Monday Moments with President Bergman: March 18, 2019

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on March 18th, 2019 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Over the weekend, I found myself thinking about news headlines and on-campus events from last week. It was a week of contrasts, and my thoughts kept circling back to the importance of our core values.

On Friday, two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand were the scene of a terrorist attack. Fifty people were killed and dozens more injured in their place of worship. We grieve with the Muslim community and our Muslim friends. A comment from a Christchurch Muslim community leader during an interview on CNN was particularly meaningful to me: “Muslims are no different than any other person. We love. We care. We work. We support… We are your neighbors…”

Last Tuesday, we heard about a college admission bribery and cheating scandal involving organizations, parents, and athletic coaches at numerous academic institutions. Federal authorities charged 50 people with taking part in this scheme to influence the admission process. I am grateful for the integrity of the Gustavus staff and our admission process.

Last Wednesday, I had an opportunity to speak to a group of high school students during a one day leadership event called Step Up that is organized by Chaplain Grady St. Dennis and the Office of Church Relations. I asked the students to describe someone they admire, including naming examples of what that person does, says, and shows to others. Common answers included being a good listener, being encouraging, and showing kindness. It was an affirming conversation.

Finally, on Friday night, I had the pleasure of attending Africa Night, an annual event held by the Gustavus Pan-Afrikan Student Organization. This year’s theme was Black Eminence: Celebrating Diversity and Commonality. The event included dance, song, poetry, and an impressive performance by Duniya Drum and Dance company. Alumni Hall was packed, and the evening was both thought provoking and inspirational.

How do these disparate events relate to our values? Community once again comes to the forefront for me. Communities can be shattered by violence and join hands to grieve and heal. Communities can love and respect their neighbors from all faith traditions. Communities can resolve to act with integrity and uphold a high standard of excellence in all their undertakings. Communities can recognize members who serve as positive role models for young people. Communities can come together to celebrate differences and commonalities across cultures and traditions.

This week, I encourage you to celebrate the Gustavus community. Take the opportunity to share what you appreciate about the people you work with here on the hill. We cannot ever take our community for granted — it is a wonderfully precious gift we give each other.

Until next week, keep up the good work, Gusties!

With respect,


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