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!
The Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion hosted its grand opening ceremony in style on Saturday, January 27, 2018. Approximately 1000 guests attended the celebration, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, remarks by President Pribbenow and Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71, live music, gourmet food stations on each floor, and exclusive access to many parts of the new, four-level building. Some of the Hagfors Center artists who contributed to the Art and Identity campaign also attended and were available to discuss their artwork in detail with attendees. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey joined the celebration and expressed his admiration for the building.
The open house began at 3 p.m., and guests were able to visit a multitude of classrooms and laboratories, where they could view the impressive state-of-the-art communications and scientific equipment, and participate in a variety of activities, including liquid nitrogen ice cream tasting, a chemical instrument tour, and a fruit-leather-making demonstration.
Dr. Peter Agre ’70 was celebrated with placement of a replica of his Nobel Prize award just outside the suspended Hagfors Center Gundale Chapel. A number of other people who have been integral in making the Hagfors Center a reality were also celebrated with mini-receptions throughout the building.
Guests had plenty of opportunity to socialize with alumni, staff, donors, and other friends of the College, while enjoying the gourmet food stations, which included a fresh vegetable-and-dip platter, a build-your-own macaroni cheese stand, and a delectable dessert station.
The event was a resounding success, and a good spirit prevailed among all who came to celebrate Augsburg University’s newest building.
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
Augsburg celebrated the holiday period in true Norweigian style, and nearly fifty Augsburg Associates volunteered at the 2017 Velkommen Jul festivities on December 1. Many volunteers were busy putting in extra days to make special Norwegian treats, and arrived early to help butter bread and lefse, and ensure that the event was a huge success.
There was exceptional student participation, including the Associates scholarship students who served waffles to hungry patrons. The event celebrated long-standing Augsburg friendships, and encouraged guests to create new friendships from our diverse community. Guests expressed their appreciation with kind words and contributions, and the scholarship baskets gathered a superb $1190.
Auggie Friendships Forever
Mike Scott ’71 admits that talking about friendship isn’t his strongest point, but he’s more than happy to acknowledge that his Augsburg friendships were the best part of his Augsburg experience. Mike and four of those Auggie friends—Larry Stewart ’72 , Tim Casey ’71, Mike Good ’71, and Bruce Santerre ’71—have maintained communication since graduation, and their friendship has survived the test of time. As a group of five, the men have put a priority on keeping in touch; they have celebrated marriages together, consoled each other in difficult times, and gotten to know each other’s children. As far as friendships go, these men share a connection so strong they consider themselves ‘almost’ family.
When Four Became Five
In the fall semester of 1967, the academic year was pushed back for a short period of time to accommodate the completion of Urness Tower. All non-commuting football players were accommodated in Memorial Hall until the semester started and they could be placed in permanent residence halls. It was there that Mike Scott met his very first college roommate, Larry Stewart, as well as Tim Casey and Bruce Santerre, who roomed next door. Besides playing football, the men shared another common thread; they were all from rural out-state. The four men connected as teammates, as neighbors, and by their rural upbringings—and they became friends. When the fall semester eventually started, the four were moved to Mortensen Hall where they would be living on a full-time basis. As chance would have it, on moving day Mike Scott encountered a familiar face and an old acquaintance, Mike Good. The young men had met years earlier through coincidence, when Mike Good was visiting family in Mike Scott’s hometown of Renville. If this was not surprising enough, the men discovered that Mike Good had been assigned to be Tim Casey’s roommate. This sealed the deal; the initial group of four quickly became five and a friendship blossomed that would span the course of the rest of their lives.
As the delayed academic year trickled into summer, on one lazy afternoon when they were feeling bored and desperate for entertainment, the five men, along with some fellow Mortensen Hall buddies, decided to take a hilariously posed photograph where they flexed their arm muscles or “guns.” Little did they know at the time that this photograph would be the start of a picture-taking tradition that would mark the significant times of their lives, like weddings and reunions.
Throughout college, the five either lived together, or within one house of each other. As life took them on their individual journeys, they continued to support each other and strengthen their friendship. From babysitting one another’s children, to taking on important duties for each other (Larry is the godfather of Mike Scott’s son, Kelley), to incorporating spouses and ‘special’ friends – their friendship has never wavered.
Today, although the friends are not physically together (due mainly to career paths that led each to his own location), the group continues to share an incredibly strong bond. At the 2017 Augsburg University Homecoming in October, the five men reunited for another photograph. Although time has changed the faces in the photographs, the deep friendship of these funny freshmen who were inspired by boredom to take a silly photograph in 1968, lives on.
Celebrate and respect our veterans and our men and women in service by joining the Augsburg University Alumni Association for the 6th Annual Minnesota Wild Beyond The Yellow Ribbon Awareness Night at the Xcel Energy Center on Thu, Nov 2 at 7:00 p.m.!
The Wild take on the Montreal Canadiens in a game that shouldn’t be missed… tickets include a new custom designed Grunt Style T-Shirt and entry into a raffle for autographed items.
Ticket collection will take place in the lobby of the Xcel Energy Center at 6:00 p.m on Thursday, November 2. Tickets cost $40 and can be purchased at: http://www.augsburg.edu/alumni/events/
Auggie Talks are back at Homecoming 2017! Please register for all Auggie Talks and any other Homecoming event you want to attend here.
Below is a schedule of the 2017 Auggie Talks:
Friday, October 13
3:30 p.m: Teaching the Bible, Faith and Vocation at Augsburg.
Auggie Talk #1- Hosted by the Class of 1967 @ Sateren Auditorium
This talk will feature Augsburg Legends Phil Quanbeck Sr ’50 and Rev. Dr. Phillip Quanbeck II reflecting on their last 50 years at Augsburg. This talk is sponsored by the class of ’67.
Saturday, October 14:
11:00 a.m: David Murr ’92
Auggie Talk #3 – Hosted by the Class of 1992 @ Lindell 301
Led by David Murr ’92, a journey though the typical progression through an Augsburg Major and an a-typical progression through a life
12:00 p.m: Peace Prize Forum
Auggie Talks #4- Hosted by the Class of 2007 @ Lindell 301
Nobel Peace Prize Forum: Past, Present & Future
Led by Bettine Hoff Hermanson, Managing Director, Nobel Peace Prize Forum. After a successful return of the Forum back to Augsburg’s Campus learn about this important event and our ties to this Norwegian institution.
12:00 p.m: What’s in a Name
1:00 p.m: Music Theater
Auggie Talk #6 @ Tjornhom-Nelson Theater
Auggies in Music Theater
1:00 p.m: Flute Ensemble
Auggie Talk #7 @ Sateren Auditorium
Please join Flute Studio Artist Trudi Anderson ’77 and Augsburg flutists from all eras – including Leah Abdella ’76, Rebecca Hartwig ‘15, Julie Johnson ’98, Kou Lee ‘11, Bonnie (Schwendeman) Maffitt ’78, Sheryl (Lium) Wilhelm ’76, just to name a few! – as they join together to make merry music as a flute ensemble, including alto, bass, and contrabass flutes!
2:00 p.m: Celebrating Torstenson
Auggie Talk #8 @ Oren Gateway Center 100
Join us in celebrating the life and legacy of Joel Torstenson! Led by Elaine Eschenbacher, Director of the Sabo Center.
2:30 p.m: Walking Tour
Auggie Talk #9 departing from the Oren Gateway Center Lobby
Steve Peacock, Director for Community Relations at Augsburg, leads a walking tour of the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood like no other!
Sod House Theater, which was founded by Augsburg alumni co-artistic directors Darcey Engen ’88 and Luverne Seifert ’83 who are also husband and wife, presents “Hoopla Train” with Yard Master Yip and his Polkastra starting on September 21 through October 15. “Hoopla Train” is an event performed in old vaudevillian tradition with live music, singing and sketch comedy and is a show that welcomes the whole family. Dancing, with music provided by the Chmielewski Funtime Band, will be encouraged throughout the show, and free dance
lessons are offered one hour prior to the show time. Along with this, there will be a live talent show contest for audience members and prizes will be given out.
“We are interested in bringing the young and old back into the ballroom to revisit its magical splendor and its power in building community,” said Darcey Engen, “We were enthralled with the polka and waltz dancers of greater Minnesota, and witnessed a passionate commitment to this kind of community engagement. We are thrilled to bring “Hoopla Train” to the Twin Cities.” “Hoopla Train” has been performed previously in 14 historic ballrooms and dance halls across Minnesota.
The cast stars Darcey Engen, Elise Langer, Jim Lichtscheidl, Eriq Nelson, Kimberly Richardson, Luverne Seifert, Andrea Wollenberg and the Chmielewski Funtime Band. Tickets for “Hoopla Train” are $20 for adults; $10 for children, students and seniors and can be purchased at www.sodhousetheater.org or 612-414-2032.
Come hear insightful talks from 7 passionate Auggies as we take over Sisyphus Brewing! This “mini-Ted Talk” style event is one you won’t want to miss!
When: July 7, 2017 at 7PM
Where: Sisyphus Brewing, 712 Ontario Avenue W., Minneapolis
TICKETS HAVE SOLD OUT! Look for the videos of the speakers once released and keep your eye on future alumni events!
Topic & Speaker Line Up:
Be You – Someone Else Isn’t an Option
After being what she thought was a communications agency lifer, two years ago Heather left 13 years of agency life behind to go corporate. She currently serves as the global marketing communications strategist within 3M Healthcare. Heather spends her free time as President of Minnesota PRSA and also leads a contemporary worship band. Heather has been referred to by many as spunky, hellcat, wild and fiery. Could it be she gets those descriptions because of the passion she holds for communications and its impact on business, how she keeps her husband on his toes or the fact at 6ft tall she isn’t afraid to wear heels?
Bob Groven, Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Augsburg College
Bob Groven juggles many plates: associate professor and co-chair in the Department of Communication Studies, Film & New Media at Augsburg College, he is also co-founder and current director of the Minnesota Urban Debate League. In his copious free time, he enjoys communication and political consulting where he recently helped run a successful and shockingly bipartisan state senate campaign. Although some alumni may know him from his 12-year stint as Honors Program Director, he hopes memories of that time can be kept to outraged whispers or public court documents.
The Next Billion Dollar Business Is in Your Neighbor’s Garage
Justin Grammens ’96, Founding Partner, Lab 651
Justin lives at the intersection of emerging technology and leading communities on the Internet of Things. He is a founding partner of Lab 651, where he helps companies use sensors and intelligence to build smart, connected products. He is the owner of IoT Weekly, a free curated newsletter with industry expert perspectives on the Internet of Things, a co-founder of IoTFuse, a 501(c)(3) non-profit with the mission to position Minnesota as a leader on the Internet of Things and an adjunct professor at the University of Saint Thomas teaching a graduate level course on the Internet of Things.
Trena Bolden Fields ’00, MFA ’16, Actor, Writer, Life Coach
Trena Bolden Fields is an international actor, speaker, career and life coach and writer who has performed in three different countries; Mexico, South Africa and the U.S. Trena is defining her work on her own terms as an actor and creative who helps other artists create career and personal success while she navigates the world as a “trailing spouse” of a U.S. Diplomat.
Intermittent Fasting: A Joyful Gateway to Weight Loss
Awale Osman ’15, Community Innovation Associate, Bush Foundation
Awale Osman has experienced much change–from war-torn Somalia, Kenyan refugee camps, learning English as a third language, to graduating with high academic honors. He has also created much change–expanding afterschool opportunities for Somali youth, impressing upon congress the value of federal TRIO programming, and activating safe spaces for women, people of color, and queer students. Awale is a philanthropist by trade, movie fanatic, charming fella and a health enthusiast.
Dean Sundquist ’81, Chairman & CEO, Mate Precision Tooling
Dean Sundquist serves as Chairman and CEO of Mate Precision Tooling which is a global leader in the manufacture of tooling used in the sheetmetal fabrication industry. As a Steve Jobs admirer, he is passionate about fusing together engineering and liberal arts and lives this mission out at Augsburg as an URGO sponsor of science students and as an active member of the Augsburg Board of Regents. When he is not busy working, this husband of 31 years and father of two, enjoys studying and practicing mindfulness, hypertrophy training and listening to rock and pop music of all kinds.
The Upside of Cancer
Stephanie Weiss, Director of News and Media Services, Augsburg College
Stephanie Weiss started her working life as the Page One editor of a daily newspaper … something she dreamt of since she was 11 years old. She transitioned into nonprofit public relations where she has been fortunate to identify with the missions of the organizations she has served. She isn’t good at following rules: real or implied. Away from work, she helps out the old lady across the street, works on local and state political campaigns, enjoys dark beer, mutts, open-water swimming, and riding an electric bike. Today she’s going to talk about her recent cancer diagnosis and how she hopes it has changed her for the better.
As a child growing up in Chicago, Danielle Stellner ’07 heard mixed messages in her community about the importance of education. But in her family–a family of modest means–there was never any doubt that excelling in school was non-negotiable. Her mother made that clear.
Then, at the age of 18, Stellner herself became a mother. She knew her son was a real blessing. She also knew she yearned for something more in life, but she wasn’t sure what.
As she looks back over the years now, she is impressed at how dramatically access can change one’s life and trajectory. Access to college, access to job opportunities, access to mentors.
One such mentor for Stellner was Erik Nycklemoe, an early supervisor in her career whom she sees as the first person to care about her career and life development. He made it possible for her to earn her B.A. from Augsburg, she says, making her the first in her family to earn an undergraduate degree. Access to evening/weekend study at Augsburg’s Weekend College (now Adult Undergraduate program) was a real break for Stellner, who needed to balance studies with being a working mom.
Moving to Minnesota in search of a safer life for Deion, her three-year-old son, Stellner landed an internship at a 24-hour news station in downtown Minneapolis, then moved on to editing, producing, and hosting. This experience helped hone her skills in content creation and delivery, and she later joined Minnesota Public Radio (a “happy accident”), where she now serves as Managing Partner of Business Planning. She sees public radio as more relevant today than ever. “You can trust public radio to rise above the pack and provide not only relevant news without slant, but arts and cultural programming that consumes you,” she says, and then quotes Thomas Jefferson: “…wherever the people are well informed, they can be trusted with their own government….”
She also found time to complete an MBA from the Carlson School of Management, where she had access to another mentor, Lisa Bittman–a Godsend, and a grounding force through some tough years, she says.
In the whole process, Stellner fell in love with Minnesota and with her now-husband, Herbert Stellner, and they later welcomed two more children into the family, Herbert Stellner IV (9) and Clara Gem Stellner (7).
Stellner recalls her student days at Augsburg with gratitude, especially the fantastic lecturing of Dr. David Matz (sociology). In recent years she has reconnected with her alma mater, thanks to Shelby Andress ’56, who introduced her to the Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE) group–”the most incredible group of women I’ve ever met,” says Stellner. She is grateful to now be serving as co-chair of the AWE Council.
Stellner also serves on the board of Friendship Academy of the Arts, a blue-ribbon school that serves predominantly African American students, and on the board of Isuroon, an organization committed to self-sufficiency of Somali women and their families. Recently elected board secretary, Stellner is drawn to the organization by its dedication to changing the narrative that is portrayed in mainstream media to one that more accurately reflects the true family values of Somali culture.
Even with a demanding work schedule, Stellner and her family manage to keep a garden, and take delight in eating the fruits of their labors. But they wouldn’t mind some additional time with no agenda–time for family play, reading for pleasure–and perhaps a few extra hours of sleep. During Homecoming this fall, Stellner will be honored with Augsburg’s First Decade Award.
–by Cheryl Crockett ’89