Class of ’63

November 2011

A message from our Class President John Tammi

My primary purpose for writing is to introduce the new Class Leadership Organization at Gustavus, one designed to facilitate and encourage increased alumni contact with each other and with the College following graduation.  Having worked for a liberal arts college (one much like Gustavus) for more than 40 years, I can attest to the importance of a strong alumni association and a collective alumni who continue to remain active in the on-going life of their alma mater.  This new approach will be of benefit to both the College and its alumni community.

From now on, each graduating class will elect five class officers who will serve for periods of five years:  President, Annual Fund Chair, Communications Chair, Reunion Chair/VP and Recruiting Chair.  This replaces the former class agent model which put the burden of these responsibilities on the shoulders of one or two individuals.  The new organization will not have much effect on classes that have mysteriously grown to be as old as ours, but it will prove to be very effective for younger and future classes.  Nevertheless, five of us have agreed to take on the responsibilities of the new approach on behalf of our class.

I am happy to announce that both Paul Tillquist and Bill Lahti have agreed to stay involved.  I am also very pleased that Ginny Larson Jones and Gary Anderson will be joining me in rounding out our “gang of five.”  We will work as a committee and, with such capable individuals involved, my job of presiding will be both painless and pleasurable.  Some of the officers will include a message in this letter to explain their specific responsibilities.  The Class of ’63 has been very fortunate having Paul Tillquist as our class agent from the time we graduated.  He has done an outstanding job keeping us connected with each other and with happenings on campus for nearly fifty years.  We owe him our gratitude.  Thanks also to Bill Lahti who has helped in this regard.

One of our immediate goals is to make certain that we have a terrific reunion in 2013, the Golden Anniversary of our graduation!  We want to have a large turnout so I hope you will all start thinking ahead and making plans to attend.  Consider getting in touch with classmates, maybe with those you haven’t seen or talked to for a while, to raise awareness and to encourage them to attend.  Through the hard work of many volunteers, we’ve had terrific reunions in the past − but we want this one to be extra special.  I came close to skipping the last one, thinking I had lost touch with members of the class and with the College.  However, Marilynn (Lawson ʼ64) and I did attend, had a great time and are looking forward to the next one.

Ginny, Tilly and I attended Class Officer Day and the Gustavus Sesquicentennial Kickoff at the end of September.  The campus is very impressive!  Good things seem to be happening at GAC.  We can be proud of our old college.

And a word from Paul Tillquist “Tilly”

In 1954, Ren Anderson ʼ34 and a small cadre of alumni went to Dartmouth University to learn more about their alumni program and a feature called “Class Agents.”  They came back and enthusiastically organized a similar program at Gustavus.  This program endured for almost 60 years.  But, times and circumstances change.  The biggest change came with the increase in the size of graduating classes.  The model of one class agent meeting the needs of large classes was no longer feasible.  After two years of research, the Alumni Board and Randall Stuckey ʼ83, Director of Alumni Affairs, designed a new program featuring class officers.  The details of the program have been described in the Quarterly as well as by our class president, John Tammi.  I volunteered to provide leadership for the Annual Fund class position.

What does this mean?  At least twice each year in the class letter which will be edited by Gary F. Anderson, you will hear about the progress of the Class of 1963 in the Gustavus Annual Fund.  As in the past, our goal is to urge every classmate to make an annual gift.  All of those gifts go to support financial aid for students with about 75% of students receiving aid.  It is a critical part of the admission program.  In addition, I will update you on the growing size of the Class of 1963 Scholarship Endowment and will bring you greetings from the current recipient of our scholarship.

I am excited about this new model of leadership for our class and look forward to continued communication with you about how you can support Gustavus and its quest for excellence as a liberal arts college of the Lutheran church.  You can expect notes and emails from me as the year progresses to thank you as well as to encourage you to make gifts to the Annual Fund before May 31 of each year.

It’s Our Sesquicentennial!

What in the world is a Sesquicentennial?  Don’t worry.  For one thing you may know the answer because of the good education you received at Gustavus.  Or you may have already heard about it from the college.  Or you have just looked it up.  If your response is none of those, then here’s the answer:  it is a 150th anniversary.  So we are in the process of celebrating Gustavus’s 150th birthday.  And some of us think we are old!  In 1862 Gustavus was begun as a bold adventure by a Lutheran pastor.  Look at what has been accomplished in those 150 years.

Throughout the coming year, Gusties are gathering across the country to reflect on Gustavus’s past, celebrate 150 academic years, and engage for the future.  In conjunction with the celebrations on campus, all alumni, parents, and friends are invited for a celebration to an area near them.  You can find a list of all celebrations and register for an event at

2011 Athletics Hall of Fame

Gustavus inducted new members into its Athletics Hall of Fame Saturday, Oct. 15.  Inductees for 2011 are Owen Sammelson ’58, benefactor; Amanda Murdock Diehl ’92, gymnastics; Jay Klagge ’92, basketball; Bryan Ripken ’94, swimming; Todd Anderson ’95, soccer; Tracy Erickson McMorrow ’95, tennis; Scott Moe ’95, golf; Laura LeVander Peters ’96, softball; and Colleen Barland Sherman ’96, soccer.


The College’s Sesquicentennial Christmas in Christ Chapel, Julljus is going to be a spectacular event.  Julljus brings us to the celebration of Christ’s light—to Sweden in the Middle Ages; to Minnesota in the 19th century; and to our fractured and darkened world today.  At the center of the 39th annual community celebration is Julotta, the traditional Christmas matins service brought by Swedish immigrants to the New World.  Christmas in Christ Chapel is presented Friday, Dec. 2 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.  Tickets for the Christmas in Christ Chapel service ($17.50 each) and for the buffet ($17.50 each) are now on sale at:  The Saturday afternoon performance has already sold out.  If you do not have access to the Internet, please call 507-933-7520.

Highlights from the Alumni Office

There certainly is a buzz in the air and excitement on campus this fall.  The campus welcomed the largest first-year class in the history of the College, the Sesquicentennial year of celebration was launched, Campaign Gustavus was announced, and Beck Academic Hall opened along with the announcement of Warren and Donna Gabbert Beck’s ’67 ’66 major gift.  Additionally, we couldn’t be more excited and pleased with the launch of the new class leadership structure with over 70 percent of the officer positions filled in the classes of 1951-2011.  Along with the new class officer structure we’re implementing a new chapter officer structure to engage more alumni national and regional chapters.

Nominations being Received for 2011-12 Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association recognizes alumni for professional achievement, service, and advancement of the College.  We are now accepting nominations with supporting information of a resume or curriculum vita for these awards:  Great Gustavus Award, Distinguished Alumni Citations, The First Decade Award, and the Association of Congregations Service Award.  If you know of a Gustie who should be recognized, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at:  507-933-7511 or

A Classmate’s Story:  Susan Moen Perry

When people meet for the first time after 50 years, they never quite know what will happen.  Yet when I met Gary and Mary Ann (Carlson) Anderson earlier this year at Grand Central Station in New York (not having seen each other since graduation), there was immediate recognition and excitement about being reconnected!  So when Gary asked me to describe my life since 1963 I couldn’t refuse.

After three years of graduate work in French (one at the University of Strasbourg in France with a Fulbright and then two at Stanford) I decided that French literary criticism wasn’t for me, dropped out, and began editing work, which I actually enjoyed.  After getting married we moved to Berkeley where my husband completed his Ph.D. in physics.  Berkeley was an exciting spot to be in the late-1960s and our first child was born midst the tear gas of the anti-war demonstrations.  Five years later, having relocated in suburban New York and with three small children and my husband’s sabbatical from IBM, we moved to Nigeria and both taught at a university.  Life with the children, a pet monkey, and on-and-off electricity and running water was challenging!

Returning later to suburban Westchester County, I began work as a researcher/editor at the Maryknoll Fathers, a Catholic mission order, on a history of Maryknoll in China from 1918 to 1952, when the Communists took over.  Some of the important primary sources were in French so my double major of French and history was indeed helpful.  I was then invited to join Orbis Books, the publishing arm of Maryknoll.  My early responsibilities included attending the Frankfurt Book Fair and my French, German, and Italian were put to work.  Specializing in African theology, feminist theology, ethics, and interreligious dialogue, I’ve translated two books and work with authors from around the world—China, Bolivia, Kenya, Mexico, India—and even an occasional Lutheran.  One of those Lutherans (author of Baby Krishna, Infant Jesus) is a good friend of the daughter of “Esby,” a beloved faculty member of ours.  And occasionally I run into current Gustavus faculty at academic meetings.  Work has taken me to Frankfurt (too many times), the Philippines, Hong Kong, and nearly every city in the U.S. and Canada.  Next year I’m headed back to Africa for a conference of African theologians in Nairobi.

If you’re interested in spirituality or religious studies, visit our website ( or and see a book I edited entitled Holiness and the Feminine Spirit.  The book resulted in a six-month exhibit of text and art at the Haggerty Museum in Milwaukee and more recently at LUMA, the Loyola University Museum of Art in Chicago.

I’m grateful that my children have grown into happy, independent adults—and become avid readers.  I’ve a son in Melbourne, Australia, a daughter in Newport Beach, CA and a married daughter and two grandchildren in Philadelphia.  Like many of you, I’m active in my parish, having taught catechism for 25 years, and I sing in the choir and serve on the church council.  My greatest pleasures are reading and swimming and, again, like so many of you, spending time with grandchildren.  Just turning 70 and a cancer survivor, I still work fulltime and can swim a mile!

Looking back, our years at Gustavus seem to have given us a firm foundation that allowed us to build our lives in an amazing number of ways.  I can be reached at: or  While work has prevented me from attending class reunions in the past, I greatly appreciate reading the amazing stories of my 1963 classmates in the newsletters and I glory in your many accomplishments.

Death of a Classmate

Just a short time before this newsletter was finalized, we learned the sad news of the death of Char Luecke Engstrom.  Char died on November 4.  Her funeral was at Hope Lutheran in Moose Lake, MN where she and her husband, John ʼ62, had lived for a number of years and had recently built a new home.  We grieve her passing.

Class News—Please Submit It!

With this new organizational structure, most class news will be going in The Gustavus Quarterly.  A group of people is being recruited to be “newshounds” to spot news of our classmates.  Thanks to those that have sent in news, but if you’re wondering where to send it, you can email your news to both me and the Alumni Office by using: or send it directly to me, your class communicator.  In that role, your help is much needed and appreciated.  My email is  Don’t be too shy, in typical Gustavus/Scandinavia fashion, to send news to me about yourself.  Also, if you would like to write a classmate story for the next edition, just let me know!


Gary F. Anderson

1963 Communications Chair

(Remember, I always had to use my middle initial because there was another, much more famed, Gary Anderson ʼ62 on campus for three of our four years—the one with the guitar.)

Other Campus News

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  December’s speaker will be Dick Kenney, author of two Gustavus Sesquicentennial books.  The St. Peter Breakfasts are held in the banquet rooms on campus at 7:30 a.m. on the second Wednesday of the month and the Twin Cities Breakfasts are held at the Doubletree Hotel in Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on the third Wednesday of the month.  RSVP by calling 800-487-8437 or e-mail  Hope to see you bright and early!

Join Gustavus Library Associates

“Whether you went to the college library to study, do research, meet a hot date, or create (or look for) a library prank, the library was an almost daily stop during our college years.  What better way to acknowledge that important relationship than by joining the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA)?  GLA's mission is to promote literature, learning, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College.  All of its membership dues go directly to the annual acquisitions budget of the Library; income from the Royal Affair, Books and Bloom, and other major fundraisers goes to the Library’s endowment.

With this in mind, you’re encouraged to become GLA members.  You can find the application form on the web at:  There you’ll find all the news about the organization’s events, the membership forms and a list of membership options.