Marilyn ’61 and Tom Breckenridge Sponsor Two Faculty Offices for CSBR

Gifts reflect their excitement about cross-disciplinary focus

The Rev. Dr. Marilyn Saure Breckenridge ’61 is Augsburg College’s first female graduate to be ordained as a Lutheran pastor. To recognize and honor Breckenridge’s trailblazing role in the church, Augsburg awarded her the Distinguished Alumna Award in 1994.

Marilyn and her husband Tom Breckenridge are sponsoring two faculty offices in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion with their campaign gift of $50,000.

Their initial gift of one office expanded to two offices

Initially, the couple planned to sponsor just one office, located in the Religion Department space, in gratitude both for Marilyn’s undergraduate education and for the award Augsburg College bestowed on her. As their excitement about the CSBR project grew, they sponsored an additional office located in the Business Department space, reflecting an important part of Tom’s ministry.

An ordained United Church of Christ pastor who served congregations for 15 years, Tom later became a stock broker and then a financial planner. He is a partner in Rossi Dubuque Breckenridge, LLC.

The Breckenridges applaud the cross-disciplinary character of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “It is important that all three of these departments are in the new building,” Tom says. “The interconnecting links between the disciplines are crucial.”

“We want to support President Pribbenow’s vision”

“We want to support Augsburg College because of our Christian faith and our belief that the College is pursuing a living faith and not just a ‘head’ faith,” Marilyn adds. “We see that President Pribbenow has a vision for the College, and we want to support it.”

“This year we saw that not all of the CSBR faculty offices had been sponsored,” Tom says. “We think that the church must relate to business. The building is a good step in that direction, so we decided to increase our support.”

Marilyn and Tom met as summer counselors at Camp Wells in Big Lake, Minn. Marilyn was an Augsburg student then, and Tom attended the University of Minnesota. They married in 1961, immediately after Marilyn graduated, and they headed to Hartford Seminary where Tom received a Master of Divinity degree and Marilyn received a Master of Arts in Christian Education.

Saying yes to God’s call, even as it changes

At that point in their lives, Marilyn had not yet felt the call to ordained ministry. They raised three children. In 1979, she received a Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary. Later she received a Doctor of Ministry degree from Luther Seminary.

Her first call was as associate pastor of Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Minneapolis. She then was Assistant to the Bishop of the Saint Paul Area Synod of the ELCA. Later she was senior pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Wadena, Minn. She also has served as interim pastor for several Minnesota congregations and as a supply pastor in Lithuania.

Appreciating Augsburg’s focus on vocation

The Breckenridges appreciate Augsburg College’s emphasis on vocation. “We are very impressed with the focus on ‘calling’ at Augsburg, not of students simply preparing for a job but for their unique sense of call,” Tom says.

Marilyn and Tom simply love learning. Over the decades, both have pursued additional education to equip them for their vocations. Tom received a Master in Theology with a focus on organizational development from United Theological Seminary in New Brighton, Minn. Marilyn completed a yearlong course in Leadership and Innovation at the Humphrey Institute in Minneapolis.

They support Augsburg College to help students discover where God is calling them to make a difference in the world and to prepare for that service.