Monday Moments with President Bergman: September 13, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on September 13th, 2021 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Good morning, Gusties, and welcome to the first Monday Moments message of the 2021-22 academic year!

The first week of classes is behind us, and we are off and running on what I am confident will be an exceptional year. With great enthusiasm, we welcome 590 new students to Gustavus. We celebrate a return to campus life that is much more “normal” than one year ago. Yes, we are still dealing with COVID-19, and we will continue to carefully monitor the ever-evolving situation regarding the pandemic in our community. The good news is that 92% of both students and employees are vaccinated, and that number keeps slowly increasing. This high vaccination rate, along with weekly testing and ongoing adherence to safe practices, are the key elements of our strategies to prevent a surge of cases in our community. Thank you to everyone for continuing to ROAR!   

At the Opening Convocation last Tuesday, which marked the beginning of the 160th Academic Year at Gustavus Adolphus College, I spoke about our mission statement. If you were not able to attend, I encourage you to read the mission statement slowly and deliberately, from beginning to end, this week.  A mission statement, by definition, should clearly state why an organization exists. The Gustavus mission statement, in particular, answers three important questions:

  • Who are we?
  • Who do we serve and what do we offer them?
  • What is our purpose?

There is a lot packed into our mission statement—205 words (yes, I counted them) that define us, and 205 words to live by. Our mission creates a sense of unity for our community. It serves as a common calling that propels us forward. It reminds us that our purpose revolves around our students—providing them with a liberal arts education of recognized excellence so that they are prepared to lead fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. This sounds like an ambitious and grandiose goal, doesn’t it? And students, keep in mind that this four-year journey is a partnership. Your job is to lean in, actively engage in learning and growing, and take every aspect of your educational opportunity very seriously.  

An organization is a group of people who work together to pursue a shared purpose. At the core of every organization are its people—people who come together from diverse backgrounds and with a myriad of talents and skills to achieve more than any one individual could do alone. A mission-driven organization takes that concept and goes one step further. The people in a mission-driven organization are deeply committed to their cause and determined to make the world a better place. A mission-driven organization has a heart. Its people not only work together, they care about each other and support each other in pursuit of the organization’s goals. This is us. This is Gustavus.

Over the course of this academic year, I plan to regularly return to our mission statement, unpack the three questions above, and discover how our core values are embedded throughout the statement. I invite you to join me on the journey.  

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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