Monday Moments with President Bergman: December 11, 2017

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on December 11th, 2017 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Greetings from Stockholm, Sweden, where I have had the honor of representing Gustavus Adolphus College at the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony. It has been a pleasure to learn about the outstanding achievements of the 2017 Nobel Laureates in Physics, Chemistry, Physiology or Medicine, Literature, and Economic Sciences and to participate in the festivities surrounding the Nobel Prize awards.

As food for thought this week, I share selected comments from the Opening Address of the Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony, given by Professor Carl-Henrik Heldin, Chairman of the Board of the Nobel Foundation:

“Alfred Nobel dreamed of a better world and in many ways the world has become a better place since he wrote his will in the late 19th century. Thanks to scientific, cultural and economic developments, more people have the opportunity to fulfill themselves and to live long and rich lives. Scientific achievements have not only made new technologies possible, they have also given us a deeper understanding of how everything in our universe functions — from the stars to the cells in our bodies. Cultural advances have lessened the impact of prejudice and tradition. Economic growth has laid the groundwork for technological and social progress as well as material wealth. We now have societies where people are able to live the lives they desire to a degree the world has never seen before.

However, today we are seeing new threats against further progress. Science, rational thinking and the quest for knowledge are being questioned even in parts of the world where they have been taken for granted. Cross-border trade and cooperation are being resisted. Fundamental human rights are being ignored… All too many people are living under a constant threat of violence.

The values expressed in Alfred Nobel’s will are still relevant today. Humanistic values, critical thinking, the search for scientific facts and true knowledge must be the basis of our actions and decisions — both in our personal lives and in politics and business.

Alfred Nobel understood the power of good examples. In many ways, Nobel Laureates become role models and sources of inspiration. In the spirit of Alfred Nobel, we should all stand up to the challenges of our times and try to bring about change.

In times like these, schools are more important than ever… Above all, young people need solid knowledge and high-quality education to be able to contribute to the progress and improvement of our society. They need to learn how to meet others in discussion, to respect different views, and to find ways of jointly arriving at sensible conclusions. Being a teacher is an important task — one of the most important in our society today. Time after time, when Nobel Laureates are asked about what have been the vital influences in their lives, their research and their success, they recall a teacher who encouraged them to excel.”

These are inspiring words that are wonderfully aligned with our mission and vision at Gustavus.

With my highest regard for our teachers and a profound sense of responsibility we all share in educating our students,



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