All Things are Possible for Those who Believe

26171847924_065131f7fb_z“All things are possible for those who believe.”

These were the words that spoke to me several years ago when this campaign was sputtering and many of us were doubting whether we could ever raise $50 Million to build the most significant academic facility this college had ever envisioned.

BELIEVE became the Theme for this campaign…and believe we did!

I Thank God for this day and I thank President Pribbenow for the privilege I was given to Chair this Campaign.

Thanks to the Board of Regents…who made the commitment and owned the campaign. The Board provided leadership at every level and stretched themselves in every way.

I am so grateful to the Faculty, Staff and Cabinet members who supported the campaign with their time, talents and treasures. Their engagement with Alumni & Friends of the College who joined us on campus for many CSBR Summits helped us tell the story and vividly demonstrated their ongoing commitment to transformational education with our students.

I am also grateful to the scores of students who were generous with their time in supporting the campaign…sharing their personal stories of significant research completed with faculty or sharing their musical talents with Summit guests and by sharing how their Augsburg experience has impacted their lives, their faith and the discovery of their own unique gifts and personal vocation.

I am grateful to so many Augsburg Alumni and Friends of the College who responded to our call and supported the campaign with their leadership, time and financial support.

All successful Capital Campaigns have at least three common threads:

  • A Compelling Story/Vision of the Need. It’s the WHY.

We certainly had a compelling story.

  • You need a handful of very significant Lead Gifts.

I am so grateful to those who made such generous commitments to help Augsburg continue to be a light in this world. We had four individuals or families that made commitments totaling $30 Million. Campaigns don’t get completed without people like these who know that they have been Blessed and who in turn choose to be a Blessing to others. I thank them all and especially Norm and Vangie Hagfors for their leadership gift.

  • Every successful campaign needs the support of an army of believers.

Over 1000 Auggie Alumni & Friends contributed what they were able…in amounts that ranged from a hundred to a million dollars….and those “fish and loaves”, given in faith, counted up to over $20 Million. A miraculous achievement! This was the most widely supported campaign in Augsburg history! And for that I give all of you my heartfelt thanks.

Because of the Generosity & Support of so many, this new Hagfors Center will stand as a testimony of Augsburg’s faith in the work that God has done and continues to do in the life of this college.

We started this campaign by asking God’s help in transforming Augsburg’s Campus and in the process of our work together God has transformed us!

Our Augsburg Philanthropic Culture has forever been transformed … because we BELIEVED! No longer can this community ever say that we don’t have the capacity to live into our greatest and most noble dreams about this College when they align with our mission as a College of the Church. God has taught us a great lesson about His Abundance and what it Possible.

In our joy and celebration, let us never allow ourselves to believe that this great accomplishment was ours alone. Instead, let us forever boldly proclaim, as the Psalmist wrote: “Not to us, oh Lord, not to us…But to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

Keep on Believing…because we are called … Auggies. Thank you all very much!

— Regent Emeritus Mike Good ’71, chaired the CSBR campaign to its successful conclusion

Reflections by Rev. Mark Hanson ’68 on the Intersections of Science, Business, and Religion

26173423683_5fd16d953d_zReflections taken from the Hagfors Center groundbreaking ceremony on April 29, 2016.

Today as we break ground for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, memory and hope are joined. Turning this soil is a holy moment as we pause to remember with grateful hearts all who have lived and labored, prayed and played, walked and wept on this ground. We give thanks for First Nation People, for immigrants and for those who founded Augsburg College as a place to train pastors but also with a commitment to reach out to the farmer, the worker and those in business.

With renewed commitment to our vocation as stewards of God’s creation we remember with thanksgiving all that has been nourished by this soil and that has contributed to the beauty and bounty of this land. We lament the losses of life forms unable to be sustained because of our disregard for the intricate interdependence of all of life. How fitting that Augsburg’s commitment to the flourishing of all of creation, the well being of the neighbor and to the centrality of faith and vocation will now be joined in the Hagfors Center.

Too often the fields of science, business and religion, have been regarded as disinterred in, even distrustful, of each other. That certainly is not true at Augsburg as is now made so evident in their being joined in this one Center. It is a living testimony to Augsburg’s commitment to the Lutheran vocation in higher education. Yes, as Lutheran Christians we believe we are freed in Christ for a life of insatiable curiosity and called by God to serve the neighbor.

Please stop for a moment, close your eyes, and begin to imagine what will be taking place in this Center. Can you see faculty and students excited about their research in DNA and the possibilities it holds for diagnosis and treatment of diseases? Can you see them engaging business students and faculty in developing a plan for investors to support further research while religion students and faculty are asked to join in framing the ethical questions and issues that shape this ongoing work? How absolutely exciting are the possibilities for synergies in this Center.

The Elnar Gundale Chapel, located on the third floor of the new building, will represent architecturally the centrality of vocation in the life and mission of Augsburg. It will be a sacred space for prayer and reflection, a place where Augsburg extends hospitality to the community and convenes lively conversations about how we can live and serve together as neighbors enriched by our differences.

May these words from 1 Peter (4:9-10) be descriptive of all who bring life and learning to the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion: “Be hospitable to one another…Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God. Serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.”

On this day when memory and hope are joined may God fill us with gratitude and joy.

Yes, we are bold to proclaim that when memory and hope meet in the breaking of ground God is present here.

— Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the Distinguished Fellow in Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation

Reflections by Regent Karen Durant ’81 on the Intersections of Science, Business, and Religion

26504602010_2db645a9f6_zReflections taken from the Hagfors Center groundbreaking ceremony on April 29, 2016.

Hello Everyone,

I am Karen Durant – class of ‘81. I grew up just 4 miles from Augsburg. My parents met at a Swedish Lutheran Church that I then attended with my entire extended family. When I was four I started playing the piano and became a church organist at the age of 12. My parents did not attend college. That makes me a first generation college graduate. I paid my own way through school with the money I made as an organist and from working two additional part-time jobs. I have thoroughly enjoyed serving on the Board of Regents for the past five years.

This is the first time anyone has asked me to speak at such an event. I actually have a magnet tucked inside my desk at work that states, “If you want a speech made ask a man, if you want something done ask a woman!”

I agreed to speak today because I strongly support Augsburg and this new building. To me, the co-location of the Science, Business, and Religion departments intentionally messages to us that we should not compartmentalize our life. One example of what I mean is that some people are loving and helpful to their families on Saturday, religious in church on Sunday, but come Monday morning – it is a dog eat dog world and you do whatever you need to do to get ahead in the business world. At Augsburg, I shaped my belief that it is better to openly embrace the complexities of the intersections between Science, and Business and Religion.

I recall a particularly vivid intersection of Science and Religion when I was a student at Augsburg. Many of you remember Dr. Ted Hanwick who was a Professor and Chair of Augsburg’s Physics Department. One day in Astronomy class he was at the black board writing astronomical algorithms to calculate the position of celestial objects and he abruptly stopped and turned around to us and exclaimed – “I know I am supposed to stick to the science, but who else other than God could have created such a wonderful universe?”

Today, I am representing the discipline of Business. Based on my background, you may have assumed I majored in Music, but I actually Majored in Accounting with a Minor in Economics. There are more similarities between music and accounting than you may think. There is a lot of counting involved in both, but less obvious is the balance one must find between the creative expression and the rules. Even the great musical masterpieces are written in a certain key and have a certain time signature. I have been a Financial Executive for many years and I am known for my creativity and technical knowledge.

I have truly benefited from the values, ethics, and morals Augsburg helped instill in me that, quite frankly, not all business people possess.

Early in my career, I was working at a Fortune 500 company – my first real Accounting position – and you know the saying – I was bright eyed and bushy tailed. One day I overheard a senior accountant explaining something to a junior accountant that did not make sense to me. I asked him why he gave the junior accountant incorrect information. He rolled his eyes and said “Don’t you get it? This is a competition!” I was too shocked to say anything at that moment, but when I later reflected upon it he was right – I did not get it. That was not my value system. I decided right then and there that I was not going to lie to others. On the contrary, I went out of my way to help others. I was seen as knowledgeable and capable and was rapidly promoted.

Later in my career, I was working at a Fortune 1000 company with the ultimate responsibility for the financial reporting. There is tremendous pressure on public companies to achieve ever-favorable financial results and I always had to be the “ethical backbone” to ensure we kept a good, clean set of books. I have had to stand toe-to-toe with many CEO’s to make sure we did the right things in the right way. There were times when they were upset with me, but in the long run they were grateful.

During my four years at Augsburg, I was transformed from a “me” to an “Auggie”. Augsburg and “Auggies” embrace the intersections in life, have lively debates and stand up for what they believe is the right thing to do.

Lest you think this is going unnoticed, I want to share my most recent Auggie moment with you. One of the accountants in my organization at work recently left to take a really great position at another company. I was talking to him about his new job and he said “Karen, I have to tell you that my new boss said he knew he was going to hire me as soon as he saw Augsburg on my resume”. This is a great endorsement of how relevant an Augsburg education is.

Thank you for your commitment and investments in making sure Augsburg remains faithful and relevant for many years to come!

Dale Pederson’s Reflections on the Intersections of Science, Business, and Religion

26173425893_de38ba6681_zReflections taken from the Hagfors Center groundbreaking ceremony on April 29, 2016.

I have, over the last couple years, taken note of the fact that the Development office has provided lab coats to many guests on tours of the science building. I was, therefore, as little disappointed to learn that the wardrobe department in Development did not have enough surgical gowns and masks to outfit everyone here today.

It would have been appropriate as we are here not only to witness the birth of a long-awaited blessed event but to participate in its delivery. As befits the exceptionally long gestational period that proceeded this day, we know that what will emerge on this site is a fully developed and well-formed offspring, to be christened as the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion – a name acknowledging a family tradition in educational philosophy. The Hagfors Center was conceived in the college’s ethos and nurtured though its development thus far by a large and loyal community of alumni and friends who were committed to maintain the bloodline.

The joy that we — like parents, uncles, aunts and grandparents — feel at this moment will soon be tempered by the sense of responsibility we have for this offspring’s growth and development. Just as we hope our children will grow to be healthy, wise and good, we hope that the Hagfors Center will help foster in our students and faculty a keen appreciation for the value of an education which addresses the many ways of knowing – integrating these in the mind such that they are seen as complementary rather than competing perspectives on the increasingly complex world and the challenges it presents us.

I share with other alums an appreciation for having had the opportunity to learn science from excellent scientists who were also devout Christians and from theologians who recognized that science posed no threat or inherent conflict with articles of faith.  Understanding what these ways of knowing can and cannot reveal has many times allowed me to alleviate the conflict with which some students struggle. We can transform a false belief that science and religion provide competing and fundamentally incompatible understandings. The Hagfors Center will allow us to be better representatives of our disciplines and it will encourage us to be mindful of and intent on perpetuating a valued academic tradition.

On behalf of the Sciences, we say thank you for all that has brought us to this wonderful day!

— Dale Pederson ’70 (Science)

Believing is Seeing: Jan. 29 CSBR Summit


Leadership Summit Hosted by Alumni Class Leaders

Thursday, January 29, 2015

5:30-8 p.m.

Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

Alumni leadership host this special CSBR campaign event, which will include an opportunity to meet with current faculty, students, and College leadership, followed by dinner, music, and a video presentation on campus.

If you would like to attend, RSVP to Sonja Casperson at or 612-330-1171.

Join us to learn more about this signature building that will transform the Augsburg campus. See the full Summit invitation for more details about this special event.

Table hosts:

*Dan Anderson ’65, Shelby (Gimse) Andress ’56, Chris Ascher ’83, LaVonne (Olson) Batalden ’63, Paul Batalden ’63, Jeroy Carlson ’48, *Karen (Miller) Durant ’81, Rachel (Olson) Engebretson ’98, Darcey Engen ’88, Angela Ensrud ’09, *Matt Entenza, *Mark Eustis, Janet (Lunas) Gjerde ’68, Mark Gjerde ’65, *Alex Gonzalez ’90, *Mike Good ’71, Chris95 Hallin ’88, Don Hoseth ’65, Trish Jesperson ’95, Christina Johnson ’09, *Kinney Johnson ’65, Carol (Pederson) Jorgenson ’72, *Wayne Jorgenson ’71, *Thomas Piper LaBelle ’96, Rob LaFleur ’80, *Steve Larson ’72, Karolynn Lestrud ’68, Pat Marcy ’72, Mark Moksnes ’79, Pam (Hanson) Moksnes ’79, Nancy (Mackey) Mueller ’85, *Board Chair Paul Mueller ’84, David Murr ’92, Bruce Nelson ’71, Becky (Bjella) Nodland ’79, *Jeffrey Nodland ’77, Norm Okerstrom ’85, Kim (Asleson) Okerstrom ’84, Dale Pederson ’70, Joanne (Varner) Peterson ’52, *Harvey Peterson ’52, President Paul C. Pribbenow, Phil Quanbeck ’50, Nick Rathmann ’03, Nancy (Joubert) Raymond ’63, *Martin Sabo ’59, Greg Schnagl ’91, Molly (Fochtman) Schnagl ’92, Chuck Schulz ’65, Mike Scott ’71, Linda Seime, Richard Seime ’70, *Earl Sethre ’68, Lisbeth (Jorgensen) Sethre ’70, Tracy (Anderson) Severson ’95, Nick Slack ’02, *Mert Strommen ’42, Jeff Swenson ’79, *LaJune Thomas-Lange ’75, Larry Turner ’69, Jill Watson ’10 MBA

*Regent and Regent emeriti

CSBR summit

Augsburg Faculty Invite You to Attend a Leadership Summit

CSBR-Leadership-Summit-HeaderThanks so much for attending this inspiring evening of inquiry and fellowship hosted by members of the Augsburg College Faculty.

Save the date for the next event:

Leadership Summit Hosted by Alumni Class Leaders

Alumni leadership will host a special CSBR campaign event on Thursday, January 29, 2015, which will include an opportunity to meet with current faculty, students, and College leadership, plus a tour of science labs and a Q & A session, followed by dinner on campus.

If you would like to attend, RSVP to Sonja Casperson at or 612-330-1171.


Thanks to all the Leadership Summit hosts for the Sept. 11 event!

This dinner event for the Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion included student research presentations; a faculty panel presentation; featured speakers President Paul Pribbenow and Chief Academic Officer and Provost Karen Kaivola; and special music by Augsburg students.

Paul Pribbenow, President

Karen Kaivola, Provost & Chief Academic Officer

Amy Gort, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean of Arts and Sciences

Lori Peterson, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs & Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies

Bruce Batten, Director Master’s of Business Administration

Jacqueline  deVries, History Professor & Director of General Education

Suzanne Dorée, Mathematics Professor

Rebekah Dupont, Director STEM Programs

Darcey Engen ’88, Theater Arts Associate Professor & Chair

Vivian Feng, Chemistry Associate Professor

Bob Groven, Communication Studies Professor & Director of the Honors Program

Stella Hofrenning, Economics Associate Professor

Russell Kleckley, Religion Associate Professor & Chair

David Matz, Psychology Professor

Marc McIntosh, Business-MIS Assistant Professor

Tom Morgan, Leadership Studies Professor

David Murr ’92, Physics Associate Professor

Dale Pederson ’70, Biology Associate Professor

Noel Petit, Computer Science Professor & Chair

Deborah Redmond, Communication Studies Assistant Professor & Chair

John Schmit, English Professor & Chair

Dixie Shafer, Director Undergraduate Research & Graduate Opportunities

Jody Sorensen, Mathematics Associate Professor

Ben Stottrup, Physics Associate Professor & Chair

Kathy Swanson, English Professor

Joseph Underhill, Political Science Associate Professor

Shana Watters, Computer Science Associate Professor

John Zobitz, Mathematics Associate Professor & Chair