Class of ’60
October 2010

Our 51st Year!

Dear Classmates,

Four months have passed since our grand meander at Gustavus!  Those who were not there should have received by now the Reunion Booklet and we all should have received photos of our class.  There were so many of us that they had to take the photos in three rounds!  How about that!  Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make it all possible, especially our Reunion Committee members.


We are out to counteract the idea that some of us older folks are not into computers and the internet.  I attended a gathering of class agents and learned that several of the classes, not too much younger than us, have Facebook pages.  So, we have set up a Facebook page for the class of 1960.  Now, I realize that you have to have at least a minimal Facebook page yourself in order to access this, but I have an idea that some of us do.  All you have to do is go to Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 1960 at, and click on “Join” this page and then you can post something on it.  I am the only one that has any postings so far and I hope we will get some more.  It is a neat way to keep in touch with each other.  We’ll see how it goes.  The comments can be─what you have been doing lately, something you are interested in or concerned about, something you remember from Gustavus or a recent experience at the college if you have been back recently.  Give it a shot!  And─there is a new movie that is just out, which I have not seen, but intend to, called The Social Network which gets into what this Facebook stuff is all about in the 21st century.


We had a great gathering on September 11, 2010 of class agents and other Gusties, especially those working on reunions coming up─like the Class of 1961 having their 50th next May.  Here is some news that has emerged from that day.

Congratulations to the Classes of 1965 and 1985 for being honored as Classes of the Year and to Bernie Erling ’43, Owen Sammelson ’58, and Paul Tidemann ’60 for being named the “Tom Wersell Class Agents of the Year.”  (I was proud to receive a really nice, engraved, Gustavus wall clock which is in a prominent place in our house now!)  It is very clear to me that all of us involved in the planning were the honorees, raising over $30,000 for the Class of 1960 Endowed Scholarship and another $100,000 for the College for our 50th Anniversary.  We produced class participation with 71.2 percent of the class making donations and 105 classmates, 50 percent, of the class returned to campus for our 50th anniversary in May.  Yes, it was noted that I embraced technology by emailing Kathy Erlandsen almost 200 times during the year and we also used the alumni contact site regularly.  Congratulations to us!

Tom Young ’88, vice president of institutional advancement and President Jack Ohle provided campus updates including plans to celebrate the College’s 150th Anniversary beginning Fall 2011.  Paul Batz ’85, president and founder of What Really Works, gave a high energy presentation about his firm’s signature project, What Really Works:  Discovering the Seven Fs.  Several people asked for more information about Paul and his work.  His web site is: and he invites you to participate in a survey about the Seven Fs at www.sevenfs.comChris Rasmussen ’88, alumni board vice president and chair of the classes committee of the alumni board gave summaries of the class agent’s survey, class agent focus group meeting, and work of the alumni board to strengthen the classes program.

There is some talk about how to change or strengthen the class agent and leadership structure.  Let us know if you have any ideas.  As an example, the recently graduated Class of 2010 has 12 class agents, each of whom has responsibility for keeping in touch with 50 classmates.  They have a big class!  We probably don’t need 12 class agents, but if anyone is interested in being part of a “joint class agency” let me know.


Twin Cities Breakfast (Jim Dontje, Nobel Conference 2010), October 20, 2010

Twin Cities Breakfast (Jeff Stocco, dean of students), November 17, 2010

Christmas in Christ Chapel, December 3, 4, 5, 2010

Twin Cities Breakfast (Neal Hagberg ’81 and Leandra Peak ’83), December 15, 2010

Alumni Board meeting, January 28 & 29, 2011


There are 640 incoming first-year students, up from around 580 in the spring:  56 percent female, 44 percent male.  The average ACT score of first-year students is 27.  The college will focus on recruiting more male students and has a goal for the 2011 incoming class of 700.  There are over 3,000 persons on the Gustavus campus now including 700 faculty and staff and over 2,500 students.

Over the summer a lot of work was done on dormitories.  In Sorenson, North, Gibbs and Norelius Hall windows were replaced to increase energy efficiency and give a new look.  Windows are smaller and give more wall space in the rooms.  The rooms look less office-like and are more residential looking.  Elevators were also replaced and carpeting was replaced in some spaces using carpet tile in which small squares of carpet can be replaced when necessary.

The Sesquicentennial of Gustavus comes in 2012.  In case that Latinized word does not catch you, it means that Gustavus will be 150 years old, having been founded in 1862.  There will be a big kickoff celebration for the 150th year in October 2011.  Christ Chapel, which was under construction as we left the college, was completed in 1962, the Centennial year.  The Science building is now 50 years old!

A new academic building is under construction now.  It will house the departments of communication studies, economics and management, history, psychology, and sociology and anthropology.  The building is expected to be operational by September 2011.

Late this summer and into the fall those of us who live in Minnesota have seen great billboards in strategic areas, including around the Twin Cities, that have a black and gold background and advertise Gustavus with the new  brand logo “MAKE YOUR LIFE COUNT.”  Gustavus had launched a statewide advertising campaign for recruitment.  Targeted to reach Minnesota high school students and their parents, the ad campaign included radio, newspaper, magazine, outdoor/billboard, and social media outlets in and around the Twin Cities, Rochester, St. Cloud, Duluth, and Mankato.  Places that carried the ads included the Minnesota edition of the U.S. News & World Report‘s annual college ranking guide in September, the Star Tribune of Minneapolis, the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the Metro Lutheran newspaper, 101.3 FM, some high school newspapers, Facebook, and more.

make your life count


You may have already received a postcard and/or an email that the Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  To submit your information and be included in the directory call 877-875-5963.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  The Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, was held Oct. 5-6.  It explored the many levels of this question from our seven distinguished panelists.  We considered varied and various conceptions of goodness and the challenges involved with the way they intersect with each other.  Contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals were considered.

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted nine new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet on Sat., Oct. 9.  The Hall of Fame Moment was the 1990 women’s tennis team’s national championship.  Team members were invited to return to revisit this memorable sports moment.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; 1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship―Hall of Fame Moment.

Mysterious Tales & Happenings

The Gustavus Library Associate’s Fall Author Day with Minnesota award-winning mystery writer William Kent Krueger will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at the Edina Country Club.  The event begins at 9:30 a.m. with brunch.  A book-signing will follow his presentation.  Purchase tickets online at or by calling 507-933-7550.

Christmas in Christ Chapel Tickets

Tickets for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2010 will be available on Monday, Oct. 18 at noon.  Service dates are Friday, Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7: 30 p.m.; and Sunday, Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets are $17.50 each and available online via credit card at:  If you do not have access to the Internet, tickets are available by calling the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7520.


The Rev. Robert Engstrom died on July 24.  Bob had been dealing with cancer, but there had been some improvement.  A week before he died, he started to get worse, but not before he played a round of golf with friends─and shot a 41!  He became ill and was taken to Duluth, Minnesota where he died.  The service in his memory was held at Hope Lutheran Church in Moose Lake, Minnesota on July 28.  The funeral was packed with family and friends.  Our classmate and friend, Pastor Dennis Johnson preached a magnificent sermon.  There were many Gustavus classmates there.  Bob and Lou's son-in-law, Corby Welch, sang two operatic pieces - from Mendelssohn’s “Elijah” and from Mendelssohn’s “St. Paul.”  Corby is a world-class operatic tenor who sings in Europe and the U.S.  There were a whole lot of hymns sung─starting with “All Are Welcome,” which was such a gift to the whole gathered congregation.  It is worthy of note that Bob and Lou were at our class reunion May 28-29.  Dennis Johnson said that the two day reunion was two of the best days Bob had in the last months and he greatly enjoyed it all.  Our sympathy and wishes for God’s blessing to Lou (Eckman) Engstrom and her family!

Bill Shogren sent this piece of news tied in with Bob Engstrom:  Wow!  Dave Carlson, Joel Wiberg, Dennis Johnson, Jim Anderson, Steve Lundgren and I charged off to Dave and Karen (Westman ’61) Carlson's cabin on Lake Vermilion in September for the two day Bob Engstrom Memorial fishing event.  Steve said “Engstrom loved fishing so much that once out there it was almost impossible to get him to leave.”  Our happy band of anglers caught enough walleyes and perch for two fish fries.  A special treat one night was to witness the literary skills of an inspired Joel Wiberg recite off the top of his head Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar, Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee, and Robert Frost’s Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Night. Lundgren followed suit with a dramatically pronounced Rudyard Kipling’s Gunga Din.  Well you know Steve─our “Othello.”  A good time had by all as we fondly remembered our classmate.  Steve and Bob went all the way through grade school, high school and college with Bob.  I went through high school and college with Bob.

Ruth Ann Shervheim Danger wrote that they had anticipated attending the reunion, and was disappointed that they could not come.  She says that the disappointment was alleviated by their attending our granddaughter’s baptism in Ohio on May 30.  “As we feel gratitude for this dear little girl, we will also continue to be grateful for her father’s safe return from another tour in Afghanistan.  Our son, Mark, is an Air Force Air Search and Rescue helicopter pilot.  This was his fourth tour to Afghanistan, his ninth to that part of the world.  He participated in the Iraq War and prior to that he participated in the Northern and Southern Watches with two tours to Kuwait and two tours to Turkey.  He surprised us when he chose this to be the aircraft he would fly.  When we asked him ‘Why?’ he responded by saying, ‘I think it is the most helpful kind of flying.’  Our daily prayer is for the safe return of our young men and women who work to keep our country safe and free.”  Ruth and Charles live in St. James, Minnesota.

Virginia Nelson Anderson and her husband, Ray, went to Connecticut in April to visit with their daughter, Abbey, and her family.  Their one and only grandchild is there─Kaylyn, who is nine years old.  Virginia and Ray live in Janesville, Wisconsin.

Ray Olson was a teacher in the Moundsview, Minnesota, School District for 33 years.  He is married to Sheila (Ice ’59) and they have two daughters, Beth and Lisa, and four grandchildren.  They think they will have their first Gustie─Sam, who is applying to Gustavus.  They live in Shoreview, Minnesota.

Margo Pinney Cotton has been retired for 21 years.  She was a nurse in Colorado.  She has loved every year of retirement.  They ski, bike, hike, snowshoe, swim and, generally, stay active.  They travel some, but enjoy just being in Colorado (Durango).

Suzanne Wasgatt Johnson and her husband, Ben ’59 celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May.

Gordon Larson taught mathematics for 42 years at Clarenceville Public Schools in Livonia, Michigan─five years in 7th and 8th grades and 37 years in the high school.  He also coached junior high football and basketball, high school tennis, baseball and swimming and assisted with high school football.  He managed swim clubs in the summer for about 30 years and coached an age-group swimming team for about 26 years.  One of his age-groupers became one of the greatest female Olympians of all time─Sheila Taormina of Livonia won a gold medal at Atlanta and was 6th in the triathlon in Sydney!

Nancy Dege Gerhard lives in Santa Ana, California, received a graduate degree at Chapman University in Orange, California in 1978 and is a deacon at Tustin Presbyterian Church.  She has a new avocation in art (watercolor, pastels and colored pencil).

Jerry Peterson has been retired from the commercial insurance underwriting business for 20 years.  He and his wife, Lois, have lived in Georgia since 1993.  His hobby of collecting and restoring classic automobiles keeps him out of mischief.  He belongs to numerous antique car collector organizations.  Of the five classic cars he owns, the first one, a 1941 Packard, it’s notable for having been previously owned by the Pillsbury family of Minneapolis.  He is just the second owner of this vehicle.  Two of Jerry’s brother’s grandchildren are recent Gustie grads:  Whitney Peterson in ’08 and Elliot Peterson in ’09.


Yeah, I know that some folks think all the Class Agents do is set people up to give money to the college.  I’m not a great fundraiser, but I do have a concern for our young folks who want to get into a good college, but have significant financial challenges.  These days it is said that in order to do well in the workday world that college is really important.  I think Gustavus provides a superb opportunity.  Our gifts either to the 2011 Gustavus Annual Fund or to our Class of 1960 Endowed Scholarship can really make a difference in a young person’s life.  I just made my pledge for this year ending May, 2011.  I invite you to do what you can to help!

Please send us news about you and your family─any time─and we will include it in the next class letter.  You can send news to and it will go to the Alumni Office and to me or, if you like, send it directly to me

Gustavus Live Long!

Paul Tidemann

1960 Class Agent