Class of '61
October 2001

Dear Gusties of 1961,

It was a very good year:  both 1961 and 2001.  The Class of ’61 achieved the top percentage in the fourth decade at 72 percent.  Thank you champions, for the way you remembered our 40th reunion.  The gifts totaled $22,139.50 in unrestricted funds (given to Gustavus for the college to use according to its greatest needs) and $87,108.91 in total gifts.  Do you realize that 71 percent of today's Gusties receive scholarships or aid, thanks to you, alumni?  Your help for the next generation is appreciated very much.

What a reunion we had!  Even the autumn season cooperated by painting some of the foliage along the route to St. Peter.  Classmates came from near and from very far to be part of the gatherings; some came for the first time ever.  It would be interesting to check back through lists to see which classmates have attended every reunion.  I know that some cannot have missed more than one gathering.  Many activities were crowded into the event, but nothing overshadowed the classmates.  It was positively energizing to feel the friendship, ideas and shared ties to that all-important launching period in our lives at Gustavus.

Memories from Friday evening at the Doubletree Hotel:

            Seeing Stu Johnson arriving at the hotel pulling his suitcase straight from business trips taken that week, and then enjoying his good humor and great stories told as MC for the evening.

            Enjoying messages from Randall Stuckey ’83, "Ma" Young ’33, and President and Mrs. Steuer.

            Being transported to Sweden by the Swedish bouquets on every table.

            Paying a $1.00 late fee if you arrived late to the dinner (donated to the Alumni Fund).

            The great hugs and occasional eye strain from trying to read name tags as we found each other in the multi-class crowd during the social hour.

            Gathering food for thought from Rev. Ted Johns's message about remembering charitable causes in our estate planning.  He said that he and Marietta (Bittrich '62) set aside 30% of their estate for charity, and then Rev. Dennis Johnson ’60 encouraged them to enjoy some of their giving while they are alive.  From that suggestion came the Johns’ Family Courtyard which was dedicated Saturday morning before our luncheon.

            Straining our brains on the ’61 related trivia questions raised by Nita Swanson Anderson to earn gifts from Nita, Carol Weisbrod Johnson, and Jo Larson Karvonen.

            Listening to Elsa Cornell’s invitation to her home in St. Peter during the Homecoming activities on Saturday.

            Leaving with a loaf of Swedish rye bread baked from Mrs. Young's recipe in her famous cookbook.

Memories from Saturday at Gustavus:

            Being warmed by the September sun at the homecoming parade.

            Feeling wet and chilled by the wind and rain that blew in during the football game.

            Feeling ’61 pride at the Johns’ Family Courtyard dedication and enjoying Ted’s and Marietta’s remarks.  (If Marietta would care to share her poetry, we could print it in a future letter.)

            Enjoying the MC work and stories that Rev. Ron Koch shared at the luncheon in the new Campus Center.

            Hearing a moving message from Rev. Clair Johnson and chatting with him a bit.

            Meeting Ellery Peterson ’49 and his wife, Carol.

            Being a little surprised at the level of destruction seen in the film about the tornado that struck Gustavus in March 1998.

            Appreciating the information from Rev. Dennis Johnson '60 newly retired Gustavus vice president for Development.

            Happily singing "Remember" led by Nita Swanson Anderson.

            Wanting to tour the arboretum with Jim Gilbert ’62, but hesitating because the clouds were rolling in.

            Eating too much at Elsa Cornell's open house, but enjoying tours of the home renovated after being extensively damaged by the tornado.

            Seeing the art show in the new Hillstrom Gallery that is part of the Campus Center building which was in place for the Nobel Conference the following week.

            Visiting for awhile and loving it!

Fall Phonorama is now over.  The locations were moved to hotels that were close to major freeways for convenience, and cell phones (donated by Sprint PCS) enabled calls to be made from large rooms as well as from reception areas at the Hilton Garden Inn in Roseville and at the Radisson South in Edina.  If classmates cannot be contacted during this time, Gus Link students will be making calls throughout the year.  Please tell them about any matching gifts for which you qualify, give them news for our class letter, and give them a generous pledge.  It goes to the same Gustavus Alumni Fund as the Phonorama pledges.

The Nobel Conference on October 2 and 3 was unique with five laureates presenting information during this 100th anniversary of the Nobel prizesd.  Gustavus’ Nobel conferences began in 1962.  The conference included the premier of Steve Heitzeg’s ’82 The Nobel Symphony, two art exhibitions in the Hillstrom Museum, and an exclusive banquet with a menu recreation of the Nobel dinner 100 years ago.  Classmates whom I saw included Bruce and Sue Gray, David and Jean Linne, and Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus.

Now we move onward into our 41st year of the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Mrs. Evelyn Young is the annual fund chair.  I am hearing about a 90th birthday party that is being planned for her in July.  What a lady!  She is definitely a true friend of the black and gold!


The Alumni Office is sending this class letter via U.S. Postal Service Mail and also e-mail to those alumni for whom we have an e-mail address.  Eventually class letters will be sent via e-mail only, when an address is available, unless you notify the Alumni Office that you prefer to continue to receive your letters via U.S. Postal Service.  Contact the Alumni Office at

As Gustavus enters its 140th academic year, the 2001-2002 year opened with an enrollment of 2,540 full-time students including 670 first-year students.  The Class of 2005, selected from a record number of applications (2,163), includes 18 National Merit Scholars and 18 international students, doubling last year’s number of nine international students.

Last year Gustavus athletic teams finished 18th out of 395 competing in the NCAA Division III national Sears Directors Cup Standings.  Standings are based on national tournament finishes.  The Gustie women athletes won the MIAC All-Sports title for the first time in its 18-year history.

Gustavus ranked among top colleges – Gustavus is ranked in the second tier and one of the top 114 best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report magazine.  Gustavus ranked in the first tier in two categories, retention and graduation rates.  Gustavus’ first-year to sophomore retention rate of 92 percent ranks in the top 15 percent of all national liberal arts colleges and graduation rate of 76 percent ranks in the top 20 percent of all national liberal arts colleges.  Alumni giving ranks in the top 25 percent, down from the top five percent and a tier one ranking five years ago.  Raising the percentage of participation of alumni giving is of highest priority for the college and the offices of Alumni Relations and Gustavus Alumni Fund.

Gustavus named Best Buy... Gustavus has been named one of the best colleges in America and a Best Buy by The Fiske Guide to Colleges.  In the 2002 guidebook, the College is one of 300 best American colleges and one of 43 Best Buys nationwide.  Within Minnesota, Gustavus is among seven best colleges and is one of two private college Best Buys.  To determine which colleges make the annual Best Buy list, Fiske researchers combine cost data with academic and lifestyle information about each college and university.  Those institutions named to the Best Buy colleges list are said to offer “remarkable educational opportunities at a relatively modest cost.”  Gustavus is also included in The Princeton Review’s 2001 edition of The Best 331 Colleges.

Comprehensive alumni directory – In partnership with Publishing Concepts, the Gustavus Alumni Association is publishing its fourth comprehensive alumni directory.  Surveys were sent to all alumni in August and information will be used only for publication of the directory and updating database information in the Alumni Office.  The book is available for purchase only by former students of Gustavus.  Please correct or update any information and return to Publishing Concepts in the enclosed envelope provided with the survey.

New chaplain announced - The Rev. Rachel Larson has joined Rev. Brian Johnson ’80 in the Office of the Chaplain.  Larson will work in partnership with Chaplain Johnson and the other members of the Office of the Chaplain to provide spiritual guidance, worship, leadership, counseling, teaching, and other pastoral services to Gustavus students, staff, and their families.  Larson is a graduate of Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, and of what is now Luther Seminary in St. Paul.

Christmas in Christ Chapel, A Celtic Pilgrimage, is November 30 & December 1-2.  A ticket order form was inserted in the Fall Quarterly.  Contact Office of Public Affairs at 507-933-7520.


There were as many stories connected to the reunion as there were classmates present.  Thank you to every one of you who came and for the BIG effort it took to bring you to Minnesota.  Not a single classmate who had made reservations from out-of-state cancelled those after September 11.  Great Going!

John and Linda Van Deusen spent seven days on the road driving, with their dog, Minnehaha, confined to the van and to motel rooms, to get here and back.  Scooter Johnson ’60 helped them proceed from Wisconsin.  To complicate matters further, they became embroiled in Renaissance Fair traffic for two hours on Saturday causing them to miss the class luncheon entirely.  Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau AK, were in Ellsworth, WI, visiting Julie’s ailing father who seemed to have improved just before the reunion.  Julie, your classmates extend sympathy on his unexpected death during the following weeks.  Rev. Jerry ’59 and Joan Miller Hoffman, New Brighton, were driving back from Colorado on the day of our dinner in Bloomington.  They telephoned Gustavus, were still able to register, and even found nametags ready for them upon their arrival at the hotel.  Ed and Karen Halvorson Carlson, Albuquerque NM, enjoyed the trip and the reunion, but upon returning home, Karen developed a pneumonia-like illness that put her in the hospital for over two weeks.  Karen, it is good news that you are home again.  It was very special to have you at our gathering.  Your complete recovery soon is the subject of many prayers by your classmates.  I know that there are many other tales that should be included here, but my notes have been sent off to the Alumni Office so those items will have to be included later.

Sandra Miller Nelson, Maplewood, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family on Wednesday, May 2, 2001.  She is survived by her husband, Dr. Ronald J. Nelson and four children:  Douglas (Maureen), Laural (William) Combs, Sheryl (Kris) Aurandt, and Michelle (Paraj) Mandrekar.  She had one grandson, Cunnar Combs.  Her sister, Carol Miller Hammarberg ’59, was also a Gustie.  The memorial service was at Gustavus Adolphus Lutheran Church in St. Paul.

Arne’60 and Carol Weisbrod Johnson, New Hope, continue to show up all over town.  They added their good humor to our reunion dinner Friday evening.  During the summer I saw them not only while shopping, but also at the Ordway Theater to see "South Pacific" and at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market.  They certainly know how to enjoy retirement.  They hosted a gathering for the Gustie swimmers from our era at their cabin in Wisconsin, and they have now purchased a place in Ft. Myers, FL, to use when the lake freezes.

Dr. Paul and Doriann Fredrickson Thompson, Greeley Co, will appreciate your prayers and contacts.  Paul is receiving chemotherapy for cancer.  He has resigned from his position as president of Aims Community College, and Doriann has taken off this semester from teaching.  Their address is 1242 49th Avenue, Greeley. CO  80634.

Sally Enstrom, St Louis Park, enjoys barge trips on the Mississippi and other rivers.  She has already completed such a trip with a tour group since our reunion.  She says that they "raced" with the Mississippi Queen―I wonder who won?

Dr. Milt Gustafson, Fort Washington MD, recently checked Gustavus' web site and is wondering about some of the sports statistics he found.  Milt says that he kept statistics for the football team during some of our years on campus.  Dick Dalton, did you really rush seven times for over 400 yards one year?  That seems like you must have been faster than Milt remembers!

Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI, received the 2001 Health Care Advocate Award in September.  It is given to one person annually in her community.  The presenter commented, "It is awarded to one of these committed individuals who has made many varied and uniquely significant contributions to our hospital."  In the past 25 years she has worked on the Election Day pie and coffee fund raiser; the salad luncheon fund raiser; the Community Health Fairs; many school group hospital tours, and a project which she coordinated with the Dayton-Hudson Corporation that raised about $60,000 that has been used to purchase specialized equipment for the hospital for the community's benefit.  For this project alone she contacted and organized hundreds of volunteers to work on various projects at the Dayton's retail facility in Rosedale Shopping Center over a period of more than 15 years.

Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Bloomington, missed our reunion because she went on a tour of France, Monaco, etc. during that time.  Jean, we missed you.

Sally Johnson Audiss, Byron, MN, called to say how sorry she would be to miss our gatherings.  Their son set his wedding date on Saturday, September 22.

Allan ’60 and Carol Anne Magnuson Moberg, Tampa, FL, have moved their business, Moberg Studios, to a new location in Tampa with lots more available parking.  Last fall they introduced their 2 ½ year-old-granddaughter to the Gustavus campus.  They came with their daughter and son-in-law and enjoyed seeing the many changes and improvements.  Their two children live in Tampa, and their daughter works with them in the studio.  Mark, who is a Gustie, has his own financial and investment planning business.  Their daughter, Stephanie, was expecting their second grandchild in August.  Send details.

Mary Beth Larson Wold, Fresno CA, retired from the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, CA on May 31.  She has moved to the Fresno area during the summer to be near to her children's homes.

Herb and Judy Carlson Olson, Mound, are enjoying retirement and spending winters in Mesa, AZ.  They get to visit their daughter, Jennifer ’87 and Tom Linder ’87, in Prague, Czech Republic, who are there with the Olson's granddaughters, Katie, 5, and Kristina, 2.

Sue Dahl Doe, Stillwater, was looking forward to our reunion, but she missed it.  She writes that she and Mike are enjoying retirement, and they like to escape winter several times by heading to warm climates during the winter season.  In the summer they do a lot of boating on the St. Croix River.  Their children and grandchildren all live in the metro area.  The grandsons are 7 and 4, and the granddaughters are 2 1/2 and 2.

Kathy Moody Buegler, Edina, announces a new grandson, Nathan Allen Buegler, born February 5, 2001.  His parents are Gusties.  Kathy hoped to get to the reunion, but a friend came from out of town and she showed her around the area.

Jim and Kathryn Mansfield, Winston-Salem NC, came to the 40th reunion for their first time at such an event.  Jim continues to be employed with R.J.R. Tobacco Inc.  Their son, Haynes, earned a BFA from UNC in Greensboro in studio art in spring.  Their daughter, Anne Katherine, has taken a job at the University of Minnesota in viticulture and oenology, and she accompanied her parents to our Saturday luncheon.  She earned a master's degree in food science from Virginia Tech in spring, and she is interested in a new grape that is being grown at the Arboretum in Chanhassen.

Paul and Joan Nesvold, Maple Plain, say that retirement goes too fast.  Paul does lots of volunteering, especially at church.  They are developing wetland on their farm.  Their sixth grandchild has arrived; the oldest is 19 and attends college.  When spring Phono reached Paul, they were heading to Florida the following week.  Their daughter was planning to join them in Ft. Myers.  Another daughter and her family was joining them in a few weeks with three young grandchildren aged 6 ½, 4, and 2 months. 

An article about Ronald Zaniewski in Stillwater's Courier News gives interesting details about his swimming career.  It was published in connection with Ron's induction into the Gustavus Hall of Fame on October 28, 2000.  It states, "Zaniewski started swimming in competition at age eight and lettered in swimming all four years during his high school career at Curtis High on Staten Island, NY.  When he joined the Air Force in 1953, he qualified for the United States Armed Forces swim team."  He was a member of the European division Air Force team and won many medals in butterfly and on the freestyle relay teams.  In 1957 he enrolled at Gustavus, and during four years on the swim team he went undefeated.  He set numerous records.  "During 14 years as Stillwater High School swim coach, he had six conference championship teams and coached three Little-All-Americans who went on to swim for college teams…"  He retired in 1993 after 32 years of teaching science at Stillwater Junior High.  He continues to teach adult basic education.

Thank you for a great year.  Look for another letter soon after the holidays.  I hope that the reunion was a good one for you and that the holidays ahead will bring unexpected joys for you and your family.

Your Class Agent,

Virgene Grack Sehlin