16 Ways Your Give to the Max Day Gifts make Augsburg (and the World) a Better Place

With so many amazing things are happening at Augsburg, it may be helpful to have a little guidance about just how much is happening this year for the 35 Augsburg groups raising funds this year.

How can you support these initiatives? Read on! We’ve collected some examples of how your gifts this Thursday can make a huge impact in the lives of Augsburg students, faculty, and community members. Thanks for your support!

You can see all of Augsburg’s Give to the Max Day projects, and make your gifts now.

  1. Your gift to the Augsburg Fund helps ensure that Augsburg continues to provide financial aid and scholarships for more than 95% of our student body, keeping access to education for all a priority on campus. 

2. Your gift to the Augsburg Health Commons means members of our Cedar-Riverside community who are struggling to provide for their families don’t have to worry about the cold winter ahead.

3. Your gift to Augsburg Campus Kitchens helps expand and improve our campus gardens, where students and community members work together to grow healthy food and integrate green practices into our cities. Watch the video here.

4. Your gift to Augsburg’s Biology Department supports cutting-edge research on issues affecting Minnesota’s agricultural sector, including the health of soybeans. Watch the video here.

5. Your gift to Augsburg’s Chemistry Department gives students like Zach Swingen ‘16 the chance to work closely with Minnesota schools to build new curriculum that gets kids excited about science. Watch the video here.

6. Your gift to Augsburg’s Baseball and Softball teams gives our student-athletes a chance to train in Tucson, Arizona. It also gives Auggie Eagle a little break from the cold weather… watch the video here!

7. Your gift to Augsburg’s SMART group will help raise awareness and advocate for issues related to sexual violence and recovery in the Augsburg community.

8. Your gift to the Augsburg Theater Department’s Production Fellowship helps fund students of color who are exploring a career in artistic production, making the industry more representative and giving future generations of creative people new role models.

9. Your gift to Augsburg’s Peace Scholars Fund helps support the motivated, global-minded group of students who are Augsburg Peace Scholars. Watch the video here.

10. Your gift to Augsburg’s StepUP® Program creates opportunities for students in recovery to spread their message of hope and acceptance throughout the Twin Cities in speaking engagements, activities, and community events. 

11. Your gift to the Sabo Center’s Sabo Scholars continues that work that Augsburg alumnus Martin Olav Sabo ‘59 believed in and spent his life achieving—equipping young leaders to move beyond the classroom to listen, value, and support democracy in every facet of community life. 

12. Your gift to Augsburg’s Women’s Volleyball program provides our 2016 MIAC Champions with the chance to take their game abroad, as they challenge themselves against tougher opposition and experience new cultures, all while proudly representing Augsburg..

13. Your gift to Augsburg’s Minnesota Urban Debate League program gives young people across the metro area the chance to build their communication skills and confidence, giving them the tools to be successful leaders in their community.

14. Your gift to Lindell Library support an expanded collection of local, Minnesota authors and a speaker series that honors the many contributions our residents have made to the stories of art, architecture, history, literature, politics, and native and immigrant groups.

15. Your gift to any of four Augsburg projects count double. Donations to AWE for Emergence, the Peace Scholars Program, STEM, Biology, and Chemistry will be matched for every dollar, thanks to generous donors willing to help us all do more, together,

16. Your gifts help Augsburg win the Colleges and Universities category that earns the College a $10,000 prize—and each hour on Give to the Max Day, one Golden Ticket of $1,000 will be awarded through a random drawing of all donations transacted during the previous hour. Additionally, two Super-Sized Golden Tickets of $10,000 each will be awarded randomly.

With 36 Augsburg programs participating in Give to the Max, it’s easy to choose the Auggie causes that speak to your heart. Just don’t expect to be satisfied with just one!

Auggie Alumni in the Classroom: Bill Koschak ’91

Bill Koschak Auggies are everywhere, including back in the classroom!  Last week, Bill Koschak ’91 came back to speak to the seniors in the Business and Religion Keystone class led by Lori Lohman & Josh Miller. His topic? To speak about his vocational journey, his career path, and advice he would give students today.

Koschak had much to share about his journey from entry level job to partner at KPMG, to vice president of finance at General Mills, and now chief financial officer at YA Engage (formerly known as Young America). He noted he was especially thankful for his adviser, business professor Stu Stoller who first encouraged him to look into public accounting. Koschak made sure Stoller would be in attendance so that he could personally thank him.

Additionally, Koschak shared that he has had three strong mentors in his career who were instrumental to his career growth. These mentors were workplace leaders he admired for their management style, ethical behavior, and focus on work-life balance. He made a point to engage with these leaders and check in with them regularly. What started as occasional meetings turned into mentoring relationships that opened up many doors. He challenged the students to seek similar relationships as they start their careers.

Koschak is one of many alumni who have been invited to share their experiences with current students. If you are interested in speaking in classrooms or sharing your stories, contact Volunteer & Alumni Engagement Manager Katie Radford ’12 at radford@augsburg.edu.

The Auggie Alumni Board Wants You

alumni-board
Back Row [L to R]: Adrienne (Kuchler) Eldridge ’02, Sarah Grans ’01, Howie Smith ’80, Jay Howard ’03, Rick Bonlender ’78, Greg Schnagl ’91, Nick Swanson ’09, Patricia Jesperson ’95 Front Row [L to R]: Marie (Eddy) Odenbrett ’01, Hannah Dietrich ’05, Jill Watson ’10 MBA, Meg (Schmidt) Sawyer ’00, Melissa (Daudt) Hoepner ’92, Chris Hallin ’88, Adriana Matzke ’13, Rachel (Olson) Engebretson ’98, Chau “Tina” Nguyen ’08, Mary Prevost ’12 MBA Not Pictured: Cyrus Batheja ’08, ’10 MBA; Sharon Mercill ’09; Jordan Moore ’12 MBA; Brent Peroutka ’02; Nick Rathmann ’03; Tracy (Anderson) Severson ’95.
The Augsburg Alumni Association is looking for volunteers to serve on the board of directors. All alumni are welcomed and encouraged to apply. The Alumni Board is a governing body of the Alumni Association. The board exists to guide the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations of Augsburg College in serving the valued alumni, parents and friends by providing resources and opportunities to engage alumni with the College and each other through consistent communication, inclusive programming, and intentional relationship building. To apply or find out more, contact Katie Koch ’01, Director of Auggie Engagement, at kochk@augsburg.edu.

Helping the Young to Do Better and Be Better

Joshua HarrisGrowing up in Chicago, Josh Harris ’08 hadn’t heard of Augsburg before, but when Auggie Coach Aaron Griess recruited him to play basketball, he discovered a smaller school in a big city, diverse, with a sense of community—and it all appealed to him. What he ended up taking with him upon graduation, however, was beyond his expectations.

Today, Harris is working with other community leaders in Baltimore on many initiatives, including one to build a network of individuals, businesses, and organizations who can provide internships, scholarships, and mentorship opportunities for high school students, many of whom may be less than hopeful about their future. He believes that young people who have already enjoyed some level of professional success are those who can best effect change in the likelihood of success for other young people, particularly African-Americans.

Working primarily through Alpha Phi Alpha, a community-service-oriented fraternity, Harris serves as managing editor of The Sphinx, the APA’s journal about what is happening in the African-American community, and how their members impact the world around them. APA has 703 chapters worldwide (both undergraduate and alumni). The fraternity is noted as historically the first inter-collegiate fraternity founded by African-American men. Harris joined while still a student at Augsburg. The fraternity claims alumni such as former Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and currently has eight members in Congress. Continue reading “Helping the Young to Do Better and Be Better”

Velkommen Jul is December 4

Velkommen Jul scholarshipVelkommen Jul is Augsburg’s annual Christmas celebration for all. Attend Chapel featuring Scandinavian Christmas music at 10:40 a.m. At 11, head to the Christensen Center lobby to shop in the boutique for unique gifts and goodies. All proceeds benefit student scholarships. Join us for a festive celebration in the Commons with Scandinavian treats, holiday music, and traditional Norwegian costumes and sweaters. Gift baskets will welcome donations for Augsburg scholarships. Add to the celebration by wearing your Norwegian sweater! 

Nov. 7 Memorial Bench Dedication Honoring Lois Swenson

Lois-and-kids-photoOn Saturday, November 7, the family and friends of Lois Swenson, a resident of north Minneapolis and well-known local peace and justice activist, will be gathering at Augsburg College to remember Lois and give a handcrafted, wooden bench to the college in her memory. Amy Gort, Dean of the College, will be accepting the gift on behalf of the college.

Lois left her estate to Augsburg so that seminary students will be financially supported in their study abroad through the Center for Global Education and Experience. “My experience living in Central America opened my eyes to the real world and changed my life. I would like to provide similar experiences to seminary students who will be in a position to further educate people.”

The entire Augsburg community is invited to attend this brief ceremony and reception. Read more about Lois Swenson here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015
2 pm
Lindell Library, first floor
630 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis

The handcrafted wooden bench, made by Wisconsin artist Edward Wohl will be placed on the first floor of Lindell Library so students will be inspired by and be reminded of Lois’ commitment and work for peace and justice. Inscribed on the bench is one of Lois favorite quotes, “Live simply so that others may simply live.” For more information, call Sherilyn Young, Donor Relations Coordinator at 612-330-1462.

Active ’69 Alumna Honored with State Award

Matty 21In her 37 year career as a coach and teacher at Shawano High School in eastern Wisconsin, Janis “Matty” Mathison ’69 made physical education into all that it could be. Like her mentors at Augsburg, she took her role in her students’ lives to heart. She knew she could give something back, and make life easier for someone else. She’s promoted health with vigor, enthusiasm, and integration in daily life in the years since she has retired.

“You make your own bed,” Mathison says, “and I really like the bed that I made.”

She had always been active in community life, but retiring gave her the opportunity to become more involved. “I find when I do something it’s pretty all-encompassing,” she says, and her involvement has been widespread and made a difference not only on individuals, but also on her community in Shawano County, Wisconsin.

matty 6 On Oct. 13, Mathison will be honored by the American Planning Association’s Wisconsin Chapter as its Citizen of the Year for the work she’s been doing in her whole life, particularly for her leadership since retiring. Her devotion to creating a healthy community comes organically, and her involvement has been widespread—from improving parks experiences, to promoting an anti-binge drinking campaign, planning safe routes to school, making school start times later, planning a regional bicycle ride, and helping to create a bicycle-and pedestrian-friendly master plan for the county. One of her nominators for the award, planner Ann Freiwald, calls Mathison a terrific instigator and motivator who leads local residents and works with planners to promote healthy living and active lifestyles in Shawano County.

Mathison serves as an Executive Board Member with Shawano Pathways, a community nonprofit tasked with planning for and facilitating the development, implementation and maintenance of a greenway and trails network within Shawano County. This year marks the third year of Bike the Barn Quilts, a supported bike tour of Shawano County that she led the effort to host. The ride attracts more than 200 participants.

Embracing All Abilities

When Mathison was growing up, she was not just a natural athlete, but a teacher as well. As the oldest of 9 children, Mathison remembers using a backyard playhouse as a play schoolhouse, and she was always the teacher.  Her parents instilled in her an ethic that may have been the best advice she’d ever received: “share, care, and play fair.”

Matty 20As a physical education teacher, gym with Mathison was as likely to involve spelunking, cross country skiing, rock climbing, and canoeing or kayaking. She designed curriculum in health and physical education to involve and challenge all students, regardless of ability or how much they liked competition or sports. Continue reading “Active ’69 Alumna Honored with State Award”

Because You Believed in Me

Anne Thompson Heller with her family at Augsburg College graduation
Anne Thompson Heller with her family at Augsburg College graduation

Before Anne Thompson Heller ’08 began her studies at Augsburg, she hadn’t even visited the College. But she knew Augsburg was where she needed to be, because of the StepUP® Program on campus. Honestly, she says, she’s not sure she would have been able to go to college when she did without the support of StepUP, Augsburg’s residential recovery program.

Now, while completing a doctoral program at the University of Connecticut, Thompson Heller helps other young people in recovery to achieve academically and thrive. With two master’s degrees (one in educational leadership, higher education, and student affairs; the other in marriage and family therapy), she works tirelessly to support youth recovery. Though she hadn’t intended to pursue multiple advanced degrees, she did so when she discovered an undeniable passion for helping others facing addiction issues, just as she had been helped in her StepUP experience.

When she moved back to Connecticut, she served CTYF (Connecticut Turning to Youth and Families) as a board member, and eventually as its vice president, advocating for youth services with several state and other influential agencies, and attempting to raise awareness of the problem. Her involvement with CTYF led to her current work on the board of directors for Connecticut Community of Addiction Recovery (CCAR).

In 2010, after speaking at the National Education Recovery Summit, Thompson Heller was invited to join the board of the Association of Recovery Schools (a “phenomenal” organization, she says), where she led the advocacy committee and worked to enhance youth leadership in recovery schools. In that role, she was able to support the development of YPR (Young People in Recovery), a national advocacy organization, as one of the organization’s founding members. YPR now has chapters across the country, which emanated from several national conferences that sought to address addiction recovery and related issues such as leadership training and organizational development. Continue reading “Because You Believed in Me”

Jill and Robert Thomas Make $1 Million Challenge Grant for StepUP

Thomas familyJill and Robert Thomas of Tulsa, Oklahoma, are on a mission to erase the stigma associated with addiction and recovery—and it starts at Augsburg. They’ve made a $1 million challenge grant for Augsburg’s nationally recognized StepUP® Program, which helps students champion lives of recovery, achieve academic success, and thrive in a community of accountability and support. “The StepUP program is the Gold Star standard for collegiate recovery,” says Jill.

The couple is leading the drive to raise $10 million in endowment for the program and challenging others to “step up” to the plate to meet the urgent need for effective collegiate recovery programs.

Philanthropy + Advocacy = Change

Jill and Robert envision StepUP emerging as the program of choice for students in recovery and the employer of choice for top professionals in the field. They want to lift up StepUP as a model of excellence and see it replicated on campuses across the nation. They hope to see misconceptions about addiction and recovery shattered by the success of adults with addiction in their past. It all adds up to profound change. “First we have to start talking more openly about addiction and recovery, and then we have to start supporting it financially,” says Robert.

“We believe that our efforts can help organizations make a difference and move the needle in some very important things for people,” explains Robert, who served on the Alzheimer’s Association National Board and received the Maureen Reagan Award for outstanding Alzheimer’s Advocacy in 2010. Both he and Jill are leaders in Alzheimer’s advocacy and involved in several community organizations, including the Mental Health Association of Oklahoma and the Tulsa Area United Way.

They are parents of daughters Allie Thomas ’14 and Olivia Jordan, who currently serves as Miss USA.

Desperation, Love, and Hope

Jill and Robert learned about StepUP the hard way, through daughter Allie’s struggle with chemical dependency and her eventual recovery. “The despair and the fear of all it was all encompassing,” says Robert of that time in their lives.

Allie was living out of state when she hit the proverbial rock bottom.

“My dad swooped in and we came home to Tulsa,” says Allie. I had a series of stints in treatment centers, then stints of relapse. I was really unwell. It’s is so sad to think back on the person that I was.” Continue reading “Jill and Robert Thomas Make $1 Million Challenge Grant for StepUP”

Brewtel Means Big Things for Finnegans

Jacquie-headshotAuggie superstar and 2014 Spirit of Augsburg award recipient Jacquie Berglund ’87 is excited about the newest plans unveiled for the downtown Minneapolis block that is the proposed headquarters for the general contractor Kraus-Anderson. The Finnegans owner says news of the “Brewtel,” a hotel and Finnegans brewery concept will be a game-changer for Finnegans if approved. The beer company, which donates 100% of its proceeds to fighting hunger through donations to local and regional food shelves, would create a three-story brewhouse, event space, and a “Finnovation Lab” that would function as a business incubator for social entrepreneur start-ups. Read more about the news in the Star Tribune. Finnegans celebrated 15 years in business on Sept. 1, 2015. Next to the Newman’s Own brand, Finnegans is the second longest-running company in the country that donates 100% of its profits. Finnegans has given more than $500,000 to anti-hunger efforts since 2000.

Berglund will also serve as co-chair of Homecoming 2015 with Devean George ’99, and is excited to be back on campus to see Auggies from all classes.