Gustavus Announces $4 Million Gift From President Rebecca and Dr. Thomas Bergman

Gustavus President Rebecca Bergman and her husband, Dr. Thomas Bergman, have pledged $4 million to the College in support of the new strategic plan.
Posted on November 15th, 2016 by

Dr. Thomas and President Rebecca Bergman are donating $4 million to Gustavus.

Gustavus Adolphus College President Rebecca Bergman and her husband, Dr. Thomas Bergman, have pledged $4 million to the College in support of the new Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan.

“President Bergman and her family are leading from the front as the College moves boldly forward with the implementation of its new strategic plan,” Gustavus Board of Trustees chair Rev. Dan Poffenberger ’82 said. “Her vision for Gustavus as a college that equips students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time will truly come to life as a result of her family’s generous gift to our community.”

The Bergmans have designated their gift in four investments of $1 million each. The gift will directly impact student learning opportunities by providing a $1 million commitment to increase support of endowed student-faculty research across all majors and departments along with $1 million in endowed funding for annual equipment acquisition and repair in the sciences.

In addition, $1 million will be earmarked to create an endowed professorship in neuroscience, a fast-growing, interdisciplinary program at Gustavus that encourages students to understand and appreciate the study of the nervous system through mechanistic explanations of mental activity, thought, and behavior. The neuroscience endowment is especially meaningful for Dr. Thomas Bergman, who serves as the Chief of Neurosurgery at Hennepin County Medical Center and has been voted to Mpls/St.Paul Magazine’s top neurosurgeon list 16 times since 1997.

“The opportunity to conduct laboratory research as an undergraduate ignited my passion for neuroscience and directly led to my career as a neurosurgeon,” Dr. Bergman said. “By creating this position and encouraging student-faculty collaboration, I hope that Gustavus students will continue to thrive in the sciences.”

Finally, the pledge includes a $1 million multi-year gift to the Gustavus Fund, which provides funding for scholarships and financial aid, instruction, academic support and research, student services, institutional support, and public service.

“In support of the innovative teaching and learning environment on campus, Tom and I are making this investment to build on the strong tradition of excellence that exists at Gustavus,” President Bergman said. “We believe in our students and professors and we believe in the future of Gustavus.”

The gift comes as the College begins implementation of the new Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan and will support its three goals, which call for diversifying and expanding the Gustavus community, delivering a distinctive and integrated liberal arts education, and achieving financial, institutional, and environmental sustainability.

“There’s a strong sense of momentum surrounding the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan and this gift captures the energy and progress that we feel on campus,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas W. Young ’88 said. “The generosity of the Bergman family significantly advances the mission and vision of the College as we provide students with an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.”


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Luc Hatlestad



  1. Paula Yocum Olson says:

    An amazing gift! Gustavus is such a special place and you are an awesome representative.

  2. John Helmeke says:

    This is a very generous donation to Gustavus: $4 million. Split into four donations (investments) of a million dollars each to:

    1.) endowed student-faculty research across all majors and all departments (including the humanities, which is important at a liberal arts college and the well-rounded education of all of us, whatever our major, whatever our professional goals)…

    2.) $1 million for the endowment for acquiring and repairing scientific instruments and equipment…

    3.) $1 million for the endowment of a professorship (chair) in neuroscience (which most likely pleases Thomas Bergman, neurosurgeon)…

    4.) $1 million gift over multiple years to the Gustavus Fund (funding a.) scholarships and financial aid… b.) instruction… c.) academic support and research… d.) student services… e.) institutional support… and f.) public service…