Class of 1961
50- Year Reunion

April 2011

Reunion Dates- May 27-28, 2011

Dear ’61 Reunion Classmates,

Thank you, each one of you, for the energizing news items, photos and generous gifts for Gustavus in honor of our 50th anniversary.  The special hearts of ’61 Gusties are showing!

Any last minute surveys, pictures and news items intended for the anniversary booklet, that each classmate will receive, need to be forwarded to Kathy Erlandsen ( in the Alumni Office by April 15 to be included!

Also, don’t forget to send in your “Questionnaire Reflections” piece that was included last month on a dark green sheet of paper!  You have a little extra time to fill this one out – but don’t forget to return it by May 13!  This will enhance our anniversary dinner program the night of May 27th.  You can fill it out online as well at

Near campus these days are closed roads due to flooding and snow piles, too.  The flooding levels should be receding in a week or two.  Further climate tidbits for the area are noted in this week’s Minneapolis Tribune, “Today is the 13th anniversary of Minnesota’s worst March tornado outbreak:  13 tornadoes, two dead, $250 million in damage, 75 percent of Comfrey destroyed, 1,500 homes and every building at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter damaged.”  It will be noteworthy to see how remarkable the recovery effort has been when you return to campus for our gathering.

Your invitation to the Golden Reunion has been mailed and preparations are in high gear.  Huge thanks are due to the committee members who were in attendance at the meeting at Westwood Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park on Feb. 27.  Joining me were Kathy Moody Buegler, Lorraine Sandvig Carlson, Judy Johnson Chaffee, Sally Enstrom, Pat Ecklund Fick, Dennis Freeman, Bruce Gray, Carol Olson Heath, Patty Maedl Krough, Jim Krough, Miriam Lind Lagus, Judy Fairbanks Sandberg and Ruth Hilgendorf Weber.  Your work is greatly appreciated as well as your efforts in getting to the meeting; many drove from a considerable distance.

Seminars are a very memorable part of Gustavus reunions and usually a member of the 50th anniversary class gives one session.  The committee submitted about a half dozen names, and we learned at the meeting that Dr. R. Michael Blaese has accepted the invitation to present at the 9:00 a.m. seminar on Saturday, May 28.  Mike is an interesting speaker with a gift for explaining biomedical advances in understandable terms.  He was the first alum to present at a Nobel Conference when he spoke at the 28th conference on immunology in 1993.  He has addressed audiences on a worldwide basis.  Mike was with the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD, for most of his career as an immunology/allergy specialist.

Gustavus President Jack Ohle, will present information about our alma mater at a 10:30 a.m. session on Saturday.  He will bring us up to date on what is happening for the college as it observes its Sesquicentennial and moves into the next 50 years.  He can field your questions.

Jim Gilbert ’62, the naturalist at Gustavus’ Linnaeus Arboretum and the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chanhassen is scheduled to address campus visitors at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday.  He is always enlightening and he adds a humorous touch to his observations.  In  his book, Jim Gilbert’s Minnesota Nature Notes, (Nodin Press, 2008), he tells a little about Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, “…who never left Europe in his lifetime, described and named 7,700 plants and many animals, including 133 species of American birds such as northern cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis L.) and Canada goose (Branta Canadensis L.)…Before Linnaeus there was not an accepted method for naming plants and animals.”

If you’re able to make it early on Friday at 2:30 p.m., Richard Leider ’66 will also have a seminar that talks about the “Power of Purpose.”  Richard is founder of a coaching and consulting firm in Minneapolis, MN and has led annual Inventure Expedition walking safaris in Tanzania, East Africa for 27 years!  As a commentator on “life work” issues, Richard appears in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and USA Today, and on PBS public television, NPR public radio and other media sources.

What a great line up of speakers we are going to be able to take in during reunion weekend!


Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Greater Gustavus Award is the highest award given to those, who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College.  Walter Youngquist ’42, Eugene, OR, chair emeritus, Department of Geology, University of Oregon, and consulting geologist, was selected as the 2011 recipient of the Greater Gustavus Award.  Youngquist has established five different endowed funds at the College and is the recipient of a Gustavus Distinguished Alumni Citation in the field of geology in 2002.  Walter’s father, Walter Youngquist ’16, received the Greater Gustavus Award in 1953.

Distinguished Alumni Citations recognize outstanding and exceptional professional achievement, such as unusual honor accorded to the individual in his or her field of endeavor.  Named as 2011 recipients are John “Jack” Bergman ’69, St. Francisville, LA, lieutenant general, retired, United States Marine Corp., in the field of military service; Robert Brown ’83, Rochester, MN, John T. and Lillian Matthews Professor of Neuroscience, Chair of Department of Neurology, Mayo Clinic, in the field of medicine; and Mark Thomsen ’78, Henderson, NV, professional operatic tenor, in the field of music.

The First Decade Award recognizes early professional achievement to one female and one male in the 10th Anniversary Class.  Selected were Kirsten Cullen Sharma ’01, New York, NY, clinical assistant professor, New York University Child Study Center, New York University Langone Medical Center, and Jonathan Poole ’01, Washington, DC, special agent, violent crime branch, Diplomatic Security Service, U.S. Department of State.  The Awards will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 28.

“Come on You Gusties” Breakfasts

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie breakfasts.  The speaker at both the St. Peter and Minneapolis breakfasts for April will be Warren Wunderlich, director of the physical plant.  The Minneapolis breakfast is Wednesday, April 20, 8–9:30 a.m., at the Doubletree Hotel Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Blvd. Cost is $10 at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing the Office of Alumni Relations at or by calling 800-487-8437.

The St. Peter breakfast will be Wednesday, April 13, 7:30–9 a.m. in a campus banquet room in the C. Charles Jackson Campus Center.  Cost is $8 per person, or $15 for two, payable at the door.  Reserve your spot by e-mailing or by calling 507-933-7512.

Chapter Gatherings

This year President and Kris Ohle have traveled to many parts of the country and made 15 stops in various cities, in order to reach out to all of our alumni and bring them an update from the College.  There is still one more on the calendar, so if you live in the Chicago area, please mark your calendar for – Friday, April 29.

Summer will bring another round of picnic gatherings – so please mark your calendar if you live near one of these locations

Mankato, MN – May 31

Rochester, MN – June 1

Sioux Falls, SD – June 6

Fargo, ND/Moorhead, MN – June 7

St. Cloud, MN – June 8

Apple Valley, MN – July 12

Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN – July 13

Long Lake, MN – July 14

Duluth, MN – July 26

Grand Rapids, MN – July 27

Brainerd, MN - 28

GLA Author Day – April 5

Gustavus Library Associates offer a double delight with the celebrated Erdrich sisters at the Spring Author Day brunch on Tuesday, April 5, 9:30 a.m. at the Edina Country Club.  The engaging sisters will share the podium to talk about books, writing, storytelling, and art.  The cost is $25 and you can make reservations online at or call the Office of Marketing and Communication at 507-933-7550.  RSVP by Wednesday, March 30, and invite a friend or two for a delightful Author Day morning event.

Books in Bloom

“Books in Bloom,” a new initiative hosted by GLA to benefit and celebrate Folke Bernadotte Library, will be held on Honors Weekend, May 6-8, 2011.  Based on the Minneapolis Institute of Art’s “Art in Bloom,” floral arrangements depicting more than 20 different books, films, and periodicals will be placed throughout the library.  Each arrangement is sponsored by a $500 donation with all proceeds going to fund new acquisitions for the library.  Professional floral designers as well as those who simply love plants and flowers will create the arrangements.  The exhibit is free and open to the public.  Hours are Friday 3-7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. - 6p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.  A brochure with a brief description of the materials and a map for self-guided tours will be available.  Also, student led tours are scheduled throughout the weekend.


South Hall was the residence for 13 girls from fall 1958 through winter 1961.  At that time the building was vacated and met its demise in the spring.  The girls were then placed in other housing until graduation.

The slogan for the time spent there could be:  “A Good Time Was Had By All” including:

  • April Class '61Coffee served to other student guests in the kitchen during break times
  • Elem. Ed. Students made posters, letters and learned how to play bridge (while the others studied!)
  • The piano in the living room (on which we are seated in the enclosed picture) provided a place to practice music, compose music and have fun.
  • One person was assigned as “house mother,” which brought stress for that person and probably irritation to the rest.
  • One person might tie up the only phone for too long (who knows how many dates were missed!)

The memories and friendships still provide fun and fellowship!

Front Row:  Lorraine Sandvig, Karen Westman, Judy Fairbanks.  Second Row: Nan Dahl, Jean Linnerooth, Judy Carlson, Jo Linnee, Sandy Allumbaugh.  Third Row:  Pat Ecklund, Marilyn Heier, Pat Maedl, Jan Berntson, Jo Swenson.

Submitted by Jo Linnee


Wow!  We are so proud of our class!  To date, 94 of our 197 classmates have made a gift to Gustavus!  That’s 48%.  Our goal is 75% or 148 of us – so thank you to each of you who have already made your gift.  A group of us are in the midst of calling the rest of you and we hope you will say YES to making a gift prior to our reunion weekend.

We also have a goal of increasing the Class of 1961 Endowed Scholarship and that is happening!  We started the reunion planning with just over $27,000 in the endowment and we are excited to say that there is now over $45,000 thanks to your contributions and matching gifts that have come in.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to celebrate over $50,000 in the fund by reunion time!  All you have to do is write in your check memo “1961 Scholarship” and it will get to the fund.

Our overall giving goal is to raise between $75,000 and $85,000 and we are getting close!  Over $70,000 has come in from our class alone.  What a privilege it is to be in the Great Class of 1961!

Another option for giving is enclosed in this letter – in times like these – we need to be creative!

Stu Johnson

1961 Reunion Giving Chair


Jim and Kathryn Mansfield, Winston-Salem NC, celebrated their 40th anniversary last September with a bus tour of the Alpine countries.  Jim observes, “The trip’s high point, literally, was the 3,089 meter Gornergret Summit in Switzerland.  The low point, morale-wise, was the 2 ½ hours the bus was stalled in traffic due to an autobahn construction project.”

Alan and Jane Eliason, Eugene OR, have taken advantage of more free time to travel.  They currently have made arrangements for a river cruise down the Danube in Europe.  In the future they are aiming for an adventure on the Amazon River in South America.  Alan is the author of numerous books and articles related to the computer industry.

Richard and Barbara Miller, Parkers Prairie MN, have retired in the area of Alexandria lake country following a working life time in Spring Lake Park.  One of their daughters lives near and teaches in that area, too.   Richard has a great command of information about Gustie sports during our time as students when a number of very good teams played in various sports.  Some sports figures that he noted were Bob Swiggum, Ade Sponberg, Harvey Kienholz (later was coach at Spring Lake Park), Ron Nelson (later coached at Richard’s hometown, Cokato), D.L. Smith, Paul Youngdahl and Whitey Skoog (who later  established a Gustavus dynasty  in golf).

Robbie ʼ58 and Kris Anderson Robinson, Mesa AZ, share the news that Robbie was named by the Arizona Interscholastic Association as the Arizona Coach of the Year.  He is semi-retired and still coaching track and football.  Kris has retired from the Mayo Clinic and keeps busy babysitting their two grandchildren, playing bridge, trying to keep up with reading and singing in the church choir.  Their big news for the year involves attending the wedding of their son, Kurt, to a young lady from Manila.  “We really enjoyed meeting her family and seeing the Philippines.”

Pat Ecklund Fick, Northfield MN, has touched base with many of you during the past several months as an active member of our 50th reunion committee.   She reports that in her spare time she is doing agility dog training with their puppy, Sophie.  Pat observes that it is fortunate that Sophie has to do all the jumping, tunneling, teetering, etc., and Pat just needs to try to keep up.  “We are an advanced-beginner team.  She is advanced.  I am the beginner.”

Bill and Sandra Allumbaugh Bolin, Garvin, MN indicate that they plan to attend our reunion in May.  They have both retired from teaching positions.  In retirement their lives revolve a great deal around their children and nine grandchildren.  The grandchildren live close enough so that they are able to attend most of their activities.

April Class '61Rev. Ted and Marietta (Bittrich ’62) Johns, Sunrise Beach, TX and Rancho Mirage, CA find that retirement is enjoyable, but very busy.  They plan to attend our milestone reunion in May.  They do extensive volunteer work with Opportunity International, the largest non-profit micro finance ministry in the world.  It is active in 39 countries, giving loans to “the poorest of the poor.”  Playing tennis is part of their daily routine and they enjoy global travels.  Their three Gustavus children live in Texas and Minnesota.

The picture at the above shows Ted and Marietta with Janyce Helgeson Olson ʼ62, Eunice Holm Fultz ʼ63 and Don Fultz taken in February in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania on a trip they took with other Augustana Seminary (Rock Island) alumni.

Dr. R. Michael and Julianne (Johnson ’62) Blaese, New Hope, PA plan to come to St. Peter for our 50th reunion gathering.  Michael has agreed to present a reunion seminar on campus at 9 a.m. on Saturday to talk about cutting edge research that he has been doing in the biomedical field.  He has retired from the Immune Deficiency Foundation, but he remains a consulting medical director there.  Before retirement Mike was the vice president, medical affairs.

Rev. Jerry ’59 and Joan Miller Hoffman, New Brighton, MN write that they are planning to be at our 50th reunion on campus in May.  Joan has retired from teaching.  Jerry is a Kairos and Associates consultant.

There is further news to share but I will gather those items and get them to you with further reunion information in about a month.  Watch for the detailed information brochure to our very special reunion weekend and make plans to be there May 27-28.  You can register through the mail, by fax, or you can register online, whichever you prefer.  To register online, go to

You are appreciated for showing that you remember what Gustavus meant to you.  Enjoy a wonderful Easter.

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Class Agent