Class of '61
November 2006

Dear 45th Reunion Classmates,

The glow of great reunion events lingers.  The weekend of October 6 and 7 was very pleasant with respect to camaraderie and temperature.  It feels unreal that our graduation took place 45 years ago.  Actually we became a class 49 years ago this fall when we first moved to the St. Peter hill.  By this time of year we were probably writing our first term papers, adjusting to our first mid-semester grades and preparing for our first finals which would take place soon after Christmas.  Wasn’t it only yesterday?

Without the attendance of classmates from near and far the reunion would not have happened.  There must be many stories from each of you about your trips from many states and what was required to free yourselves from life’s schedule.  Thank you for all of that effort.  For those who could not attend I will attempt to provide a flavor of the events:


  • Festivities at the inviting Radisson-Plymouth hosted by Bruce Warner
  • Presidential message via video by Dr. Milt Gustafson, our senior class president (a copy is attached)
  • Tributes to our 25 deceased classmates, including:  Sally Johnson Audiss, Gordon Barks, Joseph H. Borchert, Stan Davies, Judy Fischer, Marjorie Erickson-Geisler, Rodney Golberg, Judith Gremmert Harmon, David A. Hasslen, Dellyn Hopp, Deanna K. Johnson, Rev. Ronald Koch, Dr. Karin L. Nelson, Sandra Miller Nelson, Dr. Joseph M. Peterson, Dr. John Pluto, Kenneth Richter, Allen Roalson, Dr. Elward T. Rodine, Allyn Goese Sievila, Dr. Mary Towley Swanson, Rev. Ronald C Swanson, Dr. Paul N. Thompson.
  • Other names brought up at the gathering were:  Donald Erickson of Mora, MN, who was accidentally killed during our first semester and Gordy Klemp who may have been in our class.
  • Teaching and travel experiences in Africa shared by Carol Olson Heath
  • Inspirational poems presented by Kathy Bunde Thorsell and Bruce Warner
  • We remembered by singing “Remember” with Carol Olson Heath at the piano.
  • Dale Gustafson generously cut and gave a CD of a Gamma record made by the fraternity’s male chorus with Phil Knautz conducting in April, 1961.


  • The brightness of the Three Crowns Room in the Student Center overlooked the John’s Family Courtyard―donated by Rev. Ted and Marietta (Bittrich’62) Johns.
  • Ellery Peterson ’49 (business professor) and Dr. Bernard Erling ’43 (Christianity professor) with our lunch group.
  • Stu Johnson hosted the program and led us in a surprising “Rouser.”
  • Dr. James Peterson ’64, 14th president of Gustavus, outlined some future directions for the college.  First lady, Rev. Susan (Pepin ’65) Peterson accompanied him.
  • Invocation given by Rev. Dr. James Wiberg. (A copy is attached.)
  • Owen Sammelson, “Sam,” ’58 who retired as vice president for administration in May 2006, after 46 years on staff, mesmerized everyone with a virtual tour of the campus “then―now.”  He will attempt to put something on paper to share with us by January.  At our event he just “winged it.”
  • “Blue Book” prepared by Arnette Johnson Nelson was loaded with information, pictures and even a test.
  • Dale Gustafson explained the CD and then presented it to classmates

All of these activities would not have been possible without a lot of work by classmates, including:  Dale Gustafson, Nita Swanson Anderson, David and Joanne Larson Karvonen, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, Mark ’59 and Kathy Bunde Thorsell, Bruce Warner, Bruce Gray, Stu Johnson, James Knoble, Miriam Lind Lagus, Arnette Johnson Nelson, and Rev. Jim WibergKathy Bunde Thorsell and Arnette Johnson Nelson were especially active as chairs of the two days’ gatherings.

Dale Gustafson would like to make the CD with music from the time of our Gustavus days available to 1961 classmates who request one.  You may contact Dale at his home:  112 Battista Road, Manchester, CT 06040 or by telephone at 860-647-7128.  I have forwarded to him the names of those who contacted me about getting a copy, and such requests will continue to be sent to him.  My e-mail address is

Dale drove to this, his first ever, reunion and on the return trip through Denver, New Orleans, Alabama historical sites related to the racial issues.  In Tennessee, he stopped to visit with Rev. Rod ’59 and Lorene Johnson Johnson in Fairfield Glade, TN; with whom he visited at the reunion.  (He now plans a return trip for his St. Peter High School 50th next year and he talked with some classmates about the prospect of having the gatherings more frequently―now that we are getting a little older!)  Please share reunion-related experiences this fund year when you jot down a bit of news on your gift envelope.

“Sam” raised some questions during his talk that may stir your brains a bit.  He did give the answer to one, at our Saturday gathering, but for those who were not in attendance, do you know which two structures on campus have not been taken down or renovated?  He did not answer this one:  exactly where was the Rancherino located in reference to the current campus?

The 2007 Alumni Fund year is half way through, we have just until May 31, 2007, to send in gifts.  During the 2007 Fund Year the reunions for the classes of 1962 and 1957 will have their gatherings moved up to coincide with graduation in May.

There has not been an autumn Phonorama, but Gustavus students are telephoning alumni to set up pledges and gather news items.  Please take a few minutes to visit with them; we need your news!  There are so many talented and personable young Gusties on campus now.  The four students who set up the Three Crowns Room for our reunion event were fast workers and great conversationalists.

Our class has made a great start in funding a $25,000 scholarship which would be endowed and provide a percentage amount to be paid out to a student each year.  The student would be encouraged to communicate with the class that sponsored the stipend.  At reunion time classmates had generously sent a little over $7,855 toward this effort and we will have three years to designate gifts toward our scholarship goal.  Remember that a little gift from everyone helps very much.  Thank you to the classmates who have sent a check; some of you were very generous!

At the reunion, a large, ceremonial check was presented to President Jim Peterson as a class gift in the amount of $1,544,842.72.  This amount has been designated to Gustavus by four classmates to be paid upon their deaths.  Other classmates have apparently indicated that they also have made undisclosed gifts in their wills.  Because many classmates are getting involved in estate planning, I have asked Bruce Gray to write a class letter sometime in the near future to explain some of the things that one can consider doing.  Bruce has worked in the Advancement Office at Gustavus for several years.  His picture appeared in the current Gustavus Quarterly with other Gift Planners.


Gustavus Designated an “All Steinway School”

Steinway and Sons, makers of what many would say are the best pianos, has added Gustavus to its “All Steinway Schools” list.  This is an exclusive list of just 66 colleges, universities, or conservatories in the world.  To be considered for the Steinway designation, a school must first have at least 90 percent of its performance, practice, and teaching pianos be Steinways.

Gustavus Excels in Fitness and Dining

Men’s Fitness magazine has named Gustavus as one of the top 10 colleges in America for fitness.  Among the things considered in the rankings were nutrition and dining choices, whether physical fitness is included in the curriculum, and availability of workout equipment.  They also examined individual student responses to questions on topics such as alcohol consumption, tobacco use, fast-food indulgence, and exercise habits.  On a related note, the Gustavus Dining Service was listed in the top 10 in a U.S. News and World Report survey on the best campus food in America.

Gustavus Alumni Professional Apparel

Check out the two new oxfords on sale online through the Gustavus Book Mark.  The Book Mark is offering a women’s and men’s long sleeve shirt in a variety of colors and sizes.  The shirt features an embroidered three crowns and Gustavus.  A great idea for holiday shopping for your favorite Gustie.  Check them out online only at

Athletic Hall of Fame Induction

On Saturday, September 30, Gustavus inducted the following people into the Athletic Hall of Fame:  Deborah Jungwirth Borman ’87 - Volleyball, Tina Pulido Draper ’87 - Gymnastics, John Huepenbecker ’80 - Football, John Jambeck ’62 - Swimming, Deanne Sand Johnson ’89 - Tennis, Dick Kumlin ’55 (posthumously) – Basketball, Dan Prochnow ’78 - Golf, Jerilyn Ree ’88 - Basketball, and Stacey Rodman ’89 - Swimming.

Honor Roll of Donors

If you haven’t had a chance to find yourself online, please go to to check out the 2005-2006 Honor Roll of Donors.  The Honor Roll of Donors recognizes those who made gifts to Gustavus between June 1, 2005, and May 31, 2006.  To find your name or check your class results, just point and click from your home or office computer.  For those who do not have access to a computer, you may call toll-free 866/487-3863 to receive a copy in the mail (supplies are limited).

Gustavus Legacy Award for Gustavus Admission

Mark Anderson, Vice President of Admission and Student Financial Assistance, is pleased to announce the Gustavus Legacy Award for new students beginning with the incoming class of 2007.  Renewable awards of $2,500 per year are given to new students whose siblings are current Gustavus students or graduates or whose parents or grandparents are Gustavus alumni.  Scholarship recipients must have a high school grade point average of at least 3.5 or an ACT of 26 or an 1170 (Critical Reading + Math) on the SAT.  For more information contact the Admission Office at 800/GUSTAVU(S) or email <>.

Upcoming Gustavus Events

  • Washington DC Area Gustie Gathering – December 3 to watch the Vikings
  • Christmas in Christ Chapel “An American Odyssey” – December 1-3
  • Jacksonville Chapter Gathering – February 11
  • Orlando Chapter Gathering – February 13
  • Tampa Bay Chapter Gathering – February 15
  • Naples/Marco Island Chapter Gathering – February 17
  • Tucson Chapter Gathering – March 16
  • Phoenix Chapter Gathering – March 17
  • Sun City Chapter Gathering – March 18

There are a few class news items but, I will keep those until the next class letter.  Thank you to those who sent greetings to be included in the reunion events; those will also be shared in the January letter.

Thank you, each one, for the wonderful spirit that you show.  The reunion gatherings were very special; I do feel sad not to have gotten to visit with each person, but it was obvious that everyone was doing a lot of visiting and laughing.  Happy Christmas wishes are extended to you and yours.  May this Christmas take you back to the manger for a peek that stimulates thought and also back to Christmas observances in your past that connect you to family and friends.  I will correspond again in January and include some statistics that were intended for use at the reunion events, but I put them aside because of tight program schedules.  Gustavus thanks those of you who have responded with a gift whether you were called or not.  After the holidays, I will attempt to make calls.

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent

Invocation given by Rev. Dr. James Wiberg ’61

On the occasion of our 45th Reunion


It’s called an Autumn Prayer by Joyce Rupp in "May I Have This Dance?"

“God of autumn, the trees are saying goodbye to their green, letting go of what has been.  We, too have our moments of surrender, with all their insecurity and risk.  Help us to let go when we need to do so.

God of fallen leaves lying in colored patterns on the ground, our lives have their own patterns.  As we see the patterns of our own growth, may we learn from them.

God of harvest wagons and fields of ripened grain, many gifts lie within the season of our surrender.  We must wait for harvest in faith and hope.  Grant us patience when we do not see the blessings.

God of geese going south for another season, your wisdom enables us to know what needs to be left behind and what needs to be carried into the future.  We yearn for insight and vision.

God of flowers touched with frost and windows wearing white designs, may your love keep our hearts from growing cold in the empty seasons.”

A message from Dr. Milton Gustafson, 1961 Class President

On the occasion of our 45th Reunion

I was asked to say a few words of greeting because I was the senior class president.  My only duty, as I recall, was to give a brief speech as part of our graduation ceremony.

            Speaking of graduation ceremonies, last May before delivering the commencement address at the Naval Academy, Vice President Dick Cheney brought good news for those midshipmen who were guilty of “minor conduct infractions” and thus placed on restrictions.  Commander-in-chief George Bush had pardoned them.

            “Minor conduct infractions.”  Those words reminded me of our own graduation way back in 1961, and the similarities and differences between Edgar Carlson and George Bush.

            So what did your other class officers do?  You’ll have to ask them.  I remember that Jim Krough was the vice president; the secretary and treasurer were Karen Westman and Jo Linnee.  Maybe they can tell you what we did.  I think we had a class gift, but my memory of what happened 45 years ago is not so good―I prefer to say it is selective.

            Bruce Warner asked me to tell some stories about my 36-year career at the National Archives.  I was in charge of the most important, interesting, and valuable documents in the National Archives― the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Emancipation Proclamation, all of the laws and treaties, and all of the records of the State Department.  But I don’t want to talk about any of that.

Nor do I want to talk about official trips to Russia and France and Bulgaria (Marilyn came along for one of the trips to Bulgaria), or behind the scenes tours for important visitors like Barbara Bush, Bob Newhart, or Queen Julianna of the Netherlands, or finding important or interesting documents like Ronald Reagan’s signed original presidential proclamation in 1984 for Harmon Killebrew Day.

            Instead I’ll tell you just one story about another document, neither important nor valuable.  It was 1992, late on a Friday afternoon, when I got a call saying that someone wanted to look at the original of a Private Law.  Private Laws usually apply only to one person, and provide relief relative to immigration or naturalization laws or monetary claims against the government.

I took the two visitors, a couple, they seemed about our age, to the vault to see the original law, signed by President Kennedy in 1961.  As they read it so did I.  It allowed Annemarie Hermann to get a temporary visa to enter the United States to marry Kenneth Hobble, but if they did not marry within three months she would be deported.  Approved, October 3, 1961, John F. Kennedy.

I turned to them and silently asked the question.  Yes, they were Kenneth and Annemarie Hobble, and they were in Washington to see the sights and celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary.  Visiting the National Archives was a spur-of-the-moment decision.

            I was curious.  I had to find out more, the rest of the story.  Other records in the National Archives showed that Kenneth graduated from high school in Dunlap, Kansas in 1957, joined the Air Force, and was stationed in Germany.  In January 1961 he met Annemarie, a nurse in the Bremerhaven hospital.  They became engaged in February 1961, but when he filed his marriage papers he lost his security clearance, was discharged, and sent back to the United States.

His fiancée was unable to immigrate because she was born in Gdansk, or the Free City of Danzig as it was known in 1939, and there was a two-year wait to get an immigration visa from Danzig.

            Kenneth’s mother wrote a touching letter to her congressman, pleading for him to help unite her son with his fiancée.  The State Department investigated.  Annemarie’s father, who had spent most of the war as a POW in England, was a housemaster for a Protestant community house; her grandfather was a Lutheran minister.  And so with the approval of Senator James Eastland and his Committee on the Judiciary, Congress approved the private law and sent it to President Kennedy.

            Annemarie Hobble told me later that she arrived at Ellis Island with only two things―her wedding dress, and a copy of the law allowing her to enter the United States.  The wedding took place one week later in Kansas.

Kenneth worked for Western Union, and eventually became a regional manager in Louisiana.  Annemarie worked as a nurse.  They had three children, were foster parents, and then adopted a fourth child.  They retired and started their own business, a day-care center, and in 1994 they had 12 day-care centers in Plano, Texas.

            This story illustrates what I loved the most about my job―finding the hundreds of simple documents that each have a fascinating story to tell.

I’d like to share a final thought with you.  On New Year’s Eve 1999, we were home watching TV, scenes of celebration of the new millennium from around the world.  But at 11:50 p.m. we switched to a local scene.

President Clinton, standing at the Lincoln Memorial, was to throw a switch and a stream of firecrackers was supposed to travel down both sides of the reflecting pool and then up to the top of the Washington Monument for the beginning of a fireworks display.  It seemed a little more complicated, let’s say, than a ball dropping at Times Square in New York City.

I was watching because I wasn’t sure it would work.  Clinton was giving a speech, and I wasn’t really listening because I was checking the clock and I didn’t think he would finish before midnight.  I was getting nervous, but suddenly I heard what he was saying:

“As we marvel at the changes of the last hundred years, we dream of what changes the next hundred and the next thousand will bring.  And as powerful as our memories are, our dreams must be even stronger.  For when our memories outweigh our dreams, we become old.”

That’s when I realized I was spending much more time on memories than dreams.  I spent a lot of time reflecting about pleasant memories of the past (not so much on the bad ones), and I didn’t spend too much time thinking about the future.

I resolved to spend more time thinking about projects for tomorrow, and next week, and next month, and next year.

Personally, I know I can’t really dream much past that, but I urge each of you, even on this night of our 45th reunion, to visit with each other and talk more about your dreams for the future instead of memories of the past.

            Now I'd like to share with you some of the people about whom we have dreams:  our grandchildren, Sam, Harry, Jane, and the 9-month old twins, Emma and David.