Class of ’58

January 2012

Dear ʼ58ers,

A bleak winter here in the northland, no snow, temperature yet to go below zero, and, of course, this may all change in the days before you receive this letter.  Spring will soon be here (ha!) and flowers will begin to bloom, at least in the Gustavus library.

Mark your calendars now.  On May 4-6, the second Books in Bloom will be “showing” at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on the College campus.  Hosted by the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA), and chaired by classmate, MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON, Books in Bloom matches stunning floral arrangements with books, films, journals, and other media.  Placed throughout the Library, these displays draw attendees into all parts of the library and engages them in a visual exploration of the meaning of books.  GLA seeks presenting sponsors to cover the costs of Books in Bloom so that all bloom sponsorships go directly to the library’s acquisition fund to support the ever-expanding research and curriculum needs of students and faculty.

You are invited to sponsor a bloom−or find a partner to share a sponsorship−or send in smaller amounts which can then be aggregated to a sponsorship by the Class of 1958.  Several classmates have already made a commitment!  And if you have an interest (either personally or professionally) in flowers or floral design, you may want to consider designing a bloom to match the list of books and other media which will be on display during this innovative event.  In either case, please reach out to Marlys at or by phoning her at 507.934.1878.  Believe us, your time at Books in Bloom will be well spent.

Old admission officers salute ARLENE and STEPHEN HILDING, who have had four grandchildren attend Gustavus.  They include Benjamin ’09 and Stephen ’13, sons of Jonathan ’84 and Derek ’10 and Kyle ’14, sons of Gregory ’81.  And this fall, the fifth grandson, Austen, son of Greg, will become part of the class of 2016.

JIM MCPHERSON will return to the campus in April as the Sesquicentennial Scholar, meeting with students and delivering a public lecture on April 17.  Besides his distinguished career, Jim has at least two special distinctions at Gustavus.  He was the first male recipient of the First Decade Award in 1968 (the late ROBERTA ANDERSON GARDNER was the first female); he is also the only alumnus in the last 50 years to speak at two commencements, the first on our 25th anniversary in 1983 and the second in 1998, on our 40th anniversary.

Trivia question.  Has any other member of our class ever been a commencement speaker?

Yes, LARS LOFGREN in 1988, our 30th anniversary year.

I highly recommend the new history of Gustavus, GUSTAVUS, 150 YEARS OF HISTORY, written for the sesquicentennial celebration by Dave Kenney, a freelance writer specializing in Minnesota history.  A two-time Minnesota Book Award winner, he has written the history of many Minnesota institutions.  He also authored a coffee-table pictorial history of Gustavus , entitled 150 YEARS OF IMAGES AND STORIES.  They are available at the Book Mark on campus.

LIANA LIEN ’13, the current recipient of the Class of 1958 Endowed Scholarship, will be studying at City University in London this spring semester.  The 1958 Scholarship Endowment is now over $100,000 and growing.  We hope you will continue to support this class-project which helps support the educational goals of some wonderful young people.  The college policy provides for an award equal to 4.5% of the three-year average of the endowment.

BOB PETERSON recently celebrated his 81st birthday at Pheasant’s Ridge Assisted Living Center in St. Peter.  Not one to admit the toll of Parkinson’s on his physical health, Bob continues to think and plan for ways in which Gustavus might continue to move forward.  Even in casual conversation, he will talk about the new plans for the College and ways in which the fund raising goals might be enhanced.  Bob retired in 1996 as Vice President for College Relations and Development after 39 years at Gustavus.  He also served as one of our class agents for 32 years.

Eighty is a popular number with some of the men in our class.  ELLWOOD JOHNSON says “In early November, I passed a big milestone−the visual test for my driver’s license.  I’m now good for another five years.  Then, on the 18th, I hit the big one−80 years−I can’t believe it—it has to be the buttered noodles and vitamins.  I’m feeing good and the little VA sidebars give me something to talk about.”

The women in our class are much younger; I don’t know of any army veterans in that group.  We were able to assist SUSAN MOTHERWELL GALE with some old Weekly photos, including one with Susan and others on the homecoming float in the fall of 1958.  The photo she sent in return certainly indicates that she can’t possibly be 75!

HERBERT and PHYLLIS ANDERSON have purchased a retirement home in Sonoma, CA, in the heart of the wine country.  (Herbert says he has come a long way since 1954 as a freshman presem at Gustavus.)  Phyllis has a couple more years until she retires from the presidency of Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley.  Herbert will soon have four more books translated into Korean and he made a recent trip to Korea, which included a book signing, “more than he had in the rest of his life.”

A special thanks to the early donors, from last summer to early fall, helping the class off to a good start.


News From Carolyn…

Happy New Year ʼ58 classmates!

The first week of 2012, I granted myself a “do-nothing” vacation.  After cooking for 12 for one week at Christmas, I literally did NOTHING for one week.  Daughter, Susan’s family hosted the Sandvig family near St. Cloud.  Their pond froze beautifully so we skated every day in warm weather and hardly missed the snow and skiing.

A couple of minor corrections from the last letter.  JOYCE STRAND MARVEL lives in a home, not a townhome, complete with a yard and swimming pool that needs attention.  And now we have discovered that VIRA ERICKSON STENJHEM died several years ago, not last fall.  We have not heard from anyone with more than fifteen grandchildren so STANLEY and KAREN (HOLMEN) HUBBARD will continue to hold that record.

I ran into WESTEN ANDERSON in Macy’s at the Mall of America.  He admitted that he was very out-of-his-element as he shopped for their upcoming trip to Marco Island, FL.  Hoping for warmer weather in Florida, but MARY ELLEN YOUNG is on the golf course most every day.

I heard from MARTHA BANKE CURTIS at Christmas.  Their oldest grandchild will graduate from Bethel University in pre-med and is planning a summer medical mission trip to Europe.  The middle school kids, Erik, David and Margaret will go on a mission trip to Portland, OR with their school, Heritage Christian Academy.

I talked to KAREN “KATY” LANGE THORPE this week.  My guess is that she has the daily exercise record for our class.  Living in California, she walks ten miles every day!  If she golfs first, she only walks five miles.  (As soon as I get this letter in the mail, I am going out for my weekly two-mile walk, unless it is really cold.  It’s very easy for me to find excuses.)  Katy’s oldest grandchild, Hilary, was recently engaged and will be married in June, after getting her nursing degree.  Son, Michael is the risk manager for Chico State College in northern California.  Her youngest, Megan, lives within two hours and gets frequent visits from Katy to visit the two young boys who are not involved in the usual T-ball, but in horses and rodeos.  Katy was on her computer when I called, planning a dinner for 30 members of her church Alter Guild.  Wow!

I was watching PBS last week on “the Assassination of Lincoln,” heard a familiar voice, looked up and there was JIM MCPHERSON talking to me.

You have received some of the colorful brochures from Gustavus, as well as the Quarterly, of buildings, events, student activities and many of these great photos are taken by our own ANDERS BJORLING.  President Ohle’s Christmas card featured a photo of Old Main as seen through snow-laden trees and was another of Anders’ beautiful photos.  I suggested that he send it in to Minnesota Public Television as they were requesting winter photos.

So, when you see a photo you like in a Gustavus publication, check the credits.

Be sure to send in news!  My mailing address is at the end of the letter.  Thanks, Carolyn


Several classmates have responded to our requests for news or comments; first we will hear from LOIS WALFRID JOHNSON.

“Recently my husband, Roy, and I talked about how meaningful it is when we can take someone we know from our past−even from our child or young adulthood− and carry that person into who we are now.  Because of my years at Gustavus there are many of you who have been that kind of person for me.

I begin with NANCY JO JOHNSON PETERSON.  She was my special friend in my fourth grade class of five students at Goose Lake, a two-room country school outside Scandia, MN.  HERB ANDERSON came there after my family left, but I always knew that a portion of his roots came from the same place.  And now, Herbert, after great leadership in so many church bodies, you are catering food to large groups?  What a wonderful skill!

And my freshmen section at Wahlstrom−MARTHA TELLEEN PETERSON, MARY ELLEN YOUNG, JODY SPRINGER LANGE, and others.  MIM ANDERSON OLSEN in a sophomore section.  All of you in Hill House our junior year.  MARLYS JOHNSON JOHNSON working in the library.  Every one of you, and so many others, made my life meaningful.  This last month I’ve been thinking especially about my senior roomie, WANDA HEUER JOHNSON, and her husband Lloyd because I’ve been working with a Swedish publisher.  Lloyd was always the best student in our Swedish class, and I’m grateful that the publisher knows more English than I know Swedish.  Even with the help of ANDERS BJORLING, I could never pronounce the Swedish word for “seven” correctly!

But, it’s been BOB PETERSON and SAM who have kept us together all these years through the class letters and the notes that have made all of you, and what you have been doing, real to the rest of us.  Thanks to both of you, Bob and Sam, for every time you didn’t feel like writing a letter, but you did.  Thanks for caring about what happened to us.  Thanks for bringing reality to our changing lives and keeping the memories of the many in our class that we have cherished.  And thanks for bringing us to our 50th reunion.

Bob, we are so grateful for all you have done on our behalf.  We are grateful that the College has honored you.  And now, thank you, Carolyn, for returning as a class officer, and for telling us about Sam and the recent honors given him by the College.

My big congrats, Sam, for being inducted into the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame in the benefactor category.  Thank you for your vision of the importance of athletics and the experience of the student athlete.  Thank you for the vision with which you saw what was needed and did it.  Thank you for how faithfully you led so many others for 46 years.  And that includes us, your classmates, for even more years.  Thank you! 

Being short of news, Sam asked if I’d tell something about what I’ve been doing.  My husband, Roy, has always been the best idea person for the novels I write.  Yes, I am still working, but it’s okay, because most of the time (now always) I enjoy what I’m doing.  Recently, I had a “never thought I’d see it” experience when two rows of high school boys came into my writing workshop.  They sat as a group and took part in plotting a story because they like my Viking Quest series−cliffhangers and all.

This week I needed to update my bio and figure out a book count for an editor.  That’s something I don’t do unless necessary because I don’t want to focus on that.  I’d rather talk about the Lord’s help and how he answered a prayer that came out of a great disappointment.

Years ago, a man from one of my classes asked me to go to India and teach writing to Christians in his area.  I said “I can’t do that.  I don’t know your markets.  Your magazines are different from ours.”  He sent me some magazines.  I read them and promised to go.  But I needed to raise the money and couldn’t.I was very upset.  When I complained loudly to the Lord he made the words of Psalm 2:8 jump off the page.  “Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession.”  I thought, “ Oh, good!  I’m going to get to travel all over!  It didn’t happen.  Except for researching the Viking Quest novels in the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Norway.  I haven’t traveled nearly as much as some of you.  Instead the Lord started influencing people to translate my books.  By now 37 translated books have come out of the 38 books he’s helped me create.

But what means the most to me are the kids who have written, from more than 40 countries, to say, “I love your books, I can’t put them down!”  Even better, “God used your books to change my life.”


Thanks, Lois, for your thoughtful comments and memories.  Carolyn and I appreciate these longer essays, as well as shorter news items.  We can’t write these letters without your help.  You will find our addresses at the end of this letter.  Let us hear from you!

RON and MARILYN MICHELSON moved from California to Alaska two years ago and so continues their dialogue on their “favorite state:”

“Although we are going through the toughest Alaska winter in decades, we really haven’t minded it all that much.  Because of our situation with mountains on three sides, the Valley, unlike Anchorage, hasn’t received all that much snow, comparatively speaking.  Less than three feet, I think.  Our winters in Wasilla still don’t measure up to what I experienced in good old Minnesota.

All in all, there are climates I would rather be experiencing during the months of December through March, but there is so much going on here that we wouldn’t want to miss.  Winter is pretty much the social time of the year.  We have season tickets to the (Mat-Su) Valley Performing Arts Theater, which we enjoy.  We attend every Wasilla home football and basketball game, plus road games at the neighboring high schools, Palmer and Colony.  By the way, if Gustavus has not carried on your tradition of recruiting up here [They still do.], I think they are missing the boat.  I am convinced this place has some of the finest young people that I have seen in a long time.  We see them at sports events.  We see them in the parks.  We talk to them.  In the 19 months that we have been here, we have never seen anything going on with these kids that would be objectionable−−in California, it would two hours max.

All of Alaska seems to spare no expense in keeping kids busy.  Within a radius of 10 miles we can be at either of two large (one huge) sports centers that any major city would envy.  In the Wasilla Sports Center, the house that Sarah built, you could have a professional arena football game and a hockey game going on at the same time and still be able to jog on the elevated track.  But for the most part, the facilities are occupied by kids−of all ages.  The high school gymnasiums are also first rate.  The Wasilla girl’s basketball team has already played in Juneau and Barrow; a range of nearly 1,100 miles.

The culture up here is, I think, unique.  Where we have lived in the past, a stranger was, well, a stranger, until he was properly introduced or had paid his dues to show he really wasn’t a stranger.  Up here it seems that a stranger is just someone you haven’t yet talked to and maybe it’s a good time to catch up.  Marilyn is a member of the Lions Club and I will soon be a member.  As you probably know, the Lions are a charitable organization and what they want from us is our time.  Until the sands run out, we have a little extra of that.  Although I still consult with my clients in California, my workload is now down to about five to seven hours per week.  Comes in handy though.

            During my career years, we spent eight years in the D.C. area and more than 20 years in the Silicon Valley.  I treasure the experiences we had in both places.  But in retrospect, I would have traded all of those for 28 more years in Alaska.  However, if our visas check out, we are leaving to spend ten days in Hawaii.  I don’t think a little excessive warmth will do any permanent damage do you?


Thanks Ron.  For the rest of you, I traveled to Alaska each fall for ten years to recruit Alaskans to Gustavus.  I greatly enjoyed the young people I met and at one time we had about 30 Alaskans at Gustavus, most of them from greater Anchorage and Fairbanks.  I am sorry I never made it to either Nome or Barrow, but I did get to Ketchikan and Sitka in the other direction.  I agree with Ron that they are a unique people.

BILL and MARLYS BINGER just attended their oldest grandson’s wedding.  He had just returned from Afghanistan.  Marlys is still mending from five heart surgery procedures.  PAUL BORG attended a week long Swedish Language Camp this fall near Bemidji.  Paul and Marian (Fickes ʼ59) hope to attend the “last” gathering of the Augustana Heritage Association at Gustavus this June.  I hope someone will send me more information about that event because many of us who were raised in the Augustana Synod might wish to attend.

DALE and NANCY NOYED spent some time in New Mexico this year and cruised around Italy last year.  Jan and I took a Costa Cruise several years ago.  It was a great trip, but we may not choose to do that again.


We thank you all for your support.  I find it interesting and welcoming that 60% of the class of 1958 makes a donation every year.  EVERY YEAR!  Another 20% are more casual, but make a donation every other year, almost.  And the final 20%, we keep hoping for surprises!

Most of you contribute to the Annual Fund, the mainstream of support for Gustavus.  We remind you of the Christ Chapel accessibility project; I keep asking the administration when something might happen and the project is still alive, just not happening yet.

As we mentioned, the 1958 Class scholarship is now over $100,000 and we welcome gifts to this important project, directly helping students attend Gustavus.

Many of you choose other projects such as the Gustavus Library Associates, the Linneaus Arboretum, various athletic teams, individual family scholarships, the Bjorling music scholarships, and other projects of interest.  It all counts!

Remember to send news, whether a short item or a longer essay, we would enjoy hearing from you!


Carolyn Lund Sandvig

5901 Park Avenue South

Minneapolis MN  55417

(612) 866-4845

Owen Sammelson

618 West Nassau

St Peter, MN 56082

(507) 934-4790


Campus News

Campaign Update

Great news―since the campaign announcement on September 30, Gustavus has secured an additional $5 million in commitments. We are now over $76 million toward our $150 million goal.  Thank you to everyone who has contributed.  Everyone can participate with your annual fund donation this year and be included in the overall total.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  Here is a list of some upcoming chapter events.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Naples - Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - Naples Beach Club and Hotel

Tampa - Thursday, February 9, 2012 - Malio’s Prime

San Francisco - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Hs Lordship

Los Angeles - Sunday, February 19, 2012 – The Paley Center

Palm Springs - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Escena Golf Club

Sun City - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Briarwood Country Club

Phoenix - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Rita’s Kitchen

Tucson - Friday, February 24, 2012 - Warren and Donna Beck’s Residence

Seattle - Friday, March 16, 2012 - The Swedish Cultural Center

Denver - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Three Tomatoes Steakhouse and Club at Fossil Trace

Gustavus Music Showcase in the Twin Cities

Tickets are now on sale for the Music Showcase!  The Music Showcase will be taking place on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis.  The Showcase will feature the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band.  This is a great opportunity to hear four major touring ensembles, showcasing the excellent music program at Gustavus.  Each ensemble will perform a piece commissioned for the concert and in honor of the College’s Sesquicentennial.  Tickets are $17.50 for general admission and $10 for students.  For more information or to order tickets visit:

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  February will feature JoNes Van Hecke ʼ88, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and speaker for March will be Jeff Owen ʼ92, Assistant Professor in Economics/Management and Environmental Studies.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Join Gustavus Library Associates

“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years.  What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)?  GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College.  All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.

With this in mind, I encourage you all to become GLA members.  You can find the application form on the web at:  You’ll find all the news about the organization’s events and the membership forms along with a list of membership options.