Putting One Foot in Front of Another

Wayne Jorgenson '71I have shared before 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

Auggie Couple Gives $100,000 to Theodore Hanwick Sr. Intro to Physics Laboratory in CSBR

leeann rock and brian andersonBrian Anderson ’82, who triple majored in Physics, Math and Religion, knew English was not his strong suit. Noticing a woman in the back row giving excellent answers in their freshman English class, he waited by the classroom door one day to introduce himself to Leeann Rock ’81. They met frequently at the campus snack bar, the Chin Wag. They married in 1983.

 

Family connections with Augsburg run deep

Brian grew up on campus. His father Ray Anderson taught speech at Augsburg for almost 50 years. His mother Margaret Anderson was on staff for more than 20 years, retiring as head librarian and then continuing to volunteer for more than 10 years. Going to Augsburg for him was a foregone conclusion. The family connection remains strong as his brother Stuart currently teaches physics at Augsburg.

 

Leeann had not considered attending Augsburg until a high school friend invited her along on a prospective student tour. The friend ultimately chose a different college, but Leeann, captivated by biology professor Neal Thorpe’s address to prospective students, came away thinking, “I have to go here.”

 

Challenge grant motivated Anderson and Rock

Leeann and Brian, who felt superbly prepared for their vocations and grateful for meeting each other, have given $100,000 for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Their gift is designated for the Theodore Hanwick, Sr. Intro to Physics Laboratory. The cost of naming the laboratory for Dr. Hanwick is $500,000, and Leeann and Brian are giving in response to the $250,000 challenge grant established by Dan ’65 and Alice Anderson (no relation).

 

Brian, who received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Minnesota, admires Dr. Hanwick’s leadership in founding the Physics Department at Augsburg.

 

After retiring, Hanwick occasionally subbed in physics classes. Brian remembers hearing him lecture on optics and lenses. “He didn’t use notes. He didn’t need them. It was a direct conversation with us as students. He was delightful, energetic, engaging and funny.”

 

Augsburg launched fulfilling careers in space research and pathology

Brian, named a Distinguished Alumnus of Augsburg in 2004, is a physicist with The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. He is magnetic fields co-investigator and deputy project scientist for NASA’s MESSENGER mission─MErcury Surface Space ENvironment GEochemistry and Ranging.

 

Immediately after receiving his Ph.D., he taught at Augsburg for two years.  He also assisted Professor Mark Engebretson with research, which led to a post-doctoral fellowship at the Applied Physics Laboratory where he has remained, working on five space missions.

 

While studying at Augsburg, Leeann decided to become a doctor. She remembers the premed experience at Augsburg as “competitive but friendly.”

 

She received her M.D. from the University of Minnesota and is a clinical pathologist at Frederick Memorial Hospital in Frederick, Md.  Describing her work, she says, “Other doctors do surgery. I analyze samples and figure out the diagnosis.”

 

“What strikes me about the existing science building at Augsburg is that so many of the scientific facts  and inventions that we take for granted today, like DNA and the transistor, have been discovered since it was built,” she says. “We have marvelous students and faculty at Augsburg who need new space where they can grow and shine.”

 

“The vision for CSBR is perfect, novel, and will help Augsburg get out in front”

Brian is excited by the cross-disciplinary character of the CSBR. “Science provides technical capabilities but does not tell us how to use the power the capabilities give us. We need religion for that, and we need business to help us develop products based on scientific discoveries. This building demonstrates that Augsburg understands that science, religion, and private enterprise are essential components of a larger vision. All three areas of learning can and should be partners.”

 

“The vision for the CSBR is perfect. It is on target, and it is novel,” Brian says. “The design does not parrot what other institutions are doing. Building the CSBR is a way for Augsburg to get out in front.”

Staff Gift Rewards Education and Enhances Family Legacy

terrioRare among metropolitan colleges, Augsburg has a knack for somehow climbing into the DNA of its students and setting up residence, whereupon it gets passed down to future generations. How does that happen?

 

“Augsburg is too big to be considered a family exactly, yet it’s a very special place that fosters deep connections,” says Paul Terrio ’87 as he tries to explain what is perhaps inexplicable. “It’s a small place in a big city. It’s an institution that recognizes what it needs to focus on—that we’re here to be something special for both the students and the world. When I was a student here, I felt those undercurrents, but I couldn’t see it clearly the way I can now.”

 

Multiple family members on a path together

Now senior director of student financial services, Paul certainly understands the family metaphor. His father and two siblings are Auggies, as are his wife’s brother and nephew. He met Tracey (Morris) ’87—via phone in those pre-Facebook days—in Urness Hall, when they were freshmen. He was a history and political science major. She was a science major who’d wanted to be a veterinarian since elementary school. They married the year after graduation and went to the University of Minnesota, Paul for a job in finance and Tracey for vet school.

 

Four years later, Paul returned to Augsburg, where he thought he’d have a better chance to make a difference and whose value system he shared. “I believe in what we’re trying to do for this world and other like-minded people. It’s been fun, particularly in the last ten years, to watch this institution articulate what it’s always been about, and to see how that resonates in the market. We do the right things and educate people in the right way.”

 

Embracing shared values in the marketplace

Augsburg embraces student diversity that encompasses not only race and ethnicity but also socio-economics. “The way students interact and the differences they bring lead to true, genuine learning. I support that type of interaction, which is so needed in this world,” he explains, pointing to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion as a centerpiece example. “We are not afraid to own that this is what we are.”

 

The decision to make a five-year, $25,000 pledge to the CSBR wasn’t difficult, says Tracey. Science was instrumental to her career, particularly with its small classes and close faculty connections, and the need for new facilities is apparent. “The number of chemistry students has exploded since I was there,” she points out. “But it’s more about giving back to an institution that has given us a lot. We got a great education.”

 

“We had the ability to give something, and we wanted to make sure we gave it to something we really believe in,” says Paul. “Higher education makes a difference.”

 

Aligning resources with commitment

As if to prove his point, Paul and Tracey’s daughter, a science major, is loving her first year at Augsburg. Tracey recalls the memories flooding back as they moved her into—of course—Urness Hall, where, indeed, some things have changed. “There’s a sign in the laundry that says you can get a text when your clothes are done!” she laughs.

 

“She didn’t choose Augsburg because her dad works here, but because it’s absolutely right for her,” Paul adds.  “Obviously the family connection is very dear to me. Working here only adds to my love and respect for this place.”

Seeing Home in a New Light

Chris Ascher headshotRecently I moved from Minneapolis to Ohio to take on new responsibilities with Morgan Stanley. Making a new home farther away from my roots has given me a chance to see the places I have called home in a new light.

 

When I returned to campus on a very cold winter night for the Regents Summit, I noticed several things.  First, the turnout was spectacular. Foss Chapel was full.  The atmosphere was one of collective support for the College and this special campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).  It reminded me of a basketball game I attended just the other night in Cincinnati at Xavier University, where the student enrollment is about 4,000.  Fourteen years ago, the school built a new arena (the Cintas Center) paid for by alumni donations. The arena was full of alumni and students wearing blue shirts, their school color. Back at Augsburg, sitting around the tables at the Summit dinner, I saw lots of maroon and gold. I realized the fabric of the College has grown  stronger!

 

Another thing I noticed is that it is easy to watch what is happening on campus from afar, thinking that someone else will make the CSBR happen.  As if it will take care of itself.

 

That is counterintuitive to my experience at Augsburg where we felt like family. In a family, we must each step up and take turns making sure the essentials get done so that the whole family thrives.

 

This is the essence of the Class Challenge effort I am helping lead.  It’s like having the soccer team reunite and win the MIAC division again—a team effort.

 

I decided to help lead the Class Challenge effort to secure at least $1 million from each graduating class in gifts to the CSBR and Augsburg because I am motivated by others whose gifts helped build the college we enjoyed during our times there. Now I want to return that support. I want each of us to do everything we can to demonstrate our commitment to the next generation of students. Then we’ll know we gave them a competitive advantage in the world of academia and also in the real world.  I want as many of us as possible to take pride in saying, “We had a hand in that!”

 

The CSBR is one very important way we can help those coming up behind us.  Through our gifts, we will open doors to our shared future.

 

As you read more of this newsletter you will meet some great people who have “owned” the future of Augsburg. Once you finish reading, please reach out to someone else you know who needs to hear the story of the Augsburg we are building for tomorrow! I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Chris Ascher ’81