2001 Alumni Visit Campus … and You Can Too

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

Rochester Alumni Gathering is July 17

Rochester Auggies are EverywhereCalling all Rochester Auggies!
Please join us on Sunday, July 17, from 4-6 p.m. for a first-ever alumni family picnic in Rochester with hot dogs, hamburgers, fix-ins and sides at Soldiers Field Park. We’ve rented a shelter—please bring lawn chairs and lawn games to enjoy! The gathering is free, but please register all guests so we can plan appropriately for food. Hosted by Alumni Relations, the Alumni Board, and Rochester campus staff.

Auggies Win at the Twins

Auggie Night at the Twins was a rousing success on June 22. Tickets in the Auggie block above home plate sold out for the event jointly sponsored by the Augsburg Alumni Board and Young Alumni Council.

The annual night out at the ballpark began with a pre-game reception at the nearby Kieran’s, with a short program hosted by Nick Rathmann ’03 and featuring Robert Grace ’98, who operates Be Graceful Bakery, with a concession booth at TCF Bank, Target Field, and the new US Bank Stadium. Then 75 Auggies watched the Minnesota Twins take on the Phillies and WIN. Special thanks to Nik Linde ’15 for taking the photos.

Alumni Teachers May Qualify for Help with Student Loans

Education_HeaderTeachers working in designated teacher shortage areas in Minnesota may now qualify for help with their student loan payments. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education (OHE) recently announced an assistance program for teachers with student loans.
The Minnesota Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program, created in 2015, is intended to encourage teachers to teach in Minnesota in designated shortage areas by providing assistance with their student loan repayments.
In general, applicants must currently:
  • Hold a teaching license issued by the licensing division in the Minnesota Department of Education on behalf of the Board of Teaching
  • Be employed by a school district to provide classroom instruction
  • Teach in a designated teacher shortage area; and
  • Have outstanding qualified educational loan debt.
Qualifying teachers who apply by June 30, 2016, may be eligible for repayment assistance of $1,000 per year, up to a total of $5,000. OHE estimates that 194 awards will be made for the 2015-2016 award year, with as many as 1,940 annual awards made through 2019.
The Teacher Shortage Student Loan Repayment Program application is online here.
Please share this information with interested friends or colleagues. For more information, contact Sandy Connolly at 651-259-3902 or by email at sandy.connolly@state.mn.us.

Chasing Justice: Rachel Engebretson ’98

Rachel EngebretsonAs an immigration lawyer at Binsfeld & Engebretson P.A., Rachel Olson Engebretson ’98 is fulfilling her dream of “chasing justice.” Though she serves a diverse clientele from around the globe, many who seek her help are attempting to reunite their immediate family members, a process that requires advance permission in order to live their lives together in the U.S. She is passionate about helping them.

Though most people believe it is a crime to live illegally in the U.S., in most instances it is not. Immigration law is civil, administrative law.

Likely, Engebretson’s resolve to help these families can be traced back to her childhood. Growing up as a “PK” (preacher’s kid) in Watertown, S. Dak., she moved with her family to Granite Falls, Minn., in 1978 when her parents felt the call of the soil and the rural suffering community’s need for young blood to find new life. Those were the days when family farmers either “went big” or found another way to pay their bills—so there were challenges. During these formative years, Engebretson also became aware of international relations, and was particularly concerned about the civil wars in Central America and illegal arms-dealings there. The lessons learned from her parents—especially with regard to a commitment to human rights and the value of diversity—fit squarely into what she later learned was required to handle immigration issues. Continue reading “Chasing Justice: Rachel Engebretson ’98”

LinkedIn Alumni Group Merging with Augsburg College Group

linkedinFor those of you who attended the Auggie Networking Event on Tuesday, February 9, in Hoversten Chapel, a highlight was the demonstration of using the College’s LinkedIn group to reach out to other alumni or students. Join the Augsburg College group and increase your ability to connect with other Auggies across every field. For those who are open to being contacted for networking or mentoring, join the sub-group Auggie Student-Alumni Connections. Note: you must be part of the Augsburg College group first. For tips on connecting with Auggies across all disciplines via LinkedIn, see the how-to guide shared at the networking event.

The Augsburg Alumni LinkedIn group is in the process of merging with the College’s group. If you’re not already connected with the Augsburg College group now, do so today. The Augsburg College Alumni group will close at the end of April 2016 in an effort to form the most robust group for building connections among Auggies everywhere.

We ♥ All Auggies

We hear so many stories of lifelong partnerships found at Augsburg—couples who met in their first year, in class, at the Chin Wag, or working on campus—we’re tempted to call Augsburg cupid. Or just lucky to play host to a lifetime of heart-enriching connections of all kinds—lifelong friendships, mentorships, and partnerships. We put a call out on social media to share a photo with Augsburg Alumni if you met your mate at Augsburg College. Thank you to all who shared your photos and stories. This Valentine’s Day, the Alumni Association sends love to Auggies everywhere!

lovebird-collage2016Auggie lovebirds include: Kari Aanestad ’08 and Brian Krohn ’08, with Sean Stanhill ’08, Krista Costin ’08, and Ryan Lisson ’08; Alissa Blood-Knafla ’07 and Patrick Knafla ’04; Anjie (Tonolli) ’93 and Tac ’91 Coplin; Carol (Pederson) ’72 and Wayne ’71 Jorgenson; Caitlin Hozeny ’09 and Seth Lienard ’11; Abby (Johnson) ’05 and Zac ’03 Schnedler; Alisha Esselstein ’15 and Tyler Dorn ’15; Simoné (Johnson) ’91 and Alex Gonzalez ’90; Shannon Connaughton ’13 and Erik Grindal ’13; Cherie (Elliott) ’03 and Brad Christ; Ross Murray ’00, MBA ’09 and Richard Garnett ’07, MBA ’09; Joanne (Varner) ’52 and Harvey ’52 Peterson; Heather Johnston ’92 and Jason Koch ’93; Lisbeth (Jorgensen) ’70 and Earl ’68 Sethre; Joan (Moline) ’83 and John Evans ’82; Hayley Thomas ’12 and Emerson Ball ’14; Becky (Bjella) ’79 and Jeff ’77 Nodland; Barbara (Beglinger) ’63 and Dean ’62 Larson; Laura Schmidt ’11 and Patrick DuSchane ’13; Pam (Hanson) ’79 and Mark ’79 Moksnes; Christine ’09 and Cody ’09 Tresselt-Warren with Noah; Denielle Johnson ’11 and Tim Stepka; Jennifer (Feine) ’94 and Erik Hellie ’93; Molly (Fochtman) ’92 and Greg Schnagl ’91; Bev (Ranum) ’78 and Dennis ’78 Meyer; Nancy (Mackey) ’85 and Paul ’84 Mueller; Emily Crook ’07, MAE ’15 and DJ Hamm ’08, and many hundreds more!

New Uniquely Augsburg Travel Info Sessions Added

Berlin-WebAugsburg alumni, parents, and friends of the College are all welcomed to be a part of the Uniquely Augsburg Travel programs in 2016 and beyond, including a celebration of Lutheran heritage in Germany and Prague that coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Curious to learn more? A special information session will answer all your questions. Join Sally Daniels Herron ’79 and religion professors Mark Tranvik and Hans Wiersma on Sunday, October 11, at 2 p.m. in Oren Gateway Center (OGC) 100. This is your chance to get on board for this historic trip happening October 27-November 6, 2016. Find cost information, registration details, and a full itinerary here.

In January, 2017, English Professor Kathy Swanson and her husband, Jack, will lead an educational trip through Thailand and Cambodia, visiting Bankok, Chiang Mai, and Siem Riep along the way. Learn more at the information session scheduled for Sunday, November 8, 2015, at 2 p.m. in Oren Gateway Center (OGC) 100. Don’t miss these thoughtful and educational tours customized specifically for Augsburg alumni, parents, and friends!

To RSVP for either information session and secure your parking pass, contact Sally Daniels Herron ’79 at herron@augsburg.edu.  For more information, visit the Uniquely Augsburg Travel page or contact Sally via email or phone at 612-330-1525.

Alumni Connect at Rochester Reception

More than 90 Augsburg alumni, friends, and community leaders came together for a special networking event at the Kahler Grand Hotel in Rochester on May 18, featuring Rochester mayor Ardell Brede, President Pribbenow, and guest speaker Dr. Paul S. Mueller ’84.

Mueller, the chair of the Augsburg Board of Regents spoke on the topic of “Augsburg College: Small to Our Students and Big for the World,” and cited current student Vision Bagonza ’17 and recent graduate Michelle Grafelman ’15 as students living out Augsburg’s mission. With more than 2,500 Auggies living in the Rochester area, the College’s presence in Minnesota’s fastest growing city is growing. The event was an opportunity for local alumni to connect, meet community leaders, hear more about the great work Augsburg is doing as the premier private education provider in Rochester. Continue reading “Alumni Connect at Rochester Reception”

Auggies Across the US

Auggies are everywhere! Beginning in February, alumni gatherings in Arizona coincided with Centennial Singers performances at eight churches. An alumni reception, dinner, and luncheon were hosted by Arizona Auggies and attended by President Pribbenow.

Alumni, parents, and friends in the Washington, D.C. area gathered for a reception held at OmniEarth Inc., a sci-tech start-up launched by alumnus Lars Dyrud ’97, who serves as President and CEO.  While we enjoyed food and fun conversation, Provost and Chief Academic Officer Karen Kaivola discussed how Augsburg is educating students for a life of meaning and purpose in the 21st century.

An alumni reception at Scandinavia House, in New York City, helped celebrate what was the opportunity of a lifetime for Auggies who performed at Carnegie Hall under the direction of Peter Hendrickson ’76. He directed The Augsburg Choir in a mass chorale with members of the Masterworks Chorale and Choir alumni, who loved the chance to  connect with classmates on a dream trip!

Auggies, wherever you go, bring Traveling Auggie with you on your travels and share pics of Auggie gatherings with us via Facebook or Twitter. Are you interested in hosting an Auggie reception in your city? Let us know at alumni@augsburg.edu.