Dr. Ruth Lin: Orchestrating Excellence

As first-year Gusties settle into their classes, they should remember that they are not the only new faces on campus. Each year, Gustavus welcomes a handful of new faculty members. Assistant Professor of Music Ruth Lin is new to the music department. She will be conducting Gustavus’s orchestras.

Lin began playing the piano when she was five, immigrated to the United States when she was 10, and later attended Northwestern University.

“I came here with my family when I was 10. We had family that lived in the suburbs of Chicago, so that is where we went and settled. I taught at Iowa for two years,” Lin said.

While Lin has not been at Gustavus for a long time, she is excited to be here and likes what the college is about. “I’m a believer in liberal arts education. I think it makes you a well-rounded person. I think it’s a fantastic way for a young person to figure out what they would like to do for the rest of their life if they don’t know yet, and I think it gives them the critical thinking skills they need to succeed at whatever they choose to do later,” Lin said.

Lin is also excited about the strong music program here. “What I liked is that music plays a big role in campus life here. This is a place where music is thriving. From what I understand, one-third to one-half of the student population participates in music in one way or another. How exciting is that?” Lin said.

“I think the faculty [here] are very dedicated. I think they have the sincere desire to want to see their students do well, not only academically or musically, or both, but also they want to see them succeed as people and how they live their lives,” Lin said.

Lin hopes her students enjoy making music. “Not everyone in the world is going to become [a] performer, and that’s perfectly okay. But you can enjoy [music] because you understand the value and what it can offer for your life,” Lin said.

Students have already begun to notice Lin’s presence in the music department.

“She’s basically become a Gustie already,” Sophomore Music Performance Major Antonio Herbert said.

Herbert commented that Lin sent many e-mails to people interested in music auditions this summer and that she seemed to be very knowledgeable about the process. He also indicated that Lin was very well-received by students when she came to work with the orchestra last year, and that it will be beneficial to have a permanent conductor leading the orchestra.

“We’re really blessed to have a permanent conductor with us before we go on tour [next year],” Herbert said.

This year, Lin hopes to focus on a wide-range of musical styles. “My first goal is to make fantastic music. As a musician and conductor, that is my primary job,” Lin said. “This first year I am kind of taking as a me-getting-to-know-them and them-getting-to-know-me year. One of the ways we get to know each other is by playing a diverse repertoire. I don’t want us to focus too much on one period, or one composer or one style. The possibilities are endless. You don’t think about limitations when you are new.”

Lin encourages everyone to participate in music programs at Gustavus. “I want people to know this department is very open. It’s very friendly. It’s very welcoming. A lot of our students are not majors, and that seems to mesh just fine,” Lin said.

Apart from her musical interests, Lin is thinking about getting a dog, loves movies and would like to try her hand at skydiving.

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