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Physics Department Update, June 2013

Dear Physics Alumni and Friends of the Department,

Greetings from Augsburg College where we are once again starting our summer research programs. On behalf of the Physics Department at Augsburg I’m writing to share news about our students, alumni involvement and important changes underway. As an Augsburg alum and member of the faculty, I believe it is especially important to keep you informed and connected to our department.

Physics Graduates 2013

Last month we graduated a group of nine Physics Majors. The department has grown steadily to one of the strongest undergraduate Physics Departments in the region. Our reputation grows with the success of our alumni. Thank you for helping us attract students and support their efforts.

I have three areas to which I’d like to draw your attention:

A stronger physics program requires a stronger network of alumni

We would like to expand the amount and the ways that you, our valued alumni, are involved in the physics program and with our students. To help us explore new opportunities we have developed a short online survey. Please take a few minutes and let us know how and how much you would like to be involved.

Center for Science, Business and Religion Fundraising Challenge

Alumni have been supportive this year and we want you to know how much we appreciate it! Over 50 alumni from our department returned to campus for the annual Sverdrup Lecture. The next day we hosted a “Physics Alumni Summit” for Physics majors interested in learning more about the Center for Science, Business and Religion.

Physics Alumni Summit

One outcome of the Physics Alumni Summit is a challenge gift to name the new Intro to Physics Labratory in honor of Ted Hanwick. Our goal is to raise $500,000 and so far we are at $265,000 thanks in large part to Dan Anderson ’65 who made the first gift to this effort. Add your name to the plaque that will go outside this room by making a gift online or by contacting Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle at or 612-330-1177 (or feel free to contact me). You may also want to attend one of the future Alumni Summits (register here) to see the difference this new academic building will make for all of our students.

Big changes in the department!

This will be a year of meaningful transitions for our department because both Mark Engebretson and Jeff Johnson will be retiring. As we enter a new era for Physics at Augsburg, Ben Stottrup has moved into the role of Department Chair. We are looking for help in planning appropriately extravagant celebrations of Jeff and Mark’s outstanding years of service! Please email me if you would like to be involved.

The summer is an especially good time to visit campus. We have a strong group of roughly 20 students conducting research in the space physics and biophysics labs. They would welcome the opportunity to meet you and talk about their work.

If you are going to be on campus, please let us know. It would be a pleasure to visit in person and we welcome your engagement, input and advice.

I look forward to sharing more updates later this summer. Thank you for staying in touch.


David Murr ’92

Associate Professor of Physics