Gustavus Launches “Learning for Life” Podcast

The new podcast hosted by Greg Kaster explores the intersections of liberal arts learning and is available on most popular platforms.
Posted on May 27th, 2020 by

Gustavus Adolphus College is proud to announce the launch of a new podcast hosted by history professor Greg Kaster. Learning for Life @ Gustavus features Kaster interviewing campus experts, alumni, and others to explore the intersections of liberal arts learning, current events, and problem solving from the Gustavus campus. The first season includes 10 episodes that will released on Tuesday and Friday mornings beginning on Tuesday, May 26, and running through Friday, June 26.

Learning for Life @ Gustavus is hosted by Anchor and available on platforms including Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Breaker, Overcast, Pocket Casts, and RadioPublic. Transcripts of each episode will also be available online.

Podcast host and historian Greg Kaster

The podcast dives into big questions that get at the heart of a residential college experience—How does a liberal arts education equip people to engage with real-world issues? How do science researchers at smaller colleges work with students to act on the great challenges of our time? Why is it important to talk, listen, and connect with people from different backgrounds? And how do decisions get made at colleges and universities, anyway? From conversations with cancer and climate change researchers to behind-the-scenes glimpses into higher education decision-making, the engaging 20-30-minute interviews introduce listeners to the people behind the ideas.

“I hope that listeners are both enlightened and entertained,” Kaster said. “There’s so much to learn as these experts discuss how their work intersects with society’s pressing issues.”

The first season focuses on professors and administrators at Gustavus and covers topics ranging from the impact of COVID-19 on academics and study abroad programs to the study of ancient Christianity to microbiology lab research. Each episode also explores the interviewee’s journey to their current position. The podcast’s second season, which will also include interviews with current students and alumni, is currently in development.

“As a historian, I’ve always been fascinated by an individual’s unique path and how things work behind the scenes,” Kaster said. “The podcast dives into how each subject’s work intersects both with the mission of Gustavus and the power of the liberal arts.”

The idea for the podcast was inspired by a campus event a few years ago in which Kaster interviewed Warren Beck ’67, a successful alumnus who previously served on the Gustavus Board of Trustees and, along with his wife, Donna ’66, is the namesake for the College’s Beck Academic Hall.

“We talked about everything from economics to history to what he looks for in hiring young people,” recalled Kaster. “It was an absolute blast, and it got me thinking about how we could share these stimulating conversations with a broader audience.”

Season 1 Lineup:
E. 1 (Tuesday, May 26) | Learning to Talk with One Another | Pamela Conners, Communication Studies
E. 2 (Friday, May 29) | Pandemic Provost | Brenda Kelly, Provost and Dean of the College
E. 3 (Tuesday, June 2) | From Preacher’s Nephew to Religion Prof | Casey Elledge, Religion
E. 4 (Friday, June 5) | Journeying Inward by Journeying Outward | Bryan Messerly, International Education
E. 5 (Tuesday, June 9) | “The Little Biology” | Laura Burrack, Biology
E. 6 (Friday, June 12) | “There’s No Such Thing as a Bad Writer” | Eric Vrooman, English and Writing Center
E. 7 (Tuesday, June 16) | Mercury in the Water | Jeff Jeremiason, Chemistry and Environmental Studies
E. 8 (Friday, June 19) | “Shame Shame Shame” | Jill Locke, Political Science
E. 9 (Tuesday, June 23) | The Chemistry Lab and the Alchemy of Student Growth | Dwight Stoll, Chemistry
E. 10 (Friday, June 26) | “Unwanted” | Maddalena Marinari, History

Learning for Life @ Gustavus is made possible with support from the College’s James and Patricia McPherson Endowed Professorship of American History. The podcast is produced by Kaster, Will Clark ’20 (technical director/audio engineer), and Matt Dobosenski ’99 and JJ Akin ’11 of the Gustavus Office of Marketing and Communication.


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


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