Gustavus Celebrates Founders Day

Three outstanding employees were honored at the annual Founders Day celebration in Christ Chapel on October 31.
Posted on November 1st, 2017 by

Founders Day celebrates the dedication of Old Main in 1876. The iconic building has served as the cornerstone of the Saint Peter campus for 141 years.

Gustavus Adolphus College honored three outstanding employees yesterday at the College’s annual Founders Day celebration, which recognizes the dedication of the iconic Old Main on October 31, 1876. The award recipients were recognized at the daily chapel service and a short reception in Alumni Hall. The 2017 Founders Day marks the 141st anniversary of the College’s relocation to the Saint Peter, Minn. campus.

The 2017 Founders Day celebration coincided with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, when Martin Luther sparked the Protestant movement with the publication of this Ninety-five Theses. Founded by Swedish-Lutheran immigrants in 1862, Gustavus traces its roots back to the influence of Martin Luther.

President Rebecca M. Bergman’s homily, focused on Paul’s letter to the Romans (12:1-2), wove together the life of the College with Luther’s background as a professor of theology and the living influence of the Reformation.

“I ask each of you to ponder a probing question,” President Rebecca M. Bergman said. “Are you conforming, reforming, or transforming?”

Kelly Waldron, Chris Gilbert, and Bruce Volek were honored with employee awards on Oct. 31, 2017.

Bruce Volek is the 2017 winner of the Augusta Carlson Schultz Award, which recognizes an outstanding support staff employee who has demonstrated exceptional service and dedication to the College. Named in honor of one of the first employees of the Gustavus Dining Service in the late 1800s, the Augusta Carlson Schultz award winners exemplify the dedication and spirit of service of the support staff who continue to contribute to the success of the College. Volek, a Gustavus employee since 1992, is the director of landscape services in the facilities management division, where he plans and executes projects, schedules routine upkeep, and supervises landscaping staff. Volek’s team is responsible for mowing, maintaining, improving, and grooming the College’s beautiful 350-acre campus.

Kelly Waldron ’84 has been named the 2017 winner of the Erik Norelius Award for the Outstanding Administrative Employee. The award, named for the College’s founder and first teacher, honors an administrative employee who exemplifies the vision, dedication, and service shown by Norelius. Waldron, who serves as the controller within the finance office, is responsible for management and accounting of budget lines and moneys across campus. Known for her calm manner and precise work, she is a key member of several important finance committees and has been instrumental in the introduction of multiple software systems and budgeting processes since joining the Gustavus community as an employee in 1998.

Chris Gilbert is the recipient of the 2017 Faculty Service Award, the College’s highest recognition for distinguished service activities across campus. Professor Gilbert, who teaches in the Department of Political Science, is an expert in religion in politics, third parties in American politics, and the politics of Minnesota. Also recognized with the College’s Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching (1996), and the Gustavus Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award (2007), Gilbert recently co-authored with two Gustavus students a book chapter, “The Resurgence of Evangelical Political Strength in 2016 Minnesota Electoral Politics,” which will appear in the forthcoming book God at the Grassroots 2016: The Christian Right in American Politics.


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


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