Challenging Young Alumni To Give

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When Brad Nuss ’97 was a senior at Rochester Mayo High School, he narrowed his college choices to the University of St. Thomas, St. Olaf, and Gustavus and decided to seek the advice of a second cousin who at the time was a professor at the University of Mississippi. That cousin recommended that Nuss attend Gustavus and that advice, along with a campus tour, sold Nuss on the idea that Gustavus would be his home for the next four years.

The decision turned out to be a good one for Nuss, who started out as a physics major before transitioning to economics and management. He is now executive vice president and chief financial officer for Nuss Truck & Equipment, a family business based in Rochester.

“Looking back, I really appreciate that Gustavus exposed me to all sorts of different walks of life,” Nuss says. “I was in Curriculum II, took quite a few classes in the Classics Department, was in the Gustavus Band, and I had a roommate from India. Those experiences were all valuable and are part of who I am today.

After graduating, Nuss moved out west to Huntington Beach, California for two years before returning to Minnesota to work in the family business. He said his family has a tradition of philanthropy, which is one reason why he started giving back to Gustavus not long after he graduated.

“Coming out of college, it can be easy to forget what you just went through, but it’s such an important part of everyone’s life,” Nuss says. “I feel motivated to give to Gustavus because I recognize how much I got out of my four years there.”

Nuss has taken a particular interest in trying to inspire younger alumni to give back to the College, stressing the importance of participation over the amount of the gift. During Philanthropy Week (April 21–25), Nuss sponsored the second annual Nuss Challenge, for which he matched all gifts to the Gustavus Annual Fund made by alumni from the classes of 2002 through 2013.

“When you are a younger alumnus it is often not realistic to make a large donation to the college. It is more about staying engaged and giving what you can,” Nuss says. “The Nuss Challenge is about generating interest in giving and attracting new donors who maybe haven’t given in the past.”

When Nuss isn’t busy overseeing day-to-day operations, finances, accounting, IT, and legal aspects of the family business, you can probably find him enjoying time with his wife, Rebecca, and their two children, daughter Bronwyn (8) and son Rhys (6). n