Identity and Mission for
the 21st Century
At its centennial in 1975, the St. Olaf College paused to consider the deeper meanings embedded in its mission, to explain more fully its commitments and challenges. In 1999 the college's ninth president, Mark Edwards, deciding it was time for another such examination, commissioned a group of faculty members from a variety of disciplines to "extend the conversation about the identity and mission of St. Olaf College in the 21st century." After a great deal of study, deliberation and discussion, the group drafted preliminary statements which it then shared with faculty colleagues, initiating a year-long series of refinements. The result was St. Olaf 2000: Identity and Mission for the 21st Century, a 72-page printed document that provides important insight into the college, past, present and future.
Distributed on campus during the 125th anniversary celebrations, the booklet since has been used to familiarize new faculty and staff with the college's heritage and mission, as well as in a number of classes and in presentations and conversations with departments and divisions across the campus. It has also been distributed to college presidents and deans nationwide as a publication that "encourages us and others to continue a healthy dialog on the role of higher education within a faith-based context."
The text of that document can now be found at this web site, divided into four parts: