Class of '58
October 2007

50-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30-31, 2008

Dear ’58ers,

While in my yard this afternoon, I enjoyed the colors of autumn, particularly the purples, oranges and yellows that come from flowers that have yet to taste frost, although that cold morning may come soon.  And, there are seven groups of pink buds on the rosebush near the back door.  Ah, Minnesota, what a great place to live!  Easy to say that now, before that same backyard turns into a frozen tundra.

You received the postcard from the Alumni Office with the first of many reminders of our 50th class reunion, May 30 and 31, 2008.  This attractive postcard featured the homecoming court of Queen CAROLYN LUND SANDVIG and attendants PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG, MYRTICE JOSTAD HANEY, KAREN HOLMEN HUBBARD and DONNA ELVESTROM SPONBERG on a homecoming float in the fall of 1957.  The first of many memories!

A group of classmates have formed a reunion committee to plan our celebration.  Among those attending one of the first two meetings have been NOEL BEHNE, BILL BINGER, CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST, DENNIS ERICKSON, ROLLIE HIRMAN, LLOYD and WANDA (HEUER) JOHNSON, STAN LARSON, DON OLSON, BOB PETERSON, PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG, and your class agent.  Thanks to these classmates and the others who have volunteered to help by phone or email.  We recognize that many classmates leave the frozen north for the winter and we are especially counting on their long-distance participation.

Class News

We have some class news since the last letter, or at least news that I have discovered since then.  In the summer of 1957, eight Gustavus students traveled in Europe through the Bernadotte European Study Program (BEST) under the guidance and protection of Dean Albert Swanson.  This summer, DON OLSON hosted a reunion of this group and ’58ers attending were:  DUANE TALUS, WANDA HEUER JOHNSON, EMILY HILDEBRANDT KULENKAMP, ALAN CARLSON and JODY SPRINGER LANGE.  Also attending the reunion party were classmate spouses SONYA HARBO TALUS and LLOYD JOHNSON.  Two of the original group, Harold Boler ’57 and Donna Reinhardt Gustafson ’57 are deceased.

DUANE and SONYA (HARBO) TALUS also hosted a Gustie Gathering in Biwabik on September 16, before they headed home to Houston TX.

ELLEN MAUS BOLER is busy with lots of volunteer activities and enjoying the great music and cultural activities in South Carolina.  JOYCE STRAND MARVEL is still teaching at Washington University, but is threatening to quit and move to Texas.  Joyce will be traveling to Paris this summer with her church choir and singing in Notre Dame and touring other cathedrals.  DARLENE THOMPSON KRIEWALL and Duane celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a trip to Hawaii.  JANET OLSON GREEN won her age group in a 5K race.  Congratulations!

Classmate VERNER JOHNSON died in Duluth on March 17.  He had retired from Bordens.

Congratulations to JIM MC PHERSON who was named the first recipient of the Pritzker

Military Library Literature Award for lifetime achievement in military writing.  The Award was presented to Jim on October 7 in Chicago “to acknowledge the highest levels of scholarship and writing in a field that often does not gain appropriate recognition” said James N. Pritzker, founder and chief executive of the library.  As you know, Jim received the Pulitzer Prize for Battle Cry of Freedom, the Civil War Era.

We attended “The Royal Affair” sponsored by the Gustavus Library Associates last evening.  Classmates sighted included MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON, JOHN DAHL, DON ELVESTROM, JOHN JOHNSON and BOB PETERSON.  It was a great time to see old friends and to raise money for the Gustavus Library.

Campus News

Longtime Religion professor, Robert Esbjornson ’41 died October 26th at the age of 89.  “Esby” was a favorite professor of many Gusties and continued to be active on campus after his retirement.  He was on campus just two weeks earlier to autograph copies of his new book entitled, “Esbj!  The Heart and Mind of a Professor,” written in collaboration with Dennis Johnson ’60.

President Peterson Announces Retirement

President Jim Peterson ’64 announced in August that he plans to retire at the conclusion of the current academic year, capping a five-year term.  His early announcement will provide the Board of Trustees enough time to undertake a thorough search process and assist in a smooth transition to new leadership.  Peterson will serve through June 2008 and has offered to assist in an orderly transition beyond that date if needed.

Moes provide gift for Kendall Center

Gustavus parents Robert and Karin Moe have made a $1 million commitment to the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning.  This leadership gift brings the College closer to its goal of fully endowing the center, which is dedicated to advancing active and interdisciplinary learning across the campus.  When fully funded, the endowment will generate funds to support two main areas: faculty development and student-faculty research.

Retreat about Live Purpose – November 10, 2007

The Linnaeus Arboretum is teaming up with the Center for Vocational Reflection to offer a workshop entitled:  Living on Purpose:  Seeds, Seasons, and the Undivided Life―A Workshop/Retreat to Explore Your Calling.  This workshop will allow you to “examine the roots, blossoms, and seeds” of your life.  For more information including registration materials, visit or call Shirley Mellema (507-933- 6181).

New football stadium opens

On September 8, the football team played its inaugural game at the College’s new football stadium.  The synthetic-surfaced field is recessed below ground level and features an earthen berm surrounding the entire field.  The field will continue to be named Hollingsworth Field after the late Lloyd Hollingsworth, who served as the College’s football coach from 1942-1960 and athletic director from 1961-1978.

Twin Cities Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100), 8:00-9:30 a.m., $10 per person.  Reserve by calling Don Swanson ’55 at 763/533-9083

Wednesday, November 21

Winter sports coaches – Jon Carlson ’88 (men’s and women’s swimming & diving), Mark Hanson ’83 (men’s basketball), and Brett Petersen (men’s hockey)

Wednesday, December  19

Margaret Kelliher ’90, speaker of the Minnesota House of Representatives

Refer a Gustie

As the school year starts, many high school seniors are getting serious about their college selection.  If you know of high school seniors or juniors who may be a good fit at Gustavus, please send their names to the Office of Admission at Gustavus to help recruit the next generation of Gusties.  Contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S).

Calendar of events:

  • November 3                 Athletics Hall of Fame Induction Banquet
  • Nov. 30, Dec. 1-2        Christmas in Christ Chapel
  • December 6                 St. Lucia Day celebration on campus

Reunion News

And now for some news about the reunion.  The reunion activities will begin on Friday, May 30 with registration and an opening seminar led by President Jim Peterson ’64 and college staff on Gustavus fifty years ago and some of the changes since then.  I can tell you, please do not look for the following:  Johnson, South, North and Wahlstrom Halls, the Classroom Annex, Art Barn, Myrum Fieldhouse, the Ranchereno, Commerce Hall, the Post Office and the old Auditorium.

The reunion committee has recommended this schedule for Friday:

4:00    Class memorial service in Christ Chapel

4:30     1958 class photo

5:00    Social hour (with refreshments not allowed in our day)

6:00     50th anniversary dinner

8:30     After-hours conversation

It is important to remember that the purpose of the reunion is a time for sharing memories, renewing friendships, engaging conversations, exaggerating the past, and generally having fun!

Saturday continues with the induction of our class into the Fifty-Year Club (at least, we will be the youngest) at a noon luncheon.  The annual Gustavus Alumni Banquet is Saturday evening and in my opinion, has much improved over the years!

Other possibilities include a class breakfast on Saturday morning as another opportunity for conversations.  Tours of the campus, including the Linneaus Arboretum, will be available, as well as golf at Shoreland Country Club in St. Peter.  We welcome additional suggestions.

BOB PETERSON and OWEN SAMMELSON will serve as co-chairs of the reunion as well as being the chairs of the giving committee.  We have designated that PHIL LINDAU should be the Honorary Chair of the Reunion Committee in respect for his many contributions to Gustavus.

MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON is chair of the communications committee, CAROLYN LUND SANDVIG of the events committee and MARK WIBERG of the memorial service group.  The committee chairpersons will be contacting classmates to serve on one of the committees.  We hope you will say yes when called!

We discussed goals for the reunion, both in terms of attendance, as well as giving.  We agreed on the following goals:

·                    100% of classmates being contacted by phone or email and invited to the reunion

·                    60% of classmates attending the reunion.

·                    80% of classmates contributing to one or more of the class projects.

We agreed on two class projects.  The first, the Christ Chapel accessibility project, would improve access to Christ Chapel for individuals with physical challenges.  CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST and PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG have recommended that we adopt this proposal in memory of our classmate, BARBARA CUSTER ANDREWS.  As Carolyn says, “One of my most poignant memories is that of our classmates carrying Barbara Andrews in her wheelchair up the stairs of the building that served as the chapel during our years at Gustavus.  Barb was a woman of great courage and determination who overcame the physical challenges of cerebral palsy to graduate with our class and become the first woman pastor of the American Lutheran Church.

Carrying Barb was a labor of love for our classmates and we are thankful that new concern for individuals challenged by physical disability has made more of our campus buildings more accessible.  Or has it?  We found through personal experience a few years ago that our beautiful chapel is not so accessible―the bathrooms are on a lower level with only stairs for access, and the bathrooms themselves are too small to be accessible for wheelchairs.

Barb Andrews died in a tragic apartment fire five years after her entry into the ministry.  As a class that remembers her faith, courage and determination, we hope that one of our 50th anniversary projects could be a fund to make our beautiful chapel accessible to all.

The College administration has this concern on its list of capital improvements.  The challenge for our class, in honor of Barbara, would be to make a significant contribution to encourage the College to move forward on this issue.  The estimated cost for the project would be $200,000.

The other project would be to create the Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship.  An increasing number of students need financial aid scholarships to help them attend Gustavus, the college of their choice.  The last four anniversary classes have established such a scholarship as a means of providing support to deserving students.  The Class of 1958 scholarship would be an endowed scholarship with 4.5% of the principal being awarded each year.  A sum of $50,000 is required to establish the endowment.  We set a goal of $200,000, providing annual scholarships of $9,000.

There are many ways in which alumni can make financial contributions to Gustavus.  Among the most common ways are:

·                    An unrestricted gift or pledge to the Gustavus Alumni Fund

·                    A gift or pledge to one of the 1958 class projects

·                    A gift to a capital project, such as Old Main or the football stadium

·                    A gift or pledge to an established endowment, such as an endowed scholarship

·                    A bequest to the College in your will

All gifts and pledges count to the class goal.  Pledges may be made over a three-year period or over a five-year period if the annual gift is $2,500 or more.  The committee set aggressive goals for our 50th anniversary.  They are:

$200,000         Chapel Accessibility Project

$200,000         1958 Class Endowed Scholarship

$100,000         Gustavus Alumni Fund

$1,500,000      Other designated gifts and bequests.

Total Goal for our 50th anniversary:  $2,000,000

Recent reunion classes have raised between $1,500,000 and $2,000,000 with the class of 1955 holding the record with gifts totaling $2,500,000.

This is enough about money – at least until the next letter!


As part of the reunion program, the Alumni Office prints an edition of our addresses and brief biographies.  Several classmates have suggested we go a step further and invite you to submit a brief (300 words or less) essay/remembrance/ reflection of your time after graduating from Gustavus.   For example,

  • Is there someone you knew or something from your time at Gustavus that sustained you through time of failure or success?
  • What has been the greatest source of meaning or joy in your life?
  • For what are you grateful?
  • Was there a particular event or period of time that you regard with wonder and awe?
  • Your thoughts or emotions fifty years after graduation?
  • Or, your remembrances and reflections as you choose to describe them.

Send your thoughts to Kathy Erlandsen, Associate Director of Reunion Giving, Gustavus, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN  56082.  Or

Keep sending me news!

Owen Sammelson

1958 Class Agent