On Friday, Sept. 27, Gustavus launched its largest campaign in the College’s history with a goal of $225 million dollars.
The announcement, which was first made at the annual Homecoming Weekend Alumni Awards Banquet, held this year in Lund Arena. While the first part of the night was focused on celebrating distinguished alumni for their achievements, the second half focused on the future of the College.
The campaign’s motto, “Show the World,” was chosen deliberately, with the three words carrying a lot of meaning.
“Note that it’s not ‘tell the world’,” Gustavus President Rebecca Bergman said during Friday’s campaign launch dinner. She noted that Gusties don’t need to brag, our actions speak for us. Vice President for Marketing and Communication Tim Kennedy echoed this sentiment.
“In the past, we’ve held this humble, Swedish- Lutheran attitude of letting our actions speak for our words. It’s time to show the world that Gustavus is among the best private liberal arts colleges in the country,” Kennedy said.
The campaign was first announced to a crowd of faculty, student ambassadors, and distinguished alumni on Friday before being announced publicly to the greater Gustavus community.
The ‘Show the World’ campaign is built around three main ideas: to equip, energize, and elevate the College.
“We equip students to lead purposeful lives through exceptional opportunities to learn, grow, and serve. Our campus is energized by the power of progress as we move forward together. We have elevated our vision for the future by creatively redefining the liberal arts and finding innovative ways for students to broaden their minds through global experience and hands-on learning,” Vice President for Advancement Thomas Young said.
The first idea, equip, highlights the College’s goal of attracting a talented and diverse student body and meeting the financial need of all admitted students.
The second word, energize, is about providing everyone across the Gustavus campus the resources they need to be successful. This goal coincides with the Nobel renovation and the upcoming Lund Center expansion and renovation. Lund Center originally opened in 1984, but has not kept up with the demands of the modern health-conscious student.
The final focus of the campaign, elevate, is about bettering the College in ways that will make it competitive when compared to other private liberal arts colleges. A big part of this goal is growing the College’s endowment to better match those of comparable colleges.
Young also weighed in on the goal of elevating the College.
“The ‘elevate’ portion of the campaign means raising the national profile of the College. The ‘Show the World’ campaign is an opportunity for Gustavus to no longer be the best-kept secret in Southern Minnesota: it’s time for us to shine,” Young said.
The total fundraising goal of $225 million is no random number: the Office of Advancement carefully reviewed the results of previous campaigns and decided how they wanted to proceed.
“A campaign goal really is an assessment of the fundraising capacity of an institution. Our challenge for the Advancement Office and alumni was to think bigger and bolder. An increase of 75 million [from the last campaign] was a way to stretch the college’s dreams.”
This campaign is being led by the Office of Advancement, with support from other offices across the college, and has already raised $155 million.
This amount includes three of the largest gifts in Gustavus’ history: $40 for the Nobel expansion and renovation, $25 million that included $10 million for career development, and $10 million for Nobel Hall and scholarships for National Merit Scholars.
“Through this comprehensive campaign, Gustavus has the opportunity to successfully achieve bold, strategic initiatives and fully prepare our students for lives of leadership and service. As a result of this fundraising effort, Gustavus will raise the College’s national reputation, provide greater access to a diverse and talented student body, continue to attract and retain top-notch faculty members, and support our important day-to-day work of equipping students to act on the great challenges of our time,” President Bergman said.
For current students, this campaign shows just how many people are willing to support their education at this institution.
“My hope is that the students understand that there are 28,000 alumni, parents, and friends cheering them on and supporting them through their Gustavus journey. It’s an awesome place,” Young said.