Do you stop and wonder sometimes, how is it we make the choices that turn us in life-changing directions? Decisions like where to go to college, whether and with whom to create a family, and what vocation to embrace.
As an active and engaged alumna of Augsburg, I marvel at how this small campus shifted me in almost every way. It’s why I am committed to its future strength.
As some of you know, I grew up on the prairie of North Dakota. My congregation in Minot was of the Lutheran Free Church tradition, with strong ties to Augsburg. In eighth grade I heard the Augsburg Choral Club, and I decided right then that Augsburg was where I wanted to go to college.
While a student, I traveled to post-war Europe. That’s when I met my husband, Jim ’51, on board ship. Jim was part of the flood of soldiers who had returned from World War II on the GI bill, and were being welcomed at Augsburg. That was a time of both relief and optimism. With Jim by my side in Europe’s war-torn countries, I had my eyes opened to people living in refugee camps. I saw children of war.
We witnessed how geography and conditions can make life unbelievably hard. We felt all the more gratitude for our own circumstances.
Augsburg instilled in us a commitment to find and act on what we can do to help others. Jim became an educator, we raised our family, and I worked for a youth development research organization.
Today, I see Augsburg as a place that acts on its foundational commitments—a place that models resilience, and turns toward growth.
I write you now because I have joined Chris Ascher and Wayne Jorgenson in helping lead the Class Challenge effort to secure gifts of $1 million from each Augsburg class in support of the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).
My family and I decided to do two things: to endow a scholarship and to dedicate a room in the CSBR. In making these gifts, we stretched ourselves to do more than we at first thought possible. And, now that we have made these commitments, we find great joy in acting on our belief in this wonderful college.
I see this new center as a highly innovative educational opportunity—a center for interconnected learning, for the formation of lifelong relationships and transformative discoveries. The integration of learning around science, business, and religion is crucial to effective global citizenship. Beyond their life’s work, more students will find their purpose and guiding-life direction. By making these investments, I can help Augsburg keep its roots strong.
As you read the stories shared in this issue of the Class Challenge news, you will learn about others who have made similar investments in Augsburg’s great future. Please join us by making your commitment to the CSBR through the Class Challenge. I look forward to the day we can spread the good news of your gift, too.
Shelby Andress ’56