Gustavus Looks Back on 2019

From moving into new spaces in the Nobel Hall to launching an ambitious comprehensive campaign, it's been a year of progress and growth at Gustavus.
Posted on December 30th, 2019 by

2019 has been a whirlwind, in a good way.

The Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan continues to shape the future of the College. The Nobel Hall of Science has a new, larger footprint and is providing expanded opportunities for students and faculty in the sciences and arts. The current first-year class is one of the most diverse and academically accomplished groups in the College’s history.

A lot can happen on a college campus in 12 months. Here, we take our annual look back at the many accomplishments of members of the Gustavus community over the past year and celebrate the continued progress of the institution. Interested in more detailed information about athletics and arts? Year-end recaps for Gustavus Athletics and Gustavus Fine Arts are available online.

Here we go…

Ben Penner and Andy DeLuca display seedlings planted by students in a January Interim Experience class.

Gustavus continued its long tradition of offering a January Interim Experience, with on-campus courses ranging from Culture, The Self, and Agriculture (geography); Understanding and Applying Sport Psychology (health and exercise science); Disaster Films (history); Ancient Egypt and the Near East (classics); and Introduction to Data Visualization (mathematics and computer science). Students also had the opportunity to complete a career exploration or travel on faculty-led trips to Sweden, Italy, Hawaii, Brazil, Indonesia, Germany, France, England, Japan, Tanzania, and Spain.

Rev. Dr. Luke Powery of Duke University spoke at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture, focusing on King’s concept of the “World House.” According to King, the modern world is “a family unduly separated in ideas, culture, and interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.”

Frigid temperatures, wind, and snow combined to cause a rare cancellation of classes on Wednesday, January 30. Gustavus alumni and others shared stories of their own winter experiences on the hill on the Gustavus Facebook post announcing the closure.

The annual student-run Building Bridges ConferenceImmigration: Demolishing the Legacy of Bigotry in the Land of Opportunity, tackled the experience and policies of immigration, migration, and asylum.

Leading legal expert and Supreme Court historian Dr. Paul Finkelman gave a free public lecture in early March titled “Supreme Injustice: Slavery in the Nation’s Highest Court.”

Up-and-coming Minnesota poets Su Hwang and Michael Torres gave a reading in the Linnaeus Arboretum as part of the Department of English’s Bards in the Arb series.

Junior Monali Bhakta testifies alongside fellow students from Minnesota private colleges and Sen. Paul Anderson in support of the Minnesota State Grant.

Gustavus students took to the Minnesota State Capitol for a day of advocacy in support of the Minnesota State Grant Program. They met with legislators, networked with Gustavus alumni who work in government and public policy, and student Monali Bhakta testified in front of the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee.

1976 graduate and Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Barry Anderson gave the Ronald S. and Kathryn K. Christenson Lecture in Politics and Law in April.

Biochemistry and molecular biology major Abby Trouth ’20 won the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarshipthe premier undergraduate award for students pursuing careers in mathematics, sciences, and engineering. Honors psychological science major Kristen Eggler was named the 2019 winner of the Donald G. Paterson Award in Psychology by the Minnesota Psychological Association (MPA). The award recognizes and encourages high achievement in psychology at the undergraduate level and is given to an outstanding college senior from across the state who is planning a career in psychology. Shelby Klomp ’20 was named winner of the Rossing Physics Scholarship.

Dr. Jeff La Frenierre with his drone equipment in the Nobel Hall of Science.

Geography professor Jeff La Frenierre’s research on glacial retreat in the Andes Mountains was featured on BBC’s Earth From Space.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman spoke at the annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference. The 2019 topic was “War on the Press: At Home and Abroad.”

Additional visitors to campus included former Deputy National Security Advisor Dr. Meghan O’Sullivan as the Lindau Resident in Conservative Thought, #MeToo founder Tarana Burke, and Danish author Dorthe Nors as the Out of Scandinavia Artist-in-Residence.

Alijah Nelson ’19 won the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup after presenting “D-Up,” a robotic basketball defender used for player development and training.

Religion professor Dr. Casey Elledge was named the 2019 winner of the Faculty Scholarly Accomplishment Award, Dr. Hayley Russell (Health and Exercise Science) was announced as the 2019 recipient of the Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, and Dr. Margaret Bloch Qazi (Biology) received the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching.

Dr. Margaret Bloch Qazi congratulates a graduate at the 2019 commencement ceremony.

The Gustavus Class of 2019 celebrated commencement on June 1 with graduating senior Meghan Gallagher serving as the class speaker.

The Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement hosted the first-ever Gustavus Night at the Minnesota Twins. Over 2,000 Gusties watched the Twins beat the Boston Red Sox on Monday, June 17 at Target Field.

The band Cloud Cult performed on campus in late June as part of the annual Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics.

In July, the Linnaeus Symposium explored the changing climate in Minnesota in anticipation of the Nobel Conference.

Andrew Coston was named the executive director of the Gustavus Center for Career Development. Under his leadership, the office is expanding programmatic offerings, partnerships with academic departments and employers, and mentorship and internship opportunities for all students.

Gustie Greeters at move-in day.

671 new students in the Gustavus Class of 2023 began their academic journey at the College with move-in day on August 31.

The newly-expanded Nobel Hall of Science opened for classes at the beginning of fall semester. The 74,000 square foot addition connects Nobel Hall with the Schaefer Fine Art Center’s Theatre Wing and features a new laboratory theatre, a coffee shop called The STEAMery, and 20 teaching labs.

Gustavus was named the Best Value Liberal Arts College in Minnesota and 22nd in the country by the U.S. News and World Report.

The 55th annual Nobel Conference, “Climate Changed: Facing our Future,” brought together a panel of world-leading experts to discuss approaches to mitigating and adapting to the changing global climate.

The College launched the largest comprehensive fundraising campaign in Gustavus history in late September. The Show the World campaign seeks to raise $225 million to support the continued implementation of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan and initiatives that will advance the College’s mission, provide increased opportunities for students and faculty, and continue to raise Gustavus’ standing as one of the top liberal arts colleges in the United States.

Campus Safety Officer Scott Meyer, Director of Health Service and Assistant Dean of Students Heather Dale, and Professor of Mathematics Dr. Tom LoFaro were honored with outstanding employee awards at the College’s annual Founders Day Celebration in late October.

Three Gustavus students won the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to support their study abroad learning opportunities. Mayra Gurrola-Calderon ‘20 (Peru), Samantha Raghu ‘21 (Thailand), and Phounsith “Quincy” Yangh ‘21 (Nepal/India) spent the fall semester studying away.

Hanaa Alhosawi was crowned St. Lucia.

The public phase of the Show the World campaign got off to a roaring start when Give to Gustavus Day (October 24) and A Royal Affair (November 9) combined to raise over $1,000,000 to support day-to-day operations, the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library, and scholarships for first-generation college students.

Gustavus students won the Deloitte Audit Case Competition for the third time in the event’s five-year history.

The Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics won a major grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. to support the ongoing summer program for high school student that explores faith- and science-based approaches to the great challenges of our time.

Professor Greg Kaster (left) with Gustavus alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian James McPherson '58.

Professor Greg Kaster (left) with Gustavus alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian James McPherson ’58.

Christmas in Christ Chapel 2019, Love Beyond Borders, brought together over 350 students, faculty, and staff for five worship services that were attended by over 5,000 people and viewed by thousands more across the globe. Public television stations from around the country also broadcast last year’s Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services this holiday season.

Hanaa Alhosawi ’22 was crowned St. Lucia at the College’s celebration of the 79th annual Festival of St. Lucia on December 12.

The student-run E. Terry Skone Investment Club donated $8,920 to support scholarships for students in the economics and management department. The club plays the stock market and uses its profits to give back to the College in the form of scholarship donations.

1958 Gustavus graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War historian Dr. James McPherson gave a $1 million donation to the College to create an endowed chair in American history at Gustavus. The inaugural James and Patricia McPherson Endowed Professor of American History is Dr. Greg Kaster, a member of the Gustavus history department since 1986.

…and there are more good things to come in 2020!


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


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