On April 29, 2016, the Augsburg College community celebrated the launch of the transformational project to build the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. See highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony in this video.
These were the words that spoke to me several years ago when this campaign was sputtering and many of us were doubting whether we could ever raise $50 Million to build the most significant academic facility this college had ever envisioned.
BELIEVE became the Theme for this campaign…and believe we did!
I Thank God for this day and I thank President Pribbenow for the privilege I was given to Chair this Campaign.
Thanks to the Board of Regents…who made the commitment and owned the campaign. The Board provided leadership at every level and stretched themselves in every way.
I am so grateful to the Faculty, Staff and Cabinet members who supported the campaign with their time, talents and treasures. Their engagement with Alumni & Friends of the College who joined us on campus for many CSBR Summits helped us tell the story and vividly demonstrated their ongoing commitment to transformational education with our students.
I am also grateful to the scores of students who were generous with their time in supporting the campaign…sharing their personal stories of significant research completed with faculty or sharing their musical talents with Summit guests and by sharing how their Augsburg experience has impacted their lives, their faith and the discovery of their own unique gifts and personal vocation.
I am grateful to so many Augsburg Alumni and Friends of the College who responded to our call and supported the campaign with their leadership, time and financial support.
All successful Capital Campaigns have at least three common threads:
- A Compelling Story/Vision of the Need. It’s the WHY.
We certainly had a compelling story.
- You need a handful of very significant Lead Gifts.
I am so grateful to those who made such generous commitments to help Augsburg continue to be a light in this world. We had four individuals or families that made commitments totaling $30 Million. Campaigns don’t get completed without people like these who know that they have been Blessed and who in turn choose to be a Blessing to others. I thank them all and especially Norm and Vangie Hagfors for their leadership gift.
- Every successful campaign needs the support of an army of believers.
Over 1000 Auggie Alumni & Friends contributed what they were able…in amounts that ranged from a hundred to a million dollars….and those “fish and loaves”, given in faith, counted up to over $20 Million. A miraculous achievement! This was the most widely supported campaign in Augsburg history! And for that I give all of you my heartfelt thanks.
Because of the Generosity & Support of so many, this new Hagfors Center will stand as a testimony of Augsburg’s faith in the work that God has done and continues to do in the life of this college.
We started this campaign by asking God’s help in transforming Augsburg’s Campus and in the process of our work together God has transformed us!
Our Augsburg Philanthropic Culture has forever been transformed … because we BELIEVED! No longer can this community ever say that we don’t have the capacity to live into our greatest and most noble dreams about this College when they align with our mission as a College of the Church. God has taught us a great lesson about His Abundance and what it Possible.
In our joy and celebration, let us never allow ourselves to believe that this great accomplishment was ours alone. Instead, let us forever boldly proclaim, as the Psalmist wrote: “Not to us, oh Lord, not to us…But to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”
Keep on Believing…because we are called … Auggies. Thank you all very much!
— Regent Emeritus Mike Good ’71, chaired the CSBR campaign to its successful conclusion
Today as we break ground for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, memory and hope are joined. Turning this soil is a holy moment as we pause to remember with grateful hearts all who have lived and labored, prayed and played, walked and wept on this ground. We give thanks for First Nation People, for immigrants and for those who founded Augsburg College as a place to train pastors but also with a commitment to reach out to the farmer, the worker and those in business.
With renewed commitment to our vocation as stewards of God’s creation we remember with thanksgiving all that has been nourished by this soil and that has contributed to the beauty and bounty of this land. We lament the losses of life forms unable to be sustained because of our disregard for the intricate interdependence of all of life. How fitting that Augsburg’s commitment to the flourishing of all of creation, the well being of the neighbor and to the centrality of faith and vocation will now be joined in the Hagfors Center.
Too often the fields of science, business and religion, have been regarded as disinterred in, even distrustful, of each other. That certainly is not true at Augsburg as is now made so evident in their being joined in this one Center. It is a living testimony to Augsburg’s commitment to the Lutheran vocation in higher education. Yes, as Lutheran Christians we believe we are freed in Christ for a life of insatiable curiosity and called by God to serve the neighbor.
Please stop for a moment, close your eyes, and begin to imagine what will be taking place in this Center. Can you see faculty and students excited about their research in DNA and the possibilities it holds for diagnosis and treatment of diseases? Can you see them engaging business students and faculty in developing a plan for investors to support further research while religion students and faculty are asked to join in framing the ethical questions and issues that shape this ongoing work? How absolutely exciting are the possibilities for synergies in this Center.
The Elnar Gundale Chapel, located on the third floor of the new building, will represent architecturally the centrality of vocation in the life and mission of Augsburg. It will be a sacred space for prayer and reflection, a place where Augsburg extends hospitality to the community and convenes lively conversations about how we can live and serve together as neighbors enriched by our differences.
May these words from 1 Peter (4:9-10) be descriptive of all who bring life and learning to the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion: “Be hospitable to one another…Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”
On this day when memory and hope are joined may God fill us with gratitude and joy.
Yes, we are bold to proclaim that when memory and hope meet in the breaking of ground God is present here.
— Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the Distinguished Fellow in Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation
I am Karen Durant – class of ‘81. I grew up just 4 miles from Augsburg. My parents met at a Swedish Lutheran Church that I then attended with my entire extended family. When I was four I started playing the piano and became a church organist at the age of 12. My parents did not attend college. That makes me a first generation college graduate. I paid my own way through school with the money I made as an organist and from working two additional part-time jobs. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the Board of Regents for the past five years.
This is the first time anyone has asked me to speak at such an event. I actually have a magnet tucked inside my desk at work that states, “If you want a speech made ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman!”
I agreed to speak today because I strongly support Augsburg and this new building. To me, the co-location of the Science, Business, and Religion departments intentionally messages to us that we should not compartmentalize our life. One example of what I mean is that some people are loving and helpful to their families on Saturday, religious in church on Sunday, but come Monday morning – it is a dog eat dog world and you do whatever you need to do to get ahead in the business world. At Augsburg, I shaped my belief that it is better to openly embrace the complexities of the intersections between Science, and Business and Religion.
I recall a particularly vivid intersection of Science and Religion when I was a student at Augsburg. Many of you remember Dr. Ted Hanwick who was a Professor and Chair of Augsburg’s Physics Department. One day in Astronomy class he was at the black board writing astronomical algorithms to calculate the position of celestial objects and he abruptly stopped and turned around to us and exclaimed – “I know I am supposed to stick to the science, but who else other than God could have created such a wonderful universe?”
Today, I am representing the discipline of Business. Based on my background, you may have assumed I majored in Music, but I actually Majored in Accounting with a Minor in Economics. There are more similarities between music and accounting than you may think. There is a lot of counting involved in both, but less obvious is the balance one must find between the creative expression and the rules. Even the great musical masterpieces are written in a certain key and have a certain time signature. I have been a Financial Executive for many years and I am known for my creativity and technical knowledge.
I have truly benefited from the values, ethics, and morals Augsburg helped instill in me that, quite frankly, not all business people possess.
Early in my career, I was working at a Fortune 500 company – my first real Accounting position – and you know the saying – I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. One day I overheard a senior accountant explaining something to a junior accountant that did not make sense to me. I asked him why he gave the junior accountant incorrect information. He rolled his eyes and said “Don’t you get it? This is a competition!” I was too shocked to say anything at that moment, but when I later reflected upon it he was right – I did not get it. That was not my value system. I decided right then and there that I was not going to lie to others. On the contrary, I went out of my way to help others. I was seen as knowledgeable and capable and was rapidly promoted.
Later in my career, I was working at a Fortune 1000 company with the ultimate responsibility for the financial reporting. There is tremendous pressure on public companies to achieve ever-favorable financial results and I always had to be the “ethical backbone” to ensure we kept a good, clean set of books. I have had to stand toe-to-toe with many CEO’s to make sure we did the right things in the right way. There were times when they were upset with me, but in the long run they were grateful.
During my four years at Augsburg, I was transformed from a “me” to an “Auggie”. Augsburg and “Auggies” embrace the intersections in life, have lively debates and stand up for what they believe is the right thing to do.
Lest you think this is going unnoticed, I want to share my most recent Auggie moment with you. One of the accountants in my organization at work recently left to take a really great position at another company. I was talking to him about his new job and he said “Karen, I have to tell you that my new boss said he knew he was going to hire me as soon as he saw Augsburg on my resume”. This is a great endorsement of how relevant an Augsburg education is.
Thank you for your commitment and investments in making sure Augsburg remains faithful and relevant for many years to come!
I have, over the last couple years, taken note of the fact that the Development office has provided lab coats to many guests on tours of the science building. I was, therefore, as little disappointed to learn that the wardrobe department in Development did not have enough surgical gowns and masks to outfit everyone here today.
It would have been appropriate as we are here not only to witness the birth of a long-awaited blessed event but to participate in its delivery. As befits the exceptionally long gestational period that proceeded this day, we know that what will emerge on this site is a fully developed and well-formed offspring, to be christened as the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion – a name acknowledging a family tradition in educational philosophy. The Hagfors Center was conceived in the college’s ethos and nurtured though its development thus far by a large and loyal community of alumni and friends who were committed to maintain the bloodline.
The joy that we — like parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents — feel at this moment will soon be tempered by the sense of responsibility we have for this offspring’s growth and development. Just as we hope our children will grow to be healthy, wise and good, we hope that the Hagfors Center will help foster in our students and faculty a keen appreciation for the value of an education which addresses the many ways of knowing – integrating these in the mind such that they are seen as complementary rather than competing perspectives on the increasingly complex world and the challenges it presents us.
I share with other alums an appreciation for having had the opportunity to learn science from excellent scientists who were also devout Christians and from theologians who recognized that science posed no threat or inherent conflict with articles of faith. Understanding what these ways of knowing can and cannot reveal has many times allowed me to alleviate the conflict with which some students struggle. We can transform a false belief that science and religion provide competing and fundamentally incompatible understandings. The Hagfors Center will allow us to be better representatives of our disciplines and it will encourage us to be mindful of and intent on perpetuating a valued academic tradition.
On behalf of the Sciences, we say thank you for all that has brought us to this wonderful day!
— Dale Pederson ’70 (Science)
According to Evangeline (Gundale) Hagfors, “In our family there was only one calling, and that was to help others.” The daughter of Norwegian immigrant parents, she and her husband, Norm Hagfors, have demonstrated this calling most recently with their gift to Augsburg.
Vangie’s father, Elnar G. Olsen (who later used his middle name, Gundale, to distinguish himself from so many other pastors named Olsen) emigrated to the United States in 1930, studied at Augsburg College and Seminary, and was ordained in 1937 as a Lutheran Free Church pastor. While a seminary student he taught Norwegian at Augsburg.
Norman and Evangeline (Gundale) Hagfors met at a Sunday evening after-church coffee. After visiting, Norm drove Vangie, a nursing student at Deaconess Hospital near Augsburg, back to her dorm. Over the next 55 years they would marry, have a family, enjoy a distinguished career, and form a continuing connection with Augsburg.
Last spring when they decided to make a naming gift for Augsburg’s new Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR), they affirmed their commitment to the importance of the three disciplines brought together in the building and the excellence of these disciplines. “The need for the building was not new. And their amazing science programs produce remarkable results,” said Norm.
Norm reported, “My real interest in the sciences was piqued by my high school teacher who was an Augsburg graduate named Donald Murphy. He made science so interesting.” While still a student, studying electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Norman joined Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie as the number four employee of Medtronic, Inc., then located in Palmer’s garage. Later, as director of research and manufacturing, he was part of the management team that transitioned Medtronic from a medical instrument repair and service organization to a medical device company specializing in implantable products. It is now the largest medical device company in the world. He has received a number of patents related to the development of medical devices.
Norman was the founder and president of Stimulation Technology, Inc., a medical device company pioneering the development of pain control devices. The company was eventually sold to Johnson & Johnson. Prior to his retirement, he was president of Norsen, Inc., and partner of KLGT-23 television.
Why did they decide to add their name to the Hagfors Center? Vangie shared that with her family ties to Augsburg spanning 85 years, and Norm, as a longtime member of the Board of Regents, “The timing was right. Augsburg’s leadership is strong, the faculty is outstanding, the student enrollment is growing, and the need for the building is clear. Adding our name signals that we stand with Augsburg. We support the CSBR project and the many benefits it will provide faculty, students, and the Augsburg community.”
The Hagfors Center represents Augsburg’s commitment to be faithful to our mission and Lutheran identity, and highly relevant to today’s students. As we become a sought-after campus for leaders of the future, the Hagfors Center will be a home for the College’s extensive and renowned undergraduate research that prepares students for work and graduate studies, and fosters a culture of discovery and transformation.
The interdisciplinary Hagfors Center is designed to foster intersections among areas of study, support active learning, and connect the College to the community. The new building embodies Augsburg’s mission of educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.
Ground will be broken for the new academic building on April 29, 2016, and the building is expected to open in January 2018.
FALL IS IN THE AIR … sunny days and cooler nights. I love how the change of seasons reminds us of what is ahead. It may suggest new opportunities that are waiting for us to respond: things such as taking a class, career options, travel and those pesky “to dos” needing attention in our personal lives. We hear these messages repeated so often, but which ones really make a difference and propel us to action?
Here is one example of a message that prompted thousands to take action that truly makes a difference.
Some of you may know about Lutheran Hour Ministries. They share the gospel message in each native language in 53 countries worldwide. For 30 years, their leader delivered his weekly message. And every time he spoke, he ended with the same message: please remember us in your will.” Today, they receive an average of $8 million in planned gifts each year. That’s a powerful return on a consistent message.
The same is true for some remarkable generosity that recently flowed to Augsburg. One individual, an alumnus, took the step in his estate plans to remember Augsburg. His generosity, through his will, has now flowed to Augsburg and helped us complete the campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion a full year ahead of schedule.
Augsburg’s records show that James Ericksen ’72 received at least one visit from an Augsburg Advancement staff member. Ericksen talked about his experiences as a student, his love for the College, his passion for music, and plans for his estate. Over time, he received many messages from the College about the importance of estate planning, and the relatively simple act of drafting a will.
Ericksen decided to take his love for the College into action. After designating special gifts to various people he cared for, Ericksen left a percentage of his estate to Augsburg. That percentage translated into more than $6 million. What a remarkable gift!
To learn more about including Augsburg in your will or estate, please contact Doug Scott via email or at 612-330-1462.
As a graduate and a current Board of Regents member, one of the reasons I am so passionate about my connection with Augsburg is that my values align with Augsburg’s mission. Think about the mission—”Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers and responsible leaders.” I know that when this great mission, guided by faith and values, is carried out; each student is empowered to make a positive difference. With ALL of us together supporting the mission and values, our world will be a better place.
With the beauty of fall and the opportunities of a new season I am thankful for your connections to Augsburg and pray you will think about and act on how your legacy and values will live on. Each of us will leave a legacy and we have the choice now to put our plan in place.
Augsburg College continues to open doors for students, serving as a new kind of urban university, small to the students and big for the world. As we approach the 150th anniversary in 2019 of Augsburg’s founding, I urge you to consider remembering Augsburg in your plans. Talk about a legacy! Remembering the ones you care about, and Augsburg College, will share your values and make an impact on the world.
Your gift today meets the immediate needs and opens doors to more students. Looking forward, we value your engagement and gifts to help us build endowment and expand learning opportunities for all students.
Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79
Mary Ann Kinney, ’04 MAN and ’11 DNP, found a way to support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) while honoring those who made a difference in her life. She bought 14 bricks for the CSBR, requesting that many of them be inscribed with the names of friends, family members, and Augsburg leaders. She’s especially grateful to nursing faculty Ruth Enestvedt and Sue Nash, who prepared her for academia at the graduate level.
“I bought bricks for those people who made me deeply aware of the needs within the community,” explains Kinney, an orthopedic trauma nurse at the Mayo Clinic St. Mary’s Campus and a long-time advocate for the homeless. “The bricks are hard and fast. They’re not going to shatter; they’re going to be around for a long time.”
Helping Those in Need Around the World
“The homeless do not receive our traditional hospice care,” says Kinney. “They are in and out of shelters or live in homeless camps or behind dumpsters.” That understanding led her to her master’s thesis topic, “Model for Access to Hospice Care for the Homeless,” which proposed a holistic and simplistic model of nursing care at the end of life.
While studying at Augsburg, she participated in immersion trips to Guatemala, Mexico, and England, where she researched access to hospice for the homeless at St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham. In immersions and practica like these, Augsburg nursing students work in settings where they encounter people who are under-served and struggling with poverty, despair, and access to basic health care and supportive services. These experiences help students understand the sociocultural complexities that lead to health and healing.
Kinney’s overseas immersions were neither the first nor the last of her journeys to help others. She has traveled to orphanages in Columbia and served as a delegate to the first Women’s Health Conference in China. In Ireland, she researched Irish wakes and funerals, traveling the countryside on her bicycle. She worked with the Free Romania Society to rescue orphans during wartime and in Marshall University’s rural medicine outreach program in Appalachia. Today she continues to serve the disenfranchised in the Twin Cities, and Rochester, Minn. through her volunteer work. Continue reading “Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference”
Regent Dennis Meyer ’78 remembers many conversations with Jeroy Carlson ’48, staff member in the alumni relations and development office. “Jeroy was never too busy to talk, and had a genuine interest in getting to know each and every student.” said Dennis.
To honor Jeroy and his wife Lorraine (Ainy), Dennis and Bev (Ranum) Meyer ’78 recently increased their pledge to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). Half of their total CSBR gift will go toward the $250,000 needed to name a second-floor gathering space in honor of the Carlsons, the Jeroy and Lorraine Carlson Atrium Lounge. “Jeroy was committed to building a community on campus, so we believe this is the most appropriate way to honor his legacy,” says Bev. Augsburg will also name a faculty office to recognize the Meyers’ generosity.
Jeroy’s Lasting Impact on Augsburg Students
During his 44 year tenure, Jeroy helped countless students get their careers off the ground. “He never hesitated to pick up the phone to make a connection,” explains Dennis. One of Jeroy’s introductions helped Bev make an important professional connection and launch her teaching career. “There were many faculty and staff members at Augsburg who provided career guidance and direction, but Jeroy stands out for us.” says Bev, who taught math at Wayzata High School for several years before becoming an actuary for consulting firms and insurance companies. Dennis is chief marketing and business development officer for the law firm Robins Kaplan LLP.
“I admire the connections Jeroy developed with alumni and his ability to make things happen,” says Dennis, noting that Jeroy raised millions for the college. “When he called and asked for something, people gave because they had great respect for Jeroy, his love of Augsburg, and the people who contributed to its success.” Continue reading “Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion”