Class of '63
March 2008

45-Year Reunion

Reunion dates ― May 30, 31 & June 1, 2008

Volume 45, No. 6

Dear ’63ers!

I usually start a class letter with the old Burma phrase highway sign:

“Spring has sprung, the grass is riz!

I wonder where the flowers is?!”

That is truly applicable to our Minnesota spring.  For those of you who live outside the state of Minnesota, you have to know that we have received (depending on where you live in Minnesota) between 1 and about 12 inches of snow since spring officially arrived!

The countdown continues until our great reunion on May 30, 31, and June 1.  We continue to get notice from classmates who are coming back to celebrate 45 years since our graduation.  We are promising a great time.  The events will be fun, but the most fun will be to continue conversations that began perhaps 49 years ago in 1959 and have continued through the years.  I hope that those of you who have not yet decided to return to the campus will change your mind and decide to come at least for one day.  Meanwhile, we welcome to this class letter, our guest writer, Lee Miller, who has spent most of his career teaching and doing research in Denmark.  I know you will enjoy his letter and, please know, he is coming to the reunion in May so you can tell him in person how much you enjoyed reading about what he has been doing.


World Renowned Primate Expert Speaks in the Twin Cities

Frans B.M. de Waal, a Dutch psychologist, primatologist, and animal behavior expert, will present two public lectures as part of a residency through the Rydell Professorship at Gustavus Adolphus College funded by Drs. Robert E. and Susan T. Rydell.  De Waal will present “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy” at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 3 in Alumni Hall on campus and “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist” at 7 p.m. April 8 at the Great Clips IMAX Theater at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.  DeWaal’s research centers on primate social behavior, including conflict resolution, cooperation, inequity aversion, and food-sharing.  In 2007, de Waal was named to the “TIME 100”—a list of the 100 men and women whose power, talent, or moral example is transforming the world according to Time magazine.  As part of his residency at Gustavus, de Waal is also co-teaching the course “Neuroscience Capstone” with Gustavus Professor of Psychology Janine Wotton.

Gustie Breakfasts

Join other Minneapolis/St. Paul area Gusties for a once-a-month morning cup of coffee and breakfast while getting an update on Gustavus.  The group meets the third Wednesday of each month 8-9:30 a.m. at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy. 394 & Hwy. 100) $10 per person.  Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson '55 at 763-533-9083.  Upcoming dates:

April 16 - featuring Linnaeus Arboretum Director, Cindy Johnson-Groh

May 21 - featuring Sports Information Director, Tim Kennedy

Alumni Awards Announced

The Alumni Association announces the following 2008 awards selected by the Alumni Board of Directors.

Greater Gustavus Award - Given to those who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College:

Jim and Susan (Pepin) Peterson ’64 ’65

Distinguished Alumni Citations - Recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement:

Craig Johnson ’69, bishop, Minneapolis Area Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Talmadge King ’70, chair, Department of Medicine, University of California San Francisco School of Medicine.

Barbara Berry Leonard ’63, nursing professor, University of Minnesota.

First Decade Awards - Recognizing early professional achievement:

Miho Ihara ’98, senior consultant, CPCS Transcom Limited.

Jason Smerdon ’98, Barnard Environmental Science/Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Environmental Science, Barnard College.

The Greater Gustavus Award and Distinguished Alumni Citations will be presented at the Alumni Banquet on Saturday, May 31 and the First Decade Awards will be presented during Homecoming Weekend, Oct. 4.


The women’s hockey team became the first team to finish the MIAC women’s hockey season undefeated.  The team is currently ranked #3 in the country going into the playoffs.  The men’s tennis team claimed its fourth ITA Division III Team Indoor Title in the eight year history of the tournament.  The men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the MIAC Championship.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Naples, FL Chapter Gathering – March 29
  • “On the Possibility of Animal Empathy,” Rydell Lecture - April 3 on campus
  • “Our Inner Ape:  Human Nature as Seen by a Primatologist,” Rydell Lecture - April 8 at Minnesota Zoo
  • Seattle Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Austin, TX Chapter Gathering – April 13
  • Class Reunions - for 50-Year Club, 1958, and 1963 - May 30 and 31


Tom Nygaard had a great conversation with Pat Hart, a member of the reunion committee.  Tom is enjoying his work and living in Wisconsin.  He, unfortunately, will not be returning for the reunion.  Bruce “Bock” Anderson died while blowing snow outside his home in Two Harbors on December 4, 2007.  Bruce spent most of his career in public service to the criminal justice system most notably as the Lake County attorney.  He formally retired in 2002, but continued to work on a consulting basis.  His obituary provided a bit of information about his time at Gustavus:  “He attended Gustavus Adolphus College, where his anti-authoritarian attitude and nonconformist behavior resulted in shenanigans that nearly got him expelled, a fact he proudly shared.”  Tom Anderson wrote to committee member Randy Nelson that he will probably not be able to attend the reunion because a church he is serving is planning to break ground that same weekend for a major expansion of its facilities.  Tom and Diane live outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico in a lovely adobe home in the mountains overlooking the great mesas of the region.  The Bishop of the Rocky Mountain Synod has kept Tom busy since Tom’s retirement in 2001.  Tom is a fulltime interim pastor, his sixth one, and currently is serving Community of Joy Lutheran in Rio Rancho, a suburb of Albuquerque.  The church is fascinating for an old pastor like Tom with screens, contemporary music, no pastoral robes, and constant changes in liturgy.  Says Tom, “Sometimes I just have to hold onto the Spirit which sweeps us along each Sunday.  Frankly, I love it.  Keeps me young!”

Sandy Svendsen Nelsen is living in Greer, SC.  “Crazy busy” would describe Sandy and Newell’s (’62) life.  Newell spent a three-year interim at Grace Lutheran Church and then took charge of a different kind of flock as the director of marketing and media for the Hollywild Animal Park.  Meanwhile, Sandy is the director of music at Christ Church Episcopal Preschool and drives doggies that need MRIs to North Carolina State.  She also does substitute teaching for the Greenville Community schools on the off-days.  They enjoy three grandchildren living in Greenville.  Judy Anderson Lindell and Pete ’62 enjoy living in Apple Valley, MN in the winter and their home in Bayfield, WI in the summer.  They also take time in the winter to visit Tom Lindell in Tucson, AZ in the winter.  They are enjoying seven grandchildren.

Carole Rosenkrans Zacher retired two years ago after a varied career in nursing, starting as a cardiac care RN and cardiac patient education coordinator at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis, and ending as a patient care coordinator and resource nurse in a large clinic system.  Husband, Rev. Mike Zacher, is on staff at Mt. Olivet Lutheran Church and also serves as a philanthropic advisor (major gift fundraising) for Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul.  Together, they have five married daughters, seven grandchildren, and four step-grandchildren.  Mike’s daughter, Michele, is a 1992 Gustie grad.  Mike’s 26 year-old son, Patrick, whom they lost three years ago in a workplace accident, lives on in their hearts.  Carole stays busy with gardening, grandchildren, church activities, volunteer work and all of the projects put off during working years.  Carole and Mike enjoy traveling and spending much of the summer with family and friends at their cabin on a quiet lake in the North Woods.  “All in all,” Carole reports, “Life is good!” Joyce Allen Swanson and Paul ’64 are enjoying life split between Minnesota and Colorado.  Why Colorado?  Because that’s where their grandchildren live!!!

George Emerson is married and living in Fridley.  George attended Gustavus for one year and then transferred to the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He has two daughters.  Do you still play your alto saxophone, George?  Elli Gilbert Holt lives in Harker Heights, TX.  She provides day care for her daughter’s children after school and since they still have school at the time of reunion, it makes it hard to consider coming to the reunion.  Pat Findley Casto continues to be a very loyal part of the 1963 Gustie nurses group that meets for lunch.  I hope that you will join your other nursing classmates on May 31 to celebrate Barb Berry Leonard’s award.  Carolyn Helgeson Liebenow lives in Shoreview and is retired.  She will probably be at the reunion with other nurses to celebrate Barb Leonard.  Same goes for other members of the loyal nurse’s group:  Charlene Lundahl Norris, Addie Blotter Roadfeldt, Sharon Shaver Pinney, and Kay Johnson Hanson.  I need to give Kay Hanson special recognition since she is the one who nominated Barb Leonard to receive the Greater Gustavus Award and also did the intelligence gathering to provide supporting documentation for the award.  Thanks, Kay, for your wonderful work!!

Karen Grahnquist Lawson continues to live in St. Paul.  Karen is active in her church which has a large population of Cambodian refugees.  She also volunteers for the Women’s Consortium.  Marcia Day Anderson has left her teaching position in the Phillipines and is now living in Africa.  We need to have an update on where she is specifically so if anyone is in contact with Marcia, please let me know.  The e-mail address we have for her is marciaruthanderson@yahoo.comDarlene Youngquist Kress is enjoying retirement.  She is active on several tennis teams and plays in tournaments.  She also keeps busy with church activities and at Childer Guild, a completely volunteer operated hospital gift shop that benefits pediatric patients.  She is close to her two grandchildren, and is especially grateful to be able to help with one of her grandchildren who has special needs.

Betty Hanson Brose and her husband are retired in Lake Tobesofkee, Georgia.  They are enjoying their grandchildren who live in the area.  Lorna Johnson Breiter lives in White Bear Lake.  Her husband, John, died in November of 1966.  She has been doing some traveling in the past year to Great Britain, Ireland, and Russia.  She will be attending the reunion.  Al Eckloff is retired and lives at “The Wilds” in Prior Lake.  Bo Cote, Snowmass, CO, will be attending the reunion.  He has three children in college, one, Henry, is at Gustavus and one child is a senior in high school.  Randa Fossum Vogen and her husband divide their time between their farm in southern Minnesota and their homes in Lakeville, MN and Florida.

Ella Johnson Sorensen lives and works in Murrells Inlet, SC.  Sid Smart is retired and is enjoying time spent with their first grand-child.  Mary Alice Lee Pestel lives in Plymouth, MN.  She and her husband, Ted, enjoyed a trip to Russia and Estonia.  She is undecided about coming to the reunion.  Karen Matsche Kelley lives in Circle Pines, MN.  Gloria Saffel Mueller will be attending the reunion since her husband, LeRoy ’58, is also coming for his 50th reunion.  Mary Jean Young Reinitz retired one year ago from teaching nutrition for Iowa State University Extension program.  She has two grandchildren.  She and Roger winter in Phoenix, AZ.  She hasn’t been back to Gustavus since graduation.  It’s time, Mary Jean and Roger!!!!!

That’s all the news for now.  I am saving some of the news that has been gathered for the last two letters in April and May.  Many thanks to the reunion committee members who have been so diligent in making phone calls and gathering news.  Never….in many years…have I had so much news to share with you.  Keep those cards and letters coming!


Tilly invited me to contribute as guest writer for the class letter and I consented even though I knew I would be pressed for time what with student reports from two very recently finished courses.  But, Tilly’s been doing this for 45 years, so my contribution is in the nano-domain compared to his.  Thanks Tilly for keeping us informed all these years!

Briefly, I have spent the last 35 years in Denmark as a biologist at the Institute of Biology, University of Southern Denmark (formerly Odense University) in Odense on the island of Fyn about 150 km from Copenhagen.  How did I get here, why did I stay and what have I been doing?

Naturally it all started at Gustavus in 1959, a small liberal arts college (smaller than my high school) about 60 miles south of the Twin Cities (Hopkins to be more exact).  I got “turned on” by Prof. Hamrum’s (’47) biology class and decided to major early on.  This meant delving into the life of insects since which, was his specialty.  He suggested a summer research project concerning the distribution of a certain genus of dragonflies.  Hamrum had funding for the project from the National Science Foundation.  So I spent the summer between my junior and senior years traveling all around Minnesota netting these dragonflies.  Naturally my parents thought it strange, but they were supportive.  Sometimes I used a special netting technique-some of you might remember that I had a 1959 black MGA soft top (fond memories).  I would drive like in England with the top down on the left-hand side of a country road, stick my net out with my left hand and capture insects along the road shoulder, keeping a look out for on coming traffic.  This technique did cause some heads to turn, but it worked when having to sample as many areas in the state as possible that summer.  Naturally, I had to trudge through bogs and fields too and after a day’s netting, setup camp and continue the next day.  These efforts resulted in my first publication, which appeared after I had left for Harvard and my Ph.D. studies in 1963.  I am sure that this summer project Prof. Hamrum gave me was decisive in my being accepted into the Ph.D. program at Harvard, with a fellowship.  Gustavus was the perfect starting point for my career in biology and I am sure many of you feel the same regarding your respective careers.

Gustavus was a congenial college with high academic standards; we had fun while learning.  Harvard was something else:  lots of competition, the students were more aloof, the professors more tight, and you had to fend for yourself.  I had my ups and downs, but adapted, broadened my knowledge of biology and made it through.  My Ph.D. project concerned the physiology and behavior of hearing in an insect with the world’s smallest ear (the green lacewing).  It turned out later this insect could hear and avoid bats.  My thesis resulted in four publications, one in Science (one of the two most read and cited scientific journals, the other is Nature).  I lucked out in getting a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship, even before I defended my thesis, to study at Copenhagen University.  I didn’t realize there were so few in the U.S. that got this type of fellowship until Vice President Hubert Humphrey wrote me a letter of congratulation.  So I left Boston in the fall of 1968 for Denmark and a project concerning how single auditory (hearing) cells in the locust ear responded to sound.  I found adjusting to life in Copenhagen easier than the same in Cambridge and Boston, but I guess Harvard prepared me for this.  I had a great time in Denmark and Europe.  The exchange rate was in my favor (12 kr to the dollar―now it’s 4.7!), which gave me freedom to ski in Norway and Austria, and travel in Sweden and Germany―all naturally in between research efforts.  It was at Copenhagen University I met my wife, Mette, who was a master’s student in biochemistry at the time.  I must admit life was pretty free there; dorms were co-ed, guys moved in with girls and visa versa all in a natural and open way.  This took some adjusting, but it went quickly.  And as it turned out this was the best way to learn Danish.  At the laboratory every one wanted to practice their English and only years after did my collaborator switch to Danish when his English was worse than my Danish.

My first stint in Denmark ended in 1970 when I was offered a position at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.  I was elated when Mette said she would like to join me.  Naturally all at UK thought we were married, no one lived together if they weren’t married.  As life would have it she got pregnant, but both of us thought she just had “gastrointestinal” problems in the beginning—being good and careful biologists!  So our first child, a girl (Gitte), was born in 1971 in Lexington.  (For the record we were married before the birth.)  I got a lot of teaching dumped on me at UK, so my research never got started and I was looking for another job.  I interviewed at the University of Illinois, Urbana, and about the same time was invited to apply for a position at the newly established Institute of Biology at Odense University, Denmark.  My former colleague had just been appointed professor there and he wanted to start a group in neurobiology.  I applied, got a position as associate professor and we moved back to Denmark in 1973 even though Mette would have preferred to stay in the States.

Now I had the opportunity to help build the institute from scratch and our group became internationally known in time.  Mette finished her master’s and Ph.D. in biochemistry, we had our second child, a boy, Martin, in 1975.  We settled in to teaching and research.  I have never regretted moving back to Denmark.  The research opportunities are on par with my colleagues in the States and elsewhere, funding has never been a problem (except for Ph.D. stipends), and doing field research has been supported.  I have had the opportunity to study bat biosonar in Thailand, New Zealand, Australia, North America, Panama, and naturally in various countries in Europe.  I have studied whale biosonar in NW Greenland (narwhals), northern Norway (sperm whales), and Iceland (white-beaked dolphins and minke whales).  Sabbaticals were looked on with favor.  The family spent over a year at Stanford, where I studied the neurobiology of crayfish escape behavior.  We spent a year at Brown University where I worked on bat biosonar and Mette on photosynthesis.  These sabbaticals gave our children the chance to learn English perfectly and experience the way of life in the States.  Naturally we get back to visit family and friends often and I even attended a GA reunion some years ago (before the tornado).

Living in Denmark has always been pleasant for me probably because I have concentrated on becoming integrated; speaking the language is important.  Danes are not used to immigrants especially those who maintain their national identity.  But, this is not to say we’ve given up Thanksgiving.  All Danes we have invited to “the big turkey” really enjoy the tradition.  In some ways life in Denmark is becoming more like that in the USA, they have even started to celebrate Halloween!  I regret this.

Now I am semi-retired (emeritus), which means no administration and only teaching and student guidance that I consider exciting.  So I should have more time for having fun with our three grand children, working in the kitchen, garden, and playing tennis.  So far I seem to be working more at academics than when I was full time employed, but this will change.

I remember with fondness my time at Gustavus and the opportunities that opened for me.  I am looking forward to seeing ’63ers again at our 45th reunion.


Many thanks to Lee for taking time to give us an update on his life.  I am still looking for writers for April and May.  Anyone who feels the urge please let me know.  A contribution of a page or two would be just fine.

Reunion update

You will be receiving information from the alumni office in just a couple of weeks.  It looks to me that we will have a great turnout for our reunion.  Please go to and click on alumni and then the Class of 1963 where you will find a listing of reunion events as well as a list of people planning to attend the reunion.  At the bottom of the home page for the Class, please click on the slide show.  We are adding pictures from our class and previous reunions.  If you would like to share pictures from college years please send them to Kathy Erlandsen, The Gustavus Fund, 800 West College Avenue, St. Peter, MN  56082 or at if you’ve mastered scanning!  She will post them on the website.

Special Announcement

As part of the reunion activities, John Monson, the “Tiger Woods of the Class of 1963” is organizing the “’63 Golf Open” to be held on reunion weekend, Friday, May 30.  This event will be at Shoreland Country Club (The Augusta of Nicollet County) and will begin at 1:30 p.m.  John Monson is organizing foursomes for playing nine holes.  If you would like to sign up, please contact John at or you can call him at:  320-732-3696.  It would be great fun to have 3, 4, or 5 foursomes playing at Shoreland on Friday afternoon.

That’s all for this March newsletter.  I am grateful for the number of you planning to attend the reunion and the number continues to grow.  If you can even only come for one of the events on Friday or Saturday, I encourage you to come and meet friends (notice that I didn’t say “old”!)

Thank you also for those of you who have already made a contribution to the Gustavus Fund or to the Class of 1963 Scholarship Endowment Fund or to both.  I encourage you to make your gift soon by either sending your check or going on-line and using your credit card.  Students will soon be calling all those who have not yet made their gift so you would save them some time in calling if you would make your gift now.  I keep having a fantasy of having 100% of our class make a gift at this reunion!!!

Thanks for your continued friendship and support.

Paul F. Tillquist

1963 Class Agent