Save the Date: Jan. 29 CSBR Summit

CSBR summit

Leadership Summit Hosted by Alumni Class Leaders

Alumni leadership will host a special CSBR campaign event on Thursday, January 29, 2015, which will include an opportunity to meet with current faculty, students, and College leadership, plus a tour of science labs and a Q & A session, followed by dinner and a video presentation on campus.

If you would like to attend, RSVP to Sonja Casperson at casperso@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1171.

We are all in this great work together

Mike Good '71Earlier this beautiful autumn, I was fortunate to gather on campus with many of my fellow Auggies and celebrate the spirit of Augsburg. Fellow distinguished alumni award recipients and I stood with several others to be recognized for leadership and alumni service at the 2014 Homecoming Convocation.

Listening to the eloquent citations offered, I heard a prevailing theme. Augsburg creates a community in which people are transformed through a call of faithfulness and relevance onward toward vocation and generosity.

I met First Decade award recipient Victor Acosta ’04 whose achievements in physics and his career working for Google would impress even the most prolific among us. He quipped to us, “How is it that a Puerto Rican Jew from New York found acceptance and purpose at a Lutheran college like Augsburg?” Victor shared that his time at Augsburg included finding a safe haven in the StepUP® program. It helped him find lasting sobriety and substantive encouragement to be himself. It also led him to move from a major in religion toward the study of physics. Scientific learning opened the door to explore the very meaning of the universe and more ways to be in service to others. He described his time at Augsburg as some of “the most vulnerable and challenging of my life” and they catapulted him toward his remarkable achievements including six patents and a host of published writings. His humble acknowledgement of his classmates with substantive achievements speaks to another Auggie value: we are all in this great work together! Continue reading

Auggie + Scientist = Unified Support for CSBR

Mary Quanbeck Barber ’77 and Loren BarberIt’s no surprise that Mary Quanbeck Barber ’77 is committed to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion capital campaign. She is one of about 80 Quanbecks with strong Auggie ties, including her father, Rev. Dr. Philip Quanbeck, Sr. ’50, a much-decorated faculty member who retired in 1993. Her brother, Philip Quanbeck II, has served on the religion faculty since 1987. What’s perhaps more surprising is that someone with no previous Augsburg ties at all matches her CSBR passion: her husband, Loren Barber.

“I believe very strongly in scientific literacy in the public domain,” says Barber, a retired 3M chemist and researcher. “We have literacy in many areas of education—obviously we all think about being able to write and communicate effectively—but scientific literacy should be an equally high priority. Every student leaving Augsburg should be able to understand the science-related issues that affect everyday life, be they health care, the environment, or other similar subjects.” Continue reading

Giving Back to the College that Changed his Life

Larry & Sue Turner“When I think about what Augsburg has done for me, I know I can afford to make a gift,” says Larry Turner ’69, who made a gift of appreciated stock for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “I see a real need and it’s extremely important to support that,” explains Larry. He says it pains him to see how hard Augsburg has to work to raise money for such an important project. “I strongly encourage all alumni to make a gift to the CSBR,” says Larry.

Lessons Learned at Augsburg

Larry is quick to say that Augsburg changed his life. Growing up on a farm near West Concord, Minn., he was unsure what he could accomplish in life. “No one expected me to go to college,” he remembers. But Larry had become familiar with Augsburg through family and friends, and decided to give it a shot. He planned to major in math and physics, but eventually turned to accounting and economics.

Larry had to learn some hard lessons at Augsburg before he found success. Unprepared for college-level academic rigor, he nearly failed out. But instead of showing him the door, Augsburg put him on probation and gave him one more semester to pull it all together, because the faculty believed he could do it. “In order to achieve, you have to believe you can achieve, and then work like heck,” explains Larry.

Hard Work Pays Off

And work he did. He mastered new study skills and concentrated on academics. Most importantly, he buckled down. He gave up wrestling to focus on his studies, but was able to return to it in his final year. He remembers well the feeling of accomplishment. “I had a final coming up and I studied all weekend,” he remembers. “I got an ‘A.’ I didn’t even know I could get an ‘A’ … it blew me away.” Continue reading

Pam ’79 and Mark ’79 Moksnes Huddle Up for CSBR

Pam (Hanson) and Mark MoksnesAugsburg Regent Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79 remembers planting seedlings in Murphy Square with her six Auggie housemates more than 35 years ago. Today the trees’ roots run deep into the earth and their branches reach for the sky—not unlike Pam and her husband Mark ’79, who say their time at Augsburg empowered them to reach for their goals. “Augsburg prepared us to be courageous and do whatever’s next,” explains Pam. She and Mark are among Augsburg’s most loyal alumni leaders, as well as generous benefactors to initiatives such as the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). The Chanhassen couple counts 34 years of marriage, three children (including Auggie, Laura ’06), and three grandchildren. “God has blessed our lives together, our family, and our careers,” says Pam. “We have more than enough to care for our family and give back.” Continue reading

Faculty Committed to the Cause

Wayne Jorgenson '71Warm greetings to my fellow Auggies!

I decided for this month’s message to share some insights from key faculty members who have been working side-by-side with the campaign action team to secure our ambitious goal of $50 million for a new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Their perspective gives us a window into the depth of teaching and research that is characteristic of an Augsburg education.

As biology professor Dale Pederson ’70 once shared at a gathering of faculty and alumni—the College has recognized it could not wait for the new Center to act on strengthening the three programs that will live in the new building.

All about connecting

As physics faculty member Mark Engebretson is quick to tell us, connecting science, business, and religion at Augsburg is an ongoing enterprise, and it is a very Lutheran thing to do.

“The earliest Lutheran leaders had no intellectual boundaries—science and theology were complementary areas of study, not competing ones. Today, our departments incorporate the three themes developed by the World Council of Churches in the 1980s to guide Christians worldwide in their actions in the world. Students are asked to create a society that is sustainable, just, and participatory.  Science and technology, economic, social, and political organization, and religious faith are all important components of such a society; all these components must fit together well in order to enhance or even sustain the quality of human life.”

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Alumnus Hopes to Inspire Young Science-Minds Through CSBR Gifts

devries_jon_opt

Photo courtesy of General Mills/Medallion Labs.

It was the summer of 1963 when Augsburg accepted two curious high school boys into its summer National Science Foundation course for high school students. The course sparked a deep interest in chemistry for Jon DeVries ’68 and his friend, Covey Hendrickson, who had polio.

That spark influenced the two tight-knit friends to enroll together at Augsburg to study chemistry.

Covey lost his battle with the after-effects of polio while the two were attending Augsburg, but DeVries’ love for chemistry lived on.

DeVries went on to earn a doctorate degree in organic chemistry from the University of Minnesota, and then spent the majority of his career as a scientist at General Mills, specializing in food safety and nutrition analysis.

“Augsburg provided me a very good baseline—very solid in math, science, and chemistry—which was great for launching a career in chemistry,” DeVries said.

DeVries and his wife, Sharon, hope to inspire other science-minded youth to become well-rounded contributors to society, whether it be in industry, government or academia, utilizing Augsburg-acquired scientific skills and other essential life competencies. They are acting on this hope by giving $50,000 for two faculty offices in Augsburg’s planned Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

“I think every person’s career should have a balance between societal responsibility, good business sense, and scientific knowledge—it’s important,” said DeVries, who looks forward to the CSBR being a place where students develop this balance.

“Contributing to the CSBR is an important effort,” DeVries said. “Building the CSBR is a necessary step for Augsburg to take, to stay current and be competitive in what’s a fiercely competitive environment for colleges.”

The couple also contributed $10,000 to help fund the CSBR’s Quantitative Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, which will be named to recognize Jon’s long-time colleague and mentor, Dr. Arlin Gyberg, Augsburg chemistry professor emeritus.

When reflecting on that influential summer on Augsburg’s campus in 1963, Jon can’t help but feel honored to have launched his career that now permits him and Sharon to contribute to the science legacy that will live on through the students who study in the CSBR.

Never Mind the Impossible

Mike-Good-headshotMy role as Campaign Chair to build a new Center for Science, Business, and Religion at the heart of Augsburg’s campus allows me to meet and spend time with so many terrific people.

Recently, I shared time with a Minnesota corporate leader, a man of great faith. He is not an Augsburg alumnus, but his company and personal values directly connect to the goals of the CSBR.

He introduced me to a CD, “God of the Impossible,” by Dr. David Gibbs, Jr.

It is a re-telling of back-to-back stories of Jesus performing two miracles in Matthew 14: the feeding of the 5,000; and Peter’s walking on water to join the disciples as they cross a turbulent Sea of Galilee. Jesus teaches the disciples that all things are possible through Him … a lesson that continued to be difficult for them (and us) to fully comprehend.

Gibbs begins by sharing that great things are done by many without belief in God.

However, he adds, God calls believers to do the Impossible through Him…even when the conditions don’t seem conducive (like having only 5 loaves and two fish to feed a multitude, or walking on water in a raging, tumultuous sea).

Gibbs confesses that most of his life he has prayed for God to change the conditions, the obstacles that are getting in the way of what he has been trying to accomplish.

The four key points in this moving CD are:

1)    Ask God specifically for something Impossible.

2)    Get your eyes off the conditions.

3)    Forget Plan B.

4)    You have to get out of the boat if you want to be a “water walker.”

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Business Manager, Coordinator, or Coach—The Whole Team Cheers for the CSBR

Melodie Lane in stadiumMelodie Lane joined the Augsburg staff less than five years ago, but her team spirit makes it seem as if she’s been here much longer. She is both a generous donor to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion and a CSBR campaign cheerleader through and through.

“There are times when I’m the face of Augsburg in the athletics office. But then, we’re all the face of Augsburg,” says Lane, who serves as athletics business manager/program coordinator, is a current Master of Arts in Leadership student, and also coordinates the A-Club.

Her journey here covered several of her many interests. She taught elementary school, managed theater productions, became a real estate appraiser, and ran an appraisal business in Texas before following her brother-in-law, then an assistant football coach, and sister, who previously worked in the athletics department, to the inner-city campus.

“I think Jeff [Swenson ’79, Athletic Director] knew we had a good work ethic in our family when he called, and I was looking for a change,” says Lane, who began as an over-qualified administrative assistant but happily pursues new responsibilities. “The reason why I’m still here is not so much the job I do—everyone wants to do meaningful work, and sometimes secretarial things just need to be done. It’s something about all the people here, the mission of the college, and the mission of the athletic department that makes you feel you’re part of the team. And that makes you want to stay.”

Lane didn’t hesitate when Swenson challenged his department to give the CSBR their full support. “I would say we mirror his passion and his commitment to the college being the best it can be. I believe the CSBR is the next big step for our entire campus,” she says. “I’m not a science or a business major, so it doesn’t connect for me in that way. It’s more about the college as a whole and what we can accomplish together as servant-leaders in the world.”

Lane is now an official Auggie, having finished her master’s degree in leadership in May. She is excited about collaborating with Athletic Department Chaplain Mike Matson ’07 on an authentic leadership project. She also manages to pursue her photography, gift, and card business in her spare time.

“I keep doing things I love. That’s just who I am,” she says. “I feel like I’ve been blessed in so many ways, over and over—not just my job, but my master’s degree, the people I work with, the entire Auggie family. So I want to give back, to carry this forward so that those who follow and want a great education can have it.”

Lane is convinced that the CSBR will attract more students. “I really do believe Augsburg is a diamond in the rough. We’re the middle-of-the-city school, probably the most diverse in the metro area. But we keep surprising people, and we don’t settle for mediocrity.”

She cites last year’s new field turf and this year’s “amazing scoreboard,” dedicated to the late Edor Nelson, as examples of striving for excellence. “The CSBR campaign brings us closer and closer to that every day,” she adds. “We are not a school that has large endowments. We work hard for our success, and when things turn out, we’re proud of it. We really are determined to be the best we can be.”