June Good News

Mike-Good-headshot Answering the Call

You who often read and share this “Good News!” with me likely know my story very well. You understand that out of a dark moment came direction and guidance to persist—to accept the call to serve Augsburg and help bring the Center for Science, Business, and Religion to fruition. (If my story is new to you or you want a refresher, here is short video of that story…. link)



Today I see such encouraging signs as others take up the charge and are answering that same call.

Some recent examples are worthy of sharing with you here.

Rick Ekstrand ’72, who has already committed financially to the CSBR, recently opened his home to many Auggies and friends in the Glenwood/Alexandria area. He wanted others to hear the story of the CSBR and to get involved.
Mert Johnson ’59, who also has committed to the CSBR, answered our request that he think of others he knew who should hear “the Augsburg Story.” He has opened the door to business and technology leaders for us in the Alexandria, MN area with whom we are now sharing the exciting work underway by so many Augsburg students and faculty.
Herb Chilstrom ’54, also committed to the CSBR, answered the call and sent us a list of additional Auggies whom he thought would be interested in learning about the campaign. We are already working on plans to visit with them
Linda Engstrom Akenson ’72, got involved by inviting others to attend the event at Rick’s home in Glenwood. She wanted to express her enthusiasm for the CSBR and was willing to reach out to tell fellow Auggies more about the campaign and the vision of the College. Linda made her own commitment to the CSBR this past week and will continue to work with us in “telling the Augsburg story” to fellow Auggies.

As you know, I always have three requests of people I speak to about the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. 1) Prayerfully consider a stretch gift. 2) Think of others who you know that should her about our “Augsburg Story”. 3) Consider being a Class Leader.

Now you have the opportunity to act on behalf of our invitation to answer the call. Each time I share our story I see people get very excited about Augsburg. They relate to our relevance, our excellence, and our vision. Believe, Listen and Respond to your Personal Call.

When you answer the call, you act on an Augsburg value— to make the world better by following through on your ideas and your ideals.

You may not realize it, but now is a great time to listen to those voices, both in you heart and all around you, encouraging you to respond. Many donors have presented challenges to join them in giving to the CSBR. And more classes have reached their class goal of at least $1 million each in support of the CSBR.

In every way, Augsburg is an urban university making a real difference for us all. I am eager to hear from you and ready for what comes next.

With thanks,

Mike Good

Gift given in honor of Joel Torstenson

140523 Chilstrom 029The Rev. Herb ’54 Chilstrom, the ELCA’s first presiding bishop, grew up in Litchfield, Minn., a town where everyone was Caucasian when he was young. “Almost everyone had northern European roots. We were very insulated. Coming to Augsburg College opened my eyes to justice issues. The person who pulled me out of my comfort zone was sociology professor Joel Torstenson ’38.”

Herb and his wife Corinne are giving $30,000 to honor Joel Torstenson in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Torstenson challenged students to confront the world’s problems

“Dr. Torstenson impacted me not only during my student years but throughout the rest of my life,” Herb says. “He taught that if you are a Christian, you need to face the problems of the world and be out on the front lines, even if it makes you unpopular.”

He remembers Torstenson confronting Augsburg students with the fact that Jews at that time were not allowed to buy and own property within the city of Minneapolis and that African Americans were segregated in north Minneapolis. “Torstenson said emphatically, ‘This is not fair, and we all have to do something about it.’” Recalling this impassioned teaching, Herb credits Torstenson with inspiring him years later to fight for the rights of gay and lesbian people.

Herb and Corinne Chilstrom deeply influenced by Torstenson

Corinne and Herb began dating shortly after high school when both attended Lutheran Bible Institute. Later when Herb attended Augsburg, he talked extensively with Corinne about issues raised in Dr. Torstenson’s classes. “Through those conversations and also by typing papers for Herb, I too was influenced by Dr. Torstenson,” she says.

After graduation, Herb married Corinne, a Fairview Nursing School graduate. Herb then went to Augustana Theological Seminary, now a part of Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago. He received his Master of Divinity and served Faith Lutheran in Pelican Rapids and Augustana Lutheran in Elizabeth, both in Minnesota. In 1962 he was named professor of religion and academic dean at Luther College in Teaneck, N.J. In 1966, he graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary with a master of theology. Later he earned a Doctor of Education from New York University.

The couple returned to Minnesota in 1970 when Herb accepted a call as senior pastor of First Lutheran in St. Peter. In 1976, Chilstrom became bishop of the LCA’s Minnesota Synod.

Corinne held many nursing positions over the years including obstetrics, pediatrics, intensive care and college nursing. While living in St. Peter, she obtained a B.S. in nursing from Mankato State University.

Herb encouraged her to attend Luther Seminary when she told him, “If I could do anything I wanted, I would go to seminary and study theology.” She received her M.Div. degree in 1985, wondering whether she would ever receive a call since her husband was a synod bishop and conflict of interest could present a barrier. She was delighted to receive a call in another church body, the American Lutheran Church, to serve Bethlehem Lutheran in South Minneapolis.

When Herb was elected presiding bishop, she spoke and taught widely throughout the church for five years before accepting a call as associate pastor at St. Luke’s Lutheran in Park Ridge, Ill. Corinne was the world’s first wife of a Lutheran bishop to also be a pastor. Now they are retired and divide their time between St. Peter, Minn., and Green Valley, Ariz.

Proceeds from Chilstrom’s new book to go toward CSBR

Herb, a master gardener and author, currently is working on My Friend Jonah and Other Dogs I Have Loved. Proceeds from this book will go toward the CSBR.

“Giving is a lot of fun,” Herb says. “We have been blessed, and we like to share our blessings. Giving to the CSBR means I can say thank you to Dr. Torstenson for the major impact he had on my life, and maybe, by example, we can encourage others to do likewise.”

Professor Stortz Sees CSBR as Campus and City Connector

“Incubator. Hub. Thoroughfare. The new Center for Science, Business, and Religion will be all these things,” says Marty Stortz, who has pledged an estate gift. And one more: “It’s a place-based symbol of the good work that is already happening here.”stortz

Martha Ellen Stortz brought along the benefits of an outsider’s perspective when she was named Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation in 2010. “I left graduate education for undergraduate education; I left theological education for higher education; I left California for Minnesota,” says Stortz, who was previously professor of historical theology and ethics at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary, where she spent nearly three decades. “I could see that many of my colleagues in other higher education institutions were reaching for an urban experience for their students. But Augsburg was already there and already providing that.”

In her move to the Twin Cities, she drove herself across the country in time to join her new science, business, and religion colleagues on a field trip to visit the new science center at St. Olaf. “When we all left at the end of that day, we had envy for their building. But they had envy for our faculty and collegiality,” she recalls.

So within her first week, she was already considering what it might be like to have an office next to a social science professor, or share midmorning coffee with a business maven. “We’re not waiting for this building to be built: we’re already working together. The conversation is already forming. We have the faculty, the collegiality, and the interdisciplinary focus in place to move forward, especially with our connections to the community and the corporate world,” she says. “I think it’s extraordinary.”

The new building will be “a meeting place, a hub for a lot of what the College stands for. Augsburg has never had a closed academic quadrangle. What I love about the architecture is that it is meant to be a thoroughfare for the campus, for the communities, for the city and beyond.”

Stortz describes a class that her colleague, physics professor Ben Stottrup, taught this past semester. Stottrup combined business and science by bringing in acclaimed chefs from three Twin Cities restaurants—Victory 44, Borough, and Haute Dish—to discuss the physics of food. Because the local food scene is a hotbed of youthful creativity, inventiveness, and vibrancy, its appeal to students is apparent.

“I see the CSBR as a resource to the college but also as an incubator for the city. It invites corporate sponsorship and draws people in,” says Stortz, who believes that the notion of an applied liberal education is in Augsburg’s DNA. “We have business students doing internships, but what if we had science students interning in restaurants? Those kitchens need what Augsburg students and faculty have to offer.”

Through another of Stottrup’s panels, this one on beer and entrepreneurship, Stortz met Jacquie Berglund ’87, the founder and CEO of FINNEGANS, a Minneapolis brewery that donates 100% of its profits to local food banks. Stortz invited Berglund to a keystone course for business majors, which she team-taught with marketing professor Bill Arden. There, Jacquie explained that she’d been “bitten by the service bug” at Augsburg. She shared her belief that righting society’s wrongs is a responsibility that belongs to everyone in every corner of the city, not just churches, nonprofits, or municipal governments.

“By the time she finished talking, all of my students wanted to do internships with her. That’s the kind of synergy you get here. That’s what’s happening now, and this building is going to make it happen more,” Stortz says. “Who wouldn’t want to support that?”

Campaign Progress May 31, 2014

Campaign Progress as of May 31, 2014

The Campaign goal for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion is to raise $50,000,000 in philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends of Augsburg College.May 2014 3 sized thermometer

The Board of Regents will set a date to break ground when we have reached goals for both cash in hand and outstanding pledges that assure completion of the campaign.

Thank you for all you are doing to move this project forward.

Regent and Spouse Give a CSBR Gift Honoring Their Scientist Mothers

Lisa Novotny Natalya Flaten Mark Flaten“There is no better example of the miracle of God’s work than in science,” says Lisa Novotny ’80, an Augsburg regent, quoting one of her mother’s favorite sayings.

Lisa says she and her husband Mark Flaten share something special: “Both of our mothers were scientists who were strong, committed Lutheran women. Both women were way ahead of their time, getting college degrees and teaching science at a time when many women were full-time homemakers.”

‘Our moms would smile if they knew’

To honor these groundbreaking women, Lisa and Mark are naming a biology faculty office in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion in their memory. “This building fits with what our moms, Zeena Novotny and Edith Flaten, stood for,” Lisa says. “The way science and religion will intersect in the CSBR would have really pleased them. I think our moms would smile if they knew their names will be attached to a faculty office.”

Supporting daily needs alongside capital efforts

Lisa and Mark are pledging $60,000 to the CSBR and $20,000 to the Augsburg Fund. “We started out giving to Augsburg’s annual fund. That has always been important to us,” Lisa says, “because it supports the overall excellence of the college and its mission. When we considered our campaign gift, we wanted to add to what we were already giving to the annual fund.”

Lisa grew up in Wisconsin, and her parents encouraged her to attend a public university. Her dream was to major in social work, studying in an urban location. When an Augsburg representative visited her high school, Lisa thought Augsburg sounded like a great fit. She applied and filled out the financial aid application, hoping she could afford to attend. She was delighted to receive a generous scholarship which made it possible to become an Auggie. She double-majored in social work and Spanish.

Augsburg prepared Novotny well for leadership in human resources

“At Augsburg I learned to think about the world as a connection of systems: individuals and their family, community and faith system, and how these all fit and affect each other. I also learned to write well. These things prepared me well for my career in human resources.”

From the University of Minnesota she later received an M.A. in industrial relations. Currently she is vice president of human resources at General Mills. She oversees human resource strategy and leadership for the company’s international segment with 25,000 employees around the world. Earlier she was vice president of human resources for Dain Bosworth in Minneapolis, and manager of human resources for First Bank System.

She met Mark when both were summer camp counselors at Luther Park in Chetek, Wis. He graduated from the University of Minnesota but says Augsburg was the hub of his social life, including having two Auggies as apartment mates.

Mark Flaten pursued his vocation in ministry and family therapy

Mark received a Master of Divinity degree from Luther Seminary in St. Paul in 1985. His seminary internship assignment was Taiwan. He and Lisa lived in Taiwan for two years, providing global experience that helped her in international work at General Mills.

Mark served St. Philips Lutheran Church in Fridley and Calvary Lutheran Church in Golden Valley, and then returned to graduate school. He attained an M.S. in marriage and family therapy and has been in private practice as a therapist for 18 years.

Daughter Natalya thrived at Augsburg

Lisa and Mark have three children. Their middle daughter Natalya Flaten ’12 graduated from Augsburg College as a studio arts major. “I became a regent for the college at about the time Natalya began her studies there. Our daughter felt really welcome at Augsburg,” Lisa says. “Both of these experiences deepened my connection with Augsburg. I love the vision and mission of the college, and it’s a pleasure to serve as a regent and support the college financially.”

“We appreciate the values of the school, including its diversity and inclusiveness,” Mark adds. “Augsburg means a great deal to our family. We want to do what we can to help the school thrive.”

Family Members Honor Parents by Naming a Faculty Office in the CSBR

larson finalHave you noticed—your parents got smarter over the years? Maybe not in IQ but in how you view their actions and ideas compared with what your teenage self thought? Dean ’62 and Barbara ’63 Larson laugh while describing this phenomenon.

Now this couple follows both sets of their parents’ example of generous giving. “My parents gave at the first of every month. If they had food on the table, they gave money away. That always came first before other spending,” Barbara explains.

Today she and her husband Dean─like their parents before them─practice “first fruits” giving, donating a percentage of income to Christian causes. They find tremendous joy in doing so.

Augsburg College ranks as a priority in Dean and Barbara’s charitable giving. They named Augsburg as a beneficiary of their estate plan and pledged current gifts for the Center for Science, Business and Religion (CSBR).

Dean and Barbara Larson teamed up with Dean’s sister Patricia Moylan ’57 to make the gift.

Together they are naming a faculty office in memory of Dean and Patricia’s parents, Ernest ’32 and Ellen Gynild ’28 Larson.

Dean and Patricia’s family history intertwines repeatedly with Augsburg College. Their grandfather, Endre Erik Gynild, who served as president of the Lutheran Free Church, was a graduate. Their parents and numerous aunts, uncles and cousins were Auggies. Dean and Patricia’s father, Ernest, chaired the Board of Directors. Devotion to the College was closely tied to devotion to the Lutheran Free Church, a predecessor of today’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Dean grew up attending many Augsburg events including the groundbreaking ceremony for the current science building. He declares the new building essential for the college. “I am excited that science, business and religion will all be combined in this space,” he says. “Communication among these disciplines is needed in our world. It’s necessary to get away from silos.”

Barbara transferred to Augsburg from Concordia College, Moorhead. Fellow staff members at Galilee Bible Camp at Lake Bronson, Minn., encouraged her to come to Augsburg. A music major, she sang in the Augsburg Choir. Dean, a math education major, also sang in the choir.

Dean taught high school math in Buffalo, Minn., for two years and then attained a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. “My dad and grandfather were pastors, so people always asked if I planned to be a pastor too,” he said. “I fought my call for a long time because I knew it would be all-consuming. In the end, it felt right. Ministry issues were deeply engaging.”

Augsburg is a priority for the Larsons’ giving

Dean served congregations in Broadus, Mont.; Fergus Falls, Gaylord and Morris, all in Minn.; and Williston, N.D., before moving to the Twin Cities where he served four congregations as an interim pastor. Barbara taught music and led choirs in Gaylord, Morris and Williston, including teaching for 12 years at the University of Minnesota, Morris.

Now retired, Dean and Barbara reconnected with Augsburg upon moving back to the Twin Cities. Dean explains: “We consciously support ELCA causes as a way of strengthening the larger church. Augsburg is a priority because we like to give back to a place that meant a lot to us personally and to our families. We also admire the school’s mission and the way it connects to the neighborhood and the world.”

‘We see now what our parents were telling us’

Barbara, an Augsburg Associates volunteer, comments: “As we have gotten older, we realize that as human beings we are here to give of ourselves, our time and our possessions. We are here not to accumulate but to give back. We now know the blessing that comes from being a part of God’s generosity. We finally see what our parents were trying to tell us years ago.”

Auggie Entrepreneur Honors Grandfather’s Legacy

Bill Urseth image001Business leader and entrepreneur Bill Urseth says he grew up knowing “I was always going to college, and I was always going to Augsburg.” He was living a legacy that he and his wife, Kathy, will pass down to future generations through a $1.5 million estate gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

But unlike many such legacies, his skipped a generation. His parents, who didn’t attend college because they lacked the means, nevertheless instilled in him honor and respect for the grandfather he never met.

Hans Andreas Urseth was a substantial figure in Augsburg’s formative years . His name will grace the CSBR’s main hallway: Urseth Hall. “I wish I had known him,” Bill says. “He died in 1909, when he was 42 and my father was less than a year old. He was a very dynamic gentleman who had the ability to bring people together and ignite them in a positive way.”

Carrying tradition, shifting his language

Hans emigrated from Norway as a teenager and settled with his family near Crookston. A bright young man for whom Red River Valley farming lacked appeal, he moved to the Twin Cities in 1890, attending Augsburg Seminary and becoming a popular pastor at Trinity, then the Cities’ largest Lutheran church. There he made a crucial decision: to quit preaching in Norwegian. “Americans speak English, so we should speak English” was his refrain; he’d picked it up easily and spoke with little accent.

Returning to Augsburg to teach theology, Hans became a “welcoming committee of one” to Norwegian students, according to historical records. He liked poetry, wrote hymns, and was a “visible and successful teacher right away. Students flocked to him, partly because there wasn’t much of an age gap,” says Bill. “He seemed to be good at almost anything. That versatility gives a person confidence, and when you have confidence you can shine.”

In 1905 Hans ventured into administration; he was named dean of students, then acting president in 1907. Two years later, a rare disease—cancer, perhaps—took his life, leaving behind his widow and five children. They had no financial safety net; only the youngest two could skip working to finish high school.

Roots in the Milling District

Bill’s father, the baby of the family, sold Pillsbury flour, fought in World War II, and worked at the post office to support his own family. Bill grew up in south Minneapolis playing football with six best friends, including A-club president Bruce Nelson and future business partner Corky Hall, who all became Auggies. A political science major, Bill planned to enter law school, but his admission test got lost in the mail, forcing a year’s hiatus that shaped his future.

Learning how to learn

“Augsburg taught me how to learn. If you have that, you can do a lot of things,” he says. His lot included launching U.S. Communications, a national promotion and marketing firm whose clients included General Mills, Procter & Gamble, Apple and Microsoft. He has authored books, co-hosted a TV show, and owned several popular restaurants. Currently president of Strategic Research & Marketing, he is a general partner of the Minnesota Horse & Hunt Club, where he pursues his outdoor enthusiast passions and works with youth, heading The Youth Hunting Club of Minnesota.

Augsburg, where he served on the Board of Regents from 1986 to 1998, has remained close to his heart. He describes the CSBR as an “excellent facility for the students and faculty. It will help create a great future for young people. That’s what I care about,” says Bill, who looks for real genius and talent, not wealthy networks, in his friends and associates.

Pathways lead to the future

“Augsburg has always been best at creating pathways and educational opportunities for people who are bright and ambitious but not necessarily connected, not necessarily mainstream, not necessarily affluent. It goes back to my grandfather’s day, when those pathways were mostly for young Norwegian men who wanted to get an education,” he says. Today those pathways extend to disparate others, perhaps those with disabilities, or who delayed college until mid-adulthood, or whose full-time jobs required weekend classes.

“That’s what Augsburg is for. It has managed to penetrate those markets,” he says. “Let’s create an opportunity for these people.”

May Good News

Mike-Good-headshotIt’s graduation season,

the time of year when we hear many great speeches that point us toward enduring life lessons. Addresses that often include tributes to inspired teachers. It makes me wonder, who introduced you to the values you consider most important to you? For many of us it was probably a teacher, and very likely someone from Augsburg. I know I learned a great deal about acceptance, determination, belief and friendship from my Augsburg mentors which included teachers, coaches as well as my Auggie classmates.

Later this month, we look forward to many alumni and friends of Augsburg joining us for a CSBR Class Leadership Summit. We will shine a light on the leadership of classes that have already contributed $1 million dollars or more to the CSBR, and bring attention to the classes who are well on their way. We will celebrate the growing momentum both on and off campus and draw attention to some of the named spaces to honor faculty members. A contribution to one of these named spaces would also “count” towards your class challenge. Read about one of these challenges in the profile featuring Bill Urseth ’71 that follows this report.

I am thrilled with the great update our volunteer and advancement teams were able to give the Augsburg Regents a few days ago. In addition to meeting a number of key goals (over 600 guests have attended a Summit thus far), we have been fortunate to receive gifts and pledges from our donors which have been totaling close to $1 million per month since last October. Many in our community of faculty, staff, alumni and business partners have acted on their belief in the power of an Augsburg education by making their stretch gifts.

At their meeting, the Regents observed that the momentum is changing both Campus and broader Community perceptions of Augsburg with our fundraising success. They agreed, the best plan for proceeding with the new Center will be to adhere to prudent fiscal benchmarks so that we can move forward with confidence to review program and construction planning as soon as it is feasible. The Regents recommend that we look to 2016 for this process to begin, but in preparation, we will take steps to remove existing structures currently where the new complex will stand.

As you read on, you will hear the many great reasons alumni and faculty have for generously investing in the future of Augsburg. Thank you for continuing to a) consider your own stretch giving, b) Refer people to us who need to hear the story of Augsburg and c) Believe in the CSBR and Augsburg’s future.


April Good News

What happens when a legend leaves us?Mike-Good-headshot

What might their legacy generate, stretching beyond a wonderful life well lived? What remains? These are some of the questions many of us asked when we learned that legendary Auggie hockey coach Ed Saugestad ’59 died last month following an extended illness.

An influential teacher and coach, he made such a difference for so many Auggies. Some saw him as a great teacher who helped them find talents in themselves they had never noticed. Some spoke of his great tenacity—his drive on the ice and for his teams. Everyone who knew him admired his commitment to and passion for Augsburg.

Before Ed died, his former athletes started a movement, to generate a wave of generosity and honoring with a goal of increasing investment in the Center for Science, Business and Religion.

In last month’s Class Challenge e-newsletter, we announced the challenge grant to name a hall in the new Center in Ed’s honor.

I am excited to report more than 30 new gifts have been added to the challenge, bringing total gifts to just under $100,000 toward the $150,000 goal. Even as you read this newsletter, new gifts are under discussion. The momentum is catching!

Some of you know I have admired this quote attributed to theologian John of Salisbury:

We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.

Ed was one of the giants of Augsburg. We see our way to a greater future because of his steadfast commitment to all that the College represents. And the residue of his leadership and vision carry on through the gifts to bring the CSBR into form.

Read on and learn about other investments being made in the CSBR because we BELIEVE!

Mike Good ’71

Campaign Progress March 31, 2014

Campaign Progress as of March 31, 2014April 2014 thermometer

The Campaign goal for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion is to raise $50,000,000 in philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends of Augsburg College.

The Board of Regents would like to break ground for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion in 2014. We need at least another $10 million to consider when we can start construction.

Thank you for all you are doing to move this project forward.