By Amanda Dyslin
Free Press Staff Writer
ST PETER — Despite a persistently sluggish economy, Gustavus Adolphus College managed to raise more money last fiscal year than any other year in the college’s history.
Tom Young, vice president for institutional advancement, said for the fiscal year that ended May 31, 2012, the college raised $11 million in charitable contributions. That’s up from $8.1 million the previous year.
Young credits a slowly strengthening economy, as well as Campaign Gustavus, which also reached a milestone recently: $100 million raised toward its goal of $150 million by fall of 2015.
“It’s a tremendous tribute to the community and to leadership of the board,” he said. “And we’ve got a really strong group of volunteers.”
Campaign Gustavus was publicly announced last year, but efforts began a couple of years ago, Young said. The campaign’s goal is to fund initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150, a multi-tiered plan to enhance the college, as well as students’ experience.
The campaign, the largest in the college’s history, is based on three pillars: opportunity, teaching and learning, and community.
Opportunity initiatives go to recruiting the “best students to Gustavus,” through funding scholarships, international outreach and promoting diversity. Teaching and learning is the largest category and includes upgrading and building facilities and endowing professorships. The community pillar includes such things as the Nobel Conference, Christmas in Christ Chapel and support for Linneaus Arborteum, among many other things.
Young said initiatives of Commission Gustavus 150 are being funded and implemented as the campaign progresses, so it’s not as if $100 million is just sitting there. Also, he said, about half is being raised in cash and pledges, and half counting toward the $100 million is deferred commitments, which could come at the end of a donor’s life.
Young said the most visible sign of the campaign thus far is Beck Hall, which opened fall of 2011. The $30 million, 125,000-square-foot academic building is named for Campaign Gustavus co-chairs and significant donors Warren and Donna Beck of Greenwood.
Other examples of Campaign Gustavus at work include creation of the Center for Servant Leadership, which combines the Office of Church Relations, Community Service Center, Center for Vocational Reflection and the Career Center; a formal partnership with the American Swedish Institute, which includes a Gustavus office suite at the Nelson Cultural Center at the institute; and endowed professorships in the department of economics and management.
Young said several hundred alumni, parents, faculty and staff contributed to the Commission Gustavus 150 planning project to prioritize college projects for 10 years with full implementation of plans by 2020. More than 250 recommendations were given and prioritized by the Board of Trustees into three-year, six-year and 10-year plans.
Of the 263 recommendations, 101 are either completed, being implemented or are in the planning phase.
“I think that some really neat things have happened at Gustavus over the last four or five years that have to do with Commission Gustavus 150 and inviting our stakeholders into a conversation about the future of the college,” Young said.
Young said the campaign is on track to meet its goal of $150 million by deadline.
“I think the vision and the direction of the college is strong,” he said. “We think that a successful campaign is good for Gustavus, but having a strong Gustavus in the St. Peter/Mankato area is good for the local economy.”
About 1,100 alumni live and work in the Mankato and St. Peter area, Young said.