Tyra Banks ’21 Named St. Lucia

Banks was named the 2018 St. Lucia at the College's 78th annual Festival of St. Lucia on Thursday, December 6.
Posted on December 6th, 2018 by

Sophomore Tyra Banks was selected as the 2018 St. Lucia.

Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore Tyra Banks was crowned St. Lucia at the College’s 78th annual Festival of St. Lucia Celebration on Thursday, December 6. After being nominated along with five other sophomore women based on service to others, strength of character, courageous leadership, and compassion, Banks was selected as the 2018 honoree after a campus-wide vote.

“I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of being seen as a light in the world along with the other members of the Court,” Banks said. “We represent so many different backgrounds — ethnic, cultural, racial, and educational — it’s really inspiring to know that just by being yourself you can be seen as a light or inspiration.”

Banks grew up in Liberia and moved to the United States at the age of 13. A biology major and classics minor who conducts research with professor Joel Carlin on the genetic consequences of oil spills on marine life, Banks is also involved on campus as a member of the track and field team, Campus Activities Board, Pan-African Student Organization, mentoring program, and pre-health club.

“Tyra brings amazing energy to everything she does,” Carlin said. “She’s intentional about living into her values and that’s reflected in her actions every day.”

The 2018 St. Lucia Court. (Front: Meg Nipe, Signe Jeremiason. Middle: Kristie Olson, Tyra Banks. Back: Ellie Croonquist, Holly Fitterer.)

The day of celebration at Gustavus includes the St. Lucia court members singing carols throughout the College’s residence halls, breakfast with members of the Guild of Lucia, the annual chapel service in Christ Chapel, and a traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord luncheon sponsored by the Gustavus Library Associates. This year’s luncheon is highlighted by speaker Patrice Johnson, the author of Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions.

The College’s celebration of the Swedish tradition began in 1941 and commemorates the courage shown by the legendary St. Lucia, who is known for her faith and service to others. In homes throughout Sweden, the eldest daughter plays the role of St. Lucia by preparing and serving baked goods and coffee to her family at sunrise. Lucia is a day celebrating community, light, and the end to long winter nights as a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season.

The 2018 St. Lucia court included Banks, from Brooklyn Park, Minn.; Ellie Croonquist, from New Hope, Minn.; Holly Fitterer, from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Signe Jeremiason, from Saint Peter, Minn.; Meg Nipe, from Burnsville, Minn.; and Kristie Olson, from Edina, Minn.


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



  1. Jack Little says:


  2. John Peterson says:

    So wonderful to see the St Lucia court!
    My wife was St Lucia in 1955 I believe – Nancy Jo Johnson
    Kristie Olson is my next door neighbor!! Congratulations to ALL!
    john “bud” peterson ’57