Gustavus Founders Day Celebration Honors EmployeesThe annual award ceremony recognized this year's most exemplary staff members.
Posted on October 31st, 2023 by

Founders Day honorees (l-r): Ted Rosenback, Mike Carroll, Yurie Hong, Kate Knutson, Dave Stamps, Valerie Walker, Dwight Stoll, Betsy Byers. (Not pictured: Maddalena Marinari.)

Since 1876, the hallowed date of October 31st has had a special additional meeting for those on the Hill in Saint Peter, as Gustavus Adolphus College’s Founders Day. This year, we marked the 147th anniversary of our founding by honoring Eric Norelius and recognizing the school’s employees of the year.

President Bergman thanked the award winners, who were nominated by fellow staff members and chosen by a selection committee, and she lauded their shared dedication to service—to others, to the College, and to our community. “For our honorees past and present, it’s important to know that this is an especially meaningful award,” she said. “It’s recognition from your peers. You’ve been selected because you embody and consistently demonstrate the value of service and have generously offered your gifts for the benefit of others.”

This year’s honorees were:

  • Ted Rosenback, Market Place Supervisor in Dining Service, received the Augusta Carlson Schultz Award for the Outstanding Support Staff Employee. In his introductory remarks, Assistant director of Dining Service, Kevin Birr, noted how Rosenback’s positive attitude is most evident when Gustie graduates return to campus and literally line up to speak with him and wish him well. “Ted says that we are not necessarily in the business of making the world’s best hamburgers; we’re trying to make the world’s best people,” Birr said. “His most distinguishing characteristic in my mind is that Ted is genuine. He genuinely cares about others. He is always calm and as always reasonable. He is fun to work with and always still professional.”
  • Mike Carroll, Head Women’s Hockey Coach, received the Eric Norelius Award for the Outstanding Administrative Employee. Assistant Athletic Director, Kari Eckheart, recounted the unique highs and lows of the past season for his team—including winning the national championship in March and tragically losing teammate Jori Jones over the summer—and praised him for being a stabilizing force amid the turmoil. “Mike demonstrated hard work, resilience, compassion, and perseverance,” Eckheart said. “There was no playbook or best-practices document on how to help this team overcome what they endured, but Mike and his staff found a way to keep them moving forward.”
  • The members of the Faculty Task Force (FTF)—Kate Knutson, Betsy Byers, Yurie Hong, Maddalena Marinari, Dave Stamps, Dwight Stoll, and Valerie Walker— received the Faculty Service Award. Provost Brenda Kelly marveled at how the FTF tackled the daunting task of revamping the College’s curriculum in a cost-effective way, particularly when they continued working well beyond the initial scope of their project by developing the Signature Experience framework and getting it approved and implemented. “The FTF was able to take an ambitious and amorphous charge to reimagine the academic program, throw hundreds of hours of work into it, in the face of both praise and criticism, and turn that charge into a thoughtful, detailed, comprehensive plan,” she said. “I think what is most meaningful to me is the way that they’ve walked together on their journey, completing a task that seemed impossible.”

Before sending the attendees and honored guests, appropriately, back into their workday, President Bergman reminded everyone of the core value of service that these awards exemplify. “When we all have an orientation toward service, we generously bring our individual and unique gifts to the table in service to others,” she said. “When each of us serves with a loving and generous spirit, we can be sure that our community will thrive for years to come.”


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


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