St. Olaf College names new building for ALHS graduate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 13, 2002

NORTHFIELD &045; St. Olaf College has officially confirmed that the new recreation center, scheduled to open in September, will be named for Jerrol and Alleen Tostrud. He is a former Albert Lea resident and a 1956 graduate of Albert Lea High School.

The college’s board of regents recently took this action as one way to thank the Tostruds for their gift of $12 million to construct the building. The gift was made in June 2001, and the ground breaking for what’s now the Tostrud Center took place just a year ago. The $12 million, which will fully fund the construction of the facility, is unique in that the Tostruds will also provide an additional $1 million endowment to help support the day-to-day operations of the facility.

This gift is the second-largest in the history of St. Olaf College. It’s also one of the largest bequests made to a Minnesota college or university, according to the June 21, 2001, issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Email newsletter signup

Jerrol (Jerry) and Alleen Tostrud, as well as their three children Eric, Jon and Karen (Tostrud) Hoffman, and Eric’s wife Laurie (Sagedahl) Tostrud, all attended St. Olaf. Jerry Tostrud has served on the St. Olaf Board of Regents since 1996, and chaired the search committee that recently selected Christopher Thomforde to serve as the tenth president of the college.

The new, 95,000-square-foot recreation facility will be located adjacent to the Skoglund Athletic Center on the northwest side of the St. Olaf campus. In making this gift the Tostruds said, “We are delighted to be in a position to support the St. Olaf community in this way. Recreation, physical education and athletics are an important part of the liberal arts educational experience, and it is our hope that this new recreation center will serve as one of the cornerstones to fulfilling the St. Olaf mission of developing the whole person in mind, body and spirit.”

This center will include an aerobics training facility, state-of-the-art exercise machines, a weight-training facility, an elevated walking and jogging ring, a six-lane, 200-meter track, and a 48-foot rock climbing wall.

Jerrol (Jerry) Tostrud grew up in Albert Lea and graduated from Albert Lea High School in 1956. His entry in the 1956 Tiger yearbook says he was a part of Tiger’s Roar, basketball, golf team member, intramural basketball as a junior and senior, chorus, Madrigal Singers and orchestra member, played in the Albert Lea High School Band, Rotarian Representative as a senior, Student Council and class officer in his senior year, and Hi-Y member for three years.

The Tostrud family came to Albert Lea about 1936 from Wisconsin. Jerrol’s father worked as an equipment operator for Emil Olson and Sons, a local road contractor and concrete, sand and gravel firm.

Roger Olson of Glenville, a relative, had these comments: &uot;I watched Jerrol grow up and have known him all his life. His father was Jasper Tostrud, a wonderful workman and Christian. His mother was Beulah Tostrud, a wonderful devoted woman. Jerrol worked his way through college with summer jobs and never forgot his roots. Jerrol was always modest and unassuming. I couldn’t describe him any differently.&uot;

Jerrol’s father died in April 1966 and is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery. His mother, Beulah, lives in a retirement center in St. Paul.

Tostrud, a resident of Sunfish Lake (a St. Paul suburb), and now a Florida resident during the winter months, retired as executive vice president from West Publishing Company of St. Paul in 1996, following 36 years of service. A 1960 graduate of St. Olaf, he has served on the college’s board of regents since 1996. He currently serves on the boards of the St. Paul Foundation and the American Judicature Society, where he is board chair. He is a former board chair of the William Mitchell College of Law.

Alleen Tostrud graduated from St. Olaf in 1961 and is a homemaker and a former public school teacher. She is active in numerous church and civic projects.

St. Olaf is a four-year liberal arts college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) with a student enrollment of 2,950 and a full-time faculty of approximately 250.