Class of ’60
July 2010

A Report of our 50th Reunion – May 28-29, 2010

July 2010

Dear Members of the 50 Year Club!

We will remember the next 50 years

      as we have remembered the past 50 years!

We will carve runes of glory─what’s a rune?

      Keep our phalanx strong─whatever that is.

Yes, we lost all our marbles in the Little Theater,

      and tacked the piano which made Esbj frown.

But we took life seriously when dissecting frogs

      for Professor Glass,

Or sorting out the essence of existence

      with Professor Kohák.

Yes, some guys bribed girls to sit

      in their numbered place in chapel

While, of course, they worked hard

      in their rooms preparing for a Rod Davis exam!

It’s been a grand 50─half a century indeed

      and we have made Gustavus proud

In what we have been able to give to the world

      to our families, our friends and to this

      hilltop college.

We had a superb reunion.  In this letter and its accompanying class photos and presentations and in the reunion booklet which those who attended received and which we are sending now to those who could not, we offer a bit of the feeling 179 of us felt on May 28 and 29.

HERE ARE SOME GREAT STATISTICS:  105 classmates attended the reunion out of the 209 members of our class still living.  That’s 50.2% and a Gustavus record!  74 guests also attended.  We were pleased to have former Gustavus faculty with us for our Friday night banquet:  Arthur Glass ’43, William Robertz ’51, Robert Peterson ’58, Ellis Jones ’52, Don Roberts ’56 and their spouses.  In addition, we were so pleased to have Randall Stuckey ’83, Director of Alumni Relations, and Kathy Erlandsen, Associate Director of Reunion Giving at our banquet.  They have given our Reunion Committee stellar support and guidance for the last year as we prepared for this event!  Thank you, thank you!

GIVING:  We are very pleased that 70.8% of our classmates gave to Gustavus in the last year, 148 of us.  We gave a total of $303,387 which was designated as:  Estate Gift Declarations = $200,000; our class endowed Scholarship = $33,530; and all other giving and pledges = $69,857.  Now if you want a final big WOW our class has given $1,718,498 (yes, that’s $1.71 million!) in cash, bequests, wills, and charitable gift annuities.  We THANK EACH ONE OF YOU who have made gifts of any size to Gustavus, especially in this 50th reunion year!


Early Friday afternoon we, and many others who were on campus, were treated to a seminar presentation, “Mormonism Today,” by our classmate Dr. Melvyn Hammarberg, who is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania.  Mel has been working on research about Mormons and offered a fine power point lecture on how the Mormon religion has evolved since Joseph Smith to the church known today as the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.  Mel will be publishing a book on his research in the next year and we will let everyone know about it.  Thanks so much, Mel!

SERVICE OF REMEMBRANCE AND THANKSGIVING:  this was held Friday afternoon and we were pleased with how many of us were able to attend to remember 37 of our classmates who have died since we graduated.  Joel Wiberg was the very able planner for this service which included hearing a 1958 recording of Grieg’s “Spring” sung by the Gustavus Choir under the direction of the late Philip Knautz ’48, who died just this past April.  David Carlson played the Brahms “Intermezzo” (which was not only amazingly well done, but without any music in front of him!).  Paul Tidemann gave the Homily which you can read here and you will see the order of service in the Reunion booklet.

AT OUR FRIDAY BANQUET we had lots of fun─led by super emcees Marilyn “Snooks” Wiklund Anderson and Steve “Othello” Lundgren!  Marilyn gave us some funny lines to keep us light hearted and Steve, in addition to a good time, reprised a little bit of his great acting ability!  Jo Jensen Tollefson’s opening prayer was beautiful.  We really enjoyed a video of memories put together by the Gustavus staff!  I have a DVD copy of it.  If anyone would like to have one I could check on having copies made.  David Carlson presented our gift to President Jack Ohle who offered some good words about Gustavus today.  Dennis Johnson reminded us of the gift of our giving to the college and Joel Wiberg led us in the “Alma Mater” and “Remember” songs.  Jim Anderson closed us out with a great pastoral benediction.

At the banquet we were really pleased to hear from Mariah Bierl ’10, a graduating senior.  (Her name is pronounced Mar-EYE-ah and she says it’s a reminder of the song by the Kingston Trio, “They Call the Wind Mariah!”).  Mariah is working this summer for the Minneapolis Board of Parks and Recreation.  Here is what she said to us:

“Good evening Class of 1960 and welcome back to Gustavus!  My name is Mariah Bierl and I am a management major from the small town of Wanda, Minnesota─a little over an hour west of St. Peter.  When I first started looking at colleges, I knew I wanted to attend a small liberal arts school.  After visiting Gustavus I immediately fell in love with the beautiful campus, the friendly, smiling faces and the opportunities Gustavus could provide.  I wasted no time involving myself on campus, as I have been a member of a number of different activities and groups.  Two groups that I take the most pride in and have found to be the most rewarding to be a part of are GusLink and the Senior Class Legacy Committee.

GusLink is an on-campus job for students that involves calling the wonderful Gustie alums to update information and invite their gift to the Annual Fund.  For the last four years, GusLink has been my on-campus job; however, it quickly turned into so much more than just a job.  As a caller, being on the phones with our wonderful Gustavus alumni has been such a rewarding experience.  We love that you take time out of your day to talk to us and tell us about your time at Gustavus.  While some things have changed, many have not─and we love to compare stories of life at Gustavus.  GusLink was also where I first learned of the importance of the Annual Fund at Gustavus.  Around 80% of the gifts to the Annual Fund go directly to student scholarships and I speak on behalf of many other Gusties in saying that without scholarships, I would not have the opportunity to have the wonderful Gustavus experience.

I am also a member of the Senior Class Legacy Committee─a group dedicated to educating our senior class on the importance of giving back to Gustavus, not only now but in the future.  We have stressed the importance of the participation of our class with a goal to beat the Class of 2009’s participation last year of 56.9%.  Along the way to reaching our goal we received a match from the Class of 2009 at the 35% participation level, a match from you, the Class of 1960, for reaching the 45% participation level and a match from President Ohle for reaching the 55% participation level.  The dedication and enthusiasm our committee has shown over the course of this year has been outstanding and I am thrilled to say that everyone’s hard work has paid off.  Wednesday brought exciting news as the Class of 2010 reached the 63% participation level!

I cannot express enough the gratitude I have for your continued support of Gustavus.  Gifts to Gustavus truly do make a difference in every student’s life.  There are many, many others with great Gustavus stories; I would like to thank you for inviting me to share my story with you tonight.  I hope you enjoy the remainder of your time back at Gustavus with friends and classmates.  I am so proud to be a part of the Gustavus family.  Gusties truly do shine!”


The Saturday noon 50 Year Club luncheon was a fun event with members of predecessor classes some going back as many as 70 years.  Gustavus Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Tom Young ’88, welcomed us into the 50 Year Club with a great reprise of things that happened in the 1960’s.  Paul Tidemann offered a response from our class, remembering some funny and notable events from our time at Gustavus and what Gustavus has meant to us.  


The reunion formally ended with an all-alumni banquet Saturday evening that included the presentation of First Decade Awards, Distinguished Alumni Citations and the Greater Gustavus Award, presented by Dennis Johnson to Mark Anderson ’66 who has retired as a magnificent Gustavus director of admissions.  You will read about these awards in an upcoming Gustavus Quarterly.


Jo Jensen Tollefson was our classmate who really organized the recognition of 50 Years of nursing education at Gustavus.  Twelve of our nurses were at our reunion.  The nurses had a pre-reunion-reunion in Paynesville, MN just before ours and a total of 15 attended that one.  Jo and others put together a wonderful display in Linner Lounge about the history of Gustavus Nursing and you will see some of that information in the Reunion Booklet.  There were 21 of them in our 1960 class.  They spent the first two years on the Gustavus campus and then got their practical training the next two years at Bethesda Hospital in St. Paul.  They have some stellar backgrounds including one who has a doctorate and five with master’s degrees.  We are proud of our nurse classmates!


Here are a couple of links to photos and videos of the Reunion weekend.  Copy them into your browser and you can see people and events of May 28-29.  Thanks to Erin Holloway Wilken ’02 in the Alumni Office for forwarding these to us.


Jo Jensen Tollefson:  To have five of our freshman section mates gather together for a picture.  This was all unplanned but a thrill for us all.  Having all 12 of the nurses stand and feeling the support of all the non-nursing classmates.  It has always been a struggle to maintain contact with our classmates on campus.  So the recognition on Friday night was very much appreciated.  The program was not long and drawn out, but short and lively.

Peter Nyhus:  Assigned chapel seating had Bob Nybo, DeeAnne Nygren Najjar and Peter Nyhus side by side for four years.  We were able to reconnect for the class photo and assemble in the same order we were assigned 54 years ago.  Please take note when the class pictures arrive.

Bill Shogren:  For a week after the reunion I whistled, hummed or sang Children of the Heavenly Father.  Standing in a church I simply can’t get through this sweet song─too touching.  For most of us this song was played at a service for someone who left us too early in life.  After the homily I learned that Andy Noren Rogers and Dave Wold sang the first line or two in Swedish.  At the social hour in the Dive I was talking with a couple guys about the song and two of us got tears in our eyes and the third said, “It’s not unusual for this song to evoke that kind of reaction.”  Of course Garrison Keillor’s Singing with the Lutherans came to mind with this line, “I once sang bass line of Children of the Heavenly Father in a room of about 3,000 Lutherans and when finished we all had tears in our eyes............................"  Anyway it’s a grand old Lutheran tune and there was our class of ’60─good singers and believers.  The next day at the luncheon I learned from Dennis Johnson that this Swedish folk tune was written by Carolina Sandell Berg after watching her own father swept off their boat to his death into a stormy sea.  Clearly she thought of her father as a child of his Heavenly Father.

Ruth Walfrid Dettor:  I felt especially blessed to be a part of the Memorial Service.  I, too, heard from many that the service was not only a moving, worshipful thanksgiving tribute to and remembrance of those that had passed, but also an inspiration and, perhaps, challenge for those of us remaining to “make the rest of our lives count!”  Thank you for the opportunity to participate, for the support and encouragement given, but mostly for being very special Gusties!  The weekend was a perfect 10!

Jim Anderson:  There were two highlights for me.  The first was the memorial service which highlighted a wonderful message by Paul, the reading of our deceased classmates’ names and the memorable piano selection by David.  The second highlight for me began with a gathering in the Dive and continued with the dinner for our class emceed by Steve Lundgren and Marilyn Wiklund Anderson.  It was great to see so many of our classmates return for the weekend and to have a chance to reconnect with many of them.

Steve Lundgren:  I just want to give you one more thank you for the great work you did for the class of ’60.  Your homily at the memorial service was very moving for me and for many others.  To top it all off, your words at the 50 year gathering were flawless.  Well done, Paul.  You did yourself and your classmates proud.

Joel Wiberg:  A note to the Memorial Service participants!  Well, we did it─and did it very well.  This brief note cannot convey the fullness of gratitude I feel toward each of you who willingly took different assignments and made it happen.  I heard many very positive and moving comments about this service of remembrance and thanksgiving.  At our stage of life it is important to remember and reflect through word and music the gifts of friendship.  I think the entire weekend was very well planned─and we simply enjoyed being together─as we earlier had remembered those no longer in our midst.

Dave Carlson:  Recently I was with two medical school classmates from St. Olaf, class of 1960, who had just come from their reunion.  Out of their class of approximately 330, there were 62 attendees at their 50th.  I’m not sure what the final count of attendees was at ours, but based on the percentage given, we certainly came out very much on top.  Another example of that old Gustie spirit!

Bob Eidsvold:  Bob sent a note thinking that Gordon “Gordy” Barks ’61 was in our graduating class and that he had died.  Bob added:  No, perhaps he was out for a year along the way as I know he was a freshman on the same Uhler Hall floor as me.  He was very bashful and came from quite a humble background, so it is possible he had either financial or possibly medical issues that resulted in having to sit out a year.  But then he can surely be memorialized next year (and I’ll be there along with Harlan Sandberg, David Carlson and maybe others, as it will be Jean’s (Stenstrom) 50th).


Joel and Nancy (Anderson) Wiberg received news about Dick and Diane (Kolander ’62) Loomer:  Dick was at our reunion and the Wibergs received this great news after the reunion from Chor Leoni's newsletter, with special mention of honours (Brit spelling) received by both Diane and Dick at a recent choral conference in Canada.  “We are thrilled to announce that Diane Loomer, C.M., our beloved artistic director, received two prestigious awards from the Association of Canadian Choral Communities(ACCC) at PODIUM 2010:  Experience the Harmony :  L'harmonie, une expérience à vivre, held in Saskatoon from May 20 - 23.  Cypress Music (founded by Diane and Dick Loomer) was honoured to receive the Most Outstanding or Innovative Sponsorship Award (Prix de la Commandite la Plus Importante ou la Plus Innovatrice) for sponsoring the ACCC Choral Composition Competition for the last 15 years and for the publishing of Canadian Choral Music.  (Note:  The Loomers have recently handed over Cypress Music to Larry Nickel, who will no doubt carry on with great skill and care).  Dick and Diane were called up again to receive the Distinguished Service Award (Contribution Exceptionnelle et Soutenue) for all the work they have done over the years towards promoting choral music in Canada.”

Elaine Ruesch Greiner:  After one year at Gustavus, Elaine transferred to the University of Minnesota where she obtained a baccalaureate degree in nursing.  She had a long career with the Wisconsin Department of Human Services, with a background in mental health nursing.  On completion of that, she helped out with her husband’s real estate company for eight years.  Elaine and her husband James raised four daughters; they make their home in Medford, in central Wisconsin.

John Schroeppel:  Anne and I both wish that we could have been there for the reunion.  It was also 42 years ago (May 28) that I was ordained there.  It was probably due to my two years at Gustavus that I ended up in the ministry.  Our freshman year chapel was mandatory but we could take 10 cuts.  I didn’t miss any chapel times my freshman year and also enjoyed singing in the chapel choir.  My second year I took the 10 cuts in hope of improving my grades.  Anne now makes a daily trip to the clinic, all seven days, for a shot, chemo, scan, blood tests, etc.  She will be done at the end of July and we expect will be well.  Then we will be going to Minnesota.  We wish all a joyful and connecting time.

Martha Jonson Miller (Hey look at the generations of Gusties in Martha’s family!)  Thanks to you and the reunion committee for the great weekend!  To reconnect with people I haven’t seen in 50 years was awesome!  It was like a coming home event.  I’m still processing it all.  The campus is still beautiful but changed.  It’s all in my “genes”─my grandfather attended St. Ansgar Academy, my parents, sister and I were Gusties, my kids went there.  Can my grandkids ever tgo at $40,000 a year!  Yikes!  We’ll see.

THANKS • TACK SÅ MYCKET • TAUSEND DANK • MERCI BEAUCOUP • MUCHAS GRACIAS • EFKHARISTO • TODA and in any other language you can think of!  Special thanks to our 19 member Reunion Committee and to all who attended and participated.

Paul Tidemann

1960 Class Agent