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.”


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

Corky ’71 and Lori Hall Make Lead Gift, Encourage Other Auggies to Join Them in Naming Saugestad Hall in CSBR in Honor of Beloved Coach

Corky Hall-1When Corky Hall ’71 entered Augsburg College, he knew he could achieve athletic success. But he had no confidence that he could excel in academics, and he didn’t see a future for himself outside of sports.


Hall served as captain of both the hockey and football teams at Augsburg, becoming the College’s first athlete to be named All-American in hockey. He grew accustomed to compliments when he scored points for the team. Never did he receive compliments about his academic performance.


Growing up, he never received the message that academics were important. His mother and step-father did not graduate from high school, and no one in his family had gone to college. Hall says, “I rarely did homework before entering college.”


Saugestad first person ever to tell Hall he was smart

When Hall came to Augsburg, he encountered Ed Saugestad ’59 and developed a closeSaugestad friendship with him. Saugestad was a stellar hockey coach, compiling a 503-354-21 record. His team won Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference titles six straight years (1976-82) and won the NAIA national championship in 1978, 1981 and 1982. Saugestad also served on the football coaching staff for Augsburg from 1959-84, including being head coach 1970-71. He taught in the Health and Physical Education department throughout his career, and was men’s athletic director from 1981-87. He retired in 1996.


“Ed was the first person to tell me that I was smart,” Hall recalls. “He said, ‘I know you can succeed academically.’ And he kept after me to produce good grades so that I could stay eligible for sports at Augsburg. I can’t tell you what a tremendous difference that made.”


“I still remember the first time I aced a test,” Hall says. “I can see in my mind’s eye the chair I was sitting in when Ed handed my test back to me with an ‘A’ on it. It was in his physiology class, a hard class. I couldn’t believe it at the time. Ed just conveyed that he knew I could do it.”


Saugestad set Hall on a path that led to business success

This winning coach with a deep concern for his players as student athletes changed  Hall’s life. “He set me on a path I wouldn’t have found otherwise.”


With this supportive intervention, Hall pursued success in business. After initially working at General Mills, he created and owned U.S. Communications together with Bill Urseth ’71, which grew to become the second-largest promotional marketing agency in the country, U.S. Restaurants and U.S. Studios. He later founded a business and brand consultancy, Hall Batko, and now is founding partner and CEO of Stellus Consulting in Minneapolis. He guides corporate leaders in creating the vision for their company and in building a strong relationship between their brand and customers to achieve that vision.


Corky and Lori Hall recently learned more about plans for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Corky believes the building “is a good forward step for Augsburg College. We have always been known for having a great heart and great athletics, yet our buildings have not been visual symbols of our academic strength. This new building will put us in a new league. Our facilities will start to match the quality of the faculty.”


The Halls thought about giving to support the CSBR construction, and Corky started to think about naming a space. But whose name to feature? Corky reflected on what transformed his academic life at Augsburg, and Coach Saugestad’s name immediately came to mind.


“The building will be key in developing future student athletes,” Hall adds. “That is why I am giving to the CSBR rather than to athletics. Augsburg needs great facilities for athletes to develop their academic side. Ed made the bridge for me between athletics and academics, and if I hadn’t gotten strong academics at Augsburg, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I want to give a gift that says thank you to Ed for making such a difference in my life.”


Hall says Ed also had a positive effect on his brother Dan ’74 and his step-brother Mark Hultgren ’88. “He impacted our family in a significant way.”


Halls give $25,000, invite others to join them so CSBR hallway can be named in honor of Ed Saugestad with gifts totaling $150,000

Corky and Lori pledged $25,000 as a lead gift in naming Saugestad Hall, a hallway outside the physics suite in the CSBR. They hope many other grateful alumni touched by Ed Saugestad will join them in honoring this man.


The naming opportunity cost for the hallway is $150,000. According to Keith Stout, Director of Principal Gifts for Augsburg College: “Ed Saugestad touched the lives of hundreds of students over his 39 years of coaching and teaching. We believe that many people will be interested in helping achieve the goal so that the hallway can be named for Ed.”


“I envision a huge plaque showing the names of all those who contribute to the Saugestad Hall, and it will be a testament to the huge effect Coach had on all of us,” Hall says.


‘Saugestad kindled the fire in me and in many people’

“He is the person who kindled the fire in me, seeing academic potential I hadn’t seen yet in myself. He helped me become a more well-rounded person. I think he did that for many, many people.”


“Let’s work together to honor this great man,” Hall says. “He deserves it. Ed did so much to make our lives better. Now it’s our turn to say thank you.”

Faculty and Alumna Couple’s Planned Gift Ensures Future Conversations at Augsburg

Crockett'sAugsburg colleagues use many words to describe the significance of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR): creation, innovation, and inspiration, to cite just a few. When Larry and Cheryl ’89 Crockett talk about the CSBR, however, they can boil its relevance and promise down to just one: conversation.


Conversation has been significant to Larry since age 15, when he got lost riding his motorcycle past rows of abandoned munitions factories in Japan, where his military family was stationed. He didn’t panic. Instead, he had conversations “with papa-sans who had seen the flash” of nuclear war. Those encounters helped launch his lifelong passion for crossing boundaries, both academic and cultural.


Temporary “brush up” becomes permanent appointment

When he arrived at Augsburg to spend “a year or two” brushing up on computer science while his advisor took a sabbatical, his conversations with the dean about splitting his appointment to accommodate his science and religion interests convinced him to stay. Almost three decades later, the professor of computer science and philosophy teaches honors classes, writes books, and cares deeply about Augsburg’s future.


His conversations with colleagues and students about the CSBR—an idea that first struck him as perhaps “odd, conceptually incoherent”—have prompted his unbounded support. He describes watching students go from initial puzzlement to unabashed excitement about the project, and he speaks fondly of meeting with disparate colleagues, from physicists to business profs to administrators, to discuss the details.


“We’ve had the most extraordinary conversations I’ve ever had here. It really whetted my enthusiasm,” he says. “The dialogue between people who seem to be from different backgrounds is so rich.”


Promoting integrated learning for life

He is reminded of team-teaching courses that cross traditional academic lines. “It has been an amazing sojourn to discover the level of integration possible,” he says. Whether they major in science, business, or religion, today’s students must solve complex problems in a multinational world where those disciplines intersect.


The CSBR, far from being a cockeyed idea, will expand that global perspective and attract students who embrace it, he adds. Such forward thinking is crucial. “Academic structures become stale as the world changes, and smaller liberal arts schools are at some considerable risk. If they don’t adapt imaginatively, they will have an unhappy future,” he says.


Encouraging giving and sustaining momentum


Larry and his wife, Cheryl ’89, have known for a long time that they wanted to include Augsburg in thier “final plans” and were delighted to discover that their planned gift could be contributed toward the CSBR. Their $50,000 estate gift will name a computer science faculty office.


”The CSBR can be a location for cross-pollination in three important areas that in today’s society always seem to bump up against each other,” Cheryl says. “I see it as a beacon of light shining on common ground, showing pragmatic ways in which to negotiate differences.”


Once a nontraditional student, Cheryl knows about negotiating differences. She completed her English degree while raising toddlers, both of whom eventually earned Augsburg degrees. Now a writer and editor who volunteers at the alumni office, she is “having an absolute blast” helping her alma mater and cheering its progress as CSBR plans unfold.


“We are already on track in so many areas,” she says. “This is what’s needed not only in today’s society but also in tomorrow’s.”


Despite her long association with Augsburg, she adds, she can’t remember seeing so much momentum and enthusiasm. She believes the CSBR will attract students seeking a broader worldview, and she applauds the creative tension it will generate.


“Something good comes from that creative tension,” she says. “It’s all about the conversation. And when the building gets finished, just think about all the conversations that can take place within that setting.”