Class of '63
Reunion dates ― May 30 & 31, 2008
Volume 45, No. 5
Only three more months until we gather at Gustavus for our 45th reunion. Your committee has been hard at work having most recently met (February 23) to put some of the final touches on the schedule. Keep in touch with plans for the reunion by going to www.gustavus.edu/alumni and click on 1963 Reunion. You will be able to find pictures from our class, the schedule, and the list of people who are attending. This will be the best reunion ever! Tom Lindell will be one of the presenters for a reunion seminar. A special time has been set aside for a reunion of nurses. We will be having our first gathering at the President’s residence on Friday evening for a social hour and dinner. We will follow this with an informal gathering at the Arboretum Interpretive Center for socializing as well as a Photo Tour of old “haunts!” Remember: Esther’s, Freddie’s, Joe’s, the Holiday House, and more!!!! And, we will be celebrating our own classmate, Barb Berry Leonard, who will be honored with a Distinguished Alumni Citation. This honor will be conveyed on Barb at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday evening.
A special thanks to a hard-working committee for all of their creativity. And, special thanks to Sandy Brown Johnston who is our guest writer for this letter.
Greetings and salutations from on top of the hill! My name is Adam Eckhardt and I have the privilege of interning with the Alumni Office. I worked full-time during January term, but this spring I will be on a part-time basis along with my classes. I am a senior, double majoring in Communication Studies and Business Management. I can hardly believe that J-Term has ended and second semester is upon us. This January was my third J-term on campus and it proved to be just as cold as I remembered it. There were several mornings when I braved the trek across campus in the subzero blistering winds and the ice-coated parking lot and wonder to myself, “Why do we live here?” But then I would get to work and see the people who make Gustavus happen every day and I remembered why. It’s the people that make Gustavus.
This year’s J-Term had a lot of opportunities to offer students. There were over 26 different classes that went abroad to places such as Guatemala, Fiji, Tanzania, South Africa (My roommate went on this trip, I’m so jealous), India, and Australia. Along with all of the classes the Orchestra toured in China for their international tour this year. The tour started on January 18th and went through February 1. If you look on the Gustavus page you can see the orchestra doing the Gustie Rouser on the Great Wall of China! I wonder how many times that has been done before? The orchestra will concluded with a home concert in Christ Chapel on February 17. Speaking of tours, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will be touring to Florida over Spring Break this year. The tour runs from March 22 to March 29 with a home concert on April 5 at 3:00 pm. The Gustavus Choir (I am a first tenor in this choir!!) will be postponing its tour this year due to Dr. Aune needing to leave for the remainder of the year for medical reasons. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Gustie winter sports teams are having another great year, as all are near the top in the MIAC.
Other things that are happening in the following months of the semester include the 13th Annual Building Bridges conference. This conference will focus on Genocide Awareness: How will history judge us? Paul Rusesabagina, whose life story was the basis of critically acclaimed movie Hotel Rwanda will speak at this year’s conference. The Gustavus Music Showcase will be at Orchestra Hall on March 9th at 2 pm. The Gustavus Choir, the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra will all be featured at this event. I encourage everyone to go since I will be singing in the Choir. Tickets can be purchased at the Orchestra Hall box office and may be purchased at the door, online, and via fax or phone. Go to www.gustavus.edu/musicshowcase to find out more.
I cannot believe that this J-Term has gone so fast and before I know it I will be graduating and becoming an alumnus. These four years have been great to me and I will cherish them forever. I am proud to say that I am a Gustie and I hope you all are, too! GO GUSTIES!!!!
Steve Benson continues as the executive director of Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Minnesota. He has a new wife, Judy Hornbacher, a senior fellow at the Center for Applied Research in Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota.
Mary Von Bargen Frederick and her husband, Michael, have their own business in partnership with their children. Mary enthusiastically serves as co-president of the Friends of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.
Jeannine Brunskill Johnson will be attending the reunion. Jeannine retired in June. She continues to be a part of the “Fabulous Four Bridge Buddies” who played bridge during college days: Mim Larson, Jan Bramsen, Dorothy Jacobson, and Jeannine.
Sue Curnow Breedlove will be attending the reunion. She continues “selective employment” as a resource and reserve teacher with the Minneapolis Schools and is an adjunct professor with the Urban Teacher Program of Metro University. Her volunteer focus is with Environmental Justice Advocates of Minnesota of which she is a co-founder and board member. She also sings with the Twin Cities Women’s Choir. Her beautiful Victorian house will be featured on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Home Tour on April 26-27.
Liz Stohl Baugh continues her piano playing career as the musician at St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. She will be attending the reunion.
Larry and Vicki (Krenik ’64) Hedlin will be attending the reunion. After 26 years of managing Hedlin Ag Enterprises, he sold his business in 2001 and for the last seven years Vicki and Larry have been enjoying retirement. They have traveled extensively, internationally and spend a portion of the winter in Scottsdale, AZ and a portion of the summer in Summit County, CO. Both or their daughters and families live in Denver. Larry serves on the board of an insurance company and printing company in Iowa so that plus various volunteer activities and attending a lot of athletic events (still a big Minnesota Twins fan) keep him fully engaged.
Rose Omodt Jost is still working for the City of Bloomington Public Health. She has three grandchildren. One of her children got married in September at her farm west of St. Peter. The ceremony was on the porch of the log house (cabin). Rose enjoys the farm as a place of retreat and also a spot for growing a great garden!
Claudia Hayden Schroeder will be coming from Flagstaff, AZ and expects to see her Minnesota friends at the reunion!!
Wayne Burmeister continues to live in Waunakee, WI.
Duane Lindeen retired from Northwest Airlines. After 31 years in the same house, they will be moving to a one-level home in Burnsville. They still enjoy exploring in their RV 3-4 times each year.
Randy Nelson is mostly retired from his position at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Spouse, Joy, is retired from the Minneapolis Public Schools.
Richard Strand has retired from active practice as an orthopedic surgeon, but still does some work as an “expert witness.” Mary Carlstrom Strand has retired from the Bloomington Public Schools.
Donald “Ghost” Granberg now lives in Utah and recently audited a course on the anthropology of Mormonism at the University of Utah in an effort to better understand his neighbors.
Mary Bradford Ivey and Allen had a great trip to the Southwest in September visiting nine national parks on the grand circle from Moab (the Arches and Canyonlands) to Mesa Verde Monument and Valley, Lake Powell area, North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and Bryce Canyon, Zion ending with four days in Las Vegas where they attended four shows and ignored gambling. At the reunion they would be happy to share their itinerary. They are looking forward to a trip to Sweden in June to meet relatives and celebrate mid-summer.
Karen Swanson Kreiser is retired but with husband, Bob ’62, they run a small nursery business at their farm. They specialize in containers (birch baskets and pots made by Bob) filled with flowers and vines as well as “wood art”―stumps and roots found in their woods and made into gardens. Their daughter, Kelly, is a partner with them in the business. They also enjoy hunting and have made four trips to parts of Africa, bow hunting. They have six grandchildren including twins born in January.
GUEST WRITER: Sandy Brown Johnston
Gustavus was my college choice because my brother was a Gustavus graduate. Not much more thought went into my decision than that. Little did I know how much college can change your life, especially if you are an unsophisticated girl from a very small town who knew no one when she stepped onto the campus. Walking into Wahlstrom Hall and meeting my twelve “308” roommates was intimidating to say the least. But that was the beginning of a very steep learning curve. As many have said, what you learn outside the classroom is as important as what you learn in the classroom. Conquering hair, make-up, and clothing choices is as meaningful as dissecting whatever in Biology 101. And getting along with twelve strangers in close quarters was the first step in dealing with new situations for the rest of your life.
How Gustavus managed to group twelve diverse people without the help of computers in 1959, is beyond me. Gustavus pulled together women from large cities and small, in state and out-of-state, northern Minnesota and southern Minnesota, etc.; diversity to say the least. In my case it was the change from a big fish in a small pond to a very small fish in a large pond. It stripped you down to start anew. Freshman initiation forced you to interact with the whole class; sorority initiation taught you to endure total humiliation; balancing studying, dating, and silly dorm activities without parents calling the shots was the beginning of self-discipline. On the flip side, sororities gave you opportunities to bond with women outside of your housing group. Joining the campus groups created openings in finding your niche in a new milieu. So many choices and lessons in a short time.
By the time the four years had passed, I certainly was a new person. I had endured the death of my mother in my freshman year with my Wahlstrom section shoring me up; changed majors several times; traveled to Florida on a bus for two days with the Aquatic League; learned to carry on a conversation with someone new; copied styles from those I admired; bonded with people who would become lifelong friends; and earned a degree that could serve me the rest of my life. Even though I was now going out to face more adaptations after graduation, the experience I took in conquering the many new situations over those four years armed me with some degree of confidence to face the challenge. Perhaps this is what was meant by a liberal arts education.
Thanks to a Gustavus friend, my life after graduation took me to California to use my elementary education degree with fifth graders in a medium sized city where I taught for three years. The next phase of my life was about to begin. Marrying into the military virtually changed my direction and opened the world of volunteerism to me. As 1960s women, we were fortunate to have had the best of both worlds as it pertained to women in the workforce. Many of us had the choice of continuing in the career that Gustavus had prepared us for or opting to become a housewife, mother and volunteer free of the workplace. Having no role model in the volunteer world, the Officers’ Wives’ Club and its opportunities was an unknown to me. I learned that Gustavus had given me skills beyond that specific degree. I could organize an art auction, help edit a newsletter, carry on a conversation with a General’s wife, manage a budget; hire and escort celebrity speakers, all because of the situations that Gustavus had afforded me in campus life. What a wonderful way to meet new friends when life is now going to involve moving around the country to new bases where I again knew no one. And now the diversity factor of my surroundings had multiplied to nearly every state in the union and some foreign countries. When we were stationed in Hawaii, I was even a minority race. Another volunteer outlet came via sponsorship into the Junior League, a national volunteer organization that specializes in creative projects in the community. New challenges arose in researching fund raising ideas, chairing committees and co-chairing a television auction fund raiser. It was this last volunteer opportunity that lead me to a new career path just as most women our age were re-entering the workforce.
Starting as a volunteer with the public television station in Honolulu, I was given the opportunity to create a tour guide program, set-up a special event, and assemble a volunteer force for phone duty. I transferred these abilities to the Washington, DC public television station when we moved there in 1978. Again I started as a volunteer, moved to becoming a part-time employee so I could still be home with my child when he came home from school, and eventually to a full-time job. From leading a volunteer force for several years to heading up the Special Events department, my next twenty years were happily spent with WETA-TV in Washington. This involved premier screenings in the White House to Sesame Street characters at the Zoo and every DC venue in between.
Now retired and living in Honolulu once again, I have found new volunteer opportunities as my entrée back into the community. It is the best pathway we all have to keep our lives meaningful after life in the fast lane. My husband was a career pilot and he had to learn about the volunteer world after retirement and he now finds satisfaction in Rotary projects, Meals on Wheels deliveries and serving on our co-op board. There is something for everyone out there so I urge you to get involved if you haven’t already. Who knows where it will lead you.
Thanks to Paul for giving me an opportunity to chronicle the years that have passed by all too quickly. I look forward to seeing all of you at the reunion. I am hoping that we will have a terrific turnout. Time passes by so quickly…so…who knows what will transpire in the next five years until our 50th!! And, lest I forget, Paul asked me to remind you to please send your gift to the Gustavus Fund if you haven’t already done so.
Sandy Brown Johnston
The March class letter will feature Lee Miller who has spent over 30 years living and teaching in Denmark. Lee is also planning to attend the reunion.
You will be receiving reunion information in April where you will be able to reserve rooms in the residence halls and register for the various events. It will be an action-packed weekend with plenty of time to renew friendships. With so many people coming from out-of-state, I am hoping that our Minnesota residents will turn out in fine style and help us set a record for reunion attendance.
A gift envelope is enclosed for those of you who have not yet sent a gift to the Gustavus Fund and for those of you who'd like to put in a pledge for the next three years. Or go online to: www.gustavus.edu/giving. All pledges and gifts will be added together for our class anniversary gift that we celebrate at the reunion! For example, if you already gave a gift of $1,000, but would like to help move our celebration gift upwards, send in a pledge card with your commitment for the next two years and we will be able to celebrate your gift of $3,000 at the reunion! We want to have a very high record of participation. As of this week, over 50% of our class has already sent a gift. Don’t forget the Class of 1963 Scholarship Fund which has reached the $50,000 mark in value! Our May letter will feature greetings from our scholarship recipient.
Thanks again for all of your support. See you in May!!!
Paul F. Tillquist
P.S. If you wish to include greetings or a news note in the next class letter, just e-mail a note to me at the address above.