David and Mary Croft ’79 to Give $25,000 for AWE-inspired space in CSBR

Growing up in Papua New Guinea as the daughter of missionaries, Mary Croft ’79 learned a thing or two about living a simple life. croft

“Our living conditions were fairly primitive or perhaps rustic,” she says, fondly recalling her first home, which had a thatched roof and woven bamboo floors. “I think our parents did all they could to make us feel as though we weren’t missing anything by growing up in a developing country.”

Memories of Mary’s early living conditions flooded her mind when she toured Augsburg’s 60-year-old science building just a few months ago.

“The fact Augsburg can earn these amazing grants and work in this building is pretty mind boggling,” she says when thinking about the building that looks nearly identical to what it did in the ’60s when she first studied at Augsburg.

Now, Mary and her husband, David, want to ensure that Augsburg students don’t feel they’re missing anything either.

The Crofts have pledged a $25,000 gift for the AWE-inspired (Augsburg Women Engaged) student study lounge in the future Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

Because of this generous commitment, the AWE CSBR fundraising initiative has surpassed its initial $100,000 goal. In the meantime, the initiative continues to gain momentum as more alumnae and friends learn about the AWE fundraising initiative and want to join the effort.

Mentored to give more

The desire for the Crofts to give to this project is multifaceted.

David, a retired Andersen Windows manager who humbly says he “worked in marketing and finance,” looks forward to seeing the cross-disciplinary building help grow the business industry. In fact, it was in business that David was inspired to be philanthropic.

David says former Andersen Windows founder and president, the late Fred Andersen, was a very philanthropic person who always gave from the heart. David is now engaged in the philanthropic community, giving to causes like Augsburg’s CSBR and, separately, serving on the board of the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation.

Mary’s inspiration to give stems from her 95-year-old father who, with his meager means, gave generously to causes close to his heart.

Since health sciences and women’s issues are causes close to Mary’s heart, giving to the AWE-inspired space in the CSBR seemed like a natural fit.

The 68-year-old said she got “caught up in the women’s movement.”

“I’ve always been an independent person,” says Mary. “I was one of the few Andersen management’s wives who worked in their chosen field. While I enjoyed attending Andersen functions, I also wanted to have a career independent of my husband’s.”

Wellness as a pathway

Mary’s passion for public health led her to a career in healthcare. She primarily worked as a nurse at the prison in Stillwater, Minn., encouraging prisoners to remain healthy, as opposed to treating them once they got sick.

Mary’s interest in health and wellness attracted her back to Augsburg in the late ’70s, where she had initially studied education for two years before the College began offering health science degrees.

Mary enrolled as a nontraditional student in the bachelor of science in nursing program while also working full time and raising her and David’s young son, Matthew. Mary proudly became an Augsburg alumna in 1979 and thrived in her nursing career.

She describes both of her stints at Augsburg as defining. As an 18-year-old, Mary excitedly but nervously ventured to the United States, without any family, to study at Augsburg.

“Being at Augsburg helped me integrate into the American culture,” Mary says, adding that Augsburg was, and still is, like a home to her. “College is a defining period in life when students are finding their home and a niche.”

Encouraging others to join

Through their gift, the Crofts are pleased to be playing an important part in making the Augsburg experience even more defining for students who will study in the future cross-disciplinary building.

“Having been a missionary, you make do with whatever is given to you,” Mary says.

And the new AWE-inspired study lounge in the CSBR is what Mary would like to give to current and future Augsburg students.

 

Beth Franklin ’09 Thanks Augsburg with Pledge to CSBR

Franklin_Beth 1

Photo courtesy Star Tribune 2014

“There was some kind of serendipity involved,” says Beth Franklin ’09 of the events that led her to Augsburg College. As a high school senior she had her sights set on attending a large research university, but when that institution put her on a wait list, both her father and a mentor suggested she consider Augsburg. She visited campus, felt completely at home, and applied for admission immediately. “I’ve never doubted that choosing Augsburg was the right decision,” says Beth, who majored in accounting and music business. “You really get an incomparable experience at a small, mission-driven college.” Now an alumna, she stays involved with Augsburg by attending alumni events, keeping up connections with faculty, and supporting The Augsburg Fund and CSBR Campaign.

The Auggie experience

“I may have been over-involved,” says Beth of her student days. She served on the Student Council; co-chaired the Accounting and Finance Club; and served as an orientation leader, an accounting tutor, and a community advisor. She also served as the student representative on several committees, and had internships at St. Paul’s History Theatre and Fox Tax, a Minneapolis firm where she now works as a CPA. She describes the senior keystone course in El Salvador on Vocation and the Christian Faith as a profound religious experience. “I had such an amazing experience at Augsburg that I didn’t want it to end,” says Beth.

Some of her friends wonder why she supports Augsburg financially when she’s still paying off the student loans she took out to supplement scholarships, paychecks, and her mom’s help. “I think of paying back the loan as paying for my education,” explains Beth. “My gifts are a way of paying Augsburg back for the experience and the way it shaped me… I am who I am because of Augsburg.”

Career connections

Beth secured an internship and, eventually, her current job at Fox Tax, thanks to her advisor, Accounting Professor Stu Stoller, who suggested that she apply for a scholarship from the American Society of Women Accountants (now the Accounting and Financial Women’s Alliance). A member of the scholarship selection committee referred her to Fox Tax, which shares Beth’s interest in providing tax services to individuals and small businesses in the creative industry. After earning a Master’s of Business Taxation and working for two years at a local public accounting firm, Beth returned to a full-time position at Fox Accounting. She recently recruited fellow Auggie Greg Mann ’11 to the firm.

Every gift counts

Beth says she supports the CSBR Campaign in addition to The Augsburg Fund because it gives people something of which to be proud, it’s good for campus, and it’s good for student recruitment. “I never gave it a second thought that science, business, and religion belong in the same building because of how seamlessly they are integrated at Augsburg.”

“I’m honored to be associated with Augsburg,” says Beth. “Just imagine what would happen if everyone in my class—or in every class—gave $5 a month.”

I Choose Augsburg

Do you stop and wonder sometimes, how is it we make the choices that turn us in life-changing directions? Decisions like where to go to college, whether and with whom to create a family, and what final Shelby Andress vocation to embrace.

 

As an active and engaged alumna of Augsburg, I marvel at how this small campus shifted me in almost every way. It’s why I am committed to its future strength.

 

As some of you know, I grew up on the prairie of North Dakota. My congregation in Minot was of the Lutheran Free Church tradition, with strong ties to Augsburg.  In eighth grade I heard the Augsburg Choral Club, and I decided right then that Augsburg was where I wanted to go to college.

 

While a student, I traveled to post-war Europe. That’s when I met my husband, Jim ’51, on board ship. Jim was part of the flood of soldiers who had returned from World War II on the GI bill, and were being welcomed at Augsburg. That was a time of both relief and optimism. With Jim by my side in Europe’s war-torn countries, I had my eyes opened to people living in refugee camps. I saw children of war.

 

We witnessed how geography and conditions can make life unbelievably hard. We felt all the more gratitude for our own circumstances.

 

Augsburg instilled in us a commitment to find and act on what we can do to help others. Jim became an educator, we raised our family, and I worked for a  youth development research organization.

 

Today, I see Augsburg as a place that acts on its foundational commitments—a place that models resilience, and turns toward growth.

 

I write you now because I have joined Chris Ascher and Wayne Jorgenson in helping lead the Class Challenge effort to secure gifts of $1 million from each Augsburg class in support of the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

 

My family and I decided to do two things: to endow a scholarship and to dedicate a room in the CSBR. In making these gifts, we stretched ourselves to do more than we at first thought possible. And, now that we have made these commitments, we find great joy in acting on our belief in this wonderful college.

 

I see this new center as a highly innovative educational opportunity—a center for interconnected learning, for the formation of lifelong relationships and transformative discoveries. The integration of learning around science, business, and religion is crucial to effective global citizenship. Beyond their life’s work, more students will find their purpose and guiding-life direction. By making these investments, I can help Augsburg keep its roots strong.

 

As you read the stories shared in this issue of the Class Challenge news, you will learn about others who have made similar investments in Augsburg’s great future. Please join us by making your commitment to the CSBR through the Class Challenge. I look forward to the day we can spread the good news of your gift, too.

Shelby Andress ’56

Husfloen Legacy to Live on in CSBR

HusfloenLast fall a member of the Augsburg community, James Husfloen, passed away in Fargo, North Dakota.  Jim attended Augsburg in the fall of 1954 for two years and returned for a semester in 1960.  Other students at that time were Pastor Bob Bagley ’58 and US Representative Martin Sabo ’59, who roomed with him in Alpha Beta Gamma Delta in Memorial Hall one year, as well as Jim’s brother, Richard ’60. After leaving Augsburg, Jim entered the Air National Guard, served in the Air Force, and graduated from Moorhead State in 1970. Jim left the College a significant estate gift of $170,000, which will be designated towards the CSBR. Although Jim didn’t graduate from Augsburg, Gordon Meland, a good friend of Jim’s since grade school, said Jim had a “soft spot for Augsburg.”  His generosity reflects his commitment to education, his Norwegian, Lutheran upbringing and loyalty to his family and community.

 

Jim, born January 21, 1932, in Fargo, North Dakota, was the oldest son of Norwegian Americans Joe and Clara Alfreida (Simonson) Husfloen. His father, was a non-ordained minister and preached in the Fargo-Moorhead area. Some will still remember Richard L. Husfloen ’60, Jim’s younger brother. He graduated from Augsburg in Theology and also taught Sociology at Augsburg after finishing his graduate studies at Luther Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary. Richard died quite suddenly in Sun City, Arizona, in 2003.  His career in the ministry, as pastor, administrator, and resource developer, prepared him for his role as the 12th President of Augustana University College in Camrose, Alberta, where he served for seven years before retiring in 2003.

 

Jim graduated from Oak Grove School in Fargo in 1950.  After attending Augsburg, he and his friend Gordon joined the Air National Guard. Jim lived two years on Moody Air Force base in Valdosta, Georgia, training pilots.  His experiences rescuing downed pilots affected him throughout his life.  After returning to the Fargo area, Jim entered college again and graduated from Moorhead State University on June 10, 1970,  with a BS in Broadcasting-Film and a minor in Marketing. He later married and had a son, Robert, who died tragically after working hard in the devastating floods the Red River Valley experienced in 1997. Jim’s work life included driving a bus for college trips and representing Nabisco in sales and distribution.  He also did other paid and volunteer work, including broadcasting for Fargo area radio stations and occasional writing for the West Fargo newspaper.  Jim  liked to draw.  He suffered from illness at different times in his life and Alzheimer’s disease in his later years. Jim died in Fargo on October 16, 2013, in his last home, Rosewood on Broadway.

Augsburg Graduate and Longtime Faculty Member Gives to Campaign for CSBR through Payroll Deduction

dale headshotWhen Dale Pederson ’70 went to the University of Minnesota to pursue a Ph.D. in zoology, he began to realize what a special education he had received at Augsburg College. At Augsburg, Pederson majored in biology while immersed in the liberal arts, taking classes in art history, religion, and the American judiciary, which exposed him to new ways of critical thinking. “Augsburg was an engaging and challenging place to be,” he says, “and I took it for granted.”

 

In his doctoral program, fellow students from all over the United States described a wide variety of undergraduate experiences. “I began to see the rarity,” Pederson says, “of Augsburg’s community of learners, where the faculty feel sincere commitment to their students’ welfare, and where there is an intersection of faith and sciences, not a great divide.”

 

Dale Pederson ’70, CSBR champion, joined Augsburg’s faculty in 1992

Pederson has taught biology at Augsburg College for 22 years. Previously he completed post-doctoral fellowships at Mayo Clinic and Cambridge University and taught both at St. Teresa University in Winona, Minn., and Winona State University.

 

Pederson has been a tireless champion for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, speaking at numerous Summit gatherings and other meetings with prospective donors about the vision for this cross-disciplinary building. He gives voice not only to the need for the CSBR but also to the opportunity it will afford the college to continue deepening its academic prowess.

 

‘CSBR may look like a bold move’

“People who see that Augsburg intends to create a signature academic building including science, business and religion may consider it a bold move,” Pederson says. “There are plenty of schools where the sciences and religion are viewed as being in conflict. At Augsburg we have always been a place where these are complementary ways of knowing and where examination of their intersections are welcome and necessary. The cross-disciplinary building is not bold for Augsburg. It will simply be a statement of what we are and always have been. For example, we encourage students interested in scientific careers in a corporate setting to take business classes, and we encourage discussion of faith perspectives in science and business classes.”

 

The new building will provide urgently needed laboratory space for faculty and students. “Today we have so many science students that we are running 100 lab sections each year in this building, and the current building isn’t designed for that.”

 

He believes that the growth in highly qualified science students is a result of 15 years of investment from Augsburg in faculty and student research. “We have been investing in ‘release time’ for faculty members to start research programs, in funding student research, and in scientific equipment. Now more and more students are coming, but we don’t yet have the space for them. Providing that space is the next step in our commitment to our students.”

 

‘Intergenerational trust sustains Augsburg College’

Pederson demonstrated his personal commitment to the CSBR campaign by making a pledge which he fulfills through payroll deduction. He hopes thousands of donors will join him to make the campaign a success.

 

He gives financially because he feels a debt of gratitude to the graduates and friends of the College who gave in earlier generations, helping support his own student scholarships.  “I grew up with modest means and yet graduated with no student debt. That was due to the commitment of others who went before me,” he says.

 

“There is an intergenerational trust involved in sustaining a school like Augsburg. I hope the students whose education will be greatly enhanced by the CSBR will also support the students who follow them. That is how we make this place thrive.”

Putting One Foot in Front of Another

Wayne Jorgenson '71I have shared before the story about a movie I’ve found to be so in touch with our situation at Augsburg and our decision to build an academic building like we’ve never done before. The movie was called, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. Sometimes the best way to climb up something really tall is simply by putting one foot in front of another. Setting out to raise an average of $1 million from 50 of our Augsburg classes in support of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion qualifies as such a tall order. What’s great about taking each step forward is that by doing it together, we are much more likely to arrive at the top safe, sound and successful!

Last month 200 alumni leaders gathered for another of our Leadership Summits. Each person was eager to share experiences from their days at Augsburg and excited to define the way they want to show their support for both the Center and this class challenge effort (check out the latest update on our results in the chart).

Our Summit events provide guests an opportunity to visit the existing science facilities, meet remarkable student leaders, especially those involved in student research, as well as other alumni, faculty and friends who want to see this new Center built. To those who can attend future summits, we invite you to do so. For many living in other parts of the country, this is not possible. For them and everyone, we share thoughts and notes in these campaign updates.

On this particular evening last month, biologist and faculty leader Dale Pederson ’70 decided, rather spontaneously, to invite anyone among the assembled guests to speak to their reasons for supporting the CSBR and Augsburg. As he put it, “in the Lutheran tradition of altar call, you need only offer us your testimonial, not your repentance!”

After the rather normal awkward moment of waiting to see who might bravely speak up, we were rewarded with several in powerful testimonials on why they have decided to support the CSBR. Among them, former US Representative Martin Sabo ’59 kept it short, but on point. “You’ve heard the reasons for this great new Center, now they need our help! Join me!”

Rev. Herbert Chilstrom ’54 also stood and spoke. “When I came to Augsburg (in 1950) the Science Building was brand new and we thought it was state-of-the-art back then.” He went on to say, “During my time as the presiding bishop of the ELCA, I had the opportunity to visit all 29 Colleges of the ELCA and I am very proud of that. There were a few places however, where I had the feeling that, little by little, the college had drifted away from its roots, to the point where the teaching of religion and the relationship with the church were very much on the outer fringe.  One of the things I really appreciate about Augsburg is that it has been a college of the church, a college where faith is treasured, a college where religion has been taught and taught well. Giving to this new building where you bring three of these important disciplines together (science, business, and religion) is very critical.”

At our table, my wife, Carol ’72, and I enjoyed getting to know Mert Strommen ’42 and his son Rev. Peter Strommen. I was raised in Richfield, where the Strommens also lived at the time. Though I didn’t know them back then, I was delighted to get to know these two gentlemen now.

It is exciting to see the numbers of CSBR contributors continue to grow. This is about many things, including paying back those who made it possible for us to study at Augsburg, by paying it forward and providing a new building that will be the center academic building on campus for years to come.

We need everyone to join in. Please don’t shrug your shoulders and leave this important project to others to carry out and complete. Everyone joining in, at whatever level they can, makes everyone else’s load that much easier. Please add your commitment to the many others who have already said a very powerful “Yes.” Click here to make a gift or a pledge.

Please join us in meeting the Class Challenge. Your gift counts toward your class’ numbers. Let’s find out how fast we get to the top of our mountain! We’re over halfway there already!

Wayne Jorgenson ’71
Class Challenge Chair

Be a Champion for Augsburg

What does the word champion mean to you? Do you think of it only as a single person making a big difference in athletics?Chris Ascher headshot

 

While that definition speaks to my experience at Augsburg, I have been thinking of the word differently. What has been on my mind is the efforts of many that turn the tide in the direction of success, the people who champion a great cause and see an effort through to its completion.

 

This month I am celebrating the champions of my own Augsburg class of ’81 who have made their gifts in support of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and exceeded our $1 million goal. It’s great to have our class on the leader board!

 

I am also pleased that in the past month we have added 39 givers to those who have said yes to supporting the CSBR and joined others, now totaling nearly 600 alumni donors to the campaign.

 

Later this week many alumni and friends of Augsburg will join us for a CSBR Class Leadership Summit.  We will shine a light on the 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. This gives us a chance to honor the championing of Augsburg, and the momentum growing both on and off campus. We will draw attention to some of the named spaces honoring 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 Corky Hall ’71.

 

As you read on, you will hear the many great reasons alumni and faculty are generously investing in the future of Augsburg. Thank you for continuing to do three things:

  • to consider your own stretch giving,
  • to contact people who need to hear the story of Augsburg and
  • to believe in the CSBR and Augsburg’s future.

 

Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and enthusiasm. It’s the fuel for champions everywhere!

 

Chris Ascher ’81