Class of ’64

September 2012

Dear Classmates,

The freshmen are arriving on campus as I write the class of 1964 news.  It got me remembering the beanies, kangaroo court on the steps of Old Main, and having to respond to a senior with the population of St. Peter, then the number of residents at the state hospital, followed by the number of lowly freshman.  I’ve forgotten the other figures, but the freshman numbered 409.  We were told more than once that half of us wouldn’t be around for graduation and that was almost true, 250 of us were graduated from Gustavus in 1964.  It was at the gathering in Swede Park that first night when Dean Melva Lind told us we would hear the train whistle echoing through the valley from our beds that night and we would feel lonely.  She was right.  But we got over it.

I looked at the first Weekly published that fall of 1960, determined to write about the freshman featured in that issue.  Our freshman king, Jim Peterson from Superior Wisconsin, queen, Joanna Lundgren (Kuehn) from Edina and president pro tem, John Johnson from Princeton were featured on the first page.  Jim, who moved from the presidency of the Minnesota Science Museum to the presidency of Gustavus is now retired.

It was Queen Joanna, who after meeting Jim thought he would be a good match for her cousin, Susan Pepin Peterson ’65, and the rest is history.  Jim and Susan now reside in Minneapolis and Joanna is making her permanent residence among that great enclave of Gusties on Sand Lake, near Moose Lake.  In November Joanna will become Mrs. John Engstrom (’62).  After too much sadness, (both John and Joanna lost their spouses and Joanna her sister, Linda) this is the happiest of news.

Joanna was among eleven Gustie gal friends who celebrated their 70th birthdays at Cove Point Lodge on Lake Superior’s North Shore in September.  Celebrants included Nicky Kirpen Bredeson, Minneapolis; Kirsten LeVander Dawson, Arden Hills; Joanell Sletta Drystad, Red Wing; Cathy Moe Dietz, Westlake Village, CA; Beaty Fritz Graves, Anchorage AK; Donna Olsenius Hammer, Oak Grove; Mary Zimmerman Magnuson, Maple Plain; Lyn Ostebo Peterson, Colorado Springs, CO; Joanna Carlson Swanson, Edina; Linda Hammarberg Willette, Shakopee.

Also mentioned on the front page of that Weekly was queen candidate Penny Johnson, who hailed from Hopkins, but now is happily retired and living in Ramsey with her physician husband, Bill Rodman ’63.  Penny taught first grade for 20 wonderful years after raising her four children who include Gustavus grads, Augustana Rock Island mathematics professor, Stacey Rodman Clauss ’89; oncology nurse Sara Rodman Grewe ’91, and teacher Sacha Rodman Kelly ’99 (Cameron ’00).  Penny devotes much of her time to her eight grandchildren, especially important because Penny and Bill’s son, Scott, succumbed to cancer leaving two young boys, who live near enough to benefit from the extra help and love grandparents can provide.  Penny also is a quilter, working with the quilt ministry at Lord of Life Church and making prayer and baby quilts, the latter for charitable organizations.  So many of our grads are quilters, I see the possibility of an interest group.

Also queen candidates were Sharon Hansen, fresh from New Richland, now in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL, with husband Bill Johnson ’65, Sharon Rajala, then of Effie, now living with her husband Ed Reese in Chandler, AZ, and two Gusties we have lost track of , Joni Vold from International Falls and Barbara Wicks from St. Louis Park.  Joni was my section mate and the last I knew she was living in Jacksonville, FL.  Even if someone did not graduate with us, they are still part of our class, so if anyone knows how to reach these two and the following king candidates who are also lost to us, we’d love to have them back in the fold.  The rest of the king’s court included:  Douglas Barton, then from Richfield; Paul Chermak then from Minneapolis, and Ted Rogers then from Edina.  We do know the whereabouts of two other member’s of the king’s court, Ron Severson, Minneapolis and Don Rahn, Topsham, ME.

Ron, who came to GA from Braham, is now a semi-retired accountant, working one day a week, more during tax season.  He spends two days a week with his three grandsons, all under 1 ½.  Ron’s wife died 2 ½ years ago; they had three children, including Gustie Paul Severson ’03.  The rest of Ron’s week is filled with volunteer work at Hope Lodge, a house for cancer patients.  His passion for skiing takes him to Colorado once a year and during the winter he also manages to squeeze in a couple weeks in Florida.

Don Rahn is completely retired from a couple careers now.  His first was with the navy where he spent some of his time as a professor at the US Naval Academy in Newport, RI and at the University of Utah.  After 26 ½ years he retired to work at L.L. Bean.  He enjoys hunting, fishing, gardening, and cooking, says he’s not afraid to tackle any recipe.  In addition to cooking at home, much to the delight of his wife, Sharon Nelson Rahn, each week he makes a dish for the Legion Club.  He makes regular visits to see his daughter, grandchildren, mother and sister in Minnesota.  Don’s mother says it’s tough having a 21 year old mind in a 94 year old body.  I bet there are lots of us who agree with that, no matter how old you are on the outside, there’s a young person on the inside.

Another first year student featured in that issue of the Weekly was Ulla-Brit Bergman, Mellerud, Sweden; does anyone still have contact with Ulla?  On the last page was Judy Kaeding from Moorhead finishing her textbook shopping at the bookstore, arms loaded with about twenty books, sporting a beanie and cat eye glasses.  Now Judy Larsen, she has retired from Silicon Valley and lives with her husband in Palo Alto, happily puttering in her garden and taking classes at Stanford.  She takes a class each college term and chooses her classes in a variety of subject areas by opting for the most experienced professors, those who have taught the material before, know what may present problems for the students, and have adapted their presentations accordingly.  It’s working for her.  I’m going to pass this on to my experienced professor husband, who sometimes worries that he doesn’t have as much to offer as the younger professors.  There is something to be said for experience.

This past June Judy was at Gustavus for the Augustana Synod gathering, the church body that governed Gustavus for its first 100 years.  Dan Johnson, now of that lovely art colony of Oaxaca Mexico, attended the conference as well and led sessions on his book on the adventurous Richard Reusch, perhaps your religion professor at GA.  Joanna Carlson Swanson was also a presenter at this event; her subject was her father, Edgar Carlson ʼ30, beloved and respected president of Gustavus for 24 years.  Her talk not only included the Gustavus years, but his early life and his continued work in higher education after his presidency.  Joanna spent a good deal of time in the Gustavus Archives, reading chapel talks, looking over materials on the Nobel Dedication, yearbooks and photos.  Nancy Johnsen Martin, Blaine, prepared a power point for Joanna using about 50 photos of the Carlson family.  Joanna reported that her project brought back a lot of Gustavus memories.   That was true for all of us that were lucky enough to attend her presentation.

At an informal gathering at my home during the Augustana reunion, Gusties spoke highly of President Carlson, who spoke with such wisdom and always handled situations in a dignified and democratic manner.  It was amazing how easily the conversation and laughter flowed that afternoon among Gusties spread over three decades, memories of diverse characters we knew and loved, shared or similar experiences, combined with that elusive something that is Gustie.  Also present at the Augustana conference were Linda Leonardson Hallman, Minneapolis; Karna Peterson, Backus, and Helen Brostrom Ihrig, newly moved to St. Peter.

In addition to her research project on her father, Joanna Carlson Swanson writes about her musical pursuits:  “I study piano with Gustavus piano professor, Dr. Esther Wang.  Last winter, my brother, Dave Carlson ’60, and I were part of a piano colloquium at the home of President Jack Ohle on the college campus.  I played Bach’s English Suite #3, a set of six dances.  Dave played Intermezzo Opus 118, 1-6 by Brahms.  Dr. Wang introduced our selections and each of us performed for about twenty-five minutes.  In attendance were college piano students, active and retired music faculty and other guests.  Peter and Elizabeth Johnson Ekholm were also there to cheer me on.”

Ruby Monson Englund, Seattle, WA, visited friends in Minnesota this summer, including Susan Kerner Oberg, Stillwater, and several of her fellow nursing students.  Check our Gustavus webpage for a picture of the nurses and of Ruby in her Gustavus nursing uniform holding an example of her interesting collection of medical equipment.  Ruby has taken on a role as nurse historian, most recently having completed a history of the local chapter of the National Honor Society for Nursing.  An electronic copy of her interview with Dr. Stucke, the first head of the Gustavus Nursing Department is available at Gustavus.  The nurses have kept very good track of each other with regular get-togethers.  This September they were in Door County.  We’ll follow up on that event and catch up on the nurses in the next Quarterly.

Marcia Johnson Lindseth, retired school principal, and husband, Marv, Prescott, WI, celebrated their 50th Wedding anniversary on June 10, 2012.  Three of the four Gusties in the wedding party were able to take part in the Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving, Kay Johnson Shager’65, Hudson, WI; Geri Lu Bakken Ramsfield, Fayetteville, AR, and Carol Woods Blaeser, Eagan.  Patty Messman Scotson ’66, Great Falls, MT was unable to attend.  A total of eleven Gustie friends were there to prove that Gustie ties last at least 50 years!


Sharon Peterson Robinson

1964 Co-Communications Chair

Campus News

Alumni Career Exploration

Where Dreams Meet Reality: Alumni Networking and Transition” will be offered again with support from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and Catherine Beyer Breet (  This program is designed for anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, or unhappily employed.  It takes participants through the process of naming gifts, talents, and passions and finding where to use them in the world.  This event is scheduled at St. Mary’s University this fall on Tuesdays Sept. 25, Oct. 9 and 23, and Nov. 6, from 6–8 p.m.  This four-part classroom series includes full access to the Online Job Hunt Coaching System.  The series is being offered for $199 (Gustavus alumni $149).  Live outside the Twin Cities metro area?  The series will be offered in webinar format for $149 (Gustavus alumni $99).  Register at:

Nobel Conference – “Our Global Ocean”

October 2-3 – Nobel Conference 48 examines, “Our Global Ocean” as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  The conference will examine our oceans as a source of inspiration, danger, and knowledge.  We know less about our own oceans than we do about the surfaces of other planets hundreds of millions of miles away.  Top researchers in biogeochemistry, oceanography, deep-sea biology, molecular genetics, and coral ecology will discuss the most relevant topics concerning our mysterious oceans.  Tickets for this year’s Nobel Conference are available at:

The Royal Visit

Their Majesties King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden will visit Gustavus in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the College by Swedish immigrants in 1862.  The Royal Visit to Gustavus will be Friday, October 5, 2012.  For the full schedule of the day’s events, visit visit.  Many events require tickets.

Hall of Fame

The Gustavus Adolphus College Athletics Department has selected nine individuals for induction into its Athletics Hall of Fame.  The 2012 class of inductees include Rhonda Gorseth Alberts ’93 (Gymnastics), Brian Brekke ’95 (Football),Kara Bloomquist Drekonja ’96 (Cross Country),Brett Gross ’96 (Track & Field),Brock Guettler ’92 (Basketball),Mark Kruger ’86 (Tennis),Jason Lesteberg ’96 (Hockey),Scott Stoneking ’96 (Soccer), and Donald Swanson ’55 (Benefactor).  This group will be honored at the Athletics Hall of Fame Banquet, which will be held in Alumni Hall at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, following the Hall of Fame football game between the Gusties and Hamline University, which is set to take place at 1 p.m. at Hollingsworth Field.

Homecoming 2012

October 12-14 – Homecoming 2012 will include the Sesquicentennial Closing Dinner, reunions, a football game, a performance by The Bend of the River Big Band, and more.  For information on reunion registration and the entire homecoming schedule, visit

Alumni Travel Opportunities

2013 Friends of Music Salzburg choral Tour

Gustavus Friends of Music has arranged for a Gustavus Alumni choir tour to Munich, Salzburg, Vienna and Prague June 23 – July 5, 2013.  Singers and non-singers alike are welcome.  Once in Salzburg, the singers will join the Mozart International Choral Festival and perform Mozart’s Coronation Mass in the Salzburg Cathedral on June 29.  Not a singer?  There is space available for non-performers as well.  For more information contact Jackie Neeck Peterson ’77 at or 800-726-6192.

2013 Pearls of Central Europe

Experience Central Europe with Gustavus professor emeritus of history Dr. Tom Emmert from September 10—21, 2013.  This 12-day Gustavus study tour combines learning, exploring, leisure, lecture, food, and arts with special touches, all led by a faculty expert.  The journey is focused around three showpiece cities of Central Europe:  Prague, Vienna, and Budapest.  For more information, contact Tom Emmert at

Gustie Breakfasts - Twin Cities – New time and place

Engage with other alumni and learn something new about your alma mater at the monthly Twin Cities Gustavus alumni breakfast.  Please join us at the American Swedish Institute (2600 Park Ave, Minneapolis), on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:30 a.m.  Cost is $10.  Gustie breakfasts are also being held on campus the second Wednesday of each month.

October 17 – Nobel Conference Recap

November 21 – Donald Ostrom – November elections

December 19 – Terry Morrow – Minnesota Vikings stadium

Upcoming Chapter Gatherings

National Chapter events for alumni, parents and friends are scheduled for the 2012-13 academic year and will focus on the College’s pillar of “Teaching and Learning.”  Please save the date for the event in your area.  Time and location details will be forthcoming.

Nov. 8 – New York City

Nov. 10 – Boston

Nov. 10 – Dallas

Nov. 11 – Houston

Nov. 13 – Washington, DC

Jan. 29 – Phoenix

Jan. 31 – Tucson

Feb. 3 – Los Angeles

Feb. 4 - Palm Springs

Feb 13 – Tampa

Feb. 15 – Naples

Feb. 28 – Seattle

Mar. 2 – San Francisco

Mar. 9 – Madison

Mar. 12 – Denver

Mar. 14 – Chicago

Apr. 11 – Atlanta