Class of '57
April 2007

50-Year Reunion

May 25 & 26, 2007

Dear Classmates,

The time before our 50th class reunion is growing shorter.  I sure hope you are planning to attend.  I said that to one of our classmates not too long ago.  I also asked her if she realized that this will be the last reunion that our class will be having.  Oh yes, we will become members of the 50-Year Club and as such will be invited to attend a reunion every year on graduation weekend, but it will not be the same.  Please, do try to come for one of the days anyway.

Another reason would be this—recently we have lost another classmate that I know of—Bob Sotebeer.  Bob is survived by his wife, Mardelle (Dahlquist ’58) and their three children.  Also, the spouse of another classmate—Beth Carlson Helgoe’s husband, Burnett, died.  We extend our sympathies to their families.  That is happening all too often.  On the Friday of our reunion, we will be having a memorial service and the names of all the classmates that have died will be read.  It will be a very meaningful service.

I am still getting “memories” from classmates.  If you hurry, you may still get in on the fun.  I may be able to get one more letter in before our reunion.  Remember—you can email me at: or send it to me snail mail at:  5644 Heather Ridge Court, Shoreview, MN  55126.  I have heard from several of you and you seem to be enjoying this as much as I am.  This time I have letters from Dick Gastler, Ellen Anderson Jacobson, and Ruth Swanberg Sanders.  Time is running out—get your memories in now!

Dick Gastler Memories

Remember Thy Task

I was probably the last student of the class of ’57 to enroll.  A week before school, my family took me down old #169 to St. Peter.  My lateness was of some advantage since I was given the last room in Johnson Hall.  My roommate, Loren Rumpza came from Watertown, MN with two other Carver County friends, Roger Anderson and John Danielson.  John had been affected by the polio epidemic of the 1940’s and ’50s and was confined to a wheelchair.  Gustavus with its hills and stairways was one of the worst campuses he could attend, BUT the Gustavus family was probably the best.

He was pushed or carried to wherever he needed to go.  Probably my worst memory of G.A. was Monday mornings when two of us had to carry John up the stairs to Old Main third floor.  So many Gusties helped John that it didn’t seem as if there was any problem until our junior year.

Our first two years were spent in Johnson Hall which was not the most convenient, but was bearable.  Our junior year we hit the big time, the New Dorm (now Sorenson Hall).  No more down a hill and up two flights of stairs.  Now, only one low curb from the street and the first floor was John’s home.  EXCEPT, John couldn’t make the turn to get into the toilet stalls.  For a few days we took him on his sanitary journey to Myrum field house.  When we approached the campus engineer with a request to take off one of the doors, we got the reply “You want to take a door off OUR NEW DORM?”  I took that to mean no.

I finally got up the nerve to write a note to President Carlson ’30.  I was called to his office to verify the facts.  Dr. Carlson thanked me very sincerely for making this situation known to him.  Within a day, the offending door was removed.

John went on to graduate in business, and immediately became the head of the business office in Watertown’s new hospital.  The hospital closed several years later, and John, who now had his own car, motored several miles to perform his service at another hospital.  We kept visiting and writing over the years.  Eventually he found that his body just couldn’t take work any more, and he was confined to home.  About two years ago his brother called me from the hospital.  I had a chance to communicate with John one last time.  A few days later he was carried to his final earthly residing place by six of his high school classmates.

In my years with John, I never heard him utter a discouraging word.  In some ways I learned more about real life from him than I learned in the classroom annex.

I was married the year after graduation, and taught the rest of my life.  I have three grown daughters, all in education life work.  My second marriage produced Dan, who is 24 and in his third year of graduate school at Boston University in physics.

God has been good to me, and one of his great blessings has been Gustavus and the people I knew there.

Ellen Anderson Jacobson Memories

To Classmates of the Gustavus Class of 1957:

The fall of ’55 found me at Gustavus as a junior transfer student from Augsburg College.  I had changed my major to elementary education (Augsburg didn’t offer it then) so Gustavus became my college of choice.  I was assigned to live on the first floor of Johnson Hall with Barb Ford.

It was really strange going to college knowing absolutely no one.  My heart ached for old friends during the first few days when everyone else had friends to greet and reminisce with.  It wasn’t long and I met and made new friends.

Gustavus gave me much enjoyment for the two years I was there.  I met my husband of almost 48 years, Weldon Jacobson ’59, as he was enrolling at Gustavus after three years in the Army.  The ten weeks of student teaching in Rochester proved to me I had chosen the right profession.

I had always wanted to teach kindergarten, but with transferring colleges, not all credits were accepted towards my major.  To complete the courses needed in the two years, I took correspondence courses and of course, summer school.  I did teach first grade for a few years.  In 1970, I returned to Gustavus to get my kindergarten certification.  I taught kindergarten until I retired in 1989.

Ruth Swanberg Sanders Memories

Wow!  Fifty years since I left my small home town and traveled to St. Peter to attend Gustavus where I didn’t know a soul, but I was put in Wahlstrom Hall where freshman were twelve to a section, instead of the six for which it was designed..  You get to know a bunch of girls and how to get along together, fast, which was good.  You also have a bit of confusion, when you have five girls from Omaha in your section, and three of them are Sandra!

Gustavus was a pretty campus with all the trees and the beautiful view across the river.  I remember in the fall that the big maple trees were absolutely awesome.  The other side of the river was awash with color at that time and made you appreciate God’s handiwork.  It was hard to see the devastation to the campus after the tornado hit a few years back and of course that forced some changes on campus because of damage to buildings.  Though the task was huge, Gustavus people were undaunted.  Many willing hands joined the effort to restore and improve, and campus life went forging ahead as usual.

Gustavus has had many talented administrators, professors and support staff who pushed and encouraged students to develop their many talents to the utmost.  It is great to attend programs or visit places where Gustavus grads have made or are continuing to use their talents and knowledge to help their fellow man.  We have been back to enjoy events on campus including some Nobel conferences, and find it stimulating and enjoyable to be in the Gustavus environment.  Reunions have been fun and the 50th class reunion last year, which I could attend, being the spouse of a ’56 grad, was well planned and absolutely great.  I have no doubt that our talented class will produce an equally great, if not superior, reunion.  I had tears when we graduated because I know that the class as it existed then would never be able to all be together again, but I do hope those of you who are able to travel back, will attend, so we can renew our friendships with each other, remember the times there, and celebrate the fact that we were blessed with a great gift when we were able to attend Gustavus.


Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2007 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.  Greater Gustavus AwardGiven to those who, by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:  Russ and Jan (Ledin) Michaletz ’74 ’74

Distinguished Alumni CitationsRecognizes outstanding and exceptional professional achievement

Paul Peterson ’94, principal, St. Peter High School, Minnesota State High School Principal of the Year.

Margaret Anderson Kelliher ’90, house speaker, Minnesota House of Representatives.

First Decade AwardsRecognizes early professional achievement

Jennifer Pleuss Spande ’97, diplomat, Political and Economic Section, U.S. Embassy, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Alexander Hill ’97, senior scientist, Medtronic, Inc.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 26, and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, October 13.

Energy Wars

Minnesota colleges and universities competed during February in the Campus Energy Wars.  The Campus Energy Wars challenge was to see which campus conserved the most energy throughout the month.  Gustavus students and faculty made a concerted effort to change their behaviors by turning off unused lights in their dorm rooms or classrooms, unplugging appliances, and lowering thermostats to reduce energy consumption.  The culminating event was a campus competition to pedal stationary bicycles to see who could pump the most energy into an electrical generator supplied by the Minnesota Department of Commerce.

Linnaeus Symposium Celebrates Birth of Carl Linnaeus

In celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who established genus/species used today, Gustavus will host its second Linnaeus Symposium: Linnaeus @ 300 on Wednesday, April 25, 2007.  The daylong conference will feature presentations by ethnobotanists, Mark Plotkin and Paul Alan Cox, Linnaean scholar and impersonator Hans Odoo, and author Paula Robbins, who has written about Pehr Kalm, one of Linnaeus’s “apostles” to America.  The day will also include tours of Linnaeus Arboretum, a special photography exhibition by Anders Bjorling ’58, music, dance, and a Scandinavian feast.  The festivities begin at 10:00 a.m. and close at 9:00 p.m., so save the date and join us at Gustavus this spring.  For more information, go to <> or call 507/933-6181.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Linnaeus Symposium - April 25
  • Gustavus Association of Congregations – April 28
  • MAYDAY! Peace Conference: Community Food Security - May 2
  • Celebrating 75 years of the Gustavus Choir - May 5
  • Celebrating 75 years of Theatre Reunion  - May 11-12 <>
  • Class of 1962 - 45th Anniversary Reunion – May 25 & 26
  • Class of 1957 - 50th Anniversary Reunion – May 25 & 26
  • 50 Year Club Reunion – May 26


I have some other class news that I will add now.

Mary Ellen Rockwell Johnson has three children.  She and her husband, Stephen, took a three-week motorcycle trip to Banff and Lake Louise in July.  A wonderful trip.

Barbara Jungas Loewen and husband Lee, travel with a fifth-wheel trailer in the winter.  They have four grandchildren.  Their son, Randy, works with Toro in Windom.  Robyn Loewen ’84 is a pediatric dentist in Rochester, and Andrea ’89 is in pharmacological research north of San Diego, CA.

Gaylene Carlson Drew and husband, Bill, celebrated their 50th anniversary in October.

Bob Wahman and wife, Sharon, are planning on coming to our reunion.  They enjoy traveling, their lake place and grandkids.  In February, they went to Costa Rica.

I have a couple of phrases I wonder if you remember—how about “FENDER SKIRTS”  or “CURB FEELERS” or “STEERING KNOBS”  I think I heard them called KNECKERS KNOBS.”  Do you remember “Continental Kits?”  They were rear bumper extenders and spare tire covers that were supposed to make any car as cool as a Lincoln Continental.  And do you remember the “foot feed?”  I sure do.  And I loved to ride on the running board.  I think we still had those at Gustavus.

I sure hope you’re making plans to come to Gustavus in May for our 50th reunion.

See you then!

Marlys Mattson Nelson

1957 Co-class Agent

5644 Heather Ridge Ct.

Shoreview, MN  55126