Class of ’64

April 2012

Dear Classmates,

Happy Sesquicentennial!, a greeting that captures the festive outlook at Gustavus this 150th anniversary year.  The coming weeks feature special guests, lectures, and the return of Chaplain Elvee as special guest and Chapel speaker.  Civil War historian Jim McPherson ʼ58 returns, Bishop Mark Hanson arrives for the Gustavus Association of Congregations meeting, and political commentator Charles Krauthammer speaks.  An exciting week for the Gustavus community!  And an exciting time to be a Gustie!

Since for many of us, this year is also a milestone birthday, we can wish everyone a most happy year.  Some of you have already found ways to celebrate; others of us still look forward to that.

Just in case you’re not thinking about the Class of 1964 and your alma mater 24/7, I’ll start off with a reminder that under the new class officer model, the class letter became more informational about the college and the Annual Fund and less news about individual classmates.  Sharon Peterson Robinson and Linda Leonardson Hallman have been absolutely stellar in sharing class news in the QuarterlyHelen Brostrom Ihrig gives us ideas about encouraging prospective students, Jim Peterson encourages your generosity, and Dave Spong fills in on up-coming events.

But I’ll take a little liberty and mention myself briefly.  I played a piano recital at Gustavus, instigated by my teacher, Esther Wang, who is a piano professor there.  My brother Dave and I performed while Esther used our pieces as instruction points.  I played a long (24 minutes) Bach dance suite (The 3rd English Suite).  President Ohle’s home on campus turned into a miniature recital hall and we played for an audience of around fifty:  a combination of music majors, current and retired keyboard faculty, and a variety of administration and friends.  Elizabeth Johnson Ekholm and husband, Peter, were part of the audience.  It really went quite well, showing that both the brain and the nerves can still cope with a little pressure!

My other Gustavus connected activity is an assignment to create a presentation on my dad for this summer’s Augustana Heritage gathering held at the College in June.  I have made several trips to the Gustavus Archives which houses Dad’s files.  The last trip included looking in old yearbooks from the ʼ30s through early ʼ50s and a little bimonthly magazine put out by the church.  I saw pictures of Earl Rodine’s father, Dr. Milward Rodine, at the beginning of his teaching career; Anne Lawson Larson’s father, Rud Lawson, who came as business manager in 1944 or 45; and read an article about Art Cavara’s dad, Arthur, who was a renowned Latvian tenor prior to WWII and instrumental in helping other Latvians who also immigrated.  My reactions are varied:  sometimes nostalgic, sometimes poignant, and sometimes amazed.  In reminiscing earlier this spring with Nancy Johnsen Martin, she remembered the on-going state of construction and the accompanying mud.  The college was humming with change while we were students.

Sharon and Linda ask me to remind you to keep connected.  Facebook users can invite classmates to be your friend or you may send news to them at:

Here is another great way to stay in touch.  Linda writes:  “We do have our own GustavusAdolphus1964 on Facebook….  You can share what you are doing plus see what others are up to.  You can put pictures on it too.  Send me a request to be my friend and we will get you on the Facebook 1964 pages.  Only classmates can see or write on it.”

Below Helen Brostrom Ihrig introduces her role and describes opportunities for you to encourage prospective Gusties.

I have been asked to be the Student Recruitment Chair for the class of ʼ64 and in doing so, I need your help.  Please look around at your neighbors, young friends, relatives, your own absolutely perfect grandchildren and recommend them as prospective Gusties!  Send the names and contact information to me.  I will then pass this along to the Office of Admission at Gustavus.

You might also consider becoming a part of the Gustavus Recruitment Network.  This is an all-volunteer group of alumni and friends who call or email admitted students to congratulate them; call admitted, non-deposited students to determine if they will be coming to Gustavus; contact admitted, deposited students in the late summer.Recently I requested and received the prospective student packet sent out by Gustavus.  It included a student profile.  Current enrollment is 2,448.  98.6%are fulltime.  85% live on campus.  56% are female and 44% are male.  82% are in-state residents while 16% reside out of state.  Only 2% of the students are international.

The recruitment literature is full of thoughtful comments.  Let me end my part of this letter by including a few of them.

When you drive up College Avenue and see Old Main at the top of the hill, you can sense you’re in for something extraordinary!

  • Get involved.  The world won’t wait.
  • Live among poets and philosophers.
  • Find answers to questions before they even become questions.
  • Bring your passion. Pursue your art.
  • Communicate, really communicate, and while you are at it, listen.
  • Make time for reflection.  Good for the mind.  Good for the soul.
  • Make your life count.  If this is your mission, this is your college!

We all know the place Gustavus holds in our heart.  It is not just four years of learning life skills; it is a lifetime of friends!

Thanks, my friends,

Helen Brostrom Ihrig



Jim Peterson adds to the class letter by encouraging us to remember Gustavus.

“I hesitate to bring this up, but the Class of 1964 is approaching its (gasp) 50th reunion.  And as my doctor keeps saying, ‘Well you know Jim, when you get to this point in your life…’  As each of us thinks about what ‘this point’ means in our lives, maybe it’s also a good time to think about what Gustavus has meant to each of us over these nearly 50 years.  I’m hoping as a class, such thinking might lead this year to ramping up our financial support of the college.  Over the years, many in our class have given generously and regularly.  Some have given less regularly or not at all.  I’d like to challenge each one of us to step up this year−to really step up our giving−to recognize the value of our own Gustavus education and that of current Gusties and those to come.  If you haven’t already done so, please respond enthusiastically when Gustavus makes contact this spring.  And let’s all try to be in before May 31, the end of the fiscal year.  Your support matters.  Many thanks.”


Dave Spong highlights times when you may join other Gusties for events.  Here is his list of up-coming events:

Gustie Breakfasts

Join your fellow Gusties for breakfast and to learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Gustie Breakfasts.  Speakers for April and May will feature former Gustavus presidents, Jim Peterson ʼ64 and Dennis Johnson ʼ60 (respectively).  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!

Chaplain Elvee’s return to Gustavus to celebrate the 50th Jubilee of the Christ Chapel.  He will be on campus April 16-22.  You can watch chapel services streaming on line.  He will be preaching at the GACAC convention on Saturday, April 21.  Richard Q. Elvee served at Gustavus for 38 years and was named chaplain by Dr. Edgar Carlson in 1961.  Check the Gustavus website for information on live streaming.

The Augustana Heritage Celebration:  June 21-24.  Garrison Keillor will be making an appearance on June 21 in the evening.  There will be lots of history to celebrate in this event.

The Nobel Conference:  October 2-3, “The Global Ocean” is the theme this year.  Get tickets now by visiting:  It would be great to gather with some of our classmates for this awesome event.

A Royal Visit:  October 5-6, The King and Queen of Sweden will be at Gustavus on October 5 and at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, on October 6.

Gustavus will soon have a presence at the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis.  The new addition to ASI, brought with it some office space for Gustavus and periodic use of their rooms for classes and gatherings of Gustavus activities.

And finally…please put these dates on your calendar for 2014.

50th Reunion for the Class of 1964…May 30 and 31, 2014.

We hope to have a few more gatherings of classmates before the reunion as we plan and prepare.  How about joining our team of planners and share in some good times with our friends?

And now, signing off with a wish for a wonderful spring and summer.

Joanna Carlson Swanson

1964 Class President

Other Campus News

2012 Alumni Association Awards Announced

The Gustavus Alumni Board of Directors has announced its 2012 award recipients:

Greater Gustavus Award – awarded to those “who by deed, have notably advanced and aided Gustavus Adolphus College”:

Jon and Anita Thomsen Young ’77 ’77, Eden Prairie, MN, for their volunteer leadership, service and philanthropy to the College.

Distinguished Alumni Citations – recognizing outstanding and exceptional professional achievement that brings unusual honor to the individual in his or her field of endeavor:

Scott Dee ’81, Farwell, MN, professor of veterinary population medicine, University of Minnesota, swine consultant, and international research veterinarian and director at Pipestone Veterinary Clinic;

Mark Elfstrom ’01, Anchorage, AK, middle school math and science teacher, recipient of a 2011 Milken Educator Award and finalist for the 2012 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching;

Kurt Elling ’89, New York, NY, Grammy Award-winning vocal jazz artist.

First Decade Awards – recognizing early professional achievement in the 10th anniversary class:

Amy Brown ’02, Pittsburgh, PA, neonatology fellow at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center;

Michael Bland ’02, St. Louis, MO, postdoctoral associate, earth and planetary sciences, Washington University.

The Alumni Association will present Faculty and Administrator Service and Retirement Awards at a dinner at Gustavus on May 16; honorees will be featured in the fall issue of The Gustavus Quarterly.

National Sesquicentennial Celebrations

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, the College invites all alumni, parents, and friends for a celebration in an area near them.  The president has gone to 14 different locations from New York to LA.  There are still a few left.  You can view them all and register for an event at

Chicago – Thursday, April 26, 2012 – Gleacher Center with Allison Rosati ʼ85

Madison – Tuesday, April 24, 2012 – Harvest Restaurant

Celebration of Minnesota Poetry

On April 17 from 7:30-9:30 p.m., Gustavus will host “A Celebration of Minnesota Poetry in Honor of Poet Laureate Joyce Sutphen.”  The renowned poet, and Professor of English at Gustavus, will read from her work, and she’ll be joined by six local Minnesota poets:  Candace Black, Rebecca Fremo, Matt Rasmussen, John Rezmerski, Richard Robbins, and Richard Terrill.    The evening promises to be a memorable one, as the Gustavus community gathers to celebrate not only Sutphen’s remarkable achievements but also the rich range of poetry being produced right here in Southern Minnesota.  The event takes place in Alumni Hall and is free and open to the public.  The evening is made possible thanks to the generous support of the English Department, the Office of the President, Curriculum II, and the Writing Program.

McPherson Lecture

Gustavus alumnus, Civil War historian, and Pulitzer Prize-winning author James McPherson ’58 will return to his alma mater April 15-17 as a Sesquicentennial Scholar.  On Tuesday, April 17, McPherson will speak at Interlachen Country Club in Edina at an event that is also open to the public. McPherson’s lecture will be titled “Why the Civil War Still Matters” and will address the ways in which the war’s impact on America is still being felt today.  Those interested in attending this event, which will include a reception at 4:30 p.m., McPherson’s lecture at 5 p.m., and a book signing at 6 p.m., should RSVP by going online to, or by contacting the Gustavus Office of Alumni Relations at 507-933-7511.

Books in Bloom

Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) is preparing to host the second annual Books in Bloom event May 4-6 at the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library on the campus of Gustavus Adolphus College.  Books in Bloom is a unique event that will highlight books, media, and other resource material within the library through floral arrangements and artistic expression.  More than 20 exhibits will be on display – each of them sponsored by an individual or family and created by professional florists and flower enthusiasts – that represent and illustrate a book or other holding within the library.