Taking Action and Making a Difference

Pam MoksnesFALL IS IN THE AIR … sunny days and cooler nights. I love how the change of seasons reminds us of what is ahead. It may suggest new opportunities that are waiting for us to respond: things such as taking a class, career options, travel and those pesky “to dos” needing attention in our personal lives. We hear these messages repeated so often, but which ones really make a difference and propel us to action?

Here is one example of a message that prompted thousands to take action that truly makes a difference.

Some of you may know about Lutheran Hour Ministries. They share the gospel message in each native language in 53 countries worldwide. For 30 years, their leader delivered his weekly message. And every time he spoke, he ended with the same message: please remember us in your will.” Today, they receive an average of $8 million in planned gifts each year. That’s a powerful return on a consistent message.

The same is true for some remarkable generosity that recently flowed to Augsburg. One individual, an alumnus, took the step in his estate plans to remember Augsburg. His generosity, through his will, has now flowed to Augsburg and helped us complete the campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion a full year ahead of schedule.

Augsburg’s records show that James Ericksen ’72 received at least one visit from an Augsburg Advancement staff member. Ericksen talked about his experiences as a student, his love for the College, his passion for music, and plans for his estate. Over time, he received many messages from the College about the importance of estate planning, and the relatively simple act of drafting a will.

Ericksen decided to take his love for the College into action. After designating special gifts to various people he cared for, Ericksen left a percentage of his estate to Augsburg. That percentage translated into more than $6 million. What a remarkable gift!

To learn more about including Augsburg in your will or estate, please contact Doug Scott via email or at 612-330-1462.

As a graduate and a current Board of Regents member, one of the reasons I am so passionate about my connection with Augsburg is that my values align with Augsburg’s mission. Think about the mission—”Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers and responsible leaders.” I know that when this great mission, guided by faith and values, is carried out; each student is empowered to make a positive difference. With ALL of us together supporting the mission and values, our world will be a better place.

With the beauty of fall and the opportunities of a new season I am thankful for your connections to Augsburg and pray you will think about and act on how your legacy and values will live on. Each of us will leave a legacy and we have the choice now to put our plan in place.

Augsburg College continues to open doors for students, serving as a new kind of urban university, small to the students and big for the world. As we approach the 150th anniversary in 2019 of Augsburg’s founding, I urge you to consider remembering Augsburg in your plans. Talk about a legacy! Remembering the ones you care about, and Augsburg College, will share your values and make an impact on the world.

Your gift today meets the immediate needs and opens doors to more students. Looking forward, we value your engagement and gifts to help us build endowment and expand learning opportunities for all students.

Thank you!

Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79

Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference

Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”
Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”

Mary Ann Kinney, ’04 MAN and ’11 DNP, found a way to support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) while honoring those who made a difference in her life. She bought 14 bricks for the CSBR, requesting that many of them be inscribed with the names of friends, family members, and Augsburg leaders. She’s especially grateful to nursing faculty Ruth Enestvedt and Sue Nash, who prepared her for academia at the graduate level.

“I bought bricks for those people who made me deeply aware of the needs within the community,” explains Kinney, an orthopedic trauma nurse at the Mayo Clinic St. Mary’s Campus and a long-time advocate for the homeless. “The bricks are hard and fast. They’re not going to shatter; they’re going to be around for a long time.”

Helping Those in Need Around the World

“The homeless do not receive our traditional hospice care,” says Kinney. “They are in and out of shelters or live in homeless camps or behind dumpsters.” That understanding led her to her master’s thesis topic, “Model for Access to Hospice Care for the Homeless,” which proposed a holistic and simplistic model of nursing care at the end of life.

In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right,
In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right.

While studying at Augsburg, she participated in immersion trips to Guatemala, Mexico, and England, where she researched access to hospice for the homeless at St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham. In immersions and practica like these, Augsburg nursing students work in settings where they encounter people who are under-served and struggling with poverty, despair, and access to basic health care and supportive services. These experiences help students understand the sociocultural complexities that lead to health and healing.

Kinney’s overseas immersions were neither the first nor the last of her journeys to help others. She has traveled to orphanages in Columbia and served as a delegate to the first Women’s Health Conference in China. In Ireland, she researched Irish wakes and funerals, traveling the countryside on her bicycle. She worked with the Free Romania Society to rescue orphans during wartime and in Marshall University’s rural medicine outreach program in Appalachia. Today she continues to serve the disenfranchised in the Twin Cities, and Rochester, Minn. through her volunteer work. Continue reading “Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference”

Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Meyer-Auggie-photoRegent Dennis Meyer ’78 remembers many conversations with Jeroy Carlson ’48, staff member in the alumni relations and development office. “Jeroy was never too busy to talk, and had a genuine interest in getting to know each and every student.” said Dennis.

To honor Jeroy and his wife Lorraine (Ainy), Dennis and Bev (Ranum) Meyer ’78 recently increased their pledge to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). Half of their total CSBR gift will go toward the $250,000 needed to name a second-floor gathering space in honor of the Carlsons, the Jeroy and Lorraine Carlson Atrium Lounge. “Jeroy was committed to building a community on campus, so we believe this is the most appropriate way to honor his legacy,” says Bev.  Augsburg will also name a faculty office to recognize the Meyers’ generosity.

Jeroy’s Lasting Impact on Augsburg Students

carlsonsDuring his 44 year tenure, Jeroy helped countless students get their careers off the ground. “He never hesitated to pick up the phone to make a connection,” explains Dennis. One of Jeroy’s introductions helped Bev make an important professional connection and launch her teaching career. “There were many faculty and staff members at Augsburg who provided career guidance and direction, but Jeroy stands out for us.” says Bev, who taught math at Wayzata High School for several years before becoming an actuary for consulting firms and insurance companies. Dennis is chief marketing and business development officer for the law firm Robins Kaplan LLP.

“I admire the connections Jeroy developed with alumni and his ability to make things happen,” says Dennis, noting that Jeroy raised millions for the college. “When he called and asked for something, people gave because they had great respect for Jeroy, his love of Augsburg, and the people who contributed to its success.” Continue reading “Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion”

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

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!”

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”