in that dorm as did many of you.  I guess it is in need of too much help to repair it!)  Anyhow, the new dorm will be air-conditioned (as will the chapel at the same time).
  • That the athletic field AND the stadium will be moved.  If I hear Clem right, the rooms under that stadium were not too great back in our day!  The reason for the move is that a new Social Science Building is to be built on that space.  All this should be completed in five years!

At the end of month, I go to a "kick-off meeting" for the next "Royal Affair."  It will be held at the Sheraton Bloomington (formerly the Radisson South, same place as before) on October 29, 2005.  Write it down, plan to attend, plan to contribute something for the silent auction.  I hate to sound like an old saw, but it really is such a great party.  We do SO much for the library of our Alma Mater.  Please give it some thought.

Now, I guess I should get to the class news that I received at the Class Agents' meeting:

Lou Schroedel writes that he has lived in Iowa since 1966.  He has been retired from the insurance industry for nearly 11 years and he and his wife, Hazel, have been married for 51 years.  Hazel was secretary to Dean Melva Lind and Don Slarks from 1955-57.  They have filled their retirement years with world travel, family and volunteer projects.  A highlight being a two-month long volunteer project in Russia and Kazakhstan as an insurance consultant for two newly organized companies.

Ramona Lovold Hawkinson lives in Wyoming, MN.  She is active in the Lions Club.  J. Roger Anderson and wife, Bev (Duncan '58) Anderson, were at that Augustana Heritage thing that I was going on about!  I saw your picture in the newsletter, Roger.  Anyhow, they saw Vahan Assadourian '58, and Chuck '56 and Myrtice (Jostad '58) Haney on a recent trip to Portland, Oregon where they exchanged houses with friends for two weeks.  Wow, they are names out of our past!

Don Reedstrom lives in Middlebury, Vermont.  He is active in BSA, Rotary, church treasurer, town committees, and local museum committee.  They travel around to see their four sons and nine grandkids too.  Fun!  Lois Knapp is a physician at George Washington Medical School.  She ushers at local theaters in Virginia.  One day in November 2002 the theater called her to usher on a Wednesday instead of Saturday.  They had a special guest, so they were to seat people early.  The guest was Barbara Bush.

Alice Tuomi Taylor has retired from classroom teaching after 41 years.  She is busy volunteering at the local hospital and is moving to Minnesota.  Don Eckberg is living in Silver Spring, MD.  He retired from the IRS in 1995 and has been keeping busy working as a part-time consultant, being a granddad to four and maintaining a rental condo, and holding various leadership positions in his church.

Marilyn Rhyne Herr retired in April after being a judge in New Jersey for 15 years.  I'm sure you all saw the picture of her and all the Gusties in attendance in the Quarterly.  I have to tell you this―Marcy, Bev Bloomquist Todaro, Vada Peterson Carlson, Nancy Reiter Grimes, and I spent a week together in the Napa Valley of California in September.

David Pearson and his wife, Judy, are avid hikers.  They live in Tower, MN.  Their daughter, Jennie ’88, is a physician in Duluth, son Scott, 90, as started working with a new business, and daughter, Stephanie '92, is an editor of the Outside magazine.

Jerry Knight retired in 1999 after 43 years with Inland Container Company.  He says that his granddaughter is a junior in high school and is thinking about college.  Do some selling of Gustavus!  Ha!  Marilyn Hanson Gilbert retired from teaching high school business classes in 1990.  1 hope I am reading Nancy's writing correctly, but I think it says that you traveled to White Shrine conventions in Jerusalem, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New York, and this year in Hershey, PA.  I am so glad she got a hold of you cause I thought you had fallen off the face of the earth.  Please plan on coming to our 50th.  It would be so great to see you!

Whitey Hixon and wife, Wanda (Ahl '56) have moved back to Minnesota from North Carolina.  They now live on Green Lake in Spicer and live closer to family and that is always nice.  Robert "Bob" Wahman has retired from being a physician, but still resides in Duluth.  All three of his daughters followed his footsteps into medicine.  Karin is a psychiatrist at the VA Hospital in Minneapolis; Andrea, '85, is an Ob/Gyn; and Sally ’89, is in health care as an administrator.

John Livingston and his wife took a trip to Germany with a group from Central Lutheran in Minneapolis; to follow Martin Luther's trail.  Jon Berglund says that retirement is not hard― and four winter months in Tucson is not tough to take either.  He still resides in Owatonna the rest of the year.  Ron Berg and his wife went to the Kentucky Derby for the first time this year― and he picked a winner!  Good for you!

One of our class members died since I last wrote.  Wayne Hagerman, who lived in Belle Plaine, died on February 20, 2004.  He had worked in the family TV business as well as many other things.

Well, that is the end of the news.  I know that Nancy wrote about the financial stuff, and all I can add to that is―PLEASE SEND SOMETHING to the annual fund.  It all counts!  There were way too many 00000 after our classmates' names this year.  Thanks, in advance.

Your begging classmate,

Marlys Mattson Nelson

1957 Co-class Agent

Campus News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 633 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President's Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

Nobel Conference, The Science of Aging

The 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Conference focused on the Science of Aging.  The campus hosted over 6,000 guests October 5-6 to learn about the research molecular biologist are conducting on longevity, Alzheimer's, and delaying debilitating disease and how this impacts life expectancy, the economy, and the health-care system.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen '88 (golf), Jim Chalin '76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards '77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger '88 (soccer), Dean Kraus '89 (football), Pachi Lopez '71 (soccer), Greg Peterson '88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John's).  The ranking, groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional masters degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine's, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” - December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival - December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50-Year Club Reunion - May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 - October 7-9, 2005.