Norm and Vangie Hagfors Make $10 Million Naming Gift to Augsburg for the New Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow with Regent Norm Hagfors at a May 2015 campaign celebration.

In May 2015, Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow, with Regent Norm Hagfors, announced that the campaign for the CSBR reached its $50 million fundraising goal a year ahead of schedule.

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.

Taking Action and Making a Difference

Pam MoksnesFALL 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.

Thank you!

Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79

Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference

Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”

Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”

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.

In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right,

In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right.

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

Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Meyer-Auggie-photoRegent 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

carlsonsDuring 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

Gifts of All Sizes Raise the Bar for the CSBR

Major gifts from members of the classes of 1978, 1972, 1968, and 1966, gifts from other classes, and 66 new donors have added more than $2 million to the campaign since May. Thank you to the 917 alumni donors to the CSBR. It’s not too late to make an impact on this campaign that will close on Dec. 31, 2015.

Largest gift to the CSBR: $10,000,000

Guests attend campaign summits: 824

Number of summits: 15

Consecutive classes contributing to CSBR: 75

Number of bricks sold: 201

Classes over $1 million: 6

Number of alumni CSBR donors: 917

Donors shared their stories: 86

Class challenge volunteers: nearly 200

Class with greatest participation: class of 1972 with 47 donors


Class Challenge wall

The Difference that Augsburg Makes

Early on, Augsburg Regent Matt Entenza was told that college might not be an option, and that he should probably settle for a minimum wage job. Teachers played an instrumental role in letting him know that he should aim higher and could count on their support. Entenza says that Augsburg, in the true words of Luther, reaches out to show all students that they have an opportunity here. His early setbacks make him grateful to see Augsburg’s outreach to first-generation college students, students in recovery, and students of all cultures and abilities. “I think of myself, and I think how important it is that Augsburg is here,” he says.