Students at the Capitol

Pictured left to right: Madison Wedan, BK Kormah, Jordan Parshall, Reies Romero

Pictured left to right: Madison Wedan, BK Kormah, Jordan Parshall, Reies Romero

Augsburg College Student Government representatives spent a Day at the Capitol advocating with legislators to defend the Minnesota State Grant

The State Grant program helps students afford to attend the colleges in Minnesota that best fit their needs. The State Grant targets low- and middle-income families with the greatest need; fosters student choice; has statewide impact; holds down additional borrowing and extra hours at part-time jobs; invests in the state’s human capital and future economy.

Augsburg had 972 State Grant recipients on campus last academic year. That was 34 percent of all Augsburg undergraduates. Students Jordan Parshall, BK Kormah, Madison Wedan and Reies

Madison Wedan meets with Representative Drew Christensen to advocate for the Minnesota State Grant.

Madison Wedan meets with Representative Drew Christensen to advocate for the Minnesota State Grant.

Romero assisted in defending the $4 million in State Grant awards that are made to Augsburg students.

Two of the students are seasoned advocates and have been at the Capitol numerous times to advocate for different issues. The other two students had never participated in advocacy in this way. They were surprised by the access to politicians, the fact that you can sit down in their office and have a conversation about an important topic, and that a number of the legislators wanted to hear from them more often. Encouragement for the students to be engaged by voting and contacting the legislator regularly was heard multiple times from representatives and senators, Democrats and Republicans.

To learn more about how you can be an advocate for the Minnesota State Grant visit the Minnesota Private College Council site.


Senator John Marty spoke with students from Augsburg and Hamline about his concerns around student debt.

Senator John Marty spoke with students from Augsburg and Hamline about his concerns around student debt.


Corporate Sponsors Help Make Scholarship Weekend a Success

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Twin Cities PBS, Wells Fargo, Mall of America, Beckman Coulter, and Lerner Publishing joined forces to present a matinee appearance by actor, director, and educator, LeVar Burton, best known as the host and producer of Reading Rainbow.

Scholarship Weekend is an annual event during which bright students from around the country visit campus to compete for Augsburg’s top scholarships. Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, prospective students met with their future classmates and professors, explored labs and classrooms, and got a brief taste of life as an Auggie.

In his opening remarks, President Paul Pribbenow thanked the sponsors for making it possible for over 500 high school students to attend a special appearance by Mr. Burton.

In an hour-long address, Burton covered a wide range of topics ranging from literacy and technology to youth development and mentorship. Burton urged attendees to consider the role of reading and creativity in the process of innovation and career development. He also quoted Jazz singer Dianne Reeves, saying “Be Still. Stand in love. And pay attention.”

In addition to attending Burton’s keynote address, sponsor representatives also took part in a special VIP Educator’s Brunch, toured a student research poster show, and learned about Augsburg’s River Semester – the nation’s first ever college semester taught entirely on the Mississippi River.

To learn about other sponsorship opportunities at Augsburg College, please contact Jay Peterson, Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations, at 612 330-1592.

Youth Theology Institute Receives Nearly $500,000 from Lilly Endowment

The Augsburg College Youth Theology Institute (ACYTI) will enter its 13th year with a huge boost from the Lilly Endowment.

This month, Augsburg received a grant of $476,188 to bolster its summer Youth Theology Institute. The award is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutelily-logos initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

“This grant supports Augsburg’s continued commitment to intentional diversity and to modeling what it means to be a Lutheran college of the 21st century, located in the heart of one of the nation’s most diverse zip codes,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow.

“It equips young people with theological and vocational skills and helps them learn what it means to practice their faith, with its commitments to education, radical hospitality and serving your neighbor.”

Each summer, ACYTI gathers rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders and recent graduates for an intense week of friendship, classroom learning, worship, solitude, contemplation, discernment, and action on Augsburg’s urban campus. Participants, mentors, instructors, and program staff learn together, pray together, play together, explore the city together, and discern God’s work in the world together.

Since its inception in 2004, the program has been designed to carry out a theme that’s germane not only to the Augsburg’s mission, but also to key topics in current events. Augsburg’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning shaped the 2013 Institute, titled “Navigating the Intersection of Science and Theology,” and the 2014 Institute, titled “Christian Community in the Internet Age.” Likewise, the 2012 Institute, “Stories Worth Living: Exploring Lives of Interfaith Action,” was very much reflective of the college’s setting in a largely Muslim neighborhood, as well as its growing diversity.

Over the course of the year following the Institute, Augsburg faculty and staff will provide ongoing guidance and support so that students can better engage with the themes of the Institute at home, in school, in church, and in their community. In doing so, the Institute hopes to provide students with a more thorough and more thoughtful exploration of opportunities for leadership in those settings.

“We pack a lot into one week,” said Jeremy Myers, ACYTI’s Program Director, “but we have found there to be a significant need for more frequent communication with participants and families as well as with their pastors and/or youth ministers.”

In its expansion, the ACYTI will be carrying out part of an institutional strategy to enhance Augsburg’s connections to congregations. The ACYTI will first focus on outreach to the four designated ELCA synods that form Augsburg’s governing structure—Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Southeastern Minnesota, and Northwest Wisconsin, but also plans to build stronger ties to specific congregations in the Twin Cities metro area and beyond.

The program hopes to increase attendance to 20 students in 2016, 30 in 2017, 35 in 2018, and 40 by 2019. The college will continue to provide a scholarship of $1,000 per year, per student, for up to four years, for those who wish to enroll at Augsburg.

The 2016 ACYTI will take place June 19-24, 2016 on the campus of Augsburg College. The Institute will be directed by Dr. Jeremy Myers. Dr. Myers is associate professor of religion in the Youth and Family Ministry department. Justin Lind-Ayres, Augsburg’s Associate College Pastor, will lead worships and other leadership exercises. Lonna Field, Program Coordinator for the Christensen Center for Vocation, will continue serving as the Institute’s primary coordinator.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company.

To learn more, please visit the ACYTI website.

U.S. Bank Veterans’ Lounge Continues to Bring Auggie Vets Together

A year after it opened, the U.S. Bank Veterans’ Lounge continues to be an important part of the educational journey of Augsburg student vets and has become a quiet respite for the College’s community of veterans.

“Many of our students are commuters, here for long days and on evenings and weekends, so the lounge becomes ‘home base’ when they are on campus,” said Lori York, Augsburg’s School Certifying Official. York also serves as liaison between current and prospective students and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Dave Adams, a student in Augsburg’s Masters of Business Administration program, is grateful for the camaraderie and comfort the lounge provides.

“My crew, the group of four who all came together from the same National Guard unit, love the lounge,” Adams said. “It gives us a great place to meet before class and compare notes, as well as a quiet place to go when we have small group breakout sessions.”

Adams also acknowledged his appreciation for the treats–gifts from Augsburg staff members–that often appear in the lounge.

“I was truly dragging when I got to school yesterday. Walking into the lounge to meet the other guys and seeing cookies was just a nice surprise and a simple touch, but it did make a difference in the night.”

But the U.S. Bank Veterans’ Lounge, located in the Oren Gateway Center, is more than just a getaway. It’s also come to represent the connections and community of veterans who are all pursuing their next call.

“When I drop in at the Veterans’ Lounge, I see students meeting each other, sharing their past experiences,” said York. “Today when I stopped by, a student who is in his last semester here was greeting a new student and welcoming him to campus. They immediately jumped into a conversation about their time in the military, where they’ve served, when they got out. These students gravitate toward one another and they gravitate toward the lounge to find their comrades. The lounge is key to building and keeping this community at Augsburg.”

The connection between student vets and U.S. Bank, recognized as a top corporate supporter of veterans and military families, doesn’t end there.

Andy Norgard, pictured above (rear), is one of several Auggies to complete internships at U.S. Bank in recent years. A former member of the Marine Corps and Augsburg’s Student Veteran Representative, Norgard completed a Financial Analyst internship at U.S. Bank last summer and has recently been offered a job at McGladrey, one of the nation’s top accounting firms.

For the second consecutive year, Augsburg was named a Military Friendly® School, a list which is compiled through extensive research and a free, data-driven survey of more than 10,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. Military Friendly Schools have gone above and beyond to provide transitioning veterans the best possible experience in higher education. As of fall 2015, there were nearly 120 active members and military veterans attending Augsburg, a notable number for an institution of Augsburg’s size. The College graduated more than 20 military veterans this past spring and summer.

We are proud to partner with U.S. Bank in its continued support of veterans in both higher education and business.

IME Becas Awards Scholarships to Augsburg Students of Mexican Descent

On October 30th, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad announced it had awarded Augsburg College $9,000 in scholarship funds to be distributed to students of Mexican descent.

This is the third consecutive year Augsburg has been a recipient of funds from the program.

At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, Augsburg’s student population included 131 students who self-identified as Latin@. Approximately 86% of this group are students of Mexican heritage, including many with undocumented/DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status whose financial aid is made possible by the MN Dream Act.

As part of our commitment to provide a welcoming campus that helps students succeed, Augsburg operates four culturally-specific student support programs that mentor students of color, including the Latino Student Services (LSS) program. LSS is professionally staffed with an experienced and committed Program Director, Dulce Monterrubio, who provides students with the support and encouragement to successfully complete a bachelor or master’s degree. A graduate of Augsburg College, Dulce has over 10 years of student support services, academic advising, admissions, administrative financial aid, and study abroad experience in higher education.

Dulce also advises the Augsburg Latin American Students (ALAS) group and helps plan and carry out cultural and social events throughout the school year that recognize the diversity of nationalities, race, languages, and experiences of the Latino community.

During the 2015-2016 school year, LSS will offer a series of workshops and events designed to complement and enhance the scholarship awards provided by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad. These workshops will be free of charge for students and their parents.

Thanks to the Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul and Head Counsel Alberto Fierro for their support.

Augsburg’s Civic and Community Engagement Efforts Recognized with Award from the Minneapolis Foundation

The Common Table
Cedar Commons, a partnership between Augsburg College and Trinity Lutheran, was one of seven neighborhood organizations to receive a grant from The Minneapolis Foundation’s West Bank Fund.

Cedar Commons was designed to support collaborative projects through which Augsburg students and community partners work in partnership to respond to community needs and opportunities. The $3,500 grant from the West Bank Fund will support a youth leadership program titled Connected Voices for Education and Engagement. The program will expand access for Cedar Riverside youth to the Cedar Commons’ collaborative programming space and facilitate connections with Augsburg’s student body.

Part of Augsburg’s strategic vision for 2019, its sesquicentennial year, is to shape education to address the world’s needs by joining our neighbors and institutional partners at the table. The college looks to partnerships with organizations like Trinity Lutheran and the Minneapolis Foundation to help students discover their gifts, discern their vocations, and open doors to careers.

Other recipients of the West Bank Fund include several organizations which Augsburg has existing relationships with:

African Development Center –  to support African immigrant and refugee community conversations
African Immigrants Community Services – for the East African Youth Employment Program
Brian Coyle Center – for Changing Lives with Soccer, a partnership between the Center and the Somali American Police Association
Islamic Civic Society of America – to help build a system of community understanding and support for youth to enter career pathways
Korean Services Center – to support work with homebound elders
Shanta Link – to mentor youth in preparation for college

To learn more or get involved, please visit

Augsburg Awarded $447,986 Career Ready Internship Grant from Great Lakes

With a three-year Career Ready Internship Grant from Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation, Augsburg College will create over 220 new paid internships during the 2015-2018 academic years.

Augsburg was one of 33 colleges and universities in Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin that received a combined $12 million in Great Lakes grants to make internships more equitable for their students with financial need. The college was awarded $447,986.00, which will be allocated toward student internship wages, transportation, and administrative support.

Augsburg’s Strommen Center for Meaningful Work will collaborate with businesses and nonprofit organizations to create new opportunities for paid internships. “Over the course of this three-year grant, Augsburg will have an opportunity to build relationships with dozens of employers in the Twin Cities metro area,” said Keith Munson, Director of the Strommen Center. “Those relationships will benefit the college and our students for years to come.”

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[Click here to watch: Internship Stories from the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work]

This is the second Career Ready Internship grant Augsburg has received. A 2014 grant of $150,000 created nearly 60 paid internships for students with financial need.

Munson credits the success of the first grant to the formation of a cross-campus implementation team. The Strommen Center worked with staff and faculty from Business Administration, STEM Programs, Sabo Center for Citizenship and Democracy, Masters in Business Administration, Graduate Admissions, Alumni Relations, Corporate and Foundation Relations, and the Office of Institutional Advancement to identify prospective employers.

“Paid internships benefit students, colleges, and employers,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes President and Chief Executive Officer. “Students gain meaningful workplace skills and are more likely to earn degrees and use their internship experiences to help secure good jobs upon graduation. Colleges will see increased completion and job placement rates, and employers gain a pipeline to fresh talent. It’s a win-win-win.”

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“I am delighted that Great Lakes shares our values with regard to experiential education,” said President Paul Pribbenow. “The Strommen Center plays an integral role in students’ overall education and helps to prepare them to make meaningful contributions to our communities. Our partnership with Great Lakes makes an enormous difference for our students.”

After three months of administrative planning, employer outreach, and student recruitment, staff will begin placing eligible juniors and seniors in paid internships in January 2016. The Great Lakes grant period continues through May 2018.

To learn more about internships at Augsburg College, please click here to visit the Strommen Center website

Photos above were taken at Augsburg’s Fall Career and Internship Fair in September. For more photos, click here to visit our Flickr page.

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!