The Gustavus ExperienceAcademic Catalog: 2019–2020

The Student Body, Retention, and Graduation Rates

Gustavus Adolphus College enrolls approximately 2,220 students from more than 42 states and 20 foreign countries. These students represent a wide spectrum of economic and sociological backgrounds, as well as a variety of church affiliations— the majority being Lutheran. Gustavus is proud of its extraordinary rate of retention from year to year, which averages 92 percent. Also noteworthy is the four-year graduation rate, which in the last four years has ranged from 79 to 81 percent. After graduation, approximately one-third of Gustavus students enroll directly in graduate or professional schools.

Student Development Philosophy

The student development philosophy at Gustavus is perhaps best described this way: A student’s education is more than the sum of classroom experiences. Gustavus is concerned with the development of the whole student, including 
intellectual, social, spiritual, cultural, and physical dimensions.

This concern is supported in the Student Life Division, which is headed by the Dean of Students and comprises the following areas: Residential Life; Counseling and Health Service; Campus Activities; Wellness Education; Diversity Center; Community Engagement; Career Development; Title IX; and Campus Safety.

Residential Life

Gustavus is a residential college, committed to residence hall living as a vital complement to its academic program. Living within a community of peers, interacting with a wide array of individuals, learning from one another, assuming individual and communal living responsibilities, and developing interpersonal skills and lifelong friendships are all aspects of residence hall living that support personal education, growth, and development.

This being the case, all full-time students—first-year through senior—are required to live in College-operated residences throughout their enrollment. Thus, only a small number of students are granted permission by the Director of Residential Life to reside off-campus. First-year students are housed in three of the 14 coed residence halls.

Each residence hall is equipped with lounges, study areas, and laundry facilities. Most residence halls have kitchenettes and recreation equipment. All students housed in traditional residence halls eat their meals in the College’s Market Place. The standard meal plan option provides a declining balance and the cost is included in the tuition, room, and meal plan fee. Students living in on-campus apartments and houses may choose whether or not to participate in a meal plan. Other meal plan options for on- and off-campus students are available. Please contact the Student Accounts staff in the Financial Aid Office for information.

Each floor or section of a residence hall is assigned a Collegiate Fellow (CF). CFs are returning students selected on the basis of scholarship, leadership, experience, and their desire to help other students. They are responsible for informal counseling, assisting their residents in planning activities and programs, monitoring compliance with campus policies, and serving as resource persons. Their responsibilities extend to all students in their living unit, as well as the building and campus in general. Staff members trained in community building and programming also live within the residence halls.

Students who do not comply with the College’s residency requirement will be liable for the full room and meal plan fee as if they were living in College housing. The additional costs will not be considered for financial assistance purposes.

Health Service, Counseling, and Wellness

Physical and emotional well-being is fundamental to intellectual development and social maturity, and Gustavus students are encouraged to make healthy lifestyle choices for themselves. However, the College recognizes that some health problems are to be expected.

To meet these needs, Gustavus provides an on-campus health service. The Gustavus Health Service provides care and/or referral for acute medical needs, including illness and injury, physical exams, sexual health, mental health, minor procedures, prescription medications, immunizations, etc. Board-certified mid-level providers, nurses, and office staff are available Monday through Friday at the Health Service. A registered dietitian is also available for consultation.

Services rendered by a provider will be billed to the student’s health insurance. Any remaining balance will be billed to the student account. Visits with a nurse or the dietitian are free of charge. Limited pre-packaged medications are available on campus, all other prescriptions written by providers may be filled locally. Evening, weekend, and emergency health care is provided at the community hospital, River’s Edge Hospital, in Saint Peter.

Gustavus also offers a Counseling Center on campus staffed by licensed mental health professionals who provide both individual and group counseling. Students can receive support and treatment for a variety of concerns, including grief and loss, identity development, adjustment to transitions, depression, anxiety, sexuality, family concerns, alcohol or drug use, relationships, body image, and mental health concerns.

The Counseling Center provides consultation services to students, parents, faculty, administrators, and staff. Counseling Center staff also join others on campus in periodically offering preventive and educational programming and workshops for students.

Additional support, education, and counseling for students are also available for alcohol and drug use problems or concerns from the Substance Use Educator in the Wellness Education.

The Academic Support Center (ASC)

The Academic Support Center (ASC) provides services to help students make the most of their academic experience at Gustavus. The Center helps students to build on their strengths through individualized academic advising, academic skill 
development, and educational accommodations for those with health conditions that affect their academics. The ASC coordinates and supports the faculty based academic advising program, working with faculty to ensure all students have 
personalized care and support from a knowledgeable faculty advisor.

Career Development

The Gustavus Center for Career Development provides students with resources, connections, and communities to make informed transitions through explorations and experiences. Career Development utilizes the Career Interest Cluster approach to aid students in their career development process. Career Interest Clusters are groups of occupations and industries that have foundational knowledge and skills in common.

The seven Career Interest Clusters are:

  • Arts and Communication
  • Business
  • Education
  • Government and Social Services
  • Health Professions
  • Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math
  • Still Deciding

Career Development offers resources including career counseling, online career tools, and events and programs organized around the Career Interest Clusters.

Academic Internships and Career Explorations provide opportunities for students to explore and confirm their career interests and couple career experience with their college academic studies. The primary purpose of completing an Academic Internship or Career Exploration is to better understand the theories, ideas, and practices of the academic discipline, industry, career interest, or major by actively engaging hands-on in an employment environment. Academic credit is awarded for the learning achieved through these experiences. Students may complete Career Explorations or Academic Internships during Fall or Spring Semesters, Summer Session, and Academic Career Explorations during Interim. Eligible students may earn academic credit by registering for an Interim Career Exploration or an Academic Internship.

Campus Activities and Campus Life

Rounding out the development of the whole student at Gustavus is the opportunity for involvement, service, and leadership through campus activities. With the help of the Campus Activities Office, students develop planning, organization, teamwork, and leadership skills as well as make valuable contributions to the campus community through programs and activities.

There are more than 100 clubs and organizations representing academic, cultural, and religious awareness, as well as service, recreational, social, and special interests. A complete list of recognized student organizations is available from the Campus Activities Office or at

Not every organization on campus is coordinated through the Campus Activities Office. The more than two dozen musical ensembles, for example, are organized by the Department of Music and are considered academic experiences (a listing of musical ensembles may be found under “Ensemble Performance Studies” in the course descriptions of the Department of Music). The Department of Theatre and Dance plans and directs theatrical productions. The fine arts programs director brings numerous professional ensembles, such as the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, to campus. Varsity athletics, intramurals, and club sports receive direction from the Department of Athletics. Many honorary organizations, such as Sigma Xi (scientific research) and Pi Kappa Delta (forensics), are under the direction of academic departments.

Mentoring and Wellness Education are vital components to some student experiences at Gustavus. The Mentoring Program provides junior and senior students with individual guidance around leadership development, career, and vocational discernment. This happens through students being matched in a year-long professional and personal relationship with a Gustavus alum who is focused on their holistic growth and development.

Community-Based Service and Learning

The Community Engagement Center serves as the principle campus entity through which institutional resources are allocated to support the promotion and development of community engagement activities at Gustavus. These include cocurricular community service and outreach activities as well as curricular engagement including community-based learning and engaged scholarship. The center focuses on fostering a lifelong commitment to engaged citizenship, developing leadership capacities, and strengthening local communities. The Center aims to encourage students’ academic, personal, and civic development through meaningful experiential learning and enhanced understanding of challenges facing society.

To that end, Community Engagement actively works to meet the needs of students, faculty, and community partners interested community service and community-based learning by providing the information, advising, tools, resources, and coordination in order for them to be successful and reach their highest potential as responsible and contributing engaged citizens.

Religious and Spiritual Life at Gustavus

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 (from the Gustavus Mission Statement).

The Office of the Chaplains equips students to connect faith and spirituality with learning and life so that they will be prepared to lead purposeful lives in a religiously diverse world. Rooted in the tradition and values of Lutheran higher education, the Chaplains’ Office team supports diverse spiritual and religious practices, promotes theological and vocational exploration, and fosters interfaith cooperation in service to the common good on campus and in the greater community.

Campus Safety

Campus Safety officers are on duty 24 hours a day patrolling the campus, enforcing College rules and regulations, and rendering appropriate emergency assistance to all members of the campus community. They have direct communication with the Saint Peter Police Department and may also contact responding Saint Peter Ambulance personnel. The Office of Campus Safety may be reached by dialing 507-933-8888 or by calling the Saint Peter Police Department at 507-931-1550.

Policies and Regulations

Student life policies of the College, including the “Student Conduct Code” and “Campus Conduct Procedures,” are contained in the Gustavus Guide. This information is available to the campus community online at By accepting admission to Gustavus Adolphus College, each student agrees to live by the standards of this community. Gustavus depends on its students to act with integrity, self-discipline, and mature judgment and to respect the rights and property of all members of the College community. The College also expects that students will know and observe federal, state, and local laws.