Pohlad Family Foundation Provides Challenge Grant to MN Urban Debate League

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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

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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!

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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.

Family Foundations Renew their Support of StepUP Program

StepUp Meeting

We are grateful to the Trillium Family Foundation and the C. Charles Jackson Foundation for their renewed support of the StepUP Program. Founded in 1997, the StepUP program strives to help Augsburg students champion lives of recovery, achieve academic success, and thrive in a residential community of accountability and support. The program has 82 current enrollees and 658 alumni.

With over half of the 200 residential collegiate recovery program beds in the country, StepUP is in a unique position to lead and to grow. With the generosity of these two foundations, StepUP aims to increase its capacity, enroll more students, and provide new ways for students to strengthen their leadership skills.

Since there is no additional cost for Augsburg students to participate in the program, StepUP relies on philanthropic contributions from individuals, corporate foundations, and family foundations to provide a staff of experienced, knowledgeable, licensed counselors, as well as leadership programming and other events throughout the year.

To learn more, visit StepUP’s website.

President Pribbenow Honors 3M CFO Nick Gangestad ’86 with Inaugural Golden Bow Tie

Last week, more than 50 Auggies gathered for lunch at the 3M campus in Maplewood. Despite sharing the same employer, some who had known each other had not made the connection of sharing an alma mater! President Pribbenow shared anecdotes from Augsburg’s history with 3M. During the 1970s, Augsburg’s business program hosted courses at 3M, and many Auggie alumni from this era are still employed there. Currently, more than 200 Augsburg alumni work for 3M.

Bow TieHolly Knutson ’03, MBA ’07, Auggie extraordinaire and member of the 3M finance department, worked with the Alumni Association to honor Nick Gangestad ’86 for his recent promotion as CFO. Pribbenow presented Gangestad with the inaugaural Golden Bow Tie award:

The Golden Bow Tie Award is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding achievement, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education and inspires great pride for all Auggies. Nick was also presented with a certificate and gold cufflinks in the shape of bow ties.

Nick Gangestad shared three core Augsburg philosophies at Augsburg that have impacted his life: faith, liberal arts, and a unique urban setting. As a student, Gangestad’s faith deepened, and he felt supported in that growth by Augsburg’s core Lutheran values. Liberal arts, the importance of entrepreneurship, and flexibility are also important to him. He attributes his liberal arts education to his ability to lead effectively at 3M. Coming from a small town in Iowa he had a distinct appreciation of Augsburg’s location in the city of Minneapolis.

The Augsburg Alumni Association can help you host your own workplace Augsburg Alumni event like this luncheon at 3M. To gather a group of Auggies at your workplace, please contact Amanda Scherer, assistant director of corporate and foundation relations at 612-330-1720 or





Strommen Executive Speaker Series: Lynn Casey, CEO of PadillaCRT


Lynn Casey

Building and Protecting Reputations in Real Time

February 12, 2015 at 5 p.m.

Lynn Casey, CEO of PadillaCRT, will present about “Building and Protecting Relationships in Real Time”.  Casey is a dynamic, caring leader and Auggie parent, who will share her personal story of building relationships throughout her tenure at PadillaCRT. Casey has served on and chaired numerous nonprofit boards. Currently, she is vice chair of the Greater Twin Cities United Way, secretary of the University of Minnesota Foundation, and is an active member of the Minnesota Women’s Economic Roundtable and the Itasca Project.

Steve Wehrenberg, a member of Augsburg’s Board of Regents and the Director of the U of M’s Professional M.A. in Strategic Communication program, will introduce her presentation.

Time: 5 pm
Location: Sateren Auditorium, Augsburg College
Title: Building and Protecting Reputations in Real Time

All are welcome to a reception immediately following the presentation in the Christensen Center.

Save the date for the Spring Strommen Executive Speaker Series featuring Maykao Y. Hang, CEO & President of the Wilder Foundation

Thursday, April 9 2015  at 5:00p.m.

Wells Fargo makes $100,000 gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

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In recognition of Augsburg College’s leadership in closing the higher education disparity gap for students of color in Minnesota, Wells Fargo has made a gift of $100,000 to the campaign to build the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

Wells Fargo joins several other corporations (including U.S. Bank, 3M, and General Mills) in supporting the CSBR.

In a statement, Dave Kvamme, CEO of Wells Fargo Minnesota, expressed admiration for Augsburg’s commitment to partnering with College Access programs like College Possible to help recruit, support, and retain first-generation and low-income students.

“We support Augsburg College’s commitment to provide opportunities for a college education for those students who may face life challenges to attain it,” said Kvamme. “We know our donation will help Augsburg be successful in developing Minnesota’s future business and community leaders.”

Nearly 120 alums of College Possible are currently enrolled at Augsburg and receiving intrusive advising to help them achieve academic success. Intrusive advising connects faculty advisors, academic advisors, coaches, and other academic partners on a near-daily basis to gain a better understanding of each student’s progress – using lead indicators like attendance, health, and financial stress to identify and address risks.

“Augsburg understands its student body and offers a wealth of student support services to meet the needs of its community,” said Jim McCorkell, CEO and Founder of College Possible. “Four different multicultural student offices, TRiO/SSS, academic skills coaches, disability services, and the StepUP program, which serves students in recovery, all exist to support the student experience. Rarely do I see a college as committed to access and success as Augsburg College.”

“We rely on partnerships with flagship companies like Wells Fargo not only to enrich the educational experience of our students but also to help improve how we share our own resources with our neighborhood and the broader community,” said Paul Pribbenow, President of Augsburg College.

The facility will be 135,000 square feet in size and, when fully completed, will include eight classrooms, 24 laboratories, and 6,000 feet of student and faculty research space. Centralized administrative services, kitchens, meeting rooms and lounges will provide opportunities for spontaneous, informal learning and will support cost-effective sharing of resources such as support staff and equipment.

“By encouraging students to think and act across the boundaries of ideas, values, and disciplinary perspectives, the CSBR will help Augsburg prepare them for civic agency in a complex world,” said Pribbenow.

In addition to this grant, Wells Fargo continues to fund a scholarship program through the Minnesota Private College Fund. The fund, started in 1976, provides scholarships at each of the 17 Minnesota Private Colleges, including Augsburg.

Delegates from Wells Fargo’s Diversity Council Leadership Team visited the campus on December 18th, 2014 to present a check to a group of Augsburg student leaders.

Pictured above (left to right, from back): Ann Garvey, Vice President of Student Affairs; Carolyn Roby, Vice President at Wells Fargo Foundation of MN; MayKao Fredericks, Vice President Community Affairs – MN Region; Joel Taylor, System Engineer and Chair of Black/African American Member Network; Joe Ravens, Area Bank President; Wael Abdelkader, Mortgage Implementation Consultant and Chair of Middle East Team Member Network; Carla Foster, HR Consultant and Diversity and Inclusion Council Advisor; Jay Peterson, Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Paul Pribbenow, President; Karen Kaivola, Provost and Chief Academic Officer; Lauren Canales; Shoua Lee, Community Development Officer/Financial Education; Vincent Henry; Janet Morales, Manager of College Access Partnership, Koal Williams; Duina Hernandez; Laurel Rohloff, Nazih Safi, and Cuong Nguyen.