Activating Our Engagement

Shelby Andress '56I often ask myself when I volunteer for Augsburg: what helps someone decide to take the leap and actively engage as an Auggie? What turns someone from interested to active and committed?

When my husband Jim ’51 returned from World War II, he planned to continue his education in pre-med. However, when he “mustered out,” Veterans Affairs discovered he had come home with tuberculosis. After three years in a sanatorium, he was considered well. Still, he learned that medical school would not accept him. Fortunately, a VA counselor suggested he look into becoming a science teacher, and referred him to Augsburg. Here he found his passion and pathway to lifelong service—his own way for making a brighter future for others as a teacher and administrator.

When Jim died in 1996, we received many generous memorial gifts in his honor. I was pleased to receive guidance from our pastor to collect them all and create an endowed scholarship to honor Jim. It made perfect sense to me!

Today that endowed fund has grown more robust. Now I can provide a more generous scholarship to our deserving students. I so enjoy learning about the students who receive support for their Augsburg education.

Sometimes we need someone else to show us the pathway and help us know how to activate our generosity and engagement. That pastor helped expand one aspect of my commitment to this great College.

Another wonderful example is found in the spirit of Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE).

What I love about AWE is that we are women of all ages coming together to connect, learn from one another, and give generously. Cumulative gifts of AWE have exceed our initial fundraising goal of $100,000, and include naming a student study lounge in the future Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

I don’t have the means to do big gifts. But I also know that active engagement and giving go together. I found ways to increase the level of my giving by using estate planning tools. I could not have imagined just how large a gift I can make because of this planning, and I am so satisfied to share with my family this decision to make a stretch gift in this way.

My passion in life is to facilitate the work of leaders, and I especially like to do that by continuing to meet and learn from the amazing students I meet on campus. I know, too, how essential it is to their future and ours to put my money to work to invest in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, where the faculty, passionately dedicated to the vision and mission of our college will foster great leaders for tomorrow.

Please join me and take a leap to engage with Augsburg. Come back to Homecoming—there are so many opportunities to connect—attend a reunion, and be sure to give. For I believe that it is in giving we expand the circle that is a great Augsburg tradition. Read on to learn more stories of generosity for the Class Challenge effort.

Shelby Andress ’56

I Choose Augsburg

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 final Shelby Andress 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

Putting One Foot in Front of Another

Wayne Jorgenson '71I have shared before the story about a movie I’ve found to be so in touch with our situation at Augsburg and our decision to build an academic building like we’ve never done before. The movie was called, The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill But Came Down a Mountain. Sometimes the best way to climb up something really tall is simply by putting one foot in front of another. Setting out to raise an average of $1 million from 50 of our Augsburg classes in support of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion qualifies as such a tall order. What’s great about taking each step forward is that by doing it together, we are much more likely to arrive at the top safe, sound and successful!

Last month 200 alumni leaders gathered for another of our Leadership Summits. Each person was eager to share experiences from their days at Augsburg and excited to define the way they want to show their support for both the Center and this class challenge effort (check out the latest update on our results in the chart).

Our Summit events provide guests an opportunity to visit the existing science facilities, meet remarkable student leaders, especially those involved in student research, as well as other alumni, faculty and friends who want to see this new Center built. To those who can attend future summits, we invite you to do so. For many living in other parts of the country, this is not possible. For them and everyone, we share thoughts and notes in these campaign updates.

On this particular evening last month, biologist and faculty leader Dale Pederson ’70 decided, rather spontaneously, to invite anyone among the assembled guests to speak to their reasons for supporting the CSBR and Augsburg. As he put it, “in the Lutheran tradition of altar call, you need only offer us your testimonial, not your repentance!”

After the rather normal awkward moment of waiting to see who might bravely speak up, we were rewarded with several in powerful testimonials on why they have decided to support the CSBR. Among them, former US Representative Martin Sabo ’59 kept it short, but on point. “You’ve heard the reasons for this great new Center, now they need our help! Join me!”

Rev. Herbert Chilstrom ’54 also stood and spoke. “When I came to Augsburg (in 1950) the Science Building was brand new and we thought it was state-of-the-art back then.” He went on to say, “During my time as the presiding bishop of the ELCA, I had the opportunity to visit all 29 Colleges of the ELCA and I am very proud of that. There were a few places however, where I had the feeling that, little by little, the college had drifted away from its roots, to the point where the teaching of religion and the relationship with the church were very much on the outer fringe.  One of the things I really appreciate about Augsburg is that it has been a college of the church, a college where faith is treasured, a college where religion has been taught and taught well. Giving to this new building where you bring three of these important disciplines together (science, business, and religion) is very critical.”

At our table, my wife, Carol ’72, and I enjoyed getting to know Mert Strommen ’42 and his son Rev. Peter Strommen. I was raised in Richfield, where the Strommens also lived at the time. Though I didn’t know them back then, I was delighted to get to know these two gentlemen now.

It is exciting to see the numbers of CSBR contributors continue to grow. This is about many things, including paying back those who made it possible for us to study at Augsburg, by paying it forward and providing a new building that will be the center academic building on campus for years to come.

We need everyone to join in. Please don’t shrug your shoulders and leave this important project to others to carry out and complete. Everyone joining in, at whatever level they can, makes everyone else’s load that much easier. Please add your commitment to the many others who have already said a very powerful “Yes.” Click here to make a gift or a pledge.

Please join us in meeting the Class Challenge. Your gift counts toward your class’ numbers. Let’s find out how fast we get to the top of our mountain! We’re over halfway there already!

Wayne Jorgenson ’71
Class Challenge Chair

Be a Champion for Augsburg

What does the word champion mean to you? Do you think of it only as a single person making a big difference in athletics?Chris Ascher headshot

 

While that definition speaks to my experience at Augsburg, I have been thinking of the word differently. What has been on my mind is the efforts of many that turn the tide in the direction of success, the people who champion a great cause and see an effort through to its completion.

 

This month I am celebrating the champions of my own Augsburg class of ’81 who have made their gifts in support of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and exceeded our $1 million goal. It’s great to have our class on the leader board!

 

I am also pleased that in the past month we have added 39 givers to those who have said yes to supporting the CSBR and joined others, now totaling nearly 600 alumni donors to the campaign.

 

Later this week many alumni and friends of Augsburg will join us for a CSBR Class Leadership Summit.  We will shine a light on the classes that have already contributed $1 million dollars or more to the CSBR, and bring attention to the classes who are well on their way. This gives us a chance to honor the championing of Augsburg, and the momentum growing both on and off campus. We will draw attention to some of the named spaces honoring faculty members.  A contribution to one of these named spaces would also “count” towards your class challenge. Read about one of these
challenges in the profile featuring Corky Hall ’71.

 

As you read on, you will hear the many great reasons alumni and faculty are generously investing in the future of Augsburg. Thank you for continuing to do three things:

  • to consider your own stretch giving,
  • to contact people who need to hear the story of Augsburg and
  • to believe in the CSBR and Augsburg’s future.

 

Thank you for your ongoing encouragement and enthusiasm. It’s the fuel for champions everywhere!

 

Chris Ascher ’81

Saying “Yes” When You Least Expect It

Wayne at Zz

Dean Sundquist ’81, Kirubel Frew ’14, Wayne Jorgenson ’71, and Dixie Shafer

Have you ever just let yourself say, “Yes!” because you were so very enthused about and persuaded by the person you just met? That happened to me last Friday.

I attended the annual Augsburg student research event known as Zyzzogeton (a word I learned very few of us know how to pronounce—phonetically it sounds like Zizz za gee ton). It was put on by Augsburg’s URGO Office (Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity). This department, so capably run by Dixie Shafer, helps students apply for research opportunities both during the school year as well as during the summer, either here on campus or at many fine institutions throughout the country.

At this year-end celebration of their work, 80 students presented 70 posters of their research to any and all who walked by and were willing to stop long enough for them to start telling the story of their explorations and discoveries. This event caused me to envision what a tremendous impact the Center for Science, Business, and Religion will have on future student research projects at Augsburg.

One young man in particular caught my attention—Kirubel Frew, a senior Augsburg chemistry student. While talking with him, I noticed the headline on his poster. It included the words “cure for cancer.” That intrigued me.

Harvard Bound

As we visited, he told me about the invitation he has, right after his graduation on May 4, to spend the summer at Harvard. He wants to continue this research that trains one’s own immune system to find and attack cancer cells. He hopes to see if these cells pushed through a filter might open the cells up, triggering action to devour the bad cells and strengthen the good ones. Now that is an audacious idea!

Kirubel found Augsburg from his home country of Zimbabwe (he was born in Ethiopia but grew up in Zimbabwe). He started searching for a way to come to the United States to study.

Luckily, Augsburg starts with A, and so he found us first. With scholarship support, he started his inquiry into the sciences and the path he is on now, to become a medical researcher. I could not help but add some financial support to help him continue his work this summer.

Challenges lead to success

More and more Auggies are adding their heartfelt “Yes!” to the campaign for the Center for Science, Business and Religion. You will see that another class has broken the $1 million goal. Welcome, Augsburg Class of ’81! Thank you to everyone in the class for stepping forward with your contributions, each one adding up to a very large number.

We invite many more of you to do the same and join us with a contribution. You might find you can give $100, or maybe $1,000, or maybe much more—perhaps thousands of dollars directed toward your belief in a stronger Augsburg.

Each gift truly matters as we want to increase the numbers of donor participants—those who will let people like Kirubel know he made a great choice to come to Augsburg:

• a place that encourages exploration and discovery,

• a place that welcomes people eager to learn, and dedicated to giving back.

Read on and learn of others making the choice to add their “Yes” to Augsburg. And please join us today with your own special way of saying yes. Call the Office of Alumni and Constituent Relations at 612-330-1173 and say, “I want to help.”

Thanks,

Wayne Jorgenson ’71
Class Challenge Chair