Written by Megan Gode ’10
“The students may not know who we are, and what we do, but they benefit from the fun that we’re having,” exclaims Gustavus Library Associates board member and A Royal Affair 2009 co-chair Jan Michaletz ‘74.
Recipients of numerous awards, Gustavus Library Associates (GLA) has promoted learning, literature, and the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library since 1977. With a membership of nearly 350 alumni, parents, students, faculty and administrators, friends of the College, and more, GLA and its members have held a prominent and supportive position at Gustavus over the years.
For many of those members, GLA has been a way to repay Gustavus. “It offers leadership challenges and intellectual challenges, keeps me in touch with the college campus, and lets me ‘give back’ as well as ‘pay it forward’ to Gustavus,” says current GLA president Mim Kagol ‘67.
For others, it’s part of experiencing the progress, as well as seeing the contribution made to the library. “GLA is important to me because, looking back, I can see the difference we’ve made in the support of the library. Our financial support helps take the library from good to great. We’re able to help the librarians purchase things on their ‘wish list,’” says Michaletz.
Furthermore, GLA members recognize that their work and connection to Gustavus is making lives count. “I can tell you that in my volunteer world in the Twin Cities, I often come across other Gusties who are volunteering,” says Michaletz. “There’s something unique about their attitude and work ethic. I can always count on the Gusties to be the hardest workers—from school volunteers to those at the American Swedish Institute. Are we pre-wired for the volunteer life, or did Gustavus equip us for it? Perhaps a little of both.”
With GLA members dedicated to volunteering, and in appreciation of others that take on that role, they have made a conscious effort to put on programs that continue their support of such endeavors. Throughout its 32 years, GLA has planned the A Royal Affair, the Festival of St. Lucia Luncheon, Author Days, and the Easter Bunny Breakfast. With much anticipation in the air, the time has come for GLA’s 17th biennial benefit, A Royal Affair. This year’s team of volunteers is ready, just as the theme indicates, to “SHINE!”
SHINE* A Royal Affair, will be held on Saturday, November 14, 2009, at the Minneapolis Convention Center. The event will feature silent and live auctions, fine dining, and entertainment. Focusing on the Gustavus connection, the entertainment will include those who have a Gustavus background. “We want to fill the room with friends,” states A Royal Affair co-chair Susan Wilcox ’73.
The proceeds will go directly to the endowment of Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library. “This event is important to me and the entire GLA because we understand the need for financial support of the library. For students, it’s the nerve center of the college. The collection of research materials, periodicals, and online support is critical to the student experience,” says Michaletz.
“Gustavus is an outstanding place that inspires its people to stay connected, made me a better thinker, and gave me values I still hold (a desire for justice and service, especially),” Kagol notes. “I am so impressed by the opportunities it offers current students to make a better society.”