When Corky Hall ’71 entered Augsburg College, he knew he could achieve athletic success. But he had no confidence that he could excel in academics, and he didn’t see a future for himself outside of sports.
Hall served as captain of both the hockey and football teams at Augsburg, becoming the College’s first athlete to be named All-American in hockey. He grew accustomed to compliments when he scored points for the team. Never did he receive compliments about his academic performance.
Growing up, he never received the message that academics were important. His mother and step-father did not graduate from high school, and no one in his family had gone to college. Hall says, “I rarely did homework before entering college.”
Saugestad first person ever to tell Hall he was smart
When Hall came to Augsburg, he encountered Ed Saugestad ’59 and developed a close friendship with him. Saugestad was a stellar hockey coach, compiling a 503-354-21 record. His team won Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles six straight years (1976-82) and won the NAIA national championship in 1978, 1981 and 1982. Saugestad also served on the football coaching staff for Augsburg from 1959-84, including being head coach 1970-71. He taught in the Health and Physical Education department throughout his career, and was men’s athletic director from 1981-87. He retired in 1996.
“Ed was the first person to tell me that I was smart,” Hall recalls. “He said, ‘I know you can succeed academically.’ And he kept after me to produce good grades so that I could stay eligible for sports at Augsburg. I can’t tell you what a tremendous difference that made.”
“I still remember the first time I aced a test,” Hall says. “I can see in my mind’s eye the chair I was sitting in when Ed handed my test back to me with an ‘A’ on it. It was in his physiology class, a hard class. I couldn’t believe it at the time. Ed just conveyed that he knew I could do it.”
Saugestad set Hall on a path that led to business success
This winning coach with a deep concern for his players as student athletes changed Hall’s life. “He set me on a path I wouldn’t have found otherwise.”
With this supportive intervention, Hall pursued success in business. After initially working at General Mills, he created and owned U.S. Communications together with Bill Urseth ’71, which grew to become the second-largest promotional marketing agency in the country, U.S. Restaurants and U.S. Studios. He later founded a business and brand consultancy, Hall Batko, and now is founding partner and CEO of Stellus Consulting in Minneapolis. He guides corporate leaders in creating the vision for their company and in building a strong relationship between their brand and customers to achieve that vision.
Corky and Lori Hall recently learned more about plans for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Corky believes the building “is a good forward step for Augsburg College. We have always been known for having a great heart and great athletics, yet our buildings have not been visual symbols of our academic strength. This new building will put us in a new league. Our facilities will start to match the quality of the faculty.”
The Halls thought about giving to support the CSBR construction, and Corky started to think about naming a space. But whose name to feature? Corky reflected on what transformed his academic life at Augsburg, and Coach Saugestad’s name immediately came to mind.
“The building will be key in developing future student athletes,” Hall adds. “That is why I am giving to the CSBR rather than to athletics. Augsburg needs great facilities for athletes to develop their academic side. Ed made the bridge for me between athletics and academics, and if I hadn’t gotten strong academics at Augsburg, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to give a gift that says thank you to Ed for making such a difference in my life.”
Hall says Ed also had a positive effect on his brother Dan ’74 and his step-brother Mark Hultgren ’88. “He impacted our family in a significant way.”
Halls give $25,000, invite others to join them so CSBR hallway can be named in honor of Ed Saugestad with gifts totaling $150,000
Corky and Lori pledged $25,000 as a lead gift in naming Saugestad Hall, a hallway outside the physics suite in the CSBR. They hope many other grateful alumni touched by Ed Saugestad will join them in honoring this man.
The naming opportunity cost for the hallway is $150,000. According to Keith Stout, Director of Principal Gifts for Augsburg College: “Ed Saugestad touched the lives of hundreds of students over his 39 years of coaching and teaching. We believe that many people will be interested in helping achieve the goal so that the hallway can be named for Ed.”
“I envision a huge plaque showing the names of all those who contribute to the Saugestad Hall, and it will be a testament to the huge effect Coach had on all of us,” Hall says.
‘Saugestad kindled the fire in me and in many people’
“He is the person who kindled the fire in me, seeing academic potential I hadn’t seen yet in myself. He helped me become a more well-rounded person. I think he did that for many, many people.”
“Let’s work together to honor this great man,” Hall says. “He deserves it. Ed did so much to make our lives better. Now it’s our turn to say thank you.”