Class of '61
April 2005

Dear Classmates,

Spring is showing up at Gustavus as recent rains have given rise to a green haze on the grass.  It is even inspiring your class agent to get busy on a letter to share some of the news.

The Alumni Office will add some campus items, but I have been following some of the good news for the sporting activities.  An article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune gave praise to Doug Espenson, a 6’4” senior, who helped the basketball team clinch its second consecutive championship in the MIAC.  He set a number of basketball records, which will probably be detailed in the upcoming Quarterly.  The swimming team has won its fourth consecutive MIAC title.  Scott Moe ’95, the men’s golf coach, will be the first NCAA Division III coach ever selected to head the U.S. junior national team in competition at the Junior World Team in Japan in June.

Some of you undoubtedly participated in the alumni survey discussed by David Menk ’94 at the class agents’ meeting in September.  About 2,000 forms were sent; 600 were returned.  I am asking the Alumni Office to include their summary for each of you.  It is interesting to poke through as you relax under a flowering fruit tree.

A recent charge from President Jim Peterson ’64 – “Louder and Prouder” – also conveys my feelings about the Class of ’61.  The way that you support Gustavus is very special.  I hope that you truly know how much your gifts and your contacts, through news items from you or about other Gusties, mean to the college.  You are appreciated.   At the end of last month 115 classmates, 55% of you had donated $18,297.76 in unrestricted gifts and $44,698.26 in total dollars.  Thank you very much.  This Fund year will end on May 31, and that is now an absolute deadline, so please check your records and send a check or use your credit card if you are not among the contributors at this time.


Campus Briefs
Gustavus has been known for its strong tradition of alumni participation in annual giving.  Gusties support their Alma Mater in many ways and show their pride with their gifts.  All alumni and current students have benefited from previous and current support.  Gustavus will be as strong as its alumni want it to be.  The 2005 Alumni Fund closes May 31.  Make sure you are included with many members of your class and other alumni that have chosen to keep Gustavus strong.  Three easy ways to give – send your check to the Alumni Office (by using the enclosed envelope), call 866-487-3863, or on-line at

Alumni Awards
The Gustavus Alumni Association has announced 2005 award recipients.  The Greater Gustavus Award to George Torrey ’55 for his lifetime volunteer service and philanthropy to the College. Distinguished Alumni Citations to G. Barry Anderson ’76, Apple Valley, MN, associate justice, Minnesota Supreme Court; Deanna Nelson ’64, Cary, NC, president/founder, BioLink Life Sciences, Inc.; Rick Webb ’73, Edina, MN, owner of Ciao Bella, Zelo and Bacio Restaurants; and John Wirth ’75, Pacific Palisade, CA, writer/executive producer, Paramount Studios.  First Decade Awards to Joe Gaugler ’95, Lexington, KY, assistant professor, Department of Behavioral Science, University of Kentucky College of Medicine; Debbie Lightly Mascaro ’95, Fargo, ND, research scientist, North Dakota State University Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering.

The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished third at the NCAA national championship after winning the MIAC title, the men’s basketball team won the MIAC regular season title and conference tournament and advanced to the NCAA national tournament, the men’s swimming and diving team won the MIAC title and placed seventh at the NCAA national tournament and had seven swimmers earn All-America honors and the women’s team had four swimmers earn All-America honors.

Extraordinary Students
Senior Rachel Batalden, a double major in mathematics and secondary education with a 3.898 grade point average and two-time MIAC All-Conference selection at setter for the women’s volleyball team, has been selected as one of 56 student-athletes from across the country to receive a $7,500 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.

Senior Paul Fraser, a music and computer science major has been selected as the winner of the second annual Caltech-Occidental Composition Contest for new music for concert band. The contest drew entries from all over the world, and as the winner, Paul will receive a cash award and a recording of the world premiere of the work at a concert by the Caltech-Occidental Concert Band in Pasadena, Calif., in May.

Bricks and mortar
Southwest Residence Hall
is being constructed across the Campus Drive from the arboretum on the west side of the campus and is scheduled to be finished by June.  The L-shaped facility is configured with apartments for four and six and will accommodate nearly 200 students.  A hostel space for summer programs and confirmation retreat groups is included in the residence’s plans.

With the new Southwest Residence Hall coming on-line, the College will be taking down Wahlstrom Hall to make way for future residential construction.  Crews will start the dismantling process in July with asbestos abatement, and the Kasota-stone residence hall will be razed in August.  Alumni returning for reunion and commencement festivities on May 27–29 will be able to take a last tour through the building’s public areas, stairwells, and walk-through sections following a “decommissioning” ceremony to be held on Saturday morning, May 28.

Construction crews working on the renovation of Old Main discovered a cistern under the basement flooring in March.  Gutting the interior has provided evidence of layers upon layers of remodeling done over the years, including an old stairwell in the middle of the building and what appears to be an attempt to raise the third-floor ceiling.  The Old Main project, which includes the installation of an elevator in the northwest corner of the building, is scheduled to be completed in August.

The education and nursing departments have been relocated to the newly erected Mattson Hall, which is sited just west of the Schaefer Fine Arts Center and Prairie View Residence Hall, on the south side of the campus.  These departments will remain there until a new social science center is built at some point in the future.

Upcoming Events

  • Association of Congregations Meeting – April 23
  • G.I.V.E. Community Service Day – April 30
  • Class of 1955 and 50-Year Club Reunions – May 27 & 28
  • Commencement – May 29
  • Alumni Fund closes – May 31
  • Reunions on Homecoming – October 7 & 8
  • Nurses Reunion – October 8


Our class has now lost four dear members within a six-month period in 2004 and 2005.  Added to the three classmates named in our December letter is David Hasslen, Ortonville, who passed away on January 9, 2005.  A memorial service will be held in Ortonville on May 8, 2005.  Dick Skogg, Duluth, was David’s roommate at Gustavus, and he has helped by sharing tidbits about his friend’s life.  David, a business major and OK fraternity member, was one of Coach Tom Boman’s ’53 golfers, and, as a freshman, he won the MIAC championship.  After his sophomore year, he transferred to South Dakota State where he achieved All-American status in golf and from which he was graduated.  Dick Skogg last year shared the great story about David’s feat on his birthday:  shooting his age!  When we were in college, David’s family managed the 7-Up/Pepsi bottling business operation in Ortonville, and David took over the 7-Up bottling operation.  He and his wife, Joan, had three sons:  Bill (wife Amy), Jim (wife Kathy) and Rich (wife Jenn).  There were six grandchildren.  David served in numerous offices in the Ortonville area and his great passions were playing and teaching golf, and cooking (which Dick says he taught him while they lived in off-campus housing in St. Peter!).  On behalf of the Class of 1961, I extend sympathy and love to Joan and her family. 

Sam Dahlquist, Vasselboro ME, was planning at Fall Phonorama to retire in February.   He has spent almost 40 years as a pharmacist.  During the last five years since he sold his pharmacy, he has been a druggist in the veteran’s hospital in Togus.  He and Anita have lived in Maine for 32 years but, upon retiring, they plan to relocate in Colorado.  Dr. Milt and Marilyn Heier Gustafson, Fort Washington, MD write that Milt’s multiple myeloma has been in remission for about a year.  He retired from the National Archives in January 2004.

Bruce and Deanna Warner, Plymouth, report that the highlight of their year was a trip to Tibet to visit their son.  Lowell and Mary Jean Rasmussen, Nevis, were struck three times by the hurricanes in Florida, but their property there survived.  They spend the winters in Bowling Green, FL.

Jim Davis, Oakdale, continues to teach mathematics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.  Ken Nelson, Westminster, CO has retired from IBM.  He is enjoying tutoring part-time at the local community college.

Joanne Linnee, Winona, traveled with an Elderhostel group to New Hampshire and “loved the trip.”  The journey took place during perfect weather, and it included art, music, and women in the Christian church among other topics.  We saw Jo briefly at Christmas in Christ Chapel a year ago at the Swedish smorgasbord that is available.  We agreed that the traditional Swedish food was great―it made us feel like young students once more!  Bob and Carrie Olson Lamphere, Lincoln, NE have both retired.  They come to their vacation home near Alexandria every summer, and numerous members of their family usually join them.  At Fall Phono they had just returned from their first trip to Switzerland and Italy.  Jim Lamphere ’79, their only Gustie graduate, is the president of his own company, a Warren Buffet company, and he travels to Minneapolis for business sometimes but he is based in Lincoln.

Dr. Mary Nelson, Chicago, IL has announced that she will step down next year as the president and CEO of Bethel New Life in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood after 25 years.  An article in The Lutheran by Robert Blezard, who is a student at the Lutheran Seminary in Gettysburg, PA describes some of Mary’s accomplishments.  Mary “came to West Garfield Park in 1965 with her brother, the late David Nelson ’56, who was called to be pastor of Bethel…”  A $5,000 investment by the Bethel congregation enabled Bethel New Life to start in 1969, “with its first project to rehabilitate an abandoned three-flat and a dream of providing affordable housing.”  That modest beginning has grown to “one of the nation’s model faith-based community development corporations, with an $11 million budget, more than 300 employees and 900 volunteers.  In those 25 years, Bethel has created 1,100 units of affordable housing, helped more than 7,000 people find good jobs, attracted $110 million in investments; and provided day-care, job training, senior services, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, housing assistance and emergency services―among other things.”  Mary has received numerous awards and appointments to boards in honor of her efforts, but she says the miracles were accomplished by the “work of God in our midst.”  Mary is recognized for her “unflinching faith, fearless tenacity and deep concern.”    A brief story from the article shows how Mary works:  “Young drug dealers were brazenly operating outside Bethel Lutheran Church in Chicago’s West Garfield Park neighborhood when Mary Nelson arrived one day last February.  ‘I was so mad,’ Nelson recalls, ‘I went up to them and said, ‘You have to get off this corner!  This is God’s corner.’  A bespectacled woman of 64 with a grandmotherly smile, Nelson would seem an unlikely contestant for a battle of wills with street thugs—much less a triumphant one.”

Robbie ’58 and Kris Anderson Robinson, Mesa, AZ sent a message about Kris’s retirement from the Mayo Clinic four years ago.  Robbie continues to teach English and is the assistant football coach and head boys’ track coach at Mountain View High School in Mesa.  Last spring his track team won the twelfth regional championship and second state championship in a row.  Last year Robbie was the 5A boys’ state track coach of the year and a finalist for the national boys’ track coach of the year.  Judy Lenzen, Sun City West, AZ works full-time again at Maryvale Hospital Medical Center in the Tucson area.  Her vacation was in Goshen, IN, which is Amish country.  Judy says it was, “very interesting because she was able to visit a friend whom she met on a cruise.”

Robert and Chris Olson Misewich, Cambridge, should have five grandchildren when this letter reaches you since Nicole ’93 and her husband who live in Arden Hills were expecting a baby about a month before Christmas.  Chris and Robert also have a step-grandson.  Chris says, “Our activities center around helping with the grandchildren.”  She also enjoys membership in a local purple dress and red hat society, and at Phonorama the group had just enjoyed a cruise on the St. Croix River.  She also gets back to campus occasionally; the last visit was for the Nobel Conference.  Al and Dori Bergstrom Macek continue to enjoy living in an apartment downtown near Loring Park.  Molly, their youngest daughter, and Peter Clark have presented them with another granddaughter named Beatrice on September 5.  At this time Dori and Sally Enstrom, St. Louis Park, are in Texas hoping to see fields of blue bonnet flowers and visit Al and Karin Erickson Gaskell who live in Georgetown.  They also hoped to spend a little time with Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed in Houston.

Charley ’60 and Jo Hanson Johnson, North Mankato, have both retired but they remain very busy.  Jo does volunteer teaching part-time in ESL.  Chuck works part time in a lumberyard, and he sings in a competition chorus named the Great Northern Union.  The group sells a CD of religious music, has sung at Vikings and Twins games, and performed at Mount Olivet Lutheran Church, Bethel College and other concert locations.  The Johnsons have two grandchildren in high school.  Paul and Phyllis Kamman Johns, Mankato, made comments about how much the Gustavus campus has changed.  Paul says, “It is beautiful even with the tornado damage, and the buildings have changed so much.”  Paul is now wheelchair bound with secondary progressive MS, but “life is good.”

Dr. Dean and Carol (Peterson ’63) Hustuft, Moorhead, have retired and they highly recommend it.  When Fall Phonorama reached them, they had just returned from visiting their family in Illinois, and retirement enabled them to enjoy a leisurely trip along the Mississippi River.  They might like to locate a retirement place in southeastern Minnesota or northeastern Iowa to get into an area that has longer spring and fall seasons.  The bluffs are beautiful, the river shows off a lot of activity and there is still open space available although prices for lots have shot up a great deal in the past few years.  In fall, their cabin near Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota, which they have owned for 11 years, was for sale.

Wayne and Gert Kneeskern, Richland, IA were trying to understand the application for Medicare when Phonorama got ahold of them in the fall.  Because Gert is older and is still employed, the process seemed complicated.  (Wayne, I suspect that the process would be complicated regardless of the circumstances.)  The Kneeskerns have six grandchildren, and they get to the Stillwater area now and then to visit some of them who are the children of Scott ’90 and Jill (Davis ’90).  Dick and Barbara Skogg, Duluth, spent a month in Arizona in the winter.  During the rest of the year they live in an apartment in downtown Duluth, where Dick says he jogs along the boardwalk and along the harbor areas every day.

Rev. Dr. Paul and Kay (Johnson ’63) Hanson, are settling in once again in the Billings, MT area after serving in Slovakia for seven years.  Rev. Dr. James and Luray Wiberg, your ’61 classmates are so very sorry to hear about the tragedy that struck your family.  The Wiberg’s daughter-in-law Jenn died suddenly on December 28, 2004, of Hodgkin’s disease after being rushed to the emergency room in Vienna, Austria, on the day after Christmas.  Jenn’s husband, Dave Wiberg ’93 works as a scientist at HASA, the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.  The disease had not been diagnosed prior to the emergency, and Jenn had just given birth to a daughter, Alexandria, by c-section on December 12, 2004.  Our prayers include all of your family, Jim and Luray.  Jim and Luray had just returned to the states on September 1, after serving a congregation in Vienna, Austria, for many years.

Rev. Ted and Marietta (Bittrich ’62) Johns, San Diego, CA attended Christmas in Christ Chapel at Gustavus in December.  Their entire family of three children, spouses and eight grandchildren enjoyed Breezy Point near Brainerd between Christmas and New Year’s.  In February Ted and Marietta went to Peru with Operation International to do Micro-Finance Ministry with some of the world’s poorest people in South America.  Dr. Marv and Nancy Williams Rensink, Pleasanton, CA share the good news that their son-in-law, Karen’s husband, has returned safely from duty in Iraq recently.  Your classmates, Nancy, share in sending sympathy on the death of your mother in October.  She looked so young and seemed so very healthy just a few years ago.  Marv continues to work part-time as a senior scientist in physics at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

Jim and Kathryn Mansfield, Winston-Salem, NC announce that their daughter was married on June 5, 2004, in North Carolina, after her fiancé returned home safely from duty in Iraq.  The wedding had been cancelled when he was suddenly deployed.  When their pastor was unable to attend, the pastor who married Jim and Kathryn (who had been invited as a guest!) performed the ceremony.  At Fall Phonorama, Jim and Kathryn had just returned from Myrtle Beach where they were happy to vacation in an area that had not been damaged by Hurricane Ivan.  Their next trip will be to Atlanta for the wedding in the family of neighbors who had been life-long friends.  Don Bjorklund, Gladstone, MI visits with Dora Swanson, widow of Rev. Ronald Swanson, because they are members of the same congregation in Michigan.  Don notes that Dora seems to be doing well and that two of her children live not far away.  Don has a daughter who lives in Minnetonka so he comes to the Twin Cities from time to time.  He decided to sell his boat, but he enjoys his cabin in the woods a great deal.

Ralph and Marlys (Schneider ’63) Swenson, Hudson, WI spend cold winter months and take other trips to their second home in Green Valley, AZ.  They have become quite involved with Desert Hill Lutheran Church in Arizona and Ralph works on the finance committee there.  Marlys tutors reading and the written language one day per week.  In Hudson, Ralph serves on the county board, and the responsibilities were very heavy at the time of Fall Phono.  Carl and Mary Strand Anderson, Springfield, VA have seven grandchildren:  two girls and five boys.  Hanna Christina was born on December 1, 2003, and another boy is expected by their son and his wife soon.  Their oldest grandson is a 6’2” teenager.  Mary said that they enjoyed “a picnic with old people this summer, who were high school friends!”

R. John and Linda Van Deusen, Columbia, SC were preparing for Linda’s rotator cup shoulder surgery the week of Fall Phonorama.  She has also had bone spur surgery during this year.  Linda, the Class of 1961 sends prayers for rapid and complete recovery from the surgeries.  Linda and John lost their guide dog, Trevor, suddenly and are attempting to train Gabriel-Owen, an American brown dog mix.  It takes much effort and a long period of time to train a dog, and all dogs do not work out in a family.  Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” at the Guthrie Theater is certainly a production that inspires discussion, and after a recent performance we enjoyed talking about this contemporary version of the play with Dr. Carolyn Wedin and Tony Rolloff, and with Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus.  Carolyn teaches a literary discussion class in her Wisconsin community.  It was also special to chat about some of the classes and professors we remembered from the English Department at Gustavus.

Again there are notes remaining, but I will close this letter and attempt to sort out more news from our class for another letter.  Please send more items also during the next two weeks.  We have a new e-mail address:

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent

Alumni Survey

2000 Sent to reunion classes  - 4’s and 9’s.

Stratified by year and gender.

614 analyzed to date.

·        Demographics

Classes represented in the analysis are 1934 to 1999

All Majors represented.

62% female, 38% male.

79% were in-state students when enrolled at Gustavus.

            28% have since moved out-of-state.

            41% of out-of-state now reside in MN.

47% have a degree higher than a Bachelors.

·        Education

80% Masters degree as highest goal have reached their goal

90% of those who sought a doctorate, MD, JD, etc. have reached their goal.

94% reported that Gustavus prepared them Very well/Adequate for continuing their education.

Greatest influences on acceptance to Grad school were

1 – Overall quality of Gustavus education.

2 – Their major

3 – “Other” (GRE\Test scores)

·        Employment

23% were employed before graduating

31% in 1-4 weeks of graduating

30% within 1-6 months

84% total employed within 6 months of graduating

82% reported that Gustavus prepared them Very well/Adequate for continuing their employment.

Greatest influences on acquiring your first job.

1 – Their major

2 – Overall quality of Gustavus education.

3 – “Other” (“charming personality”).

·        General College Characteristics


     1 – Class size                                                                  

     2 – Reputation                                                                 

     3 – Relationships with other students                           

·        Educational and Personal Growth Skills

High Contribution                                                                       

     1 – Knowledge in a major field                          

     2 – Ability to learn new skills                              

     3 – Interest in lifelong learning               

·        Activities

79% were very satisfied/satisfied with Leisure Social organizations

75% were very satisfied/satisfied with athletics and the same % for arts/music.

·        Experiences and Services

High satisfaction                                                

1 – Social interaction w/other students

      2 – Academic challenging classes/profs        

      3 – Lecture and discussion classes                

·        Alumni Events

75% have attended Class Reunions (5% not aware)

66% have attended Christmas in Christ Chapel (2% not aware)

62% have attended homecoming (3% not aware)

·        Alumni Services

Other than Alumni Directory Rarely used.

High awareness of availability, low interest in services.

·        Alumni Giving

71% feel it is a way to help others have access to education.

65% feel it is a reflection of the value they place on education

64% feel it is a way to thank Gustavus

Preferences to where donations would go:

1 – Scholarships

2 – Let Gustavus decide

3 – Academic facilities

Priorities for charities donated to:

1 – Church/religious organizations

2 – Social/Human Service Organizations

3 – Gustavus Alumni donation

·        Overall Satisfaction

15% have maintained contact with Gustavus Administration

15% have maintained contact with Gustavus Staff

27% have maintained contact with Gustavus Faculty

82% have maintained contact with Gustavus Alumni       

82% Definitely/probably would choose Gustavus if they had to do it over again.

85% were very satisfied/satisfied with their Academic involvement.

86% were very satisfied/satisfied with their Social involvement.

85% would very strongly/strongly recommend Gustavus to a prospective student.

·        Contact

Preferred methods of contact:

75% Class letters

73% The Quarterly

55% email

36% Direct mailing

23% Gustavus web site

5% or less for phone call, newspaper ad or article.