Class of '58
January 2003

Dear ’58ers,

Those of you still in the north for the winter, it has been cold!  Remember the old line that it makes us stronger?  Hah!

I'm not sure we will reach 80 names of classmates in this letter, but we will try with lots of news from Phonorama, notes on annual gifts and the reunion questionnaires.  Of course, gifts and questionnaires are always welcome.

JANET OLSON GREEN and her husband, Richard, while retired, are active watercolor artists, with a showing at the American Swedish Institute last summer.  They are also active cross-country skiers.

They care for twin grandchildren once a week as well.  Busy!  JEANINE LUNDAHL OLSON is another artist, but in music as a church organist and an accompanist for a mixed chorus (and, has done so for 30 years!).  The Olsons have adult children in Sioux Falls and Boston.  Their daughter recently completed her Master’s in Divinity from Harvard.  CHAR JONSON BERNDT is retired, but works part-time in a china and crystal shop and is also a quilt maker and is researching her family genealogy. 

JIM MC PHERSON has been lending his expertise to Freedom; A History Of Us, an eight-hour PBS series, which began January 12.  Jim also began his term as president of the American Historical Association in January.  We very much miss Jim on the Gustavus Board of Trustees.  His experience, wit and wisdom could be used today.

JIM JOHANSEN is still working in the transportation business in Anoka, particularly with school districts and private contractors in the school bus business.  Jim and his wife, Janis, (an artist) have two grandchildren.  JOHN STERNAMAN has retired in Black River Falls, WI and hopes to visit the campus with his grandson, an All-State hockey player.  DON and Sue (Myers) MILTON have also retired in Nuncia, MI.  Sue is active in garden clubs and Don is creating a workshop in the barn on their property.  Thanks to all of the above for their pledges to the Gustavus Fund.

JUDY SWANSON TEETERS has retired from real estate, but is active in music, playing twice a week at Herberger's in Southtown.  She has a grandson who attends Waldorf College in Forest City, IA.  LINDA ECKBLAD KNOCHENMUS and DARWIN are also retired and belong to Friendship Force International, an organization where members stay in each other's homes as they travel internationally. While in Jackson, LA, they live on and operate a small farm.  They hope to introduce their granddaughter to Gustavus in a year or so.  ROBERT and Karen (Hanson ’59) SHOGREN have also retired.  Their two children went to Gustavus and they now have two five-year-old grandchildren, who we hope will also come to Gustavus.  Again, thanks to all of you for your pledges.

DAVE WAGNER continues his stained glass artistry. He is currently repairing windows in a venerable Presbyterian Church in Marshfield, WI.  Dave and Darlene recently moved into a new home, which provides a chairlift to his basement workshop and ample space for his electric cart. I think Dave deals with his MS with courage and humor and I always enjoy our conversations. A remarkable guy!

JOYCE STRAND MARVEL, another remarkable person, has had many complications from knee surgery, which has prevented her from going back to work teaching at Washington University in St Louis. I hope she is making progress and will be able to attend the reunion. It will not be the same without her.

DICK JAMESTON continues his competitive swimming at the Senior Olympic level.  (He started after he retired!)  Dick and Carol plan to attend the reunion on September 26 and 27th.  I hope you will to!  MARLENE HAUGEN WIDMARK continues to work at Bunad Dress Embroidery in Grand Rapids.  MERRILL retired some years ago.  Their son, Stuart ’86, was married this summer.  MARK WIBERG added to his retirement by learning to play the piano, lessons and everything!  ANNE is also retired.  The Wiberg family is working on a family gift to Gustavus to celebrate the 100th anniversary of their father's birth.

Thanks to STAN LARSON for his letter and gift to the Gustavus Fund.  Stan is semi-retired, he says, but Marlene has taken most of the responsibility for the management of their rental properties.  As the economy has slowed down, so has the housing market, with four new homes this winter as compared to a normal eight.  Stan says it has never seemed like work, so they have been fortunate like many of us who love what we do.  Thanks, Stan.

PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG has also retired and is very busy with Habitat for Humanity.  Duane and their son, Jim, renovated the Polish Palace, a tavern in northeast Minneapolis, and re-named it the Sample Room, at 21st and Marshall for the adventurous and curious.

MARCIA AMUNDSON JANASZ and CHET lead a full life in retirement.  Marcia is the tour director for a group of retired educators in the Osseo school district who travel several times a year to places like Nova Scotia, Alaska, Baniff, etc.  Marcia and Joe have nine grandchildren, all of whom were home for Christmas!

REMEMBER, the 45th class reunion for the class of 1958 will be held at the Radisson South Hotel in Bloomington, MN on Friday the 26th of September and the day of activities on campus on Saturday, September 27th.  Make your plans now!

Let's also not forget the Gustavus Fund!  Thanks to many of you who have made gifts and pledges!  Your participation is very important to BOB PETERSON, as the General Chair of the Fund, and to me.  Let's all try to contribute in our own way.  Thanks!

The Alumni Office asks all reunion class members to complete a survey of facts, news and other helpful items.  Thanks to the many of you who have completed the survey; the following news notes come from the surveys:

Kudos to BARBARA JENSEN OLSON who was runner-up in the Ms. Senior Georgia pageant last spring and who has been making appearances since in senior and nursing homes singing and dancing to "It's a Grand Old Flag."  Now, there is the first item on the program for our reunion!  We certainly are seniors and BJ will lead us in some great fun!  She is also active in P.E.O., square dancing and the Classics Club of GA.  KAREN LANGE THORPE has not appeared in a class letter since I was a much younger man!  She retired this year after 18 years as the administrative assistant to the Chairman of the Board of the Intel Corporation and before that, twenty years as a physical education teacher.  Karen and Dick ’59 live in San Jose.  I hope they come to the reunion!

ELLEN MAUS BOLER is a retired financial analyst living in Greenville, SC and enjoying local theater, symphony, hiking and four grandchildren.  MIKE DALE continues to work part-time at The Foursome in Wayzata.  Mike and Marcia (Halgren ’57) have two grandchildren.  ALJEAN VAN WINKLE LOVING and her husband are very involved in mission work and may be working with HCJB World Radio in Sierra Vista, AZ next summer.  They have eight grandchildren!  JERRY HESSER is after me for my comments about Cosmos High School, but he knows I am well intentioned.  Or thinks so.  Jerry and Dana (Knobel ’60) spend most of their time in Mexico, but summer in Minnesota.  Jerry continues to do some free-lance writing and has a book ready for publication.  Rohl and PATRICIA MILLER PETERSON are building a home in Tucson.

RENEE LINDBERG SMITH continues to work in suburban Kansas City and is helping recruit her grandson for Gustavus.  AARON MOEN has retired from teaching at Cornell University, but is still writing and published his book Learning First in Higher Education this past spring.

A thirty-five to forty year bridge group features partners DOUG and JANET (THOMAS) PRITCHARD, RICHARD and Patricia (McLane ’59) OLSON, Jim and NOREEN HEINE BECKER, and Les and MARTHA BANKE CURTIS.  Let's hope the entire bridge group comes to the reunion.  Marlys and BILL BINGER are active artists in retirement, first in oil and now in watercolor.  Bill taught stained glass for several years and Marlys continues to write poetry.  Their three daughters all attended Gustavus and the next step is to recruit the seven grandchildren.

MARTHA TELLEEN PETERSON retired from her job with the Department of Transportation for the State of California and now enjoy taking groups on cruises and land trips.  She is also president of SKANDI-Fest (Scandinavian Festival) and sings in the River City Chorale.  She and Paul ’56 have two grandchildren.  ELLWOOD JOHNSON continues to update his historical documentation of "beautiful downtown" Lowry.  Besides the print version, which I have admired, there is also a web site, a CD, and various Lowry Group caps and hats.  Ok, Cosmos boys, here is a challenge for you!        

As reported in the last letter, ROBERTA ANDERSON GARDNER is on sick leave with cancer, but hopes to be able to return to work at Cambridge Scientific in Silver Spring, MD.  Leroy continues to volunteer at National Archives II in College Park.  They have one grandchild.  Thanks to JOHN and Dorothy (Rylander ’59) JOHNSON for their note and gift.  They have three new grandchildren and the total numbers ten!

Well, no cheating by listing St Peter classmates to pad the list!  Thirty-six in this letter, which still leaves almost a hundred yet to be mentioned.  Send news with your gift to the alumni office or email me at

Spring thoughts:  Send in your survey.  Send news to keep the home fires flaming.  Send your contribution to the Gustavus Fund.

And thanks to all of who have responded thus far!

Mark September 26 and 27 on your calendar!


Owen Sammelson

Campus News:

Campus Conversations about Gustavus’ Mission

President Dennis Johnson is leading a campus-wide initiative to talk about the mission of Gustavus.  Conversations will be both philosophical and practical as the community discusses goals and visions, but also within the context of challenging budgeting times.  The goal is to prepare the campus for the search and hiring of the next Gustavus president.

Hmong Revealed

The Asian Cultures Club and the Diversity Center are sponsoring "Hmong Education Workshops" every Monday and Wednesday throughout January to help educate the Gustavus community about various aspects of Hmong life and tradition.  The workshops will include language, art, customs, and history, and will feature Hmong speakers.

Choir and Band on Tour

January is the traditional time for the Gustavus Choir and Gustavus Band to tour.  This year the choir will spend almost three weeks touring Italy.  The band stays in the Midwest, going as far as Colorado.  Touring is an opportunity for learning for these students to experience different cultures and communities, but also valuable as musicians to perform the same concert multiple times in different venues.  Finally, touring is a wonderful public relations tool for the college as these students stay with host families and spread the Gustavus story.

A Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus is a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE). Reaffirming the mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus ranked 8th in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of IIE’s "Open Doors 2002" report.  The College has been in the top 20 since 1994-95 and in the top 10 for the past 3 years.  Gustavus was 1 of 5 Minnesota private colleges to make the list.  During 2000-01, 397 Gustavus students studied abroad.  In 2002, 52 percent of the Gustavus graduating class had an international educational experience.

Peer Assistants Making a Difference

Like many colleges Gustavus relies on a wide range of students to help educate other students about issues, one such group is the Peer Assistants.  Created in the 1980s, this group of 15 students focuses on teaching Gusties about making healthy lifestyle choices.  They speak in residence halls, conduct workshops and do one-on-one counseling about such topics as alcohol and tobacco use and relationships.  For the 5th time since 1996, the Peer Assistants were presented with an "Outstanding Affiliate" award for colleges with an enrollment below 7,500 at the annual National Peer Educator Conference.

Upcoming Events

  • February 22 – Naples, FL Campaign Event
  • February 23 – Vero Beach, FL Campaign Event
  • March 1 – San Diego, CA Campaign Event
  • March 14 – Tucson, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 15 – Phoenix, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 16 – Sun City, AZ Campaign Event
  • March 22 – Easter Bunny Breakfast, Minneapolis
  • April 4 – Bay Area, CA Campaign Event
  • April 5 – Seattle, WA Campaign Event
  • May 3 & 4 – Gustavus Band 125th Year Celebration
  • May 10 – G.I.V.E. Service Day

Our Building a Greater Gustavus Campaign Success Interpreted

There are many questions among alumni, students and parents about the College’s financial situation.  People hear of our success in the capital campaign and ask, “How come the budget is so tight and some items are being cut?” 

One might look at an $80 million total to date of the $100 million goal and conclude that we have plenty of spendable resources.  A closer look at the designations of our campaign gift and pledges hopefully provides a helpful explanation.  During the past 5 years of this 6 ½ year campaign:

·        $23 million has been given for post-tornado rebuilding projects, including the Jackson Campus Center, the new outdoor track, the Curtis and Arleen Carlson International Center, a new residence hall and the replanting of trees.  As I’ve already reported, another $1 million has been designated for Old Main renovation.

·        $24 million has been committed to us in the form of “future gift” commitments.  These are typically planned gifts that provide an income to the donor, or they are bequest commitments.   In either case, these are not dollars that are available for the College to use at this time.  However, they hold great promise for the future.

·        $16 million has been given to the College’s endowment fund to support scholarships, academic chairs and other programs.  While our endowment is significantly below that of our comparison schools, we must continue our progress toward increasing that number well beyond the end of this particular campaign. 

·        $8 million has been received as restricted dollars for various programs such as the Center for Vocational Reflection funded through a grant from the Lilly Endowment.

·        $8 million – approximately $1.5 million per year – has been received without restriction.   These are the only dollars raised during the course of the campaign available for use in the College’s $60 million annual operating budget.  Herein lie the concerns related to our present budget challenge and where you can make the greatest impact.  We are in the second year of the three-year 50 by 50 Campaign.  The goal is to achieve 50 percent participation of all alumni in the Alumni Fund by the 50th Anniversary in 2004.  Our class totals through December 31, 2002 are 70 donors and $40,275.43 in total gifts.  Our goal is to achieve 125 donors by May 31, 2003.  Thanks to those that have made their gift.  If you have not made your gift yet, please respond to the next mailing, log on to, or call toll free 866-487-3863.  Remember, while we were students, we benefited from alumni who made gifts to the alumni fund.  Let’s do our part to help future Gusties.

Presidential Search Process

The Presidential Search Committee is well underway, and the members have set an ambitious timetable.  Candidates are to be interviewed at an off-campus site in February, with three candidates being invited to interview on campus in March.  It is hoped that a recommendation to the Board of Trustees will be made in April for ratification and election of the new president.  If all goes according to the plan, a new president will be in place by mid-summer.  You may read the “Presidential Prospectus” by going to the Gustavus website and finding the President’s Office.