Thrivent Financial Supports Augsburg Central Health Commons



On their first day of the 2015-2016 school year, Augsburg faculty and staff came together to help celebrate the college’s 16th City Service Day by assembling hygiene kits for individuals who visit the Augsburg Central Health Commons in downtown Minneapolis. Supplies for the kits were purchased through a generous grant from the Central Minneapolis Chapter of Thrivent Financial, by way of its Care Abounds in Communities program.

City Service Day is an annual event in which members of the college community, including all incoming first-years, venture off campus to complete service work in Minneapolis neighborhoods.

The group of faculty, staff, and other friends of the college assembled 480 hygiene kits, which were comprised of socks, shampoo, soap, toothpaste, and other commonly requested items of those who visit the Commons. Kits will be distributed at the Health Commons during normal operating hours on Mondays from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.

In addition to assembling hygiene kits, participants learned more about the history of the Health Commons, the people who visit the center, and opportunities to get involved as a volunteer.

Health Commons is a nursing-led free drop-in center that is dedicated to providing basic needs and health support for people living in poverty. The center also provides an opportunity for faculty and students from the Nursing Department at Augsburg College to become involved in independent practice.

The people who come to the Health Commons are from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. All services are provided free of charge. Health concerns might include nutrition, medication, stress management, respiratory conditions, injuries, skin problems, and chronic disease such as diabetes and hypertension. Frequently, people with these problems come to the Health Commons for its easy access, its supportive environment, and assistance with connecting to other healthcare resources.

As a small, student-centered college located in the vibrant and diverse Cedar-Riverside neighborhood in heart of Minneapolis, Augsburg embraces civic engagement as a core part of its curriculum. We are grateful to Thrivent Financial and other corporations and foundations who support our work in the community.

To learn more about Augsburg Central Health Commons or its sister facility in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, please click here.

EAST Program Receives Renewed State and Foundation Support

EAST Scholars, Augsburg College, 2014-2015

In early June, the House and Senate Education Finance Committees of the Minnesota State Legislature approved the Collaborative Urban Educator (CUE) bill, which allocates $190,000 per year to the East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program at Augsburg College. The main goal of the EAST program at Augsburg College is to graduate and license K-12 teachers of East African origin. The CUE fund also supports teacher training programs at Hamline University, Concordia University, and University of Saint Thomas.

The EAST program also received renewed support from the Marbrook Foundation. In June, trustees of the Foundation approved a grant of $15,000 to provide one-on-one and small group English language support as well as ongoing tutoring for the MTLE exam for the program’s multi-lingual enrollees. This is the second year the Foundation has supported the EAST program.

Since the program launched in Fall 2013, three EAST scholars have successfully completed student teaching and obtained a MN teaching license, and two are employed as teachers in MN school districts. There are 13 additional students of East African origin enrolled in undergraduate and graduate Education programs at Augsburg’s Minneapolis and Rochester campuses, three as undergraduates and ten as graduate students. With the sustained funding from the State, Augsburg’s Education department will now accept a new group of EAST scholars to join the cohort. These students will begin coursework in the Fall semester of the 2015-2016 school year.

Thanks to everyone at the Capitol and in the community who have lent their support and encouragement to the EAST program!

Mike Newman Receives the Augsburg College Golden Bow Tie Award

President Pribbenow invited Mike Newman, Director of Community Relations at Travelers, to celebrate five years as a partner institution with the Travelers EDGE® program, Empowering 10930906_10153492962312119_7913379471985689532_n-1Dreams for Graduation and Employment, for a cocktail hour and focused program highlighting key aspects of the Travelers EDGE program:

  • Increase the pipeline of underrepresented students to Augsburg
  • Help underrepresented students graduate from Augsburg
  • Build awareness of careers in the Insurance and Financial Services industries

Newman is a true champion of education, and advocates strongly for access to higher-education for all students.  As a surprise to Mr. Newman, President Pribbenow, presented Mike Newman with the “Golden Bow Tie Award, which is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding contribution, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education and inspires great pride for all Auggies. The award was named, playfully, after Paul Pribenow’s daily ritual of wearing a bow tie, a tradition he started to initiate conversation with students.  Along with a certificate, Newman also received bowtie cufflinks.

We are so grateful for the strong institutional partnership with Travelers and the Travelers EDGE program.  Sixteen Augsburg EDGE scholars have completed eleven traditional summer/academic year internships and five short-term summer internships. Moreover, Travelers EDGE scholars graduate and are prepared with the soft-skills necessary for success in the workforce.

Attendees at the celebration event in April included representatives from Fairview Health Services, Wallin Partners, Upturnships, and Wells Fargo, Strommen Center staff, Travelers EDGE alumni and current students.   Mike Newman also shared during the event that, “Augsburg is a meaningful partner for Travelers:  the students are engaged and motivated, and the staff and faculty work hard to consistently support all students.”

Thank you to all who attended including four Travelers EDGE scholar alumni, and two current Travelers EDGE scholars, and Janet Morales the college access partnership manager.

For more information please contact, Asst, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Augsburg College, Amanda Scherer, 612-330-1720,


Increased Participation at the 3rd Annual Mayor’s Debate Challenge


MNUDL Mayor's Challenge 1

Participating students and judges: Mayor Chris Coleman, Christopher Oquist (Roosevelt High School), Angela Arikyu (Como Park Sr.), Ash Farah (South High School), Dwight Smith (Washington Technology Magnet), Barb Schmitt (Microsoft), and Donald Lewis (Nilan Johnson Lewis).

MNUDL Mayor's Challenge 2

Minneapolis Public Schools Superintendent Michael Goar and District Counsel Steve Liss meet Don Lewis of Nilan Johnson Lewis.

MNUDL Mayor's Challenge 3

Dean Eyler of Gray Plant Mooty, Chairman of MNUDL’s Advisory Board, gave the introduction at the event.


On Wednesday May 13th, Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL) held its third annual Mayor’s Debate Challenge. This year, Christopher Oquist (Roosevelt High School) and Ash Farah (South High School) represented Minneapolis Public Schools and debated against Angela Arikyu (Como Park Sr. High) and Dwight Smith (Washington Technology Magnet) who represented Saint Paul Public Schools.

The four debated on the topic of containing or eliminating the spread of invasive species in Minnesota lakes and waterways. Each presented an informative and sometimes humorous case. Although both teams presented thorough research and strong arguments persuading the affirmative and the negative, two out of three judges voted the negative the winner. (Mayor Coleman very diplomatically declared a tie.)

Don Lewis, of Nilan Lewis Johnson, shared his thoughts on the individual strengths and personalities of each debater.  Lewis shared, “Ash, you were the most quiet of all the debaters, but by using thoughtful pauses, you were the easiest to listen to. The pauses allowed the listener to follow your arguments without straining.”

These bright students were an inspiration to the 150 people who attended the annual event.  As active citizens who advocate for themselves and their communities, we are confident these young people will lead us well into the future.

THANK YOU to the following businesses and individuals for sponsoring the 2015 Mayor’s Challenge:

Changemaker Sponsors:  UnitedHealth Group, Gustafson Glueck PLLC, Nicols Kaster, Dorsey & Whitney LLP, and Microsoft.

Table Sponsors: Kristin Cronin-Cole, George Dow, Jerry & Sandy Eyler, Sarah Fossen, Fasail Hadi & Veena Iyer, Nick Khatri & Family, Aaron Klemz, Meg Luger-Nikolai & Pete Nikolai, Ashwin Madia, Joseph Musilek, Mark Raderstorf, Heather Riddle, Linnea Solom, Alex Thiele, Deluxe Corporation, Lockridge Grindal Nauen PLLP, Fagre Baker Daniels LLP, Gray Plant Mooty, Greene Espel PLLP, Merchant & Gould, Nilan Johnson Lewis PA, University of Minnesota Communications Dept., and Zimmerman Reed Attorneys.

We’d also like to the thank the following corporations and foundations for supporting MNUDL’s operations and programs: Carolyn Foundation, The Donaldson Foundation, Social Venture Partners Minnesota, Dorsey & Whitney Foundation, Arthur N. Rupe Foundation, H.B. Fuller Company, Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation, and The Saint Paul Foundation.


Pohlad Family Foundation Provides Challenge Grant to MN Urban Debate League

UDL Photo - Seward Sharks Smaller
Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), a program of Augsburg College, has been approved for a challenge grant of up to $10,000.00 from the Pohlad Family Foundation. The Foundation received 51 requests totaling $510,000 but selected only 16 organizations.  MNUDL was awarded the challenge grant because its strategy for increasing individual giving was specific, measurable, and likely to result in a full match.

The Pohlad Family Foundation will match individual donations up to $500 per person between April 1, 2015 through October 26, 2015.

MNUDL will issue a call for support during its annual Mayor’s Challenge Breakfast, which takes place May 13th from 7:30AM-8:30AM in Hoversten Chapel. This year’s honored guests St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Generation Next Executive Director and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will judge a special debate on the topic of aquatic species and the environment.

Thanks to the Pohlad Family Foundation for their continued generosity! To learn more or make a matchable gift, please visit the Minnesota Urban Debate League home page.

Pictured above: Young debaters from Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis.  

Corporate and Foundation Partners Help Bring Peacemakers and Peacebuilders Together at the 27th Nobel Peace Prize Forum

150308 NPPF 00083

Under the auspices of the Norwegian Nobel Institute, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum inspires peacemaking by focusing on the work of Nobel Peace Prize laureates and important international peacemakers and peace builders. For more than 27 years, the Forum has been one of only three programs officially associated with the Norwegian Nobel Institute.

The 27th annual Nobel Peace Prize Forum took place March 6th, 7th, and 8th at the Radisson Blu in downtown Minneapolis. Speakers included:

Honored Laureate U.S. President Jimmy Carter 
Gro Harlem Brundtland, Deputy Chair of The Elders and Former Prime Minister of Norway
Monica McWilliams, former Chief Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and signatory to the Good Friday Agreement.
Honored Laureate the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, represented by Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü
Adama Dieng, the United Nation’s special adviser on prevention of genocide,
Imam Muhammad Ashafa and Pastor James Wuye of Kaduna, Nigeria
Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of our Nature
Sanam Anderlini, co-founder of the International Civil Society Action Network
Roxanne Mankin Cason, CEO of the Cason Family Foundation
Ingrid Stange, founder of Partnership for Change

As proud host of the Forum, Augsburg College helped bring together a wide range of corporate and foundation sponsors and academic partners.

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum and Augsburg College are grateful to our partners, donors and supporters for making this important international peacebuilding opportunity possible. We are proud to thank:

Dialogue Sponsors:  University of Minnesota (Humphrey School of Public Affairs, School of Public Health; College of Biological Sciences); Medtronic; Bush Foundation; University of Minnesota Health

Youth Forum Sponsor:  Youthrive

Media Sponsor:  Minnesota Public Radio

Peace builder Sponsors:  El-Hibri Foundation; University of St. Thomas; Pacific Lutheran University

Delegate Sponsors:  University of California, Sacramento, Sanford Health; Robins Kaplan LLP; Augustana College; St. Cloud State University; Smaby Family Foundation; Winds of Peace, Robert H. Bruininks, and McGough Construction.

To learn more about the Forum, please visit

For information on sponsorship opportunities for 2016, please contact Amanda Scherer at 612-330-1720, or

MayKao Y. Hang Presents “Journey of 1000 Miles”

MayKao2011Augsburg College is excited to welcome MayKao Y. Hang as the third featured speaker for the 2014-2015 Strommen Executive Speaker Series. Hang will give a public presentation on April 9th at 5:00pm in the Sateren Auditorium at Augsburg College.

MayKao Y. Hang is the President and CEO of the Wilder Foundation, and has extensive experience serving low income and disadvantaged populations in both public and nonprofit sectors.

As a young leader, Dr. Hang saw a need for increased support for Hmong women and co-led an effort in 1998 to initiate Hnub Tshiab: Hmong Women Achieving Together, a Twin Cities-based nonprofit and catalyst for lasting cultural, institutional, and social change to improve the lives of Hmong women. Dr. Hang continues to be actively engaged in the metro area as a community leader. She serves as a Trustee of Minnesota Philanthropy Partners, Deputy Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis (9th District), and on the Women’s Economic Roundtable.

Dr. Hang will speak for thirty minutes, and take questions for the second half hour. Immediately following her presentation, she will meet with 20 students from Augsburg’s Pan-Asian student group.

Augsburg is deeply connected to the Wilder Foundation. Wilder staff have worked closely with Augsburg’s Center for Counseling and Health Promotion, now called the Center for Wellness and Counseling. In addition, the Foundation has hosted a number of student interns and hired dozens of Auggies.  We are excited to extend our partnership in a new way by hosting Dr. Hang as a distinguished Strommen Executive Speaker.

The topic for Dr. Hang’s presentation is Journey of 1000 Miles.  She will discuss her vocation and the connection to her education, career, and what lessons and advice she would share to her younger self about the right pathway to choose.  She will also share her personal leadership journey from an immigrant and first generation college student to a successful career.

The Clair & Gladys Strommen Executive Speaker Series hosts three presentations per year, and is in its fifth year. The series is an opportunity to invite key regional leaders to share their vocation and expertise with Augsburg College students, alumni, staff, faculty and the greater community. All are warmly invited to join us.

Date:  April 9, 2015

Time:  5 p.m.

Location:  Sateren Auditorium at Augsburg College

Registration: Click here to register for this great community event

External guests will receive a parking permit and directions two days prior to the event. For more information, please contact Amanda Scherer at or 612-330-1720.

Auggies Go to the Capitol


Senator Kari Dziedzic and Representative Diane Loeffler’77

Wednesday February 25, a group of Augsburg students and staff spent the day at the Minnesota State Capitol with Minnesota Private College Council(MPCC).  Every year, the MPCC invites students to advocate for continued Minnesota State Grant Support.

Our day began with walking to the Green Line on a rather frigid day. Once we arrived at the Capitol, we made our way to the meeting room. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, Representative Diane Loeffler, Danna Elling, DFL Senate researcher, and Auggie parent, and her daughter Libby Schultz ’13, a graphic designer for MNDOT, shared their connection to Augsburg and their vocation.

Augsburg participants wrote 35 notes to co-chairs of the higher-ed committee, their senators, and thank you notes to Governor Dayton. Each student also met with their representative to thank them for their support of the MN State Grant and advocate for Governor Dayton’s budget proposal for a $25 million addition and expanded support for day students and adult undergraduates.

Thank you to the 19 students who dedicated their day to support the Minnesota State Grant and for faculty and alumni support. See you next year!

Celebrating Five Years of Partnership with Travelers EDGE

trav_1797+K_300dpi_largeThis year, Augsburg College received our fifth award for the Travelers EDGE internship program. The Travelers EDGE, $115,000 grant award, is allocated for the Travelers EDGE partnership, a comprehensive college readiness, career awareness, and college success program for low-income, first-generation students of St. Paul Public Schools.  Students must remain in good academic standing with a minimum GPA of 2.5, demonstrate financial need, and express an interest in exploring careers in business, financial services, economics, computer science, and related fields.

Student Reflections:

  • “As an EDGE scholar, I was able to meet some great people and expand my network by making connections with individuals I would have probably never gotten the chance to meet if I wasn’t a part of this amazing program.”
  • “In terms of personal growth, I feel like I am more confident in presenting myself to people.  I know what my strengths are and I can talk about it to other professionals and potential employers.  I am meeting people that I may potentially work for one day and that to me is exciting.”

Program Overview

The program seeks to increase the pipeline of underrepresented students to college, help them to graduate, and build awareness of careers in the insurance and financial services industry. Janet Morales, manager of College Access Partnerships coaches the students, facilitates financial literacy programming with the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work, and coordinates mentorships with Travelers employees. Five students participate in the program per year, which also includes the opportunity to apply for competitive Travelers internships in St. Paul, MN and Hartford, CT.  Annually, one student per year has been offered a position post graduation.

Five Year Celebration in April

Travelers’ support, partnership and engagement with Augsburg College has been a tremendous asset and a true demonstration of a strong corporate and academic collaboration. Mike Newman, Travelers Vice President of Community Relations, is a champion for Augsburg College and cares deeply about student success. To honor this long partnership, Augsburg Corporate and Foundation Relations and the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work is hosting a celebration for Travelers and an opportunity to share this model with other corporations in the region.  April 7, we are inviting corporate recruiters, internship managers, faculty, and students currently in the program to celebrate and discuss the future of workforce development in Minnesota.

If you are a representative at a local corporation, please email if you would like to know more.


Sponsors Help Build Interest in STEM Majors and Meet Bill Nye Too!

Beckman and Bill

Bill Nye made a special Valentine’s Day appearance at Augsburg College to proclaim his love for science.

Known to most of us for his television program Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, for which he has won 18 Emmy awards, Nye now has a day job as the CEO of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest non-governmental space interest organization. He is the author of many books for young readers, as well as the recent bestseller Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. 

Nye, one of the world’s most sought after speakers on the topic of climate change and the environment, was invited to campus to urge young people to pursue STEM disciplines and to use science to change the world.

The event was part of Scholarship Weekend, a time when bright students from around the country visit campus to vie for the institution’s top scholarships.  Saturday morning’s activities, which also included a VIP breakfast and a student research poster show, was sponsored by Beckman Coulter, Lerner Publishing, and Microsoft.

In his opening address, President Paul Pribbenow thanked the sponsors for making it possible for over 700 high school students with an interest in the STEM fields to visit campus and attend Nye’s keynote presentation. The total attendance for the sold-out event was nearly 2,000.

“The young people in this room,” continued Pribbenow, “both current students and prospective ones, are here because they believe that science can save the world, and that through scientific experiment and experiential education they themselves can save the world.”

Thanks to Beckman Coulter, Lerner Publishing, and Microsoft for being a part of this amazing event!

Click here to WCCO (CBS) coverage of the event.