Gustavus Campus News
Over 500 members of the incoming Gustavus Adolphus College Class of 2021 were on campus June 13-15 for Gustie Gear-Up!, the College’s summer registration and orientation sessions.
Students selected one of six half-day sessions, beginning with a welcome from Provost Brenda Kelly on behalf of the faculty and Director of Campus Activities Andrea Junso on behalf of the student life division. Then, Interim Director of the Center for Academic Resources and Enhancement (CARE) Kate Knutson released students to their registration sessions with faculty advisers while parents and families took part in a question-and-answer session with representatives from the dean of students office.
In Alumni Hall, the new students met individually or in pairs with Gustavus professors to set their course schedule for first semester. “The in-person registration process gives students the space and time to make good decisions about the classes that they’ll take,” said Knutson, whose office coordinated the campuswide efforts to welcome the first-year students. “It’s been exciting to see them meet one another and get to know the faces of the students, faculty, and staff that they’ll be seeing on campus for the next four years.”
“It was great to have the professors there to help us through registration,” said Isabel St. Dennis, a recent graduate of Edina High School who is considering a major in communication studies.
Gustie Gear-Up! also included opportunities for students to attend information sessions on textbooks, study-away opportunities, residential life, student clubs and organizations, and athletics. A popular resource fair in the lobby of Beck Academic hall allowed the new Gusties to connect with current students and staff representing offices and programs ranging from CARE and the Diversity Center to Career Development and Reading in Common.
As her session came to a close, St. Dennis paused near Beck Hall to reflect on the day. “After walking around campus and learning more about classes and other opportunities, I can really visualize what day-to-day life will be like here at Gustavus,” she said. “ I can’t wait to move in and get started.”
“It was a great week,” agreed Knutson. “Now that classes are set, we’re excited to welcome our newest Gusties back to campus this fall.”
Members of the Class of 2021 will begin their Gustavus journey with move-in day on Friday, September 1.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
By Chuck Niederriter
Gustavus Adolphus College geography professor Jeff La Frenierre and student researchers Casey Decker and Abby Michels are heading to Ecuador next week to study glacial melt, but first they put their hexcopter drone through its paces in on-campus tests on Friday, June 9.
After placing targets at specified locations around the rugby field behind Southwest Hall, they programmed the drone to fly a raster pattern several hundred feet above and take pictures of the ground below. La Frenierre and his students will be joined by collaborators from the University of Minnesota on Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador, where they will perform the same procedure above glaciers in hopes of learning more about the changes in those glaciers over time. The images will be stitched together and processed with AgiSoft Photoscan to produce a very detailed surface terrain model of parts of two glaciers. The drone, developed in collaboration with Gustavus physics professor Chuck and Gretchen Niederriter, is a great example of how different disciplines work together to undertake scientific research.
A British Broadcasting Company (BBC) crew will be joining the Gustavus and University of Minnesota groups on Mount Chimborazo and will film their work for inclusion in a documentary series called Earth From Space, which will highlight how changes in Earth’s environment can be monitored from satellites. The episode on monitoring glacier change will highlight research La Frenierre has done using satellite and aerial imagery to show that more than 20 percent of Chimborazo’s glacier surface area has been lost since 1986. By filming the work with the drone, they will be able to show how we are moving beyond simply measuring changes in ice area to measuring changes in ice volume, something much more important to understanding the impact of climate change on water supplies in this region.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
“I feel like I’m at home.”
2017 Gustavus Adolphus College graduate Kendyl Landeck’s father heard these words over the phone during his then-high-school daughter’s 1,500 mile trip from their hometown in Moscow, Idaho to southern Minnesota.
“I walked on campus and felt instantly welcomed by every person we met on the tour,” Landeck reflected. She had travelled to Minnesota to attend a soccer camp in a different city, but after meeting Gustavus women’s soccer coach Laura Burnett-Kurie during one of the camp’s practices, she and her mother made a last minute schedule adjustment to add Saint Peter to their long route back home. “I also remember the extreme wind during that tour, but it made me realize I was going to be more than okay here if I had fallen in love with Gustavus even after knowing its flaws,” she laughed.
Four years later, Landeck has made her own mark on the Hill, splitting her time between the classroom, the field, and numerous organizations. A testament to her academic success, she was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society last spring before graduating Magna Cum Laude. Outside the classroom, Landeck was a four-year member of the Gustavus women’s soccer team, the St. Lucia Choir, and the Gustavus Habitat for Humanity Chapter, a group dedicated to affordable housing. She also served on the Gustavus Habitat Board for two years, leading the organization as a co-president and as a coordinator during the annual spring break service trips. Traveling to work sites across the country, Landeck joined a group of Gusties each year to build houses, help in ReStores, and develop relationships with future homeowners.
“In the soccer program, we preach about being the best individual you can be in all areas of your life and Kendyl embraced this with open arms. This is what drove her every day and it showed in her success,” Burnett-Kurie said.
A history major and sociology and anthropology minor, Landeck’s capstone paper focused on the intersections of race and class in the history of segregated housing in Hennepin County. After spending the summer visiting historical archives in St. Paul, her semester-long investigation into housing imperfections culminated in both a completed thesis and a transformed perspective.
“The opportunity to write my own research was an amazing experience because history professor David Obermiller provided the perfect balance of support and independence. He pushed me to see the greater implications as well. By looking at the other side of history and by showing the voices of the underserved, it was clear that affordable housing is a massive part of society that needs to be addressed,” Landeck said.
Hoping to eventually study law – specifically housing law – Landeck accepted an internship with Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services during January 2017. But she quickly realized that her true path led elsewhere. After searching for jobs with the potential to revitalize low-income housing and discovering she would need further education, Landeck immediately applied to the Regional and Community Planning graduate program at Iowa State. A month later, she was one of a handful of students across the nation to be admitted to the prestigious program.
“I took a leap of faith, and I am very excited to be able to continue my education. I fell in love with Habitat’s mission long ago, but this program allows me to have an intentional impact on a broad scale,” said Landeck. “Afterwards, I hope to be able to work with a non-profit or with a city’s housing department in order to develop affordable and fair housing in small towns and cities.”
“Kendyl leaves a massive legacy with our program and at Gustavus,” Burnett-Kurie said. “She cares deeply about others’ success and strives every day to have an impact on the lives of those around her. I believe Kendyl will be able to utilize these strengths and passions in her future career, and I am very excited to see her change lives for the better.”
Sitting in the Courtyard Café as her final year came to a close, two younger students spotted Landeck and their faces instantly lit up. Laughing, the trio reflected on their recent spring break trip together to Georgetown, Delaware, Landeck’s final undergrad service trip with Habitat for Humanity. The two students waved goodbye, wished her luck, and jokingly called her “Mom” one last time.
Landeck found a new home when she moved across the country to Saint Peter, and as she prepares for another move, she leaves feeling dedicated and empowered to make “home” a possibility for others as well.
“I didn’t have any clear trajectory when I started here, but I knew I wanted to help others,” Landeck said. “The idea of affordability and a home has become the main focus of everything I want to do, and now, looking back, I can see that passion developing with each step along the way. Every class I took and every conversation with my professors, coaches, and mentors contributes to what I am pursuing, and that is the awesome part of being here and being at a liberal arts college. ”
After graduation on May 28, Landeck moved to Ames, Iowa in order to begin her classes in August. Until then, she will spend the summer volunteering with the Greater Des Moines Habitat Chapter and preparing her new home with her fiancé, Evan Larson ’16.
“I look back at all my essays,” Landeck said. “As I read them I can say that I still truly believe every word I wrote, whether it was about my views on affordability and policy or about my hopes for my impact on others. Now, I get to go make them a reality.”
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin
It was a sunny and warm reunion weekend—literally and figuratively. For the first time, Reunion Weekend occurred in early summer, with Gustie alums reliving their dorm days with dorm stays, and all reunion year classes celebrating together.
From Friday’s 50 Year Luncheon to Sunday’s closing brunch, Gusties from across decades and eras—from 2012 to 1947 (Marion Anderson Redman was the oldest)—reconnected with friends and fellow Gusties from across the globe and the years.
On Friday, President Bergman officially welcomed the class of 1967 into the 50-year ranks. Then Gustie alums from throughout the years enjoyed the campus and the surrounding area of Saint Peter-Mankato. They golfed, toured the campus and the tunnels with student ambassadors, and took Alumni College classes from professors and staff in su
ch topics as the Gustavus Acts Strategic Plan, the College’s Scandinavian roots, and the changing face of Minnesota.
“I haven’t been back for 25 years,” said John Kellen ’82, who came from Tucson, Ariz. He toured the Linnaeus Arboretum with interest; it has changed significantly since his college days. But some things haven’t: “You get here, and you start telling stories, and it feels just like yesterday,” he said.
Many of those stories were told on Friday night, after alums sang the Rouser together in the Evelyn Young Dining Room. Stories flowed at the “Barn” tent and the Pittman Hall fire pit (Class of ’77 and ’82), at the Complex fire pit (Class of ’07 and ’12), in Beck Atrium (Class of ’67), at the Flame (Class of ’87), and at Patrick’s (Class of ’97), among other locations. The party at Patrick’s was particularly poignant as it was a benefit for classmate Wes Schuck who died of cancer.
On Saturday morning, the early risers made Swedish kringle, ran a 5K, and did relaxation yoga in the Arb. Despite graduating 35 years apart, Sam Hemmerich ’12 and Dave “Ole” Olson ’77 finished one and two in the 5K. (Olson had just come off a 50K two weeks prior: “I want to make every day count,” he said.) Hemmerich enjoyed the weekend’s easy, flexible vibe. “I love how it’s so relaxed. Do everything, or do nothing. Have fun and pretend you are a college student again.”
Dorm stays amplified that fun. Gustie alums brought their favorite pillows and friends into dorms rooms in Southwest, Norelius (Co-Ed), Pittman, North, and Sorenson. “The dorm stays really encapsulated the whole experience,” said Joel Jensen ’97. Lorie Rutter Anderson ’81 drew Co-Ed 206A for the reunion—her exact room from freshman year. But this time she bunked with her husband, JC Anderson ’82, whom she met her sophomore year in front of Sorensen.
The weekend continued with a student panel on today’s Gustavus, brewery and winery tours, shopping in Saint Peter, donor and professor appreciation, and Chapel remembrances for members of the Classes of 1957 and 1967. Saturday night ended with class dinners and a street dance in Saint Peter, where Gusties past and present—and President Bergman herself—danced to the music of Big Toe and the Jam (with the President’s son, Matthew ’07, on saxophone.).
Throughout the weekend, talk often turned to frost-your-owns, mandatory Chapel, library antics, tray-ing, the Barn, the tornado, and—as always—Ma Young, the legendary director of food service whose influence spanned 30 years of hungry Gusties. Alums laughed about the College’s “nice” reputation; how they were taught to be friendly and to pick up any trash on campus. “My husband once asked me, ‘Did you go to the nicest college in America?’” said Erica Brown Ramer ’07. And alums laughed about their own epic stories. “Eve
ry time we tell them, they’re just as funny,” said Kari Swanson Anderson ’92.
Alums also expressed tremendous gratitude for their college. Said Jeanne Mingus Tolzmann ’67, “For a lot of us, we were here because other people got us here.” Said classmate Ken Dragseth ’67, “We need to make sure all high school students continue to have access to Gustavus.”
For the many student ambassadors on campus, that gratitude showed how the values of Gustavus must be passed on. “I just loved hearing all of the stories,” said student ambassador Madi Sinclair ’20. “It confirmed for me that Gustavus is a special place where people truly care about each other.”
“This weekend was about being with our classes,” said Gustavus director of church relations and alum Grady St. Dennis ’92, “but it was also about being with people who love Gustavus, the people whom Gustavus loves too.”
Said President Bergman: “Gusties, you’ve been home. And I hope you have felt welcomed home.”
Gustavus ranks as the best college or university in Minnesota and #35 in the nation on The New York Times‘ College Access Index, which was released on Thursday, May 25. The third annual ranking looks at the commitment to economic diversity among the top colleges and universities in the country.
The rankings, which were limited to colleges and universities with a five-year graduation rate of over 75 percent, examined the percentage of students that receive a Federal Pell Grant and the graduation rate of those students. By multiplying those numbers, The New York Times calculated a “Pell Grad Share” that is combined with the average net price for middle-income students to determine each school’s College Access Index score. Scores above the average of 1.0 indicate the most institutional effort in ensuring economic diversity. Gustavus, with a Pell Grad Share of 21 and average net tuition for those students of approximately $17,000 per year, has an overall College Access Index of 1.16.
“At Gustavus, we’re committed to providing access and affordability to students from all walks of life,” Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Kirk Carlson said. “It’s important to note that this designation means that not only are Pell-eligible students encouraged to choose Gustavus, but that we work hard to ensure that they graduate on time and are well-prepared for professional life. I’d like to thank our faculty and staff for their commitment to supporting all of our talented students.”
Gustavus Adolphus College biology professor Pamela Kittelson was named the winner of the 2017 Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching at the College’s commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 28. She was presented the award by history professor Eric Carlson, the 2016 winner of the award.
“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized by people that I hold in such high esteem,” Kittelson said. “Teaching at Gustavus is fulfilling because of the people I work with across campus that come together for the good of our students and their education.”
“[Kittelson] is reflective, innovative, thoughtful, intentional about teaching, and constantly works to improve,” Carlson said. “She is the model of the teacher-scholar.”
A member of the Gustavus faculty since 1999, Kittelson teaches courses ranging from introductory biology to advanced plant physiology, plant systematics, and ecology. She attended Colorado College and Humboldt State University before receiving her doctorate in plant biology from the University of California, Davis in 1998. At Gustavus, Kittelson has been a mentor for new faculty members, served on the Writing Across the Curriculum Advisory Board, and is an active participant in determining the College curriculum. In addition, she has co-authored numerous articles with Gustavus students and led or participated in multiple joint research projects and conference presentations.
“My objectives are to help students weigh evidence, read and think critically, reflect thoughtfully and express ideas with precision and grace,” Kittelson wrote previously. “I help them become persons who have learned how to learn, who love connections among ideas, and who revel in the intellectual journey as much as the destination.”
“Pamela practices and models the qualities that embody the Carlson award,” Provost and Dean of the Faculty Brenda Kelly said. “She engages her students in ways that both challenge and support them and adapts her teaching practices to reach students with a diverse set of learning styles. Finally, she takes what she has learned and experienced in the classroom and laboratory and shares this information with early career faculty members to help them develop and adapt their own teaching strategies.”
A first-generation college student herself, Kittelson hopes that students have a life-changing experience during their undergraduate years. “I hope they appreciate every opportunity that they get,” she said. “I love that I get to learn everyday alongside my students.”
The Edgar M. Carlson Award was established by the Gustavus Board of Trustees in 1971 to honor former President Edgar Carlson for his years of distinguished leadership and in recognition of his commitment to academic excellence. Gustavus faculty, staff, administrators, and students nominate professors for this award, and each year at commencement a faculty member, selected by the Provost based on the recommendations of previous award recipients, is honored for their exceptional skill and effectiveness as an instructor.
Recent Carlson Award Recipients
2016: Eric Carlson, History
2015: David Obermiller, History
2014: Matt Panciera, Classics
2013: Rebecca Fremo, English
2012: Alisa Rosenthal, Political Science
2011: Barbara Zust, Nursing
2010: Leila Brammer, Communication Studies
2009: Rick Orpen, Music
2008: Richard Leitch, Political Science
2007: Claude Brew, English
2006: Paul Saulnier, Physics
2005: Rob Gardner, Theatre and Dance
2004: Lisa Heldke, Philosophy
2003: Cindy Johnson, Biology
2002: Max Hailperin, Mathematics and Computer Science
2001: Gretchen Hofmeister, Chemistry
2000: Eric Eliason, English
A full list of past Carlson Award winners dating back to 1971 is available online.