Class of 1963

April 2011

Dear ʼ63ers,

There is just a little hint of spring in the air these days.  We have not had snow in the Twin Cities for almost a week!!  Hurray!!!  Snow on the campus has almost gone.  It will only be a few more weeks and the campus gardeners will being preparing flower beds!


Some College administrative leadership news to share with you ― Dr. Mark Braun has been named Provost and Dean of the College.  Braun has been Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D., since 2007.  Prior to that, he served Gustavus for 17 years, first as professor and chair of the department of communication studies, where he taught courses in media and society, media process and criticism, broadcasting, organizational communication, communication theory, and persuasion.  He served as Associate Dean at Gustavus from 1999 to 2007.  Dr. JoNes VanHecke ’88 has been named Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at the College.  Among the programs she will oversee are Alcohol and Drug Education, Campus Safety, the Counseling Center, Multicultural Programs, Health Services, Judicial Affairs, Residential Life, and Student Activities.  VanHecke has nearly 20 years of experience as a student affairs professional and has served as the Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Student Life at Central College since 2006.

On Thursday, April 7, 2011 Gustavus students and financial aid supporters will travel to St. Paul to meet with state legislators and make the case for increased funding for the Minnesota State Grant program.  The program helps make higher education affordable for 88,000 Minnesota college and university students.  One quarter of Gustavus students receive need-based aid through the program each year.

On Feb. 12-13, 2011, Gustavus Adolphus College, Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, and Feed My Starving Children collaborated to host an event on the Gustavus campus that addressed the complexities of food security and local and global hunger through speakers, advocacy work, and an emergency food pack.  The event drew more than 1,000 people and the result was an increased awareness of food and hunger issues as well as the packing of meals to feed 256,608 people.

The department of physics has gone a long way since the days of Dr. Rodine.  My memory is that a senior major in physics might be allowed a key to a locked cabinet containing instruments to be used in research.  In this current era, all students in physics and chemistry are trained on instrumentation and research techniques through an intentional plan that starts in the first year and increases yearly, culminating in a laboratory-based course and a capstone course with a significant independent project component.

Gustavus has a long history of investment in the sciences, the most recent of which was the F.W. Olin Hall of Science for the departments of mathematics and computer science and physics.  Gustavus regularly contributes to smaller facilities projects and cost-sharing in support of external awards.  Examples from 2009 and 2010 include the following, all of which relate to the grants delineated below:  approximately $80,000 in renovation costs last summer to upgrade two physics research laboratories; $50,000 to assist with the purchase and maintenance of the ICP-MS; and $59,300 to contribute to the purchase and maintenance of the vibrometer system.

Faculty have continued their record of success in grantseeking.  Within the last two years, for example, particularly noteworthy awards included a National Science Foundation Academic Research Infrastructure:  Recovery and Reinvestment grant to upgrade laboratory and ancillary space to support faculty/student research in physics (2010 - $253,150); an NSF Major Research Instrumentation (MRI) award to acquire a scanning laser Doppler vibrometer system for acoustics research (physics; 2009 - $310,000); an MRI grant for acquisition of an inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometer (ICP-MS) for interdisciplinary water quality and geochemistry research (chemist PI; 2009 - $246,820); an NSF Research in Undergraduate Institutions award for acoustics research (physics; 2009 - $152,939); and a Midwest Forensics Resource Center grant for analytical chemistry research (2009 - $54,923).

Gustavus has regularly ranked as one of the leading national liberal arts colleges as the baccalaureate origin of Ph.D.s.  For 2004-08, Gustavus was 3rd as the baccalaureate origin of Ph.D.’s in physics among the approximately 250 liberal arts colleges, 10th in chemistry, and 22nd in mathematics (NSF’s WebCASPAR).  In addition, for 2005-07, the College tied for 9th place nationally in the number of physics graduates per year (14) among bachelor’s-only departments (American Institute of Physics [AIP]).

Focusing on the home department for a professorship, the department of physics is a national leader in undergraduate physics education, as reflected in the following, as well as the above-referenced rankings:

---65%-75% of physics graduates over the last 10 years immediately pursued graduate study in physics or a related field.

---The number of majors and graduates (male and female) exceed the national averages.  The impact is even greater than the numbers suggest since such a high percentage of physics majors, including women, go on to graduate school.  For example, from 2005-10, 17 of the 21 women graduates (81%) are pursuing or have earned advanced degrees in physics or related fields, which is significantly higher than the national average.  Clearly, Gustavus is THE place to study physics as an undergraduate!!

The Fulbright Commission in Stockholm, Sweden, recently announced that Gustavus Adolphus College is one of two institutions in the nation that will receive a Hildeman Grant for the 2011-12 academic year.  The other institution selected was Harvard University.  The presence of the Hildeman Fellow will coincide with the year-long celebration of the College’s sesquicentennial.  Several events during the year will be related to Sweden to build on the College’s Swedish heritage and reaffirm it in a contemporary context.


ROBERT WHITE, JR. of Loretto, MN, passed away on April 10, 2010 of complications from surgery.  Bob was a doctor of chiropractic and practiced in the Twin Cities metro area for 42 years.  Robert is survived by his wife, Karen; daughter, Cindy with husband Drew; son, Brian with wife Tracy; daughter, Lisa; daughter, Heidi with husband Rich; stepdaughter, Kimberly and husband Dave; stepson, Peter with wife Tricia; and 17 grandchildren; sister, Lynda (White ʼ69) Larson with husband Steve; niece, Amy and nephew, Paul.

PETER KITUNDU died on January 19, 2011 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.  I am hoping to receive more information from Mary Ellen (Tordsen ʼ65) at some time in the future.

LEE MILLER always sends a Christmas greeting.  Here is Lee’s tome from December: “On this twelfth day of Christmas the third Advent candle is lit and the Christmas candle is on its way to day 13.  The first batch of fudge is on the stove to bring cheer to the family in Svendborg later today.  Winter has returned again after a short thaw.  There’s a dusting of new snow and if this weather pattern keeps up it will likely be what we call an “ice winter” with the fjords and straits freezing up.  We can’t feel global warming just now, but my colleague from West Greenland is.  She is looking forward to spending New Years at home in Finland where there are arctic temperatures.

This has been a year of trauma and change.  The Photosynthesis group was closed for economic reasons. Mette was told that the four members of the group (two lab technicians and a colleague) would become “redundant” as of the first of June.  Needless to say this came as a shock to all.  It ended that Mette got 13 months of full pay with no obligations.  She is finishing up projects with colleagues in Copenhagen and Aarhus, but that’s it.  So she considers herself as an early retiree and is enjoying the time for other things that she missed in her working life.  All of this came just prior to Anna’s confirmation so Mette kept it quiet as not to unduly burden the family.  So after the Confirmation was over Mette told the family.  The reactions were varied to say the least.  Gitte was sad and angry at the way the University acted, but Anna gave out a big smile and said: “Now you can have a dog!”

So this was the next big change.  The family in Svendborg found the perfect dog; a Cavalier King Charles spaniel that we named Spooky.  And this was a big change.  He was only 8 weeks when we got him and it was like having a newborn child in the house.  We went on a training course to get him used to other puppies large and small, and Rasmus is especially great at teaching him tricks.  Needless to say we have a good family to watch after him when we can’t.  The kids love him and each time we get him after a stay in Svendborg he sleeps 10 to 12 hours after much exercise.

No big professional projects for Lee this year mostly because our good colleague Paul Nachtigall was often in Denmark.  It was like he was working at the University in Copenhagen rather University of Hawaii.

JERRY RICE is a regular attendee at the monthly Gustavus breakfasts in Minneapolis.  He is also learning Spanish and volunteers at the Edina Community Center.  JANET RYAN TIDEMANN has retired as the visitation pastor at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church in Minneapolis at the end of 2010 where she served as pastor for 21 years.  The church celebrated her ministry and presented her with a Nook!  ALICEJEAN LEIGH DODSON is back to teaching in a CNA program. KAREN KATZ MCCARVILLE has retired from her piano teaching.  She has four grandchildren.  Last year she traveled to China where her daughter was teaching.  KAREN MATSCHE KELLEY has retired from her work with PetSmart.  HELEN JOHNSON MONSON continues to live a retired life of leisure in Long Prairie, MN.  STEVE MUCH spent January, February, and March playing golf and bridge while vacationing in Gilbert, AZ.  MIRIAM LARSON STOHL enjoyed a month of sunny weather in Florida this winter.

GARY and MARY ANN (CARLSON) ANDERSON returned to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for about the 15th time and spent a month learning Spanish.  DIANE HAMMARGREN ANDERSON and Jim ʼ60 flew to Palm Desert where they enjoyed the sun and visiting with MARIETTA BITTRICH JOHNS and Ted ʼ61.  BRIAN and JAN (HULTBERG) JOHNSON have sold their home in Lutsen, MN and have moved to Arkansas.  BILL LAHTI has spent the winter in Sun City West.

MARCIA DAY ANDERSON wrote a wonderful description of a trip she took at the end of 2010. Here are some of her comments recalling her trip:  “These past six weeks I have traveled thousands of miles, renewed relationships with many old friends and made many new friends in India, Singapore, the Philippines and New Zealand.  Several people commented that my plans were exhausting to them, that they were amazed I should take such a trip at my age (I will be 70 in April).

     Places of rest and refreshment in India while I taught in two Bible Schools for a week each, a guardian angel, my former pastor-partner, Elvie, who guided me gently through a dizzying array of appointments so effortlessly in Singapore, the 35th floor room – Ben Espiritu’s office − in the Regent Parkway condominium over-looking the American World War II cemetery which he so graciously allowed me to use, the times of quiet communion with Cecille Espiritu over breakfast, the hotel in Sydney, complete with swimming pool and abundant food which came to me by surprise because of a Quantas flight problem, days of relaxed visiting with Matthew and his family in New Zealand.

     We stood at the top-most peak of the Bay of Islands in New Zealand.  I longed to be able to paint what I saw−two oceans coming together, the Tasman in the foreground, the Pacific in the background, with a clear boundary between them.  The waters of the Tasman were bright and turbulent with crashing waves.  The waters of the Pacific were darker and peaceful, with no waves to disturb the surface.  There they met.  God made them both, so different in character, color and design.  One did not overcome the other, their lines were not blurred.

     Psalms 104:9 says it well, “You set a boundary (for the waters) that they can never pass, to keep them from covering the earth again.”

     This year may take you into turbulent waters or quiet, but know that through it all He will keep you because He sets the boundaries of your life and He is able to bring you safely home.”

STEVE LARSON wrote from Texas: “Life is great today here in 80 degree Texas.  It has been a tough winter with frozen pipes and such. We aren’t use to weather below freezing.  My life is full, as I still sit with marriage and family clients 4 half-days a week.  I really enjoy being deeply close to the people I work with.  I guess it keeps me young, even though it is difficult to say 70.  I plan to build a foundation to fund therapy and aftercare programs for the incarcerated in my next 10 years.  I guess God has always called me to advocate for the abused and rejected.  I want to “kick I” to 80 so I can make it to 90 or 100.  My youngest just graduated from Utah and plans to work in South America for a year to become fluent in Spanish.  She seems to be a product of the family.  I’ve been married 30 years (this time) and my wife is very vital and alive.  So I am very grateful for the 70 that I have.  Hope you are equally happy and healthy and, of course, I will see you in ʼ13.  Peace and love, Steve (By the way if any classmates would care to assist in the building and funding of “HI” (Hope for the Incarcerated) I would enjoy hearing from them.)”

JOHN TAMMI wrote a nice note from Holland, MI.  “Still teaching!!  That may end at the conclusion of the 2011-12 academic year.  And I’m still taking students to Ireland in May but this one coming up, my 16th year I think, will be the very last one.  I continue getting more from the students than I give them so it’ll be hard to give it all up.  I directed a full opera this fall, the first in Hope’s history (and one that almost did me in) and a studio production of Under Milk Wood earlier this semester.

     Marilynn is busy in retirement and we have two of our three grandchildren close by to keep us in line.  She goes out to New York to see our grandson more often than I can manage, so that is something I’ll look forward to when I’m finally retired.

     By the way, did you catch in the Quarterly that it was Joyce Gulstrand Amdahl’s brother with whom I did the ski trek across Lapland last March?  We keep talking about doing some more ski events closer to home, but shoulder surgery has put those plans on hold for me till next year.”

Well, good friends, that is all of the news that I have been able to accumulate over the past few months.  As you can see, it makes my job so much easier when you send notes especially if they come via an e-mail attachment.  That way I can just cut and paste.

Here are some ideas for upcoming class letters.  I had a thought while reading Marcia Day Anderson’s report that we have had several of our classmates who have spent a large part of their career living abroad:  Marcia, Lee Miller, Peter Kitundu, and Judy Langkos Donovan.  It would be fun to know more of their experiences.  Lee Miller also suggested that we might have a theme for some future letters with reports from those who have been teachers, pastors, business people, etc. etc.  Let me know if you would be willing to participate.

Meanwhile, of course, I invite you to make your gift to the Gustavus Annual Fund.  You can go “on-line” and make a gift with a credit card.  It would make your “old” classmate’s heart go pitter patter if we could hit 60-70-80-90-plus of you making a gift before May 31!

Thanks for your friendship.  Keep those e-mails coming!


Paul F. Tillquist