Class of ’61
December 2010


Gustavus Adolphus College, Class of 1961

So what can we say re nineteen sixty-one

                             now that our fiftieth year has begun?

What things can be noted for us alumnae/i

                                    of the last class of GAC’s first century?

It’s scarcely a matter of rank or renown

                             that our class ring date reads the same upside or down.

A transitional class, perhaps we could say;

                             came in under Ike but went out JFK.

(Imagine, back then we’d discuss and dissent

                             re whether a Cath’lic should be president!)

An era of idealistic pursuits.

                             Some grads were among the first Peace Corps recruits.

Rock music was new, but it didn’t yet reign.

                             If someone played Mitch Miller, none would complain.

Protest songs not yet a popular fare;

                             no Beatles, Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, no HAIR.

Instead we were kids of an earlier age;

                             Broadway show tunes on the Frost Weekend stage.

Hi-Fi was new, and L.P.’s (now called “vinyl”),

                             and battery science had reached “Alkalinal”,

but stereo broadcasting did not appear

                             until the 4th month of our commencement year.

Why do I mention these facts so bizarre?

                             To tell grandkids how antiquated we are!

After all, we’re an agile, spry generation

                             despite our half century since graduation.

You all surely remember without being told

                             how 50-year grads in our day looked real old.

But in the event you enjoy “thinking old,”

                             let me a few nostalgic pictures unfold—

Co-eds with dorm hours, in before 10!

                             no such constraints imposed on the men,

still it was a rule which impacted us all.

                             No girls?  Might as well head back to Uhler Hall,

or New Dorm (for it was not Sorensen yet),

                             hit the books, or the sack; which was it?  I forget.

And chapel—required!  How could it have been so?

                             Religion class too; four years, as you know.

Though some didn’t like it, we’d have to admit

                             the exposure did not likely hurt us a bit.

Remember when papers were due, how we griped?

                             We knew nothing of “processing words”; we just typed!

In fact, think of all our blood, sweat and tears!

                             With computers we would have been done in three years!

We non-Minnesotan had extra to learn;

                             some of your features were hard to discern:

your accents, your weather, lakes (ten thousand plus),

                             and no Garrison Keillor to explain you to us.

Lots more to recall from that long-ago age,

                             but I’ve already stretched this too far down the page.

Fifty years is a long time, there’s much more to say.

                             It can wait until we’re all together in May.

                                                          --Paul K. Hanson, Billings, Montana

Thanks Paul, for that wonderful reflection piece! 

In the last class letter, we mentioned the Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship already working for students at Gustavus.  Here’s a note from our 2010 current recipient, Willie Lutes:

“My name is Willie Lutes; I am a sophomore biology major here at Gustavus.  Also, I am a pre-medicine student with plans to go to medical school after graduation.  I am involved in football during the fall and in the winter and spring I do track and field.  I play offensive guard on the football team and made the traveling team this year and got the chance to be a part of a couple series this season.  This is actually my first year participating in track at the collegiate level.  I will be throwing for both the indoor and outdoor seasons−shot put and weight throw indoors, shot put and hammer outdoors.  At Gustavus I keep plenty busy with all my schoolwork and athletics; in the small amount of free time I spend time with my friends and try to catch up on some movies.

Right now I call Rapid City, South Dakota home.  I graduated from Rapid City Stevens High School with the Class of 2009.  Like college, in high school I was also very involved with the school.  I was a part of National Honor Society, RADD (Raiders Against Destructive Decisions, we were a group of peers who put on programs at our school and at middle school leadership programs intending to inform others about making smarter decisions), football, and track.  I was a senior captain and three year letter winner on the football team, participated in track all four years as well, and lettered my senior year in track.  I was an All-Conference honorable mention for football and attained Academic All-Conference honors my senior year.  One of the best moments of my high school career was attending South Dakota Boys’ State in the summer of 2008.

My post-graduation plans are to go to medical school somewhere in the Midwest, possibly at the University of South Dakota.  I want to be a pediatrician or general practice physician staying close to home.  I really appreciate all the extra scholarships I am given, it means so much to me to know that there are people willing to assist me with school and help me attain my life goals.”


Isn’t it exciting to be a part of a student’s life and to have a direct effect on someone?  Consider helping the class scholarship get to the next level during our reunion year and thank you to those who have already sent in your support!

Just a reminder that if you haven’t yet turned in your reunion surveys, please fill them out over the holidays and return them to the college.  Also, e-mail a current photograph of yourself to Kathy Erlandsen ( or send to the Alumni Office (800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN 56082).  The picture is to be included in the 50th anniversary booklet being printed for our reunion.  Remember that you can access current reunion plans by checking our class web site.  Go to if you’d like to add a class note to the next class letter, click on “Share with your class…” or email

Did you know that you can access a page listing everyone that has told us they are planning to attend the reunion in May?  Add your name to the growing list by following the directions at:

We look forward to seeing you in 2011!

Your reunion committee,

Venita Swanson Anderson, 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 & Patti (Maedl) Krough, Miriam Lind Lagus, Julie Nelson Neyhart, Judy Carlson Olson, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg, Virgene Grack Sehlin, Kathy Bunde Thorsell, Bruce Warner, Ruth Hilgendorf Weber and Jim Wiberg.