Gustavus Adolphus College President Rebecca Bergman Announces RetirementThe College’s 17th president will step down after the 2024-25 academic year.
Posted on April 16th, 2024 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman will remain with Gustavus Adolphus through the 2024-25 academic year.

Gustavus Adolphus College President Rebecca M. Bergman announced today that she plans to retire in summer 2025 after leading the liberal arts college in Saint Peter, Minnesota, for 11 years.

“The opportunity to serve the Gustavus community has been the highest honor of my professional career,” Bergman said in a message to students, faculty, and staff announcing that the 2024-25 academic year will be her last as President. “From the moment I stepped on this campus, I have been inspired by the steadfast devotion to our mission to prepare students for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society.” 

“President Bergman was hired because of her tremendous capacity to build—everything from trusting relationships and new facilities to financial resources and plans for the future,” Board of Trustees Chair Marcia Page ‘82 said. “She has delivered on those promises and done it as a true servant-leader who is deeply committed to providing Gustavus students with a well-rounded experience and outstanding education.”

Bergman, who became the first woman to serve as the College’s president in July 2014 after 26 years as an engineer and senior executive at Medtronic, has led Gustavus during a tumultuous and transformational era in higher education. Her relationship with the College began when her oldest son became a student in 2003. She served on the Gustavus Board of Trustees from 2007-2014, which prepared her to hit the ground running from her non-traditional path to college leadership. 

Highlights of her presidency include: 

  • The successful completion of Campaign Gustavus and Show The World, two comprehensive campaigns that generated over $400 million in documented philanthropic support for the College’s mission-central work.
  • Developing and executing Gustavus Acts, the College’s 2016-2026 strategic plan that focuses on three goals: diversify and expand the Gustavus community; deliver a distinctive and integrated liberal arts education; and achieve financial, institutional, and environmental sustainability.
  • Partnering with the Gustavus faculty to drive academic innovation by developing comprehensive changes to the College’s academic curriculum that will be implemented in 2024-25, including a new academic calendar, adjustments to graduation requirements, and the introduction of a required Signature Experience that connects academic coursework with real-world applications; and creating the College’s first master’s degree program (Athletic Training), which officially begins in summer 2024.
  • More than doubling the College’s endowment from $135 million in July 2014 to $300 million and counting as of March 2024. 
  • Leading three major building projects: the $70 million expansion and renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science, including the new Rob & Judy Gardner Laboratory Theatre and The STEAMery Cafe; the $30 million, 72,000 sq. ft. expansion of Lund Center, the College’s wellness and athletics facility; and the $8 million complete renovation of A.H. Anderson Hall and the creation of the Åke and Kristina Bonnier Multifaith Center.
  • Guiding Gustavus through the COVID-19 pandemic, which impacted every area of College operations, including a transition to online teaching and learning; changes to residential life policies and timelines; on-campus testing, quarantine, and isolation protocols; and forging strong partnerships with public health officials.
  • Elevating the College’s work to build a culture of equity, inclusion, and belonging for all; and creating multiple President’s Councils focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Environmental Sustainability; and Indigenous Relations.

President Bergman is also one of the most philanthropically generous presidents in  American higher education. She and her husband, Dr. Thomas Bergman, have given Gustavus over $7.4 million in lifetime gifts and commitments in support of scholarships, capital projects, student-faculty research, annual operations, and other areas of need.

Known for her commitment to building and celebrating community, Bergman is a regular at campus lectures, art exhibitions, theatre and dance performances, and athletic competitions. She often sits in the front row for music concerts and has stayed through the last note of O Come, All Ye Faithful at every Christmas in Christ Chapel worship service since becoming president—except when attending the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm, Sweden on behalf of the College. Since 2017, Bergman has written a weekly email reflection that is sent to students, faculty, and staff on Monday mornings throughout the academic year.

“Our community remains committed to the liberal arts tradition and to continuing to be innovative and integrated in our approach to education,” Bergman said. “Gustavus is a 24/7 laboratory for learning, and we will continue to evolve to match the aspirations of our students so they are equipped to act on the great challenges of our time.”

As Bergman continues to lead Gustavus initiatives and manage operations over the next 14 months, the Board of Trustees will conduct a search for the College’s 18th president. Gustavus will be supported in the process by AGB Search and consultants Loren Anderson and Shannon McCambridge. More information about the upcoming search will be announced in the coming weeks. 

“President Bergman has given our community many gifts,” Page said. “The Board of Trustees and the entire Gustavus community are grateful to President Bergman for her continued service to the College and the culture of excellence she has built that will equip Gustavus for ever-greater success in the future.”


Luc Hatlestad               Tim Kennedy

507-933-7510                507-933-6395



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


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