On November 27, 2017, President Rebecca M. Bergman announced that a new and expanded career development program would launch at Gustavus Adolphus College due to a very generous and anonymous $25 million grant.
Not only will the grant help provide an exceptional career development center, but it will also provide substantial funding for scholarships, financial aid, and capital projects at Gustavus.
The generous gift is from a donor-advised fund which was established by a Gustavus alumni couple with a strong history of engagement with the College.
“The donors, a Gustavus alumni couple who wish to be anonymous, worked with representatives from the the college to identify places of intersection between their philanthropic interests and the college’s needs. Ultimately the generous donors decided that supporting scholarships for Gusties, the Career Center, and capital projects was what they wished to do for Gustavus,” Gustavus Dean of Students, JoNes VanHecke said.
The grant is also made in support of the bold 10-year plan here at Gustavus.
The college describes the 10-year plan as a “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.”
The grant itself focuses on several essential areas within the new Acts Strategic plan.
“We received this generous gift because of the good work of our College Advancement team and the generous hearts of alumni!” Director of Career Development, Cynthia Favre said.
$10 million of the grant will be used to endow the Gustavus Center for Career Development in support of student vocation and readiness.
“In Career Development we expect to receive $2 million a year for five years into an endowment fund. This means that Career Development will have access to the income of those endowment funds,” Favre said.
The college aims for all students to engage in a thorough and extensive four-year career development process by the year of 2025.
Gustavus hopes that in the future, students will take part in career-relevant engaged learning experience as well as develop a working relationship with a specialist in a career interest cluster in the career office.
Most importantly, this grant will allow for the college’s career staff to work one-on-one with all students over their four-years at Gustavus.
“As an office, we are elated to be granted this opportunity. As a team, we understand the importance of this gift and its goal. We are eager to continue supporting our students with the intent of being strategic and purposeful about how we engage and assist all students as they explore and pursue their personal and professional goals, from their first day on campus, and each day going forward, Franta said.
The Career Development staff has plans and ideas of what they want to do with the resources that will be made available.
“We plan to work on developing Career Interest Clusters communities, expanding the Mentoring Program, and expanding relationships with employers. We are also eager to have student input in our planning, so we plan to ask students what they would find helpful,” Favre said.
The office is also planning to enhance areas of the center eagerly.
“One of the main areas we are eagerly enhancing is the mentorship program which is already off to a successful start with over 200+ individual student and mentor matches. We also plan to enhance a four-year career engagement strategy and guide for all students focused on key areas of personal and professional exploration, experiential learning and career path engagement. Finally, we plan to create multiple and repeat opportunities for engagement with our career specialists and business partners representing each of the seven career clusters,” Career Development Specialist, Jess Franta said.
The generous gift will allow the Center of Career Development to grow along with many new opportunities that the staff is excited about.
“Our office is incredibly excited to strengthen our efforts of developing professional programming to all students and employer engagement across all career clusters. We see this amazing gift as wonderful opportunity to examine what our students need truly and how can we support each individual’s professional goals toward living a purposeful life,” Franta said.
It will be exciting to watch these changes and improvements take place on campus throughout the next few years.
“I am grateful for this generous gift to Career Development and am excited about the opportunities it will provide for the students at Gustavus,” Career Development Specialist, Laura Diaz said.
As well as the $10 million allocated towards Career Development, $5 million will be earmarked for capital projects on campus and another $10 million to endowments for scholarships and financial aid.
The $5 million for capital projects on campus will go towards the expansion and advancement of the Nobel Hall of Science.
It will also help update the athletic facilities on campus.
“I am very grateful for the generous hearts of alumni who are giving this gift to current and future Gusties! It is wonderful that Career Development will have on-going resources to develop programs and initiatives to support students in naming their gifts and talents and finding ways to act on the great challenges of our time,” Favre said.
The Gustavus community is very grateful for this incredible gift.
“As the Dean of Students, I am so excited about what this means for Gustavus students. Building on the Career Cluster Specialist approach that was implemented a year and a half ago, this grant will allow the college to provide more one-on-one assistance to individual students throughout their college to career transition. Further, because it is endowed funds, it provides that crucial student support into perpetuity. That is truly exciting!” VanHecke said.