Just in time for Valentines Day join the Augsburg Associates for a “Sweetheart of a Sale” February 13th and 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Christensen Center. With vintage jewelry, homemade candy and one of a kind scarves it will be a great opportunity to pick out unique and special Valentines Day gifts! Love is in the air… see you there!
Join the Augsburg community on Saturday, January 27 for the grand opening festivities of the Hagfors Center. The public is welcome to attend the alumni and community open house from 3.30-5 p.m. Enjoy food stations, building tours, and activities.
- Please allow for extra travel time as we expect extra traffic due to pre-Superbowl activities.
- Free valet parking will be provided in the roundabout in front of the Hagfors Center on 21st Avenue.
- Throughout the afternoon, students and faculty will be on hand to provide laboratory tours and to share the transformational difference this new facility makes to their educational experience.
- Food and refreshments will be available throughout the afternoon including a mac and cheese bar, roasted vegetables and dip, a dessert bar with choke cherry ice cream, meringue and fruit purée, mini lemon tartlets, and more.
For further information please click here.
Many adults would likely freeze in place if asked to teach a middle school class, much less try to interest those students in theater. Then there are those special people for whom such work just comes naturally. Ertwin “Ert” Jones-Hermerding ’69 was such a person.
Ert’s Augsburg mentor, the late Ailene Cole (who taught theater at Augsburg for 29 years), saw it early on, insisting that his talent was definitely with the younger kids—the high-schoolers, sure; but more so, the younger ones. It was at Augsburg that Ert knew he wanted to be a teacher.
Football and Theater
When Ert found an opening for a speech teacher at Plymouth Junior High in the Robbinsdale, Minn., school district, he jumped at the chance because it gave him the opportunity to also coach football. As a speech/communication teacher and football coach in Robbinsdale for 34 years, Ert endeared himself
to countless junior high (middle school) and high school students, and many of them went on to pursue interesting professional careers due to his strong influence. His students included Darcey Engen ’88 (Theatre Arts professor at Augsburg), Mad TV’s Mo Collins, and actor Steve Zahn, who once donned a curly wig in junior high and did a memorable, gut-splitting impersonation of TV exercise personality Richard Simmons.
“Herm,” as he was affectionately known by his students, found ways to interest athletes in the drama program, and speech students in the football program, increasing the pool from which to draw and surprising many students who may not have otherwise considered such involvement.
Herm was, most notably, the first to teach improvisational theatre at the junior high level, creating a new model that was replicated in many other schools. When he died suddenly in a one-vehicle motorcycle accident two years after retiring, the online posts from former students said it all—“Brought me out of my shell.” “Favorite teacher.” “Made learning fun.” “Creative and passionate.” “I was fat and unpopular…he cast me in the lead…he lit me up.” “Great mentor to so many kids.”
Herm’s students would often sit together at school lunch to write their own plays. With parental permission to miss some school, they would crowd into a conversion van to take their shows to local elementary schools. Using only milk crates as sets, and maybe a mic for the narrator, they often drew huge groups of youngsters.
When asked how her late husband came to have such a heart for young people, Pat Jones-Hermerding says she isn’t sure how you can understand what’s at someone’s core, but she knew Ert had found his calling. He opened up his ideas to his students, and he had the kind of personality to which they gravitated—a big personality that could take over a room. Everything became a story, says Pat, and it usually grew into an even bigger story. He was energetic and funny—and fit right in with the kids. She takes special pleasure in reminders of Ert’s legacy, particularly when encountering former students who have gone into theater, or played sports for a college, or become teachers.
The Apple Tree
In October, when more than 20 family members and friends of Ert gathered next to Foss Center to dedicate a young apple tree in his memory, those attending were unaware of the tree’s interesting history. They were just grateful for the tree’s healthy start, and for the opportunity to designate a different tree on campus since the tree they had originally dedicated to Ert’s memory in 2009 had become diseased and died.
The history of the replacement tree, they later learned, was tied to Augsburg student Emily Knudson ’15, who had planted three apple trees as part of her senior Keystone p
roject. With this project, and through the Minnesota Project’s Fruits of the City program, Knudson was able to enter the network of hundreds of other tree owners and volunteer gleaners statewide who donate tens of thousands of pounds of fresh fruit each year to local food shelf partners. The newly placed plaque by the tree honors both Knudson’s project and Jones-Hermerding’s memory.
The Auggie Friendships
Among those who gathered at the tree’s dedication were two of Ert’s long-time Auggie friends, Glen J. Peterson ’69 and Karl Sneider ’71. All three had been members of Gamma Phi Omega, a campus/community service fraternity active on campus in the late ‘60s and ‘70s. Though participation in athletics was not a requirement for membership, many Gammas were involved in sports, which served to deepen many of the friendships. Peterson says that he and Ert were dorm mates as freshmen, and decided to join a third friend to live in a house by Riverside Park for their remaining three years. Peterson chuckles as he recalls that, since there were only two beds in the house when they moved in, Ert was content to sleep temporarily on a mattress on top of the kitchen table.
As Peterson reflects on those college days, he is reminded of how diligent a student Ert was, studying long hours for his language course. He was introspective, hard-working, and intense—in the best sense of that word—and those qualities applied to all areas of his college life: academics, football, track, and theater. He also exerted outsized influence in the life of his young brother, Mike.
If Peterson were to summarize Ert’s legacy in a few words, “integrity” would quickly come to mind. Ert was honest and trustworthy, says Peterson, and dedicated as an educator and as a person. Then he adds, “People would strive to be like him because Ert was adamant about caring about people.”
—by Cheryl Crockett ‘89
The Augsburg Religion Department and Institutional Advancement are now seeking student and alumni input for artwork to be installed in the new Hagfors Center. The artists Greta McLain and Stanton Sears and Andrea Myklebust are seeking your best ideas on text passages that could accompany three artworks designed for the new building. Selections of text may come from any literary work or religious text of any faith tradition, as long as they are inspiring and fitting with the spirit of the artwork. For students, display boards depicting the artwork designs will be posted around campus, where anyone may fill out a slip and drop it in the submission box. Or check out the link to see more information about the artists and submit your ideas by April 6!
Alumni from all professions and stages of their careers are invited to campus to meet with students and fellow graduates to build their Auggie network. Featured alumna Jenni Lilledahl ’87, co-owner of the Brave New Workshop, will offer strategies to help you jump-start meaningful conversations and say “yes”.
WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 2017
Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center (map)
Augsburg College, Minneapolis
Students arrive: 5:30 p.m.
Alumni arrive: 6 p.m.
Event concludes: 7:30 p.m.
Bring your business cards and be prepared to grow your Auggie network!
Free Professional Head Shots ~ Food & Beverage Provided
Alumni with questions, contact Katie Radford ’12 at the Alumni Office: 612-330-1329
In my role as Alumni Director I have the opportunity to meet with amazing Auggies to share their journey and their connection to Augsburg.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to spend some time with some friends from the class of 2001. There is something really special that happened on the 5th floor of Urness in the fall of 1997. A group was formed that has stood the test of time and location. I know that so many of you have similar experiences and groups of friends you still see regularly for brunch or not-regular-enough get-togethers.
One of the things that was important for this group was to spend some of their precious time together at Augsburg visiting and reconnecting with the campus and some of the people that make Augsburg so amazing.
We walked around and saw classrooms, shared memories, remembered others, laughed, and spent some money in the bookstore.
One thing this visit cemented to me is how important it is to visit Augsburg. In this era of social media, we sometimes think that we know what’s going on at Augsburg. But there is something about being here physically, seeing the campus, smelling it … you wouldn’t believe how some things smell just the same (Urness) and how it makes the memories come flying back. As we approach Homecoming, I ask you to remember that it is important to come back and be here, to experience the campus and the activities you enjoyed with your friends and classmates. You don’t have to take my word for it, but I invite you to take theirs.
If you’re looking to tour campus with your favorite classmates, be sure to let me know.
Katie Koch ’01
Auggie Alumni Director