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Gustavus Adolphus College is a private liberal arts college founded in Red Wing, Minnesota, in 1862 by Eric Norelius and was originally named Minnesota Elementar Skola. In 1865 on the 1,000th year anniversary of the death of St. Ansgar, "the Apostle of the North," the college was renamed and incorporated as St. Ansgar's Academy. In May of 1873, the college was again renamed and reincorporated as Gustavus Adolphus Literary and Theological Institute in honor of King Gustavus Adolphus the Great of Sweden. On October 16, 1876, it opened as Gustavus Adolphus College in its new location in St. Peter, Minnesota. Gustavus is the oldest of several Lutheran colleges in Minnesota. It is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Gustavus consistently ranks high among U.S. liberal arts colleges, currently placed among the best 100 national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News & World Report. Gustavus students choose from over 50 major subject areas, ranging from physics to religion to Scandinavian Studies. The College is lauded for its Writing Across the Curriculum program, which fosters strong writing skills in all academic disciplines. Since the 1980s Gustavus has had a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the oldest and most prestigious academic honor society in the United States.
The vast majority of Gustavus' 2,700 students ("Gusties") live in residence at the College, in traditional dormitories, College-owned houses, and theme areas, such as the Carlson International Center and the Swedish House. Campus life is enhanced by the many musical ensembles which perform throughout the year, including the Gustavus Choir, Christ Chapel Choir, the Lucia Singers, the Gustavus Adolphus Symphony Orchestra, Gustavus Wind Orchestra, Jazz Band, etc. Theatre is also a regular part of campus life and there are two art galleries on campus, the Hillstrom Museum of Art and the Schaefer Art Gallery.
The Gustavus campus features state-of-the-art science facilities, several computer and language labs, and a large, new dining facility which has improved the cafeteria food from that endured by previous generations of students. The College's majestic Christ Chapel, which seats 1500 people, stands in the center of campus. Gustavus' first building in St. Peter, Old Main, originally housed the entire college. Major renovations to the building, such as the addition of an elevator, have recently been completed. The campus is well-landscaped with every tree indigenous to Minnesota in the Linnaeus Arboretum and it is further graced by a number of remarkable sculptures by the late, well-known, Minnesota sculptor, Paul Granlund--an alumnus of the College who for many years was sculptor-in-residence. Recently Gustavus announced that they will no longer require an ACT or SAT score for acceptance into the college. It is the first private college in Minnesota to no longer require either test.