Gustavus Celebrates Founders Day, Recognizes Outstanding Employees

Three exemplary employees were honored at the annual Founders Day celebration in Christ Chapel on October 30.
Posted on October 30th, 2018 by

Kate Knutson, Deb Swanberg, and Amy Brown were honored with 2018 employee awards at the annual Founders Day service.

Gustavus Adolphus College honored three outstanding employees 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 2018 Founders Day marks the 142nd anniversary of the College’s relocation to the Saint Peter, Minn. campus.

President Rebecca Bergman’s homily during the Founders Day celebration focused on a reading from the book of Romans:

Romans 12: 6-8 (Common English Bible translation)

6  We have different gifts that are consistent with God’s grace that has been given to us.  If your gift is prophecy, you should prophesy in proportion to your faith.

7  If your gift is service, devote yourself to serving.  If your gift is teaching, devote yourself to teaching.

8  If your gift is encouragement, devote yourself to encouraging.  The one giving should do it with no strings attached.  The leader should lead with passion.  The one showing mercy should be cheerful.

“Whatever is your special gift, I believe the important thing is that Paul is telling us to use it,” President Bergman said. “Use it for the benefit of others. Use it for the advancement of our mission. Use it to serve a neighbor. Use it to pursue justice. Use it to explore questions of faith. Use it to build up our community. Use it to deliver excellence in all our pursuits. Use your gift to put our values into action here at Gustavus.”

Following the chapel service, awardees and their guests were joined by other Gustavus employees for a reception in Cec Eckhoff Alumni Hall. After being introduced by a colleague or supervisor, the three award winners gave reflections on their Gustavus experience before President Bergman ended the program with closing remarks.

“Service is at the heart of all that we do at Gustavus. You inspire us,” the president said as the room applauded Deb Swanberg, Amy Brown, and Dr. Kate Knutson.

President Bergman addresses employees and guests at the annual employee awards reception.

Deb Swanberg is the 2018 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. Swanberg, a Gustavus employee since 2003, began her work in the Department of Campus Safety before transferring to the Dean of Students office. In her daily work, she coordinates schedules for student life division leadership, serves as a first-contact person for students of all backgrounds and needs, and does administrative tasks that allow the Deans to focus on student interaction.

Amy Brown has been named the 2018 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. Brown serves as the office manager for the College’s Facilities Management Division, where she supports the work of the maintenance services, landscape services, and building services staff of 74 full and part-time employees as they care for the 53 buildings on the 340-acre campus. She has been a member of the Gustavus community since 1997, serving in the Finance Office, Dining Service and Summer Programs, and Facilities Management.

Kate Knutson is the recipient of the 2018 Faculty Service Award, the College’s highest recognition for distinguished service activities across campus. Professor Knutson, who teaches in the Department of Political Science, is an expert in religion in politics, political communication, and interest groups in politics. Outside of the classroom, her work has touched nearly every corner of the Gustavus community, supporting students as a head resident in a residence hall, serving as the interim director of the Center for Academic Resources and Enhancement, and leading the College’s First-Term Seminar program. Equally effective whether leading from the podium or within a committee, Dr. Knutson has been a member of the Gustavus faculty since 2005.


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


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