On October 1, the state of Minnesota, the city of St. Peter and the Gustavus community celebrated Gustavus Adolphus College Day (not to be confused with Gustavus Adolphus Day, which is celebrated on November 6, each year in Sweden, Estonia and Finland). The day, which was also Gustavus’ homecoming, began with the dedication of Beck Academic Hall, the first new academic building at Gustavus in over twenty years.
President Jack Ohle kicked off the dedication, going into detail about the work that went into the planning and building of Beck Academic Hall, thanking each of the people who played a major role in the process. He discussed the importance of Beck Academic Hall, stating that over one half of the students at Gustavus will major in one of the departments in the new building. He also announced the kickoff of Campaign Gustavus, a fundraising campaign with a goal of raising $150 million in the next four years.
President Ohle was followed by Provost and Dean of the College Mark Braun. Braun discussed the importance of Beck Academic Hall to Gustavus, before inviting Psychology Department Chair and Associate Professor Jennifer Ackil to say a few words, due to the large role she played in the building’s development. Professor Ackil started by quoting Winston Churchill, who said during World War II, “First we shape our buildings, then they shape us.”
At the conclusion of her remarks, Professor Ackil said, “We have shaped our building and now it will shape us.” Following Professor Ackil, Senior Mathematics Major Chloe Radcliffe gave a short speech, discussing Beck Academic Hall from the students’ perspective and how important the building is to the students of Gustavus. After Radcliffe’s speech, Chair of the Gustavus Board of Trustees Mark Bernhardson approached the podium and recognized Warren and Donna Beck for their support and contribution. He remarked that the Becks have supported Gustavus for years with grace and passion and revealed that the gift the Becks donated to Gustavus was the largest in the college’s history.
The Becks were then invited to speak to the assembly. They stated that they had the opportunity to support Gustavus and hoped that their gift would encourage others to continue supporting the college.
Following their speech, Reverend Ron Anderson gave a Litany and Prayer and President Ohle returned to the podium. He made his final statements, including a thank-you to George and Shirley Torrey for donating money for the Beck Hall atrium. The ceremony closed with the ribbon-cutting.