Gustavus Campus News
Dr. Kathi Tunheim has been named the inaugural Vice President for Mission, Strategy, and Innovation at Gustavus Adolphus College, President Rebecca M. Bergman announced today.
In the newly created role on the President’s Cabinet, Tunheim will be responsible for leading the execution of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, managing the College’s National Advisory Boards and Gustavus Women in Leadership group, leading the human resources department, and growing external partnerships that advance the Gustavus mission. She will assume the duties of the position on January 1, 2019.
“Pairing strategy and innovation with the College’s mission-centered work is a natural fit as Gustavus continues to grow in excellence, reach, and reputation,” Bergman said. “Dr. Tunheim’s unique skillset and background in strategic planning, organizational leadership, and vocation align perfectly with the College’s vision to equip students to lead purposeful lives and to act on the great challenges of our time through an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.”
A member of the Gustavus faculty since 2007, Tunheim has served as the Special Assistant to the President for Strategy since June 2016 in addition to teaching courses in the economics and management department. During her tenure at Gustavus, she developed the Gustavus Women in Leadership group, founded the Gustie Entrepreneur Cup, and was a driving force behind the expansion of the Gustavus Mentoring Program. An expert on leadership, management, and vocation with a particular emphasis on ELCA colleges and universities, Tunheim is a sought-after speaker and consultant in the areas of organizational behavior, leadership development, and strategy.
“I am honored to serve in this inaugural role,” said Tunheim, who will transition to the senior leadership position from her role as the Board of Trustees Endowed Chair in Management and Leadership. “The Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan has strong momentum thanks to our president, board, faculty, administrators, staff, and alumni. I look forward to working with President Bergman, the cabinet, and everyone engaged in advancing our institution’s mission, vision, and strategies for the benefit of our talented students.”
Prior to her time at Gustavus, Tunheim enjoyed a 25-year corporate career managing training and development for Northwest Airlines and the Carlson Travel Group, serving as director of leadership development at American Express Financial Advisors, and running her own consulting firm, Tunheim Leadership Group.
She is a board member of Lutheran World Relief International, the Thrivent Fellows Member Network Central Region, and the Swedish American Chamber of Commerce. Tunheim holds a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, a master’s in communication from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and a doctorate in Work and Human Resource Education from the University of Minnesota. She and her husband, Bob, live in Orono, Minn. They have three adult children.
“Dr. Tunheim is a creative thinker and an entrepreneurial leader with a strong record of building relationships and delivering results,” Bergman said. “Her mission-driven work in this role will continue to drive Gustavus boldly into the future.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Gustavus Adolphus College sophomore Tyra Banks was crowned St. Lucia at the College’s 78th annual Festival of St. Lucia Celebration on Thursday, December 6. After being nominated along with five other sophomore women based on service to others, strength of character, courageous leadership, and compassion, Banks was selected as the 2018 honoree after a campus-wide vote.
“I’m just overwhelmed by the idea of being seen as a light in the world along with the other members of the Court,” Banks said. “We represent so many different backgrounds — ethnic, cultural, racial, and educational — it’s really inspiring to know that just by being yourself you can be seen as a light or inspiration.”
Banks grew up in Liberia and moved to the United States at the age of 13. A biology major and classics minor who conducts research with professor Joel Carlin on the genetic consequences of oil spills on marine life, Banks is also involved on campus as a member of the track and field team, Campus Activities Board, Pan-African Student Organization, mentoring program, and pre-health club.
“Tyra brings amazing energy to everything she does,” Carlin said. “She’s intentional about living into her values and that’s reflected in her actions every day.”
The day of celebration at Gustavus includes the St. Lucia court members singing carols throughout the College’s residence halls, breakfast with members of the Guild of Lucia, the annual chapel service in Christ Chapel, and a traditional Scandinavian smorgasbord luncheon sponsored by the Gustavus Library Associates. This year’s luncheon is highlighted by speaker Patrice Johnson, the author of Jul: Swedish American Holiday Traditions.
The College’s celebration of the Swedish tradition began in 1941 and commemorates the courage shown by the legendary St. Lucia, who is known for her faith and service to others. In homes throughout Sweden, the eldest daughter plays the role of St. Lucia by preparing and serving baked goods and coffee to her family at sunrise. Lucia is a day celebrating community, light, and the end to long winter nights as a symbol of hope and peace for the Christmas season.
The 2018 St. Lucia court included Banks, from Brooklyn Park, Minn.; Ellie Croonquist, from New Hope, Minn.; Holly Fitterer, from Sioux Falls, S.D.; Signe Jeremiason, from Saint Peter, Minn.; Meg Nipe, from Burnsville, Minn.; and Kristie Olson, from Edina, Minn.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
The 2018 St. Lucia Festival will be celebrated Thursday, Dec. 6. All are invited to Christ Chapel for a service that features the St. Lucia Court and the St. Lucia Singers. As she is the previous year’s St. Lucia, Dunna will provide the homily, including the telling of the legend of St. Lucia. The event is free and open to the public. The event will also be livestreamed.
“I hadn’t heard of St. Lucia before Gustavus,” Dunna says. “I vaguely remember voting as a first-year.” But fellow Gustie women were eager to fill her in. “They talked about the service and leadership aspects. And when I looked at the amazing women on the court, I wasn’t surprised.”
But she never imagined she would be up there. Instead, Dunna, who is from St. Paul, simply went about the business of being a great first-year Gustie. She worked with the Women’s Action Coalition, and at the end of the year she was nominated for every position. (She prefers the background, she says, so she became the secretary, a job she loves.) She was on the events committee for Building Bridges. She had originally planned for a nursing major, but her work with justice issues, “made me realize I had a burning passion for it,” she says. Now she’s a history and gender, women, and sexuality studies double major. “I want to go into women’s counseling,” she says. “So I decided to make the change.”
A year later—surprise!—she was on that St. Lucia court. Then, she was wearing the crown. “That was humbling,” she says. “I have no words for that feeling.” Her words now are all about how St. Lucia has changed her. “Avery Bather (St. Lucia 2016) told me, ‘You will always think about your actions, and become a better person,’” Dunna says. Her roommate gave her a St. Lucia pin last Christmas as a reminder “that I can continue to be the person that I am, but also make a conscious effort to stop and say hello, to ask someone how they are doing. Being St. Lucia solidifies in you. It pushes you to care about people and care about the community.”
She didn’t need a whole lot of pushing—she was crowned St. Lucia for a reason. Dunna’s other activities include Feminist Bible Study, Intergreek Senate (she is an Alpha Sigma Tau), Senior Week co-chair, Gustie Greeters, and Cribbage Club. In her upcoming St. Lucia homily, “I plan on recognizing and appreciating the invisible labor that women do in society and highlighting how women in all of our lives complete necessary tasks daily, but at times go unnoticed,” she says. “Can you tell I’m working on a GWSS major?”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
For over a decade, Gustavus has participated in a quiet holiday tradition. The Holiday Angel Tree sits in the Johnson Student Union outside of the Community-Based Service and Learning (CBSL) Office. Instead of ornaments, the tree is adorned with small pieces of paper. On each tag, there is a gift request made by a child in the Saint Peter community. Any member of the Gustavus community is welcome to pick up a tag, purchase a gift, and return it to the CBSL to be donated.
Through a partnership with Head Start, an organization promoting school readiness for low-income families, these gifts are given and received anonymously to meet a need this holiday season. Every year, all of tags get taken, but this year Amy Pehrson, the Director of the CBSL Office has been impressed by the great response to the Holiday Angel Tree. All 92 tags have been removed from the tree and the gifts are starting to roll in to support 40 local families.
“What I love about the Holiday Angel Tree is that students certainly pick up tags, but faculty and staff always look forward to it too,” said Pehrson. Not only the Gustavus community, but Saint Peter community members also get involved with the Holiday Angel Tree. Women’s organizations from Saint Peter often donate mittens that can be added to the gift.
The Holiday Angel Tree is one of many ways that Gustavus partners with the Saint Peter community. “The CBSL Office connects Gusties with the Saint Peter school system, the elderly population, the local pound, and sometimes even local farmers just looking for some extra help,” said Pehrson. With the help and guidance of the CBSL office, there are nine student organizations on campus that are dedicated to meeting needs in the Saint Peter community.
Holiday Angel Tree gifts can be returned to the CBSL Office with the tag, wrapped, and ready to go by December 12. For those who did not grab a tag but would still like to participate, any additional donations are welcome.
Gustavus Adolphus College’s 46th annual Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services will take place Friday, November 30 through Sunday, December 2. Tickets for this year’s services are sold out, but a free livestream will be offered during the Saturday evening performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.
The theme for the 2018 service is “Visions of Divine Mystery.” The Christmas story is presented through music, scripture, readings, dance, and visual arts that consider how God has been visible through angels, prophets, and the birth of Jesus, as well as how God continues to work in ways that may be visible or mysterious. Set against the backdrop of the shimmering aurora borealis, the worship services are also a celebration of the careers of two longtime music faculty members: Michael Jorgenson, who serves as a soloist in this year’s services, and Gregory Aune, who has led the Gustavus Choir for 24 years and serves as the the 2018 Christmas in Christ Chapel artistic director.
Christmas in Christ Chapel will again be streamed online to the public on Dec. 1 beginning at 7:30 p.m. Heroic Productions, which annually provides audio, video, and lighting solutions for both Christmas in Christ Chapel and the Nobel Conference, will produce the live stream after winning a Hermes Awards for 2016 and 2017’s Christmas in Christ Chapel broadcasts.
Dates and times of services for Christmas in Christ Chapel 2018 are as follows:
- Friday, Nov. 30 at 7:30 p.m.
- Saturday, Dec. 1 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. (Livestream is available beginning at 7:30 p.m. for the evening service only)
- Sunday, Dec. 2 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
If you plan to watch the free livestream of Christmas in Christ Chapel on Saturday, Dec. 1, you can access the video at gustavus.edu/CinCC.
Hat and Mittens Drive
The Gustavus Hill Crew is sponsoring a hats and mittens drive during Christmas in Christ Chapel. Donations will be collected in Christ Chapel during the entire weekend. Please bring in new or gently used hats and mittens to be donated to Minnesota-based nonprofit Hats and Mittens.
Watch Christmas in Christ Chapel on Public Television Stations
For the second year, Christmas in Christ Chapel will be broadcast on public television stations across the country this holiday season. To learn more and see showings in your area, visit the Gustavus Christmas in Christ Chapel broadcast website or check your local listings. The services from both 2016 (Ubuntu, Jesu) and 2018 (Visions of Divine Mystery) can also be streamed online at TPT.org.*
*Visions of Divine Mystery will be available on TPT.org beginning Dec. 21.
About Christmas in Christ Chapel
A tradition since 1973, Christmas in Christ Chapel is a time for the Gustavus community to celebrate the holidays with one another. Approximately 350 students, faculty, and staff bring the program to life each year through the use of music, dance, spoken word, and the visual arts. A new theme is chosen each year in order to educate participants and audiences alike about faith and theological traditions. Choirs and orchestras lead the five services, with approximately 1,100 people attending each one.
Gustavus Adolphus College has received a $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to support the continuing education and leadership development of Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) pastors in southern Minnesota. The grant is part of Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they help pastors build relationships with experienced clergy who can serve as mentors and guide them through key leadership challenges in congregational ministry.
The grant to Gustavus will greatly expand the College’s Pastor-to-Pastor program to create a framework for professional development among clergy, known as the Continuous Growth Pathway program.
“Gustavus has been collaborating with pastors for 15 years to offer meaningful continuing education experiences for clergy. We are excited because this grant will bring to life the comprehensive leadership development structure the pastors have been envisioning and further increase the peer-to-peer support resources they need,” said the Rev. Grady St. Dennis, who serves as the Gustavus director of church relations and leader of the Continuous Growth Pathway program.
The program is unique in its ambitious plan to provide a comprehensive menu of resources for ELCA clergy from the Southeastern Minnesota and Southwestern Minnesota Synods that spans the spectrum of ministry experience from those in their first call to those who have been in pastoral ministry for decades.
“For pastors serving in southern Minnesota, most of the continuing education resources require driving long distances or are limited to an online experience. I am especially pleased that we will be able to bring so many additional resources to clergy serving in southern Minnesota,” St. Dennis said. “I am excited for what this support will mean not only for the pastors but also for the congregations they serve. We have seen that the more you surround the pastor with support and leadership development resources, the more likely the congregation expresses a sense of health and strength of community.”
Gustavus is strongly rooted in the ELCA tradition, and the Continuous Growth Pathway program will join such College offerings as a Daily Sabbath service, support for a variety of faith-based student groups, a new multifaith center, and the Gustavus Academy for Faith, Science, and Ethics, a camp for high school students that takes place each summer on campus.
Lilly Endowment is making nearly $70 million in grants through the Thriving in Ministry initiative to a total of 78 organizations located in 29 states. The organizations reflect diverse Christian traditions: mainline and evangelical Protestant, Roman Catholic and Orthodox. Thriving in Ministry is part of Lilly Endowment’s grantmaking to strengthen pastoral leadership in Christian congregations in the United States.
“Leading a congregation today is multi-faceted and exceptionally demanding,” said Christopher L. Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “When pastors have opportunities to build meaningful relationships with experienced colleagues, they are able to negotiate the challenges of ministry and their leadership thrives. These promising programs, including Gustavus’s Continuous Growth Pathway, will help pastors develop these kinds of relationships, especially when they are in the midst of significant professional transitions.”
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. While those gifts remain the financial bedrock of the Endowment, the Endowment is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion. The Endowment maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state Indiana. Its grantmaking in religion focuses on supporting efforts to strengthen the leadership and vitality of Christian congregations throughout the country and to increase the public’s understanding of the role of religion in public life.
A new book celebrates the life and legacy of Edgar M. Carlson, Gustavus Adolphus College’s legendary president, who served from 1944-1968. Bold Visions, Daring Dreams, authored by his daughter, 1964 Gustavus graduate Joanna Carlson Swanson, explores Carlson’s term at Gustavus as president and active theologian, his subsequent work for the Minnesota Private College Council, and his impact on higher education nationwide.
“Gustavus Adolphus College helped shape young Edgar Carlson into the leader he would become and today’s Gustavus has been forever shaped by the leader he was,” Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman said. “As a highly principled and respected theologian and educator, Dr. Carlson embodied the values of peace, excellence, inclusion, and faith, which we continue to live on campus every day.”
A 1930 graduate of Gustavus, Carlson continued his study at Augustana Seminary and earned the doctor of philosophy degree from the University of Chicago. It was under his watch as president that Gustavus developed the campus framework that generations of students and staff recognize today, including notable building projects such as Anderson Hall (originally the first library), the Nobel Hall of Science, and Christ Chapel. Other achievements involved a revitalization of the College’s connection with Sweden, the creation of the Nobel Conference, the implementation of the January Interim Experience, and a larger, more diverse student body.
For Swanson, writing the book introduced her to more complex facets of her father’s leadership as he guided the College. “There was such a close relationship between the Augustana Synod and the College. The Church was really committed to making a good college experience possible and was very generous,” she explains, noting that Carlson’s work as a theologian informed his leadership as president.
“He encouraged students and faculty to perform for the benefit of others, to seek the common good,” Swanson continues. “The area of theology that was most prominent when he was studying had to do with how God calls us into service. He believed that colleges of the Church provide an arena where people can gain education, insight, and skills to become effective in their vocations.”
Bold Visions, Daring Dreams goes on to recount Carlson’s leadership at the Minnesota Private College Council, where he advocated for student financial aid programs, including the Minnesota State Grant and the federal Pell Grant, and strategies to strengthen Minnesota’s private colleges.
“The book deals with the three worlds that he lived in: the church as a leading theologian and church leader, Gustavus as president, and higher education as an advocate, effective lobbyist, and visionary,” Swanson says. “It was my impression that most audiences knew some areas, but only some knew all.”
Carlson’s legacy on the Gustavus campus lives beyond his exceptional work – today the administration building bears his name, as does the College’s highest award for faculty teaching excellence.
“The College experienced transformational growth on his watch,” President Bergman said. “We are eternally grateful for the many ways he advanced the reputation and quality of a Gustavus Adolphus College education.”
Bold Visions, Daring Dreams retails for $24.95 and can be ordered online or purchased in the Gustavus Book Mark, located on the lower level of the Jackson Campus Center. All proceeds from the sale of the book will be directed to the College’s Edgar and Ebba Carlson Scholarship Fund and the Christ Chapel Endowment.
At age 15, Liz McCabe first stepped foot into a classroom as a volunteer, unaware that she was starting on the path that would lead her to become a teacher. Now, just six months after graduating from Gustavus Adolphus College, you will find Ms. McCabe balancing her duties as a teacher of 17 energetic first graders at Sunset Terrace Elementary in Rochester, Minn., with her studies as a master’s of education student at Winona State University.
McCabe always knew that she wanted to work with kids, but was not sure in what capacity until her volunteer experience as a teenager shed light on what would become her passion. A couple of years later, it was time for Liz to begin the college search. After a friend convinced her to visit the Gustavus campus, she was hooked. The tight-knit community made her feel right at home. With a career path in mind, the Sartell, Minn., native was ready to be a teacher and to call Gustavus home.
While she was at Gustavus, she loved being a Collegiate Fellow (CF) for two years. One of her fondest Gustie memories is ending summer break early to come back to campus for CF training, or what McCabe calls “the best summer camp for adults.” During her time in the residential life office, she learned how to take on new roles and balance being a student, teacher, role model, and confidant. When McCabe wasn’t in the classroom or reporting for duty in the residence halls, she could be found working in the advancement office or as a teaching assistant for Professor Michelle Rusinko in the theatre and dance department.
McCabe considers Rusinko the most influential person during her time at Gustavus. As a first-year student, she signed up for the First-Term Seminar (FTS) class called Tell Me a Story taught by Rusinko and later took the professor’s January Interim class on resilience. “I really fell in love with her work in resiliency,” McCabe said. “She is so wise, is a great mentor, and really inspired me throughout my years at Gustavus.”
After working diligently in the education program, McCabe was on track to graduate a year early. One of her goals was to earn her master’s in education, so she researched different programs and started applying. She found the Graduate Induction Program at Winona State University’ Rochester Campus, a one-year master’s program that involved teaching her own class full time at no cost, and knew she had to apply. She was one of only 16 students accepted into this selective program.
Throughout her time in the Gustavus education program, McCabe spent an ample amount of time in the field, working in different grade levels and at different schools, helping her to feel prepared when entering the Graduate Induction Program. “The Gustavus education program is great,” said McCabe. “I had a ton of field experience and I believe that you don’t become a good teacher through studying teaching, you become a good teacher through doing and practicing.”
Looking ahead, McCabe is excited to graduate with her master’s of science in education in July of 2019 at the age of 22. She attributes her success to hard work and a little bit of luck. McCabe is looking forward to continuing her career as an educator.
“Ever since I was 15, my favorite thing about teaching is seeing the students’ light bulb moment and witnessing the flash of pride on their faces,” said McCabe.