Class of ’60
Our 52nd year!
Would you believe that I wrote to you a year ago and said that Minnesota was snow-bound. We had over four feet of snow. This year−it’s like spring has been all along. This year, just under a foot of snow and right now, almost none in southern Minnesota!
But Gustavus is moving right along in this our alma mater’s 150th year. I encourage you to read the Gustavus website to find out what is happening. You can read lots of things about Gustavus history and the Sesquicentennial at https://gustavus.edu/150/
I want to lift up a parallel event that happened the same year that Gustavus was founded. The Dakota War of 1862, also known as the Sioux Uprising, (and the Dakota Uprising, the Sioux Outbreak of 1862, the Dakota Conflict, the U.S.–Dakota War of 1862 or Little Crow’s War) was an armed conflict between the United States and several bands of the Eastern Sioux. It began on August 17, 1862, along the Minnesota River in southwest Minnesota. It ended with a mass execution of 38 Dakota men on December 26, 1862, in Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest one-day execution in American history. There is much more to be learned about this as this is also the 150th Anniversary year of that conflict and execution. Also to know is that after the Dakota Conflict in 1862, Congress passed legislation banning Dakota Indians from Minnesota and the Dakotas. That law is still on the books, although the Minnesota legislature asked for it to be removed.
But now I am pleased to share with you some history closer to us. I asked our classmate, David Carlson, son of Dr. Edgar Carlson ʼ30, the longest serving President of Gustavus, to share some thoughts about his father, especially during the time we were at Gustavus.
REFLECTIONS ABOUT DR. EDGAR CARLSON
by David Carlson, son, Gustavus Class of 1960
In keeping with Gustavus’ sesquicentennial theme, Paul requested that I write a few paragraphs for this class letter, sharing some personal perspectives on my father’s presidency at GAC, which coincided pretty much with my growing up and college years. So here’s my biased version.
During this year of celebration at the College, Dad’s record of accomplishment and his vision for Gustavus have once again been recognized. He was a unique combination of theologian and educator who developed a true passion for Christian higher education, a passion that he never lost. An intellectual and scholar at heart, I believe that he could have carved out a distinguished career in academia. For him, melding the values and axioms of the old Augustana Lutheran Church into the higher education of young men and women in the mid-20th century was his calling.
Dad’s vision for the College was, I believe, something that evolved over the years, similar to a series of building blocks. Two major pillars of that vision were: 1) assuring that Gustavus would remain a college of the Church far into the future, and 2) solidifying the bonds to the college’s Swedish heritage in ways that also enhanced the educational mission. Standout events in my memory include the dedication of the original Folke Bernadotte Library in 1950, and an opportunity to meet the noted United Nations peace negotiator (and subsequent Nobel Peace Prize winner) Ralph Bunche. The day that the Minnesota Conference of the Augustana Synod approved a budget for construction of a chapel at Gustavus was a big day at our house, and later, Dad’s delight and enthusiasm on first seeing the architect’s model for Christ Chapel remains a vivid memory. The Nobel story, beginning with the first relationships with the Nobel Foundation, followed by the construction of the science building and its signature dedication, and ultimately leading to the Nobel conferences, has continued to serve as an outstanding beacon for Gustavus.
As long as his health permitted, Dad was always engaged in something; loafing was not something of which he seemed capable. Particularly during the Gustavus years, it is fair to say that he was driven. It was in part a strong work ethic, and in part an ability to sustain his energy level for long periods of time. As a youth, I fell asleep many a night to the sound of his typewriter working away in the study directly below my bedroom, sounds that indicated he was working on another chapel talk, or on one of his books, late into the night.
As is true with any college president, the Carlson tenure at Gustavus was clearly not composed entirely of accolades. During the early and mid-1950s, there seemed to be a background of criticism from periodically unhappy alumni, parents, faculty members, and much of it from within the Church. The Minnesota Conference of the Augustana Synod was the College’s governing body in those days, and in addition, a major means of financial support. The only times I recall Dad seeming to be truly worried were in the days leading up to the Conference’s annual convention. Social issues on campus (remember dancing?) and determining annual appropriations could prove contentious. He was always relieved when that meeting was over. The immediate result of a 1957 address to the Lutheran World Federation, in which he called for the Christian church to confront racial injustice if governments continued to fail to respect civil liberties (a bold statement for those times), came in the form of some serious hate mail. We all took note of it, but life went on at 821 S. 4th Street.
Dad would have been the first to share credit for the successes of the Carlson years with those who worked closely with him, including Ren Anderson ʼ34, Rud Lawson, Dean Albert Swanson, Ross Bloomquist ʼ45, and others, including several board chairs, among them Dr. Phillip Eckman ʼ17, father of our much loved classmates Lin and Lou. His decision in 1968 to resign his post after 24 years surprised many, including myself. He always explained that decision on the belief that it was best to move on from a situation while one’s presence and activities were still valued, to be able to leave on one’s own terms. It was a valuable lesson and good advice for me, and I took it to heart. Reflecting on his years at Gustavus, he also stated on more than one occasion that, having once made a decision, he never looked back on it; more good advice.
What was it like to attend a college where one’s father was the college president? Truthfully, the goldfish bowl life was nothing new, after growing up in the small city of St. Peter and attending a high school of fewer than 400 students. Being on a campus of roughly 1200 students actually seemed like a little more breathing room. And college provided some advantages that high school did not: an opportunity to live on campus during the freshman year, a wide array of fine role models in the upper classmen, some gifted and inspiring professors who helped guide me toward a career path, new friendships that have remained life-long, and best of all, meeting Karen, who’s been my partner now going into our 50th year. Who could have asked for more than that in a college experience?
Thanks To Dave Carlson For These Reflections. I (Paul Tidemann) want to add that one of Dr. Carlson’s books which I used as a pastor for many years was “The Classic Christian Faith.” It was written and published in our senior year (1959) as a series of chapel meditations based on Martin Luther’s Small Catechism.
Now For Some Classmate News:
Dick Loomer writes from Canada: I had the good fortune to be invited, as a friend of Dave Carlson’s, to dinner at his home in St. Peter−one Sunday (as I recall). Having seen “Doc Ed’ as the strict disciplinarian who banned paddling during frat week, and the soaring intellectual who gave the most thoughtful chapel talks ever, I was surprised and delighted to find him (and his wife, Ebba) to be witty, engaging, kind and truly interested in what I had to say. Altogether one of the most wonderful couples I have had the honor of meeting.Dick also humbly writes an invitation, in an act of “self-promotion,” to view a wonderful video about Dick’s environmental leadership in Canada. Dick Loomer is the volunteer steward of British Columbia’s Swishwash Island. As the jets from nearby Vancouver International Airport roar overhead Dick kayaks out to the island every week to tend to the native plants and keep an eye on the animal life. You can watch it at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aax8yeOgGVc
Mac and Jackie (McKenna) Gimse are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary this year by doing 50 romantic events, one for each year−about one a week. “It’s a bit of a race to the finish on February 18, 2012, but Jackie says we are up to #78. Mac thinks that’s good. We’ll bank them and draw them out as we need them over the next 28 years. We began by visiting our best man in Hawaii, the 50th state. He is still alive and well, but sadly, Judy Oberbeck Johnson, Jackie’s maid of honor, has passed away. We took our teenage grandchildren on an exciting Alaskan cruise, complete with a Teen Casino. During our driving trip through New England fall colors, we stayed with Paul ʼ61and Cynthia Hanson, at their island retreat off the coast of Maine. Jackie was working with Dean Lind when we met, so I also fell in love with Gustavus. We spent a beautiful day walking the campus together, which we decided was as good as paddling a canoe in the moonlight, and decidedly safer given our sloping frames.” (Sent by Mac: Jackie doesn’t know I sent this...tee hee.)
Tom and Carol (Villesvik ʼ61) Weston celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in August. We took all the kids and families to the LaPush Indian Resort on the Pacific Ocean and had a wonderful time. We both sing in the choir, and Tom is leading the effort to put a columbarium in our church.
David Wold in Sweden: “In my old age Iʼve become a cycling for fitness enthusiast. This past year I targeted cycling 5000 km or about 3110 miles. And Iʼm happy to report that I exceeded my target by 724 km or about 500 miles. On average I was ‘out there’ every third day between January and December on a tour of about 44 km or about 27 miles. Apart from riding around my home in Säffle, Sweden, I cycled in Sardinia, Vermont, Piemonte, Alsace and in the Loire valley with a couple of other enthusiasts and with my fru, Inger. This year’s target is 6000 km and as of 18 January I’ve already got three tours in my old legs. I highly recommend cycling. It’s a very forgiving exercise and, if you tour on a bike, you’ll experience not only the sights but the smells, the details in the ditches and the overall countryside in slow motion. You can’t beat it!”
We should add that Bill Shogren sent a great note outlining Dave Wold’s biking escapades, and Bill added: “Dave, (once a teacher, always a teacher), loves to share with others the educational and culinary aspects of these trips. Dave exclaims “Vado pazzo pe I’talia,” which means, “I go crazy for Italy,” as he’s still learning to read and write Italian. Our Wonder Boy welcomes all Gusties to join him on bike tours and it’s a safe bet that besides the historical, Dave knows all the best bakeries and vineyards along the routes.”
Eileen Johnson Delk writes: “I am enjoying living in my own home. This last August I realized a dream when I took a cruise to Alaska. It was a wonderful trip, even if it was cool and rainy most of the time.”
David Silseth in Florida reports, “Ruth and I spent two weeks in Eastern Europe last summer, river cruising from Budapest to the Black Sea. There is amazing rebuilding in progress, especially on the east end. Just returned from Jamaica and Mexico. Our children joined us for Christmas. Joy!”A good word from Dave Ehline: “Gustavus changed my life in ways too many to enumerate. My sheltered up-bringing was challenged in every conceivable way. I often wonder how different I would be if I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend Gustavus, and there to expand my knowledge, faith, interests, and ability to think and reason. I will be forever grateful to God, to my profs, to Edgar Carlson, the administration and Board, and to the many friends I made at Gustavus, for the countless ways in which they all helped to shape my life and my life’s calling.
News. I had triple coronary by-pass surgery in July, and have been doing well during these past several months. I enjoy retirement which allows me time to work in my woodshop, time to travel, and time to write.”
Paul Tidemann spent this fall as a caregiver for his wife, Janet (Ryan ʼ63) Tidemann who was in the hospital in St. Paul for almost three months. She had to have two lumbar spinal fusions. She came home December 2 and has no more pain and is getting around much more easily, though still challenged after 24 years with Parkinson’s. She retired as a pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran, Minneapolis in December 2010. I am still playing my French horn in the Northeast Orchestra, involved in the Saint Paul Interfaith Network, active at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church including singing in the choir, and coordinating support for the Lutheran Church in Guyana. If you want to read a great book on the Guianas, especially Guyana, get hold of “Wild Coast” by John Gimlette.
Nancy Dege Gerhard: “I have travelled a lot this past year, to Minnesota, to eastern Germany, to Bend, Oregon among other places. I am continuing to study art in watercolor, pastels and colored pencil, and I have been in several shows every year since I began studying art. I am not a professional artist, however, and I don’t sell my work. Perhaps my sons will get rich one day if there is a demand for Grandma Gerhard like there is for Grandma Moses. I am a deacon in my Presbyterian church and I sing in the church choir.”
Gordy Larson: “Just a note to express my appreciation for you and your peers who provide us with Gustie news. Living in Michigan makes it difficult to visit Minnesota as much as I would like to. I missed the big 2011 celebration due to the fact that the class of ʼ56 from Madison High School had its 55th anniversary in Madison (ed. Madison, Minnesota which calls itself “Lutefisk Capital USA”), coinciding with an all-school reunion which enabled me to celebrate with three of my four siblings. Pete Nyhus was there also, and provided some information about the Gustavus reunion, but I really was amazed by the amount of coverage that you sent out. Wish we could have been there but, once again, THANK YOU! Gordon “Gordy” Larson, (Proud to be a Gustie from the class of 1960).”
Speaking Of Pete Nyhus…Pete had this to share:
Classmates, last December I had the opportunity to assist Gustavus Admission Counselor and Coordinator of Multicultural Recruitment, Violeta Hernandez ʼ07, on a trip to Cancun, Mexico. Gustavus is making an effort to expand its Latin American campus population. During the 23 years I have been traveling to Cancun I have developed many relationships with nationals. Violeta was able to use some of those contacts to get appointments to give presentations about Gustavus at many “high schools.” The inroads and impressions she made were just amazing. She is a very talented woman. When visiting the campus stop by the Admission Office and meet her. A number of students who attended her meetings have already made application. I’m going back in February to do some follow-up. We have met some truly outstanding young Mexican students. By the way, Violeta was born in Mexico and came to the USA at the age of 10. She obviously didn’t have any problem with the language. Adios Amigos!!! “Pedro” Nyhus P.S. Look at the center fold of the latest Quarterly.
A Final Word: It is good to hear from so many of you! Let me put on my fundraising hat and ask you to seriously consider a gift to the Gustavus Annual Fund, or to our Class of 1960 Scholarship Fund before May, 2012. It’s a great way to add to your charitable giving for tax deduction purposes and our college needs all the support it can get, especially from us older folk! Imagine saying that. I don’t feel very old and don’t think of myself in that mode, but it is true that 74 is coming up in a few months! The younger folk look to us and say, “Well, if those who graduated 52 years ago can contribute, so can I!”
I just had a visit and conversation with Kristofer Kracht, Director of Forensics in the Communication Studies Department. I was involved with that as a debater at Gustavus and you would not believe how that department has expanded in 50 years. We may have had eight debaters then and now they have at least four times that many and Gustavus is nationally known for its communications program and forensics (debate, etc.). Lots of students are attracted to Gustavus because of that.
1960 Class President
National Sesquicentennial Celebrations
Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future. The College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them. Here is a list of some upcoming chapter events. You can view them all and register for an event at gustavus.edu/150.
San Francisco - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - Hs Lordship
Los Angeles - Sunday, February 19, 2012 – The Paley Center
Palm Springs - Monday, February 20, 2012 - Escena Golf Club
Sun City - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Briarwood Country Club
Phoenix - Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - Rita’s Kitchen
Tucson - Friday, February 24, 2012 - Warren and Donna Beck’s Residence
Seattle - Friday, March 16, 2012 - The Swedish Cultural Center
Denver - Sunday, March 18, 2012 - Three Tomatoes Steakhouse and Club at Fossil Trace
Gustavus Music Showcase in the Twin Cities
Tickets are now on sale for the Music Showcase! The Music Showcase will be taking place on Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 2 p.m. at Ted Mann Concert Hall in Minneapolis. The Showcase will feature the Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Jazz Lab Band. This is a great opportunity to hear four major touring ensembles, showcasing the excellent music program at Gustavus. Each ensemble will perform a piece commissioned for the concert and in honor of the College’s Sesquicentennial. Tickets are $17.50 for general admission and $10 for students. For more information or to order tickets visit: Gustavus.edu/events/musicshowcase/
Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts. February will feature JoNes Van Hecke ʼ88, Vice President for Student Life/Dean of Students and speaker for March will be Jeff Owen ʼ92, Assistant Professor in Economics/Management and Environmental Studies. The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month. RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail email@example.com. Hope to see you bright and early!
Join Gustavus Library Associates
“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years. What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)? GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College. All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.
With this in mind, I encourage you all to become GLA members. You can find the application form on the web at: gustavus.edu/gla. You’ll find all the news about the organization’s events and the membership forms along with a list of membership options.