Class of 1961

March 2011

Dear Great 50th Anniversary Class,

Spring break is not far away but spring seems to be.  As this letter is put together, an old-fashioned blizzard is blowing across much of Minnesota.  Gustavus is listed among the television channels’ emergency school closures today as having a 1 ½ hour late start.  Many schools and colleges are closed.

Telephone contact should be reaching many of you.  Thank you very much for helping with the class effort to register the best classmate participation possible in honor of this milestone reunion.  Your gifts make all of the difference!  Some of you are forgetting about the three-year extension of pledges that can increase our total class gift substantially.  Remember to indicate that your gift is your pledge that you will repeat for three years.

Many current Gusties this winter traveled during the J-Term and touring period.  The choir presented concerts in five cities of Italy.  One class that studied in Australia became embroiled in the flooding and damage there much as another Gustavus class one year ago struggled to escape rains and mudslides in South America among famous ruins.

This week the final full reunion committee meeting gathered to set arrangements for our Biggest Reunion Ever on Friday, May 27 and Saturday, May 28.  A memorial service in Christ Chapel that is planned for our class only will kick off the events at 4:00 p.m. on Friday.  Our 50th anniversary class picture will be photographed after the service and the banquet and a short program will follow.  Watch for your detailed brochure in April, which will give registration information.  For now, set aside the dates for this once-in-a-lifetime event.  Huge thanks to the various committees that are working diligently on arrangements.  Great going!

A note from the Reunion Event Sub-Committee

Dear Classmates,

Our 50th Reunion Committee is finalizing preparations for our reunion in May, but we need your help.  We would love to have everyone participate in the Friday evening banquet program by sending in responses, comments, and reflections that will be shared at the dinner, although anonymously.

Yes, all of your responses will remain anonymous, so go ahead and have some fun with it!  We think that we have put together some ideas that you will find helpful, but feel free to add any comments about your years at Gustavus and your life after graduation.  Please fill out and return the enclosed green questionnaire by May 13.

You may respond to the questionnaire online at or by mailing it back in - print the Questionnaire here.

Thanks for your participation!


Please keep sending newsy bits for our letters and reunion web sites.  With additional reports going out to the class above a regular year, many more items are needed.  It is terrific to hear from so many of you.  Continue to send in the reunion information sheets; a second copy should have arrived in January if you had not submitted one by that time.  This month you may add the enclosed form from the Friday evening program committee.

Jerome Anderson, St. Paul, retired in 2000 after “34 years and 2 weeks” of working in a federal government position as claims examiner for the Department of Veteran’s Affairs.  He left Gustavus after a few years as a young student to join the Army, serving in several European locations, and then graduated from the University of Minnesota when he returned to the states.  They have two daughters, one of whom graduated from Gustavus in 2000.  During most winter seasons they escape to a southern location (Mexico, Arizona, Florida), but this year they elected to remain at home in the Midwest!

Bob and Carrie (Olson) Lamphere, Lincoln, NE are sad that Bob’s health issues will keep them away from this special reunion.  Both of them have retired from work for Nebraska state offices:  Carrie worked for the legislative branch and Bob was employed for the state itself.  They have been returning to northwestern Minnesota summers to enjoy a family cabin.  They have a son who is a Gustie graduate and they enjoy eight grandchildren:  five live near them and two reside in Colorado.

Elsa Cornell, St. Peter, notes that son, David, turned 50 during our 50th reunion year.  The entire family was able to gather for “a grand Celebra” at Peter’s home.  In the fall Elsa and Anders Bjorling ʼ58 “trained” (many of the rails need extensive work!) to Boston where they visited Don and Kay (Hollingsworth ʼ67) Walsh, attended Elsa’s 55th high school reunion in West Falmouth and ventured onward to Chelmaford, MA to be with son, David and Ellie.

Bob and Jo Ann Schwartz, Chanhassen, enjoyed several trips to Europe during the year.  In July their son-in-law and Bob ventured to Paris and the south of France to revisit areas to which Bob traveled frequently as a Green Giant and, later, Pillsbury employee.  In autumn, Bob and Jo Ann took a river cruise on the Rhine from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland.  They have one daughter and two granddaughters, and the extended family all traveled to Ixtapa, Mexico, in winter.

Doriann Fredrickson Thompson, Greeley, CO retired from teaching anthropology at the University of Northern Colorado in 2007.  She volunteers with the Philharmonic Orchestra and creates art quilts, and she will be in a show with some of her work in Denver, in April.  Dori returns to Minnesota every summer to visit family, including Paul’s mother, and to revisit areas along the North Shore where their young family vacationed often.  In May she is planning a trip to Croatia; last May she went to Spain and Portugal.  Paul and Doriann’s, Sarah ’84, teaches history in Boulder; Julie, who attended Gustavus for two years, lives in Cincinnati and David is in Olympia, WA.  There are five grandchildren.

Gordon Thies sends a greeting:  “I’ll always remember Sterling Hall buddies−still in touch with two roommates.  Loved the close relationship with professors and college staff−great Christians, all!!”

Many of you must be basking in the southern sun these months because you are difficult to reach.  Remember to send your gift to Gustavus in honor of the gifts we received there and include a separate designation for our Class of 1961 Scholarship.  As part of that endowment, you will help on a permanent basis to assist a young Gustie to deal with the high cost of college these days.  The scholarship endowment remains in place, only the interest is awarded, so we need to raise our support to at least $50,000.  I will be in touch in spring!

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent

Campus News

Sesquicentennial Award

In 2011–2012, Gustavus will celebrate its 150th academic year.  The Board of Trustees has established an award in honor of this Sesquicentennial anniversary to recognize individuals who have made a significant difference in the life of the College.  The award, called “The Sesquicentennial Award,” will acknowledge and pay tribute to living alumni, parents, friends, and retired faculty and staff who:

  • Through actions in their personal or professional lives, have advanced the status of Gustavus as a premier liberal arts college;
  • Have set a new precedent in the ways they supported and advanced the mission of the College as an institution dedicated to preparing students “for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society”; and/or
  • Have brought particular dignity or honor to the College.

Please submit nominations online at  For more information about the Sesquicentennial Awards, visit

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have many travel dates planned in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  Please mark your calendar if you live in or near one of these locations:

Jacksonville, FL – March 26 – Bill and Sharon (Hansen) Johnson ’65 ʼ64

Orlando – March 28 – Orlando Airport Marriott

Tampa – March 29 – Tampa Marriott Westshore

Naples – March 30 – Island Country Club

Chicago – April 2