The Grateful Giver

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Ray Lundquist ’51 recalls how exciting it was to watch Jackie Robinson play baseball—not just once, but four times. He has witnessed several historic events throughout his life, traveled the world, and achieved both personal and professional success since graduating from Gustavus in 1951. But through it all, his heart has never left the Hill.

Today Ray is one of the College’s most dedicated alumni volunteers and donors. His gifts of time and money have supported nearly every corner of the campus, including athletics, music, the library, the Linnaeus Arboretum, and scholarships. They have also come in several different forms: planned gifts, cash, and charitable remainder trusts. All have provided opportunities to Gusties, which Ray knows is a great investment.

Growing up on a farm in East Union, Minn., near St. Ansgar’s Academy, Lundquist became very familiar with the name “Gustavus”. In 1945, he officially became a Gustie and played on an undefeated, conference championship-winning football team. However, he left the College to serve in the Marine Corps in the years following World War II. Ray remembers this time as an important opportunity for growth.

He returned to Gustavus in 1948, well-prepared to make the most of his college career. He played intramural sports, served on Student Senate, and was president of the Omega Kappa fraternity. Ray also dove into academics, intrigued by a criminology course that would eventually lead him to a career in corrections that spanned 36 years.

My time at Gustavus was just wonderful, and I feel very grateful for the College,” Ray said. “It gave me my best friends, the chance to grow in faith, a path to graduate school, and the inspiration for my career. I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

Sixty-two years after graduating, Ray’s veins still course with black and gold. He was a class agent for six years, served two terms on the alumni board, and is now the class of ’51 vice president. He is proud that his class raised over $115,000 in May 2013 for the Gustavus Annual Fund, with 64 percent participation. He loyally attends events and is a familiar face at Gustie Breakfasts in the Twin Cities—in fact, since the breakfasts began, Ray has yet to miss a single one.

Most recently, Ray and his classmates decided to show their appreciation for Dorothy Johnson Lutz’s 40+ years of diligent work as their class officer. They created an endowed scholarship named after Dorothy and dedicated it to music, which is one of her greatest passions. The scholarship is now active, having secured $25,000 in gifts and was awarded for the first time in spring 2013 to a music student. It’s a legacy that will provide financial support for Gusties well into the future.

“It’s certainly important for me to give back because I know that I received so much,” Ray says.

The great buildings of campus, the music that fills Christ Chapel, the football players diving for touchdowns, and the students who make their way across this windy hill have all been generously supported by Ray. Yet he remains humble and doesn’t readily discuss his contributions. Instead, he prefers to chuckle about his untidy handwriting in the thank you notes he writes to other donors.

With his gracious spirit, servant heart, and steadfast dedication, Ray epitomizes what it means to be a Gustie. The College and its students have benefitted enormously from his generosity, but it is his friendship that has had the greatest impact.

The author of this piece, Mariah Wika ’15, was an intern this past summer in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Mariah is currently studying community engagement at the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy, and plans to intern for Studio 33, a media production house in Bangalore, India, during January.