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Gustavus Adolphus College is an undergraduate, residential, liberal arts college. Founded in 1862 by Swedish immigrants; it is the oldest Lutheran college in Minnesota.

Gustavus offers students a liberal arts education of recognized excellence, provided by faculty who embody the highest standards of teaching and scholarship. Small classes, an active and embracing community, and personal attention are the hallmarks of the College, where many of its more than 2,400 full-time students engage in collaborative research with their professors.

The College is fully accredited and is well known for its strong writing, science, music, and award-winning community service programs. In addition, over 75 percent of students are involved in varsity or intramural athletics and many students take advantage of opportunities to study abroad.

Gustavus has hosted a local chapter of Phi Beta Kappa since 1983 and is internationally recognized for its annual Nobel Conference. The College seeks to instill in its students a capacity and passion for lifelong learning and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society. The significance of its impact is reflected in the support and continuing involvement of an extraordinary percentage of its nearly 20,000 alumni.


At Gustavus Adolphus College, we are committed to providing access, support, and leadership on diversity issues and creating a learning environment that values inclusion, multicultural competence, and intercultural sensitivity for all students, staff, and faculty. We are committed to fostering open exchange of ideas and the independent pursuit of learning and building a community of persons from diverse backgrounds who respect and affirm the dignity of all people.


Being environmentally sustainable is essential to Gustavus Adolphus College's commitment to its core values of excellence, justice, community, leadership, and faith. Faith calls us to care for the environment which sustains our community. We are not just if clean air and water are not available for all, nor are we leaders if we lead in the destruction the natural world and its life-sustaining functions. And excellence is only possible when we can live, as Wendell Berry says, "without destroying the sources of our life." As a liberal arts institution, our values guide us as we face complex global environmental issues that require innovative and sophisticated solutions built on an understanding of science, social values and economic realities.


Mission and Core Values

Gustavus Adolphus College is a church-related, residential liberal arts college firmly rooted in its Swedish and Lutheran heritage.

The College offers students of high aspiration and promise a liberal arts education of recognized excellence provided by faculty who embody the highest standards of teaching and scholarship. The Gustavus curriculum is designed to bring students to mastery of a particular area of study within a general framework that is both interdisciplinary and international in perspective.

The College strives to balance educational tradition with innovation and to foster the development of values as an integral part of intellectual growth. It seeks to promote the open exchange of ideas and the independent pursuit of learning.

The College aspires to be a community of persons from diverse backgrounds who respect and affirm the dignity of all people. It is a community where a mature understanding of the Christian faith and lives of service are nurtured and students are encouraged to work toward a just and peaceful world.

The purpose of a Gustavus education is to help its students attain their full potential as persons, to develop in them a capacity and passion for lifelong learning, and to prepare them for fulfilling lives of leadership and service in society.


Gustavus Core Values

Implicit in this statement of institutional purpose and goals are certain institutional values that guide the Gustavus community. These values are rooted in our distinctive heritage and help to define our community. They also help us to focus on appropriate objectives for our college, guide the selection of priorities among those objectives, and help to shape the strategies we will pursue in the face of various challenges and opportunities.


excellence fall 2011Excellence

First among the College’s shared values is a commitment to high quality and excellence in all that we do.  Commitment to excellence calls on all of us to achieve to the very best of our capabilities and exceed our own expectations.  Our distinctive heritage demands nothing less than excellence.



community fall 2011Community

Gustavus has always prized community.  Civility, mutual respect, cooperation, shared governance, and a pervasive sense of concern for every member of the Gustavus community are hallmarks of the College.  Freedom to express a broad range of ideas is central to our sense of community.


justice fall  2011Justice

Our Swedish and Lutheran heritage lead us to hold up justice as a primary institutional value.  We strive to be a just community in all of our actions and to educate our students for morally responsible lives.  “Education for the common good” is our objective, and integrity must be one of our defining characteristics.


service fall 2011Service

The College highly values service as an objective of life and education.  We embrace the notion that authentic leadership expresses itself in service – the classical ideal of a truly liberating education.  Education frees us to serve God and humanity to the best of our abilities.



faith fall 2011Faith

Conviction that religious faith enriches and completes learning is the foundation of community, ethics, and service.  We are compelled to excel in a divinely ordered world.  Without expecting conformity, we encourage an honest exploration of religious faith and seek to foster a mature understanding of the Christian faith.

While there are undoubtedly additional values that distinguish Gustavus from other institutions and that guide and define us, these five values are certainly pervasive within and foundational for the College community.

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