Class of ’61
September 2010

50-Year Reunion - Reunion Dates May 27-28, 2011

Dear Golden ’61 Classmates,

As an autumn chill descends upon the GAC campus, students are beginning their classes.  Almost 54 years ago this month we were the new kids on the hill.  Yes, classmates, this is already the year for our 50th anniversary.  Dust off your green beanies and make plans to be on campus for this special gathering on Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28, 2011.

An enthusiastic group of more than 20 classmates is at work planning events for our reunion.  Kathy Moody Buegler, Karen Westman Carlson, Lorraine Sandvig Carlson, Nan Dahl Carlson, Judy Johnson Chaffee, Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Jan Sanftner Elvekrog, Sally Enstrom, Pat Ecklund Fick, Dennis Freeman, Carol Olson Heath, Stu Johnson, Joanne Larson Karvonen, Jim and Patti (Maedl) Krough, Miriam Lind Lagus, Jo Linnee, Julie Nelson Neyhart, Judy Carlson Olson, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, Virgene Grack Sehlin, Kathy Bunde Thorsell, Burce Warner, Ruth Hilgendorf Weber, and Jim Wiberg.

Huge thanks go to them for all of their time, effort and travel to be part of the effort this year and next.  To date large gatherings have occurred at Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie, the Ridges at Sand Creek Golf Club in Jordan, and at the home of Nan Dahl Carlson in White Bear Lake.  Conference telephone calls, smaller group meetings and computer connections have also been part of the activity and will be happening throughout the year.

A memory page has been created on our class web page for our class where classmates may post notes to the entire class.  Go to and click on “Share with your class…”  If you “Leave a reply” this will create the sharing page.  We will try to include these messages in future class letters, just in case you don’t get online very often.

You should have received a survey form from the Office of Alumni Relations that is part of the college’s effort during a reunion year to maintain contact with the alumni.  Please fill in whatever information you can share and return it before the holidays dominate your lives.  The information will help build our Class Anniversary Booklet at the reunion.


Philip Knautz, ’48, the concert choir director whose work affected many of you directly and all of us by the inspirational music, passed away on April 26 in Colby, WI.  He was 86 and had worked with Gustavus students from 1954-80.  On page 8 of the Fall Quarterly there is a thorough obituary.  Also noted on that page is the death of Charles Mason, the founding director of the Gustavus Arboretum.  He came to Gustavus to teach botany in 1967.

Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus will induct new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame at a banquet at 6 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 9.  The Hall of Fame Moment is the 1990 women’s tennis team’s national championship.  Team members are invited to return to revisit this memorable sports moment.  Inductees for 2010 are:  Evie Cieslar Erdman ’73, benefactor; Duke Paluch ’84, tennis; Erik Allen ’92, basketball; Peter Anderson ’92, golf; Leigh Stocker Berger ’92, volleyball; Angela White Vick ’92, track and field; Heidi Rostberg Carlson ’93, tennis; Erik Hendrikson ’94, hockey, football; Paige Tierney Sullivan ’95, soccer; 1990 Women’s Tennis National Championship―Hall of Fame Moment.

Nobel Conference

What is Good Food?  Join us on October 5 & 6, 2010, for Nobel Conference® 46, Making Food Good, as we explore the many levels of this question and hear answers from our seven distinguished panelists.  We will consider the ways in which varied and various conceptions of goodness intersect with, challenge, and are challenged by each other.  We will consider contemporary food issues like community food security; the local foods movement; food crops as fuel crops; school lunches; genetic modification of food plants and animals; molecular gastronomy; and protecting genetic diversity of plants and animals.  You can order tickets online at

150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory

The Gustavus Alumni Association is bringing together about 25,000 Gusties to celebrate the College’s 150th anniversary.  In partnership with Publishing Concepts, Inc. (PCI), Gustavus will produce the 150th Anniversary Commemorative Alumni Directory.  Over the next couple of months, PCI will be contacting Gustavus alumni via phone, mail, and e-mail to request that you update your information.  We know you don’t want to provide your information to just anyone, so we want you to be aware of this project and encourage your participation.  For more information, call the Office of Alumni Relations at 800-487-8437.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfast

Once a month, Gusties gather for coffee, breakfast, and great conversation along with a campus speaker.  All Gusties are welcomed and invited to the breakfast, third Wednesday of the month, 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard.  Cost is $10 at the door.  October’s speaker is Dr. Lisa Heldke speaking on Nobel.

Upcoming Events

  • Oct. 4-5 – Nobel Conference
  • Oct. 8-9 – Family Weekend
  • Oct. 9 – Hall of Fame


Throughout this year, we want classmates to share their ‘reflections’ on the past fifty years.  Pat Ecklund Fick was willing to be the first.  Thanks Pat!

Remembering October, 1957.  Having survived September, we were no longer quite as green.  Our Green Beanies had been discarded, (soon to be replaced by hats or scarves.)  Hello Walk was full of the faces of friends we knew and faces of those who would become our friends in the coming years.  Our mailboxes no longer challenged our memory and dexterity, instead becoming the bearers of all good things.  (Unless it was a summons to explain our chapel cuts.)  The Reds who, during freshman week, had struck terror in young female hearts from their couch in the heart of the Student Union, were now many of heroes on the football field and we cheered them on with enthusiasm.  Hello Walk became ours.  We were survivors.  We were Gusties.

A small verse to commemorate our transformation


Freshman,    Overwhelmed

Studying,      Obeying,        Struggling,

Beanies,       Books ,          Survivor,        Senior,

Anticipating,  Celebrating,    Graduating,

Cool,         Confidant


We would continue to be Gusties on campus and in our hearts for many years to come.  Who would have thought the 50+ years would fly by so quickly?

In the ensuing fifty years so much has changed.  Here we go, another verse.

No Laptop, Cell phone,

Blackberry, flat screen TV

How did we survive?

Actually, we flourished in the place we knew as Gustavus.  Often I hear alumni say, “I would never have been accepted.  I could never do what the class of 2011 is expected to do.  I always answer, au contraire.  We would have grown up in the system.  We could do anything given the same back ground and training.  We’re Gusties!

Well here it is, my final two verses, an attempt to succinctly describe the passage of time.  I hope the Oh no! factor has not yet completely overwhelmed you.

Graduate, can’t wait

Get out, get a life, succeed

Return, reunion

Every five years

We reassure ourselves that

We’ve not changed a bit

Pat Ecklund Fick

1961 Guest Letter Writer


Rev. LeRoy Holmes, the Class of ’61 extends sympathy on the passing of your wife, Kathleen Tuominen Holmes ’60, on June 13, in Tower, MN.  She had retired from the Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources where she was a financial officer.  Rev. LeRoy served as pastor of a congregation in St. Paul.  The Holmes had three daughters.

The Fall Quarterly contains news about classmates, including the group of us who enjoyed a few days of celebrating 70th birthdays one year ago at Cragun’s Resort in northern Minnesota on page 24.  In other pictures on that page you can see Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, with graduates from classes near ours, and also David Linne, Edina, in a picture of flat plane carvers.  Dave, are you trying to become younger by telling the photographer that you are really in the Class of ‘62?  Then on page 46 there is Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls,WI with a large group from the  Theda Sorority that held their first reunion last spring.

Wow!  Dr. Peter ’60 and Janice Gardner Strand, Bay Lake MN, and Rio Verde AZ, support Gustavus in a really gigantic way.  They have five daughters.  Susan (Strand) Vickerman ’83 and Jennifer (Strand) Larson ’84 are Gustavus graduates and Sarah Strand-Paul ’91 attended for two years.  Two sons-in-law are also Gusties.  In the next generation Melissa Vickerman ’07 is a Gustavus graduate.  Andrew Vickerman ’11 and Anna Larson ’11 are seniors at the college and Amy Larson ’14 is a freshman this year.  Another grandchild remained undecided about this fall when they wrote this note to the Alumni Office.  Peter is a retired orthopedic surgeon and he and Jan are active skiers, bikers (in Europe and the U.S.), and enjoy hunting and fishing.

Carol Olson Heath, Minneapolis, met son, Malcolm and Sarah in Denver for a delightful long weekend in late summer.  She is an active volunteer, especially with Meals on Wheels, where she is also a board member as well as maintaining a regular route.

Dr. Mary Nelson, Chicago, has just taken a new part-time job that she says, “I couldn’t resist.”  She is coordinator of a new master’s degree at Loyola University, Chicago Institute of Pastoral Studies.  It is an advanced degree in social justice and community development.  She notes, “I spearhead efforts to shape the program, recruit students and teach some courses.”  Mary is also the chairperson of the Board of Sojourners, a national organization headed by Jim Wallis.  The group’s mission is to inspire hope and action by articulating the Biblical call to racial and social justice, life and peace and environmental stewardship.

Dr. Arne and Miriam Lind Lagus, St. Croix Falls WI joined other Gusties on a river boat cruise from Vienna, Austria, to Bulgaria and the Black Sea in the springtime.  On the voyage were Drs. William and Reet (Lind ’62) Henze and Craig and Diana (Jacobson) Martens ’62 ’62.  The group sang the Gustavus “Rouser” on the shores of the Black Sea.

Dr. Mary Annexstad Francis writes that she is planning to move to Fox Island following her retirement.  Where is Fox Island, Mary, and which retirement is this?  Mary hopes that she actually will be able to attend our 50th reunion next May.  She has been a very busy classmate serving as superintendent of schools in various Alaskan districts over the years and then as a head of the superintendents’ organization in the state.

Arnie and Gloria (Eckberg) Swenson, Plymouth, traveled with their daughter Carolyn ’96 (a Gustie), Kent and baby, Ellery, to Washington this summer.  Their son, John, with his family and their late daughter, Janice’s, five children live there.  Everything about their family gathering was great except for an overnight sleep at the Seattle airport after their homeward flight was cancelled.

Rev. Don and Eunice (Holm ’63) Fultz, Shoreview MN, continue to see strong, wonderful relationships developing between the St. Paul Area Synod and the African Tringa Diocese.  They spend several months annually in Tanzania coordinating the partnership.  How many years have you served in this capacity, Eunice and Don?

Betty Estesen, Tucson AZ, reports that retirement is great!  She was planning to visit family in Minnesota in July.  Back in Arizona she volunteers at Villa Maria nursing home where she finds the residents to be delightful.  She is also supervising some repairs to her house.  Betty is one of many classmates who mention enjoying Sudoku puzzles.

Jean Stenstrom Eidsvold, Edina and Sanibel Island, the word is out that you took a very special trip this late summer to Paris to join a daughter and grandson for some tennis matches that your grandson was playing in.  Please share some details!

All classmates:  please share something about your life with us during this reunion year.  An effort is being made to contact personally each classmate so you may share your ideas with the committee member who calls you or you may send it to the Alumni Office or to me.  If you would like to send in a ‘reflection’ for the next class letter─we encourage you to do so, as we will have various classmates writing messages in more frequent class letters this year!  An easy way to do this is to send it to for it to be included.

A current picture is being sought of each classmate to be put into the Class Anniversary Booklet.  Those pictures are most easily sent by e-mail to Kathy in the Alumni Office (, but you may mail a photograph if you prefer (800 West College Ave., St. Peter, MN 56082).  Please note on the photo if you would like it returned to you.

Let us know when you decide that you can come for the two days in May.  We have an up-to-date list online of those who have told us they plan to attend the reunion─we’d love to add you to it:  The schedule is still in process but you will get more information about the Memorial Service in Christ Chapel on Friday, as well as about the official class photo that day.  In the evening there will be a banquet on campus with a brief program and welcome gatherings.  On Saturday the plans include Alumni Seminars (probably with one of our classmates presenting), and a noon luncheon on campus at which we will become part of the 50 Year Club.  Watch for many more details in future class letters from me and from guest writers from our class.  It has been 50 years and you are still terrific!

Virgene Grack Sehlin

Your Proud Class Agent