2017 Highlighted by Excellence, Community

Snapshots of the many events, experiences, and stories of our students, alumni, and faculty who combine to make Gustavus great.
Posted on December 31st, 2017 by

2017 was a busy year at Gustavus Adolphus College.

We continued to implement the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, made strides in national recognition of students, faculty, and programs, and benefited from the generosity of anonymous donors with two of the largest gifts in the history of the College. As the Gustavus community prepares to flip the calendar to 2018 and looks ahead to all the growth that the future holds, let’s take a moment to look back at the many successes of 2017…

(Click here to see the 2017 Gustavus Athletics Year in Review.)

The Gustavus political science group visits the diplomatic suite at the U.S. State Department.


The Hillstrom Museum of Art connected fine art with athletics through a unique event where Gustavus coaches and a student-athlete discussed artistic depictions of their sports in conjunction with an exhibit featuring works by LeRoy Neiman.

Dr. Jonathan Walton, a social ethicist and American religion scholar at Harvard University, gave the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture on Monday, January 16.

The College announced the new, donor-funded Trustee and Promise Scholarship programs for future Gusties with exceptional academic backgrounds.

Political science professor Kate Knutson’s January Interim Experience class, Inauguration Politics, was in Washington D.C. to learn about public policy, attend the inauguration, and meet with Gustavus alumni.


Thirty-eight students recently took part in an intensive, three-day boot camp at business locations across the Twin Cities through Gustavus Women in Leadership’s inaugural Business Boot Camp.

Visiting lecturers during the month included human rights activist Ericka Huggins and the Wallenberg Lecture by climate refugee expert Dr. María Cristina García of Cornell University.

The Gustavus Department of Theatre and Dance presented Sweeney Todd.

Gustavus was ranked third in the nation among top liberal arts colleges for the number of faculty members who win Fulbright Scholar awards.

Three Gustavus seniors were named Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award semifinalists.


The 22nd annual Building Bridges Conference explored grassroots activism with keynote speakers Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds and Winona LaDuke.

The Lindau Residency in Conservative Thought brought to campus leading Christian scholar and jurisprudence expert Dr. Robert George of Princeton University.

Judge Tanya Bransford ’80 returned to her alma mater to give the Christenson Lecture in Politics and Law.

The Virginia A. Groot Foundation awarded the College a $300,000 grant to support the development of a visiting artist-in-residence position in the Department of Art and Art History.

History professor Dr. Maddalena Marinari’s research on immigration was featured on Public Radio International and as part of the University of Minnesota’s #ImmigrationSyllabus.

Gustavus chemistry professor Dwight Stoll.


Gustavus was named the best college in Minnesota according to Learn How to Become, a website that connects students with the resources they need to find the right school and be successful professionally.

Sophomore Keliyah Perkins was awarded a scholarship by the Jay and Rose Philips Family Foundation of Minnesota after developing a new program to benefit students in North Minneapolis.

Senior Laura Isdahl won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to teach in Malaysia during the 2017-2018 school year.

Katie Aney ’18, a biochemistry and mathematics double major, won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and was selected to study at Harvard University through the summer through the Amgen Scholars program.

Chemistry professor Dr. Dwight Stoll received an Agilent Technologies Thought Leader Award to support his leadership of an international research team that is using two-dimensional liquid chromatography to explore biopharmaceutical applications.

Three Gustavus students were recognized by the Rossing Fund for Physics Education Endowment based on their exemplary standing as physics scholars.

Senior Tim Paczynski was selected from over 1,500 applicants as the Minnesota winner of the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship.

The Class of 2017 graduates! Photo by Nick Theisen ’13.


The 37th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference explored government surveillance and civic responsibility on Wednesday, May 3.

Gustavus Library Associates hosted Books in Bloom, an event featuring floral arrangements depicting a book, film, or other piece of the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library’s holdings.

Theatre professor emeritus Rob Gardner returned to Anderson Theatre to play the title role in King Lear.

Political science professor Jill Locke received the Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award and visiting professor of music Masayoshi Ishikawa won the Swenson-Bunn Award for Teaching Excellence at Honors Day.

The Gustie Entrepreneur Cup doubled in size and prize money in its third year of existence.

Senior Carolyn Del Vecchio becomes the second Gustie this year selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award winner.

Senior Lily Benge Briggs served as the 2017 commencement speaker as 518 new graduates received their degrees on May 28.

Biology professor Dr. Pamela Kittelson was named the 2017 recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching during the commencement ceremony.

Gustavus was named the best college in Minnesota by the New York Times’ College Access Index, which ranks commitment to economic diversity among the top colleges and universities in the country.

Music professor James Patrick Miller helps a new Gustie register for classes during Gustie Gear-Up!


Gustavus celebrated its first-ever reunion weekend in early summer for graduating classes from 1947-2012.

Members of the Class of 2021 began their Gustavus journey with Gustie Gear-Up registration days.


The College announced the largest gift in Gustavus history – an anonymous $40 million commitment to support scholarships for talented students, capital improvements across campus, and provide a significant boost to operating funds by growing the College’s endowment.

Heroic Productions was named a Hermes Creative Awards Gold Winner for the 2016 livestream production of Christmas in Christ Chapel.


Students in communication studies professor Dr. Martin Lang’s “Perspectives on the News” course partnered with the Mankato Free Press to publish weekly installments of a media literacy project for regional audiences.

President Rebecca Bergman, Gustie Greeters, and the whole Gustavus community welcomed the Class of 2021.


Gustavus welcomed the 613 new members of the Class of 2021 to the community on first-year move-in day.

The College commissioned a nationwide survey on attitudes towards male contraception in anticipation of the 53rd annual Nobel Conference.

Philosophy professor Dr. Peg O’Connor’s popular addiction blog on Psychology Today surpassed 1,000,000 total hits.

The College celebrated Homecoming: The Great Gustie Gathering on Saturday, September 28.

Public Discourse, a signature course of the Department of Communication Studies, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. (Photo by Dr. Mark Braun)


The 53rd annual Nobel Conference brought together experts from across the globe to discuss the topic of “Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?”

The Department of Communication Studies celebrated 10 years of the signature course, “Public Discourse.” The department was also recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities as one of 22 programs across the nation to be honored for focusing on civic responsibility and engagement throughout the curriculum.

Chemistry professor Dr. Dwight Stoll was named one of the top ten separation scientists in the world by The Analytical Scientist. Of 100 individuals honored by the publication, Stoll is the only to work at a private liberal arts college instead of a research university or in industry.

Bruce Volek, Kelly Waldron, and Dr. Chris Gilbert were honored with outstanding employee awards at the annual Founders Day Celebration on October 31.

The new Arthur L. Johnson Research Fellowship will support summer student-faculty research.


Give to Gustavus Day raised over $417,000 for the Gustavus Fund and was highlighted by a 12-hour livestream from campus.

The Gustavus Society of Physics Students was awarded the Blake Lilly Prize for community engagement.

The biennial A Royal Affair gala hosted by Gustavus Library Associates raised funds for scholarships for first-generation college students and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library Endowment on November 11.

Gustavus announced the new Arthur L. Johnson Research Fellowship, which will be awarded to 10 incoming students next fall to use for a collaborative summer research experience with a Gustavus faculty member.

Political science professor Dr. Chris Gilbert partnered with seniors Alex Jensen and Joe Cella to author a chapter in God at the Grassroots 2016: The Christian Right in American Politics.

For the first time, Christmas in Christ Chapel aired on PBS affiliates across the country throughout the holiday season.

The College announced an incredible $25 million grant that will endow the new Center for Career Development, support capital projects, and provide scholarship funding for talented students.

Christmas in Christ Chapel 2017


The 45th annual Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services were attended by over 5,000 people on campus and viewed by thousands more across the globe during Saturday night’s livestream.

The annual Winds of Christmas chapel service featured the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Wind Symphony.

St. Paul native Joy Dunna was named the 2017 St. Lucia at the Festival of St. Lucia on Thursday, December 7.


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



  1. Jim Krough '61 says:

    What a tremendous number of positive accomplishments. Way to go GUSTIES.

  2. cathy waldhauser says:

    Wow, to be there now…

    Thanks to every professor, employee, alumni and student who by their hard work and generosity makes Gustavus great.