An Auggie Finds His Calling

Jay Matchett

Photo credit: Zoya Greene.

For Jay Matchett ’08, ’13 MAL in his current job, all the pieces have come together. His long-held interests in politics, sociology, and human rights have coalesced into a vocation that couldn’t feel more right. Since he took on the directorship of Our Neighbors’ Place, a multipronged social service agency in his hometown of River Falls, Wisconsin, he feels he can convincingly say: “This is where I’m supposed to be.”

Our Neighbors’ Place is an organization Matchett watched grow from its infancy to serve a great need in for people who found themselves homeless or in need of transitional housing.

“It’s been exciting, exhilarating,” he says, of his four months as director, serving his community and engaging the complex issues surrounding poverty and homelessness.

Drawn to Justice

His attraction to social justice was born early and instinctively. A lifelong passion to do something about the cause of poverty began as a child. On a trip to Tucson, he saw an older person pushing a shopping cart alone on the sidewalk. He couldn’t understand why that would ever happen. He never forgot it.

His mother was a teacher, and he would volunteer in her classroom. There, he saw that not all kids were equipped for school—they were hungry or didn’t have boots in the winter.

As a young person he knew intuitively, “This is not right.”

Then, in middle school, as part of his preparation for Confirmation, he spent a night and served a meal at a homeless shelter. Even in that short time at the shelter, he saw that they had more in common than differences. “They like the Packers; they’re just like us,” he remembers thinking. “That just changed my world.”

And the idea started to germinate: How can I make things better for folks? In college, he was drawn to sociology and political science because he wanted to change things. Continue reading

Finding Home All Over the World

Sima cropWubitu Ayana Sima ’89, ’16 MBA might never have predicted she would end up as the proprietor of a classic British tea room, but she never expected to spend more than a decade in Geneva, Switzerland, working abroad for the United Nations and the World Health Organization either.

At 54, the dual-degreed Auggie has always been a woman who likes a challenge. She’s happy when she’s busy, and as the owner of Lady Elegant’s Tea Shoppe in the leafy St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, and a part-time MBA student at Augsburg, the mother of three is already thinking about her next adventure.

Serving Tranquility
Lady Elegant’s, which she purchased from the previous owner, is actually two businesses—a tea shop and a tranquil tea room that is perfect for conversation and popular for groups of all sizes by appointment. Sima does the baking for the formal teas, including croissants and scones with clotted cream. The adjoining tea shop sells more than 80 varieties of tea. Her husband, Admadu Simeso, helps manage the restaurant, from the paperwork to the online shop. She manages four part-time employees, and everyone works Saturdays, because it is their busiest time.

Each place in the tea room is set with a distinct tea cup. She’s collected cups from all over—they come from the United Kingdom, China, Japan—and washes each one by hand. They break easily, she warns, especially in the transition from a group service in the morning to a group in the afternoon.

“I’m a coffee drinker,” she confesses. Growing up in Ethiopia, she would pick coffee out of the backyard at her mother’s house and they’d roast it themselves. She learned to enjoy tea while working in Switzerland, and has grown to know the delicate chemistry of time, tea leaves, and temperature of boiling water. Continue reading

Summer Get-Together and Fall 2015 Kick-Off

AugsburgHouseReception

President Paul C. and Abigail C. Pribbenow invite you to Augsburg House for a Parent Open House on Thursday, August 13, from 5:30-7:00 p.m.

Come celebrate summer and welcome the start of the 2015-16 academic year. You will have a chance to meet other Auggie parents and enjoy refreshments as we prepare for another great year together.

Space is limited! Please R.S.V.P. to herron@augsburg.edu by August 3.

Financial Services News for Parents

Fall 2015 billing statements will be electronically sent to all registered students on July 9. To ensure that all financial aid has been applied for, and correct amounts are owed, please make sure your student has turned in all necessary documents to the Student Financial Services Office by July 1.  Students can see what documents are missing by logging into their Augnet account and clicking on ‘Records and Registration’ and then ‘Track My Financial Aid’.

All students are encouraged to give parents/guardians access to view their billing statements.  Students must log in to www.augsburg.edu/studentfinancial/ and select ‘Make a Payment/Account Activity’ on the right hand menu. Click ‘View your online student account’ and follow the instructions under ‘Parent/Third Party Access Instructions – Make a Payment.’

All students are eligible to enroll in Augsburg’s Online Payment Plan; enrollment will open on July 10.  Students must log in to www.augsburg.edu/studentfinancial/ and select ‘Make a Payment/Account Activity’ on the right hand menu. Click ‘Payment Plans and Discounts’ and follow the instructions under ‘Augsburg Online Payment Plan’. To ensure 5 monthly payments, the application must be completed by July 26.

Journey to the Holy Land with Auggies

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem.

Join Auggie guides Dr. Phil Quanbeck and Dr. Ruth Johnson ’74 on a tour of the Holy Land to explore its past, present, and people. January 4-17, 2016, your hosts will guide you through a customized and comprehensive tour of the biblical places of the Older and New Testament in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Stay two nights in Bethlehem where, along with the biblical sites, you’ll meet and dialogue with local community leaders and learn about the ministry of the International Center of Bethlehem.

Riding a camel on the Mount of Olives in 2012.

Riding a camel on the Mount of Olives in 2012.

Visit Jordan with two nights at Petra, featuring explorations of Madaba, Mt. Nebo, the ancient city of Petra and the recently opened baptismal site on the Jordan River. Fly into Tel Aviv on Delta Airlines and stay 12 nights, enjoying the hospitality and services of a professional, licensed Christian Palestinian guide throughout Israel and Palestine and a professional, licensed Jordanian tour guide in Jordan. Continue reading

Mike Newman Receives the Augsburg College Golden Bow Tie Award

Bow TieIn April, President Pribbenow invited Mike Newman, Vice President of Community Relations at Travelers Insurance, to celebrate five years as a partner institution with the Travelers EDGE® program, Empowering Dreams for Graduation and Employment. The cocktail hour and focused program on campus highlighted key aspects of the EDGE program:

  • Increase the pipeline of underrepresented students to Augsburg
  • Help underrepresented students graduate from Augsburg
  • Build awareness of careers in the Insurance and Financial Services industries

Newman is a true champion of education, and advocates strongly for access to higher education for all students. As a surprise to Mr. Newman, President Pribbenow presented Mike Newman with the Golden Bow Tie Award, which is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding contributions, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education, and inspires great pride for all Auggies. The award was named, playfully, after Paul Pribbenow’s daily ritual of wearing a bow tie, a tradition he started to initiate conversation with students. Along with a certificate, Newman also received bow tie cufflinks. Continue reading

Alumni Connect at Rochester Reception

More than 90 Augsburg alumni, friends, and community leaders came together for a special networking event at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester on May 18, featuring Rochester mayor Ardell Brede, President Pribbenow, and guest speaker Dr. Paul S. Mueller ’84.

Mueller, the chair of the Augsburg Board of Regents spoke on the topic of “Augsburg College: Small to Our Students and Big for the World,” and cited current student Vision Bagonza ’17 and recent graduate Michelle Grafelman ’15 as students living out Augsburg’s mission. With more than 2,500 Auggies living in the Rochester area, the College’s presence in Minnesota’s fastest growing city is growing. The event was an opportunity for local alumni to connect, meet community leaders, hear more about the great work Augsburg is doing as the premier private education provider in Rochester. Continue reading