The last month has seen substantial gains for many classes as fundraising for the CSBR accelerated into its final phase. Major gains were seen from an estate gift from the class of 1972. Great leaps were taken by the classes of 1976, 1970, and 1968, and the class of 2004 joined the board in a big way with more than $50,000 contributed.
It’s a busy time of year on the Augsburg campus. Performances, competitions, final presentations, preparations for graduation.
Just the other day I attended a favorite such celebration: the annual scholarship and donor recognition brunch. You may know, my family endowed a scholarship fund to honor my late husband, Jim ’51.
This year I joined the table with Congressman Martin Sabo ’59 and a Sabo scholar, Taylor Kuramoto ’15. She grew up in Rochester, Minn., and her freshman year attended a college she knew from summer swimming camps. However, she discovered that she really wanted more diversity in her academic experience, believing she would be better prepared professionally to enter a global workforce.
She decided to transfer to Augsburg, where she became a math major and joined the soccer team that went to nationals this past autumn. Last year, Taylor spent the summer in Tennessee as part of the NIMBIOS program: The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis. She was one of only18 undergraduates from across the country chosen for this fully funded 8-week research program.
Her sights are set on doing statistical analysis for government in areas of public policy. Upon graduation she will pursue a graduate degree in statistics, epidemiology, or public health. All I can say is, “WOW!”
Like her peers, Taylor already has a grasp of world issues that matter. She, and so many others like her, are headed out to serve in ways that are complex and challenging. It’s where they want to be. And I’m so impressed.
At the same event, our president Paul Pribbenow remarked, “In the news we read everywhere about students who are not ‘college ready.’ Augsburg sees it differently. We believe a college needs to be student ready.” Continue reading
In 1960, the 50-member Augsburg Concert Band, led by Director Mayo Savold, went on a six-week, 10,000-mile tour of Canada and Alaska that culminated at the Alaska Music Festival. The intrepid musicians traveled by bus, plane, and ship, and even made a vinyl record that was marketed nationally by Schmitt Music Company. Percussionist Joyce (Gustafson) Hauge ’63 celebrated her 20th birthday on the trip. Fifty-five years later, she remains friends with her former band mates, and she and her husband Earl are loyal Augsburg donors. Their gifts have supported the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, scholarships, and more. “It’s wonderful to give back to a college that has given me so much,” says Hauge, referring to the lifelong friends and career preparation she gained at Augsburg. “We’re happy that we are able to do it.”
A Close Community
Hauge grew up near Hanley Falls in southwestern Minnesota. With a high school graduating class of 12, she was attracted to Augsburg’s small size, its Christian foundation, and the fact that it was in Minneapolis, where there would be more career opportunities in her chosen field of elementary education “The city was a real calling card with me,” she explains.
Hauge had known she wanted to be a teacher since the first grade. “In the summer we would spend hours on our porch playing ‘school,’ whether my sisters wanted to or not,” she laughs. At Augsburg she became part of the first graduating class in elementary education. “Martha Mattson started the program at Augsburg while I was there, and she did a wonderful job preparing us to start our careers.” Hauge went on to spend the majority of her 28-year teaching career educating first graders, mostly in Glenwood, Minn., where she and husband Earl still live. “I love working with children,” she says.
Making Friends and Music
“You kind of felt you were family at Augsburg. It was a really good feeling, coming from a small community where you knew everybody.” Hauge says she has wonderful memories of going to games, performing in the band, and singing in the Cantorians women’s group. “Music was a big part of my college life.” She worked as a switchboard operator and senior counselor in the girls’ dormitory, a secretary to Mayo Savold, and a cashier in the dining hall. “Everyone has to eat, and I saw all the kids going in and out of the dining hall,” she remembers fondly. After graduation she worked in the office of Gerda Mortensen, dean of women, before starting her first teaching job. Hauge married Earl in 1963, and they have lived in Glenwood for the past 40 years. Continue reading
“One of the most exciting things about being an educator is seeing former students come back,” says Rebekah Dupont, Augsburg professor of mathematics, director of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs, and a donor to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). She’s looking forward to welcoming alumni and other volunteers to the CSBR and thrilled that Augsburg will have a STEM learning environment that reflects the excellence of its students and faculty. “The CSBR is exciting on a lot of levels,” she says. “I can’t wait!”
Welcoming STEM Alumni Back to Augsburg
In the 20 years since Dupont joined the Augsburg faculty, she’s seen a lot of students come and go – and come back again. “It’s engrained in Augsburg alumni to give back,” Dupont says. Alumni help prepare students for high-paying, meaningful STEM careers by mentoring students, visiting classes, and arranging for site visits, research opportunities, and internships. “I’m passionate about being able to watch the journey of alumni and work with them collaboratively,” Dupont says. By helping students, alumni also help educate greater numbers of qualified STEM graduates to meet workforce demand and diversify the workforce. Part of faculty, staff, and alumni’s shared work is to ensure that first-generation college students and others master both the technical skills and the “soft skills” they will need to excel in the workplace. “If we can support these students, we’re benefiting them, their kids, their parents, and their families.”
CSBR Will Open Doors to STEM Careers
The design of the CSBR will facilitate both formal and informal interaction between students, alumni, and faculty in different fields. “This interaction will feed their careers,” says Dupont, who helps students discover career paths they may not have considered. “Jobs in STEM sectors are the highest paying and have the highest job satisfaction and security rates of any sector,” she explains. Increasingly, she says, scientists with advanced degrees are going to work for corporations, rather than colleges and universities, so interaction with business students and faculty in the CSBR will be valuable to students as they discern their vocations. As an example, Dupont points to significant growth in the need for highly analytical graduates who have the ability to work with “big data,” the unprecedented volume, velocity, and variety of information available to businesses today. “A STEM degree in a larger liberal arts context helps them understand the implications, ethics, and creativity of their work,” Dupont says.
Honoring Faculty, Students and Alumni with CSBR Gift
Dupont recalls a recent conversation with a 1965 alumni couple who shared how Augsburg faculty challenged them to do their best, but also supported them and gave them the confidence to succeed in their careers in mathematics. She loves to hear stories like theirs. “Our faculty give their all to their students,” she says. “And they’re resilient and resourceful! When you look at the level of work being done, the amazing amount of undergraduate research, and the limited resources and facilities the faculty have, it’s very impressive.” In a way, she says, her financial support of the CSBR is in honor of Augsburg faculty. “This facility will allow them to take their students to even higher levels.”
“Anytime that Augsburg does something spectacular, it’s time to celebrate,” says Augsburg Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79. Whether it’s making the dream of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) come true or winning the 2015 NCAA Divison III National Championship in Wrestling, it’s all good for Augsburg. “There’s a lesson to be learned for all of us,” Swenson says of the wrestlers’ victory. “You’re never out of it. You never give up. Many people had counted the team out, but the team never counted itself out. They believed anything was possible.” Swenson also supports another one-time underdog, the CSBR, as a donor and fundraiser. Like campaign leadership, fellow alumni and benefactors, he believes in the CSBR.
First Impressions Matter
“I took classes in our current science building in 1975, and it was old then,” Swenson says, pointing out the simple truth that Augsburg doesn’t have enough labs and science classrooms to meet students’ needs. He admits that coaches hoping to recruit student athletes often skip the science building on tours for fear that it will make a bad first impression. If facilities are inadequate, some students assume that the institution doesn’t care about a particular academic discipline or activity. That couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of science at Augsburg. “There’s some incredible work that goes on in that science building,” he says.
40 Years of “School”
Swenson says he’s gone back to school—not work—at Augsburg every fall since 1975. He keeps learning how to make the student-athlete experience a little bit better every day. “That’s what fuels me,” he says. “It might have to do with providing them with more coaches, or better-lit facilities, or more locker rooms. Whatever the project is, we always want to be moving forward.”
His job is about much more than athletics, though; it’s about Augsburg’s mission. “At Augsburg, we’re preparing our students to be future leaders. Once you’ve been a student athlete and you’ve managed classes, studying, practices, and competitions, then everything else is easy.” Continue reading
Leola “Lee” (Dyrud) Furman ’61 remembers her very first day of school well: “My mother announced that I had many years of schooling ahead of me: grade school, high school, and then Augsburg College!” Furman not only attended Augsburg, she became one of its most loyal benefactors and volunteers, a Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient, an adjunct faculty member, and one of the first to make a financial commitment to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Called to Social Work
Growing up on a farm in Thief River Falls, Minn., surrounded by her Norwegian family, Furman didn’t think much about urban poverty and blight. At age 12, however, she attended Bible camp and heard Augsburg professor Mert Strommen ’42 talk about the great need for social workers. “I felt the call to service at this early age, and I knew that Augsburg would prepare me for this calling.”
At Augsburg, President Bernard Christensen reminded students often that, “Unto whom much has been given, much is expected,” and sociology professor Joel Torstenson opened her eyes to issues of poverty and race relations. Both men challenged students to become involved in social justice issues, regardless of their career paths.
Furman took her calling seriously, but playing the cymbals in band provided some opportunities for fun. “One summer we traveled up the Alcon Highway, playing concerts all the way through Canada, through the Yukon Territory, and up to Alaska to celebrate their statehood,” Furman remembers.
After Augsburg, Furman went on to earn a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Chicago and a PhD from the Fielding Graduate University. By the time she completed her doctorate she was living in Grand Forks, North Dakota, with husband Philip Furman, raising two boys, and teaching in the social work department at the University of North Dakota (UND). Continue reading
Wow! Look at the advancement we have made on this campaign! We have now raised more money than we’ve ever raised before for a single capital project. I believe 2015 will mark the year that we reach our financial goal for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and that soon after we will put the shovel in the ground and start construction of the largest building project in Augsburg’s almost 150 year history.
To reach our goal we need each one of us to say, “I care. Here is a gift from me to the students of today who I may never have the opportunity to meet or know. Much like those who gave money to help me and others like me get an education, I want to give my gift now to recognize their generosity by paying it forward and helping Augsburg’s students of the future. By giving now I’m saying thank you to those who came before me; people whose contributions and investments made a difference. Their contributions paid for the Oren Gateway Center, Kennedy Center, Foss Center, and all the other buildings I benefited from; and yet, we never met them.”
As chairman of the Alumni Class Challenge, one of my goals is to encourage every alum to participate in this special campaign. Today we can offer you a new and great way to add your YES to this effort.
Have you heard about the Buy A Brick campaign? You can recognize someone you admire, a family member, a favorite faculty member, whomever you wish, when you make a contribution through this link.
As more and more classmates share their gifts, each is counted as one participant. It’s wonderful to see the dollar amounts rise for each class as the donations come in and it’s exhilarating to see how many alumni are saying, “Here’s my gift because I’m proud of being an Auggie and I want to see this college continue to do well.” Continue reading
Like many adult undergraduate students, Nic Parsons ’15 had a lot of living under his belt before he enrolled at Augsburg. “Sometimes people just have to live and learn,” explains Parsons, now 38 and nearing completion of his bachelor’s degree. Augsburg has made a difference in Parsons’ life, so when he received an inheritance from his grandfather he decided to use a portion of it to support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR), even while he was still a student. A faculty office in the new building will be named in recognition of his generosity. “I felt like giving,” remembers Parsons, “so I called the office of Institutional Advancement and asked about opportunities.” Parsons made his gift early in the CSBR campaign, even before momentum for the campaign had swung into full gear.
Finding his own path
Parsons spent many of his early school years in North Branch, Minn., and graduated from high school in St. Paul, Minn. He earned a pre-apprentice electrician diploma from Job Corps, and in 2008, he completed management and marketing management certificates at Minnesota State College and University (MNSCU) system’s Normandale Community College. In 2011, he received an associate of science degree in management from MNSCU’s St. Paul College.
When it came time to choose where he would complete his bachelor’s degree, he thought about a public college, but chose Augsburg in the end. “The Lutherans got to me,” he says with a laugh. He kept his full-time position at 3M for a while after starting at Augsburg, but eventually became a full-time student. “I decided it was time to focus on me,” says the management major. Continue reading
As a pastor for 54 years, Neal Snider ’57 saw how money can bring joy if it’s shared. Finding joy in giving to an institution that shares their values is one of the reasons why Neal and his wife Judy support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion with current and planned gifts.
He has witnessed how accumulating wealth can become an addiction, as real as alcoholism or any other. “Money is a dangerous thing,” explains Neal. “If it’s used only for oneself, it’s not a blessing, it’s a curse … few people can handle it properly.” “But then,” says Neal, “the question is, ‘why give for a building that in 60 years may be obsolete and torn down?’… The only justification for a Christian to give to the building is that it’s a gamble that the professors will motivate the students to leave Augsburg and be servants in the world and not aggrandize themselves. Then it pays off.” He can’t be sure the bet will pay off, but he’s hopeful. “I have confidence in the leadership … I was very impressed with the leadership of Bill Frame, and from what I can see, Paul Pribbenow is of the same mold.”
Formative Years at Augsburg
“I got an education and I met my wife Judy ’61 at Augsburg, and the College was formative for my entire life.” He remembers professors who cared about students, invited them to their homes, and supported the maturation of their faith. College professors Carl Chrislock (History), Mario Calacci (Humanities, Greek, and Latin), John Stensvaag (Religion), and Paul Sonnack (Religion) were especially important to Neal. He remembers time with friends at Smiley’s Point soda fountain and playing ping pong for hours in the basement of Gerda Mortensen Hall. “I was a really good ping pong player,” laughs Neal. “One of the best, but not the best. Jim Norman was the best.”
A Debt of Gratitude
“My father was a janitor [in Pembina, North Dakota], and wasn’t able to provide a lot of support,” says Neal. So in his freshman year Neal kept track of everything he spent. “If I put a nickel in a parking meter or bought a pack of gum, I wrote it down,” he remembers. “I got a full-tuition scholarship for the second semester, which was $80.” All told, he spent $1,001.58 that first year. “It didn’t come easily, but I was given an opportunity at Augsburg, and I got out of there without any debts,” says Neal, who worked and lived at Enger Funeral Home from his sophomore year through his first year in seminary. Continue reading