Class of '59
March 2000


The "winter" edition of our class letter is a bit late this year and?as you will notice?a bit shorter version as well…my apologies. I can rationalize and say that it doesn’t seem like winter with the mild weather that we have experienced in recent weeks. La Nina has replaced El Nino as the latest weather phenomenon. Y2K arrived with hardly a ripple…how did you spend your New Years Eve? Election year politics is starting to heat up…or is it "same old, same old?" A year ago at this time we were anticipating our Fortieth Reunion. Anniversary classes this year will be celebrating their graduation anniversaries in the fall as a part of Homecoming Weekend rather than during Commencement Weekend in the spring. Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read the winter edition of the Gustavus Quarterly with its focus on diversity as well as other campus news…an excellent publication!

Gustavus Fund Update -

Contributions to the Gustavus Fund from the Class of ’59 are very slow to come in. As you know, the Gustavus Fund is the merger of all of the separate and related funding projects that we were asked to respond to in the past. As of mid-year, the Gustavus Fund had received contributions from only 62 members of the Class ’59. While still ambitious, our goal of 65% (147 people) still seems attainable as does total contributions of $90,000 ?both are modest increases over our record setting 1998-99 performance. Spring Phonorama will take place between March 20-30. If you haven’t been contacted yet this year, be ready to respond when the call comes. Your gifts are greatly appreciated!

Gustie News-

Gustavus fared well in two recently released national rankings that affirm its mission of preparing students for "fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society." Gustavus is the #1 small college in the Midwest for the number of its alumni that currently serve as Peace Corps volunteers. With 18 Gustavus alumni now in the Peace Corps, Gustavus ranks sixth in the national "Top 10 Peace Corps Small Colleges and Universities" list, moving up from 12th last year. This list comprises institutions that have less than 5,000 undergraduates. Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges named to the list of 30. The College also ranked 14th in the nation among baccalaureate institutions for the number of students it sends overseas. The annual ranking, released in December by the Institute of International Education in its "Open Doors 1998-99" report, was based on study abroad statistics from the 1997-98 academic year. Gustavus was one of six Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20, making Minnesota the most active study-abroad state in the nation. During the 1997-98 school year, 286 Gustavus students traveled and studied abroad. Approximately 30 percent of Gustavus' graduating seniors have a study abroad experience.

The Kresge Challenge has been met! Vice President for College Relations Dennis Johnson '60 has announced that the fundraising requirements for the Kresge Challenge have been met, qualifying the College to receive $1 million from the foundation. The College was challenged to raise $4.3 million for the Campus Center, an Olympic-sized track, and tree replacement in a 13-month period ending January 31. All three projects have been exceeded. The Gustavus Pride Campaign (campus employee campaign) was a key component in the success of the overall challenge. College officials are pleased that 60% of Gustavus faculty, administrators, staff, and retired employees made gifts and pledges to the College totaling more than $721,530 in the last year and 53% contributed in excess of $375,000 to the "Building a Greater Gustavus" campaign. This is very significant in that it not only helped meet the Kresge Challenge, but also demonstrates to the many foundations, philanthropists, alumni, and friends that the employees of Gustavus share the vision and mission of the College.

Construction on the new Campus Center is complete with the exception of some finishing touches on the former dining service building. Many offices have moved to their new location in the Campus Center including Admission, Dean of Students, Student Activities and Residential Life. Construction of the new International House-Swedish House, a new residence hall/international center to replace Johnson Hall and the Swedish House that were destroyed in the March 1998 tornado, has begun. Construction on an outdoor track and new soccer field stadium will begin this summer. If you have not been back to campus lately, you are encouraged to make a visit to see these exciting changes.

If you can not make it back to campus, but want to stay connected, check out the Internet site at The college is thrilled to recently have hired a web coordinator who has been busy updating the Gustavus home page. Look for more changes to alumni services on the web coming this spring.

Members of the New Millenium: Knowing that we are in a technological age, we want to encourage all alumni to get involved and get online. If you have access to a computer and the Internet, we hope you will check out the Gustavus Alumni Association homepage regularly. We publish information about upcoming events, post class letters, provide information about the Alumni Office, list e-mail addresses of alumni and more. Check us out under the alumni section at

We are planning on corresponding on a regular basis with all alumni who have e-mail addresses. Please send a message to so we can get you on the list. (Be sure to keep us posted on any e-mail address changes, also.)

If you live in the Brainerd Lakes area you are invited and encouraged to attend a

Brainerd Lakes Chapter event with Jim Gilbert ’60 on April 13.

Class of 1950, 50 Year Club, and War Years and V-12 reunions - May 27-28

A reminder that all other reunion classes (1955, 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990 and 1995) will have their reunions at Homecoming on September 29-30.

A new method of giving to the College is now available! Lutheran Brotherhood created a highly successful and popular program for Lutheran churches called Simply Giving and has just extended this opportunity to Gustavus and other Lutheran colleges. Simply Giving is an automatic bank draft program that allows you to make regular monthly gifts from a checking or savings account to the College. You do not need to be Lutheran to participate, there is no cost to you or the College for this service, and you can make changes at any time. For so many people, it is much easier to give $50 a month than to write a $600 check once a year. Please call Heather Nancarrow at (800) 726-6192 or (507) 933-7518, or e-mail her at to request more information.

News of Gusties-

Not a lot of news from classmates this time. Pledges and news notes have been slow in coming in to the Alumni Office. Hopefully a call during Phonorama will result in more news.

Dennis Anderson has announced his plans to retire as president of Trinity Lutheran Seminary, Columbus, OH, next November following ten years in that position. The press release announcing the retirement plans indicates that during his tenure the Seminary enrollment has grown significantly and $26 million has been raised in the first phase of a major gifts project dedicated to endowing five faculty positions, increasing faculty salaries, and creating a Center for Educational Ministry in the Parish, as well as renovating existing buildings on campus. Dennis and wife, Barbara, live in Westerville, OH, and have two married children and four grandchildren.

Duane Aldrich was able to sell me some more insurance before he and wife, Barbara, left on a three-week bus tour of southern California.

Following the fall class letter, Hope Pluto Annexstad called to say that she and husband, Glenn, had built a house in Scottsdale, AZ, and were looking forward to spending the winter there and seeing other Gusties at the Sun City Chapter Alumni gathering in February.

John and Lillian (Hanson x61) Edman have moved cross-country?from Massachusetts to California. John has taken a new position as professor and director of the Center for Vector-Borne Diseases at the University of California-Davis.

December 1, 1999 marked the retirement date for Jerry Hoffman as senior pastor of Nativity Lutheran Church in St. Anthony Village following 20 years of service there.

Dorothy Rylander Johnson writes from Gibbon, MN…"Our lives are fairly ‘normal.’ John ’58 is retired and our son, Mark, is in the family business. We now have seven grandchildren. Our time is split three ways?Gibbon, Leech Lake and Florida.”

The note from Ron and Lorene (Johnson ’61) Johnson was written during one of the rare moments when they happened to be at home. Retirement has found them quite busy with traveling and with kids and grandkids in Tucson, Minnesota and New York City, they are always on the go. One of the highlights was seeing a new granddaughter born to youngest son, Gregg, and his wife in Arizona. Their grandson in Minnesota is 3 ½ and VERY active. Another highlight was a walking tour in the British Cotswolds with a super group of people. It’s been a "trip-of-the-month" year for the Johnsons. They were able to spend December and January at home with all of the family plus in-laws there for Christmas.

Bill and Avis Baldwin Rill are enjoying spending the winter months in Mesa; AZ?would love a call from friends in the area.

Marion Johnson Sansted and husband, Laverne, of Fargo, ND, are both retired. Last August they welcomed granddaughter, Zia, into the world?their fourth grandchild. Their son, Doug, is an attorney in Westport, CT, and younger son, Rick, is teaching in Edina and making wedding plans for July, 2000.

Phonorama calls from last fall brought news from the following classmates…

Larry (‘56) and Sharon Wolff Baker still live in Nisswa, MN. Stop by "Baker’s Best Fudge" if you’re in the area.

Karen Wahlstrom Compton was contacted at home in Longboat Key, FL. Her husband Duane is a retired dentist.

Wilt Croonquist continues as the administrator for the Kandiyohi County Economic Development Partnership and his wife, Betty, is a nurse at Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar. Last summer they enjoyed a trip to England.

Ron Hawkinson is the social services supervisor for Chisago County. He and wife, Ellen, live in Center City, MN.

Peter Spell has retired as a mathematics teacher in Minneapolis.

In Closing -

On the home front…from the Erickson household…my transition into full retirement is going well. Each year I have fewer and fewer contacts with the school district?just enough to keep in touch with valued colleagues and conversant with new initiatives in education. We were able to shorten the winter by spending January on Sanibel Island, FL. Another Gustie?class of 2022(?)?entered the world as our son Mike ’89 and his wife, Lisa, welcomed their first child, Julia, on March 12. That’s grandchild number five for us! Linda and I will be joining a number of friends and former colleagues on a tour of northern Europe in May?hoping to get a few days to search out our grandparents roots.

That’s it for this edition. I hope this letter finds you and yours well. Don’t forget the Gustavus Fund…and send in your news so we can pass it on in the spring class letter!

’Till next time…take care!

John Erickson
1959 Class Agent
15150 Williston Lane
Minnetonka, MN 55345
telephone: (612) 935-2442
fax: (612) 988-4020