Augsburg College Mourns the Passing of Dr. Annette Gerten, associate professor of Social Work

Annette GertenDr. Annette Gerten, associate professor of Social Work, died this week from an aggressive cancer. Annette was a passionate and valued member of the Social Work faculty and the Augsburg community. Her time with us and our students–cut short too soon–was a blessing that we will long remember and greatly miss.

Below are some words from the Social Work Department faculty that speak to the work that Annette did at Augsburg and the impact she made on her students, her department, and the wider community.

“Courage. Some have suggested that the fullest meaning of this idea is to act with a whole heart, being brave is pursuing life with your whole-heart. Annette lived and she died whole-heartedly.

Professor Annette Gerten began her professional career in social work following her undergraduate years at the College of St. Catherine. She completed her MSW in 1984 at the University of Michigan. She returned to Minnesota in 1986 to work at Wilder Child Guidance Center. She went on to work as a family counselor and school social worker. Annette completed her Ph.D. in Social Work in 1996. A year later she began her career at Augsburg College, beginning as a full-time instructor.

Professor Gerten was a valued and innovative teacher, a tireless collaborator, and an incurable knitter. We can attest that Annette dedicated her whole heart to her students and to her colleagues. When she first entered the hospital in mid-December, she was attended by the hospital social worker, one of Augsburg’s MSW graduates. The social worker recalled that, 16 years earlier, while she was on the verge of dropping out of the MSW program, Annette spent time with her encouraging her to not give up, but to complete her degree. Now, many years later, she is still grateful to Annette for having had faith in her.

Annette was a valued colleague within the wider College, having served as a Fellow with the Center for Teaching and Learning and served on the Committee for Tenure and Promotion. Annette was also the assessment director for the Social Work program. Dedicated to social work field education, Annette coordinated field placements for BSW students. Annette’s publications included guidelines for working with students with conduct disorders, family friendly policies for mothers in the academy, and lessons learned from collaborating with the neighborhood Somali community. Annette did all of this while teaching students from their first year on campus, to their final year in graduate school.

But to focus on her professional career would be only a segment of Annette’s full story. She loved her family. She was devoted to her three children, her husband Jim and supported all their social, academic and sport activities. Annette played volleyball with her husband’s college friends, watched most of her three children’s soccer and basketball games. And just this past August, Annette proudly completed her first triathlon.

‘As she did with yarn so beautifully and creatively, she wove us all together more tightly centered on the important work of serving others…What a good mother, social worker, educator, and human being! May we carry on in her hopes and dreams as her spirit lives in our hearts….’ (Anthony Bibus, 2013).”

Annette’s family has scheduled a Mass of Christian Burial memorial service on Friday, January 10, at 10 a.m. at the Church of St. Patrick, 3535 72ndSt. E., Inver Grove Heights. Visitation will be Thursday, January 9, from 3 to 8 p.m., also at the Church of St. Patrick.

The Augsburg community will gather this afternoon from 2 to 2:30 p.m. in Hoversten Chapel for a community prayer service.

We hold Annette’s husband, Jim, their three children, her family, and all who knew Annette in our thoughts and prayers.

The Augsburg Symphony Orchestra 2014 Florida Tour

This winter the Augsburg College Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Douglas Diamond, is heading south. If you too are going to be in Florida in January, be sure to attend one of their many perfomances.

The Augsburg Symphony Orchestra 2014 Florida Tour
SUNDAY, JANUARY 5, 2014—4 P.M.*
Our Savior Lutheran Church
Vero Beach, Florida
Ph: 772-567-2253 |

MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014—10:30 A.M.
St. John Lutheran School
1915 SE Lake Weir Avenue
Ocala, Florida
Ph: 352-622-7275

MONDAY, JANUARY 6, 2014—7 P.M.*
Shepherd of the Glades Lutheran Church
6020 Rattlesnake Hammock Road
Naples, Florida
Ph: 239-775-0696

TUESDAY, JANUARY 7, 2014—1 P.M.*
Auditorium, Cypress Cove at HealthPark
10200 Cypress Cove Drive
Ft. Myers, Florida

Times Square
Ft. Myers Beach, Florida
(Performance hosted by St. Peter Evangelical Lutheran Church)

Hope Lutheran Church
14200 Hopewell Avenue
Port Charlotte, Florida
Ph: 941-697-2345

* A freewill offering will be taken at these performances

Augsburg College is a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Students

The U.S. Department of State recently announced the complete list of colleges and universities that produced the most 2013-2014 Fulbright U.S. Students.  The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.  The success of the top-producing institutions is highlighted in the October 28 edition of The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Three students from Augsburg won Fulbright awards for 2013-2014. As a result, Augsburg was ranked number 11 among Master’s institutions nationwide receiving Fulbright Awards for 2013-2014. Since 2007, the College has produced 17 Fulbright award winners.

Over 1,800 U.S. students, artists and young professionals in more than 100 different fields of study have been offered Fulbright Program grants to study, teach English, and conduct research in over 140 countries throughout the world beginning this fall.  Lists of Fulbright recipients are available at:

Since its inception in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 325,000 participants—chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential—with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.  In the past 67 years, more than 44,000 students from the United States have benefited from the Fulbright experience.

The Fulbright Program is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.  The primary source of funding for the Fulbright Program is an annual appropriation made by the United States Congress to the Department of State. Participating governments and host institutions, corporations and foundations in foreign countries and in the United States also provide direct and indirect support.  The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, composed of 12 educational and public leaders appointed by the President of the United States, formulates policies for the administration of the Fulbright Program, establishes criteria for the selection of candidates, and approves candidates nominated for awards.

In the United States, the Institute of International Education administers and coordinates the activities relevant to the U.S. Student Program on behalf of the U.S. Department of State, including conducting an annual competition for the scholarships.

The Fulbright Program also awards grants to U.S. teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas.  In addition, some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study for graduate degrees, conduct research and teach at U.S. universities, colleges and secondary schools.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, visit

Luncheon for Wells Fargo Auggies

Did you know that more than 100 Augsburg alumni work for Wells Fargo? On November 20, the department of graduate admissions is hosting a complimentary luncheon at The Local for employees of Wells Fargo who are Auggie grads and their co-workers who might be interested in an Augsburg MAL or MBA degree.

Guests will receive information about Augsburg graduate programs, have networking and professional development opportunities, and have the option of speaking with an admissions counselor.

For more information, contact Nancy Shaeffer at 612-330-1520 or

Call for Nominations

The Alumni Board seeks your assistance in identifying members of the Augsburg community to be considered for recognition.

Please take a few moments to consider those who might be honored for these awards. Your nominations and suggestions are critical in helping to build these important programs to celebrate the accomplishments of the Augsburg community.

Distinguished Alumni Award
Awarded to Augsburg College alumni in recognition for significant achievement in vocation, for outstanding contribution to church and community, and for a life that exemplifies the ideals and mission of Augsburg College. Augsburg alumni (graduates and non-graduates) are eligible.

First Decade Alumni Award
Awarded to Augsburg College graduates of the last ten years who have made significant progress in their professional achievements and contributions to the community, and in so doing exemplify the mission of the College: to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.

Spirit of Augsburg Award
Honors Augsburg alumni or friends of the College who have given exceptional service that contributes substantially to the well-being of the College by furthering its purposes and programs. Alumni, friends, faculty and staff, and groups who have served the College are eligible.

To make a nomination, contact the Alumni & Constituent Relations Office and a nomination packet will be sent to you. Phone (612) 330-1085. E-mail:

The deadline for nominations is Decemeber 20, 2013.

Dedication of the Charles S. Anderson Music Hall

On Friday, September 27,  the Augsburg community gathered to dedicate the Charles S. Anderson Music Hall in honor of Augsburg’s 8th president, Charles Anderson, who served as president for 17 years, from 1980 to 1997. 

 President Pribbenow welcomed the guests and stated that “the legacy of Charles Anderson is very much the foundation for the College’s work today and in the future. We are honored to recognize him by naming the Charles S. Anderson Music Hall.”

College Pastor Sonja Hagander and Associate Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres led family, colleagues, alumni and friends in the blessing of the building.  Members of the Augsburg choir and band joined the celebration. 

Roz Nordaune ’77, Regent Emerita, and Jeff Swenson ’79, Athletic Director, paid tribute to Chuck.  Jeff described Chuck as a “student-first decision maker and a competitor, who was a confident and compassionate leader.”

Roz, who knew Chuck both as a student and a Regent, said, “His qualities of accessibility, inclusion of Augsburg’s constituencies, always open to discussion and debate and a wonderful sense of humor were always evident to me as my involvement with my alma mater evolved over many years.” 

Kathy Tunheim, Regent Emerita Chair during the tenure of President Anderson, sent a letter and shared, “Chuck was so proud of Augsburg.  He believed in the importance of the College’s work–for its students and for the world they will serve.  He had such confidence in the people who were committed to Augsburg’s future.  He was truly a willing servant leader.” 

Kristin Anderson, Augsburg Art Professor and daughter of Charles Anderson, remarked that the naming of the Music Hall in honor of her father is especially fitting as music was important to him throughout his life. “He understood the many important roles this space could play – not just for music majors, but for people like him, who were deeply committed to music but who pursued other gifts and professions,” said Kristin.