Earl ’68 and Lis (Jorgensen) ’70 Sethre Find Rewards in Giving to Augsburg and Their Community

Earl and Lis Sethre If you were on campus in the mid-1960s and wanted to know where the good parties were, you could always ask Earl Sethre ’68. Earl worked his way through college at Larson’s Finer Foods, the grocery store at the corner of Riverside and 22nd that was frequented by Auggies. “They would cash their checks from their parents to buy groceries,” he remembers. “One of the benefits of the job was that I got to know everyone on campus.”

Campus has changed a lot since then: Oren Gateway Center is now located on the site of Larson’s, and the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) represents Augsburg’s commitment to the future of experiential education and academic excellence. Now an Augsburg Regent, Earl and his wife Lis (Jorgensen) ’70 recognize the need for Augsburg to stay competitive and offer exceptional educational facilities and opportunities for its students. “Since we both graduated from Augsburg, it’s been an easy decision to support the CSBR,” says Earl. He and Lis also generously support scholarships and have named Augsburg as the beneficiary of their life insurance annuity. “We feel in some ways an obligation, but also a strong desire to give back to a place that was so meaningful in our young lives.” Continue reading

This Work is a Team Effort

Mike Good '71Were you among the hundreds who experienced the abiding promise delivered through Augsburg Vespers?

Talk about a team effort.

This 35th Advent Vespers, celebrated last weekend at Central Lutheran Church in the heart of Minneapolis, required the discipline, dedication and commitment of so many, from four conductors (Douglas Diamond, Nancy Grundahl, Peter Hendrickson ’76, and Mark Sedio ’76) to the many performers, liturgists, hospitality volunteers, and musicians from multiple choirs and orchestra.

Auggies performed another brilliant program designed to remind us of the hope, goodness, and light of the world. It gives each one of us time to consider and appreciate the power of transformative acts, of miracles. Actions that measurably contribute to a better world.

Each month I share with you my abiding passion for encouraging each one of you to see yourselves as part of the continuing transformation of Augsburg. I invite each of you to join us

  • by connecting your past experience of an Augsburg education
  • with your present action on behalf of Augsburg
  • thus activating your dreams for a better future.

I invite you to celebrate your roots in Augsburg and to come home to those roots by making a commitment to Augsburg’s future.

Continue reading

Steve Anderson Sees No Limits for CSBR and Augsburg’s Future

steve and stephanie andersonAsk Steve Anderson how he became so involved with Augsburg, and he’s a little mystified. He knows it started in 2007, when his son Steve Anderson, Jr. ’12 started as a freshman. “I had driven by Augsburg on the highway for years,” he remembers, “but I didn’t really know much about it.” With his son at Augsburg, Steve started to learn more about the College and got to know the leadership and faculty. He liked what he saw, so when the time came he accepted an invitation from Mike Good ’71, to join the Campaign Steering Committee for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “Mike shared his story and his journey, from being an Augsburg wrestler to his career,” remembers Steve of his first meeting with Mike. “I remember his exuberance for the school and his commitment to giving back to the Augsburg community.” Steve and his wife Stephanie soon made their own generous pledge of $100,000 for the CSBR, on top of other gifts to the College. “It has been a lot easier to give money away than it has been to ask people for money,” laughs Steve.

No Boundaries

Steve knows all about how important a positive attitude like Mike’s can be when faced with naysayers. “I was fortunate at an early age to score very poorly on standardized tests,” he remembers. When he was in seventh grade the school guidance counselor called Steve and his parents in to discuss his future. She thought they should realign their expectations of his academic capability. “Early on, that experience instilled in me an attitude that I wasn’t going to let boundaries affect the decisions I made or pathways I took.” He went on to be part of the National Honor Society in high school and, at age 27, founded Anderson Agency, Inc. Today, with $45 million in annual sales, the company represents manufacturers of custom plastics and metal components for medical device and industrial markets.

Meetings of STEM-Minded Faculty and Business People

Since discovering Augsburg in 2007, Steve has spent a lot of time in Augsburg’s science building, bringing clients from medical device companies like Medtronic to talk with faculty about their companies’ STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) workforce needs. “It’s been an interesting journey, watching the business community merge with department heads to talk about [the STEM curriculum] … It’s invigorating when we come together to talk about the same subject,” says Steve. “The more meetings we have, the more I understand the College’s commitment to educational excellence in the STEM disciplines, and the more interested I become in participating on a little bit larger scope.” Continue reading

Matching Gifts Multiply Jacobson-Dewald Family Giving

Rolf JacobsenGenerosity is an important spiritual value for Augsburg Regent Rolf Jacobson, his wife Amy Dewald, and their two children, Ingrid (age 15), and Gunnar (age 10). “We attempt to be generous in the way we live, not just in the way we give,” explains Rolf, who is also a former assistant professor of religion at Augsburg College. “Our family’s value of generosity is part of how we try to respond to God’s calling.”

One way they express their faith and values is by financially supporting the Augsburg Fund and the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).  Amy is operations manager—quality and tech consulting for Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement and Trust—and Wells Fargo matches qualifying employee donations to educational institutions. “Wells Fargo wants to be a good corporate citizen of the Twin Cities, and we are very delighted that they are matching our gift dollar for dollar,” says Rolf.

  Continue reading

Auggie Couple Make $500,000 gift for new Center

Melody and Gary Johnson '74

Melody and Gary Johnson ’74

Gary Johnson ’74 has good reason to be reflective.

The Tampa-based company he has worked for, developed, and now owns has become a global leader. His family is thriving. And he is happily surprised that one of his two sons now works side-by-side with him as he plans the next phase of the company’s leadership.

It’s a great time to remember where it all started—back in Minnesota on the campus of Augsburg College.

Growing up in New Brighton and attending Mounds View High School, he was always active in the Lutheran church. His parents wanted him to attend a Lutheran college. As his father said, “Go to a small school and you will make friends for life.”

He visited Gustavus and Augsburg, and quickly decided that Augsburg felt right to him because of its location in the city and the people he met on his visit.

Drawn in by mathematics, he took classes in accounting and business. Right away he found a group of friends and, by his sophomore year, he was living in one of the campus houses with 11 others.

“We were especially lucky when we drew cards and got into the Beta Kappa house. I made my lifetime friends there. We still get together to travel quite frequently.”

Having met his wife, Melody, in high school, they were married in the summer of his junior year and started making plans together. He found his first job with Advance Machine right after graduation, and four years later joined Unipress as its controller.  An English group bought the manufacturer of laundry and dry cleaning presses in 1978, and Gary worked as their first American employee. In 1982, he helped close up the Minneapolis facility and sell off the property while moving the company to Tampa “to start the company over.”

“We created a new business model for the industry in 1982 and that proved to be solid and successful over time.”

During the next 10 years of hard work and transitions, he became a shareholder of Unipress and, “three leveraged buyouts later, became its owner.” Continue reading

Giving Back is the Best Gift

Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79

Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79

Greetings fellow Auggies!

I am excited to speak with you all through the power of social media on behalf of the college we love.

Serving as a Regent for Augsburg and on the team leading the Class Challenge initiative has given me a chance to come full circle on my Augsburg experience. It gives me the opportunity to give back and invite others to join a great community of generosity that fuels our shared future. Our Class Challenge vision of engaging every alumni class to fund the new signature building, the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) will transform the college and I am thrilled to be a part of it.

Arrival and Discovery

Coming to Augsburg from the small town of Fairmont, MN, my dream was to attend a small Christian college in the city. The differentiator was my campus visit. I just knew that Augsburg was the right place for me to get involved and expand my learning. Although academics were my main focus, I became very involved in campus activities.

I ran cross country and joined the Fellowship of Christian Athletes where I met my husband Mark ’79. Joining student government I eventually became president of my senior class. I worked all four years in the library and found joy staffing the game room on Sunday nights. All the fun boys were there, and it balanced my academic life and work beyond the library.

Listening for Augsburg

But when I think about an early Augsburg experience that has shaped my personal pathway, it was my service as an admissions tour guide. When you walk in the shoes of a person looking to come to college, it can give you greater empathy. I met so many interesting young people exploring their own futures. I learned active listening. Helping them find their way helped me and shaped my path combining my analytical skills with my interest in psychology and counseling.

Today my work is to listen with care and help people with their goals that include giving back through philanthropy. Because I so value my college experience, Mark and I have made our ongoing commitment to the Augsburg Fund and to the campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Continue reading

Believing is Seeing: Jan. 29 CSBR Summit

CSBR-Summit-Web-Header

Leadership Summit Hosted by Alumni Class Leaders

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5:30-8 p.m.

Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

Alumni leadership host this special CSBR campaign event, which will include an opportunity to meet with current faculty, students, and College leadership, followed by dinner, music, and a video presentation on campus.

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

Join us to learn more about this signature building that will transform the Augsburg campus. See the full Summit invitation for more details about this special event.

Table hosts:

*Dan Anderson ’65, Shelby (Gimse) Andress ’56, Chris Ascher ’83, LaVonne (Olson) Batalden ’63, Paul Batalden ’63, Jeroy Carlson ’48, *Karen (Miller) Durant ’81, Rachel (Olson) Engebretson ’98, Darcey Engen ’88, Angela Ensrud ’09, *Matt Entenza, *Mark Eustis, Janet (Lunas) Gjerde ’68, Mark Gjerde ’65, *Alex Gonzalez ’90, *Mike Good ’71, Chris95 Hallin ’88, Don Hoseth ’65, Trish Jesperson ’95, Christina Johnson ’09, *Kinney Johnson ’65, Carol (Pederson) Jorgenson ’72, *Wayne Jorgenson ’71, *Thomas Piper LaBelle ’96, Rob LaFleur ’80, *Steve Larson ’72, Karolynn Lestrud ’68, Pat Marcy ’72, Mark Moksnes ’79, Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79, Nancy (Mackey) Mueller ’85, *Board Chair Paul Mueller ’84, David Murr ’92, Bruce Nelson ’71, Becky (Bjella) Nodland ’79, *Jeffrey Nodland ’77, Norm Okerstrom ’85, Kim (Asleson) Okerstrom ’84, Dale Pederson ’70, Joanne (Varner) Peterson ’52, *Harvey Peterson ’52, President Paul C. Pribbenow, Phil Quanbeck ’50, Nick Rathmann ’03, Nancy (Joubert) Raymond ’63, *Martin Sabo ’59, Greg Schnagl ’91, Molly (Fochtman) Schnagl ’92, Chuck Schulz ’65, Mike Scott ’71, Linda Seime, Richard Seime ’70, *Earl Sethre ’68, Lisbeth (Jorgensen) Sethre ’70, Tracy (Anderson) Severson ’95, Nick Slack ’02, *Mert Strommen ’42, Jeff Swenson ’79, *LaJune Thomas-Lange ’75, Larry Turner ’69, Jill Watson ’10 MBA

*Regent and Regent emeriti

CSBR summit

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