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

Raabes Honor Edor Nelson (Again) with Estate Gift to CSBR

Mark and Jean RaabeMark ’53 and Jean Raabe recently committed an estate gift of $250,000 to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) in honor of legendary Augsburg Coach Edor Nelson ’38. This is the second gift the Raabes have made for the project; in 2013, they made a gift of $50,000 for the CSBR, half of which was designated to name a faculty office in Coach Nelson’s honor. Since making that gift, Mark Raabe kept wondering if he’d done enough to honor his former baseball coach. “We wanted to make a gift worthy of this legend and that would be more reflective of our feeling toward him,” he explains.

A larger-than-life role model

When Mark Raabe came to Augsburg from St. James, Minn. in 1949, WWII had ended just four years earlier. Edor Nelson ’38 was a war hero and recent addition to the Augsburg faculty. “He had been a prisoner and escaped; he was larger than life in every way and such a good and decent man,” explains Mark. “He had a profound impact on me.”

In 2001, the Raabes attended a gathering to celebrate the naming of the athletic field in Coach Nelson’s honor. They had visited him only once since graduation, but, as Raabe remembers, “When we were still 20-30 feet away, he looked up and met my eyes, and said, ‘Here comes my second baseman!’ The fact that he would remember, 50 years later, who I was and what position I played for only two years is just amazing. What it says to me is that he cared about his kids. Edor is legendary in that regard.”

Estate planning creates path to greater giving

The Raabes settled in the Washington, D.C., area many years ago and are now retired. They don’t get back to Augsburg often, but they pay attention to what’s happening at the college and how the CSBR campaign is progressing. “We get emails about gifts and updates from Campaign Chair Mike Good,” says Raabe, explaining that the articles about others’ giving helped motivate them to dig deeper. Clearly there was a lot of momentum building for the campaign,” he explains. “That makes you re-evaluate. As you see people give more, you reach down and see if you can give more.” Continue reading

This is Truly Great News

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webGreetings Augsburg alumni and friends,

Today I send you this special edition of Good News because we have truly Great News to share with you.

This morning, the Augsburg Board of Regents gathered on campus, along with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to hear us announce:

We’ve met—indeed, we’ve exceeded— our capital campaign goal to raise $50 million for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion!

You can read President Paul Pribbenow’s message to the entire Augsburg community announcing this marvelous news here

The journey of this campaign began years ago with a big vision for the future of Augsburg College. Along the way we’ve relied on the faith and belief of so many. You’ve heard me say many times “all things are possible for them who BELIEVE!” We have stayed true to our belief and have reached our target!

We set out, unwavering, in our intention to secure the financial support that would assure the completion of this distinctive new facility, creating a place where students and faculty will come together in cross-disciplinary inquiry and prepare to meet the future, inspired and committed to serve their neighbor in a changing world.

With the most recent gifts, our total secured for the campaign now exceeds $50 million. A truly magnificent accomplishment!

Sally celebrating for webThis campaign has become the most broadly supported fundraising effort in the College’s history, with contributions coming from almost 1,000 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the College. This truly has been an all-out Auggie effort!

Along the way we asked God to use his great power to work through us in sharing this compelling Augsburg story with others. We asked Him to open people’s hearts to a special calling to support this transformational campaign with their prayers, support, and financial resources.

John Wooden, famed UCLA basketball coach, has said, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” This is true of all who contributed their time, talent, and treasure to this campaign … it was a great team effort.

I thank you all:
•    Board of RegentsRegents1
•    Alumni
•    Faculty and Staff
•    Students
•    Parents and Friends of the College
•    Campaign Action Team and Development Staff
•    President Pribbenow and Cabinet Members

However, it would be contrary to the very foundation of our belief system for us to simply claim this victory as our own. This week, reading in my Daily Bible, I revisited Psalm 115, whose opening words ring loud and true today as they did in ages past:

“Not to us, oh Lord, not to us. But to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

These words remind us to rejoice in what we have accomplished together … but above all to give God the glory and thanks for the success of this campaign.

Now we have the opportunity to keep it going! Even as we celebrate this remarkable achievement, we invite everyone who cares for Augsburg to add your support to this special campaign. Wouldn’t it be great if every Auggie could say that they helped build this transformational facility?

We have more to do. The costs for construction have risen. Your gifts, added now, will help us meet this challenge. In the tradition of good stewardship, we want to take on as little debt as possible, and your additional gifts will assure as small a debt load as feasible.

We offer many ways to make your gifts: checks, pledges over years, appreciated securities, paid-up insurance policies, estate giving with documented gifts through your will. You can buy a brick and honor someone special to you.

Today my heart is full of gratitude for all that has led us to this great moment … this celebration of the power of belief. Thanks to all who have walked with us. Thanks to all who continue to believe in the spirit that is uniquely Augsburg.

I look forward to the celebrations yet to come, when we break ground, start construction, open the doors, and walk into this beautiful new facility and into an even brighter future for Augsburg!

Mike Good ’71

CSBR National Campaign Chair

An Exciting Announcement from the CSBR Campaign

President Paul C. Pribbenow shared the following message with the Augsburg College community this morning in celebration of an impressive milestone for the history of the College.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

CSBR announcementThis morning, with a contingent of students, faculty, and staff present, Mike Good ’71, national campaign chair for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, announced to the Board of Regents that we have reached the $50 million goal for the CSBR campaign!

Since the campaign passed the $45 million mark in late March, numerous donors have made gifts to the CSBR, building on the generosity of our two $10 million donors and allowing us to raise the final $5 million in a relatively short time. So many people were involved in getting us to this successful milestone that it’s not possible to fully express my gratitude for this amazing effort. I’m grateful for the more than 900 donors—including alumni, staff, faculty, regents, and parents–who have made gifts in support of this project. I’m grateful for the Board of Regents, whose leadership and commitment were the foundation of this campaign. I’m grateful for faculty and staff members whose advocacy energized the campaign, and for the Institutional Advancement team, whose work with our generous donors built the campaign’s momentum. And I’m grateful for Mike Good’s generous leadership as our volunteer campaign chair. Mike’s faith in this effort was matched only by his vision and tireless work in making it a success.

I’m profoundly grateful because the CSBR exemplifies the unique type of education Augsburg offers—where academic work at the intersections of today’s most important ideas and challenges is combined with hands-on learning experiences in labs, across campus, and in the communities we serve. As our signature academic building, the CSBR represents our commitment to be faithful to our mission and Lutheran identity and, at the same time, highly relevant to today’s students, who are a more diverse group of learners than ever before. It is a key element in our Augsburg2019 strategic plan and embodies our vision to be small to our students and big for the world.

With the $50 million campaign fundraising milestone achieved, the Board will vote this afternoon on a resolution to proceed to the next stage of architectural design. This stage involves the selection of an architect to work with our builder, McGough Construction, to develop detailed construction documents. This engineering and design work is needed in order to establish a guaranteed maximum price and a financing model for the project, which will be presented to the Board next year prior to approval of groundbreaking. More information about the Board’s action will be included in the summary from Board Chair, Dr. Paul Mueller ’84, in early May.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate this landmark milestone for Augsburg College! What a terrific addition to our commencement weekend, as we recognize our students’ accomplishments and anticipate the great things they will achieve next.

Yours faithfully,

Paul C. Pribbenow

President

CSBR Campaign: Fundraising at $50 million+

May 1, 2015

Dear Augsburg Community:

This morning, with a contingent of students, faculty, and staff present, Mike Good ’71, national campaign chair for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, announced to the Board of Regents that we have reached the $50 million goal for the CSBR campaign!

Since the campaign passed the $45 million mark in late March, numerous donors have made gifts to the CSBR, building on the generosity of our two $10 million donors and allowing us to raise the final $5 million in a relatively short time. So many people were involved in getting us to this successful milestone that it’s not possible to fully express my gratitude for this amazing effort. I’m grateful for the more than 900 donors–including alumni, staff, faculty, regents, and parents–who have made gifts in support of this project. I’m grateful for the Board of Regents, whose leadership and commitment were the foundation of this campaign. I’m grateful for faculty and staff members whose advocacy energized the campaign, and for the Institutional Advancement team, whose work with our generous donors built the campaign’s momentum. And I’m grateful for Mike Good’s generous leadership as our volunteer campaign chair. Mike’s faith in this effort was matched only by his vision and tireless work in making it a success.

I’m profoundly grateful because the CSBR exemplifies the unique type of education Augsburg offers–where academic work at the intersections of today’s most important ideas and challenges is combined with hands-on learning experiences in labs, across campus, and in the communities we serve. As our signature academic building, the CSBR represents our commitment to be faithful to our mission and Lutheran identity and, at the same time, highly relevant to today’s students, who are a more diverse group of learners than ever before. It is a key element in our Augsburg2019 strategic plan and embodies our vision to be small to our students and big for the world.

With the $50 million campaign fundraising milestone achieved, the Board will vote this afternoon on a resolution to proceed to the next stage of architectural design. This stage involves the selection of an architect to work with our builder, McGough Construction, to develop detailed construction documents. This engineering and design work is needed in order to establish a guaranteed maximum price and a financing model for the project, which will be presented to the Board next year prior to approval of groundbreaking. More information about the Board’s action will be included in the summary from Board Chair, Dr. Paul Mueller ’84, in early May.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate this landmark milestone for Augsburg College! What a terrific addition to our commencement weekend, as we recognize our students’ accomplishments and anticipate the great things they will achieve next.

Yours faithfully,

Paul C. Pribbenow
President