Mission and Core Values

Gustavus Mission

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.