$40 Million Commitment is Largest Gift in Gustavus Adolphus College HistoryThe landmark gift will position Gustavus among the elite liberal arts colleges in the nation for years to come.
Posted on July 11th, 2017 by

An unprecedented $40 million gift commitment – the largest in the history of Gustavus Adolphus College and one of the largest all-time among Minnesota colleges and universities – will position Gustavus among the elite liberal arts colleges in the nation for years to come, President Rebecca M. Bergman announced today. The gift is being given to the Saint Peter, Minn. college by a successful alumni couple who wishes to remain anonymous.

President Rebecca M. Bergman

“Our generous donors shared one simple motivation behind this incredible gift,” Bergman said. “They want Gustavus to be at the forefront of liberal arts education well into the future.”

The commitment will immediately raise the profile of the institution by providing significant scholarship funding to the most talented incoming students and supporting the renovation and expansion of the Nobel Hall of Science, a $70 million project that will provide Gustavus with one of the top laboratory and classroom facilities among private liberal arts colleges. This complete renovation and expansion will double the size of the College’s iconic laboratory science building and emphasize student initiative and intellectual risk-taking in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) by modernizing teaching and research spaces and creating a direct link between the science and fine arts facilities.

“We want the best and brightest students and faculty at Gustavus,” Bergman said. “This gift allows us to not only recruit and retain these talented scholars, but to provide state-of-the-art facilities for both classroom and hands-on learning.”

The bulk of the scholarship funding for high-achieving students will be earmarked for the Trustee and Promise Scholarship programs, which were launched last fall. Incoming students who are considered for the Trustee Scholarship will typically have cumulative high school grade point averages of 3.9 or above and an average composite ACT score of 32-36, while the Promise Scholarship focuses on gifted students who come from low- or middle-income families and are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant Program with a high school grade point average of 3.8 or above and ACT of 30 or better.

In addition to providing funding for the Nobel Hall renovation and expansion, the gift will also provide a significant boost to annual operating funds by bolstering the College’s endowment, which recently crossed $165 million.

A rendering of Nobel Hall from the southwest following the planned expansion and renovation.

“This gift is transformational for Gustavus in both its magnitude and its targeted impact,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas W. Young said. “Scholarships and top-of-the-line buildings attract students, but the growth of the endowment means that Gustavus will continue to operate at a high level across the board as we move into the future.”

This gift, along with $12 million in gifts received in the past year, is given in support of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, the College’s bold, 10-year vision to equip students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.

“We are seeing a wave of giving that continues to build as alumni commit to the College’s vision and direction,” Bergman said. “Our future is bright because members of our community believe in Gustavus.”


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



  1. Jeff Dahlseid says:


  2. Megan Myhre Grace '11 says:

    I am shaking with joy! Thank you to the anonymous couple!

  3. Karyn Olson says:

    Happy day for GAC, grandparents of 3 GAC graduates and in laws to 1 grad…….keep up the good work!

  4. Cathy Engen says:

    This is tremendous – blessings to the anonymous donors!!!

  5. Esther Wang says:

    This is so great.

  6. Julie Kline says:

    What an exciting day—Thank you so much to our generous donors!

  7. Greg Kaster says:

    Terrific news! Many thanks, donors. This is exactly the kind of gift that could be transformative for Gustavus in terms of our reputation as a _national_ liberal arts college and our ability to attract and retain highly motivated students and outstanding new faculty.

  8. Scott Moore says:

    Big thanks to the unnamed donors for believing in our work here, your gift is astounding! We are speechless! Tip of the hat to Becky, the Advancement staff, and everyone else who took part in shepherding this effort. Amazing!

  9. Charles Anderson says:

    I deeply respect the donors who made the gift anonymously. Generosity without requesting recognition is a social grace mastered by far too few in this culture of massive egos. Thank you.

  10. Eric Dugdale says:

    Thank you to the friends of the College who had the vision to think big. May you enjoy watching the impact of your gift on our students for many years to come.

  11. Dennis S. Duffy '74 says:

    I would like to offer my heartfelt thank you to the “alumni couple” for their significant contribution to Gustavus’s future. It will be transformational for the institution, academically and physically. As a Chemistry major, I spent a lot of time in Nobel Hall. It was new when I started at GAC in the early 70’s. Glad to see STEAM is getting some of the focus. One of the things I appreciated the most of my Gustavus technical degree was that I got a liberal arts education as key element of it.

    Thank you, thank you.

  12. Dr. Paula Thomsen says:

    Wow! It is inspiring to see people using their wealth to support education. This is a gift that will keep giving in so many ways!