Greater Gustavus Fund Pledges $1 Million

Posted on December 8th, 2009 by

Gustavus Adolphus College is pleased to announce a commitment of one million dollars from the Greater Gustavus Fund to support the entire cost of Commission Gustavus 150 from its gala launch on October 3, 2008 during Inauguration and Homecoming Weekend through its culmination in the College’s Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2012.

The Greater Gustavus Fund was originally incorporated on March 16, 1927 by Victor E. Lawson (President), J. E. Sundberg (1st VP), Ernest T. Wallinder (2nd VP), W. R. Youngquist (Secretary), A. T. Rydell (Treasurer), Dr. Henry N. Benson, and the Rev. Oscar J. Arthur as the Greater Gustavus Endowment Corporation. Its mission was to “aid and assist in providing endowment for Gustavus.” Established as a separate non-for-profit corporation with Gustavus Adolphus College as its only beneficiary, its trustees were originally elected by Gustavus Trustees, the Gustavus Alumni Association, the Executive Committee of the Minnesota Conference of the Lutheran Augustana Synod, and by corporation members (a membership fee of $60.00 allowed one vote, although members could purchase up to five memberships and five votes). Over the years many of the College’s volunteer leaders have served on that board.

In November, 1945 the corporation changed its name to the Greater Gustavus Fund, to reflect an expanded mission. Its amended articles of incorporation filed with the Minnesota Secretary of State in December 1945 restated its purpose as “financial aid to Gustavus” with “funds to be distributed as trustees deem advisable to further the interests of Gustavus.”

Over the years the Greater Gustavus Fund has functioned as an endowment, a fund-raising arm of the Greater Gustavus Association and the Alumni Association, and as an organization giving and leveraging substantial gifts, but always outside of Gustavus governance. The Fund has supported nearly every major Gustavus initiative starting with its first gift in 1939 to help build the Myrum Memorial Fieldhouse. Its largest gift and continuing focus through the years has been student scholarships (including the 1994 gift of $1.5 million to an endowed scholarship fund within the Gustavus endowment, providing over 500 scholarship awards in the past decade). The Fund has also given gifts for campus landscaping and the Linnaeus Arboretum, more than $325,000 beginning in 1983 for computer hardware and software, funds to develop Curriculum II, communication and writing labs, the Student union, Nobel Hall, the Schaefer Fine Arts Building, the Bernadotte Library, the Lund Center, tennis programs and facilities, a golf green, a portable pipe organ, the Jackson Campus Center, and Old Main restoration. Its most recent pledge was $250,000 for the Kendall Center for Engaged Learning with 2/5ths for current student-faculty collaborative research and 3/5ths for endowment for the Center. During the past year the Fund offered two separate fifty thousand dollar matching gift challenges to encourage new and increased Ren Anderson and President’s Leadership level Annual Fund gifts, and thereby helped the College reach a new high in Annual Fund giving.

Throughout its 82 years of life, the Greater Gustavus Fund has provided $5 million to the College in a legacy of leverage, support, and encouragement. This final $1 million gift continues that legacy by fully funding Commission Gustavus 150 and helping “further the interests of Gustavus” as the College moves toward its 2012 Sesquicentennial and beyond.


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