Monday (Tuesday) Moments with President Bergman: October 1, 2019

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on October 1st, 2019 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

I intended to email you yesterday with a recap of last week’s successes, celebrating the Nobel Conference, the Board of Trustees meeting, our Alumni Awards Banquet and launch of the Show the World campaign, and a well-attended Homecoming weekend.

All of those things, while important, felt decidedly less so when I got the word early yesterday morning that another student had passed away. The tragic deaths of sophomore Joshua Birchem and first-year Alex Sarlis have affected each of us in different ways. Some of us had these young men in class, or supported them in residential life, or served them in the cafeteria. Some of us didn’t know them personally but were nonetheless impacted by the news that a student had died.

In a community as interwoven as ours, each person holds a special place in the life of the College. When someone leaves us unexpectedly, the shockwave of their sudden absence echoes through departments and offices, across teams and ensembles, and all throughout the campus. Each of us chose to work at a liberal arts college because of a calling–a calling to educate, to support, to challenge, and to help students grow.

As we mourn the loss of these promising young people, I ask you to join together in supporting your students and colleagues who are grieving. Remember how strongly we value our caring community of faculty, students, and staff. It is our charge to guide students in learning, to open their minds and nurture their dreams, and to encourage them as they navigate the sometimes tumultuous journey that is growing up.

I am deeply grateful to each of you for the good work that you do. If you need support during this difficult time, please contact your supervisor or the Office of the Chaplains to be connected with resources.

Take care of each other, Gusties.



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