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September 28, 2021

130 Stories: Beth (Anderson) Hjelm

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Beth (Anderson) Hjelm, C’77, Physical Education

“The fabric of North Park is the connections and friendships interwoven throughout our lives. My husband John Hjelm and his father, Rev. Bob Hjelm, both taught at North Park. While I was a first-generation North Parker, our daughters were the fourth generation in my husband’s family. I hope their children will continue the legacy.

“Several professors had a great impact on my teaching career and life. Ted Hedstrand’s camping class in the Boundary Waters of Minnesota and Canada pushed me physically as I’d never canoed and camped in such a remote area before. Watching Ted catch our dinner and canoe for hours without ever tiring, was inspirational. He had such an easy-going personality and his love for that place was evident. Strong friendships were formed among the students as we spent each night talking around the campfire. This was also where I first met John, although our relationship didn’t develop until after we’d both graduated.

“Trudy Zemelis was instrumental in getting me an interview for my first teaching job, while Inez Olander taught me the importance of preparation and to always have a PLAN B! I was fortunate that Inez remained a friend for many years following graduation. She encouraged me to further my education and inspired me to find ways to improve my teaching methods.

“Perhaps most importantly, I’ve been lucky to maintain close friendships with three women—Sharon Hanstad Anderson, Kerstin Swanson Hilton, and Ruth Jensen Zschoche. We met in Ohlson House in September of 1973. The fact that we continue to be involved in each other’s lives despite living in three different time zones is a testament to how important those friendships are to us. We’ve traveled together, attended reunions, and now meet virtually every couple of weeks to catch up. What a gift they’ve been in my life!

We’re celebrating 130 years of North Park community. You’re invited to share your own story at www.northpark.edu/share130


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