Class of '59
September 2003

Dear 59ers,

Wilt and I were at the Class Agents’ meeting last Saturday and realized we’d better get going on our letter to update you on all the happenings.  Being on campus is always exhilarating and we’ve come away with news and plans.  A year ago at this same meeting, Wilt and I made a goal to contact as many of our classmates as we could during the year—either by email, phone, letter or visit.  We were successful and had a great deal of fun doing it—boy, the news you pick up over 45 years!  We were so successful that we were among the class agents recognized on the Class Agent Honor Roll and came home with a new Gustie sweatshirt.  For the coming year, we’ve set our sights on being the Class Agents of the Year—who knows what goodie they’ll reward us with?

Ken Ericson ’84 charged us up with his talk, The Promise of a Common Goal, Sense of Urgency, Sense of Humor.  It was the humor part that charged us up.  During his talk, we shared memories of Gustavus with one another and through this realized how much Gustavus has meant to us over the years and the need to stay connected.  He also outlined to us why we are class agents.  It’s not because we’re intelligent, wealthy, get freebies, we can’t say NO, etc.—but we are class agents because we love Gustavus and want to insure that our quality institution lives on.  I can honestly say that is why I am one of your class agents and I’m sure Wilt agrees.

We heard an address on The Promise of a More Diverse Campus from Raj Sethuraju, the associate dean for multicultural programs.  His main emphasis regarding diversity is not to reach a goal of a certain percentage of students being from other cultures.  Rather he wants all students to develop skills to enable them to interact with all cultures positively whether they’re on campus, in the community or after graduation.  Looking around campus and hearing about the different clubs they have, Raj is well on his way to creating a diverse Gustavus.  It’s quite a change from the 50’s—and it’s good.

Jim Peterson ’64, our new President, spoke before lunch on The Promise of Gustavus.  The promise is part of Gustavus’ mission statement.  Gustavus promises to promote in each student the values of and attain their full potential in leadership, excellence, community involvement, justice, service and faith.  He gave us an example of how vibrant and involved the students are today.  Early in the fall there were 40 to 50 tables set up on Eckman Mall where students were encouraging each other to sign up for their club or special interest such as the Amigos, GOP, Democratic Party, German Club, ROTC, Common Ground, Pound Pals, Ambassadors, Rainbow Club, Latin Pride to name a few.  And then he surprised us all by saying that Captain Condom was also there handing out samples!  Gustavus has changed a lot since we were there although’ I’ve heard tales of a classmate who sold such goods in Uhler.

And on that note, I’ll relay news that we’ve gathered since last spring.  Just last week, a group of coeds gathered at Elaine Torrey Holmen’s home in St. Paul to reminisce, laugh and eat.  I asked for news in the form of:  What did you do at Gustavus that you are proud of?  What did you do at Gustavus that you hope your parents never heard about?  The first category included—synchronized swimming, cheerleading, choir, St Lucia attendant, passing a French class although’ she showed up late for the final, making it through Gustavus with minimum spending money, theatre, meeting my future husband, just glad to make it through school, and painting a mural on the Art Barn.  Responses from the second group will be interspersed throughout the letter—can you identify any of the culprits?

Last spring I received a long email from Connie Ostrom Lund.  She and Roger have moved back to the Olympia, WA area near their three sons and daughter.  Roger and Connie still have a Christian Bookstore and Connie also speaks to women’s groups.

Who used wet towels under the door to prevent smoke from cigarettes from coming out? And why did so many people always sing “Boola Boola”?

Marian Fickes Borg writes from Olalla, WA.  Paul retired two years ago that enabled them to move to the green side of the state.  Marian is active in a garden club, choir and making specialty table linens and custom picnic baskets.  Their two children and five grandchildren all live near them.

Bill Johnson from Apple Valley is retired but still works a day or two at Lunds.

Who filled a section mate’s room with newspaper from floor to ceiling while the roommate was out on a date?

Ray Austin is in Seattle for the summer, but will be in Puerto Vallarta MX for the winter.  He invites us to visit Lois and him there.

Kay Carlson Gritton works part-time at WHYMSY in the Galleria, makes hand made jewelry, has a booth at Mary Frances Antique Mall in Hopkins and volunteers at Jones Harrison Residence.  What a varied and full life!  Oh-she also has 7 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren—her stepfamily.

Who snitched a small table lamp with a red shade from the Holiday House with the help of a male Gustie?

Ronald Johnson and Lorene (Johnson’61) was pastor at Gloria Dei in Tecumseh, MI until 1993.  Ron now keeps busy volunteering at Thrivent, teaches AARP driving safety courses and mentors an elementary student.

A celebration was held in honor of Dan Johns’ 40 years of ordination in Eveleth, MN. He is the first pastor of United in Christ Lutheran Church in Eveleth.  This church is a consolidation of United Lutheran of Gilbert and Christ Lutheran of Eveleth.

Who got campused for smoking fake cigarettes, and also stole dorm sheets to give as birthday gifts in the dorm? 

Karen Walden Taylor retired at the end of March from Alliance Capital Management and has had a vacation in Jamaica.

A note on Chuck Lower’s Phonorama card says “expecting 7th”.  We assume that’s a grandchild.

Who taught two freshmen men to dance before the first weekend dance in the cornfield?  Some of us remember when Dr. Carlson announced from the Chapel pulpit, “There will be fancy footwork exercises in the gymnasium on Friday evening.”  This was to avoid saying “dance” over the radio.

Bob Swenson in Janesville, WI still works at Tomah Products as manager of technical services.  His wife, Ann, passed away in November 2001.  Last year he visited Brazil and Australia and took his third trip to Sweden this year.

Who kept a bottle of crème de menthe under her bed?

Donna Bjerkstrand Gray lives in a high rise in Richfield but travels around to her cabin in Park Rapids, MN; Winnetka, IL (to see grandchildren); Steamboat Springs, CO and Orlando, FL.

Scott Griesman called me from Las Vegas early one morning.  It was before 8:00 my time so he must have been up around 5:00.  It was great talking with him.  He’s retired from the airline industry and keeps in touch with Mark Bjorkman in Florida.

Paul Magnuson keeps getting his name in the paper.  Paul heads a judiciary committee on international justice that was part of the team that went to Iraq to help rebuild Iraq’s shattered court system.  Then last week, he ruled that the Ghermezian brothers have management duties and majority ownership in the Mall of America rather than the Simon Property Group.

Wilt Croonquist is retired but has found a part-time consulting position with a Colorado company who want to build a 45 million dollar power plant in the Willmar area to help pay for his winter vacations.  Wilt is in Florida now at a Retired Firestone Alumni Reunion so I’m doing all the writing this time.  I hope the hurricanes don’t blow him around too much.

I visited Fritz Kilander and William "Bim" Moeglein in Walker MN this summer while we were biking in their country.  Look for a picture in the Quarterly.  Speaking of the Quarterly, did you see the picture of the Arizona gathering at the Rill home?  A good time was had by all.

Speaking of the Rills, word has reached us that with the pending sale of their Port Orchard home, it is rumored that Bill and Avis are considering a summer home in Lake City, MN on the Jewel Golf Course right next to Jesse Ventura.

Another candidate for returning to her Minnesota roots is Nancy Oman Ward.  She says she misses all the trees and green everywhere.

Lila Hattstrom Luther’s husband LaRoy recorded TWO "holes in one" in the month of August.  One in Colorado and the other in Minnesota.

Who was the GAC professor who helped students ring the bell at Old Main the night the Golden Gusties defeated Youngstown in the fall of 1958?

Our 45th reunion is coming up a year from now.  The date will be October 1-3.  We’re starting to plan now and welcome your help and ideas.  We’ll have one meeting before Christmas and then get really busy in the new year.

Phonorama is even closer.  Those dates are Oct 12th through the 23rd.  I’ll be doing some of the calling and hope to talk with many of you.  I plan to be there on Thursday the 16th and maybe the 23rd.  Lois Madsen Allen is also calling and we could use some more volunteers.  It’s a fun evening being with so many Gusties.  It will be held at the Minnesota Valley Country Club in Bloomington.  In this letter you will find a gold envelope to send this year’s donation—postage paid and all that!  Last year we had 142 donors―let’s see if we can have 150 this year.  Remember, the dollar amount is not important―it’s your desire to stay connected to Gustavus with a gift of any size.

Another date to put on your calendar is Saturday, November 15th.  This is the date for A Royal Affair.  This is the 14th Royal Affair that benefits the library.  Your holiday season can open with a gala dinner, a grand silent auction and live auction.  Entertainment will be provided by Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele and the Reuben Ristrom Band.  Please consider attending this fun and exciting evening.

If you can identify the girl in the picture at the end of this letter, you’ll know who one of the guest writers will be in January.  We hope this finds you all well and enjoying the fall season.

Gustavianly yours,

Carol Johnson Heyl

1702 Valley View Drive

Winona, MN  55987


Wilt Croonquist

931 County Road 8 SE

Kandiyohi, MN  56251


Campus News

College opens 142nd Academic Year – More than 700 new students, including transfer students and international students, joined the Gustavus community this fall, keeping the total student population around 2,515. The retention rate of students from the first to second year remains at 90 percent. These students will be taught by 198 full-time and 55 part-time faculty. Gustavus was again ranked in the top third of the 214 national liberal arts colleges by the U.S. News and World Report.

The Alumni Fund Turns 50 – On June 30, 1954, the first Alumni Fund officially closed with 1,204 donors (32 percent) and $26,013, under the direction of the executive committee of Dr. Hobart Johnson ’21, Dr. Edgar Carlson ’31, The Rev. J. Millard Ahlstrom ’34, and Ren Anderson ’34.  Dollars and donors continued to grow and, under the leadership of Cec Eckhoff ’56, alumni participation continually exceeded 50% each year, making Gustavus a national leader recognized with 17 national awards. Alumni contacting alumni has been the hallmark of success; we depend on Phonorama volunteers to make the difference. Help the alumni fund again reach over 50% participation by contributing before May 31, 2004, or by volunteering to make calls during Phonorama, October 12-16 and 19-23.  Do your best to participate in the Alumni Fund to continue the Gustavus tradition of strong alumni support and return the College to national recognition.

Sculptor Paul Granlund ’52 dies – Paul Granlund died on September 15, 2003, the same day his exhibit Retrospective opened as scheduled in the Hillstrom Museum of Art on the Gustavus campus.  He was sculptor-in-residence at Gustavus from 1971-1996.  His figurative bronze sculptures are found in private collections and public installations nationally and internationally, including 30 bronze works on the Gustavus campus.  Retrospective will be displayed until November 9.

Alumni Board members selected – Seven alumni have been selected to serve a three-year term on the Alumni Board.  They are Liesl Batz ’90, Minneapolis, senior vice president and director of marketing, Lakeside Investment Partners; Jan Eiffert Hoomani ’62, Raleigh, NC, Realtor, JB Realty; Jim Malmquist ’53, Scandia, MN, retired athletics director, Gustavus; Jan Ledin Michaletz ’74, Edina, volunteer/homemaker.  Incumbents to serve a second term include Vivian Foyou ’02, Mankato, graduate student, Minnesota State University, Mankato; Jason Sawyer ’93, Plymouth, vice president, Cronin & Co.; and Dan Currell ’94, Alexandria, VA, director of corporate leadership council, Corporate Executive Board.

2003 Hall of Fame inductees -- Nine individuals were inducted into the Athletics Hall of Fame on September 27.  Inductees were Val Flom Ashland ’87 (volleyball), Wendy Ericksen Bachman ’87 (soccer), Karen Ahlstrom Bishop ’86 (gymnastics), Jay Coatta ’87 (basketball and golf), Marv Gunderson ’53 (football), Jim Hearn ’81 (tennis), Dave Najarian ’82 (football), Betty Wannarka Ringeisen ’84 (basketball and track and field), and Larry Shelhamer ’76 (soccer).

Gustavus Finishes sixth in Directors’ Cup – Gustavus finished sixth out of 395 Division III institutions for the 2002-03 Director’s Cup announced recently by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. The only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics, the award honors four-year institutions with the best overall athletic programs.  Last year Gustavus placed 10th.

Chapel Program – The Gustavus Chapel program is one of the strongest in higher education averaging 350 students attending Daily Chapel.  In addition, there are many student-led programs including: Apprentice - students who are interested in being part of ministry and open to see where the Spirit might be leading; Christ Chapel Volunteers - assist in the ministry of Christ Chapel by ushering, carrying the cross and candles, reading lessons, writing and/or reading prayers, and serving as assisting ministers; Community Service Center Programs - one-time and on-going service programs; Fellowship of Christian Athletes - athlete or not, time for fellowship, worship, speakers, service projects and mission trips; Gustavus Youth Outreach - committed to sharing the Gospel and providing opportunities to serve by participating in off-campus youth ministry; Habitat For Humanity/Spring Break Work Trips - Habitat works locally and Spring Break Work Trip nationally to fundraise for and build affordable housing; Jewish Organization of Gustavus - for students, faculty and staff who were either Jewish or interested in the Jewish faith; Newman Center - dedicated to building a deeper understanding of the Catholic faith; Prepare - build a new generation of believers through mentors, mission trips, Bible study, prayer and worship; Proclaim - Bible-based contemporary worship and teaching; Taizé - a contemplative worship service of music, prayer, readings and silence; Wednesday Friends – visits St. Peter Regional Treatment Center residents weekly.

Don't miss A Royal Affair . . . pa rum pum pum pum - Gustavus Library Associates is presenting their biennial benefit for our College's Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on Saturday, November 15, at the Radisson Hotel South in Bloomington, Minnesota. If you have names for invitations (reservations are due by October 31), an auction item to donate (no later than October 15 please), volunteer time to offer, or if you wish to contribute financially to help defray expenses, we welcome your call today; Marty Penkhus, 507/388.5474 and Susan Wilcox, 952/944.5972, Co-Chairs.

Upcoming Events – call the Alumni Office at 800/487-8437

  • Charlotte, NC, Gustavus Gathering - October 18
  • Phonorama -- October 12-16 and 19-23, Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington
  • Our Story Conference, The Growing Gender Gap in the African American Community -- October 24-25, Campus
  • Reformation Festival featuring the Gustavus Choir, Central Lutheran Church, Minneapolis -- October 25
  • JFK Assassination 40 Years Later, presented by David Jones ’83 and Political Science Professor Chris Gilbert at Minnesota Valley Country Club, Bloomington-- November 4
  • A Royal Affair, benefit sponsored by Gustavus Library Associates in the Twin Cities -- November 15