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

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