Planting Seeds for an Urban Arboretum • October 14

Campus quadAre you curious how the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion will impact campus green space? Do you have questions or ideas for how Augsburg could maximize our green space in our urban neighborhood? Do you really love trees? Join us October 14th for a special chapel service featuring Professor Larry Crockett who will share insights and philosophies related to stewarding green space.

Following chapel, join us from 11am-12pm in Oren Gateway Center Room 100 for a panel with Q&A moderated by Regent Matt Entenza. The panel will feature partners helping in planning Augsburg’s campus transformation into an Urban Arboretum. Learn how we will maximize green space to improve experiences for students, faculty, staff, and our neighbors!

Panelists include:
Tom Oslund Principal, Oslund & Associates, Landscape Architect
Dale Pederson ’70, Associate Professor, Biology
Ralph Sievert, Director of Forestry & Certified Arborist, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Augsburg College.

Honoring Elms, Embracing Green Horizons

Campus quadIn early August, two of the three remaining elm trees in Augsburg’s quad—an alumni gift from more than 50 years ago—were removed because of Dutch Elm disease. While it was a sad day on campus when the trees were felled, we reserved some of the wood to be transformed into pieces of art, partnering with Tom Peter, a local certified arborist and wood-turning artist.

photo 1The elms created wonderful character of space in the quad for decades, and have helped inspire our longer-term visioning of the central campus as a larger green space that, over time, becomes an even more significant component of campus life.

The design for an expanded quad is one of the central ideas resulting from work done in 2011 to develop a campus master plan, and has recently inspired new thinking around a special campaign effort to support the creation of an “urban arboretum”—a multi-functional green space that deepens the student, faculty, staff, and community experience through hands-on education, research, and recreation.

To learn more about Augsburg’s urban arboretum and how you may own a wood-turned creation from the elm trees, please contact Amanda Storm Schuster, Director of Leadership Gifts at 612-330-1098 or

Urban Scrubs Campers Explore STEM & Health Fields

Augsburg hosted Urban Scrubs Camp for the sixth consecutive year this July. Scrubs Camp invites high school students interested in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and medical fields to immerse themselves in an experience-based program that exposes students to many fields, including dentistry, psychology, engineering, nursing, and more. During the week-long day camp, students participate in hands-on sessions, tour medical facilities, experience a variety of healthcare activities, and are exposed to numerous career options. It’s a fun way to learn about health-related careers, meet others, and get a sneak peek of life as an Auggie.

This year, Augsburg hosted 76 students and several alumni engaged as volunteers. Alumna Mary Ann Kinney MAN ’04, DNP ’11, a registered nurse at Mayo Clinic’s St. Mary‘s Hospital in Rochester, served as a keynote speaker and discussed her work in community building. Kinney has had extensive immersions through her graduate studies at Augsburg in Mexico and Guatemala and with homeless populations in Minneapolis and Rochester. She served as delegate to the first International Conference on Women’s Health in Beijing, China.

Urban Scrubs

Urban Scrubs campers at work in the Boston Scientific engineering workshop.

This camp provides a unique experience for metro-area students who otherwise might not have access to healthcare education. Last year, 70% of participants were students of color and 20% of campers were local to the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood.

Scrubs Camp is made possible by generous support from corporations, foundations, and community members. For the third year, Boston Scientific employees volunteered at Scrubs Camp. Steve Oommen facilitated two engineering workshops for campers.

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

Urban Debate League Tackles Real Life Challenges

2014 Mayor's Challenge.

2014 Mayor’s Challenge.

Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), a program of Augsburg College, is charged with the mission to empower students through competitive academic debate to become engaged learners, critical thinkers, and active citizens who are effective advocates for themselves and their communities.

Under the leadership of Executive Director, Amy Cram Helwich, and with the support of faculty advisor, Robert Groven, MNUDL currently serves more than 750 students at 39 partner schools and has seen sustained growth in student participation and academic growth since its inception in 2004.

This year, Urban Debate League has expanded their programming to include Spanish and Somali debate. May 27, 2015, Urban Debate league will pilot a Somali Debate Initative with a Community Forum including Representative Keith Ellison and other community leaders. The topic is facilitating remittances from the United States to Somalia. This legislation affects many of our current Somali students—the debaters will engage in a high-level conversation to determine possible solutions for this community challenge.

Several alumni are also involved in the Mayor’s Challenge: The Great Water Debate, Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Registration is at 7:30 a.m., and the program begins at 8 a.m. This year’s national high school policy debate topic is “Resolved: The United States federal government should substantially increase its non-military exploration and/or development of the earth’s oceans.” Students at the breakfast will present an informative debate specific to Minnesota lakes and rivers.

Alumni are invited to attend! If you are interested, please sign up here to attend the May 13 fundraising event for Urban Debate League.

  • The Urban Debate League currently has sites at 39 schools serves 700 students.
  • 100% of debaters graduate on time and 99% have been accepted to college.
  • In the Twin Cities, debaters are 40% more likely to graduate than non-debaters.

To learn more visit the: Minnesota Urban Debate League home page.


President Pribbenow Honors 3M CFO Nick Gangestad ’86 with Inaugural Golden Bow Tie


Last week, more than 50 Auggies gathered for lunch at the 3M campus in Maplewood. Despite sharing the same employer, some who had known each other had not made the connection of sharing an alma mater! President Pribbenow shared anecdotes from Augsburg’s history with 3M. During the 1970s, Augsburg’s business program hosted courses at 3M, and many Auggie alumni from this era are still employed there. Currently, more than 200 Augsburg alumni work for 3M.

Bow TieHolly Knutson ’03, MBA ’07, Auggie extraordinaire and member of the 3M finance department, worked with the Alumni Association to honor Nick Gangestad ’86 for his recent promotion as CFO. Pribbenow presented Gangestad with the inaugaural Golden Bow Tie award:

The Golden Bow Tie Award is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding achievement, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education and inspires great pride for all Auggies. Nick was also presented with a certificate and gold cufflinks in the shape of bow ties.

Nick Gangestad shared three core Augsburg philosophies at Augsburg that have impacted his life: faith, liberal arts, and a unique urban setting. As a student, Gangestad’s faith deepened, and he felt supported in that growth by Augsburg’s core Lutheran values. Liberal arts, the importance of entrepreneurship, and flexibility are also important to him. He attributes his liberal arts education to his ability to lead effectively at 3M. Coming from a small town in Iowa he had a distinct appreciation of Augsburg’s location in the city of Minneapolis.

The Augsburg Alumni Association can help you host your own workplace Augsburg Alumni event like this luncheon at 3M. To gather a group of Auggies at your workplace, please contact Amanda Scherer, assistant director of corporate and foundation relations at 612-330-1720 or


MAL in Nicaragua: 10 Years of Leadership and Learning

150122 MAL nica 0388

On Jan. 22, Diana Pierce MAL ’15  hosted alumni and current students of the Master of Arts in Leadership and Physician Assistant programs in a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the MAL course on Nicaragua on Jan. 22. A student, KARE-11 news anchor, and 2014 Nicaragua trip participant, Pierce welcomed Juan Carlos Lopez, program coordinator for the Center for Global Education and Experience in Nicaragua, and a longtime trip facilitator. The event raised more than $1,000 to benefit NIca HOPE, a nonprofit, based in Managua, that works with communities in Managua to offer long-term solutions to entrenched poverty through education and practical skills training. 16215742810_b17a955129_z15780677044_cfb9acc051_z