Class of '64
May 2007

Dear Classmates

Greetings – again - from Linda and Joanna.  My adventuresome partner is on a road rally this week with her mini Cooper in North Carolina.  But earlier in May we drove, not to the Smokies, but to Gustavus to attend the Linnaeus symposium; a cluster of events in honor of Carl Linnaeus’ 300th anniversary.  He was the one responsible for developing the naming system of ‘genus and species’ that we all learned in biology classes.  Jack and I had toured the Linnaeus sites in Sweden two years ago and I suggested to Linda that we attend.

It was a great time to be on campus and we tried to take in as much as possible.

  • We saw Gusties from our class and era: Al Henderson, Jim Gilbert, Bruce and Susan (Hill) Jones who had come from Virginia, and Jim Peterson.  Retired faculty that you may remember included Bob Moline (geography) and Chester Johnson (geology)
  • Anders Bjorling’s ’58 photos from Sweden that followed the Linnaeus route into Lapland were on display at the Arboretum.  They are spectacular.  Anders has also done some beautiful photos of the campus.
  • We learned a new word: “ethnobiology.”  Several lectures were offered around that topic.  Fortunately for us, lectures now include power point slides highlighting the topic.  No dry lectures that day.  To resolve your curiosity, ethnobiology studies tropical medicinal plants and the people or shamen who understand them.
  • We looked at bulletin boards, windows, and walkways and marveled at student life.  Posters advertised “Greek recruitment” (doesn’t that sound more erudite than “rush”?); swing dancing in the dive; programs on justice issues such as Darfur and hunger; graduate school bulletins; inspirational speakers, and announcements of upcoming events.
  • Both the Gustavus Choir and the Theatre Program celebrated 75th anniversaries this May.  Perhaps some of you went to one of those.
  • Since it was too early for the spectacular gardens at Gustavus, we concentrated on looking at all the buildings.  Construction for the new football stadium is underway.  (I remember being taken to football games at the “old” stadium as a child―so we know it has been around a while.)  New dorms, classroom buildings, and a baseball diamond have been added to the west and south of the stadium.  We easily recognized the older part of the campus, but there is also wonderful new expansion that extends the campus to the west.
  • The central mall had numerous collections of large, white gift-wrapped boxes with big blue bows.  We couldn’t resist looking at the attached tag.  “Give the Gift of Gustavus” was the caption.  Wasn’t that just the perfect message for two class agents to read?  These boxes were part of a promotional by the Senior Gift Committee to encourage the graduating class to give to the Gustavus Alumni Fund!  Messages on the windows of the dining room informed students that their goal was 75 percent participation and $15,000.  They are beginning the tradition of giving to Gustavus.  Being versatile with technology, they also use a website, allow for on-line giving, and post the names of contributors on their website!  To see more, log on to their class gift website,

Class news is always the best part of class letters.  Here is what I can pass on to you.

Mary Fahden McIlrath is retired and living in Prior Lake, MN, May thru October, and McCormick, SC, from October to May except for January and February when she is in Progreso, Mexico.  She enjoys traveling, singing in church choirs, yoga and being a foster mother for the Humane Society.  Most recent trips were to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and Croatia, Montenegro and Slovenia.

Rudd Thabes practices family medicine in Bagley, MN and was elected as county coroner last fall.

Andy Stamson continues to be busy in retirement in Grand Rapids, MN.  He still does some consulting and is active on two Boards of Directors.  Outdoor activities included an Alaskan fishing trip last summer.  Highly recommends an Alaska trip “even if you don’t fish.”

Lois Hoernemann Banke has become a trainer in Safe Community Nursing (parish nursing) and resides in Ashland, OR.

Carol Gilbertson Lind retired as a professor at Minnesota State University and lives in Mankato.

Sylvia Wilson Kittelson retired as a first grade teacher in the Litchfield Schools.

Betty Carlson Lahmers is retired and resides in Melrose, MN.

Gordon Olseen has a new grandson, born last August 3rd, 2006.

Borrowing from the Quarterly;

Valerie Donner Sechler is a piano teacher in Spicer, MN.

Jean Kersten Youngerberg is a farmer in Springfield, MN.

David Garms is an independent consultant in Fairfax, VA.

Ruby Monson Englund teaches nursing at Seattle Pacific University.  She is also the founding director of Nursing Camp where high school students learn more about nursing.  For more information and to see Ruby’s picture, look on page 37 of the last Quarterly.

Linda and I enjoyed talking to Bruce and Susan Jones.  They hosted a class of Gustie biology majors and the director of the arboretum at their home in Virginia earlier this spring.  The students needed a warmer climate to identify plants by their buds, scars, and branches.  Southern Virginia offered the right climate and Bruce and Susan were the perfect hosts.  They really enjoyed getting to know the students with a little taxonomy an added bonus.

Some of you might enjoy hosting a Gusties Gather! Event in your neighborhood or with your friends.  Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, Sept. 30.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a day to intentionally connect with other Gusties.  In its inaugural year last August, 60 hosts planned events around the country.  For more information or to sign up, contact our classmate and Alumni Board member Dick Swenson at 612/824-8052 or

News from Gustavus follows:

Gustavus Forensics Team Continues to be National Leader

The Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics Team participated in the 30th American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) in April, earning a top 20 national ranking for the first time in school history.  Fourteen of the top 20 schools are Division I institutions.  The team has had a full schedule of tournaments this year, although the AFA-NIET is considered by many to be the most competitive collegiate forensics tournament in the country.

Refer a Gustie

Are there outstanding students in your church or neighborhood?  Are there sophomores or juniors in high school who are related to you or are friends of your family and whom you think could be a good fit at Gustavus?  Please send their names to the Office of Admission at Gustavus to help recruit the next generation of Gusties.

Gusties Gather!  Hosts Needed

Gusties around the world are called to gather on Sunday, September 30th.  The Alumni Board is designating this day as a day to intentionally connect with other Gusties.  In its inaugural year last August, 60 hosts planned events.  Want to do more to be connected with Gustavus?  Sign up to host a Gusties Gather! event for your neighborhood or with your friends.  Sign up by contacting Alumni Board member Dick Swenson ’62 at: or 612/824-8052.

A Royal Affair — Razzle Dazzle

Save the date!  Saturday, October 27, 2007 is Gustavus Library Associates’ biennial benefit for the Gustavus Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.  It will be held at the Sheraton Bloomington Hotel in Bloomington, MN.

If you have volunteer time to offer . . .

If you have an auction item to donate, or know someone who does . . .

If you know someone who should receive an invitation . . .

If you would like to contribute financially to defray expenses . . .

We’ll welcome your call today!

Co-chairs:  Susan Engelsma Wilcox ’73, 952/944-5972 and Nacia Dahl ’92, 952/808-3212.

Rare Flower in Bloom at Gustavus

A Titan Arum or Amorphophallus titanum, otherwise known as a Corpse Flower, is now in bloom in the Department of Biology’s greenhouse.  The first known Corpse Flower to bloom in Minnesota, this rare flowering plant is found only in the tropical rainforests of Sumatra, Indonesia.  The largest un-branched inflorescence in the world, the flower’s name comes from the repulsive scent it omits during and after its bloom period.  The plant’s cluster of flowers can grow to almost 10 feet, although the plant at Gustavus is expected to bloom slightly smaller.  “This plant is one of the wonders of the botanical world,” says Brian O’Brien, associate professor of chemistry who received and planted the seeds in 1993.

Upcoming Alumni Events

  • Class of 1962 - 45th Anniversary Reunion — May 25 and 26
  • Class of 1957 - 50th Anniversary Reunion — May 25 and 26
  • 50 Year Club Reunion — May 25 and 26

We would be remiss if we didn’t include the customary appeal and our appreciation for all you do, especially for Gustavus.  Particularly after we’ve been back to campus, we are grateful to you for providing students and college with the means to offer so much.  I’d like to lift a paragraph from the Class of 2007’s website.  The most recent recipients of the Gustavus experience may say it best:  First, they ask these questions.

            “Think about what your four years at Gustavus meant to you,

            Ask what are you thankful for,

            What memories stand out the most for you?”

Then they move on to acknowledge the gifts received.

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!  “We thank you again for every penny that you have given to allow future Gusties to have the same great experience that you did.  Please continue your generosity in the future with an annual gift to Gustavus.  Look for calls and mailings that will alert you about future gifts.  It is because of people like you that Gustavus maintains its high reputation of caring for others.”
You can read more by going to

If you haven’t yet made a gift to Gustavus, it is so easy!  A gold envelope is enclosed with this letter for your end of the year gifts (fund closes May 31) and news!  You can also give and send news online at:  Future grads will be grateful.

We thank you for your gifts, we wish you a very pleasant spring and summer, PLEASE send news to the alumni office, and you can count on us to be back in the fall.                

Joanna Carlson Swanson and Linda Leonardson Hallman

1964 Co-Class Agents