Class of '57
February 2006

Greetings my friends,

I woke up this morning to a beautiful world all covered with white.  The trees looked all fluffy with new snow on them.  Most of January, we had grass showing all over and dry roads—which makes driving very nice, but we expect snow in Minnesota in the winter!!

I think the snow energized me.  This letter is long overdue, and I have so much to tell you, but I just couldn’t get started.

The last time I wrote, Clem and I were going to Russia with the University of Minnesota Alumni.  You would have been proud of this Gustie.  I lead the Minnesota Rouser!  Ha! 

We came home and hit the ground running.  The Royal Affair was a couple of weeks later.  What a fun time.  John Najarian and Gretchen Carlson (former Miss Minnesota and daughter of Lee Carlson’56) were our MCs and auctioneers for the live auction.  All in all, we made close to $200,000 for the endowment fund for the Library at Gustavus.  There were two lab puppies that went for $4,000 a piece.  Last time I checked, the English Toffee that I donated was up to $35 a batch!  Gustavus is very lucky to have such good friends, and we are very lucky to have Gustavus.  The class of ’57 was pretty well represented, but those of you that missed it should really think about coming the next time it’s held, two years from now.  It is such a fun party! 

Two weeks later we had a wedding.  Our daughter, Carol ’90 was married.  That was an exciting day for us. 

Next came Christmas in Christ Chapel.  I don’t think I have ever been to a better one.  The Swedish one came very close, but this one was just so full of Christmas and beautiful music.  Even Clem would agree.  He liked it too.  We got to sit in the balcony, my favorite place.  The only time it is tough is during the last hymn—O Come All Ye Faithful.  The lights are on, and the whole place is singing.  The orchestra is playing, the trumpets and brass are playing, and the sopranos are soaring above the whole thing, and the tears are streaming down my face.  It happens every time!  I can sing that Christmas carol any other time, but it just isn’t the same.

I went down to Gustavus again the following Thursday to celebrate St. Lucia Day.  We were there in plenty of time for chapel.  Last year’s Lucia gave the homily.  Lucia and her court processed down the isle.  The Lucia Singers sang the Lucia song and another anthem too.  It was beautiful.  And the little “Star Boys” were so cute!    After Chapel we went up to Alumni Hall for the luncheon and program.  Jearlyn Battle Steele gave a delightful program.  She had her son with her.  He is a magician.  He charmed all of us.  But the day was not over.  Back in Christ Chapel, there was a wonderful “memorial service” for Evelyn Young ’33.  Ren Anderson’s ’34 son, Rev. Jim Anderson’60, was the preacher.  Bob Erdman’56, Kelvin Miller’73, both spoke about their memories, the choir sang—Evelyn would have loved it.  There was a reception afterward in the Evelyn Young Dining Room, but before going there, we each took a carnation and laid them at the foot of the big oak tree which has been dedicated to Evelyn.  It is the pin oak tree just beyond the flagpoles and it welcomes folks to Gustavus just as she did for so many years.  Evelyn had written a letter shortly before she died, and it was to all of us to say “Happy Birthday” and “I Love You.”  She was Gustavus personified.  She spent most of her life there.  She loved that place, and she loved each and every one of us.  She was a great lady.

Since then, I have gone to the Swedish Institute for a Gustavus Library Associates board meeting.  It was the first week in January so we got to shop and get all the Christmas bargains before they put it all away for another year.

Last week, Nancy Reiter Grimes, Judy Lund Erdman, John “Buddy” Peterson, and I had lunch with Randall Stuckey ’83 of the Alumni Office.  He helped us immensely in our planning for the “big one” in May of 2007.  We are dividing up the jobs so it is not such a big mountain to climb to get organized.  We have some ideas, which you will hear about in months to come.  Our reunion will be held entirely on campus during graduation weekend.  We can stay in dorms (but that involves having to go to a different floor to the bathroom) or we could get a block of rooms at a motel in Mankato.  All of this is still in the planning stages so we welcome any and all input from any and all of you!

Our class dinner will be on Friday night, and we will be with the 50-year Club on campus for the luncheon on Saturday.  That is when we will present the college with our class gift.  (Be thinking about that because we want to make a good showing to all who have given before us.)  I believe it is also on Saturday when the class pictures will be taken.  You will hear lots more about this in upcoming letters.  I am making this plea—when someone calls to ask you to do something, please say “yes.”  And please start planning now a trip to St. Peter, MN in May of 2007!  I love reunions, but the only thing that makes them work is YOU!

I told Nancy that I would do this letter because she is busy updating history of Apple Valley High School.  She did a 20-year history several years ago, and now she is doing a 30-history.  So here goes on the news that you have sent in to Gustavus.

Dick Gastler was recently elected to the board of the St. Louis County Historical Society.  His son, Daniel, is 22 and in his second year of graduate school at Boston University in physics!  Wow!  John Singh has resigned from psychotherapy.  He worked for a time at the Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport and is now writing a book entitled “Airport Happenings-Human Perspective” to be published in 2006.

Jinny Field Cable spent four days with Gayla Manuel Clemons and her family in July.  They also took a motorhome tour of the Midwest and spent time in New York visiting friends and relatives.  Bernie Anderson Galvin says she continues to love living in Red Wing after nearly 40 years in Arizona.  They do go back there in January though.  She still sings with the City of Lakes Sweet Adelines chorus, which was directed by Mary Lois Kendall Dick for many years.  She sees her regularly.

Gary Gabel was in the hospital the end of October.  Hope you are feeling well now.  John Livingston lives in Minneapolis.  His oldest daughter is a teacher and is one of three teachers in her school to have her children test 100% in math and reading.

I was at the Ordway a couple of weeks ago for an SPCO Coffee Concert.  I ran into my old Gustavus bandstand mate Tom Engquist’56.  He has retired from teaching, but is now the interim director of the Swedish Male Chorus.  He says it’s fun—even though he doesn’t speak Swedish!

I ring in the Adult Handbell Choir at our church.  One of the girls I stand by is Mary (Schoper ’80) Nelson, (no relation), also a Gustie, (and a lot younger!).  She and I are planning to go down to Gustavus for the Association of Congregations meeting in April.  Maybe I will see some of you there.

By the way, I need to explain to you that any money you have given in the past year to Gustavus whether it be memorial, scholarship, alumni fund, etc. anything—will be counted in our class gift.  If you plan to bequeath something to Gustavus in your will, that will count in our class gift.  In that way, our gifts can count up fast.  But please give something.  We are very lucky to have had the privilege of attending that great school.  Just think of all the friends you made—as the song says “Remember the friends you made there, and don’t forget to come back some day”.  I keep making more Gustie friends.  They are everywhere I go.

I have a new email address.  Some of you may have it, but maybe not all of you.  My old one will work for about six months, but the new one is pretty easy:

So send me an email.  I love to keep in touch.  I will reply.  If for some reason it doesn’t go through send it “snail mail.”

I love to hear from you—Gustavus loves to hear from you.

Till next time,

Marlys Mattson Nelson (Clem too)

1957 Co-class Agents

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 than 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.  For the second consecutive year, men's soccer coach Larry Zelenz has been named Coach of the Year in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America/Adidas NCAA Division III West Region.  The men's hockey team is unbeaten in conference play, outscoring their opponents 28-5 in four games.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours as members of the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel.  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra toured Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances were scheduled for Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, and Austria.  The Gustavus Choir is touring Jan. 27-Feb. 11 (see schedule below), with performances in Minnesota and Wisconsin.  The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.

Gustavus Choir Tour Schedule

  • February 2 at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church, Marshfield, WI, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 3 at St. Francis Catholic Church, Brainerd, 7:30 p.m.
  • February 4 at Central Lutheran Church, Winona, 7 p.m.
  • February 5 at Faith Lutheran Church, Winona, 8 a.m. morning service
  • February 5 at First Lutheran Church, Red Wing, 2 p.m.
  • February 11 at Christ Chapel, Saint Peter, 7:30 p.m.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Tucson, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 10
  • Phoenix, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 11
  • Sun City, AZ Gustie Gathering - February 12
  • Gustavus Music Showcase at Orchestra Hall - March 12
  • Atlanta, GA Gustie Gathering - March 26