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.

An Extraordinary Bequest

James-EricksenJames E. Ericksen ’72, whose life was marked by his commitment to faith and passion for the arts, passed away in January at age 68, leaving Augsburg an unexpected and extraordinary bequest of more than $5 million.

To honor his legacy, the majority of Ericksen’s gift will be designated to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Part of this gift will honor Ericksen’s faith and be directed to Christ Auditorium, the 80-seat classroom at the heart of the new building. In tribute to his love of music, a renovation to the Sateren Auditorium lobby also will be named for him.

His gift was one of the largest estate gifts in Augsburg’s history.

“We wish so much that we could have thanked him during his lifetime,” said Heather Riddle, vice president of Institutional Advancement. Continue reading “An Extraordinary Bequest”

A Grateful Harvester

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webHarvest is one of my favorite times of the year. Many of you know I have a farm and spend as much time as I can working in my garden. The cycle of planning, seeding, planting, cultivating, weeding, ripening and harvesting keeps me connected to nature and its astonishing cycles.

Each year something I plant exceeds my expectations, and each year something does not grow as I might hope. Last year was not a great year for my beets. This year, it’s been a great year for cabbage, cucumbers, and squash.

More importantly, this year, my expectations have been exceeded by the remarkable harvest for Augsburg and our campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. A full year ahead of schedule, we have pushed past our goal and now are looking to complete the campaign over our original $50 million target. This month we’re talking with a few of you about adding your gift to the campaign so that we will be in an even stronger position as we move forward with final architectural designs and then groundbreaking.

I am gratified with your responses to our call to assure Augsburg this distinctive and exceptional facility—a place where students and faculty will explore the intersections of three major fields of study. Just think of all the creative and innovative work that will flow from these collaborations!

Be sure you take a look at the latest issue of the Augsburg Now magazine; it should have already arrived in your mailbox. The cover illustration shows what the campus will look like once the building is completed—a new gateway to the campus perched right on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. The central spread also gives a glimpse into the way the building fits into the campus map and what it may look like from a classroom perspective. I can’t wait for the ribbon cutting and the day faculty move into the facility.

Thanks to each of you for your gifts and pledges … your investments made for a stronger Augsburg. The true spirit of Augsburg is alive and well. We’re THRIVING!

The confidence each new investment made in this campaign shows in the work of the college as it explores new opportunities. As the Board of Regents accepted the great news of the campaign’s success, the StepUP® board also set it’s sights on a significant goal for increased endowment. Other new projects designed to improve the campus and expand our impact with students have already emerged. We have much still to do and so many exciting avenues to pursue.

Your steadfast encouragement and actions in support of Augsburg’s future deserve our celebration! I’m an optimistic gardener … and also a grateful harvester. We give thanks to God, who gives us all good things!

Let’s keep planting the seeds to grow the greatest Augsburg, true to our purpose, always stretching toward our clear vision.

Thank you!

Mike Good ’71

Driven by Care, Committed to Connections

Drs. Karthik and Amit Ghosh '12 MBA
Drs. Amit ’12 MBA and Karthik Ghosh

When patients come to the Mayo Clinic with a health concern, and no previous doctors have been able to determine a diagnosis, Dr. Amit Ghosh knows where to start. He begins by listening. “I talk a lot,” he says. “But not for the next 10 minutes.” You find out a lot about a patient when you just let them speak about what’s troubling them, he says. As a doctor, Ghosh says that listening is his most important skill.

Whenever Ghosh gets stuck, he doesn’t seek comfort in the two dozen diplomas displayed in his Rochester office. He’s more likely to pull a Business Communication textbook off his bookshelf.

Ghosh, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and a consultant in the division of general internal medicine, received his MBA from Augsburg’s Rochester program in 2012.

He is the director of the International Clinical practice at Mayo and received the Distinguished Mayo Educator award in 2010. Ghosh received his medical training and completed his internship in India, graduating from the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education. He came to the United States in 1993 and completed a fellowship in nephrology and hypertension and a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Ghosh has been with Mayo for 15 years, and says he is lucky to work with amazing colleagues from whom he can learn every day. Of the many accolades on his office walls, Ghosh says he is most proud of the District 6 Toastmaster of the Year award he received last year. The District 6 region has more than 5,000 members in Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. He keeps the plaques on the walls to “validate what I did in the past and also remind me what I need to do in future. I keep them in my room to allow me to stay grounded and treat my patients well,” he says.

The American College of Physicians-Minnesota Chapter presented the 2012 Laureate award to Ghosh at its annual scientific session in Minneapolis. The Laureate Award honors an internal medicine physician and member of the American College of Physicians who has demonstrated an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research.

Witnessing Good Works

Ghosh grew up in India and went to school in Rourkela, a steel city in the state of Orissa. As a student, Mother Theresa visited his school. She challenged each student to return the next day with a cup of rice or a couple potatoes to feed hungry families. Instead, students returned with bags of rice, bags of potatoes, much more than was ever asked. Once each family heard Mother Theresa was asking the students for help, they went over and beyond to give.

toastmaster award
Karthik, Amit, and Divya Ghosh with his Toastmaster award.

“Philanthropy is contagious,” Ghosh says. The lesson stayed with him. “Always serve and ask for help when it can be used to serve others and not yourselves. You will be surprised how many people will step up to help for a good cause if you ask them to help.”

He is happiest, he says, when he is working with people, is challenged, and when he does not know what he is doing. This drive to do more and to serve may have pushed him into both medicine and business.

He considers himself a lifelong learner, excited by his interactions with patients, and inspired by developments at Mayo in his career there.

“Benefactors are so important,” he says, referring to the generosity he has seen influence Mayo’s competitiveness not only nationally, but internationally. More than any new addition or piece of technology, he sees that the environment and the culture of Mayo are defined by the principle of care that every patient receives.

In 2009, Ghosh’s colleague, Augsburg College Regent Dr. Paul Mueller ’84, suggested the MBA program. Ghosh was in a leadership position at Mayo and wanted to be able to be more concrete with the business side of operations. Ghosh now works on the same floor as Mueller and his administrative partner Rachel Pringnitz ’02, ’07 MBA, and they routinely see Auggies all around them as physicians and administrators at Mayo. Continue reading “Driven by Care, Committed to Connections”

Partners in Arms Challenge Alumni to Give What They Can

Wayne '71 and Carol '72 Jorgenson
Wayne ’71 and Carol ’72 Jorgenson

Augsburg Regent Wayne Jorgenson ’71 and Carol (Pederson) Jorgenson ’72 are on the front line of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) campaign. As Alumni Class Challenge chair, Wayne is leading the charge in a light-hearted competition designed to encourage classmates from all years to support the CSBR. He hopes to see well over 1,000 alumni giving to the campaign. “We’re still going strong,” he says, likening the campaign’s momentum to a snowball rolling downhill. “It just gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger.”

Wayne and Carol say they have been blessed in life, and they are happy to do what they can to help. “We paid tuition when we went to Augsburg, but it didn’t cover everything,” explains Wayne. “People ahead of us had given money; we never knew who those people were, but we benefited from them giving something.”

Now, he says, it’s time for alumni to join together to make a difference for future students. “The more we raise now, the sooner we’ll be able to do things like demolish the old science building and re-landscape.” Razing the old science building will open up more green space and create a long quad area anchored by the CSBR. “The campus will be very inviting to current students and those considering attending the school,” he says. “We have hit our campaign goal but the building will cost more than that goal. The more we can raise over that goal means there will be that much less debt that the school will have to take on to fund the difference.” Continue reading “Partners in Arms Challenge Alumni to Give What They Can”

It’s a Great Time to be an Auggie!

Chris Ascher '81Hello Auggies!

I’m excited to report again the great news that Augsburg, our fine alma mater, has succeeded in what it set out to do—secure $50 million from alumni and friends to fund the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and make it the new heart of our campus. How many ways can we say thank you!

You may know I serve as one of the chairs of the Alumni Class Challenge. It’s been my dream to welcome more and more alumni of Augsburg into the growing circle of generous givers. So many of you have agreed to meet the challenge!

You may also know I work for Morgan Stanley, and have relocated from Minnesota to Ohio. Each June, Morgan Stanley celebrates volunteer month, and I was recognized as a volunteer. Coincidentally, Augsburg staff member Amy Alkire visited us in Cleveland for a meeting with Augsburg alumni. Both meetings reinforced my belief that every class that has come out of Augsburg is filled with accomplished, high-quality people who want to help Augsburg take its future to whole new level. And the CSBR is a big part of that future.

One of the meetings I had was with Andrew Johnson, class of 2007. Andrew grew up in Plymouth, Minn., and was promoted within his Minneapolis-based firm, Ameriprise, 18 months ago and moved to Cleveland. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Andrew before and was looking forward to catching up with him. Not only has Andrew supported Augsburg in the past but he offered to meet with any Augsburg alumni in the Cleveland area. He’s willing to see how many more Auggies will join the Class Challenge givers. That attitude is indicative of an Auggie! That is why the CSBR will get built! Continue reading “It’s a Great Time to be an Auggie!”

We Are Stronger Than We Know

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webGreetings friends,

Just a month ago we announced the exciting news that Augsburg had reached—even exceeded—our $50 million goal to build the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion! Thanks to the generosity of nearly 1,000 Auggies and friends we continue to experience the gratifying emotions of a major dream coming true for Augsburg.

I’ve been reflecting on this journey we have been traveling together. As you know, tough economic conditions, doubt and discouragement hampered our early years of this campaign. You may have even heard me share the personal hesitation I felt in my own ability to serve and lead as Chair. Yet during this journey we found encouragement, confidence and renewed trust in God’s word … that all things are possible for those who believe. And believe we did—as individuals and as a community of Augsburg supporters!

One of my favorite Christian musical groups is Casting Crowns. One of their songs, “Let Me Dream for You,” has been very meaningful to me as I reflect on the circumstances that turned this campaign around. The words remind me of the awesome power we experience when we trust, not in our own limited plan, but in the vastness of God’s promise and His dream for us. Continue reading “We Are Stronger Than We Know”

Gift to CSBR is Capstone on a Lifetime of Service

Mert-Strommen-42Mert Strommen ’42 is a household name for the many Augsburg alumni who knew him as youth director of the Lutheran Free Church, Augsburg campus pastor, and professor. A pioneer in youth ministry, a researcher, and a widely published author, Strommen has been loyal to Augsburg College since he was a child and his family included the College in their evening devotions. The Regent Emeritus recently capped off his gifts of time, talent, and resources to Augsburg with a $25,000 contribution for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. A psychology faculty office will be named in recognition of his generosity.

Music, faith, and science

“You should know this: I had only one interest, and that was music,” says Strommen of his teenage years. He recalls listening to the Augsburg choir’s Sunday-evening performance on WCCO Radio’s The Hour Melodious in 1935, when he was age 15. One particularly moving choral work by Russian composer Gretchaninov kept revolving in his mind, making it difficult to sleep that night. He later sang in the Augsburg choir under Henry Opseth and toured with the Augsburg Quartet. With income from choir directing and collections from quartet concerts, he was able to make it through college without debt. He went on to earn a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota, where he studied with some of the leading figures in the field. Bridging religion and science, he soon became one of the first to combine counseling psychology with the spiritual development of youth.

Many alumni and others remember Strommen from summer Bible camps, youth conventions, and Luther League activities. “At the time I got started, youth work as a profession didn’t exist,” he explains. “There were no books, no training programs, no research…. It was very primitive.” He calls the ensuing years a “golden period in the life of the church and youth work.”

Strommen’s path-breaking research into the beliefs, values, lifestyles, and concerns of U.S. Lutherans sparked the founding of the Minneapolis-based Search Institute in 1958. He led the organization for 25 years. Today, Search Institute remains an innovator in listening to young people and promoting positive change with and for them. Continue reading “Gift to CSBR is Capstone on a Lifetime of Service”