Class of '57
September 2009

Dear Classmates,

Well, after a rather cool summer up here in the “tundra,” the new season has begun with a Bang!  In our church, we had what seemed like a million kids come in to the service to get there backpacks blessed and receive a small flashlight to remind them that Jesus is the light in the darkness.  We sang and rang at two services, which were both full.

Nancy Reiter Grimes and I went down to Gustavus yesterday for Volunteer Leadership Day (formerly known as Class Agents’ Day).  We got the news that had been collected from our class thru the summer (we had two pieces in our envelope) and were very well fed.  Then, we went to the football game in the new stadium.  We even were invited to sit in the new stadium’s Presidential Suite.  Wow!  What a beautiful facility that is!  I had not really seen it before.  The only thing it has in common with the old stadium is that there is a field for the game and stands to sit in.  The field is called Hollingsworth Field, but that is about where the similarity ends.  There is also a beautiful concession stand with lots of Gustavus stuff for sale too.  I was very impressed by the numbers of people watching the game and the number of people wearing Gustavus clothing.  The enthusiasm level was getting close to the way it was in our time.  I wonder if those kids go home with no voice the way I did most of the time???

Last month, Marcy Rhyne Herr was in town, so Phyllis Holmberg Olsson got a bunch of us together out at Biaggi’s in Maple Grove.  There were 17 of us—I will see how good my memory is.  This is the group I remember:  Barb Carlson Glenzinski, Marian Hennix Gable, Jo Spooner Lundblad, Vada Peterson Carlson, Nancy Reiter Grimes, Ann Russell Johnson, Joyce Kirkvold Knoll, Beth Carlson Helgoe, Marcia Halgren Dale, Marilyn Johnson Bertelsen, Ruth Swanberg Sanders, Connie Wold Rome, Judy Lund Erdman and Sandy Clark Vollan.  (Please forgive me if I have missed anyone.)  We met at 11:30 and we were still in the Parking Lot at 3:00 gabbing!  There truly are no better friends than long time friends.  (Notice I did not say “old!”)  We never run out of things to talk about.  By the way, we are doing this again on September 17—which will be before you get this letter, but if you are interested in joining us at a later date, let Phyllis or myself know how we can get in touch with you.  Most of this was done by email.

I know that Phyllis Holmberg Olsson and husband, Bill, have been on a cruise to Alaska and just returned.  Connie Wold Rome and husband, Dick, spend their winters in Sun Lakes, AZ and summers in Woodbury.  They make several trips to Gustavus to visit Katelyn Johnson ’10—their granddaughter—who is a senior at Gustavus this year.  Katelyn is a 4th generation Gustie as her Mom, Kelly Rome Johnson ’84, grandmother Connie, and great-grandmother, Marguerite ’32 were all graduates of Gustavus.  By the way, Connie’s Mom celebrated her 99th birthday last spring!

Judy Lund Erdman writes that all three of her and Bob’s daughters are Gustie grads.  Carla Young ’80, Amy Biewen ’82, and Beth Braun ’86.

I hope some of you are planning to come to the A Royal Affair―SHINE on November 14.  Look in the Quarterly for information about getting tickets if you have not received an invitation.  It is really such a fun party and the money we make all goes to the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Library at Gustavus.  Through the years, we have really helped that endowment to grow.  And while I’m at it, join Gustavus Library Associates!  The money you pay for dues goes directly for new book acquisitions.  NONE of it is used on overhead.

Nancy was busy taking notes on all the statistics we heard so I will let her do that part of the letter.

Oh, the tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel this year will be purchased on line.  Hope I can figure out how to do it!  Ha!

Another thing coming up on campus is the Nobel Conference on October 6 & 7 and St. Lucia Day on December 10.  Both are worthy events to consider.

Please send me some news.  As you can see, it is pretty sparse!

Marlys Mattson Nelson



Yes, Marlys and I went to Volunteer Leadership Day, and yes, we sat through some speeches, and yes, we ate lunch under a tent on the President’s lawn, and yes, we sat in the President’s Box at the Gustavus/Coe game, and yes, we had an enjoyable time.  I am an inveterate note-taker so I’ll summarize for you all of the things that we learned.

President Ohle began by listing all of the rankings that Gustavus had achieved this year.  Some of those rankings include being 80th in the US News and World Report listing of small colleges (that was up 8 places); 8th in the nation in athletics for Division III (which puts us with Williams, Emery, and Washington University in St. Louis); men’s golf ranked 1st academically in Division III and women’s golf ranked 2nd; we ranked in the top 20 for sending students to Teach for America; 8th in the nation in Dining Services; 3 students received NCAA post-graduate awards which puts Gustavus third in the nation (Stanford was 1st and Emery was 2nd); and forensics (speech) was 18th in the nation including all programs.  There were also many more, but you get the idea!

Next he went through the 2009-2010 goals.  These included developing a implementation plan from the Commission Gustavus 150 recommendations; enhancing the emergency preparedness plan to include H1N1 pandemic preparedness; developing a comprehensive health and wellness plan for the entire college community; updating the facilities master plan; meeting overall admission goals; planning for Gustavus’ sesquicentennial in 2011-2012; and several others.  The next section dealt with finances.  Gustavus finished the 2008-2009 fiscal year with a modest operating surplus.  Salaries have been frozen for 2009-2010 and there was a “clean” audit.  There were 610 graduates in 2009 and 661 entering students this fall.  The average ACT score is now 27; out-of-state enrollment is 3%; 627 are new students and 34 are transfers; and 14% of the freshman are students of color (the goal for the campus is 15%).

The two major items discussed for this year are the Commission Gustavus 150 recommendations and the sesquicentennial.  There were 439 recommendations  that came from the Commission Gustavus 150 groups.  These have been regrouped into seven categories that have been prioritized.  The Gustavus Board of Trustees will announce their strategic plan for the implementation of the seven areas at Homecoming.  Also, at Homecoming a new “brand” for Gustavus will be unveiled.  The President and others were very excited about this new way of “selling Gustavus” but also indicated that it would not replace the symbols that already identify Gustavus such as the “three crowns.”  Planning for the sesquicentennial in 2011-2012 is already underway.  It is hoped that the King and Queen of Sweden will attend.  We spent a goodly amount of time brainstorming ideas for the celebration.  It is noteworthy that our 55th year reunion would be in 2012.

Thomas Young ’88, vice-president for institutional advancement, talked to us about new engagement opportunities for alumni.  He said that there are 26,000 living Gustavus alumni, and he believes that an institution is pulled forward by its alumni.  He said that a push is being made to contact those students who have been accepted at Gustavus, but who have not indicated their intention of attending.  They have established a Gustavus Recruitment Network that will be calling and congratulating accepted students and calling and talking with students who are accepted, but who have not sent in their deposit.  If you are interested in making any of these phone calls (training is provided), call the Alumni Relations Office (507-933-7511) for dates and details.

Some interesting facts that I gleaned from a brochure that was shared with us are as follows:  197 full-time faculty and 53 part-time; 40% student participation in fine arts programs and 27% participation in intercollegiate athletics; and (Class of 2012) tuition--$29,990, room—$4,710, board—$2,750, estimated books and incidentals--$1,960, fees--$410 for a total of  $39,820.

We also were given the “giving” news.  Out of a class of 180, we had 110 participate in the annual fund drive.  That gave us a participation rate of 61.1%.  Our donations to the Unrestricted Annual Fund were $18,888.83 and our total dollar credit for the year was $33,520.92.

I have only a few items of news.  It is very difficult to get people to tell us what they are doing.  I think most of us believe that what we do is mundane, but believe me, it is of interest to classmates (at least that is what they say).

Barbara Ford Olson works one day a week at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center, takes jazz piano lessons at McPhail, and plays violin (in Swedish folk costume) with the American Swedish Institute’s Spelmanslag.

Lois Larson Mauston indicated that she and Glenn attended their eldest granddaughter’s wedding and graduation from Miami University in Oxford, OH in May.  It sounds like the relatives took over the town for a few days to celebrate these two momentous events.  Lois is making her second trip to Minnesota this month to meet and greet friends and relatives.

Carol Rylander Farrell made her annual trip to St. Paul from Littleton, CO and Phyllis Fox Paulson, Barbara Holslin Haag (’58 Nursing), Marlys Chelgren Hebaus (’58 Nursing) and I met her for lunch in Lake Elmo.  Carol continues to paint her watercolors and has gained some fame for her efforts.

Susan Soldin Thorsheim made a very short trip to Minnesota to attend a family reunion.  She lives in Freehold, NJ.

Lois Wicktor Falk reports that this is Sook’s (Gale) last semester officiating swim meets and her last semester of observing student teachers for Bemidji State University.  They’re planning a road trip (with their miniature schnauzer) to Florida in January and then off to Cancun for two weeks in February.  Ellen Anderson Jacobson spent a restful weekend at Breezy Point while Weldon ’59 attended meetings.  He is the president of their time-share organization.  Their kids gave them a great 50th wedding anniversary party in August.  Right now they are watching their grandchildren’s soccer games.

The items I gleaned from Lois M., Lois F., and Ellen J. were from contacting them on Facebook.  I’ve also asked to be friends with Carol Lundborg Owen, Gaylene Carlson Drew, Verlin Carlson and Mary Jayne Arvidson Thrasher.  They’re all on Facebook but I haven’t heard back.  Let me encourage any of you who have some time on your hands to get a Facebook page set up.  It is really a quick and easy way to communicate.  Just put Gustavus 1957 and you’ll get a list of those of us who are on Facebook.  Thanks so much for keeping Marlys and I abreast of your doings.

We love to hear from you!

Nancy Reiter Grimes


Campus News

Homecoming and Family Weekend – October 9 & 10, 2009

Join us for Homecoming and Family Weekend festivities this year!  Parents, alumni, and friends of the College are invited to return and reconnect on this great weekend.  Check out all the activities on the Gustavus alumni web site (

A Walk in the Arb

As part of Homecoming Weekend, the Linnaeus Arboretum will be hosting its annual Fall Fest on that Saturday, October 10.  Come enjoy a guided hike through the arboretum and browse its many beautiful flower gardens and tree collections.  Maple trees will be in their fall peak this weekend.  Master Gardeners and tree care experts will be available to address your questions and concerns, so bring a branch!  Bring your kids for a hayride through the arboretum!  Have a look at this year’s scarecrows around the Borgeson cabin!  Enjoy cookies and lemonade, purchase an arboretum t-shirt.  The weather for last year’s Fall Fest was absolutely gorgeous, and we expect this year to be no different!  For more information, call 507-933-6181 or email

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.

Upcoming speakers:

President Jack R. Ohle – October 21

Chaplain Brian Johnson ’80 – November 18

Thomas Young ’88 – December 16

Upcoming Events

  • Nobel Conference:  H²0 Uncertain Resource – October 6-7, 2009
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 9-10, 2009
  • Athletics Hall of Fame – October 17, 2009
  • Gustavus Library Associates – A Royal Affair – November 14, 2009
  • St. Lucia Day – December 10, 2009
  • Farwell for Steve and Barb Wilkinson, Minneapolis Hyatt - December 12

royal affair