As a fourth generation Gustie, Senior Kelsey Abele knew she would be attending Gustavus since the minute her family told her she wouldn’t be allowed at Thanksgiving if she broke the string of family that had wandered the college throughout the ages.
“I applied to other schools but I always knew I’d come here,” Kelsey said. “And I love it here. People toss around the word community a lot for Gustavus, but you literally walk on campus and you feel it.”
Touring the campus as a first-year, Kelsey appreciated the sense of community right away; noting the willingness of people to offer a single gesture of friendliness in a wave, something that didn’t happen often at other campuses she had toured. Now as a senior, she emulates that same sense of community she enjoyed as a first-year.
“As one of Kelsey’s speech coaches, I can say Kelsey is a true leader. She prioritizes the success of others before her own. She is dedicated to lifelong learning and has truly committed herself to gathering as much knowledge as possible while at Gustavus,” Associate Director of Forensics Cadi Kadlecek said. “If every person was even a fraction as passionate and committed to community as Kelsey is, we would all make a bigger, more positive impact on the world around us.”
As an art history and English double major, member of the speech team, G-Choir, Gustavus Ambassadors and KGSM, in which she co-hosts a radio show every Thursday with Senior Jon Warling, Kelsey has learned the value of prioritization throughout her four years of college.
“Kelsey has been a leader within the Gustavus community as a Gustavus Ambassador and member of the speech team,” Associate Professor Voice Area Coordinator in Music Patricia Snapp said. “She has tremendous focus and drive and a very strong work ethic.”
Kelsey believes that while everything she has been involved in has helped her grow, her involvement in speech has had the biggest impact in her life because of the sheer time commitment and passion it requires.
“I spend a lot of time with speech, so I’ve been inundated with the amount of information I’ve acquired,” Kelsey said. “In doing speech almost every weekend, from before school starts until April, a lot of time is put in so I’ve learned how to best interact with people on a daily basis outside of simply learning how to public speak or control a room.”
Last year at state, she won Public Oral Interpretation, received second in drama, fourth in Communication Analysis and fifth in duo. She also garnered enough points throughout the entire tournament to win the sweepstakes trophy as well. While she worked hard and was proud of her success, Kelsey says she finds more enjoyment in the success of the team as a whole.
“Gustavus Adolphus College is grounded in the liberal arts tradition and Kelsey epitomizes the College’s commitment to this paradigm,” Director of Forensics Kristofer Kracht said. “Because she is so humble and puts others first, she is one of the best kept secrets at Gustavus.”
When she finds free time, Kelsey loves to knit, read, sleep and spend time with friends.
“Her personality is a fiction writer’s dream,” Sophomore Emily Meyer said. “She’s funny, enthusiastic, energetic and sarcastic. But she’s also caring, generous, hardworking and kind.”
With a semester left, Kelsey wants to make the most of her time by appreciating those around her more.
“I want to enjoy my classmates and appreciate both their input as students of academia in the classroom and what they say after class more lightheartedly,” Kelsey said. “I have a semester left, I’m taking a lighter course load, so I want to spend my time I have left appreciating the people around me and the atmosphere.”
After Gustavus, Kelsey would like to attend graduate school to pursue communications studies where she will be able to help coach a speech team.
“Wherever she ends up, I’m sure she will have already changed numerous lives,” Meyer said. “She will most likely have it all figured out, because she always seems to. I know one thing for sure, she will be exactly where she wants to be and she will have worked for it.”