Challenging us to put a shovel in it

A message from Wayne Jorgenson ’71, one of the newest members of the Augsburg College Board of Regents.

A few nights ago more than 140 guests, invited by the Board of Regents, gathered on the Augsburg campus to hear from CSBR National Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71, President Paul C. Pribbenow and an outstanding group of faculty leaders led by Dr. Dale Pederson ’70. Each spoke to us about why Augsburg must build–and will, indeed, soon raise the funds needed to put a shovel in the ground and begin work on–the Center for Science, Business and Religion. They left me with no questions about the decision my wife Carol (Pederson) ’72 and I made to make a major gift in support of the College’s vital efforts.

For another of my friends, a similar gathering a few months earlier generated enthusiasm in him–enough to inspire his awareness that this new building is more than needed, and that the faculty and students who will conduct their teaching and learning there are very deserving of our investment. However, even in his excitement, as he told me he hoped for success of the CSBR and wished us luck, he added that he and his wife would not be able to make a gift because they were giving to their church’s building campaign.

I understood his statement because many of us are already involved in charitable giving to worthy causes. His comments got me thinking about what it means to share and own a vision. It made me ask, “To what extent do we each understand how essential it is for each of us who values our Augsburg education to play a part in the success of this vision?”

How a hill became a mountain

It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Englishman Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. The film is set in 1917 (with World War I in the background), and revolves around two English cartographers, the pompous Garrad and his junior, Anson. They arrive at the fictional Welsh village of Ffynnon Garw (“Rough Fountain” or “Rough Spring” in Welsh) to measure its “mountain”– only to cause outrage when they conclude that it is only a hill because it is slightly short of the required 1000 feet in height.

The villagers, aided and abetted by the wily Morgan the Goat and the Reverend Mr. Jones (who after initially opposing the scheme, grasps its symbolism in restoring the community’s war-damaged self-esteem), conspire with Morgan to delay the cartographers’ departure while they add dirt on top of the hill to make it high enough to be considered a mountain.

What it means to own a goal

Much of the story involves our witnessing every member of the village contributing their own bucket of dirt which they add to the mountain top. Some, who are fortunate enough to own a cart, can carry a larger load up the hill. Others carry smaller amounts of dirt in buckets of various sizes. In the end we see that it is by everyone’s adding something, whether it is in small or large amounts, that they are able to pile enough dirt on the top of their hill to restore their village pride, and the right to have it called a mountain.

What I know from my own exploration into my decision to add my “bucket of dirt” to the campaign for the CSBR, is that “wishing us well” will not make the mountain whole. Rather, it will take each one of us finding our own right way to contribute and to stretch ourselves to reach the top together.

What is the goal we each can own?

I like Mike Good’s request that we all prayerfully consider how we can be involved and at what level we can financially help out. Then, as we all cumulatively ask ourselves this question and then respond positively, we will see this building arise.

Some will be able to give with modest participation. Some will be able to add solid building blocks of support. The important point is that, together, we will reach the top and we will be very proud of our contribution to what will be a beautiful and much used addition on our campus. When it’s done we will look on it with pride and be able to say, “I helped build it.”

Please join me by adding your financial support to this marvelous effort. If you want, I can stop by with a bucket and we can journey up the hill together!

With warm thanks,

Wayne Jorgenson ’71