Class of '62
October 2004

Dear Gusties,

Where were you when you heard the horrifying reports that our college was under siege by powers not even the 9/11 terrorists could equal?  I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing, but I am glad I was not a witness to the magnificent wall of windows shattering and hurling shards of glass into the swirl of the tornado that devastated St. Peter and our beloved campus.  I'm glad I didn't see the chapel's severed steeple plunging like a dagger into the trembling earth.  I'm glad I didn't hear the roar of destruction where we had once heard only melodious voices praising God as we prayed in silent reverence.  The sound and fury of the heavens and the resounding clash of "Symbols" that were reduced to rubble must have been terrifying.  It must also have been a mighty reminder of the power of God.  Yet, the first visitors to the site saw more than the devastation.  They saw the eternal flame, its glow an unmistakable sign that God's gift of Gustavus remained.  That gift continues to bring knowledge, hope, joy and the glory of God to us and to future generations.

Forgive me for any excess of enthusiasm, but seeing for myself how all that carnage has been transformed into tall, lush trees (every tree native to the state), grassy meadows, a flowing waterfall, brilliant flowers and shrubs was truly awesome.  It is a testament to the good people who pledged money, time, and expertise to see that our college was made even more beautiful than before.  Gracious structures have risen from the broken bricks and stones that were our old dorms and classrooms and labs.  The cafeteria food is something one would find in a four-star restaurant.  It took me twenty minutes to decide whether I should dine on sushi, pizza, Chinese, a grilled sandwich, an omelet or one of the delicious salads.  I hate to admit it, but even the students are prettier and handsomer than we.  Maybe because they never pigged out on gravy laden steakies.

All of these things made my recent visit to our campus an extraordinary look at the past, present and future.  The photo album we all carry around in our heads was brimming with images of classes, classmates, professors and, of course, those steakies.  Jogging those forty years of memories were the classmates who spearheaded the campaign to raise a million dollars for Gustavus.  We all agreed that our class should be loud and proud about what we accomplished.  Of how we showed the other classes how it's done.  The love of competition and for the school has motivated many classes to copy our plan, although none has yet reached the goal we set.  We are the torchbearers that lead Gusties to be the best they can be and our college to be the best it can be.

I asked questions about the Curriculum I and II, because I had concerns that the "dumbing down" of today's students might be taking place at our school.  I was set straight very quickly and was embarrassed to admit that by today's entrance standards I may not have been invited to attend Gustavus.  A couple of others expressed the same thought.  We'd like to hear your thoughts on what you believe Gustavus stands for today, in terms of academics and social trends.  We want to know what is important in your life today, but we would also like to know what was important to you in those four years of your life when you were still searching for the person you have become.  What professor, what roommate, what offhand statement from a classmate changed you or proved to be a defining moment in your life?  Sharing those things with us would make for a heck of a good newsletter.

You may notice that future newsletters will reflect a difference in focus:  From the recitation of your grandchildren to accounts of your personal experiences as a Gustie, your poignant memories, and the reasons you still feel connected to Gustavus.  This change of focus is a result of your comments.  I have heard from many of you that I may need to issue eyelid openers with each class letter if I continue the recital of all the new and improved grandchildren.  Therefore, I promise to put a moratorium on those particular stats.  As much as I love my grandchildren, I can understand that not many of you would be edified by their "truly exceptional" antics, and besides, I'm confident you feel your grandchildren could beat mine in cuteness and smartness in any fair contest.

In the newsletters to come I will introduce you to the members of the committee that met in September to review where we have been and plan where we want to go next.  They want to share their memories and explain what in their college experience affected such a great allegiance to the school.  We will also follow Alexander Kestly, the recipient of our 1962 Centennial Class Scholarship, and see what a difference it has made in his life.  The committee had dinner with him in one of the lovely banquet rooms in the campus center.  In the last note he sent he mentioned that he had competed in a conference track meet, placing in the hammer and discus throw.  He wants me to pass along his gratitude for supporting his education.  "Your donation means more than words to me."  He is earnest, genuine, and dedicated to returning to the Iron Range where he was born and raised, bringing with him a medical degree and a desire to serve his community.  Last summer he secured an internship in the cardiac rehab unit of St. John's Hospital in Maplewood, MN.  Being the prober that I am, I asked him some leading questions about the social scene at the college.  (A lesser man would have blushed and sputtered.)  He answered with a sense of moral integrity and a maturity that is rare in a college senior.  He was a great selection as our scholarship winner.

The following day as the Class of 1962 Anniversary Gift Leadership Group and Gustavus staff, Steve Hogberg ’69 and and Jim Isaak ’86, sat around the conference table, each of us taking a turn at sounding wise, I couldn't help but remember Evelyn Anderson's dictum:  "Ours is an aristocracy of words."  There is no doubt we are all judged by what we say and how we say it.  We can educate and influence people or turn them off forever; a delicate balancing act, which is why I have been enamored with words ever since Mrs. A. made her pronouncement.  So when Ben Leadholm wowed us all with a particularly long and sexy (in the magnetic sense) word, I vowed to use it every chance I got -- which, admittedly, might be never.  Especially since I can't remember what the word was.  Boy, those senior moments can really sneak up on you.

The ever-droll Matt Eckman kept us all in stitches while he remained sober as a judge -- or in his case, a doctor.  We all maintained that a positive attitude in every avenue of life is essential to success.  Matt lamented that there are still too many people who can't seem to get over the disappointment at finding that lump in the mashed potatoes.

I learned so much about giving, in all its forms.  You have proven that you are in favor of continuing the scholarship fund, but we also want to make sure the dorm roofs don't leak and the pipes don't burst, so donating to the Gustavus Alumni Fund would be a way to capture both the intent and the identity as we now use it.  What I didn't learn until recently is how painless giving can be.  Through various kinds of bequests, which some very wise people on the Gustavus staff can explain better than I, you can give generously without forgoing that new Lexus or the all-season porch you've been thinking about.  This may sound glib, but it makes sense to me:  When the bill comes due, you will be resting in peace.  No fretting about the family budget, tax consequences -- or any consequences, except the lovely ones that come from giving to something and someone you believe in.

Now, what you have all been waiting for:  The gossip!  I have sorted the following classmates into the categories of "Enough is Enough" and "Still Hanging Tough."

Still Hanging Tough

Carol Harvey Schutte continues her work at the Reno Alternative Health Care center with many cancer patients who benefit from lymphatic drainage therapy, a process that removes toxins from their bodies.  Among those she has helped are many breast cancer survivors, none of whom has had a recurrence of the disease.  There is no doubt that these people are very grateful to Carol for "hanging tough."

Gerald D. Swanson is still an electrical component engineer at Honeywell in Kansas City.  He's happy to report that his son Matthew married Allison, a med school graduate.  It's always nice to have a doctor in the house.  His son Steven is working as a mutual fund portfolio manager, bond fund for State Street.  Let's hope the market stays bullish because his wife Julia lost her library assistant job due to school funding cuts.

Jim Gilbert gave me a clipping from the St. Peter Herald, “The Junk Drawer,” written by Kermit Swanson.  I think Kermit should be writing the newsletters, because he writes so well, so honestly and very clearly about the things that he and his faithful readers believe is important.  He's not afraid of controversial subjects -- my kind of guy!!!  His column in the October 7 edition was about his attending a gun show.  Males were predominant but "there were some women, most of them just appear to be tagging along because if they hadn't they would have been stuck at home alone for the day."  Kermit thinks gun shows are great, but he is surprised they are still allowed to exist.  They probably won't when "the leathery-faced NRA card-toting generation dies off, and men and women who have lost that link to the western frontier, that sometimes unresplendant but intriguing past, will replace them."  Kermit, like my brothers and uncles, has been "fascinated by guns right from the start; from those early Friday night Roy Rogers and Gene Autry movies at the local theater to getting my first .410 shotgun and single shot .22.  I am not ashamed to admit it because my fondness for the shooting sport has introduced me to field and fen, broadened my relationship with my kids, and deepened my admiration and respect for nature, my fellowman, and ultimately God."  Like many of us oldies but goodies, Kermit has never thought of guns as a tool to harm his neighbor or disobey the law.  He finished with a paragraph that really made me think.  Something I like to do when I'm not otherwise occupied.  He said, "Yes, we are a dying breed.  We are a weakening link that ties the past to the future.  Gun shows are a flash card to help recall that past, to traverse a trail back to a time when there was no pressure to shame and discredit the gun owner.  Gun shows I fear are standing on the brink of death, and nobody will attend the funeral."  Kermit, I'm glad you're safe and writing in St. Peter and not San Francisco.

Enough is Enough

Dianne Skalbeck Thunhorst thinks retirement is great.  She and Fred are smelling the roses in Ely as well as McAllen, Texas, where they met Sue and Dick Rohlof for lunch and a good rehash of the old and new days.  They also reminisced with Rog and Elly Johnson Sorensen in South Carolina.  For those in favor of the grandchild moratorium you will be happy to know Dianne has none to brag about, but she could probably bore us silly with their world class horses and dogs.  But I know Dianne, she's a friend of mine, and she's no bore.

Janyce Helgeson Olson retired this summer after nearly eleven years as executive director of the Shepherd's Center of Richmond, VA.  She and hubby Rich spent three weeks in La Paz, Bolivia where their son Rolf is the cultural affairs officer at the Embassy.  They also took a 5 day jaunt to Santiago, Chile where they stayed with a family Janyce lived with 40 years ago through the "Experiment in International Living" program.  That's really stepping back to the past.  I'd love to hear how things have changed in Chile or remained the same.  And how you have changed or remained the same.

Mary Jo Anderson Kuhn wrote Jan and me a lovely note, which is why I'm sorry to learn that information she has sent in previously didn't make it to the printed page.  She chalks it up to inferior writing skills, having taught special-ed too long, but we all know that any news of Mary Jo is good news to us.  She attended a Gustavus gathering in Sun Lakes in March that was also attended by Margo Callaghan, who lives right next door.  Also there was Sandy Johnson Neagle.  Mary Jo retired after 16 years at Casa Grande Union High School, closed up their house in Sun Lakes, AZ, and headed for their cabin at Battle Lake, MN to enjoy leisure time with husband Roger and their grandchildren, who shall remain nameless.

Lois Ruotsinoja Swenson checked in, but I'm not sure if she is still teaching third grade at Pine River school in Jenkins, MN or if she is spending her time baby-sitting her five you-know-who's.

Dennis Laingen and his wife Sharon are thoroughly enjoying retirement in the woods of northwest Wisconsin.  They are involved in church activities, golf, book club (Say, have you heard of this great new book, Lady Lazarus?  It's a Christian thriller that each and every member of your church and your book club would enjoy!!!)  They love having enough time to spoil their five persons of youth and short stature.

Kay (Estesen) and Dale Mowbray have moved to St. Peter, where they can enjoy all the fun stuff, like concerts, recitals and sports events without the worry of a test the next day.  Although they do participate in the continuing education presentations.  If the classes require homework you can count me out!!!

Barbara Johnson Schmidt is kind of in-between Enough and Tough.  She has been a volunteer at Sabino Canyon in Arizona for ten years, and for two summers straight they have had some big bad fires.  She met three Gusties (1960 TM's) while volunteering.  She also finds joy in doing RAKU, which is a method of firing clay.  She likes the chances she takes in firing each piece of clay, not knowing how it will turn out.  A good attitude for one who risks life and limb while fighting fires.

Since retirement Virginia Gerdes has kept busy with her church, Salem, in St. Cloud.  St. Cloud Christian is where she spent the last nineteen years of her teaching career.  Recently they graduated their first senior class, a cause for celebration.  Land has been acquired and a building plan is moving forward.  After years of working, delays and sacrifice by many, it is welcome news.  She says Gustavus has a special place in her heart.  Ginny, we would all enjoy hearing what person or class or event carved out that special place in your heart.

Solveig Overdahl Goldstrand has been holding back on us as far as news in her life but now that she and hubby Joel have celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary and a cruise to Alaska she feels she has a good reason to report in.  She has plans to teach some eager 5-year-olds how to swim and sew, since she failed in teaching her own girls.  Teaching and Bible studies give her the joy we all desire in our lives.

Anne Peterson Sorensen and her husband Bob are basically retired, but they still help with their county recycling program.  They are rebuilding an opera house on the corner of downtown St. James, Minnesota.  They get donations and grants from the Minnesota Historical Society.  They are both on the board and spend many hours fundraising.  Being active in the church is a very important part of their lives, but when they aren't doing the work of the Lord they are refurbishing antiques, quilting and traveling.

Betty Jensen Avant and husband Bob are settling into their Florida home, but they spend the summer months in their cabin in Wisconsin, which they have enjoyed since 1969.  Their roots are deep there, she says.

The singing Martens, Craig and Diana (Jacobson) have decided to join the Rochester Symphony and Chorale after years of singing in their church choir.  It's a challenge, but they enjoy the opportunity to sing classical music while their voices are still rust-free.

John Engstrom is pastor at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in downtown Seattle.  It was a large congregation twenty years ago, until urban flight reduced the congregation to 300.  But those who stayed found their mission to minister to and with the homeless, including a nightly shelter, services to senior citizens, ministry to and with gay and lesbian persons and a nighttime street ministry.  His wife, Char Luecke Engstrom ’63 works with Alzheimer's patients and hospice.  They find respite and balance by living on their boat on Seattle's Lake Union, connecting them easily to downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound.

Jan Eiffert Hoomani, who encouraged me to attend the meeting at Gustavus, made sure I was a happy flier and camper.  She even drove me straight to my brother's door in Eden Prairie after the sessions were over.  Since traffic was horrendous, we had lots of time to reflect on all that had transpired during the two days of brainstorming and also to refresh each other's memories of the way we were.  She will have some pertinent information to add, so listen up!

That's it folks.  Thanks for all the news.  I would very much like you to e-mail me with your news, your thoughts and hopes for yourself and our college.  My address is:

Warmest regards,

Judy Flom Hill

1962 Co-class Agent

AKA Judith Shoemaker-Hill, author of Lady Lazarus.  Brazen, maybe, but after twenty years of rejection, don't I deserve a little self-promotion????

Campus News:

143rd Academic Year Begins

Classes began Sept. 8 with 657 first-year Gustavus students and 2,500 in all.  Long-standing orientation traditions such as the Square Dance and President’s Banquet have been joined by newer traditions like Gustie Greeter Orientation Groups and the Reading in Common program.  These newer programs were created to provide a more meaningful transition and to encourage students to meet others outside their residence hall.

Nobel Conference, The Science of Aging

The 40th Anniversary of the Nobel Conference was on the Science of Aging.  The campus hosted over 6,000 guests October 5-6 to learn about the research molecular biologist are conducting on longevity, Alzheimer’s, and delaying debilitating disease and how this impacts life expectancy, the economy, and the health-care system.

New Residence Hall

Work crews have been busy this summer and fall constructing a new residence hall on campus.  The goal is to have the building enclosed before winter.  The building, located southwest of the football field, will house 200 students in suites and apartments and is scheduled to open for fall 2005.

Gustie Pages

Looking for a dentist, doctor, lawyer, pastor, realtor, and much more?  Make it a Gustie!  The Gustie Pages is an online database of Gusties who have submitted information about their profession.  Use the Gustavus network to meet your needs or submit your professional information if you would like other Gusties to be your customers.

Athletics Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has chosen eight individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2004 inductees include Lori Allen ’88 (golf), Jim Chalin ’76 (basketball), Bruce Edwards ’77 (ice hockey), Barb Jaeger ’88 (soccer), Dean Kraus ’89 (football), Pachi Lopez ’71 (soccer), Greg Peterson ’88 (golf), and Gary Reinholtz (long-time athletic trainer, benefactor).  This group was honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which was Saturday, October 16.

Extraordinary Place

Gustavus is once again ranked among the top 100 liberal arts colleges in the nation in U.S. News and World Report's annual college rankings.  Gustavus is one of five Minnesota colleges in the top 100 national liberal arts colleges for overall quality (Carleton, Macalester, St. Olaf, Gustavus, St. John’s).  The ranking groups schools into categories based on a national educational classification that includes national liberal arts colleges, national doctoral universities (University of Minnesota, St. Thomas), regional master's degree-granting universities (Hamline, St. Catherine’s, Bethel, Augsburg), and comprehensive regional colleges (Concordia-St Paul).

Upcoming Events

  • Christmas in Christ Chapel: “Seasons of Promise” – December 3-5
  • St. Lucia Festival – December 9
  • Class of 1954 and 50 Year Club Reunion – May 27-28
  • Class Reunions for 1960, 1965, 1970, 1975, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995, 2000 – October 7-9, 2005