Monday Moments with President Bergman: November 8, 2021

Gustavus President Rebecca M. Bergman shares her thoughts with College students, faculty, and staff each week.
Posted on November 8th, 2021 by

President Rebecca M. Bergman

Today I want to return to the Gustavus mission statement and continue to reflect on how it shapes our community. Recall that our mission statement answers three important questions:

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

I want to draw your attention to the second question and think about who we serve. The simple answer is this – Gustavus Adolphus College serves its students. Our students are our focus and our number one priority. Full stop. The mission statement says it this way: “The College offers students of high aspiration and promise a liberal arts education of recognized excellence…”

Gusties, from the day that you arrived on campus, we have seen you as students with high aspiration and promise. We encourage you to have big dreams and grand ambitions. We believe you have the potential to achieve great success. Being aspirational is a positive quality that pushes you forward to fully embrace this learning environment and the opportunities it affords you to become your very best self. Being aspirational means setting high expectations for yourself and reaching for excellence in all aspects of your college journey. Your professors, conductors, coaches, supervisors, and staff are all here to challenge, guide, encourage, and support your learning and growth. We are committed to providing you with the knowledge, skills, and tools that will enable you to set your plans and achieve your goals.

Over the weekend, we saw two public examples of excellence achieved by groups of students of high aspiration and promise in music and athletics. Our band ensembles – the Gustavus Chamber Winds, the Gustavus Wind Symphony, and the Gustavus Wind Orchestra – presented their fall band concert on Saturday evening. It was a showcase of excellence and variety, including music that was at times lively, fun, moving, somber, and always inspiring. If you missed the concert, I encourage you to take time this week to watch our talented musicians on the archived livestream. Meanwhile, in Lund Center, a large crowd gathered to cheer for our volleyball team, who was competing in the MIAC playoff finals. Our team claimed the MIAC playoff championship, defeating Bethel with a tremendous showing of teamwork, talent, spirit, and smart play. Congratulations to our MIAC champions, who will now automatically advance to the 2021 NCAA Division III Volleyball Tournament.

Not every demonstration of aspiration and promise is public, and not every attempt at achieving a goal is immediately successful. Think about how you have recently shown that you are a person of aspiration and promise. Perhaps you turned in the first few pages of a thesis; or perhaps you finished reading a daunting book that was assigned in one of your classes; or perhaps you were invited for your first job interview; or perhaps you had the courage to reach out for help from the Academic Support Center or the Counseling Center. Life is a series of small victories, and we celebrate each one of those with you.

We begin this week with an opportunity to participate in the National First-Generation College Celebration, which aims to recognize students, faculty, and staff who identify as first-generation college students. The Center for Inclusive Excellence is hosting a celebration all day, with an open house from 3 to 4 p.m. I encourage you to join in the celebration by dropping by the Center for light refreshments, free t-shirts, pins, and mugs. Our first-generation students demonstrate high aspiration and promise, and we especially celebrate your achievements today.

This week, think about what it means to you to be a person of high aspiration and promise. No matter your role on campus, area of study, or what you’re involved in, we seek to build a community where all are encouraged to reach for their aspirations and fulfill the promise of a Gustavus liberal arts education.

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

Yours in community,

President Bergman


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