The Class Challenge goal for each class to donate $1 million to the Center for Science. Business, and Religion, the largest capital campaign in the history of the College.
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
Like many Augsburg students, Inez (Olson) Schwarzkopf ’59 counted on paychecks to help meet college expenses. She ran the switchboard at St. Barnabas Hospital and operated the freight elevator at Deaconess Hospital, taking the dirty linens down to the basement, and the morticians’ gurneys up to the morgue. The job at Messenger Press Bookstore on 22nd and Riverside was the one that really paid off, though. That’s where she met Lyall Schwarzkopf, a veteran whose widowed mother owned and operated the hardware store next door. “The best thing I got out of that was my husband,” laughs Inez. She and Lyall have been married for 56 years, and made a gift to Augsburg every year since Inez graduated.
It was Lyall who suggested they make a bigger commitment to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). “I was a consistent kind of giver to the annual fund as well as capital drives” explains Inez. But when her non-alumnus husband said, “I think we have to do something [for the CSBR],” Inez listened. “He appreciates the value of the College as a business anchor for that part of Minneapolis,” says Inez of Lyall, who is former Minneapolis city clerk and city coordinator, and secretary of the Minneapolis Charter Commission.
Learning at Father’s Knee
Inez’s father, Iver Olson ’35, was an ordained pastor and professor at Augsburg Seminary and Augsburg College, where he taught religion and Scandinavian language, literature, and culture for twenty years. He’d regale Inez and her three siblings with Norwegian folk tales, as well as tales of Augsburg, all the while moving smoothly between Norwegian and English.
Her family expected that she would go to college, and that the college would be Augsburg. “Nobody ever told me there was anyplace else to go!” she remembers. A writer from an early age, at Augsburg Inez encountered professors like Jerry Thorson, head of the English Department, who helped her hone her craft. “He didn’t let me get away with any sloppiness,” she remembers. “That was an important turning point for me … I was a flashy writer, but I had to get good.” She received several writing awards at Augsburg and at the University of Minnesota, where she later received a Master of Arts. Continue reading
I hope that, for you, this brings to mind some very meaningful experiences when you felt part of something larger than yourself.
Did you feel the smiles and gratitude for your help or involvement? And, perhaps, love and generosity in return? During February, a month known for expressing our caring and love for others, I invite you to join in another of those transformational life experiences.
As fellow Auggies, we each hold special memories of Augsburg. For me, Augsburg College fostered values that aligned with mine: faithfulness, excellence, inclusion, opportunity and hope for the future—values we held as we embarked on our pathway of living and serving in the world. Today, Augsburg’s core values remain the same. They live today through the students in even more significant, global ways.
Just a few weeks ago, many of us attended a Summit gathering for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) on campus. More than 250 alumni and friends joined with the Board of Regents and faculty to hear the good news that this planned, signature, first-of-its-kind facility will truly transform the campus.
I felt the joy of reconnecting with alumni from my class and others, amazement with the excellence of faculty and students who “lead on” in this world, and love for Augsburg College, still standing boldly to educate students in world class programs. Each of us were encouraged to become part of this tremendous project, the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
The really good news is that this is not a dream; it will happen and be built with the involvement of you and me and so many others. We have already raised more than $40 million in commitments toward the $50 million goal.
I invite you back to campus to take time to learn more about the impact of this top-tier signature facility. Augsburg is receiving positive feedback both locally and nationally from civic officials and business leaders regarding this interdisciplinary approach.
As you read the stories included in this news update, you will also find another way to participate. You can add your very tangible support by purchasing a brick that will be included in the new building. This link takes you to more information about how to make a gift that will make visible the legacy of generosity growing among us.
Even if you have already made your gift to the CSBR, please consider adding a memorial brick, or even two, in honor of your family, former student, or someone else who made a difference in your experience at Augsburg.
With your caring and sharing, the impact for the students, the community, and for Augsburg will be truly transformational through the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
We are almost there! Please join us! We want everyone to be part of the excellence of Augsburg going forward!
Pam Moksnes ’79
Class Challenge Leader
Board of Regents
Denny and Mary Lou (Ervin) Erickson, both ’64, first read about plans for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion in an annual fund correspondence. They’d also heard about the Center from Chris Kimball, a former Augsburg provost and dean and current president of California Lutheran University, where Denny is serving his third term on the Board of Regents. But it wasn’t until Keith Stout, assistant vice president of major gifts, drove down from Denver to northern New Mexico to spend a few hours in their Los Alamos living room that the CSBR vision came into focus.
“That visit explained the project in a way that gelled our thinking and commitment,” Denny says. “The creative inspiration that brings these three mainstream disciplines together in one place can only happen at a faith-based institution. The synergy they create is one of the underlying thrusts of our culture, and that will be even more important as we go forward into the future. It’s going to be dramatic.”
Denny credits his Augsburg education for not only his esteemed physics career at Los Alamos National Laboratory but also a broad worldview that serves him well. He credits an inspirational pastor at what is now Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Mounds View, where he and Mary Lou were active in the Luther League, with introducing them to Augsburg. LuVerne ‘Red’ Nelson was an Augsburg and Augsburg Seminary graduate who promoted his alma mater every chance he got.
“In those days we didn’t think too much about leaving home and going across the world to get educated, so for us it made sense. And once it got us, we never looked back,” Denny recalls.
He’d considered starting out at Augsburg, then transferring, but once on campus, he quickly reconsidered. “That’s when Ted Hanwick captured me,” Denny says. “I became one of his protégés, and he put me on a life track that I never got off. He was one of those few wise individuals I’ve been lucky to come across in life, especially in my young life. He understood the beauty and rigor of physics, and he recognized—I now know in retrospect—my aptitude for science. He kept feeding and pushing and inspiring me, and at the end of my junior year, he helped me get a summer appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”
With a new year come new intentions. Some of us use resolutions. Others look toward shifting habits and self-improvement. For me, this early January afforded me some special time with my children. It may surprise you that one thing we did together was to review my “Honoring Choices” advanced care directive statement with them.
Now that I am in my 80s, I realize time spent together is more precious than ever. I want my children to know my wishes for when something changes for me and my well-being.
Those of you who know me and my passion for Augsburg and its students won’t be surprised to hear one aspect of my directive to them. Even if my life gets smaller and smaller, I don’t want to give up relating to students at Augsburg. Somehow I need them in my life. I laughingly tell my family . . . “If the time comes that my world becomes smaller because of health issues, get me to Augsburg for my energy boost!” I always want to spend time there on campus, learning from its students, faculty, staff and alums. I NEED to be there!
My passion for this campus and its students grows each time I am there. I see the world in the faces who greet me. I also experience the same deeply held values that welcomed me and my classmates on our arrival as freshmen so many years ago.
Just the other day I spoke with a student as we walked out of the music building. I asked him about his experience: what does he find here?
He spoke of the dedication of faculty, and how stimulating the campus is to him. He finds his faculty seek to discover what is distinctive in each student and to draw more of that out in them. That the standards of excellence remain a baseline for all.
What I see at Augsburg today is that it is no stretch to believe we will exceed our ambitious goals for fundraising, especially the $50 million target to secure for the remarkable building of a new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. I am seeing already the interaction of students from multiple cultures moving out of the boundaries of disciplines to collaborate and find new paths forward. I see interrelationship and understanding between technical fields and the cultures of the world.
I see a building that was new 63 years ago when I arrived on campus ready for replacement. How can I not invest my financial and moral support for the promise of an even better Augsburg?
Please join me at the upcoming Summit where you can learn more about today’s Augsburg and the planned new building. See the full invitation here, and you may RSVP to Sonja Casperson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-330-1171.
Join me as a believer of Augsburg’s brightest future. Join me in your support of our Class Challenge initiative. You’ll be glad you did.
Shelby Andress ’56