Overcoming Adversity

After surviving an accident at a very young age, Pat Marcy ’72 believes he was given a second chance. Marcy was Augsburg’s first national champion in wrestling when he won the 150-pound weight class as a senior in 1972. Along with being a national champion, he was a three-time MIAC champion and twice was MIAC tournament Most Valuable Player. Marcy made the 1976 U.S. Olympic wrestling team and placed in the top 12 in three world championships. He treats every day like a miracle, but the path was not always easy.

At the end of his first year at Augsburg, he confronted his own feelings of failure and gave himself a second chance. “I just kept working,” he remembers.

He went on to win the national title in wrestling, getting closer all the while to his dream of becoming an Olympic champion.

His advisor shared with him the advice he followed and still remembers today: “Prepare, prepare, prepare.”

Digital Walking Tour Uncovers Hidden Stories of Minneapolis

Jacqui deVries, history professor and director of general education at Augsburg.
Jacqui deVries, history professor and director of general education at Augsburg.

Imagine scores of Augsburg alumni returning for Homecoming in 2019. Then imagine them on a walking tour, standing outside their favorite landmark, remembering the way it was, and reviewing 150 years of history by clicking on a smartphone.

The ability to walk the streets in the present while seeing them in the past is no fantasy, thanks to the Historyapolis Project. What began as a practical solution to an ongoing need has blossomed into an expansive vision not only for the sesquicentennial, but also for the future of the city and Augsburg itself.

Two years ago, Jacqui deVries, history professor and director of general education at Augsburg, was searching for innovative ways to welcome new students to campus. “There was no good, comprehensive history of Minneapolis, nor of the Cedar-Riverside area. In conversations, we realized how much we needed something, a basic introduction not just for incoming students, but also for anybody who is interested in the neighborhood,” she recalls.

She knew that the city had many hidden stories, and that if they were going to be documented, they needed to reside on a digital platform. An innovation grant from the Augsburg’s president’s office allowed deVries to hire Anduin Wilhide, a University of Minnesota doctoral candidate who is writing a dissertation on the area’s immigrant history, to help Kirsten Delegard, Augsburg history department scholar in residence, develop a digital history tour of Cedar-Riverside. Delegard’s popular Historyapolis blog on Minneapolis history provided a logical starting point.

“It was a beautiful confluence of things,” says deVries. “We spent a lot of time talking it through, planning, writing, and researching what a digital walking tour should be. We’re almost done.” Continue reading “Digital Walking Tour Uncovers Hidden Stories of Minneapolis”

Murphy Square Anthology to Share Augsburg’s Literary History

Doug Green
Augsburg English professor Doug Green.

The history of an institution can be studied and celebrated from many different angles, one of which is its literary canon. Which Augsburg students and staff have been writing, about what, and when? What do these works say about its past, its character, and its evolution?

“We have been publishing Murphy Square, Augsburg’s student-run literary journal, for more than 40 years,” says English professor Doug Green, who has taken charge of the English department’s contribution to the sesquicentennial celebration. “We had been talking about putting together a collection of poetry by John Mitchell, a popular professor who died about 10 years ago. That got me thinking, and I’m not alone in this, about whether we could put something together about what literature has looked like at the College. Why not an anthology? Murphy Square represents the start of an ongoing tradition.”

A Shakespeare, literature, and creative writing professor for 28 years, Green writes poetry and creative nonfiction and has advised the annual literary journal on occasion. Like his colleagues, he has been published in it. But never has it undergone systematic review. Continue reading “Murphy Square Anthology to Share Augsburg’s Literary History”

Enemy of the People planned for sesquicentennial

102015_Darcey-Engen_0017-2When Augsburg celebrates its sesquicentennial year, Associate Professor and Theater Arts Department Chair Darcey Engen ’88 will have dual roles. She and Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79 will co-chair the entire celebration, from the opening gala at Homecoming 2019 to the final wrap at Homecoming 2020. She will also oversee her own department’s contribution to the festivities. Though the main events are still years away, it’s already obvious that the veteran actor and director relishes playing both parts.

“It’s not quite on the radar yet, but people are starting to get excited. And I am grateful and excited to be part of that process,” Engen says.

She and Swenson have embarked on their mission with minds wide open, first collecting research from other institutions, then, last fall, visiting each department personally. “It’s not about our personal vision, but about being expert communicators with our constituents—faculty, staff, students, friends, advisors. We’re gathering our vision as a group. And we’re just beginning,” she says.

Celebration goals are multifaceted. “We’ll be welcoming alums back, but we’ll also be instilling in current students what a special time this is, and how lucky we are to be around for this monumental event. We want to capture the essence of what that means for each department and its current students as well as former students who are now professionals in their fields. That’s the recipe people are wrestling with,” adds Engen. Continue reading “Enemy of the People planned for sesquicentennial”

Story of Augsburg takes on new life

history-phil adamoFor the past three summers, professor of history and honors program director Phil Adamo has inspired and challenged student teams to research and collaborate in the writing of a comprehensive history of Augsburg College. This semester, the project has graduated to the classroom, where eight upper-level students will spend 15 weeks moving the book closer to its publication date in 2019, when Augsburg celebrates its sesquicentennial.

This history class is a first for Adamo, who has been honored with several teaching awards, including being named Minnesota Professor of the Year in 2015 by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

“It’s not a content delivery class. I won’t stand up and say Augsburg was founded in 1869 in Marshall, Wisconsin. There will be no tests and no content mastery expectations,” says Adamo. Instead, there will be research and retrospective. Each student will write six pieces, about 1500 words long, that could wind up comprising about a third of the finished book. The students, who range in age and majors, including English and chemistry as well as history, will not only supply diverse viewpoints, but also gain enviable research skills and unique historical perspectives.

“Whatever Augsburg means to them can’t help but become more personal. They’ll be walking across the quad where all these people walked before them, and hanging out in Murphy Park, where students have been hanging out since 1872,” Adamo says.

300x202-Beyond-300x202The class will begin by reading baseline histories, including From Fjord to Freeway, the book former history professor Carl Chrislock ’37 published for Augsburg’s centennial. They will explore structure, topic choice, and how the writing reflected the time, place and perspective. Then they will set about contributing to a fresh version of Augsburg history.

“We are now in a different time and place, and we want to address issues that Chrislock didn’t address. We won’t just be picking up the chronology from where he left off in 1969; we want to tell the whole story, from 1869 to the present. We will ask different questions,” Adamo says. Continue reading “Story of Augsburg takes on new life”