Mentoring Program History

Mentoring has been a part of the Gustavus ethos for over 150 years. The close-knit community of the College has provided fertile soil for natural mentoring to occur. Historically mentoring has happened in places such as with faculty, student employment supervising, athletic coaches, and in the residence halls. 

Over the last twenty years there have also been a few occurrences of the Career Center and Alumni Office partnering in developing alumni/student mentoring. These initiatives, although small in scope, were well received by the alumni and students. Over time these smaller initiatives faded due to lack of structure, funding, and dedicated staff time. But times are changing and the Mentoring Program has now found its permanent home in the Career Development Office.

2016-2017
The Mentoring program had 170 participants from all across campus. This program has had a big year of transition as it has become part of the ACTS Strategic Plan, has found its permanent home in the Career Development Office, and has a new director. 

Kathi Tunheim

2015-2016
The Mentoring program had about 220 participants in a variety of departments: E/M, Pscyhology, Political Science, Athletics, and Communication Studies. The program continues to engage students and alumni from a variety of places.

2014-2015
Economics and Managment had 200 mentoring pairs and Athletics has 36 pairs. In addition the Education and Nursing Departments were added and a pilot began in the Political Science and Psychology departments as well.

2013-2014
Growth continued in the program to 133 mentoring pairs from Economics and Management and 19 pairs from the Athletics Department.

 2012-2013
The program grew to 86 mentoring pairs from Economics and Management. Amy Perhson, from the Center for Servant Leadership became involved to help provide logistics support as mentoring is connected to the work of the CSL in vocation, leadership, and career.

2011-2012
Two of participating students were asked to support and manage the program operations. Through their hard work, the total number of matches tripled in the second year to 39 mentoring pairs. The Alumni Board learned of the pilot and eagerly became involved in recruiting alumni mentors.

2010-2011 
A successful pilot mentoring program for 12 Economics and Management majors ensued.Mentoring Banquet

2009
Kathi Tunheim and Paul Batz conceived the idea of a mentoring program for students in the Economics and Management Department. Paul Batz is a 1985 Gustavus graduate. He met his wife, Melinda, at Gustavus. Paul says, “The connections from our Gustavus community shaped who we are and how we approach our life's work more than any other source in our lives.”

Years later, Paul was having breakfast with a college friend, Scott Anderson '89, CEO of Patterson Companies. As they reflected on their college experience, they had the idea to provide an additional layer of support for current Gustavus students by providing alumni mentors to help them navigate the transition from college to a career. Together they provided the "let’s just do it" energy and some funding to get the program rolling. Their hope was to formalize the idea that "what it means to be a Gustie is to help each other.”

At the same time, Kathi Tunheim, a new Assistant Professor in the Economics and Management Department, saw the need for an Alumni/Student Mentor program, too. A group of students had benchmarked the best mentoring programs around the country and had written recommendations on how to get the program here at Gustavus off the ground. They merged efforts. Paul agreed to find the alumni mentors. Kathi agreed to find the 12 advisees to pilot the program.