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New Scholarship Fund Honors Gustafsons

Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Gustafsons with students, faculty and staff.

Creating Caring Community: Pete and Donna Gustafson are retiring on June 30 as leaders in the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Student Activities. They have both served students, faculty, and staff members for 38 years. (Photo by Shawn Spence)

They didn't invent it, but Rose-Hulman's student-centered, family-oriented experience has been nurtured through the caring hands of Pete and Donna Gustafson.

The couple, retiring on June 30, has served students, parents, faculty, and staff members for 38 years-Pete as vice president for student affairs and dean of students; Donna as dean of student activities and director of the Hulman Student Union.

In these roles, the Gustafsons have been responsible for every aspect of a student's campus life-residence life, dining services, student union services, athletics, performing arts, and new student orientation, as well as student activities and organizations, career services, housekeeping services, sports and recreation, public safety, and health and counseling.

The couple's impact hasn't gone unnoticed. Alumni and friends donated more than $107,000 to establish a new scholarship fund on behalf of the couple. The Gustafson Scholarship was announced this spring at a retirement celebration on campus. (Donations are still being accepted for the scholarship fund. You may contribute online at www.rose-hulman.edu/give, specifying "Gustafson Scholarship" in your gift designation, or send a check to the Office of Institutional Advancement, CM 12, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5500 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, IN 47803 - designating "Gustafson Scholarship" on the check.)

"We are extremely grateful. We will treasure all the memories and friendships formed during our time at Rose-Hulman," says Pete, who succeeded legendary Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jess Lucas in 2000.

"Being around college-aged students has kept us young, and given us days with such joy and plenty of surprises," says Donna. "We're going to miss being a part of a group that's dedicated to putting students first."

That mission has been guided by the Gustafsons. Their tenure has seen a successful transition to a coeducational student body; the addition of three new residence halls, Sports and Recreation Center, and White Chapel; and a doubling in the size of the Hulman Memorial Student Union. These changes have brought more diversity, enabled more upper-class students to live on campus, and improved the quality of campus life. And, as the student body has grown, so have student services.

"Pete's visionary leadership throughout the years has provided a level of excellence that is recognized by colleges and universities across the country as the 'best of the best' in student life programs," says longtime colleague Tom Miller, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of student affairs. "Over the years, Pete and Donna have inspired students and student life staff to believe in themselves. They taught us a sense of the Rose-Hulman community that we all cherish today. This lesson of community and 'Rose-Hulman Family' was not always in what they said, but more importantly, how they served as role models for each and every one of us."

Gustafsons Scholarship

Gustafsons' Legacy Will Continue: Alumni and friends have donated more than $107,000 to establish a new scholarship fund on behalf of Pete and Donna Gustafson. Donations are still being accepted for the scholarship fund, through the Office of Institutional Advancement (www.rose-hulman.edu/give). (Photo by Terry Miller)

The Gustafsons' generosity hasn't gone unnoticed. Alumni and friends donated more than $107,000 to establish a new scholarship fund on behalf of the couple. The Gustafson Scholarship was announced this spring at a retirement celebration on campus. (Donations are still being accepted for the scholarship fund. People can give online at www.rose-hulman.edu/give, specifying "Gustafson Scholarship" in their gift designation, or send a check to the Office of Institutional Advancement, CM 12, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, 5500 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute, IN 47803 - designating "Gustafson Scholarship" on the check.)

"We are extremely grateful. We will treasure all the memories and friendships formed during our time at Rose-Hulman," says Pete, who succeeded legendary Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jess Lucas in 2000.

Students consistently give Rose-Hulman's residence life operations high marks in campus and national surveys. One student told The Princeton Review that "life at Rose-Hulman is academically demanding," but "the community here is so supportive and safe that you get through it" and "there's always something to do on campus."

This investment in a supportive campus environment has helped put rates of student retention, graduation, and grade-point averages consistently higher than other science and technology institutions.

"Our purpose is to get students through the personal development process-intellectually, morally, and socially," says Pete. "That's an important part of the college experience. Many students come here as introverts, come out of their shells along the way, and leave as young men and women with the leadership skills, professionalism, and personal confidence to make a difference in their lives, careers, and communities. Playing a role, no matter how small, is the best part of the job."