Gustavus Adolphus College: Wikis


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Gustavus Adolphus College
Old Main at Gustavus Adolphus College
Motto E Caelo Nobis Vires (Latin, "Our Strength Comes From Heaven")[1]
Established 1862
Type Private liberal arts
Endowment $83.9 million[2]
President Jack R. Ohle
Faculty 170 full-time, 94% tenure-track faculty. 13:1 student/faculty ratio. Average class size 17.
Students Approximately 2,600
Location St. Peter
Campus 1.38 square kilometres (340 acres)
Colors Black and Gold
Nickname "Golden Gusties"
Mascot "Gus," the Lion
Affiliations MIAC, ELCA

Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America located in St. Peter, Minnesota, United States. A coeducational, four-year, residential institution, it was founded in 1862 by Swedish Americans. To this day the school closely identifies with its Swedish heritage, which has motivated the institution to develop a Scandinavian Studies program and ties to the Nobel Foundation. The premier event on campus is the Nobel Conference, which features Nobel-Prize-winning speakers and other world-renowned scholars explaining their expertise to a general audience.


Mission and values

The college presents its mission as tied to the fact that it “is a church-related, residential liberal arts college firmly rooted in its Swedish and Lutheran heritage.” While the institution offers many majors, the school also presents itself as a place where “students are encouraged to work toward a just and peaceful world.” Many students are involved in volunteer work, and service learning is integrated into many of the courses on campus. Through such techniques, the institution realizes its self-stated core values of (1) Excellence, (2) Community, (3) Justice, (4) Service, and (5) Faith. [3]




View of the campus c. 1905

The college was founded in 1862 as a Lutheran parochial school at Red Wing by Eric Norelius, pastor. Originally named Minnesota Elementar Skola (elementary school in Swedish), it moved the following year to East Union, an unincorporated town in Dahlgren Township. In 1865, on the 1,000th anniversary of the death of St. Ansgar, known as the "Apostle of the North", the institution was renamed and incorporated as St. Ansgar's Academy.


In May 1873, the college was renamed Gustavus Adolphus Literary & Theological Institute in honor of King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. On October 16, 1876, it opened as Gustavus Adolphus College at the current location, enticed to relocate to St. Peter by the town's offer of $10,000 and a large campus. Gustavus is the oldest of several Lutheran colleges in Minnesota. It was founded as a college of the Augustana Evangelical Lutheran Church. In 1962 it became a college of the Lutheran Church in America, when the Augustana Synod merged into that body. The Lutheran Church in American merged in 1988 to create the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Founding of the Nobel Conference

The annual Nobel Conference was established in the mid-1960s when college officials asked the Nobel Foundation for permission to name the new science building the Alfred Nobel Hall of Science as a memorial to the Swedish inventor, Alfred Nobel. Permission was granted, and the facility's dedication ceremony in 1963 included officials from the Nobel Foundation and 26 Nobel Laureates. Following the 1963 Nobel Prize ceremonies in Stockholm, college representatives met with Nobel Foundation officials, asking them to endorse an annual science conference at the College and to allow use of the Nobel name to establish credibility and high standards. At the urging of several prominent Nobel laureates, the foundation granted the request, and the first conference was held at the college in January 1965.

Presidents of the college

  • Eric Norelius, 1862-63, Founder
  • Andrew Jackson, principal 1863-73, acting principal 1874-76
  • John J. Frodeen, principal 1873-74
  • Jonas P. Nyquist, 1876-81
  • Matthias Wahlstrom, 1881-1904
  • Peter A. Mattson, 1904-11
  • Jacob P. Uhler, acting president 1911-1913, 1927
  • Oscar J. "O.J." Johnson, 1913-42
  • Walter Lunden, 1942-43
  • O.A. Winfield, acting president 1943-44
  • Edgar M. Carlson, 1944-1968
  • Albert Swanson, acting president 1968-69
  • Frank Barth, 1968-75
  • Edward A. Lindell, 1975-80
  • Abner W. Arthur, acting president 1980-81
  • John S. Kendall, 1981-91
  • Axel D. Steuer, 1991-2002
  • Dennis J. Johnson, interim president 2002-03
  • James L. Peterson, 2003-08
  • Jack R. Ohle, 2008-


  • On January 8, 1970, the Auditorium was completely gutted by a fire.
  • On March 29, 1998, the College's campus was hit by a mile-wide F3 tornado that broke 80 percent of the windows, leveled nearly 2,000 trees, toppled the chapel's spire, and caused more than $50 million in damages. This event is considered to be one of the most expensive college disasters in history. There was only one death (not a Gustavus student), despite the tornado's widespread path; this is most likely because most of the college was on spring break at the time. Hundreds of volunteers worked to get the campus back into a condition where the students could return after a three-week hiatus. Still, students were forced to attend some classes in FEMA trailers as some on-campus buildings were too severely damaged.


A bust of Gustav II Adolf of Sweden on campus

Gustavus Adolphus is currently ranked among the best 100 national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Gustavus moved up eight places from 88th to 80th in the 2009 rankings.[citation needed] Students choose from over 70 programs of study with 75 majors in 24 academic departments and three interdisciplinary programs (including 14 honors majors), ranging from physics to religion to Scandinavian studies. The College's Writing Across the Curriculum program fosters writing skills in all academic disciplines. Since 1983, the college has had a chapter of the academic honor society Phi Beta Kappa. The school operates Curriculum II, an interdisciplinary general education program. Recently the college instituted a test-optional admission policy, making it the first private college in Minnesota to forgo the ACT/SAT score requirement on its application.


The campus features science facilities, computer and language labs, and a large, new dining facility. The college's Christ Chapel, which seats 1500 people, stands in the center of campus. Gustavus' first building in St. Peter, affectionately known as "Old Main", originally housed the entire college. Major renovations to the building have recently been completed. The campus is landscaped with over $320 million worth of vegetation,{cn}} and is graced by 33 sculptures by the late Minnesota sculptor, Paul Granlund, an alumnus of the college who for many years was sculptor-in-residence. Every tree indigenous to Minnesota is grown in the Linnaeus Arboretum.

Notable buildings

Christ Chapel, built in 1959-1961

Campus life

The majority of the college's 2,600 students (known as "Gusties") live in dormitories on campus, in college-owned houses, and theme areas, such as the Carlson International Center, PLEDGE substance-free housing, and the Swedish House.


Many musical ensembles perform throughout the year, including the Gustavus Choir, the Choir of Christ Chapel, the Lucia Singers, the Gustavus Adolphus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Jazz Band, etc. Theater is another part of "Gustie Life", with shows every fall and spring and a musical every other year. There are also two art galleries on campus, the Hillstrom Museum of Art and the Schaefer Art Gallery. The college's dining service includes a cafeteria, the Market Place. The Princeton Review ranked Gustavus 8th in its "Best Campus Food" category for 2009.


Gustavus is a member of the MIAC. Key sports at the college are tennis, swimming, golf, and soccer. The school's team name is the Golden Gusties with its mascot a lion because Gustavus Adolphus was known as "The Lion of the North." Gustavus has had three players drafted in the NFL Draft, Russ Buckley in 1940, and Kurt Ploeger in 1985.

Varsity sports



The Gustavus women's softball team placed third in the NCAA Division III national tournament in 2009. The Gustavus men's hockey team placed second in the NCAA Division III national tournament in 2009. The Gustavus soccer team finished second in the NCAA Division III national tournament in 2005 — led in part by three-time all American Robert "Bobby" Kroog. In 2003 the Gustavus men's basketball team finished second in the NCAA Division III national tournament. In the middle of the twentieth century, the Gustavus football team was coached by long-time coach/AD Moose Malmquist. Both the men's and women's swim teams achieved top 10 finishes at NCAA Division III Nationals. In 2008, the men's and women's teams finished first in the conference. In addition, the women's hockey team has placed third and fourth at the last two NCAA national tournaments. The men's team made it to the 2009 NCAA final.

Directors' Cup

Gustavus placed 8th in the 2008-09 Learfield Sports Directors' Cup standings. The Directors' Cup is the only all-sports competition in intercollegiate athletics.[citation needed] In Division III, standings are based on national tournament finishes in 18 sports. In 2002-03 Gustavus placed a school-best sixth in the Directors' Cup standings.


Gustavus Adolphus College is home to several publications and broadcasters:

  • The Gustavian Weekly, first published in 1891, is the campus newspaper and its oldest medium. * Firethorne is an arts and literary magazine published twice per year. Students submit short stories, poetry, creative nonfiction, photography, visual art, or other creative content.
  • KGSM is a webcast only radio station operated entirely by students. The station recently upgraded its studio to improve the quality of its webstream and added a digital audio workstation.
  • The newest campus media outlet is GAC TV. Started by a group of students interested in bringing television broadcasting to campus, GAC TV became an instant success when students started watching the weekly show before free on-campus films.
  • The Gustavian Yearbook publishes a yearbook for each class.
  • TV broadcasts from Gustavus are released over Internet II.
  • An alumni magazine, the Gustavus Quarterly, features articles of interest to graduates.

Notable alumni

"Old Main" – the school relocated from East Union upon completion of this building in 1876
See also Category:Gustavus Adolphus College alumni

See also


External links

Coordinates: 44°19′25″N 93°58′18″W / 44.3235555°N 93.971738°W / 44.3235555; -93.971738


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