Gustavus Class of 2023 Celebrates Graduation DayThe 544 seniors were honored by the College community, family, and friends.
Posted on May 27th, 2023 by

The Class of 23 celebrates all they've achieved during their Gustavus years.

Photos from Gustavus Commencement Day 2023 can be found here.

On a breezy, stellar spring day, the 544 members of the Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 2023 bade farewell to their college years before family, friends, faculty, staff, and special guests on Saturday, May 27.

After congratulating the seniors for their many accomplishments, persistence, and endurance—particularly through the upheaval that the Covid-19 pandemic caused during the students’ first and second years—President Bergman looked ahead. “I want you to take the five Gustavus Core Values with you: Excellence, Community, Justice, Service, and Faith,” she said. “These five core values describe what we stand for here at Gustavus, what is important to this community of people who live and learn together. And I believe that these values, taken together, become foundational to living a good life.”

President Bergman congratulates a 2023 graduate.

She encouraged them all to strive to embody the Gustavus vision statement—Gustavus equips students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time—in everything they do. “Leading a purposeful life is not a passive concept. While it certainly requires some deep soul searching, it is not solely introspective work,” she said. “Living a purposeful life is actualized by being in relationship with people, engaging with your community, and getting out of your comfort zone. Purpose pushes us to continually stretch ourselves to reach for our full potential.”

Senior Commencement Speaker, Mya Hillerud ‘23, lauded her classmates for the many ways they’ve demonstrated diligence and excellence in all aspects of their collegiate experience. She used her speech to delve even deeper into the notion and meaning of “the good life” as defined by great minds through the ages. “Challenge yourself, but also allow yourself the opportunity to reap the benefits of the seeds you’ve sown,” she said. “You work hard so you can enjoy life. Sometimes you have to let yourself take some time to stop and smell the roses—listen to music, read for pleasure (not some assigned reading), spend time with your friends and family.”

Senior Speaker Mya Hillerud addresses her classmates.

Hillerud stressed how Gustavus has created an environment that enables its students to pursue a variety of goals in multiple ways, often by taking classes they didn’t think they were interested in but that ended up changing their perspectives, and perhaps their lives. Hillerud herself exemplifies this; she arrived at Gustavus intending to major in Biology, and she graduated as a double-major in Financial Economics and Philosophy, with a minor in Music. “Going to a liberal arts school, you don’t just learn about a particular subject,” she said. “You learn about all sorts of subjects and how they relate to each other; you practice the critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will set you up for success in your career and later life.”

On the morning of the Commencement ceremony, two Baccalaureate services were held in Christ Chapel. Attendees there heard from student speaker Keely Schuck ’23, who highlighted the value of resilience, as well as blessings from Gusties across numerous faith traditions. After a bountiful buffet, students and their guests snapped photos with friends and took nostalgic last walks around campus before heading to Hollingsworth Field for the graduation celebration.

President Bergman also acknowledged this year’s retiring faculty and staff members who have left their permanent mark on Gustavus, as well as all the Gustavus faculty members who guided this year’s graduating class. To conclude the ceremony, Psychological Science Professor Lauren Hecht, the winner of the 2022 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching, introduced Associate Professor Martin Lang, Communication Studies, as this year’s winner of the award, the highest teaching honor at the College.

Associate Professor Martin Lang accepts the 2022-23 Edgar M. Carlson Award.

As President Bergman applauded the newest Gustavus alumni one last time before sending them off into the world, she reminded them to remain grateful for their many blessings. “I ask that you join me in recognizing the individuals who are celebrating with you today in person and online,” she said. “They have provided support and encouragement for you during your days as students here at Gustavus. They have assisted you by providing an opportunity for you to attend Gustavus, and they have supported you, loved, and believed in you throughout all your days here on the Hill. They are surely busting with pride over your many accomplishments and are full of hope for your future.”


The archived 2023 commencement ceremony can be watched online. Photos from the day can be found here.


Friends and families celebrate the end of an unforgettable four years.



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


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