For nearly three decades, Rebecca Bergman ’78 has built a reputation as a leader in medical-device engineering. Now she is planning to apply her leadership in a new context as president of Gustavus Adolphus College. In July, she will become the first woman to lead the 152-year-old liberal-arts college in Saint Peter, Minn. Her appointment was announced Feb. 28.
Bergman has been a trustee of Gustavus Adolphus since 2007, but her career has been primarily outside of academia, in biomedical engineering. She’s spent the last 26 years at Medtronic, a Minneapolis-based medical technology company, and currently serves at its vice president of research, technology, and therapy delivery systems for cardiac rhythm disease management. In 2010, Bergman’s contributions to medical-device technology were recognized when she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.
At Princeton, Bergman majored in chemical engineering and served as a resident adviser. Following graduation, she studied chemical engineering and materials science at the University of Minnesota.
Bergman told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that a colleague on the Gustavus Adolphus board of trustees first asked her about the presidency last summer, and after considering the idea, she felt a “call to serve” the Lutheran institution that two of her four children have attended. Her family supported the move, she said: “Everyone’s smiling in my household, and that means a lot to me.”