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Eric Gustafson ’97

Framingham, Massachusetts

B.A. Political Science, Marietta College ’97; M.A. Political Science, University of Massachusetts Amherst ’99; M.A. Criminology Anna Maria College ’04


Framingham State University: Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations; 2023-24 Fulbright Scholar; Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Mass Chapter: Past President; Anna Maria College: Past Director of Advancement; Muskingum College: Past Director of the Annual Fund/Associate Director of Major Gifts; YWCA of Western Massachusetts: Past Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator

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As a student at Marietta College, Eric Gustafson ’97 had a number of meaningful experiences and met countless people who impacted his choice to pursue a career in higher education. As a reflection of the excellence he brought to his role as the Vice President of Development & Alumni Relations at Framingham State University in Massachusetts, he was awarded a Fulbright for the 2023-24 International Educators Administrators program in Germany.

“Each year, a cohort of 15 U.S. higher education administrators are selected for the program, and travel to Germany for an intensive two-week program of seminars, meetings, and campus visits. My professional background is in development and alumni relations, which is one of the administrative specialties sought by Fulbright Germany.”

To apply, he answered a series of essay questions about his interest in being a part of the program, what he hoped to gain from it, and how he would share what he learned with his U.S. colleagues. The Fulbright Germany office reviewed the submissions and selected Eric to be one of 15 participants in the 2023 cohort.

He recently spent two weeks in Germany for the program. The first week was spent in Berlin, where he attended seminars about the German higher education and K-12 systems.

His cohort also met with a group of German administrators who completed the same Fulbright program in the U.S.

“It was a fantastic opportunity to network, learn, share ideas, and discuss the differences between the U.S. and German higher ed systems and what we can learn from each other.”

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During his second week in Germany, the cohort split into three groups and visited different areas of the country. Eric’s group went to Technische Universität — one of Germany’s “Universities of Excellence” — in Dresden, where he met with administrators, faculty and students. The group also returned to Berlin to visit the University of Potsdam.

This was the second time Eric was awarded a Fulbright. His first program was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because it didn’t carry over, he had to re-apply.

Looking back on his career in higher education — and his passion to support higher ed — he notes that it started at Marietta.

“I was one of many New Englanders who discovered MC due to an exceptional recruiter who covered the region. He convinced me to visit campus, and as soon as I did, I knew it was where I belonged.”

Majoring in Political Science, he found mentors in faculty members in and outside of the Political Science Department, including Dr. Mike Tager, the late Dr. Jackie DeLaat, and Drs. Jim and Mabry O’Donnell. He was a member of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and was active with The Marcolian, WCMO-FM and WMRT-FM, and competitive forensics. He also met his wife, Maleah Thorpe Gustafson ’97, during their freshman year, as well as many lifelong friends.

“My time at Marietta made we want to pursue a career in higher education, which led me, after graduate school, to a career in development and alumni relations. Twenty-five years later, I remain working in higher education development, and I am grateful for my Marietta experience setting me on this track.”

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