Class of '63
Late winter greetings to all of you! As I write this letter in Minnesota, it is raining and there are a few rumbles in the sky. The snow is melting quickly. Ponds are forming on frozen backyards. It is almost time to go into the woods “shed” hunting! It is the time of the year when one can go through the woods and spot the antlers which deer have been shedding. We live in an area with many deer so hunting should be good.
Haugen Named Head Football Coach
Peter Haugen was named the new head football coach in mid-December. Haugen posted a 111-44 record in 15 years at Washburn High School. He is the 17th head coach in the 93-year history of Gustavus football and started his new position the second week of January.
President Ohle is on the Road!
Please join President Ohle, his wife Kris, and other Gustavus staff at a chapter dessert reception near you. President Ohle will be visiting 11 cities around the country in the coming months and all alumni, parents, and friends of the College are invited to attend a reception. Dates are listed below or check out the Alumni website to find out more details.
Mustaphi Named Michelle Obama’s Deputy Press Secretary
Semonti Mustaphi ’03 was recently named Deputy Press Secretary for First Lady Michelle Obama. Mustaphi worked on the Obama campaign, and has also held communications positions for three senators. Mustaphi graduated with a political science and communication studies double major, danced in the Gustavus Dance Company, and was an Anderson Scholar.
Join us for the “Come on You Gustie” Breakfasts. The breakfasts are held the third Wednesday of each month at the Doubletree Hotel, Minneapolis-Park Place, 1500 Park Place Boulevard (Hwy 394 and Hwy 100). The breakfast runs from 8-9:30 and is $10 per person. Reserve a spot by calling Don Swanson ’55 at (763) 533-9083. February’s speaker will be Kris Kracht, communications; forensics head coach.
Alumni Insurance Programs
Are you in need of short-term medical insurance and between jobs? Meyers and Associates can help with temporary medical insurance as well as life insurance. For information about life and short-term medical insurance, call 800-635-7801 or visit Meyer and Associates. Want to save money on your car insurance? As a Gustavus alumnus you qualify for special group discounts through Liberty Mutual.
Want to support Gustie professionals? In need of a doctor, pastor, or financial adviser? Look in the Gustie Pages, 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 become your customers. Go to the Gustie Pages at the alumni website, www.gustavus.edu.
Mark your calendars now for Homecoming 2009! The Gustavus football team will face off against Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Oct. 10. Watch for more information about tons of fun events the weekend of Oct. 9 and 10.
Upcoming Alumni Events
- Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Kris Kracht, communications; forensics head coach - Feb. 18
- Tucson Chapter Gathering - Feb. 19, Westward Look Resort
- Phoenix Chapter Gathering - Feb. 20, Millennium Resort, Scottsdale
- Los Angeles Chapter Gathering - Feb. 28, Art Director's Guild, Studio City
- Boston Chapter Gathering - March 14, Hyatt Regency Cambridge
- New York Chapter Gathering - March 16, New York Marriott East Side
- Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Ken Westphal, vice president for finance - March 18
- Seattle Chapter Gathering - March 21, Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland, WA
- San Francisco Chapter Gathering - March 23, Hotel Vitale
- Twin Cities Gustie Breakfast, Steve Wilkinson, retiring men's tennis coach - April 15
JANUARY 2009 GUEST WRITER, GARY F. ANDERSON
No doubt quite a few of us remember sitting in Dr. Oscar Winfield’s introduction to philosophy class. It’s strange what I remember and what I forget (mostly forget!). But one of the things I remember is learning from him about an ancient Greek philosopher named Heraclitus who said, “Nothing endures but change.” It seems to me that particular understanding of things is at least somewhat accurate when it comes to the college we know and love. Gustavus has changed dramatically in the 45 plus years since we left the campus. In some ways I can almost say that everything has changed! It has been my privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees for the past nine years. From that perspective I can really appreciate how much things have changed, including during my board tenure having had three different presidents.
Few of us would recognize the faculty. Those we knew and loved are no longer teaching, although I often see my advisor, Dr. Bernhard Erling ’43, when I’m on campus. There are numerous new buildings including a wonderful new football stadium. Of course, the campus looks so different, and in many ways so much better, after the reconstruction that followed the horrible tornado. There are about double the number of students than there were on campus in our days. There are countless new programs and classes too. If you haven’t kept pace, you would be surprised by the number and variety of extra-curricular activities. You would also be delighted by how many students take part in service projects. In our era, a few of us had the wonderful opportunity to travel aboard as part of our studies. I’ll never forget my SPAN trip to Greece the summer between my junior and senior year. Now many students not only travel and study in the summer but during the school year as well.
Of course, we did not have “J Term.” Instead, being on the old semester system, we came back following Christmas vacation to take finals in January. I remember how depressed most of us were. We had taken all those books home to study over Christmas vacation and then, unopened, we dragged them and our weary bodies back to campus for the three week marathon to finals.
Fraternities and sororities are still around but have a much smaller impact on campus life than in the early 1960’s. My own fraternity, the Gammas, no longer exists. There is an example of change. There are many more student organizations and movements of all types. Students have even taken the initiative to develop an alternative worship service. There are fewer Lutheran students than in our day, although Gustavus still has a higher percentage than most ELCA schools. There is much greater diversity than we knew, although even greater diversity is an important and challenging goal.
Gustavus is far better academically today than in 1963. Our college is one of the best of small, liberal arts, church-related colleges. Our goal is to become even better in that regard. It makes me wonder if I would even get admitted now!
I could go on to list even more changes such as the cafeteria which has stations where students can pick from an immense variety of food versus the old line we had to shuffle through. Heraclitus was right, at least in some ways, when it comes to our college, “nothing endures but change.” Yet in other ways, the philosopher was wrong. There are things besides change which endure. That includes many things at “ye old college, up on a hill.”
One of those things is the “Gustie spirit.” No one is quite sure how to describe it, but we all know it when we are on campus and when we remember our past. I chaired the presidential search committee which resulted in Jim Peterson’64 becoming our president. One of the many things I remember about that interesting experience is a significant discussion the committee and others had about including the expression “Gustie spirit” in the formal description of the college which we had to develop for the search. There were some who thought the expression was sort of silly and out of date. Interestingly enough our wise and experienced consultant who had worked with hundreds of colleges in various academic searches said he thought the description was essential. While also could not quite explain it, he said there is something very important that is captured by the expression. I agree and that something still endures.
Perhaps Gustie spirit is the habit of saying hello not only on “hello walk” but all over the campus. Students and faculty still greet you warmly at GAC. It might be the spirit at sporting events. It is perhaps the general “unstuffy” atmosphere of our school. Academically strong as Gustavus is, it is, fortunately, not “snooty.” It could be the influence of the life of faith on campus. Who knows what all goes into to making up the Gustie spirit, but the good news is that it endures!
Another thing that endures is the success of Gustavus students. Just think of our class and the marvelous things so many have accomplished. I don’t know about yours truly in that regard, but I continue to be impressed when I read about what everyone has done with their lives. One of the mottos of Gustavus is “preparing students for lives of leadership and service.” That describes our class and continues to describe students today.
I don’t know when you have been back on campus. Perhaps it was recently. It was fun to see so many at our 45th reunion last year. If you haven’t been on campus, make a point to stop by for a visit. You’ll be delighted at how much the campus has changed and how beautiful it is, especially when the Eckman Mall is in full bloom in the spring or summer. You will visually see how things have changed. But you will also see how much the same remains. There stands Old Main welcoming you back to campus. And there, right in the center of the campus where our visionary president, Dr. Edgar Carlson ’30, insisted it be planted, the chapel, built during our junior year, still stands tall and invites students to faith. While the cheers come from a new football stadium or the Lund Athletic Center rather than Myrum Memorial Fieldhouse, there are cheers that echo across the campus as they did in our day when games are played. And in classrooms, students are at work preparing their minds for the future. As you walk through the campus you will be proud of your school and thankful, as I am, to have spent good years on a hill in St. Peter, Minnesota.
Many thanks to Gary for taking time to be a guest writer. He provides a memorable perspective as a classmate who is completing nine years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Gary and Mary Ann (Carlson) are about to leave for an adventure in Vilnius, Lithuania where Gary will be a visiting pastor at the Lutheran church in Vilnius for six weeks. They will take some extra time to visit some other favorite spots in Europe before returning to move into their new home in Hugo!!! No grass grows under their feet!!!
It is rumored that BILL RODMAN has chosen to retire as a physician. SANDY BROWN JOHNSTON always sends a newsy Christmas letter telling about their adventures in Hawaii. Travel has occupied much of their time in the last year with a cruise in Australia, reunion at Gustavus, a visit to Martha’s Vineyard, family reunion in Prague, and then Jim’s 45th Air Force Academy in Colorado. Sandy invites all ‘63ers to come to Hawaii and she will take you to President Obama’s favorite place for shaved ice and malasadas. I am sad to report the death of BARBARA ANDERSON PADDON who died of pulmonary fibrosis in August 2008. She is survived by husband, Dean, and two daughters. CHARLENE LUNDAHL NORRIS sent a New Year greeting. They had their children and grandchildren all with them for Christmas, 2008 in Arizona. 2008 was the year to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary which they did in Hawaii. They continue to spend summers at the YMCA of the Rockies and winter in Arizona. JIM STEPHAN reports that he has now retired. JERRY RICE has also retired from his position as CFO with BioDrain Medical. OTTO TEMPLIN has also retired from his position as president of Erickson & Templin Contracting in Hutchinson, MN. LEE MILLER wrote a news letter reporting that the spring of 2008 was uneventful except for Lee’s trip back to the U.S. Oh, I should also mention, that he accompanied his wife, Mette, to Mumbai, India where she had been invited as a University observer at the Biology Olympics. Lee was one of four “gentlemen” who also got to go along. They visited places like the 41 hand-excavated Buddhist, Hindi and Jadistic caves at Ellora and Ajanta while their spouses slaved away at the competition. They also saw the Taj Mahal. Lee also squeezed in a trip to Florida. JANET RYAN TIDEMANN writes that she has had a pretty good year since her deep brain stimulation surgery for Parkinson’s over one year ago. No tremors and much less medication. She is still visitation pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. She goes in a couple of days per week and assists with Sunday services. Janet is also in a reading group. RUTH ANDERSON TILLQUIST remains very busy with a book group and facilitates two small groups at Incarnation Lutheran Church. In between she spends time with her mother who was 96 years old in January and lives in an assisted facility in Arden Hills.
I attended a memorial service for Bernhard “Pete” LeVander ’37 a couple of weeks ago. In the bulletin for the service was the following. I thought you would enjoy it.
Live for Something
Live for something, have a purpose
And that purpose keep in view,
Drifting like a helmless vessel
Thou canst ne’er to life be true.
Half the wrecks that strew life’s ocean
If some star had been their guide,
Might have now been riding safely,
But they drifted with the tide.
Live for something, and live earnest,
Though the work may humble be,
By the world of men unnoticed
Known only to God and thee.
Every act has priceless value
To the architect of fate;
’Tis the spirit of their doing
That alone will make it great.
Live for something―God and angels,
Are they watchers in the strife
And above the smoke and conflict
Gleams the victors crown of life.
Live for something; God has given
Freely of His stores divine
Richest gifts of earth and heaven,
If thou willest, may be thine.
So with those closing words I greet you from the valley guarded by the Chapel on the hill. Best wishes to you in this new year 2009. May this letter find all of you in good health and spirits. Thanks for your continued friendship and your support of Gustavus.
Paul F. Tillquist
1963 Class Agent
P.S. As you know, I have not had much news to share. Please send me a couple of lines via e-mail and tell me what you are doing. Thanks!!!!