Class of '58
December 2007

50-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30-31, 2008

Dear ’58ers,

Reunion time!  May 30 - 31, 2008 on campus at Gustavus!


  1. When will we quit hearing about the reunion?     After it is over.
  1. Is it really that big a deal?      Yes.
  1. What will we do?  Reminisce, renew old friendships, share memories, exaggerate our accomplishments of our college days, laugh, engage in conversations with old friends, discover we are not all alike, remember those who have passed, have a glass of wine or beer on campus (legally) and generally have fun.

Also, attend a memorial service, have a class photo taken, do all of the above at the social hour and Class dinner, attend seminars, some led by members of our class, have a conversation at breakfast with a classmate who you did not know well in college, take a tour of the campus (see if you can find the former locations of the Ranchereno, classroom annex, Commerce and South Hall, baseball field, hockey rink and Art Barn.  (Did you ever wonder about the names of some of those buildings?), present our class gift to the College President, be inducted into the Gustavus Fifty-year Club, (Now, if you really want to see some old people), and some other interesting ideas that only you can think of for reunion fun.

  1. Is it really that big a deal?  Yes, it is our 50th anniversary and it only happens once.  Most of us will not be in better shape for our 60th and, in fact, some of us will not be attending the 60th.
  1. How do we make a reservation?  Now, you are talking.  The reservation forms will be sent around the beginning of April.  In the meantime, you can return the class census sheet if you have not already done so.  A member of the reunion committee will be phoning you in early January to encourage your attendance and answer some of your questions.
  1. What if my friends are not going?  Encourage them to join you; friends calling friends means more classmates at the reunion! Our goal is to have at least 60% of classmates attending and we hope to better that percentage, maybe we will set a new standard!  LARS LOFGREN has expressed his disappointment in not being able to come to the U.S. at that time so we will not make 100%.  The College had invited Lars to present on one of the reunion seminars and he will be missed.

7.      Where will we stay?  The Alumni Office will be sending a list of nearby hotels and motels with our registration materials.  Since this is Commencement weekend, many places in St Peter will be booked, but Mankato has many places to stay.  The College also offers the opportunity to stay in a residence hall (we called them dormitories).  The adventurous may wish to consider a possibility of tents on the lawns of either Wahlstrom or Johnson halls!

I took a break in my writing to attend the Gustie basketball games last night.  The women came from behind to win and the men came from ahead to lose.  There were nine varsity sports (all for men) when we were at Gustavus.  Now, there are twenty-five teams, thirteen for women.  Championships have been won in the past couple of years by women’s swimming, hockey, tennis, golf, softball and basketball while the men have won conference championships in swimming, soccer, tennis golf and basketball.

I am sad to report the death of DICK BRATT on November 20th.  His daughters wrote to me, “Dick was diagnosed with a rare disease called amyloidosis last April.  He fought hard, undergoing several rounds of chemotherapy, but his heart had sustained too much damage that was irreversible before the diagnosis was made and his health declined rapidly in the last couple of months”.  Dick was an enthusiastic and optimistic person who had many friends in our class.  Two of his daughters graduated from Gustavus in 1985 and 1989 and he greatly enjoyed coming back to the campus for the Alumni baseball games.  He was certainly one of my favorite people.

DENNIS ERICKSON has been involved with the Heifer International project for over ten years.  Heifer International is a nonprofit, humanitarian organization dedicated to ending world hunger by providing livestock, trees, training and other resources to help families around the globe become self-reliant.  Animals are given to individuals, along with teaching and caring guides, with the requirement that the individual must pass on the first female offspring to another person in their village.  The Erickson’s spend March and April of each spring at the Heifer Elderhostel Ranch with educational programs for visiting school groups and other individuals.  Dennis and MaryJo are retired teachers, who worked part-time after retirement in the Education Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato teaching classes and supervising student teachers.

Back to the reunion, one of the goals of the committee is to make sure that every member of the class is phoned by a classmate to invite them to the reunion.  Most of those calls will be made in January, although some will be earlier.  No longer will it be Bob and Sam calling!  Lucky you!


As part of the reunion program, the Alumni Office prints an edition of our addresses and brief biographies.  We suggested going a step further and are inviting you to submit a brief (300 words or less) remembrance/reflection of your time after graduation.  For example:

·        Is there someone you knew or something from your time at Gustavus that sustained you through a 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 by the end of February to Kathy Erlandsen, Associate Director of Alumni Giving, Gustavus, 800 West College Avenue, St Peter, MN 56082 or email her at

The Reunion committee recommended two class projects for our 50th reunion.  The first, the Christ Chapel accessibility project, would improve access to Christ Chapel for individuals with physical challenges.  We recommended that this project be a memorial for our departed classmate, BARBARA ANDREWSCAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST writes,

“As a member of the class of 1958, you may have memories of a smiling young woman greeting everyone as she made her way down Hello Walk in her wheelchair, or gratefully acknowledging the help of strong arms of her classmates as they carried her up the steps of the chapel.  Barbara Andrews was a shining thread in the fabric of our lives at Gustavus and her memory is still very precious to us.

Barbara was an outstanding student at Marshall High School in Minneapolis and continued her academic career at Gustavus with majors in economics and history.

Following her graduation in 1958, she served as a counselor for Lutheran Campus Ministry at the University of Minnesota.  Her self-proclaimed ‘need for knowledge and desire to have her own questions answered’ led her studies at Luther Seminary.  The ALC voted to ordain Barbara after she was called to be an assistant pastor at Edina Community Lutheran Church.  At her ordination there on December 20, 1970, special mention was made of her persistence and strength in standing against the odds of tradition―a woman working her way into a man’s world―with the additional challenge of working from a wheelchair.  What an accomplishment for women and people challenged by disability!

In May 1974, Barbara accepted a call from Lutheran Social Service as a chaplain at Luther Haven Nursing Home and later as an interim pastor at Resurrection Church in Detroit.  Four years after her call, she died tragically in a fire in her Detroit apartment.

How can we honor the memory of her remarkable life?  One of the class projects for our 50th anniversary is to make our current chapel accessible to all, as a tribute to a courageous, inspiring woman.  Perhaps you could consider a gift to this fund in honor of a very special classmate, Barbara Andrews.”

The College administration has this concern on its list of capital improvements, the challenge of 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 second approved 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 $25,000 is required to establish the endowment.  We set a goal of $200,000 which would provide annual scholarships of $9,000 each year.

In this letter is the Anniversary Class Giving card and return envelope.  This gives you the opportunity to make a pledge or a gift to Gustavus.  Let me anticipate some questions.

  1. Can we pledge to more than one project?   Yes.  We encourage support of the two designated projects, but you may make a gift to any project at Gustavus or to the Gustavus Alumni Fund, which supports the annual budget of the College.
  1. Let’s get serious.  Is this $2,000,000 goal realistic or is the committee just dreaming?  Yes, we think it is realistic.  We believe in our class, which has a history of being one of the most supportive classes of the College.
  1. What counts toward the $2,000,000?  A very good question.  Everything counts, including three or five year pledges, gifts to the endowment, recent additions to already created endowments, bequests to the College in your will, gifts to capital projects such as Old Main or the football stadium, anything given since June 1, 2007 and bequests made known since our last reunion (6-1-03).
  1. Is it possible to make a pledge for more than three years?  Yes.  A pledge may be made for five years if the annual amount is $2,500 or higher.  The entire pledge would count toward the goal.
  1. What if we wish to give real estate or stocks/bonds to the college as our gift?  Contact the Advancement Office; our reunion contact is Kathy Erlandsen at 507-933-6514.
  1. Sam, all you do is talk about money!  Is that what the reunion is about?  No, the first page of this letter is what it is all about!

Well then, why give?  If we believe that our experience was meaningful and if we believe that others should be able to have the same experience, then we want to make it possible.  There are so many good causes at Gustavus that you literally have a bounty of choices before you.  Carolyn wrote eloquently about the Chapel accessibility project as a memorial to Barbara Andrews.  Gifts for scholarships endowed or from the Gustavus Fund, support 25% of the scholarship program.  At one point in the College’s history, the church provided that support, but that has not been true in Lutheran education for a long time.  Government support for scholarships, both federal and state, have decreased or plateaued in the last ten years.

And now for some fun comparisons―then and now―1958 vs. 2007!







First year students



Percent Lutheran



Percent Roman Catholic



First year retention



Percent graduating



Number of majors



Computers for student use



Musical ensembles



Religious organizations






Special interest clubs



Percent of budget spent on scholarships



Faculty with PhD



The January class letter will hopefully contain more news, including some longer paragraphs from some of you!


Owen Sammelson

1958 Class Agent

For comments or questions – or 507-934-4790