Class of '61
December 2005


Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

Dear Classmates of 1961,

It is Christmas―the perfect season to visit with members of a class that has real spirit.  Again in 2005, you remembered Gustavus with good gifts intended to help today’s and tomorrow’s young people experience a Gustavus education.  My huge package to each of you is jammed with thanks to the 67% of the class who contributed $60,013.26 in total gifts.  Gustavus appreciates your remembering the many ways in which your days on the Gustavus campus contributed toward making you the great Gustie alum that you are. 

The Advent season began with “Ageless Visions of a Timeless Moment” presented in Christ Chapel.  The artistic silk hangings in the chapel, the beautiful sounds of the students’ vocal and instrumental music, the Biblical messages, the star theme, and the emphasis on the Christmas story as a timeless event that ties together all generations was very moving.  The sights and sounds conveyed the humility and the majesty of Christmas.  On Friday evening we did not see any classmates; please let me know when you attended.

Sad news is that Evelyn Sponberg Young ’33 passed away this fall.  A memorial service was held in Christ Chapel December 8.  A year ago the Library Associates put in motion plans to honor her at “First Frost, A Royal Affair” the fundraiser held on Oct. 29.  The plans remained in force following her death, and an enjoyable film was shown at the gala.  It is a delightful piece, which we can perhaps arrange for you to view at a reunion event.  Remember her presence at our 40th reunion with those loaves of rye bread for each attending classmate? 

Campus continues to change, as it must to meet today’s needs.  The fall Quarterly highlights the opening of a new dormitory.  The updating project of Old Main was also dedicated this fall.  Campus is very attractive again, but looking up from downtown and being able to see so many buildings still reminds one of the tornado in 1998.

Some things do not change.  News is appreciated from each classmate any time.  Your gift to Gustavus may be sent now in December if that is best for your financial plan as related to tax deductions.  All gifts from June 1, 2005 will count toward our reunion year gift.

There was no Phonorama this fall.  The procedure in place at this time calls for a reunion year class to set up a large committee to help the class make a special gift to the college.  Our class needs to set up such a committee in the very near future; classmates who live outstate or in other states are needed, too.   Please contact me if you would be able to help.  Send word to the Alumni Office or e-mail me at  Either a guest writer or I will put out another letter to explain more details in January.  Please volunteer to help; we need many people to be effective.


Study Abroad Leader

Gustavus continues to be a leading institution for the number of students studying abroad, according to an annual ranking recently released by the Institute of International Education (IIE).  Consistent with its mission of giving students an education that is international in perspective, Gustavus was ranked seventh in the "Top 20 Baccalaureate Institutions" list of the institute’s "Open Doors 2005" report.  Gustavus was one of four Minnesota private colleges to make the list of 20.  The report was based on study abroad statistics from the 2003-04 academic year.  Gustavus students engage in international learning through various programs in more that 100 locations throughout the world, ranging from Australia to India and Ecuador to Sweden.  In recent years, 50 percent of Gustavus graduates have participated in at least one study-abroad experience.

New Carnegie Classification for Colleges and Universities

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a new classification system for institutions of higher education.  Gustavus’ classification is Arts & Sciences plus Professions, indicating that 60 to 80 percent of Gustavus students complete a traditional liberal arts major, such as political science, classics, or biology.  The new classifications describe five aspects of colleges and universities: instructional programs, enrollment profile, undergraduate demographics, size, and setting.  Undergraduate instructional programs are now designated as Arts & Sciences Focus, Arts & Sciences plus Professions, Balanced Arts & Sciences and Professions, Professions plus Arts & Sciences, or Professions Focus.

Insurance Programs

The Alumni Association, in partnership with Meyer and Associates and Liberty Mutual, offers an insurance program to alumni and their families.  Products include insurance policies for life, short-term medical, auto, home, and renters.  For life and short-term medical insurance call Meyer and Associates at 800-635-7801 or visit  For auto, home, and renters insurance call Liberty Mutual at 800-524-9400 or visit

Gustavus to Perform at Orchestra Hall

The Gustavus Music Showcase will be Sunday, March 12, at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis.  The Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and Gustavus Wind Orchestra will perform.  This is a unique opportunity to hear three premier ensembles from Gustavus in one concert.  This showcase also allows prospective students, parents, and alumni from the area to meet and connect.  For tickets, call the Orchestra Hall box office at 800/292-4141.  Tickets are $20 for general admission, and $10 for students 18 and under.


Two big stories from the fall sports are that Hailey Harren won the national NCAA Division III cross country title and the men’s soccer team became the first MIAC school to play in the national championship game and finished second, losing 1-0 to defending national champion Messiah.

Upcoming Music Tours

This year nearly 300 students will participate in music tours with the Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Gustavus Choir, Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and the Choir of Christ Chapel.  The schedule is:  The Gustavus Wind Orchestra will tour Eastern Europe Jan. 14-30.  Performances are scheduled for Nurnberg and Heidelberg, Germany; Prague, Czech Republic; Krakow and Bielsko Biala, Poland; Bratislava and Stara Tura, Slovakia; and Salzburg, Austria.  The Gustavus Choir will tour Minnesota Jan. 27-Feb. 11, with performances in West St. Paul, Grand Rapids, Duluth, Bemidji, Morris, Marshfield (Wis.), Red Wing, and Winona.

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Jazz Lab Band, and Choir of Christ Chapel will tour during Spring Semester.


Dr. Milt and Marilyn (Heier) Gustafson, Fort Washington, MD send greetings to classmates.  Milt is coping with multiple myeloma, and he gives Marilyn the highest credit, “because she takes good care of me.”  Marilyn continues to play tennis for great exercise.  Although Milt retired as chief of the diplomatic branch of the National Archives, he continues to participate in special projects there.  He sent a copy of the “NARA Staff Bulletin” that features a story about a new initiative by NARA (National Archives and Research Administration).  The first head of state to participate in this program designed to familiarize leaders with United States history and how it relates to the country that is involved was Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and his delegation on June 23.  Susan Cooper, Director of Public Affairs, proposed the program in which NARA and the State Department would cooperate to bring heads of state to the National Archives, emphasizing that leaders can benefit from knowing United States history and how it relates to their countries.  The article includes a picture of Milt as he briefs the Iraqi Prime Minister about documents detailing U.S. and Iraqi relationships.  The article continues, “Cooper emphasized that the success of the visit depended on significant help from former and current NARA staff―including Milton Gustafson, former Chief of the Diplomatic Branch, who retired in 2004 and now volunteers for NARA and Richard Hunt (NWI), Director of the Center for Legislative Archives.  “Milt has a huge grasp of the records relating to diplomatic initiatives,” said Cooper, “and he is able to find wonderful documentary evidence of our friendships with other countries.”

“First Frost – A Royal Affair,” the Gustavus Library Associates gala that was held on October 29, attracted many 1961 classmates this year.  It was a sparkling affair that featured Gretchen Carlson, Miss America of 1989, who is the daughter of Lee ’58 and Karen Hyllengren Carlson, North Oaks, as well as Dr. John Najarian, the renowned surgeon and humanitarian.  Mark Thomsen ’78, renowned opera singer and Michael Jorgensen, associate professor of music at Gustavus, presented musical entertainment.  Sid and I saw Harlan’60 and Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, New Hope; Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls, WI; Jim and Pat (Maedl) Krough, Deephaven; Bruce and Sue Gray, St. Peter; Stu and Marlys (Johnson ’58) Johnson, St. Peter; and Dr. David ’60 and Karen Westman Carlson, Edina.  Did anyone else from our class attend?

Hurricane Katrina sent Dr. Milt and Lorna Jafvert Reed, Friendswood, TX on the long, slow evacuation route toward Georgetown, TX.  What should have been a trip of less than four hours required about twenty-two hours to complete.  Al and Karin Erickson Gaskell, Georgetown, TX invited them to ride out the hurricane with them.  The Reeds incurred no major damage in their home.  At Thanksgiving they came to the Twin Cities for the holiday and for the baptism of their first granddaughter, Grace, who is the daughter of Sarah and Paul Newman.  Dr. Jeanne Dahlen Lewis, Boulder CO, has gone on two medical missions since she retired.  Most recently she served as a physician in Nicaragua.  Prior to this trip, she enjoyed another medical mission to Mante, Mexico, in February.  That mission was so satisfying that Jeanne is working to learn Spanish “to make this one even better.”

Bill ’60 and Carol Hansen Benson, Kandiyohi, write that their son, Daniel, who lives in Croydon, England, with his wife, Sarah, and their daughter, Katherine, ran in the London Marathon in April.  The marathon’s theme this year was “Hospices” and Dan selected to support the Rice Hospital (where Carol volunteers in Willmar) and Pendlende Hospice in England.  Marcee Muller, Tecumseh, NE writes that her trip to Germany, Switzerland and Austria last July was thoroughly enjoyed for the beautiful sights it offered.  Marcee travels often to men’s and women’s bowling tournament events and she is very involved in traveling to meetings and workshops where such events are planned.

Our nephew’s wedding in the Detroit area in October brought us to the “street where you live.”  Dr. Maury and Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Birmingham, MI touched our lives when both of us couples lived in the Fridley/Columbia Heights area of Minneapolis in the 1960s.  When we turned onto their street to access the hotel where the wedding was headquartered, I contacted them and we got together on our return trip to the Quad Cities, where our older son and his family live.  (Our sons offered to transport us to the wedding if their father could go when the date arrived.)  Jan and Maury both continue to work and follow very busy vacation and social schedules.  Actually, they do resemble the energizer bunny.  What a great visit it was.  More of their news will be shared in the next letter.

Dr. Mary Nelson, Chicago, IL has entered her retirement year at Bethel New Life Inc. in the West Garfield Park area.  She is moving out of the CEO position into a senior associate role.  She will continue teaching, speaking and consulting for Bethel.  Mary received an honorary Ph.D. from a Chicago university, the Spiritus Christi Award from Concordia College (Rhea Forest), and another major award from Call to Reverence in June, 2000.  Arne ’60 and Carol Weisbrod Johnson, New Hope, are on their way to Ft. Myers, FL where they spend their winters.  They also have a cabin home on Deer Lake near St. Croix Falls, WI and their home in New Hope.  Their daughter, Erica, was also among those who had to evacuate Houston when the hurricane seemed imminent.  She has a beach house in that area.  Carol and Arne note that she left town with a few bottles of water in an open convertible when the temperatures were approaching 100 degrees F.  Needless to say, it was not a pleasant adventure.

Harlan ’60 and Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, New Hope, attended “First Frost” at the Sheraton in Bloomington.  We also enjoy seeing them at Byerly’s in Golden Valley from time to time.  Allan ’60 and Carol Anne Magnuson Moberg, Tampa, FL continue to work in their photographic studio but on a somewhat smaller scale.  Their two children live in Tampa, and their son Mark (a Gustie ’86) helps with wedding photography on weekends.  Their daughter is a stay-at-home mother who home schools the Moberg’s two grandchildren.  When she wrote, Carol Anne was recovering from hip replacement surgery and several unusual problems that followed and eventually led to further surgery.  She had been out of work for several months, but she is on the mend now.  Bob ’60 and Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Edina, are spending the winter on Sanibel Island in Florida.  They sold their home in West Bloomington in the autumn and have purchased a condominium in Edina.  Bob remains CEO of Barrett Storage and Moving in Edina.

Peter and Julie Nelson Neyhart, Juneau, AK enjoyed an African trip that began in South Africa but included many countries and also a safari.  Julie’s mother Millie Nelson moved to Juneau in the autumn to be near her family.  She had remained in Ellsworth, WI since the death of her husband.  Carol Olson Heath, Minneapolis, also enjoyed a trip to Africa in the summer with some of the people with whom she taught in Africa soon after graduating from Gustavus.  She relished returning to the area, but she was a little surprised that more changes had not taken place.  The group of teachers was scheduled to meet with the country’s leaders, but they were upstaged by the American First Lady, Laura Bush, who came to the country at the same time and was the guest of honor at a reception when the teachers hoped to be in attendance.

Sid and I have lived a fragmented and frustrating schedule since July when Sid went into the hospital via a 911 call.  He survived the “bleed” about 30 units of blood products, some dicey surgery, 21 days in the hospital and months of recovery.  Our son’s comment perhaps sums it up best:  “We are just grateful to have a recovery to write about.”  At present we enjoy the good days and brace for the others.  He has some nerve damage in his left leg.  He has begun therapy, but results cannot be established yet.  Your prayers are appreciated very much.

To each of you, this letter brings wishes for inspiration as you look again at the majesty and the message of Christmas.  Enjoy a healthy and happy 2006,

Your Class Agent,

Virgene Grack Sehlin ’61