Dunna Selected as Class of 2020 Commencement SpeakerCommencement, originally scheduled for Saturday, May 30, has been postponed to a date to be determined.
Posted on May 25th, 2020 by

by Kailey Maroney ’20
Intern, Office of Marketing and Communication

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Joy Dunna will serve as the commencement speaker for the Class of 2020. Originally scheduled for Saturday, May 30, the 2020 commencement ceremony has been postponed until large group gatherings are allowed. As Dunna and the rest of the senior class finish their last semester with online coursework, they continue to cope with the abrupt ending to their college career due to COVID-19.

Although the transition has been challenging for Dunna, she has found comfort from the support of faculty, staff, and especially her academic advisors at Gustavus. “Political science professor Jill Locke gave me advice that has really kept me grounded,” Dunna said. “She told me, ‘It’s okay if the next few weeks don’t feel the same, because they aren’t the same. You don’t have to pretend that they are because they are not.’ Her support has meant a lot to me over these last several weeks.”

Having grown up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and attended Hill Murray High School in Maplewood, she had her sights set on going to a small, private liberal arts college. Gustavus Adolphus College was on her radar since touring the campus her junior year in high school. She solidified her decision her senior year based on Gustavus being the only school that gave her a personal call to ask about her college search process.

“My admission counselor, Bob Neuman, called my house all the time wanting to know if I was interested in going to Gustavus,” laughed Dunna. “It was special to me knowing that this one person really cared about me at Gustavus. My mom even became friends with him.”

Joy Dunna is crowned St. Lucia in 2017.

Dunna will graduate from Gustavus with majors  in history and gender, women, and sexuality studies. She stayed busy during her four years at Gustavus by being involved in the Women’s Actions Coalition, Greek Life, Student Conduct board, Student Senate, being a tour guide, being selected as St. Lucia, and best of all, in her opinion, participating in Building Bridges along with being a Gustie Greeter orientation leader. 

“I enjoyed being a Greeter and participating in Building Bridges because I got to interact with communities outside of those groups.” Dunna is very passionate about connecting with the Gustavus community. Whether it’s being that one reliable person for new first-year student as a Greeter, or bringing life to new social justice topics, being inclusive is one of the many values she shares with Gustavus.

“Putting diversity, equity, and inclusion into practice takes practice,” Dunna says.

Dunna admits she will miss the everyday joys of talking to her fellow students around campus, and spending time in the Arboretum as spring blooms across campus. “Also the gyros in the Caf — I don’t know where else to find those,” she said.

Next up for Dunna? Grad school at the University of Minnesota to receive her Social Studies Teaching License and Masters in Education. 


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



  1. Milton Massaquoi says:

    I am very proud of my niece for doing such a splendid job during her college career. She is certainly well on her way to do some great things in life. Congratulations Joy!

  2. James Mamoo Coleman says:

    Congratulations Joy. I am exceptionally proud of you and grateful to God Almighty for the beautiful parents He blessed you with. Congratulations again.
    Uncle Coleman