2015 Year in Review

Posted on December 31st, 2015 by

gustavuswinterAt any college or university it’s natural to think in August-to-May cycles. Students return to campus after summer break, move into their residence halls, and take up their pencils and notebooks for another academic year. At Gustavus Adolphus College they might study geology or classics, sing in the choir, compete on an athletics team, take a January Interim Experience course, or study abroad during the nine months before seniors walk across the stage at commencement and head into the future.

But as 2015 draws to a close, let’s take a moment to look back on the calendar year. A lot can happen on a college campus in 12 months. Here are some snapshots of the many events, experiences, and stories of our students, alumni, and faculty who combine to make Gustavus great…


Gustavus earned the Community Engagement Classification from the Carnegie Foundation for its local, regional, national, and international partnerships and collaboration.

The College was highlighted by U.S. News & World Report for its high graduation rate for low-income students.

The Gustavus Choir embarked on a 16-day tour of Britain and France from Jan. 16-31.

Legendary men’s tennis coach and founder of Tennis and Life Camps Steve Wilkinson passed away on Jan. 21 after a long battle with cancer.

Gustavus was recognized by U.S. News & World Report for its high operating efficiency.


The Department of Theatre & Dance presented The Importance of Being Earnest.

The Gustavus forensics team captured its fourth straight Minnesota State Collegiate Forensics Tournament championship on Feb. 22.

Senior women’s hockey player Carolyn Draayer was named the winner of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference’s (MIAC) Sheila Brown Award.

The Hillstrom Museum of Art presented three new exhibitions: Imagined Worlds, Large and Small: the Photographs of Sarah Hobbs and Lori Nix; In Memory of Richard L. Hillstrom, 1915-2014; and FOCUS IN/ON: Everett Shinn’s Magician with Shears.


Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at the 2015 Building Bridges Conference.

Senator Amy Klobuchar spoke at the 2015 Building Bridges Conference.

Students Mikaela Algren ’17 and Grace Kerber ’17 were named Rossing Physics Scholars for 2015-2016.

National security expert David Cole spoke on March 5 as part of the College’s new Christenson Lectureship in Politics and Law.

The annual Building Bridges Conference featured keynote speakers Jessica Valenti and Kyle Tran Myhre. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar gave the conference’s opening remarks.

The Gustavus Symphony Orchestra traveled to Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington D.C. on its East Coast tour.


An exhibit commemorating the Dakota-U.S. War of 1862, created by Gustavus students, was displayed at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.

Scott Dikkers, the founding editor of The Onion, spoke on campus on April 23.

Alumna Kaethe Schwehn ’00 won the Minnesota Book Award for her book Tailings: A Memoir.

Student Eric Hanson ’16 won a Goldwater Scholarship, the premier undergraduate award for students pursuing careers in mathematics, the natural sciences, or engineering.

English professor Matt Rasmussen ’98 was named the recipient of the Holmes National Poetry Prize.

The annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference focused on veterans’ issues and reintegration into civilian life.

Alumnus Jean-Paul Noel ’12 won a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship to support his neuroscience studies at Vanderbilt University.


Chad Winterfeldt was awarded the College’s Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, which is nominated and voted on by students.

Women’s hockey player Carolyn Draayer was named a NCAA Postgraduate Scholar.

grad2015Students competed for $6,000 in prize money to fund their budding companies in the inaugural Gustie Entrepreneur Cup.

Lisa Heldke ’82 received the 2015 Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award from her colleagues on May 2.

David Obermiller was named the winner of the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at the College’s commencement ceremony.

616 students graduated as members of the Gustavus Class of 2015 on Sunday, May 31.


David Lilly ’15 and Jenny Strom ’15 were named the 2015 Gustavus Student-Athletes of the Year.

The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) recognized Gustavus with the Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance.

Brad Baker ’80 was named head coach of the Gustavus baseball team.

Alumna Katie Sexe-Talbot ’00 appeared on Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s list of 51 women leaders in the Twin Cities.


Recent graduate Cameron Jarvis ’15 hosted a one-man art exhibition at Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral in Minneapolis.

The Gustavus Wind Orchestra earned an invite to perform at the 2016 College Band Directors National Association conference at Iowa State University.

Current students and Gustavus alumni featured prominently in nine productions at the Minnesota Fringe Festival.

Track and field athlete Elizabeth Weiers ’15 was awarded a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship.


A $25 million gift will go toward the renovation and expansion of Nobel Hall.

A $25 million gift will go toward the renovation and expansion of Nobel Hall.

Gustavus music faculty members Justin Knoepfel and Jill Olson-Moser performed with vocalist Idina Menzel for the pop singer’s Aug. 13 concert in Minneapolis.

An anonymous $25 million gift, the largest in Gustavus history, was given to support the complete renovation and expansion of the Nobel Hall of Science.

Alumni Rob Berdahl ’90, Renée Guittar ’12, and Rush Benson ’13 performed in the Guthrie Theatre’s production of The Music Man.

Gustavus launched an updated and redesigned website on Aug. 31.


Gustavus welcomed the 640 members of the Gustavus Class of 2019 to campus at move-in day on Sept. 4.

The College kicked off its 154th academic year on Tuesday, Sept. 8.

The Great Gustie Gathering brought together alumni of all ages for a full day of homecoming events on Sept. 26.

The Hillstrom Museum of hosted Grant Wood’s Lithographs: A Regionalist Vision Set in Stone and Art Inspiring Art: George Bellows’ Sunset, Shady Valley.

President Rebecca M. Bergman announced the successful completion of Campaign Gustavus, the largest and most ambitious fundraising campaign in the history of the College.


Gustavus commissioned a nationwide study of college students’ use of ADHD medication leading up to the Nobel Conference.

The 51st Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The 51st Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College.

The College hosted the 51st Nobel Conference Oct. 6-7, focusing on the topic of “Addiction: Exploring the Science and Experience of an Equal Opportunity Addiction.”

Student vocalist David Nelson ’17 was invited to a master class with renowned Swedish baritone Håkan Hagegård.

Alumna Comfort Dolo ’14 performed in the Guthrie Theatre’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Ann Volk, Barb Larson Taylor ’93, and Rick Orpen were honored with employee awards at the annual Founders Day celebration on Oct. 30.


Nine new members were inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame on Nov. 7.

The Department of Theatre & Dance presented Argonautika in Anderson Theatre.

The women’s soccer team completed a turnaround season by securing the MIAC Playoff Championship and advancing to the NCAA tournament.

The Gustavus volleyball team also won the MIAC Playoff Championship and competed in the NCAA tournament after rattling off an unprecedented 27-straight wins throughout the season.

The Gustavus Library Associates hosted A Royal Affair, a biennial gala event benefitting the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library.

I Am, We Are, the College’s social justice theatre troupe, celebrated its 20th anniversary with a weekend of events Nov. 20-22.


Christmas in Christ Chapel 2015.

Christmas in Christ Chapel 2015.

Gustavus kicked off the advent season with the annual Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services Dec. 4-6.

Avery Bather ’18 was crowned St. Lucia at the 75th annual Festival of St. Lucia on Dec. 10.

The Department of Theatre & Dance presented Kinectic Tapestry, a student-choreographed collection of dances.

The College was recognized by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance as a top-50 Best Value among liberal arts colleges.

Gustavus became the first college/university in Minnesota to be designated a Fair Trade College by Fair Trade Campaigns.

Lilly Endowment, Inc. awarded the College a $589,000 grant to establish the Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics, a weeklong summer academy for high school students.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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