Move-In, Convocation, and the Official Start of 2022-2023

First-years on Friday. Classes on Tuesday. Welcome, new Gusties—and welcome back current students!
Posted on September 6th, 2022 by

More photos from Move-In Day found here

On a warm, sunny Friday, Gustie Greeters assembled themselves at the Grace and Jefferson Street entrances and welcomed—with boisterous cheers and song—members of the Class of 2026. For Greeters who entered college during the heart of the pandemic, the cherished Gustie tradition carried special significance this year. 

“I love it when people drive up and we do cheers for them,” said Kristin Simphoukham ’24, who became a Greeter to give first-years the special welcome that the pandemic denied her class. “The first-years get embarrassed, but their families are super excited.”

Gustavus is super excited too. Collectively, this new class has a mean high school GPA of 3.7, an average ACT score of 28, and plenty were in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Despite high school years hindered by a global pandemic, this class is among the most academically ready in Gustavus history. 

Its members spent the day readying their rooms. Gustavus student-athletes (on campus early for practices) added muscle to Move-In Day, helping first-years and families carry televisions and tennis racquets, microwaves and mini-fridges, hockey sticks and drumsticks, all into rooms in Pittman, Sohre, and Norelius (Co-Ed). 

Roommates Aidon Huck ’26 and Aidan Hansen ’26, both from Fargo, were among those who brought drumsticks. They also brought four guitars, two trombones, a saxophone, a trumpet, a piano, a melodica, and an accordion. They left the bagpipes at home “for now,” said Huck. 

Many new Gusties brought alumni parents. The Class of 2026 boasts 51 first-years from legacy families. Lori Schlaak Baerstch ’99 helped move her son, Andrew Baertsch ’26, into Pittman. A junior during the year of the tornado, Lori was one of the first to live in newly-built College View. “Every time I’m back on campus, the sense of community is awesome,” she said. 

Other alums hung out in residence halls with donuts and coffee, providing nourishment, encouragement, and a sense of an abiding community. Char Peterson Senske ’66 and Mona Anderson Gerike ’82, stood ready in Norelius. “We’re the welcome wagon!” Mona said. In Pittman, alumni greeted Andrew Rygwall ’26 and his grandparents. Andrew’s mother, Jill Rokala Rygwall ’91 died in a plane crash in 2017, along with Andrew’s dad. “Andrew will be enveloped by Gustavus,” said Alison Penner-Rahm ’99. Laurie Dietrich ’80 agreed. “At Gustavus, you become part of a bigger family.” 

Jude Mensah ’26, a student from Ghana, sat on his Pittman bed and waited for his new roommate. “I’m an international student and came early,” he said. Some first-generation students also came to campus early. “I’m getting used to it. I’m just chill today.” Jude’s brother, Aaron Mensah ’24, is just a few steps away in Sohre.

President Rebecca Bergman stopped by the residence halls to personally welcome new Gusties to campus, and later chatted with students and families over ice cream on Eckman Mall. Lunch was served in Lund, where folks also snagged photos with Gus, encompassed by a giant armchair.

“Around you is something bigger: Your fellow Gusties,” said Rich Aune ’81, Vice President and Dean of Admission, during first-year Convocation in Christ Chapel. “They will help you transform into the best version of yourself.” Before he officially passed the incoming class to Provost and Dean of the College Brenda Kelly (as is Gustavus custom), he also noted that first-years might begin practicing that best version immediately as future soulmates and in-laws may be in Chapel. Given what we know about alumni, the hype is true. 

There are other truths about college, said JoNes VanHecke ’88, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. “College is fun. College is hard. You’re going to bump up against some things that will make your head hurt and your shoulders sag. You will fail at something. And you will be okay.” Doug Thompson, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, told first-years they will be more than okay—they will belong here. And to affirm that message, he asked each new Gustie to say it out loud—“I belong here.” President Bergman reaffirmed: “You are bound to each other as a class, and we are bound to each other as a community.”

Then parents left campus, and the Class of 2026 embarked on myriad orientation activities including auditions, the President’s Banquet, bulb planting in the tulip field, that famous square dance, and that other famous dance—the Dive dance. 

Then came the start of the academic year. On Tuesday, the bells above Christ Chapel chimed 16 times, one for each decade of Gustavus Adolphus College’s history, marking the beginning of its 161st academic year, and classes officially commenced for the 2022-2023 academic year. Professors processed into Chapel, and Chaplain Grady St. Dennis opened with a blessing that we bring our best in teaching, learning, and community to this year.

Then President Rebecca Bergman spoke. “Do justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with your God,” she said, paraphrasing Micah 6:8. “Notice these are words of action. To do. To love. To walk. Today we as a community begin.”

Then it was off to class.




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


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