Class of '66
October 2002

Dear Classmates,

Sometimes the hardest part of writing a letter is deciding how to begin.  Well, how's this for a starter?  I'm  Edgar Carlson's great granddaughter's grandma.  If you are still having a hard time working backwards to figure that out it translates into my son, Jon ’96, marrying Kristin Swanson ’95 who is Joanna Carlson Swanson's ’64 daughter and Edgar Carlson's granddaughter.  Jon and Kristin made us grandparents this past year with a little girl named Heidi.  I now know why all of you that are grandparents are so enamored by that privilege and blessing.

Hans and I just returned from the Nobel Conference.  Edgar Carlson was part of the inspiration to start the conference during the years we attended Gustavus.  In 1963 the college wrote to the Nobel Foundation asking permission to name the new science building the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science as a memorial to the Swedish inventor and philanthropist.  That permission was granted and we were there to experience that dedication ceremony on May 4, 1963.  Do you remember the excitement of that day when officials from the Nobel Foundation as well as 26 Nobel laureates converged on the campus?  I vaguely remember being invited to the dinner and brushing up on some table etiquette. 

The first Nobel Conference was held in 1965.  It was entitled “Genetics and the Human Mind.” I wonder how many of us attended!!!  Today many in attendance are high school and college students.  Since that first conference world-class research scientists and scholars have been invited to the Gustavus campus to discuss leading topics.  This year their audience was around 7,000.  It has certainly grown since 1965 when there were 1,000 attendees.

I highly recommend attending the conference in the future.  Hans and I have reserved our rooms for next year.  The title of the next conference is "The Story of Life" to be held October 7 & 8, 2003.  Not only are you privileged to hear outstanding speakers on relevant issues, but you get to walk down memory lane, or " Hello Walk".  The campus is beautiful and friendly as always.  Our walk by Nobel Hall brought back the memory of the day I was "pinned" to Hans outside the new science building.  (Does the word "pinned" take you back in time?)  You probably have a memory of  significance about Gustavus.  Please share that with us so we can print it in our letter.  

Tim Robinson ’65, director of the Nobel Conference, gave a nice picture tribute to Dr. John Kendall ’49 who died this past year.  Most of us remember John Kendall well, either from psychology 101 or his letters in the Gustavian when he was president for 10 years. 

I didn't see many 1966 graduates while at Gustavus, but the few I saw made it memorable.  Hopefully Hans and I will see more of you next year.  I was so happy to know that my mind still worked, I didn't fall asleep, and I even carried on discussions about the talks.  Please don't ask me what I remembered, though!!!

Well, I managed to fill up more than a few lines.  It's time to fill up the rest of the letter with news from you and Gustavus.

Thanks to all of you who willingly send information so we can include it in this letter.  It is OUR letter, so we want to hear from more of you.

CAROLINE SANDIN BASLEY, who lives in North Prairie, WI, continues to teach elementary and middle school art in Hartland, WI.

PAUL and (ANNE BERG ’68 )CARLSON live in Minnetonka, MN.  Paul is in his 26th year as a physician with the Park Nicollet Clinic and Anne is a parent educator with the St. Louis Park and Edina schools.

SHERRY SPITTLER DICKENS is still working in the family business, Dickens Consulting and Construction.  She and her husband, Richard, have two children who live in the area...a great treat for us as parents.  Mary Slinde enjoyed talking to Sherry.

BONITA LAMMERS DISTAD is married to Ed, who tried retirement but is back teaching.  They live in Hagerstown, MD, and have two children.  Bonita is a school health program manager and part of the HIV/AIDS Case Management Program at Washington County Health Department.  Bonita says that when she doesn't enjoy going to work, she won't go anymore!  Sounds like good reasoning to me.

NANCY EDDY who lives in Pittsburgh, PA, is still teaching kindergarten at a Catholic school nearby.  This past summer she held a "Scandinavian Summer" camp in which the activities were related to Scandinavian culture and heritage.  She dances in the Scandinavian folk dance group which participated in a folk festival for East Coaster Swedes in Jamestown, New York in Sept.  Hopefully, the festival was a highlight for you, Nancy.  Her son, Blake, graduated from Yale in political science and her daughter, Jennie, is starting her third year of medical school at the University of Pittsburgh.  Her son, Eric, will be a freshman at the University of California Berkeley this fall.  Nancy mentioned that some of our classmates  had a "canoeing" reunion week on the Brule river in Wisconsin in July, hosted by Susie Muehlemeyer Scherer.  What a fun way to get together.

DR. DAVID FRANZEN is director of pastoral education at Alamanee Regional Medical Center in Burlington, NC.  He is also a pastoral counselor at the Pastoral Care and Counseling Institute in Durham, NC where he lives.

AUDREY ENGSTROM JOHNSON  is married to Ken ’64 and mentioned that a trip out east ending in Florida was a wonderful way to visit places and connect with  friends.  Audrey is retired from teaching elementary education in Hopkins, but goes back to head up volunteers at Alice Smith Elementary in Hopkins.  Retirement certainly allows for more travel.

BECKY LIDFORS JUNGAS continues to be involved in the music program at her church while she and her husband, Jack ’64, continue in their business in Mountain Lake, MN.  They have two daughters.  One lives in Chaska and the other in Rochester.  Becky says she is looking forward to retirement someday!  You're not alone, Becky.

STEPHEN OTTO live in Appleton, WI, with his wife, Patricia.  Both continue to work for the Appleton, WI, school system.  I tried to greet you in Spanish, but most of that has left me!

JON O. PEARSON is director of the Staunton Public Library in Staunton, VA.

JUDY LAUER PEDE and her husband, Ken, are both retired.  They live in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in a historical town rich in gold mining history named Grass Valley.  Sounds interesting to me.

LEON T. PINIUTA lives in Toronto, ON, and is owner of LTP Associates. 

KARYL  ENSTAD ROMMELFANGER retired last year, but as many do, went back to work part-time.  Before retiring she was a German and Spanish teacher in the Manitowoc Public Schools.  Her husband, Roman, is retired and is substitute teaching.  They have two daughters.  One is a Luther graduate and the other a student at Luther.

KAREN BOSSART RUSTHOVEN is employed by the Community of Peace Academy as an administrator.  She received her doctorate in educational leadership at St. Thomas University.  She and her husband, Jay, live in St. Paul, MN.

KATHRYN "KARI" NIELSEN SCHILTGEN lives in Mendota heights, MN, and is involved in the Aglow Ministry, which is an interdenominational women's ministry.  She is on the Metro/South Minnesota Area Board.

GORDON J. THENEMANN  works for the Kaiser Permanente Health Plan as a gastroenterologist.  His wife, Suzanne, continues to work as a pharmacist for Long's Drug.  They think a little about "summering" in Minnesota, but still love the Morgan Hill, CA, area.

We received information from Barbara Howe Rosen ’68, DAN HOWE'S sister, informing us of the untimely death of her brother on December 18, 2001.  Dan is survived by his wife, Maree, and three children (David, Jonathan, and Lindsay).

It has been said that we can lose a life but we can never lose a relationship.  Many of you knew Dan well and cherish the memories you have of him. 

May each new day be a gift that allows all of us to appreciate what makes life so special. 

Campus News

Welcome Class of 2006

Approximately 700 new students arrived on campus this fall keeping the total student enrollment just over 2500.  Almost 40% of the new class were in the top 10% of their high school class.  There are many interesting opportunities for first year students even before school starts with a community service immersion experience in Twin Cities, a cultural study in Paris and a wilderness experience in the Boundary Waters.

Gustavus named a “Best Buy”

The Fiske Guide has again named Gustavus one of forty-three “Best Buys” in the country.  This is based on an exceptional investment of tuition money for an exceptional education.

Hello Walk Online Community is featuring a discussion with Political Science Professor Don Ostrom discussing the upcoming elections.  Join the conversation by going to <>

Gustie students start new community service initiative called the AMIGOS program.  The 65 Spanish speaking volunteers serve the growing Chicano-Latino population in St. Peter by providing after-school tutoring, teaching ESL classes to adults and serve as big partners.  This program is in addition to the other on-going and one-time service opportunities that 75% of students participate in while at Gustavus.

Building a Great Gustavus Campaign was launched to the public on Saturday, September 7.  Since the tornadoes of 1998, the campaign has raised $77 million toward a $100 million goal.  The focus of the remainder of the campaign is on funding renovations in Old Main, growing endowment, and increasing gifts and participation in the Gustavus Alumni Fund.  Your personal financial support  and your leadership are needed and greatly appreciated.

Minnesota Legislature Cuts Financial Aid

Due to cuts with the Minnesota State Legislature, Gustavus lost $400,000 in money for student employment.  The college continues to work hard to meet financial needs of students since nearly 80% of Gustavus students receive financial assistance.  This includes $14 million from the colleges own budget.  Your support of the annual fund goes directly to help these students and is especially needed to help make up the financial gap for these current students.

Your Gustie Friend,

Sharon Anderson Engman

1966 Co-Class Agent with Joyce Henrikson Ramseth and Mary Strand Slinde