Auggies Win at the Twins

Auggie Night at the Twins was a rousing success on June 22. Tickets in the Auggie block above home plate sold out for the event jointly sponsored by the Augsburg Alumni Board and Young Alumni Council.

The annual night out at the ballpark began with a pre-game reception at the nearby Kieran’s, with a short program hosted by Nick Rathmann ’03 and featuring Robert Grace ’98, who operates Be Graceful Bakery, with a concession booth at TCF Bank, Target Field, and the new US Bank Stadium. Then 75 Auggies watched the Minnesota Twins take on the Phillies and WIN. Special thanks to Nik Linde ’15 for taking the photos.

Measured Impact

Grazzini-June16
Frank Grazzini ’96.

Growing up with an entrepreneurial father planted the seed in his mind that running his own business could make a lot of sense—and was doable. But the idea really took root in his adult life, when Frank Grazzini ’96 realized, after 12 years of working for larger corporations, that this work wasn’t a very good fit for him. He’d much rather create something new than fine-tune an existing structure. So he switched gears. In fact, starting a new business seems to have become a way of life for him, and he sees himself as a serial entrepreneur of sorts. He is now involved in his fourth early-stage business (his third technology start-up), with the potential to scale into a much larger business. The down side? He’d much rather start a new remodeling project than mow the grass!

At Prevent Biometrics, his latest venture, Grazzini is working with two other co-founders and the Cleveland Clinic to commercialize a groundbreaking technology to monitor and measure the force of head impacts to athletes (both male and female) in sports such as football, lacrosse, hockey, and soccer. He says that if a concussion is treated early, it usually results in a full recovery; if not, there is a much greater risk the athlete will suffer permanent neurological damage, even CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) or Second Impact Syndrome, which can cause death.

In spite of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that over half of all sports-related concussions in the U.S. (approximately 3.8 million each year) are never identified, response has been slow. But now, there finally seems to be a growing awareness that the problem must be taken seriously, as indicated by laws in all 50 states, as well as recent statements by professional sports league representatives. Though some would make the case for ending football altogether (most notably, Dr. Bennet Omalu, whose exposure of the widespread consequences of NFL injuries was dramatized in the recent film, Concussion), Grazzini believes that better monitoring of injuries, plus a few changes to the rules, would likely be sufficient to keep football a healthy sport for kids.

PreventBio graphicPrevent’s head-impact monitor, currently being tested by athletes, has been in development for six years and is expected to be officially released for sale in December 2016, though various inquiries to the company have already been made by researchers in the military and the NCAA for earlier sales. Continue reading “Measured Impact”

Why Travel with Auggies?

Thailand-WebDan Cherryhomes, class of ’73, and his wife, Pat, saw promotional material for the Augsburg trip to Thailand and Cambodia in January 2017 and decided to go to the on-campus information session.

Both Dan and Pat had thought about different ways to travel and tour in retirement, had looked at tours, but had never given serious thought to any group package.

“We had  the opportunity to try out the idea in an orientation meeting with some of the people with whom we would likely travel. It was not so surprising to us that as part of the extended Augsburg family, we share the same values and hopes for the trip as a number of the participants. When we met the hosts, English professor Kathy Swanson, and her husband, Jack, we also learned they had spent time as Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand.”

Dan’s parents were missionaries, and he spent his first four years in Thailand. Jack talked with Dan about where he had lived and offered that they could make a brief side-trip one day in Bangkok to the place where Dan had lived.

Dan Cherryhomes '73 in Prague, 2014.
Dan Cherryhomes ’73 in Prague, 2014.

“This was something we didn’t expect  in a group tour—the willingness of our host to help make the experience more personally meaningful to us. We left the orientation and decided that the trip was not only something worthwhile, but that this was the best opportunity we would ever have to travel with people willing to share a similar experience.”

Tour host Kathy Swanson promises a trip that will be Uniquely Augsburg. Travelers will visit sites that appear on most trips to Thailand and Cambodia: the temples, the Grand Palace, the night markets, the floating market, Angkor Wat. The tour will, however, also include items that are uniquely Augsburg such as a visit to an orphanage for Hill Tribe children, Augsburg guides who know the country well and speak some Thai, and a group of travelers who share a common background and interest in being citizens of the world.
Swanson and her husband are already looking forward to the trip. “With all of our trips to Thailand, we most enjoy sharing our love and knowledge of the place with others who are interested in various cultures and new experiences. Each time, we see the familiar through the new eyes of our travelers,” she said.
Who should take this trip? “Anyone who values expanding a world view, learning about a new culture, experiencing beauty (and fun!),” said Kathy Swanson. As Mark Twain wrote:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” — from Innocents Abroad

The tour is open to all and now accepting reservations—just a dozen spots remain. Find a full itinerary and more details about the Thailand/Cambodia trip here. If you have questions or wish to register, contact Katie Koch at kochk@augsburg.edu.

 

Alumni Teachers May Qualify for Help with Student Loans

Education_HeaderTeachers working in designated teacher shortage areas in Minnesota may now qualify for help with their student loan payments. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) recently announced an assistance program for teachers with student loans.
The Minnesota Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program, created in 2015, is intended to encourage teachers to teach in Minnesota in designated shortage areas by providing assistance with their student loan repayments.
In general, applicants must currently:
  • Hold a teaching license issued by the licensing division in the Minnesota Department of Education on behalf of the Board of Teaching
  • Be employed by a school district to provide classroom instruction
  • Teach in a designated teacher shortage area; and
  • Have outstanding qualified educational loan debt.
Qualifying teachers who apply by June 30, 2016, may be eligible for repayment assistance of $1,000 per year, up to a total of $5,000. OHE estimates that 194 awards will be made for the 2015-2016 award year, with as many as 1,940 annual awards made through 2019.
The Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program application is online here.
Please share this information with interested friends or colleagues. For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at sandy.connolly@state.mn.us.

Financial Aid Update for Parents

The 2016-2017 financial aid awards are now being processed. Please make sure your student has completed the 2016-2017 FAFSA and turned in all necessary documents to the Student Financial Services Office; the priority deadline was May 1. Students can check which documents are missing and the status of their financial aid award, by logging into their Augnet account and clicking on Records and Registration and then Track My Financial Aid. This portal shows documents that may still be missing as well as the award letter, once it is finalized.

If all documents are turned in, your student will be emailed their financial aid award letter by July 7, 2016.

Homecoming Reunion Committee Meeting on May 19

Sally HC Save dateHomecoming planning is already underway for Sept. 22-24, 2016. The Alumni Association looks forward to hosting reunions for the classes of 1966, 1976, 1991, and 2006. If you’re a member of these reunion classes, we need your help!

We want this chance to reconnect and revisit the campus to be awesome. If you would be willing to serve as a reunion leader and help coordinate plans and invite classmates, please join your reunion committee! Members of all reunion classes are gathering on campus to discuss ways we can make our reunion meaningful for all of us. We would appreciate your input and invite you to join us.

Please be assured that the time commitment for you is minimal. The Alumni Relations department takes care of a majority of the details, but we need YOUR help deciding how to celebrate this important milestone. We also need your help finding former classmates and encouraging fellow classmates to attend.

Our first meeting is Thursday, May 19, at 7 p.m. in Oren Gateway Center, room 100. Please let the Augsburg Alumni office know if you would be interested in serving on the host committee. RSVP to alumni@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1173. If you would like to be a part of your reunion host committee, but cannot attend the first meeting, please let us know.

In addition, look forward to celebrating the awesome Auggies being honored at Homecoming this year:

•  Karim El-Hibri and Kyle Loven ’06 will receive the First Decade Award.

•  Norm & Evangeline Hagfors and Dr. Robert (Bob) Stacke ‘71 will receive the The Spirit of Augsburg Award.

•  Ron Nelson ’68,  Lee Roper-Batker ‘88, and  Dr. Ray Yip ’72 will receive the Distinguished Alumni Award.

Chasing Justice: Rachel Engebretson ’98

As an immigration lawyer at Binsfeld & Engebretson P.A., Rachel Olson Engebretson ’98 is fulfilling her dream of “chasing justice.” Though she serves a diverse clientele from around the globe, many who seek her help are attempting to reunite their immediate family members, a process that requires advance permission in order to live their lives together in the U.S. She is passionate about helping them.

Though most people believe it is a crime to live illegally in the U.S., in most instances it is not. Immigration law is civil, administrative law.

Likely, Engebretson’s resolve to help these families can be traced back to her childhood. Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid) in Watertown, S. Dak., she moved with her family to Granite Falls, Minn., in 1978 when her parents felt the call of the soil and the rural suffering community’s need for young blood to find new life. Those were the days when family farmers either “went big” or found another way to pay their bills—so there were challenges. During these formative years, Engebretson also became aware of international relations, and was particularly concerned about the civil wars in Central America and illegal arms-dealings there. The lessons learned from her parents—especially with regard to a commitment to human rights and the value of diversity—fit squarely into what she later learned was required to handle immigration issues. Continue reading “Chasing Justice: Rachel Engebretson ’98”

Financial Aid Update for Parents

The 2016-2017 FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) can be completed online at FAFSA.ed.gov two to three weeks after filing the student’s and parent(s) 2015 federal taxes. Remember to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool to directly import the tax information, and make sure to submit the FAFSA by signing with your FSA ID. Students can check to see  what documents are missing and the status of their financial aid award by logging into their Augnet account and clicking on Records and Registration and then Track My Financial Aid.

Registration for the summer/fall 2016 term is now open. Students who have unpaid spring charges, or are not up-to-date on their payment plans, will be unable to register.

Graduating students who have borrowed federal loans must complete loan exit counseling at augsburg.edu/studentfinancial/loan-exit-counseling; this is an important tool to help students learn about their loan repayment options.

Tuition accounts must be paid-in-full for a diploma and/or transcript to be released; please see the Parent Information tab at augsburg.edu/studentfinancial for instructions on  making a payment.

Honors Program Passing of the Scrolls Banquet: Goodbye Bob Groven, Hello Phil Adamo

It was a treat to have alumni join current students for the Honors Program Passing of the Scrolls banquet on Saturday, April 23, 2016. The Honors Program holds a spring banquet annually as a capstone for students and faculty to celebrate the year, hear from senior speakers, and present various awards (both serious and humorous) to current students.  This year, however, the banquet took a new spin.

The Passing of the Scrolls theme was adopted not only to recognize the transition of Honors Program leadership from Bob Groven to Phil Adamo, but also as a way to welcome Honors alumni to the banquet. A Roast Bob Groven reception was held before the banquet for current students, alumni, and faculty to mingle while sharing their favorite memories of Groven. Alumni guests from 2006 to the present Honors class took to the microphone to share  funny stories and jokes. (Adamo received a decent amount of roasting as well.)

During the banquet, after current students were honored and senior speeches were delivered, a piece of Groven’s legacy was also highlighted. Before entering his Liberating Letters class, all students must have three people write on scrolls predictions about where the student will be in the future. Groven kept these scrolls from graduating classes as early as 2008.  Near the closing of the banquet, alumni were called to the front to receive their scrolls. The alumni then remained standing to shake hands with the graduating seniors as they welcomed the soon-to-graduates into the Augsburg alumni ranks.

In all, it was a great opportunity for students and alumni to recognize these instrumental professors and celebrate the end of the academic year.  Alumni attendees learned more about the program today, while reconnecting with faculty and one another.  More than 100 students, 30 alumni, and various faculty members participated in this wonderful event. Many thanks to Phil Adamo, Bob Groven, the Honors Desk staff, and the Honors Program for making this event happen! Many well wishes to Phil Adamo as he continues his journey as the new director of the Honors Program! Continue reading “Honors Program Passing of the Scrolls Banquet: Goodbye Bob Groven, Hello Phil Adamo”

LinkedIn Alumni Group Merging with Augsburg College Group

linkedinFor those of you who attended the Auggie Networking Event on Tuesday, February 9, in Hoversten Chapel, a highlight was the demonstration of using the College’s LinkedIn group to reach out to other alumni or students. Join the Augsburg College group and increase your ability to connect with other Auggies across every field. For those who are open to being contacted for networking or mentoring, join the sub-group Auggie Student-Alumni Connections. Note: you must be part of the Augsburg College group first. For tips on connecting with Auggies across all disciplines via LinkedIn, see the how-to guide shared at the networking event.

The Augsburg Alumni LinkedIn group is in the process of merging with the College’s group. If you’re not already connected with the Augsburg College group now, do so today. The Augsburg College Alumni group will close at the end of April 2016 in an effort to form the most robust group for building connections among Auggies everywhere.