Class of '59
October 2000


Fall is a great time of year! It is a season filled with nostalgia as well as a variety of emotions and feelings. As the days grow shorter, and our lives return to some semblance of normalcy following the diversity and miscellany of the summer months, it also signals a time of renewal and a fresh start for those whose lives are linked with school and/or the church calendar. Returning to the Gustavus campus a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by the paradox of sameness and newness. Some things don't change¾ students lounging around campus, chatting over lunch in the cafe, heading for the library to "hit the books" for a couple of hours, getting excited about a Saturday afternoon football or soccer game…yet a new student body was evident with new dreams and new expectations anticipating new opportunities to grow in body, mind and spirit during the coming months. Here is a campus that has or will become a home away from home for these students, providing comfortable and familiar surroundings, while at the same time sporting a new look reflecting the changes and improvements brought about by the need to address the requirements of society in the new millennium. It made me very thankful on two fronts...first, that I was NOT a student again, facing the challenges and uncertainties that today's younger generation have in front of them...and secondly, that I WAS able to benefit from a Gustavus educational experience second to none that prepared me for a fulfilling and well-rounded life. It was an exhilarating visit and great to see the campus in all its splendor!

Gustavus Fund Update-

Fall Phonorama is coming soon! As you know, Phonorama is one of the main means we have of supporting the Gustavus Fund. Contributions to the Gustavus Fund can be designated for some specific cause at the donor's choice or can be left as undesignated and will supplement the college budget. Either way, the true beneficiaries are the students who will receive a quality education at one of the top liberal arts colleges in the country. Sixty-eight percent of the students at Gustavus receive some level of financial aid. This year, in addition to Lutheran Brotherhood, AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) now has a matching gift program. If you are an AAL policyholder, let Gustavus know and they can increase your support for the College by up to $100. For nonmembers, AAL offers an Associate Membership program. For $10 per year, you and members of your family can become Associate Members of AAL with matching gift benefits. Let me know if you want more information about this opportunity.

Our class participation last year was just over 56%, below our performance of 1998-99 (61 %) and well short of our goal of 65% of the class. We ranked last in the decade of the 50's (1950-1959). Total dollar giving from our class last year was just over $37,000, again well below previous years. Class '59 goals for the 2000-01 school year have been set at 63% participation and total giving of $63,000 in recognition of the fact that many of our classmates will have reached or soon will reach the age of 63 this year! Nationally, Gustavus ranks 39th among 160 liberal arts schools in percentage of alumni giving, according to US News and World Report. The College goal is to move up in the standings-hopefully in the top 25. Let's see what the ’59ers can do to help achieve that goal.

Phonorama will take place during the last two weeks of October, with a repeat in early March. We're hoping a strong contingent of callers will be on the phones to call for your pledges. This year, as in the past couple of years, GusLink (the group of student callers) will be a part of the Gustavus Fund telephone campaign. Throughout the school year, a team of 30 Gustavus students will be calling alumni asking for their pledges. Either way, be thinking about your commitment for this year and be ready to respond when the phone call comes your way! Your gifts are greatly appreciated.

Gustie News-

The last weekend in September saw Homecoming descend on the Gustavus campus. And what a glorious weekend it was! The weather was more than cooperative. In addition to friends and alumni returning for Homecoming (including a win over Concordia on the football field and a win over St. Johns on the soccer field), classes whose graduation year ends in "5" or "0" met to observe their reunions. Celebrations started on Friday evening at the Hotel Sofitel in Bloomington and moved on campus on Saturday.

On Saturday, September 30, many of the alums returning to campus also attended the dedication of three new sites that represent the culmination of twenty-eight months of construction and campus improvements. The International Center, the Hillstrom Museum of Art, and the new soccer/track & field facilities are now complete and operational. The new Campus Center which replaces the former student union includes expanded facilities for meeting space, offices, Book Mark, post office, etc. was dedicated last April. Over $85 million has been spent to replace and improve buildings since the disastrous storm that hit the campus in late March 1998. Support for these projects has come primarily from insurance settlements, the Gustavus Pride giving campaign and designated contributions from alumni.

The 2000-2001 academic year opened with a record enrollment of 2,510 full-time students (compared with the previous record of 2,490 set last year), including 675 first-year students. When students arrived on campus in early September they were welcomed by the newly completed Carlson International Center/Swedish House, a new outdoor track/soccer field, and a newly completed Courtyard Café in the lower level of the Jackson Campus Center. This new café offers specialty coffees, bagels, pastries, and sandwiches, and opens to an outdoor eating area on the Johns Courtyard between the Jackson Campus Center and Lund Center.

Gustavus Adolphus College is once again ranked among the best of all national liberal arts colleges in U.S. News and World Report's 14th annual "America's Best Colleges" rankings. Gustavus is again in the top 80 of the overall quality listings for national liberal arts colleges. Ranked again in the second tier in the national liberal arts college category, Gustavus is one of only two Minnesota colleges included in the tier two listing and one of four Minnesota colleges ranked in the top 80.

Gustavus recently received the results of a comparative alumni survey that measures alumni responses to a series of questions about their college experience. The study provides comparisons to other groups of colleges including Lutheran colleges, member colleges of the Minnesota Private College Council and, most importantly, with large public universities. We will share with you results of the survey in class letters this year. A sampling of responses to remembrances of college academic life include the following:

· Alumni agree that professors often challenged them, but also personally helped them to meet the challenge. Gustavus alumni agree 78%, large public universities 38%.

· Alumni agree that a large majority of classes were taught by professors as compared to teaching assistants. Gustavus alumni agree 90%, large public universities 32%.

· Alumni remember a high quality, teaching oriented faculty. Gustavus alumni agree 61%, large public universities 25%.

· Alumni remember many small classes with fewer than twenty students. Gustavus alumni agree 50%, large public universities 9%.

Gustavus has received word from the Lilly Endowment that it was one of 20 awardees (out of a pool of 31 colleges and universities) of a $1,963,425 implementation grant. It is the largest program grant the College has ever received. The award will support a comprehensive initiative to more effectively carry out some key aspects of the College's mission statement and encourage theological reflection and moral questioning that forms character, shapes lives, and guides career choices. It will build upon the ethos and climate of Gustavus by supporting already-existing programs, adding new ones, and creating a center to coordinate and intensify those vocation-oriented activities. In doing so, it will provide students with the foundational tools necessary for a lifelong exploration of their calling and a lifetime of community leadership and service to others.

G.I.V.E. (Gusties In Volunteer Endeavors), a day of community service, was held on Saturday, October 7. Numerous sites were selected in the Twin Cities and alumni in other cities around the country participated in the event.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, Heaven and Nature Sing, is December 1-3. A ticket order form was inserted in the Summer Quarterly. Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.

News of Gusties-

Congratulations are in order to "some of our own!" The Gustavus Quarterly, Summer 2000 edition, highlights three of our classmates-members of the Class of ’59-recognizing them for their service and contributions to Gustavus.

Lois Madsen Allen, who along with her husband Clyde '56, received the Greater Gustavus Award for 2000. Lois served as our co-class agent for eight years (and constant caller for Phonorama), has been very active in the Gustavus Library Associates, the Royal Affair, and has been a partner along with Clyde in supporting many of the Gustavus initiatives over the years.

Paul Magnuson continues to support and encourage "students, groups and events that have made outstanding contributions to student life and the campus community" through the Magnuson Awards. A listing of the 1999-00 recipients can be found in the Quarterly.

Rev. Paul Youngdahl received the Covenant Award 2000 from the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations at their Annual Meeting last April. Paul was recognized for his leadership at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and the many programs he has initiated and fostered, especially those that strengthen the relationship between the College and Church.

Other news from the Alumni Office---

Ben Johnson retired as president of Lutheran Bible Institute in California on June 1. Ben and Suzanna (Wasgatt ’60) moved from Laguna Beach, CA, back to St. Cloud, MN, this summer.

Dan and Jane Johns spent their vacation time in June motorcycling to Boise, ID, to visit their son, Matt, who lives there. All their other children live in the Twin Cities area. Dan says, "We love all four seasons, living on Lake Vermilion-All is well!"

Lydia Simonson Norberg is still teaching at Little Friends Daycare at a church in Brooklyn Center, just a block from their home near Earle Brown School and loves her work with young children. Her family keeps growing¾ in addition to five children and four grandchildren; there are two more grandkids on the way!

Don ('58) and Joyce Johnson Elvestrom send greetings from their home on the North Shore of Lake Superior. They continue to run into Gusties there as well as their winter home in Tucson, AZ.

Carol Johnson Heyl writes from Winona…"It's great to be back in Minnesota and closer to Gustavus friends."

Wayne ('57) and Jocelyn Neufeld Palmer are both retired and still living in Burnsville. They traveled to Europe last June.

Leonard Brown and wife, Phyllis, missed the Reunion in May 1999, because they were on a two-week tour of the British Isles. They spent an additional six days in London and in France. While in London they visited their daughter who was spending her junior year abroad at the London School of Economics. Leonard will be traveling to St. Louis in early November chaperoning for Bands of America competition there.

Ron and Lorene (Johnson ’61) Johnson are filling their retirement years with travel and visiting children and grandchildren. Following a visit with youngest son, Gregg and family (especially new granddaughter, Marisa) in Arizona last February, they headed for Minnesota and the arrival of child #3, Suzanne Lorine Schneider, born to their daughter Jamin '88. In October they will head for Houston, TX, and the wedding of their oldest son, Gary. They write from Fairfield Glade, TN¾ "Life in the South is good! The WELCOME mat is out…"

Marie Munson Rutter and husband, Nathaniel, are making the most of their retirement. Journeying from their home in Stony Plain, Alberta, Canada, they enjoyed the tremendous diversity of South Africa last summer and, more recently, took a six-week driving tour of the United States, concentrating mainly on the Deep South. Their pride and joy is first grandchild, Karleen Jane Rutter, born on August 27.

Following retirement from UNISYS and 3M, Allen Peterson has spent time working with the Census and being a Habitat Volunteer with 3MCares. He and wife, Marie, enjoy their three granddaughters, as the kids grow older.

Richard (x58) and Pat McLane Olson are both enjoying retirement¾ spent three weeks in Maui, Hawaii, last spring. Their granddaughter, Meredith Marti, daughter of Phil Marti ’79 is planning to enter Gustavus in the fall of 2004.

Richard Royle and wife, Donna, are retired after 37 years with Rosemount, Inc. They spend their summers in Prior Lake and winters in Sun Lakes, Arizona, enjoying boating and golf. They have two children, daughter, Jill ’88 and son, Craig, and four grandchildren.

Bob Koons and wife, Lorrie, enjoy the weather in Green Valley, Arizona, during winter months and at their lake place near Walker, MN, during the summer.

John and Cherrie Bold are splitting their time between Tucson, AZ, in the winter and the Brainerd Lakes area in the summer-with stops at their Edina home in between. They had a scare last winter as Cherrie suffered a head injury while playing tennis. Brain surgery to remove two blood clots was successful and she is well on her way to full recovery. Remember them in your prayers.

Ray and Lois Austin have completed their volunteer work in Tanzania and are now back at home in Seattle. Their year in Moshi, Tanzania, was spent as boarding parents to 20 secondary school boys at the International school there, a rather unique experience. While the responsibilities at the school allowed little time for travel, they were able to see some old friends, enjoy the warm climate and re-experience the country where 38 years ago they began their overseas work and their family. In addition to their work in Tanzania, they spent ten memorable weeks at an orphanage in Ethiopia, an experience that has had a lasting influence on them and accentuated their awareness of the great economic inequalities among peoples. The Austins have four children: Chris in San Francisco, Anna in Guam, Andrew and Karin, both in Seattle. Ray and Lois have put out the welcome mat and welcome visitors to their Seattle home!

D. L. Smith is now semi-retired after completing the sale of 75% of his 32-year investment business last January. While spending time during the summer at his cabin near Hackensack, he is able to get together periodically with classmate Fritz Kilander.

Ray ('60) and Shelia Ice Olson are both enjoying their retirement while keeping busy with grandchildren and kids projects as well as a few of their own. In June they traveled to Scandinavia, hoping to spend some time with relatives in Sweden.

Dave Eckman and wife, Janice (Erickson ’70), live in Superior, WI. Dave is associate pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church and Janice is an RN at St. Francis Nursing Home. They have three children: Bryan (’94), 28; Jennifer, 21; Scott, 16. Dave and Janice recently became grandparents as Brian and wife, Jolene, gave birth to a baby girl, Danielle. Dave is planning to retire from the ministry in 2002.

Sandy and Sonia Anderson may or may not be looking forward to Christmas this year. A year ago they made 3,390 Christmas cards for Augustana Homes to sell in their gift shops for Christmas ’99¾ that must be a lot of glue and glitter.

Phonorama calls last winter made contact with the following classmates…

Warren Sonday, Richfield, MN, retired from Bremer Foundation.

Sally Lowe Nelson, Plymouth, MN, retired from Trend Interiors.

Dean Hillman, Chappaqua, NY, professor at New York University Medical Center.

Mary Enstad Newman, Willmar, MN, retired as elementary teacher in the spring of 1999.

Marv Larson, Alexandria, MN, retired from the clergy.

Bob Sandberg, Bountiful, UT, retired from Reliance Insurance Co.

Allegra Nelson Olson, San Diego, CA, still working part-time.

John Nelson, Edina, MN, working for United Bay Health.

Morris Lundgren, Staples, MN, retired from Brainerd/Staples Reg Tech.

Richard Thorpe, San Jose, CA, working for Intel Corporation.

Karen Hanson Shogren, Burnsville, MN, retired as a nurse at VA Hospital

Warren Woods, Fridley, MN, working for Midwest Medical Services

Lynda Johnson Minnick, Chicago, IL, working for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

The Alumni Office has lost contact with the following classmates...Jerry Bergerson, Merlyn Bork, Curt Christensen, Gaylen Class, Myron Sattler, Gail McKenzie Smith, Merida Peterson Worner...if you have any information as to their whereabouts, let me know or call the Alumni Office (800-487-8437).


The highlight reel from the Erickson household for the past six months features a tour through northern Europe taking in six countries and twelve cities in eighteen days. Linda and I joined a group of 35 friends and former colleagues in visiting Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany and Belgium during the month of May. It was a great experience and wet our appetite for a return some day to search out the birthplaces and early homesteads of our grandparents. A glorious summer (once summer arrived in early July) was spent at Sand Lake (near Moose Lake, MN) with family and friends.

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 winter class letter!

’Till next time...take care!

John Erickson

1959 Class Agent

15150 Williston Lane, Minnetonka, MN 55345

telephone: (612) 935-2442