Class of ’61

May 2012

Dear ’61 Classmates,

This beautiful spring on the Gustavus campus is hurdling onward much too rapidly.  The gorgeous flowering crabs that were planted following the 1998 tornado are almost done blooming and even lilacs are flowering about one month early.  All of this schedule change is coming immediately after this year’s non-winter in Minnesota, too.  Hum!

Another round of reunions and commencement lie just ahead in a few weeks.  Several classmates plan to attend the 1962 reunion as spouses and friends of members of the Centennial Class.  Remember that, as members of the 50-Year Club, you are eligible to partake in these end-of-the-year events every year.  If you attend the weekend’s activities on campus, please send an e-mail about your observations:

Gustavus thanks you so much for your continued support for the alma mater.  The Class of 1961 remains a special group that remembers!  These are highly competitive times in higher education and it matters very much that you care.  Please remember to check your financial records to determine that you have shared a gift with Gustavus this Fund year and enclose any matching funds forms from companies, insurance firms, retired employee groups that will match your gift.  Gifts may continue to be designated toward our Class of 1961 Scholarship, too, to keep it in line with current college costs.  Our class truly needs everyone since we graduated fewer Gusties than most other classes in our decade.  The May 31 end of this Fund year is approaching rapidly.

News about your activities, reading notes or retirement volunteering is appreciated very much.  Often tidbits about great projects a classmate has undertaken come to my attention but it is so much better to print accurate details that you share by sending a few lines to the Gustavus web site or to my e-mail which was listed above.  For example, in recent months Gustavus posted a web site about a project to restore an ancient church in Estonia which my roommate, Miriam Lind Lagus, has led for the last decade.  It is in the “Make Your Life Count” section.  Remember that all classmates’ news items now go into the special alumni news section of the Quarterly, but I would like to share here as well, the one that I have received.

Class News

Dr. Carolyn Wedin, Frederic ,WI has edited a translation of Historical Sketches:  Fifty-five years in Western Wisconsin (1869 – 1924) by Louis J. Ahlstrom.  In the translation from Swedish to English she cooperated with Inger Berggren and Stefan Sylvander (’62) and the work began while she was in Sweden on a Fulbright and continued in the U.S.  It was published in 2010.  The book is an historical account tracing Swedish emigration to areas near the St. Croix River and north of the Twin Cities.  Ahlstrom records the history of the Scandinavian (Swedish, Norwegian and Danish) establishment of Baptist churches.  Rev. Ahlstrom writes in great detail, is noted for accuracy, wrote or edited numerous other books and articles, and served in the 1897 and 1899 Minnesota state legislatures.

Stu and Marlys (Johnson ’58) Johnson, St. Peter, MN were very busy the first week of May working toward the success of “Books in Bloom “ on campus.  This is the second year for this special event at Gustavus and Marlys heads up the activity.  Next week the Johnsons will be traveling to Boulder, CO for Tucker’s graduation from the University of Colorado.

Dr. Wayne Becker, Glencoe, MN retired as a professor at Wake Forest University in 1979, when he took over the family farm in Minnesota.  He has represented his congregation numerous years as a delegate to the GAC Association of Congregations which has been an annual spring event.

Changed addresses appear on our class roster often these last few years.  Noted are Phil and Carol Cope Nord, formerly residing in Maryland and now they have a Southport, NC listing.  Dr. Dan Collin was a physician in Hawaii, had family connections in the Chicago area, and now has an address in San Antonio, TX.  Dan says that retirement is great for travel, community activities and checking out the internet.

Two Gustavus professors, John Lammert (biology) and Richard Leitch (political science), have been honored by being named among 300 top professors in the country.  The Princeton Review and Rate My released the list in April.

This coming summer and fall there will be numerous 55th high school reunions that include you, unless you were one of the child prodigies who completed work at Gustavus in three years!  Enjoy those gatherings.  Like Sid and myself, many of you may also be observing golden wedding anniversaries.  Whatever else gives you pleasure, I hope that it will be a great summer with lots of news tidbits to share with your Gustie classmates and the Gustavus Quarterly.

Virgene Grack Sehlin

1961 Communications Chair

Campus News

2012 Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has announced its 2012 award recipients:

Greater Gustavus Award – awarded to those “who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College”:

Jon and Anita Thomsen Young ’77 ’77, Eden Prairie, MN, for their volunteer leadership, service and philanthropy to the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations – recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement that brings unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor:

Scott Dee ’81, Farwell, MN, professor of veterinary population medicine, University of Minnesota, swine consultant, and international research veterinarian and director at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic;

Mark Elfstrom ’01, Anchorage, AK, middle school math and science teacher, recipient of a 2011 Milken Educator Award and finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching;

Kurt Elling ’89, New York, NY, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz artist.

First Decade Awards – recognizing early professional achievement in the 10th anniversary class:

Amy Brown ’02, Pittsburgh, PA, neonatology fellow at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;

Michael Bland ’02, St. Louis, MO, postdoctoral associate, earth and planetary sciences, Washington University.

The Alumni Association will present Faculty and Administrator Service and Retirement Awards at a dinner at Gustavus on May 16; honorees will be featured in the fall issue of The Gustavus Quarterly.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  The president has gone to 14 different locations from New York to LA.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Upcoming Chapter Events

June 5, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Rochester (Somerby Golf Club, Byron MN)

June 18, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - St. Cloud (St. Cloud Civic Center, St. Cloud MN)

June 19, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Willmar (The Oaks at Eagle Creek, Willmar MN)

June 20, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Fargo/Moorhead (Stokers at Hotel Donaldson)

June 25, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Sioux Falls (Minerva’s Restaurant and Bar, Sioux Falls, SD)

June 26, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Omaha (Spezia Restaurant, Omaha NE)

June 27, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Des Moines (The Wakonda Club, Des Moines IA)

July 16, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Grand Rapids (Timberlake Lodge Hotel, Grand Rapids MN)

July 17, 6:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Sesquicentennial Celebration - Duluth (Clyde Park Restaurant, Duluth MN)

Nobel Conference 48 – October 2 & 3, 2012

The oceans have long been a source of fascination, from the tales of Sinbad to the popular Blue Planet documentary.  The marine world provides us with necessities like seafood and medicines, fertilizers and petroleum.  But the oceans are also associated with danger, from the devastating hurricanes we face each year to the under-reported facts of the oceans’ roles in climate change.  Nobel Conference 48 examines “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  To order tickets online go to: or call the Office of Marketing/Communications at 507/933-7520.

Sweden’s King and Queeen to visit Gustavus – October 5

Their majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will visit Gustavus on Friday, Oct. 5, 2012 and ASI on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012.  The visit will commemorate the sesquicentennial at Gustavus and the opening of the new Nelson Cultural Center at ASI.  It comes after a long period of planning by both parties.