2022 Year in Review

The past year at Gustavus has seen a range of diverse and inspiring accomplishments; here are some of the highlights.
Posted on December 31st, 2022 by

The Gustavus Class of 2022 makes its way from Christ Chapel to the Commencement ceremony.

The 2022 calendar year was actually a tale of two years. The first part was the second semester of a 2021-22 school year that saw the long-awaited emergence from the COVID-19 pandemic and its many aftereffects. The second was the just-concluded fall semester, a return to a relative “normal” the College hadn’t experienced since 2019, as our community dived back into in-person events, programs, productions, and broader campus engagement.

The unprecedented limitations and restrictions never prevented Gustavus students, faculty, staff, and alumni from producing and accomplishing at their accustomed pace, and the College finished 2022 on multiple high notes. As we look ahead to 2023, we wanted to review 2022 and highlight the College’s most notable successes of the year.


The ALL IN Campus Democracy Challenge made its first, but not its last, appearance of 2022 when it named Gustavus the 2021 MIAC Votes Award Winner for Best Action Plan, which resulted in a record-breaking 84% of Gusties casting their ballots in the 2020 election.

Gustavus welcomed Dr. Carolyn Roberts virtually as the 2022 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial speaker for her talk, “Historical Roots of Racism in Science and Medicine.”

Students, faculty, and staff offered their own reflections on past J-term experiences, which every year provide one of the College’s most distinct academic and personal opportunities.

Gustavus women’s hockey coach Mike Carroll earned his 450th career victory, second-most all time in NCAA Division III women’s hockey, with a 4-0 win over St. Olaf.

The College had 103 student-athletes recognized by the MIAC as Academic All-Conference honorees for the 2021-22 fall semester.

The Gustavus men’s and women’s swimming & diving teams were selected by the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) as Scholar All-America Teams. The men and women posted GPAs of 3.52 and 3.49, respectively


Legendary Gustavus gymnastics coach Nancy Baker was posthumously honored as the recipient of the Minnesota Legacy Award at the 2022 National Girls & Women in Sports Day event for her pivotal role in developing the sport by organizing workshops for teachers and athletes in the early 1960s.

Mark Hanson ’83, the winningest coach in Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball history, announced his retirement as the head coach after the 2021-22 season. He was succeeded as head coach by Justin DeGrood ’07.

After completing a competitive audition process, the Gustavus Wind Orchestra was selected as an honored guest at the Minnesota Music Educator Association Mid-Winter Clinic and performed for conference attendees. The Orchestra also premiered a piece composed by 10-time Emmy winner Bruce Broughton its Home Tour Concert, at which Broughton was a speaker and honored guest.

The Gustavus men’s swim & dive team won its 24th Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, and the Gustie women finished second.


The 27th Building Bridges Conference dug into the theme “Knowledge is Power: Dismantling Systemic Bias in Educational Institutions.”

Professor Greg Kaster aired the 100th episode of his Learning for Life @ Gustavus podcast.

The 2022 Ronald S. and Kathryn K. Christenson Lectureship in Politics and Law featured Dr. Tim Johnson giving a talk titled, “The U.S. Supreme Court: Still the Least Dangerous Branch?”

Gustavus grad Mike Johander ’99 and his family created an endowment fund named in honor of his former professor Dr. Steve Wright, a longtime director of the Gustavus jazz program, to support the Jazz Ensemble’s international tours.

Gustavus women’s track & field had three team members receive All-American honors at the NCAA Indoor Championships.

The 2021-2022 Innovative Teaching Awards from the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning and the Provost’s Office went to two professors in the Fine Arts: Henry MacCarthy and Colleen Stockmann. The Innovative Teaching Awards recognize faculty who are engaged in particularly innovative teaching practices.

The Gustavus Jazz Ensemble completed its Spring Break tour, playing at jazz clubs and working with high schools across Minnesota.

Kayla Vrieze ’22 of Gustavus women’s hockey received the Elite 90 award at the 2022 NCAA Division III Women’s Ice Hockey Championship. The award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at each of the NCAA Championship Final sites.

The Gustavus women’s hockey team finished second at the NCAA Championships with a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to undefeated Middlebury College in the championship game. The second-place finish was the best at the NCAA Championships in program history.


The College’s nursing program announced the expansion of its incoming class capacity by 33% beginning in fall 2022, from 30 to 40 per class year. This will produce more opportunities for current and transfer students who plan to work in healthcare after graduation.

One Gustie student was named a winner of the 2022 Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) Program Award, and three others received recognition as semifinalists.

Pulitzer Prize-winning Yale University historian David W. Blight, author of the biography Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom, presented a free public lecture at Gustavus, “The Legacies of Frederick Douglass in our Own Time.”

Gustavus alumnus Devin Makey ’20 was named a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program (NSF-GRFP) honoree, and two other recent alumni, Abby Trouth ‘20 and Haley Moran ‘20, earned NSF-GRFP honorable mentions.

The College held its annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference, Growing Peacebuilders, which featured speakers Maya Soetoro and Kerrie Urosevich ’93, co-founders of the organization Ceeds of Peace, whose mission to raise peacebuilding leaders identifies closely with that of MAYDAY! Peace Conference.

The sixth annual Matthias Wahlstrom Lecture featured Paschal Kyoore, Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, discussing “Challenging the ‘Center’ in Liberal Arts Education in the USA.”

The Gustavus Dance program had both of its submissions for presentation accepted at the American College Dance Association’s regional conference at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, a notable honor for the program.

The Gustavus men’s tennis team won its 33rd consecutive MIAC regular season championship after a 9-0 conference season. The women’s team also won its 30th regular season conference championship.


The 2022 Rydell Professorship hosted scholar-in-residence Dr. Alex Filippenko, one of the world’s most highly cited astronomers, a Distinguished Professor in the Physical Sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.

Haley Jostes ’23 was named a Goldwater Scholar in recognition of her exceptional research contributions and future promise in her fields of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology.

The Gustavus Choir completed a nine-day, five-venue tour of the West Coast, performing from Seattle to Los Angeles along the way.

The College celebrated the annual Honors Weekend with a series of events, lectures, and symposiums. Physics professor Darsa Donelan was given the 2022 Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence during the Honors Day convocation.

Gustavus dedicated the opening of the 72,000 sq. ft. expansion of Lund Center in a ceremony attended by Gustavus donors, alumni, students, faculty, staff, and special guests.

The 556 graduates of the Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 2022 proudly walked the stage on Saturday, May 21, on Hollingsworth Field.

Gustavus psychological science professor Dr. Lauren Hecht was named the 2022 winner of the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at the College’s commencement ceremony. The award is the College’s highest award for teaching excellence.

Nick Aney ’22 won the 2022 MIAC Arthur Ashe Award, which is given to the senior men’s tennis student-athlete who exhibits outstanding sportsmanship and exemplary athletic, academic, and humanitarian accomplishments.

The Gustavus women’s track & field team took fifth place at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships. The Gusties claimed All-America honors in all four events they competed in, highlighted by a national championship in the 100-hurdles by Birgen Nelson ’23.

Gustavus women’s sports won the MIAC All-Sports Competitions for the 2021-22 school year, and Gustie men’s teams took second place.


More than 60 Gustie students launched their summer research in topics ranging from chemistry to art history.

Eight Gustie students were selected for the 2022 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) at Mayo Clinic, conducting groundbreaking research at one of the country’s leading medical centers.

Gustavus baseball’s Jack Hanson ’22 was named First Team All-America by both ABCA/Rawlings and D3baseball.com, the program’s fifth-ever All-America honor. Hanson was also the MIAC Player of the Year.


Senior peace, justice, and conflict studies major Gabby Lavan ’23 developed her passion for public service as a Public Policy and International Affairs Junior Summer Institute Fellow.


Move-In Day featured an enthusiastic contingent of Gustie Greeters who assembled at the Grace and Jefferson Street entrances and welcomed—with boisterous cheers and song—members of the Class of 2026.

The Gustavus Athletics Department named Birgen Nelson ’23 and Jack Hanson ‘22 the winners of the 20th Annual Gustavus Athlete of the Year awards.


The 2022 Nobel Conference returned to a full, in-person format for the first time since the pandemic, as a host of experts led presentations and discussions about the conference theme, “Mental Health (In)Equity and Young People.”


Gustavus honored the 50th anniversary of Title IX—the landmark achievement that broke barriers for girls and women in athletics—prior to a Homecoming Weekend soccer game, with a celebration of Dr. Nicole LaVoi and recognition of all the current and former female student athletes.

The Gustavus women’s volleyball team won the MIAC Playoff Championship before losing in the regional semifinal at the NCAA Tournament.

The annual Give to Gustavus Day raised $665,570, the biggest total ever, and the amount was generated by the most participating donors the event has ever seen.


A Royal Affair—the Gustie Gala raised more than $500,000 to support scholarships for first-generation Gustavus students, and another $150,000 for the Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) Endowment Fund.

Gustavus hosted the 34th annual Gustavus Honor Band Festival, bringing together over 250 students from more than 60 different high schools to form two all-state-caliber symphonic bands and celebrate creativity in performance and education.

The Gustavus Choir joined five other area colleges for the F. Melius Christiansen 151st Anniversary Concert in Minneapolis.

Gustavus was recognized as one of 394 colleges nationwide recognized for its efforts to increase nonpartisan democratic engagement in the 2022 elections. The national ALL IN Most Engaged Campuses for College Student Voting campaign helps colleges and universities make intentional efforts to increase student voter participation.

After winning the MIAC regular season and postseason The Gustavus men’s soccer team’s season ended in the NCAA sectional final with a 1-0 loss against host Chicago. The Gusties, ranked No. 5 at the time, finished the season 15-2-6.

The Schaefer Gallery welcomed Dakota Digital Artist Marlena Myles as a part of the Indigenous Salon, visual arts and public discussion events. Myles, a Native American Spirit Lake Dakota/Mohegan/Muscogee artist, was an artist residency funded by a grant from the College’s President’s Council on Indigenous Relations to encourage building experiences and relationships with native groups and individuals.


The 2022 Christmas in Christ Chapel celebration, Celestial Wonder, Joy Unfolding, welcomed in-person performances from three choirs, the symphony orchestra, and handbells, blended with imaginative dancing and spoken word. This was the first fully attended CinCC event since 2019.

Sophomore Christina Sirbu ’24 was named St. Lucia at the College’s 82nd annual Festival of St. Lucia. She was nominated with five other sophomore women based on service to others, strength of character, courageous leadership, and compassion, and Sirbu was selected as the 2022 honoree after a campus-wide vote.

The College was awarded a grant of $493,065 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) Science Education Program to support the medical research organization’s efforts to help higher ed STEM programs increase their capacities for inclusion. Gustavus will also dedicate additional internal funds to ensure equitable access to HHMI programming across all disciplines, including non-STEM departments and faculty.


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


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