Gustavus Campus News
A $10 million commitment from Gustavus Adolphus College alumnus Bob Peterson ’74 and his wife, Cindy, will provide funding for the expansion and renovation of the Nobel Hall of Science, which will break ground this spring, along with dedicated endowment funds that will allow the College to pursue the strongest academic students in the nation.
The gift commitment will provide a $5 million challenge fund to help raise the final gifts needed for the Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation project. Once the dollar-for-dollar challenge is met, a second $5 million commitment will be remitted to an endowment to support scholarships for National Merit Scholars.
“The Petersons’ generosity and vision ensure that Gustavus will continue to attract the most talented incoming students and provide them with the facilities and support they need to become professional, civic, and scientific leaders who inspire transformational change in the 21st century,” Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman said.
“There’s a momentum at Gustavus right now that’s exciting,” Peterson said. “I see positive things going on there every day and we’re privileged to be in a position to be a part of it.”
The first half of the gift commitment will be directed to the Nobel Hall of Science expansion and renovation project, an ambitious $70 million undertaking that will nearly double the size of the College’s laboratory science building and create a connection to Anderson Theatre to emphasize Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) learning.
Once the Nobel challenge is met with additional funding, the second $5 million will be directed to the Robert A. Peterson Distinguished Student Scholarship Fund, which the couple established in 2014 with a separate $1 million gift.
“This generous gift further solidifies our commitment to recruiting and supporting elite students,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas W. Young ’88 said. “Between top-tier scholarship funding and facilities that will be on par with the best in the nation, Gustavus will continue to prepare bright students for success well into the future.”
“We’re pleased to help close fundraising for the Nobel Hall project, but even happier to support high-caliber academics at the College through the National Merit Scholar program,” Peterson said. “To me, the Gustavus community is built around hardworking, dedicated faculty and staff with an overwhelming sense of commitment to students. Together, we can make a difference.”
Peterson, known by most of his Gustavus friends and classmates as “Stick” due to his slim build as an 18-year old freshman, graduated from Gustavus in 1974 with degrees in economics and environmental studies. After working for two years in the College’s business office, Peterson went on to earn his MBA in accounting at the University of Southern California. He worked for several years in public accounting, private bank management, and venture capital before entering the transportation industry. Since 1991, he has served as President and CEO of Melton Truck Lines, Inc., which started with 30 rented trucks and has grown to become one of the nation’s leading flatbed trucking companies, headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The $10 million commitment will push Gustavus to over $75 million raised since July in support of the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, the College’s 10-year 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.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
For many high school students, visiting campus is one of the most important parts of the college search and decision process. The opportunity to meet professors, eat in the cafeteria, and sit in on a class can make all the difference as they make one of the biggest choices of their lives. But for those who cannot travel to campus — or who just want to see Gustavus Adolphus College before visiting in person — there is a new interactive virtual tour that will introduce them to the Saint Peter, Minn. liberal arts college.
The tour includes 18 360-degree tour stops narrated by a virtual tour guide and includes supplemental video, pictures, and information to introduce prospective students to Gustavus. Developed by the Offices of Admission and Marketing & Communication in partnership with YouVisit, the tour can be accessed by computer, tablet, or phone and is also fully virtual reality compatible with a supporting headset.
“We’re excited to share the beauty of the Gustavus campus with a wide new audience through our virtual tour,” Associate Vice President and Dean of Admission Rich Aune said. “The ability to reach students on multiple platforms means that whether they’re just down the road or spread out across the world, future Gusties now have access to a dynamic visual introduction to Gustavus.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Civil Rights-era leader Joyce Ladner will give the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture at Gustavus Adolphus College on Monday, January 15 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. in Christ Chapel. The lecture is free and open to the public.
Titled “The Civil Rights Movement, Still Marching After All These Years,” Ladner’s lecture will include personal stories as a leader in the movement and reflections on work that is still needed in the United States. Her career has been shaped through her firsthand involvement with the civil rights movement and as a staff member that organized the March on Washington in 1963.
A native of Mississippi, Ladner began her fight for social justice as a teenager when she helped organize an NAACP Youth Chapter in her hometown. As a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), she was on the front lines of most of the major civil rights protests in the sixties including Greenwood, Birmingham, Albany, Selma, and other dangerous areas and was on the stage when Dr. Martin Luther King gave his “I Have A Dream” speech.
An eminent sociologist, Ladner has studied and interpreted the intersectionality of race, gender, and class. Her book, Tomorrow’s Tomorrow: The Black Woman was the first book published in African American Women’s Studies and is now an American classic. Her book, The Death of White Sociology, was a landmark work that challenged the value neutrality of mainstream sociology. She has published five additional books and numerous articles.
Ladner was a professor of sociology at Hunter College and the City University of New York Graduate Center, and Howard University. She also served as provost and interim president of Howard University. Ladner earned a BA from Tougaloo College and a PhD from Washington University, St. Louis. A former senior fellow in the Governance Studies Program at the Brookings Institution, she has appeared on nationally syndicated radio and television programs. Ladner is completing her memoir, titled Standing in the Gap: A Memoir of Resistance, Rebirth and Redemption, that captures the spirit of her 1960s generation of SNCC workers that challenged segregation and discrimination in the South, and changed the face of America.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
Gustavus Adolphus College professors Baker Lawley and Glenn Kranking were recently recognized with 2017 Innovative Teaching Awards, which were announced at the December Faculty Meeting. Sponsored by the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning and the Office of the Provost, the awards recognize faculty who are engaged in innovative pedagogical practices.
“Gustavus faculty regularly redesign their courses or their assignments to facilitate student learning using research-based methods and technologies,” political science professor and director of the John S. Kendall Center for Engaged Learning Alisa Rosenthal said. “These awards recognize just a few of the successful pedagogical innovations found throughout the curriculum, all of which are part of achieving the Gustavus vision of providing students an innovative liberal arts education of recognized excellence.”
Baker Lawley, associate professor of English, is the 2017 recipient of the Teaching Award for Innovative Course Design. In his ENG 350 course, Editing and Publishing, students serve as the editorial staff for the College’s semiannual on-campus literary magazine, Firethorne, as well as Razor, an online lit mag featuring professional writers from around the globe. The students in the class read submissions, establish criteria for publishing, and decide together which pieces will be featured in the publications. By working both in print and digital format, the students were exposed to different layout and design principles for each medium. Through their hands-on work in running the publications, students reported increased confidence in knowing how to apply their English and humanities skills in a variety of contexts.“I think it’s really important to engage students in Digital Humanities because it prepares students for the world they’re going into after college. Technology is already crucial, and will become even more so, so I enjoy helping students apply their humanities skills with new technological presentations and applications,” Lawley said. “I’ve enjoyed watching students apply their liberal arts educations in carefully thinking about content, design, and marketing of both Razor Lit Mag and Firethorne. Applying their skills and editing magazines to be read a real-world audience really makes them engage deeply in their work because they can see a tangible final product that goes beyond the classroom.”
Glenn Kranking, associate professor of history and Scandinavian Studies, won the Teaching Award for Innovative Assignment Design for a project students completed in his new course, We Want You! Propaganda and Persuasion in the Modern World (HIS 303). Throughout the semester, students worked to create and maintain a class website that showcases and analyzes examples of historical propaganda and created their own propaganda campaign to encourage student engagement in last year’s presidential election. Like Lawley’s course, Kranking’s class project gave students the opportunity to pair their liberal arts learning and analysis with skills such as website building, tagging and curating content, and balancing academic and general writing skills.“Incorporating a digital component into my courses makes my students contemplate a broader audience for their work. They are no longer simply writing for just their professor, but writing for the public. We often make assumptions about the computing abilities of our students, but incorporating technology into coursework potentially introduces them to new technologies and creates an environment for them to regularly use certain digital tools,” Kranking said.
The web-based project also makes for easier and more widespread collaboration, the students learned.
“Digital projects are open access, offering students the ability to share their research and perspectives with a much wider audience,” Kranking explained. “As an example, over the summer I received an email from someone in Spain who came across the site and offered an example to add to the collection of a recent political poster that drew direct inspiration from an early Soviet poster. The project is also intentionally a long-term project, with each subsequent offering of the course expanding the content, making it a dynamic resource and a platform to highlight the amazing work our students are doing.”
Both courses recognized incorporate the Digital Humanities, a focus across disciplines to work with students to integrate technology into lifelong learning through analysis and critical thinking. To learn more about the Digital Humanities at Gustavus, read the Gustavus Quarterly article on the initiative.
2017 was a busy year at Gustavus Adolphus College.
We continued to implement the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, made strides in national recognition of students, faculty, and programs, and benefited from the generosity of anonymous donors with two of the largest gifts in the history of the College. As the Gustavus community prepares to flip the calendar to 2018 and looks ahead to all the growth that the future holds, let’s take a moment to look back at the many successes of 2017…
The Hillstrom Museum of Art connected fine art with athletics through a unique event where Gustavus coaches and a student-athlete discussed artistic depictions of their sports in conjunction with an exhibit featuring works by LeRoy Neiman.
Dr. Jonathan Walton, a social ethicist and American religion scholar at Harvard University, gave the annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Lecture on Monday, January 16.
The College announced the new, donor-funded Trustee and Promise Scholarship programs for future Gusties with exceptional academic backgrounds.
Political science professor Kate Knutson’s January Interim Experience class, Inauguration Politics, was in Washington D.C. to learn about public policy, attend the inauguration, and meet with Gustavus alumni.
Thirty-eight students recently took part in an intensive, three-day boot camp at business locations across the Twin Cities through Gustavus Women in Leadership’s inaugural Business Boot Camp.
The Gustavus Department of Theatre and Dance presented Sweeney Todd.
Gustavus was ranked third in the nation among top liberal arts colleges for the number of faculty members who win Fulbright Scholar awards.
Three Gustavus seniors were named Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award semifinalists.
The 22nd annual Building Bridges Conference explored grassroots activism with keynote speakers Dr. Nekima Levy-Pounds and Winona LaDuke.
The Lindau Residency in Conservative Thought brought to campus leading Christian scholar and jurisprudence expert Dr. Robert George of Princeton University.
Judge Tanya Bransford ’80 returned to her alma mater to give the Christenson Lecture in Politics and Law.
The Virginia A. Groot Foundation awarded the College a $300,000 grant to support the development of a visiting artist-in-residence position in the Department of Art and Art History.
History professor Dr. Maddalena Marinari’s research on immigration was featured on Public Radio International and as part of the University of Minnesota’s #ImmigrationSyllabus.
Gustavus was named the best college in Minnesota according to Learn How to Become, a website that connects students with the resources they need to find the right school and be successful professionally.
Sophomore Keliyah Perkins was awarded a scholarship by the Jay and Rose Philips Family Foundation of Minnesota after developing a new program to benefit students in North Minneapolis.
Senior Laura Isdahl won a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award to teach in Malaysia during the 2017-2018 school year.
Katie Aney ’18, a biochemistry and mathematics double major, won the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and was selected to study at Harvard University through the summer through the Amgen Scholars program.
Chemistry professor Dr. Dwight Stoll received an Agilent Technologies Thought Leader Award to support his leadership of an international research team that is using two-dimensional liquid chromatography to explore biopharmaceutical applications.
Three Gustavus students were recognized by the Rossing Fund for Physics Education Endowment based on their exemplary standing as physics scholars.
Senior Tim Paczynski was selected from over 1,500 applicants as the Minnesota winner of the Fund for Education Abroad Scholarship.
The 37th annual MAYDAY! Peace Conference explored government surveillance and civic responsibility on Wednesday, May 3.
Gustavus Library Associates hosted Books in Bloom, an event featuring floral arrangements depicting a book, film, or other piece of the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library’s holdings.
Theatre professor emeritus Rob Gardner returned to Anderson Theatre to play the title role in King Lear.
Political science professor Jill Locke received the Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award and visiting professor of music Masayoshi Ishikawa won the Swenson-Bunn Award for Teaching Excellence at Honors Day.
The Gustie Entrepreneur Cup doubled in size and prize money in its third year of existence.
Senior Carolyn Del Vecchio becomes the second Gustie this year selected as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant award winner.
Senior Lily Benge Briggs served as the 2017 commencement speaker as 518 new graduates received their degrees on May 28.
Biology professor Dr. Pamela Kittelson was named the 2017 recipient of the Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching during the commencement ceremony.
Gustavus was named the best college in Minnesota by the New York Times’ College Access Index, which ranks commitment to economic diversity among the top colleges and universities in the country.
Gustavus celebrated its first-ever reunion weekend in early summer for graduating classes from 1947-2012.
Members of the Class of 2021 began their Gustavus journey with Gustie Gear-Up registration days.
The College announced the largest gift in Gustavus history – an anonymous $40 million commitment to support scholarships for talented students, capital improvements across campus, and provide a significant boost to operating funds by growing the College’s endowment.
Heroic Productions was named a Hermes Creative Awards Gold Winner for the 2016 livestream production of Christmas in Christ Chapel.
Students in communication studies professor Dr. Martin Lang’s “Perspectives on the News” course partnered with the Mankato Free Press to publish weekly installments of a media literacy project for regional audiences.
Gustavus welcomed the 613 new members of the Class of 2021 to the community on first-year move-in day.
The College commissioned a nationwide survey on attitudes towards male contraception in anticipation of the 53rd annual Nobel Conference.
Philosophy professor Dr. Peg O’Connor’s popular addiction blog on Psychology Today surpassed 1,000,000 total hits.
The College celebrated Homecoming: The Great Gustie Gathering on Saturday, September 28.
The 53rd annual Nobel Conference brought together experts from across the globe to discuss the topic of “Reproductive Technology: How Far Do We Go?”
The Department of Communication Studies celebrated 10 years of the signature course, “Public Discourse.” The department was also recognized by the American Association of Colleges and Universities as one of 22 programs across the nation to be honored for focusing on civic responsibility and engagement throughout the curriculum.
Chemistry professor Dr. Dwight Stoll was named one of the top ten separation scientists in the world by The Analytical Scientist. Of 100 individuals honored by the publication, Stoll is the only to work at a private liberal arts college instead of a research university or in industry.
Bruce Volek, Kelly Waldron, and Dr. Chris Gilbert were honored with outstanding employee awards at the annual Founders Day Celebration on October 31.
Give to Gustavus Day raised over $417,000 for the Gustavus Fund and was highlighted by a 12-hour livestream from campus.
The Gustavus Society of Physics Students was awarded the Blake Lilly Prize for community engagement.
The biennial A Royal Affair gala hosted by Gustavus Library Associates raised funds for scholarships for first-generation college students and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library Endowment on November 11.
Gustavus announced the new Arthur L. Johnson Research Fellowship, which will be awarded to 10 incoming students next fall to use for a collaborative summer research experience with a Gustavus faculty member.
Political science professor Dr. Chris Gilbert partnered with seniors Alex Jensen and Joe Cella to author a chapter in God at the Grassroots 2016: The Christian Right in American Politics.
For the first time, Christmas in Christ Chapel aired on PBS affiliates across the country throughout the holiday season.
The College announced an incredible $25 million grant that will endow the new Center for Career Development, support capital projects, and provide scholarship funding for talented students.
The 45th annual Christmas in Christ Chapel worship services were attended by over 5,000 people on campus and viewed by thousands more across the globe during Saturday night’s livestream.
The annual Winds of Christmas chapel service featured the Gustavus Wind Orchestra and the Gustavus Wind Symphony.
St. Paul native Joy Dunna was named the 2017 St. Lucia at the Festival of St. Lucia on Thursday, December 7.