A Quick Tour of Gustavus Adolphus College

Photos courtesy of Gustavus Adolphus College

Work & Business

A Quick Tour of Gustavus Adolphus College

Associate professor of history and Scandinavian studies Glenn Kranking knows what it’s like to be on both sides of the desk at Gustavus Adolphus College. Kranking graduated from the private liberal arts school in 1998 and has been working as a professor at the institution for the past nine years.

“I really like the strong sense of community,” he said about Gustavus. “I chose the school for the Swedish connection. My mom’s side of the family is Swedish, and I wanted to study the language. That’s what drew me to the campus.”

He likes the fact that the Saint Peter, Minn., school celebrates the Swedish culture and various traditions such as the annual Dec. 13 St. Lucia’s celebration and a weekly Fika (Swedish coffee break) in one of the residential halls.

Pastor Eric Norelius, a Swedish immigrant and Lutheran pastor, founded the school originally called the Minnesota Elementar Skola in 1862. In 1876, the institution moved to Saint Peter and was renamed Gustavus Adolphus College in honor of King Gustav II Adolf, Sweden’s legendary defender of Protestantism and warrior-king during the Thirty Years’ War.

Here are a few fun facts about the school, which has an enrollment of about 2,200 and is the home of the Gusties.

  • Every fall, Gustavus hosts the Nobel Conference, the first ongoing educational conference in the UnitedStates to have the official authorization of the Nobel Foundation in Stockholm.
  • Gustavus has the largest Swedish language program in the United States (ranked by number of students taking Swedish language courses).
  • Edgar Carlson, who served as the College’s president from 1944-68, received permission from the Swedish government to use the Three Crowns as the College’s logo. Today, the legacy lives on in the Gustavus logo and hockey uniforms.
  • The school’s current president is Rebecca M. Bergman, who in 2014 became the first woman to lead the school in its history. Bergman previously spent 26 years at Medtronic, Inc., the last 14 as a senior executive.
  • The Department of Scandinavian Studies hosts the Out of Scandinavia Artist-in-Residence program, which has brought to campus writers, filmmakers and musicians such as Per Olov Enquist, Max von Sydow, Arne Dahl, Sofia Jannok, and Arnaldur Indridason.
  • Members of the Gustavus community and visitors to campus eat more than 250 pounds of lutefisk, a Swedish delicacy, during the month of December.

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