Class of '61
May 2006


Reunion dates ― October 6 & 7, 2006

Dear 1961 Classmates,

Forty five years ago this month we were finishing four years of study and collegiate life in preparation for graduation on June 4.

May of 1961 was an exciting but bittersweet time as we looked forward to the future while recognizing that we would never be a part of a college community in exactly the same way again.  We were leaving the company of friends, faculty, and campus staff who had helped shape our lives in and beyond the classroom during those very important years of transition from high school to real adulthood.  That we were privileged to experience the transition at an institution such as Gustavus was apparent to us as the end of our final year approached.

A brief look back at the senior calendar for that final month brings back to mind the sweetness of spring days on the hill overlooking the valley and to a time that now seems more innocent, more socially formal, and in my opinion, a wonderful time to be young.

We were guests of the junior class at the traditional Junior-Senior Banquet with the theme “New Horizons” on May 11, with Hap LeVander as Master of Ceremonies.  Dean Melva Lind opened with a welcome, followed by remarks by our college president Dr. Edgar Carlson and class president, Milt Gustafson.  The featured speaker was Gustavus 1938 graduate, Dr. Francis Gamelin, whose career was in the field of psychology and child welfare.  The junior class quartet called The What Fours sang, which included Jerry Springsteen, Jon Buss, Bruce Seastrand, and Denny Anderson.  But what is most intriguing is that the Senior Class Will was read.  That makes one wonder the how, why, and what of such a tradition and who wrote it?  Was it taken seriously or written tongue in cheek the night before?  If you know who wrote it, who read it, and what was in it, please speak up!

On Friday, May 12, we wore our caps and gowns for the first time as we participated in a special senior chapel service as part of “Senior Day.”  Dale Gustafson was the chapel speaker, Nancy Hunziker Herforth and Jo Swenson Lippert sang a duet, Carol Olson Heath played the organ, and Milt Gustafson read scripture.  Later that day the senior picnic was enjoyed at Camp Norseland, planned by Elsa Cornell and Dick Lippert, with Doug Perkins in charge of games! 

Several frat banquet themes were written up in a May issue of the Gustavian Weekly which some might find hilarious now, but they evoke a thoughtfulness, some sense of humor, and time on the men’s part to plan evenings that were really special.  Several banquets featured Dick Sandman’s band, a favorite local group during those years.  Features from various banquets included a pantomime by Pete Nyhus ’60, Gamma and Eppie choruses, songs and skits, orchids for dates delivered “direct from Hawaii,” and day-after banquet trips to lake cabins, baseball games, and the Eppie canoe trip.  The themes included:  “Highland Fling,” “Ports of Paradise,” “Polynesian Paradise,” and my personal favorites:  “Where the Boys Are” and “Playboy Ball.”  I can’t imagine that the same attention is given to such parties currently.  We had good times using wit, talent, and good old-fashioned romance.

The Twelfth Annual Bernadotte Institute on World Affairs that May, featured an address by Mr. Carl Rowan, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, at the Institute’s dinner with tickets priced at $1.50.  Some of you may calculate what an equivalent price for that banquet would be today.

Somehow, amid the rush of activities, classes were attended, term paper deadlines met, final exams were studied for and completed, serious packing began in the dorms, and graduation weekend arrived.  June 4, 1961 was a lovely, sunny spring day.  The festivities began with a morning Baccalaureate Service in Myrum Field House followed by large family gatherings for lunch either in the College Dining Hall or at picnics in Swede Park before the outdoor graduation ceremony at 4:00 p.m.  After the ceremony we hugged our goodbyes and went our separate ways to begin the next phase of our lives.

Since that late afternoon ceremony 45 years ago our graduating class has experienced a rapidly changing world and lived through historic events unfolding at an exponential pace:  a space program with it’s triumphs and tragedies; assassinations of our best and brightest hopes, here and abroad; the civil rights movement with the resulting landmark civil rights legislation; the first reliable birth control pill; the women’s rights movement; Viet Nam; medical technologies from the oral polio vaccine in the ’60s to stem cell possibilities of today; computer science and the Internet; global travel; shifting patterns in the political and social landscape; satellite communication; cell phones; global warming; a new century; 9/11 and the impact it continues to make in our lives.

So we might ask ourselves, how have we done?  How have we managed the challenges of this ever-changing life we live?  How many of us would do it all over again and not change a thing?  How many would choose a different path?  These are questions that each of us has to answer individually, but I believe that I can write with confidence that no matter what our answers are, we have learned much about ourselves and have shared experiences in these 45 years that are strikingly similar.  We know that things change and yet remain constant.  We have known sorrow as well as contentment.  We have lived comfortably and we have lived simply.  We know what it means to value one’s health.  We have discovered that there is no such thing as having things completely under control or completely finished.  We sometimes have had to struggle with allowing our better natures to prevail.  We know that success has little to do with money.  We have reached beyond ourselves to serve humankind.  We have learned that the dearest, important things in life happen in small, quiet ways inside our families.  And we know the best part of being in our 45th year since graduation:  we are finally old enough to feel comfortable in just being ourselves.


Come and be yourself at our 45th reunion weekend October 6-7.  The Friday night event will be a social and dinner evening with a short program.  The reunion committee has planned a relaxed evening with more time for visiting.  It will be held at the Radisson in Plymouth, MN.  Friday, October 6 beginning with a social hour at 5:30 p.m. followed by a buffet dinner, short program, and time to visit afterwards over coffee or after-dinner drinks.  The cost of the dinner is $36.00 per person and Gustavus alumni can book a room at the hotel Friday evening for $89.

Bruce Warner will be our MC for the evening.  Saturday our class will have a luncheon on campus after the morning worship service and before the football game.  Details to follow in Virgene’s June letter.


We urge all classmates who have not yet sent in their alumni gift to the college to remember to do so before the 31st of May when this year’s fund drive ends. The Honor Roll of Donors will be published in August, just before the reunion and it would be wonderful to see everyone’s names in it at the reunion!  The 1961 CLASS ENDOWED SCHOLARSHIP FUND has also been established for our class to help fund students needing financial aid.  This is above and beyond our regular gifts to the Alumni Fund.  We need to reach a total of $25,000 in the endowed scholarship before it can be used. You can give to this fund anytime during our reunion year and after.  We hope you will consider a gift to both as a special tribute during our reunion year.


We are a fortunate generation of Gusties.  From class letters it is obvious that for the most part we are living well enough to have a retirement and have opportunities to enjoy it.  The theme of the class news portion of this letter could easily be the Dr. Seuss book, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 

“Fifty, Nifty United States...”

Nancy Williams Rensink and husband traveled to Washington DC for Easter with their daughter’s family.  Of particular interest to Nancy and husband, Marv, is visiting historic lodges in our National Parks.  Texans, Lorna Jafvert Reed and husband, Milt, spent a relaxing week on a road trip touring around the Texas panhandle area visiting interesting museums and the second largest canyon in the United States, which has roads reaching far down into the canyon.

Tom ’60 and Nan Dahl Carlson will join another couple on a trip to Alaska this summer.  Nan mentors a fifth grade student and schedules for the worship committee at her church.  Summers they spend time at a cabin in Danbury, Wisconsin.  Jan Wenlund Weir believes in variety when planning their winter get-a-ways, going to such sunny places as Hawaii, Texas, and Arizona.  This past Christmas she and her husband, Bob, had a Disney World vacation with sixteen family members and later traveled to the Keys and other Florida areas alone, probably to recuperate from what must have been a lively time with all the grandchildren.

Paul and Joan Nesvold have followed the Twins spring season with vacations in Florida for several years.  Paul enjoys retirement and the time it affords him to work on the conservation management of 500 acres they own, noting that working with government agencies can sometimes be very interesting.  Dick and Barb Miller had a golf resort vacation in Texas this winter.  Dick enjoys sports and plays golf and bowling, playing in tournaments.  He attended an N.C.A.A. basketball tournament game at the Metrodome in March.  Gloria Eckberg Swenson and Arnie had a wonderful cruise, which included Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Boston, Newport, R.I., and Bar Harbor.  Acadia National Park in Maine was a highlight with a tour and whale watching.

Rub a dub, dub, three men in a tub―Jim Krough, Harlan Sandberg 60’, and Tom Meyer spent some time in Meyer’s hot tub when Jim and Pat (Maedl) Krough and Harlan ’60 and Judy (Fairbanks) Sandberg visited Tom and Marlene (Vartdal) Meyer at their hilltop home in Mission Viejo, California.  Sorry that the photos of the hot tub boys didn’t make the cut for this letter.  We have to have some standards.

Sue Dahl Doe and husband, Mike, enjoy automobile trips.  On their latest trip they traveled for three weeks in Oklahoma, the Texas Panhandle, and spent time in several Arizona National parks.  When not traveling they are at home on top of a hill in Stillwater with spectacular views of the St. Croix River.  Two summers ago, Sue entertained several Gustie women for an afternoon on her deck overlooking the river including classmates:  Lorraine Sandvig Carlson, Nan Dahl Carlson, Judy Carlson Olson, Karen Westman Carlson, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, Pat Ecklund Fick, Jeanne Linnerooth Scherfenberg, Jo Linnee, and Kathy Bunde Thorsell.


Travel Beyond Our Borders

Marjorie Jensen McWhorter plans a trip to the Antarctic during Christmas and is planning a second trip to Africa.  She teaches in a junior high school in the Las Vegas area.  David and Jan Wettergren will travel to Croatia for three weeks as part of his job in public finance in St. Paul.  He was hired to do municipal classes in Croatia.  Quite a gig, Dave.  Sally Enstrom’s favorite trip was an art museum trip on the Seine River near Paris with stops at art museums and important historical sites.  Sally highly recommends a church retreat sponsored by Mt. Olivet in Minneapolis, centering around labyrinths patterned after the one in Chartres Cathedral.  It was a very moving, spiritual experience.

Joanne Larson Karvonen and husband, David, spent two weeks in Mexico.  In April they drove to the Great Smokey Mountains where they met Jo’s sister, Lori, a 1978 Gustavus graduate, and her husband for a week.  They also toured South Carolina before returning home.  This summer they travel to California for the wedding of their son, John ’91, to Tanya Crisalli.  Karin Erickson Gaskell and Al Gaskell of Texas are fans of Sun City Tours through which they toured ruins on the Yucatan peninsula as part of a Caribbean cruise, another tour of Fort Hood, and this September they are planning a tour of the Canadian Rockies with six other friends.  Don McCollum was assisting his son-in-law in chaperoning a high school band on a tour in China when Virgene called him.  (Maybe it’s not always a great idea to take a cell phone on a trip because Gustavus will track you down anywhere!)  Since his retirement from teaching Don volunteers a lot at the local hospital and serves on several Dodge County boards.

Bruce and Deanna Warner plan to travel to Nepal this month to visit son, Kevin, and his wife, who are living there while Kevin does research for his doctorate from Harvard.  I think that Kevin has had Paul D. Hanson from our class as a professor.  Last summer when Bruce and Deanna were on the east coast for their son’s wedding Bruce traveled to Washington D.C. and had lunch with Milt Gustafson.  Bruce is recently retired and is involved in promoting the local jazz scene in the Twin City area, including recording radio announcements and promotions of jazz groups’ appearances.  He recently was involved in facilitating local appearances of the Swedish Uppsala Jazz Band.

Jim and Judie (Brown) Mortenson spent time in their Bonita Springs condo in February and last summer traveled in Italy and Switzerland with the Minnetonka Chorus for sixteen days.  In November they were fortunate that Jim had business in Hawaii so they could enjoy a week in the sun.  They plan on attending our reunion this fall.  Jim and Susan Davis travel and teach on their summer vacations.  Last summer they were in Xion, China where Jim taught at a Chinese school that requires students to study English.  Jim found that the work and adapting to the life style was challenging, but the people were interesting.  A summer trip to Spain is on their calendar this year.  Jim is currently teaching at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Evelyn Madsen Schroeder and her husband, Richard, enjoyed a wonderful trip to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia last spring.  Richard died last June 17, only twenty-five days after a cancer diagnosis.  We extend our sympathy to Evie in her loss.

Joanne Swenson Lippert flew to Turkey in February where she visited and toured with her daughter, Suzanne, who is living and teaching there.  This is not the first time that mother and daughter have teamed up for travel since Suzanne has been living in Europe.  A previous trip to France and Italy was a highlight trip for them.  During the Istanbul trip Joanne and Suzanne spent many hours living and walking in the oldest part of the city, visiting mosques, parks, enjoying the local yogurt drinks, and fending off numerous determined carpet salesmen.  Joanne had one of those “It’s a small world” experiences when one carpet salesman, upon learning that Joanne was from California, commented that he had met students from a college in Minnesota and that these students had given him a shirt with the name of the college written on it.  When asked which college it was, he unhesitantly replied, “Gustavus!”

Nancy Hunziker Herforth and husband, Boyd, fly to Hawaii this summer to attend a family wedding and then will travel to Thailand and the Philippines, returning to the areas and renewing friendships with a family Boyd lived with while working in the Peace Corps.  Nancy has lived in New Paltz, New York for over thirty years on the oldest street in America with it’s original buildings, founded in 1678.  New Paltz was settled by the French Huguenots and the stone buildings reflect their culture.  The original French church, built in 1717, has a unique square design.  Nancy lives in the first frame house, circa 1800.  Across the green is the Reformed Dutch Church where Nancy is the choir director, in addition to her work teaching private voice students.  As part of a community choral group that combines with the choir and orchestra of New Paltz State University in concerts, Nancy has sung “Rig Veda” by Gustav Holtz and Mozart’s “Requiem” this year.  Each summer Nancy returns to Minnesota to visit family and for an annual dinner with Gustavus friends.

Arlyn Kettner, our student senate president, and wife, Judy (Schlottman ’63), soaked up the sun in Florida this winter.  They are planning to come to Minnesota from their Fort Collins, Colorado home to attend an all-school reunion for Nicollet High School at the end of June.  With the rich, black soil of Nicollet County, the corn will probably be knee-high by then, Arlyn.

WORK OR VOLUNTEERING-----Is there a difference?

William Wennerlund retired almost five years ago, but admitted that he is basically an unpaid staff member of his church through his volunteer work there counseling people and working on the property committee.  He and his wife have moved to a one level home from a larger two story one, a transition that several of our classmates have reported doing recently.  Changing priorities.  According to Carol Burgess Juers, my former chapel partner, she recently retired, but then reports that she works two ten-hour days a week as a psychiatric nurse in a busy office seeing patients.  She and husband, Ed, took time to escape the winter for a few weeks in Mexico.  Ruth Hilgendorf Weber retired a year ago and now volunteers one day a week for the American Cancer Society for the “Relay for Life” program.  Ruth and Irvin spent part of the winter in Arizona, only to come home to a good old Minnesota snowstorm.

Two days a week Jane Thompson Hixon volunteers for “Mission Outreach” at Prince of Peace Church, helping to facilitate the collection of food, clothing, and furniture that is then distributed to low-income people.  She visits with classmate, Kathy Moody Buegler, frequently.  Kathy has retired from her nursing career and she is now involved in several volunteer activities.  Her son, Todd, class of 1987, has been ordained and is a pastor of Lord of Life Lutheran church in Maple Grove.  Arlyce (Peterson) and Craig Johnson are split between retirement and work:  she works full-time as a legal secretary while Craig is retired, probably making sure that there is a hot meal waiting for Arlyce after work.  Arlyce is fortunate to be able to job share during summers so that she can live at their lake home near Remer, MN.  Don and Janet Nelson are another couple making the transition from work to retirement.  Janet has retired and Don hopes to work one more year for the State of Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.  He reports that although he works with a few other Gustie grads, they are all from ten to twenty years younger.  Isn’t everyone younger these days, Don?

Mary Erickson Lindahl of Cannon Falls, Minnesota serves on the Social Services Board and the Public Health Board in her county.  She finds the work to be very interesting with difficult decisions to be made because of too many budget cuts.  Mary and family are looking forward to the July wedding of their daughter, Holly ’93.  Wayne Becker does not expect to be at the reunion this year because their son and daughter-in-law are adopting children from China and the Beckers will be taking care of the first child when their son and daughter-in-law return to China to adopt again.  Wayne has retired from teaching at Normandale Community College.


Paul and Joan Nesvold:  a first-born grandchild born to their daughter.

David and Joanne Larson Karvonen:  a grandson born to Tanya Crisalli and son, John Karvonen, class of 1991.


Richard Schroeder, June 17, 2005:  husband of Evelyn Madsen Schroeder.



The Alumni Board met on campus in February and made the final selection for the Alumni Awards:

Greater Gustavus Award:  Gustavus Library Associates, for providing financial resources for Folke Bernadotte Library, and engaging and introducing alumni and friends in the mission of the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations:  Karen Bossart Rusthoven ’66, St. Paul, MN, founder and principal of Community of Peace Academy, St. Paul; Susan Semple-Rowland ’77, Gainesville, FL, professor of neuroscience, University of Florida and director, Neuroscience IDP Graduate Program; and Magnus Ranstorp ’85, St. Andrews, Scotland, chief scientist at the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies, Swedish National Defense College; and a Senior Honorary Research Associate and former Director of Centre for the Study of Terrorism and Political Violence at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.

First Decade Awards:  Rebecca Konrad ’96, Washington, DC, investment officer, global transaction team, The World Bank International Finance Corporation; and Milo Martin ’96, Philadelphia, PA, assistant professor, Department of Computer and Information Sciences, University of Pennsylvania. 

The awards will be presented on Commencement Weekend or Homecoming Weekend depending on the recipient’s schedule.

Gustavus Alumni Directory

The 2006 Gustavus Alumni Directory will be published soon and our goal is to represent your information as accurately as possible in the printed edition.  PCI:  the data company, is publishing our directory and a short phone call will update or verify your information.  Call toll free:  1-800-982-1589, Monday-Saturday, 8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST, and Sunday, 11:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. CST.  International callers dial:  1-972-386-0100, Monday-Friday CST.

Gusties Gather!

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, August 6!  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a way for Gusties to stay connected with each other.  In research among alumni, we know that Gusties already stay in contact with many alumni, and we know that Gusties have a strong interest in staying connected with other Gusties and with the College.  Ever think you want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Now is your chance, sign up to host a Gusties Gather! event.  Complete event checklist, host kit, and details will be provided.  Sign-up via e-mail at <> or call 800/487-8437.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Reunion for Class of 1956 and 50-Year Club – May 26-27
  • Commencement – May 28
  • Gusties Gather! – August 6
  • Reunions for the classes of 1961, 1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001 – October 6-8
  • Homecoming/Family Weekend – October 7 & 8

Again, remember the Gustavus Alumni Fund closes May 31.  The college and students appreciate your continued support.

Have a wonderful summer and we hope to visit with many of you in person in October at our class reunion events.


Kathleen Bunde Thorsell

1961 Reunion Committee Member