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GACA Collection 254. New Gymnasium and Endowment Fund Drives, 1919-1927: Overview

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Collection Description

New Gymnasium and Endowment Fund Drives, 1919-1927.  GACA Collection 254.  1 ½ Hollinger boxes and 1 flat box.

The Gymnasium and Endowment Fund Drives collection contains information pertaining to fundraising for an Endowment Fund and the building of a new gymnasium (now Johnson Student Union) at Gustavus Adolphus College.  Included are correspondence, news releases, committee minutes, newspaper clippings, and a scrapbook.  There are also contracts with Magney and Tusler Architects and Engineers for the building of the gymnasium as well as lists of subscriptions, subscribers, and congregations that were helping support the fundraising efforts.  Many materials are in Swedish.

Historical Note

The College’s original gymnasium was an old barn, and in the early 1900s, the administration realized that the College would need a better gymnasium if they wanted more students to attend.  They started fundraising for the gymnasium during 1916.  There was a short break in fundraising due to World War I.  However, it picked back up after the war, around the same time the College was told that they needed to have a larger endowment fund or risk losing membership in the North Central Association of Colleges.  The two fundraising efforts were rolled into one.  The New Gymnasium was finished in 1922.* It included a gymnasium, swimming pool, and an elevated running track.  Athletics moved into the Myrum Memorial Fieldhouse in 1939 and the gymnasium was used for lectures and dances.  During 1942, the New Gymnasium was renamed the O.J. Johnson Student Union; in 1956 the gymnasium was remodeled and became Alumni Hall; and in 1987 the swimming pool was taken out and the area became “The Dive,” used for student dances, small productions, and a coffeehouse.**

*Taken from A History of Eighty Years: 1862-1942 by Conrad Peterson.

**Taken from the Gustavus Adolphus College website, 20 October 2010

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