Class of '58
January 2010

Dear ’58ers,

Another January, more snow, more ice and more hope that spring here in Minnesota is only months away.

This letter is an experiment.  Those of you with an email address available to the College will receive this letter by email.  The rest of you will receive the letter by first class mail.  This is a one-time experiment and your comments are welcome.

  • It’s about time the class letter writer entered the modern era.  Let’s continue with email letters.
  • No, I like to read the letters before I fall sleep.  They help my insomnia.
  • I don’t read the letters anyway.  (DO NOT CHECK THIS ITEM.)
  • Email letters makes it easier for me to send news to the class agent. (CHECK THIS ONE.)

I hope you will email or write me with your opinions and send news at the same time.  First class mail is not always an option because of cost.  By the way, 98 of the 184 classmates on our list have an email address.

Thanks to those of you who have made your gift for this year.  A list of donors since October 15 will follow later in the letter.  The Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship is now at $83,594 with another $10,225 in pledges to be paid over the next two years.  Fantastic!  Thanks to those of you who have supported this scholarship.  Only one other class (1962) has a larger endowment and they started at their 40th reunion.  We have an excellent chance of reaching $100,000 with your continued support.  Let’s do it!

The first recipient of the Class of 1958 Scholarship is Liana Lien, a first year student from Carlos, MN (Alexandria High School).  I have invited her to tell us something about herself in the next letter.  Her scholarship will be worth $4,500 when we achieve our $100,000 goal.

The totals for the Christ Chapel accessibility project are $40,410 in contributions and $5,175 in pledges.  Remember, there is also an anonymous bequest of $165,000 to this project, which would not have been received if our class had not started the project.  Again, hats off to CAROLYN CLOGSTON ENGQUIST and PAT TRENCH ROSENBERG!

Speaking of scholarships, I noticed in the last Honors Day Program that several members of our class started endowed scholarships several years ago.  They include the NOEL D. and FRANCIS C, BEHNE Scholarship for students from high schools in Jackson and Martin counties, the Professor George W. and Edith M. Anderson Scholarship, honoring the parents of BARBARA ANDERSON JOHNSON, and the BARBARA ANDREWS Scholarship, honoring our late classmate.  Also the Edith M. and Arnold H. Johnson Scholarship, started originally by LLOYD JOHNSON’S parents and continuing to be funded by the family, the JOANNE NELSON MC CARTHY Scholarship for students from rural Minnesota and the Wiberg/Thompson Memorial Scholarship established by the children and grandchildren of Perley and Berncie Wiberg, including MARK WIBERG.  I believe that MARLYS (JOHNSON) and STUART ’61 JOHNSON and BOB and RENAE PETERSON also have scholarships in place.

I read in the local newspaper that some are predicting rail passenger service between Mankato and the Twin Cities by 2016.  This reminded me that BOB PETERSON arrived by train in St Peter in the fall of 1954!  I spoke with Bob last month about that and asked that he write about his career at Gustavus in our letters.  The first installment follows with the second half in the April letter.  Bob now resides at Pheasants Ridge Assisted Living Center at 1087 Sunrise Drive in St Peter.  Bob may have the distinction of being the senior member of our class as he turned 79 last October.  He spent four years in the Navy and two years working before he came to Gustavus.  Here are his words:

            “Several weeks ago, good friend Sam, our esteemed class agent, came by my digs at Pheasants Ridge, a local assisted living center, where I presently live.  As it often happens when Sam and I are together, at some point the conversation shifts to Gustavus, reflecting the ongoing, but increasing passion we have felt for more than fifty years that Gustavus is a very special place, but one that needs growth in many areas in order for the College to be viewed as one of the nation’s finest liberal arts colleges.

            Sam wondered if I might be willing to write something about my work at Gustavus during my 38 years of service to the College.  So, here goes!  Service in the Augustana Lutheran Church had always been on my mind during my years as a student at Gustavus.  However, as I thought about my life’s direction, it centered more on the idea of seeking a law degree, preparing myself to achieve a position for possible service to the church as an attorney at the national church level or to begin at the synodical level in preparation for later responsibility within the national headquarters of the Augustana Lutheran Church.  Some of my classmates may recall my thinking about preparing to serve the Church, but that I did not wish to serve in the ordained ministry.

            Howard Holcomb, then Director of Admissions, and President Edgar Carlson ’30, both of whom I consider as having been my most important mentors, saw the depth of my interest in serving the Church.  They suggested that working in the College’s administration might become the route that would allow me to serve the Church in the best possible way.  I like to think so too and perhaps Sam will write of similarities in a future class letter.  I like to think of Gustavus as a partnership of colleagues across the College that have had stunning success in their efforts to serve students well in all ways, intellectually, spiritually, socially and physically.  Certainly, I look at it that way.

            I think the faculty is the College.  The faculty’s support comes first from the Board of Trustees, then the President and the other chief officers of the administration.  Others in the academic partnership include students, parents, alumni and other friends of the College who value church-related higher education.  There are also others like public officials from state and national governments, national and international foundations and private individuals whose generosity and interests are part of the College’s life.

In responding to Sam’s suggestion that I write about my approach to working on behalf of the College during the time it was my privilege to be part of the Gustavus administration, I can begin with my first appointment, as an admissions counselor in the Office of Admission.  This was a significant area to be baptized into college administration.  I truly believe it is one of the most critical administrative positions in a college that is as under-funded as is Gustavus.  However, Gustavus seeks and is very successful in keeping the College accessible with financial aid and attractive to students of high academic promise.

            Service on the admissions staff enabled me to gain a reasonably important view of the hopes and dreams of young men and women who were considering higher education as their step for their full, productive lives.  They were largely concerned about quality (excellence), affordability, and the social life typical of Gustavus.

Quality of the academic program throughout the College was the most important.  The need for growth which I mentioned earlier is in facilities for program, endowment to support scholarships for students whose family incomes are so limited that attendance at Gustavus seems impossible, and funding to continue support for a superior faculty and, not least, to strengthen the church-related mission of the College.”

Thank you Bob, we will look forward to the next edition.  And now for some news.  Some of you may be aware of the deaths of two faculty members this past month.  Chester Johnson, professor of geology, died on December 8 at the age of 96 and was joined by his wife, Marian (Swanson ’41), a few weeks later.  After retiring from teaching, Chester worked in the Gustavus library as the archivist for the Minnesota and Red River Valley Synods until he retired from that at age 88!  Clair Johnson of the religion department came to Gustavus the fall after we graduated and also passed away this month.  Dr Bernhard Erling ’43 preached at all three funerals.

ROBERT CHRISTENSON is still doing health consulting, as he has done for 45 years.  About 15 years ago, he co-founded the Minnesota Health Care Roundtable and he has been the moderator of 32 Roundtables on major health issues facing Minnesota.  They have 8 health care experts who serve as panelists debating challenging issues.  Robert’s other job is as president of BioCard Technology, LLC, a company he helped launch with two associates a year ago.  They are working on securing a major project in Indonesia. “Life could not be more wonderful.”

DOROTHY (RYLANDER ’59) and JOHN JOHNSON celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September and are now wintering in Pine Island, FL as are ROLLIE and MARY HIRMANBUD and KAREN BOBERG are also in Florida, but Bud continues his youth ministry while there.  JERRY and DANA (KNOBEL ’60) HESSER are in Lake Havasu City AZ.  DICK EKLUND has retired from being a sales associate in men’s clothing for J.C. Penny.

And now thanks to the following for their gifts to Gustavus from October 15 to January 15:


Our class total now is $55,897 from 68 classmates for a participation rate of 37%.  Participation is our goal!  We hope we hear from another 68 of you.


Happy New Year!

Carolyn Lund Sandvig

Owen Sammelson

1958 Co-class Agents

Campus News

New “Make Your Life Count” Website and Facebook Page

Gustavus has created a new “Make Your Life Count” website that includes a variety of feature stories exemplifying the College’s new brand position launched last month.  The stories celebrate Gustavus students, alumni, faculty, staff, programs, events, and organizations.  The website may be accessed from the Gustavus homepage by clicking on the “Make Your Life Count” brand line (in the upper right hand corner) or by visiting  The “Make Your Life Count” stories are also posted on a new Facebook page.  Become a fan and share your own Gustavus story.  When new feature stories are published, they will be communicated on the Gustavus News Twitter, and you may also subscribe (on the Make Your Life Count website) to receive e-mail updates.  To submit a “Make Your Life Count” story suggestion, click on the “Submit your story” link or e-mail the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication at

Gustavus Wind Orchestra

This year the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will be touring in Eastern Europe the week of January 21 –February 3.  Stops include Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria and Germany.   They will perform at various churches, theaters and even exchange with a local music school.  Their home concert will take place in Christ Chapel on Saturday, February 13, at 2:00 p.m.

“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:  Doug Minter ’79 Director of Student Financial Aid and Kirk Carlson ’95, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid – Feb. 17.

Upcoming Events

  • Feb. 9 – Destin, Florida brunch – Another Broken Egg Café
  • Feb. 13 – Gustavus Wind Orchestra Home Concert – Christ Chapel, 2:00 p.m.
  • Feb. 17 – Twin Cities Breakfast – Gustavus Financial Officers
  • Feb. 19 – Tucson Chapter Event – Warren and Donna (Gabbert) Beck ’67 ’66 residence
  • Feb. 20 – Phoenix Chapter Event – Larry and Deone (Nordquist) Cartford ’59 ’59 residence