The Faces Behind the Phone Call: Meet Your Augsburg Fund Callers

Augsburg Fund Student Workers

Have you gotten a phone call from The Augsburg Fund Phonathon callers this year? Maybe you enjoy hearing from them, maybe you’ve blocked them, but we know them as 16 busy students who do great work on behalf of the College, five days a week. Their goal is to raise $85,000, and are halfway there at the midpoint in our fiscal year. At the year’s end, we’d like to pay tribute to the work they do. They have talked with 1,800 alumni from calling 41,438 alumni. On Give to the Max Day, they talked with or left messages for more than 1,500 people in 12 hours. (The results paid off for the College and The Augsburg Fund. See our story on Give to the Max Day if you haven’t already heard the good news.)

We share an office with them, and their bright energy helps buoy our spirits on quiet winter nights and exciting days like Give to the Max Day. Whether or not you’re in the mood for a call from Augsburg, these callers demonstrate tireless energy and positivity year round. In addition to school work, their work here serves current and future students at Augsburg. If you haven’t received a call from one of our student callers, and would still like to make a gift to The Augsburg Fund this year, visit augsburg.edu/giving or call: 612-330-1179. Next time you receive a call, you have a 3/16 chance of knowing a little bit about who they are, and from where they’re calling. So if you see a call from Augsburg, pick it up because it is a current student—and they genuinely love talking with alumni.
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At 94, Stan Nelson Wins Gold Medal

Stanford Nelson 1942 yearbookStanford Nelson ’43, Andover, Minn., isn’t about to abandon his love of competing in sports anytime soon, even at age 94! This summer, he won a gold medal at the Minnesota Senior Olympics, shooting a 47 in the golf competition. In July 2015, he will compete in the 95-99 age group at the National Senior State Games, to be held in Bloomington, Minn. (The top three in each age category compete in the Nationals.) Participants aged 90 and over play three rounds of 9 holes, while all other age groups play three 18-hole rounds. Nelson’s caddie at the Olympics was his daughter, Cheryl Nelson King ’70, of Eden Prairie, Minn.

Stan_NelsonAs an Augsburg student, Nelson was a four-year letter-winner in football, basketball, baseball, and golf. In football he was named all-MIAC and served as team captain in 1942; in 1943, he was selected as an Honor Athlete. Continue reading

The Education that Keeps on Giving

John Baudhuin '70

As John S. Baudhuin ’70 reflects on his student years, he finds that he is increasingly grateful for what (and how) he learned more than 40 years ago—more now than ever before. This was reinforced when a friend and fellow retiree recently said he was a little jealous that Baudhuin was enjoying such a wide variety of interests in retirement—fishing, sports, opera, reading, writing, and so on. It occurred to Baudhuin that Augsburg had opened up many of these interests to him, once again solidifying his belief that a good liberal arts education doesn’t just teach someone stuff; rather, it teaches us “how to think about stuff and to find stuff interesting.” It doesn’t answer a lot of questions, but instead gives us better questions to ask. He was impressed that some professors would even give credit for wrong answers if there was evidence of having employed a careful thought process.

Seeking solid information for various papers taught persistence and resourcefulness, says Baudhuin, who once trekked to the U of M to explore its 10-story library in order to validate a single factoid for a paper. Such skills later served him well as an addiction professional, who more than once encountered a patient whose first interview was “less than truthful.” A recovering alcoholic himself, Baudhuin celebrates more than 42 years of sobriety and is “more than thrilled” to see that Augsburg has become a national leader for students in recovery with StepUP®. Years into his recovery, he was invited back to campus to teach some classes, and to consult regarding cases. He is pleased to report that the “students in recovery” concept has inspired a similar program in his home state, Florida. Continue reading

Auggie Social Worker Driven to Support

SaraKaiserMany single moms work hard to juggle child care with maintaining a home and working a regular job (or jobs), only to find they have no safety net when something goes wrong. What happens if she gets sick? If her son has trouble in school? If she loses her job? Who can she count on to back her up?

Sara Kaiser ’08, a social worker for Rice County (Minn.), has seen first-hand the need for daily support for single moms. She knows there are many resources available to help them and their children, and she is passionate about helping them make those connections, and in creating extra support. In recent years, a variety of her experiences—working for the police department, staffer at a mental health practice, social worker at an apartment complex, and volunteer at a women’s center—have given her a solid background for her current social work. In addition to helping countless families, she has convinced the mayor of Northfield to designate a month for “Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness,” and she has worked in collaboration to create a young moms’ support group, which features guest speakers, simple conversations, and activities like cooking and scrapbooking, and negotiated with local churches to offer childcare and free dinners for the Friday evening gatherings. She has discovered, particularly in her internship at the Northfield Women’s Center and her work at the Crisis Pregnancy Center, that she has found her life’s calling, and she is pursuing a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Southern California. Continue reading

PHD Teams Play World’s Longest Baseball Game

RainyIt was 6 a.m. on August 3, and the Red and Blue teams were finishing their second overnight shift at the Park High School JV Baseball Field in Cottage Grove as they attempted to beat the record for the world’s longest baseball game. Having played in two hours of torrential rain the day before, they were exhausted, though playing in shifts helped. The music behind the backstop kept them alert, but some worried they might not stay awake to beat the old record of 62 hours, 32 minutes, 59 seconds. Full count, the pay-off pitch, and the batter flailed uncontrollably for strike three. Then, blaring through the loudspeakers came the sounds of M.C. Hammer’s “Can’t Touch This,” producing a great moment of levity and a welcome energy boost. They persevered and completed the game after 63+ hours, setting the new record for the Guinness Book of World Records. They tallied 575 runs, 293 innings, and more than 12,000 pitches!

WLBG teamBryan Ludwig ’08, who organized the event, is a head coach and general counsel for the PHD Baseball Club, LLC, which was created in 2009 by another Auggie, Brian Bambenek ‘07, and two of his friends. The idea behind PHD (pitching, hitting, defense) is for the coaches to share the love of baseball and return immense value to participating athletes in a manner that is unmatched in Minnesota, training these young men and giving them the tools they need to succeed on and off the field. (Learn more at www.phdbaseball.us.)

The “longest game” was intentionally tied to charity to provide a way to live out PHD’s mission, and to encourage the athletes to give back. Their first attempt in 2013 to break the record fell short, but they raised thousands of dollars for the Masonic Cancer Center at the U of M. The group used this year’s event to support the ALS Association Continue reading

The Annual Auggie Adventure

Between laughs and conversation at a 2005 gathering of five Auggie friends, one of them suggested that they really ought to plan to meet once a year. They readily agreed, and Christian Shada ’03 says that he and his friends have gathered annually since then—sometimes for weddings, but most often for camping or weekends of simply hanging out together, catching up on news, and playing games.

Brad and Sarah Motl (class of '04), Grant and Karin Jordahl, Andy and Kara Zetzman, Ryan and Kellen (Bredison) Lambeau, and Christian and Andrea Shada. Class of 2003 in Wisconsin.

Brad and Sarah Motl (class of ’04), Grant and Karin Jordahl, Andy and Kara Zetzman, Ryan and Kellen (Bredison) Lambeau, and Christian and Andrea Shada. Class of 2003 in Wisconsin.

Over the years, the size of the group has expanded to include an additional Auggie (Laura Wade Machacek ‘04) and her spouse Joe Machacek, as well as the group’s nine children (with one on the way). Geographically, they are fairly close to each other (Minneapolis area, Rochester, and southern Wisconsin), so travel is relatively easy. The task of planning their events is shared so that one person doesn’t get burned out, and everyone keeps their antennae out for central locations that would work well. Usually, all it takes is a couple of phone calls and a few e-mails to get things organized, says Shada. Camping in tents—sometimes in state parks—can be a great way to start the tradition at a reasonable price, and provide fodder for some great storytelling in future years.

Some activities the group has enjoyed include badminton, Trivial Pursuit, pontoon rides, museum visits, and plenty of options for the kids (swings, climbing, merry-go-rounds, blowing bubbles—you get the idea). And at day’s end, what could be better than roasting marshmallows and sharing conversation with good friends around a nice fire? They even set up their own version of the Olympics, which provided a favorite memory, the egg toss. Continue reading

Paul Daniels ’79 Takes Design Expertise on a Baltic Cruise

Paul Daniels photoWhen Paul Daniels ’79, archivist at Luther Seminary, learned that “A Prairie Home Companion” would be hosting a cruise on the Baltic Sea in August, it caught his attention. He became even more interested when he discovered that Garrison Keillor and his “list of usual suspects” on the radio show would provide entertainment. There would be music, comedy, lectures, and fine dining—all in a potentially relaxing atmosphere, with stops at some of Europe’s most beautiful and historic settings—Helsinki, Stockholm, Copenhagen, St. Petersburg, Dover, and Århus.

Daniels noted, however, that the planned lectures included nothing related to Scandinavian art and design. How can you visit these countries, he wondered, without exploring their rich art and design culture? So he put together a series of lectures and art, submitted a proposal, and pitched it. They liked it! And that’s how Daniels found himself aboard a luxury cruise ship in the Baltic in August, lecturing on Scandinavian design. Continue reading

2014 Augsburg College Homecoming Convocation

Join the Augsburg College Alumni Association in recognizing this year’s alumni recipients at Homecoming Convocation on Friday, September 26

Victor Acosta ’04 will receive the First Decade Award. The Spirit of Augsburg Award will be given to Jacquie Berglund ’87 and Garry Hesser; and Michael R. Good ’71, Dean Kennedy ’75, and Rev. Mark S. Hanson ’68 will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards. 

Recipients will be presented during the Homecoming Convocation at  10 a.m., in Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center, followed by a luncheon at  noon in Si Melby Hall.

Register today.

Send Us Your Homecoming Memories.

When you look back at your years at Augsburg College, Homecoming is certainly a time you will always remember. Do you have some special homecoming memories? You can be sure your classmates will have some great memories of homecoming!

We’d love to hear your favorites and add them to our website and share them on social media.

If you’d like to send us your memories, share that Auggie Pride and send us an email at alumni@augsburg.edu.

Four Auggies and a Nonprofit

In her birthplace of Cartagena, Colombia, Eloisa Echavez ’94, MEA ’98 started teaching elementary students when she was only 19. Soon after, she joined five others to establish an elementary school in a low-income area there, and her leadership skills became evident. When she began her studies at Augsburg in 1990, having been in the U.S. for only two years, she approached then-President Charles S. Anderson about the need for a Eloisa Echavezstudent support program for Latino students. He agreed and asked her to create and direct it since “it was [her] idea.” She did so for six years, while also serving as the teachers-of-color program coordinator and multicultural recruitment coordinator for the admissions office. After completing her MAE, she and her husband were also busy raising their son, now 19.

In 1998, she was approached by the board president of Minneapolis-based La Oportunidad to serve as the nonprofit’s director. Though she “absolutely loves Augsburg,” she knew it was the right decision to leave Augsburg and accept the offer to serve a broader Latino population. She has served as executive director for 15 years.

Since its inception in 1987, when the organization’s focus was on domestic abuse, La Oportunidad has continued to broaden the range of programs it offers, responding to identified needs in the community and assisting low-income Latinos of all ages to achieve educational success, improve financial stability, and maintain supportive, peaceful families. Four core programs are the Children’s Program, the Youth and Young Professionals Programs, the Parenting Program, and the Domestic Violence Program (which helped over 1,000 Latinos in 2013). Their cable TV program “En Familia” (“In the Family”) has reached over 20,000 individuals.

The organization partners on a variety of projects with the Minneapolis Public Schools, community agencies, media organizations, and other nonprofits. It has collaborated for five years with Augsburg’s Latino Student Services program, which hosts La Oportunidad’s Latino Youth Peace & Leadership Conference, an annual all-day event held at Augsburg that helps Latino middle and high school students learn to share peace through leadership. Most recently, it has also been collaborating with Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Citizenship & Learning, as well as other college departments, to recruit and place volunteers and interns at La Oportunidad.

In addition to Echavez, La Oportunidad has been blessed with the service of three other Auggies, all serving on the board: Alex Gonzalez, Brian Grande, and Maria (Ramirez) Johnson.

GonzalezAlex Gonzalez ’90, a native of South Minneapolis, currently serves as an advisory board member, after having served from 2005 to 2013 as a regular board member. He owns a financial planning practice with Thrivent Financial in Bloomington, Minn., along with two business partners, one of whom is Auggie Mark Morton ’89. In addition to his work on La Oportunidad’s board, Gonzalez also serves on the Augsburg Board of Regents (since 2008), and has assisted several other nonprofits, either by volunteering or by helping them manage their endowments. He and his wife Simoné ’91 (whom he met at Augsburg) have three sons: Jake, Karsten (who just toured Augsburg), and Joshua.

Brian GrandeBrian Grande ’11, a data analyst associate for the Community Health Department at Fairview Health Services, moved with his family to Minnesota from El Salvador in 1997. His first involvement with La Oportunidad was at age eight, when he attended the El Camino children’s after-school program. That program not only eased his transition into a new culture, but taught him the importance of obtaining an education and maintaining family values and traditions. His first-hand experience of El Camino provides useful insight in the discussions at monthly board meetings. Grande grew up in North and South Minneapolis and graduated from Roosevelt High. A volunteer in his community, he recently assisted at La Oportunidad’s 2014 Latino Youth Peace and Leadership Conference.

Maria (Ramirez) Johnson ’94 has served on La Oportunidad’s board for 15 years. As an Augsburg student, she helped establish and was actively involved in Augsburg’s Latino Student Association, which was part of the Latino Student Services program Echavez created in 1992. After earning her elementary education degree at Augsburg, Maria JohnsonJohnson taught in the Minneapolis Public Schools for many years, retiring as a bilingual (English/Spanish) teacher. She and her husband have three children and nine grandchildren.

Johnson, Gonzalez, and Echavez have all served as mentors in Augsburg’s Scholastic Connections program, designed to assist high-achieving undergraduate students of color to succeed in completing their undergraduate degree and prepare them to be engaged, successful citizens of the world.

As La Oportunidad continues to fulfill its vision of creating a community in which Latinos (whether long-term residents or new arrivals) thrive and contribute to the strength of the greater community, the greatest challenge it faces is funding, and the search for potential funding sources and individual donations is ongoing. To learn more, or to find avenues for involvement, visit www.oportunidad.org.