While October 31 is considered by most to be a day filled with tricks and treats, for our Gustavus community, it is also a day of heritage, service and recognition.
Commemorating the dedication of Old Main in 1876 and the college’s relocation to Saint Peter, Founder’s Day not only pays tribute to the longevity of the institution, but also to the dedicated staff that have made it so.
While Gustavus has expanded and changed over the 143 years since the original dedication, its values and commitment to education have remained the same.
In light of these values, Founder’s Day is an opportunity to recognize three outstanding employees during the daily chapel service with distinct awards for their contribution to the college.
These awards are given by the president after nominations and recommendations are given from the Gustavus community.
The recipients are selected based on specific examples of outstanding service within their responsibilities at Gustavus.
The Augusta Carlson Schultz Award is named in honor of one of the first and youngest employees of the Gustavus Dining service.
In the late 1800s, sixteen-year-old Augusta Carlson Schultz contributed to the success of the college with dedication to the spirit of service. This award recognizes a support staff employee who exemplifies the same commitment that she did.
This year, The Augusta Carlson Schultz Award was presented to Scott Meyer, a Campus Safety officer since 1998.
Meyer fulfills his responsibilities with a friendly and kind-hearted spirit. He is described by his colleagues as a hard-worker and a good listener who executes his tasks with tact and wisdom.
The Erik Norelius Award recognizes an outstanding administrative employee.
Named after the founder and the first teacher at the college, this employee embodies the same dedication to service and vision that Norelius did to uphold Gustavus’ values while constantly seeking improvement.
Heather Dale, a Gustavus employee since 2008, received the Erik Norelius Award this year.
Dale currently serves as the Director of Health Services and Assistant Dean of Students. Dale has led her office in making health opportunities more accessible on campus, including employee health services, health insurance coverage for all students and increased mental health support with Learn to Live.
The Faculty Service Award is the highest accolade a Gustavus faculty member can receive for distinguished contributions through service activities on campus.
Nominations for this award can be given by anyone in the college community to a faculty member who has exhibited accomplishments in their academic department and field and has demonstrated leadership through specific initiatives that enhance the college’s programs and goals.
Dr. Tom LoFaro is the 2019 recipient of the Faculty Service Award. LoFaro has been the Clifford M. Swanson Professor of Mathematics since 2000.
LoFaro has also served as the director of the Rydell Professorship, as a College Harassment Grievance Officer, as chair and co-chair of the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics and on numerous other faculty committees.
Recently, he served as co-chair of the college’s Curriculum Committee for the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan during its development and adoption as its new General Education curriculum will be implemented next year.
“It’s great to have the hard work I put into the curriculum development recognized by the college and the faculty,” LoFaro said.
Additionally, he will serve as co-chair of the 2021 Nobel Conference, “Big Data”.
The Nobel Conference itself is a key example of a tradition that recognizes the foundation of the College on academic excellence and service to the greater community while also striving for innovation, the same qualities that are exemplified by the employees honored on Founder’s Day.
In her Founder’s Day homily at the daily chapel service, President Bergman reminded everyone that not only is October 31 a day of recognition of tradition and service, but it is also a day of gratitude.
“Today, we pause with a deep sense of gratitude toward the generations of teachers and learners who came before us, and to all those here today who are dedicated to our core values of excellence, community, justice, service, and faith,” Bergman said.
Each Founder’s Day, the Gustavus community is called on to not only recognize and be grateful to those who have served for the betterment of the College, but to also think of how this appreciation can continue to embody the foundational values of this institution.
“Thank you, Scott, Heather, and Tom, for your devotion to the gift of service. Let’s all honor these well deserving recipients of our 2019 service awards once more with our enthusiastic acclaim and with hearts filled with gratitude for their presence in our community,” Bergman said.