Monday (Tuesday!) Moments with President Bergman: May 26, 2020

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College employees each week.
Posted on May 26th, 2020 by

Congratulations, team Gustavus! We did it! This week marks the close of the 2019-20 academic year, and it has been a year that will be remembered in the College history books.

Thank you to the 265 faculty and staff who tuned in for the first-ever Gustavus virtual town hall meeting last Thursday. I started and ended the meeting with a sincere and heartfelt THANK YOU to all Gustavus employees for your courage, resilience, and persistence as we navigated the COVID-19 pandemic. The slides from the meeting will be posted on the Human Resources website, but here are the key headlines, in case you were unable to attend:

  • Enrollment for the 2020-21 academic year is looking good. Our deposits for the Class of 2024 are about the same as a year ago, and our goal of 650 new students is within reach. The incoming class is academically strong and more diverse than any previous class. We are keeping an eye more closely than usual on possible summer withdrawals or deferrals, but overall we remain optimistic. Special thanks go to our Admission and Financial Aid teams, our coaches, conductors, and faculty, and many others for your help in recruiting prospective students.
  • COVID-19 has had a significant financial impact on Gustavus and all higher education institutions. Room and food refunds and credits to our students means that we will end the 2019-20 academic year with a financial loss, which will be offset in part by the Federal CARES Act funding we have been granted by the federal government. We are closely watching our budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year, and we will continue to need everyone’s help to carefully monitor expenses during what we know will be a tight budget year. The good news is that Gustavus is in a solid financial position, and I am confident that we will successfully weather through this challenging time.
  • The Nobel Hall renovation and construction project is on time and on budget, and we expect that the project will be completed and ready for move-in by late July. It is shaping up quickly now, and you can look forward to seeing a stunningly beautiful Nobel Hall in the fall. With the help of architects, we are proceeding with preparation of construction documents for the Lund Center expansion and renovation project. And, as usual, a variety of deferred maintenance projects will be proceeding on campus throughout the summer.
  • A COVID-19 Response Leadership Team and 12 Action Teams have been formed to develop strategies and plans to safely welcome students on campus in September. Many thanks to all those who have volunteered to serve on these teams. We will provide updates to employees and students as plans take shape through the summer.

Our community has been able to stand strong through a daunting challenge this spring because we have committed people, a common purpose, and shared values. Our primary focus has been on maintaining core operations and ensuring that our students successfully complete their academic coursework through online teaching and learning. You leaned in and got the job done, and it has been amazing to watch it happen. Through it all, you cared for our students and for each other in ways that only a close-knit community can do. I am proud of our accomplishments, and I am grateful for your work.

In a note to students that I sent this afternoon, my closing thoughts include the following words. I want our employees to read them, because they apply to you too.

“The future is bright for Gustavus, and the future is bright for society, because of people like you…

You’ll hear from me again soon. In the meantime, take a few days to relax. Tell your families and friends that you love them. Breathe deep. Stay safe.”
Together we have come to the end of another academic year. I am filled with gratitude for all you do.

Yours in community,



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