The Band Plays On

Earl and Joyce Hauge '63In 1960, the 50-member Augsburg Concert Band, led by Director Mayo Savold, went on a six-week, 10,000-mile tour of Canada and Alaska that culminated at the Alaska Music Festival. The intrepid musicians traveled by bus, plane, and ship, and even made a vinyl record that was marketed nationally by Schmitt Music Company. Percussionist Joyce (Gustafson) Hauge ’63 celebrated her 20th birthday on the trip. Fifty-five years later, she remains friends with her former band mates, and she and her husband Earl are loyal Augsburg donors. Their gifts have supported the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, scholarships, and more. “It’s wonderful to give back to a college that has given me so much,” says Hauge, referring to the lifelong friends and career preparation she gained at Augsburg. “We’re happy that we are able to do it.”

A Close Community

Hauge grew up near Hanley Falls in southwestern Minnesota. With a high school graduating class of 12, she was attracted to Augsburg’s small size, its Christian foundation, and the fact that it was in Minneapolis, where there would be more career opportunities in her chosen field of elementary education “The city was a real calling card with me,” she explains.

Hauge had known she wanted to be a teacher since the first grade. “In the summer we would spend hours on our porch playing ‘school,’ whether my sisters wanted to or not,” she laughs. At Augsburg she became part of the first graduating class in elementary education. “Martha Mattson started the program at Augsburg while I was there, and she did a wonderful job preparing us to start our careers.” Hauge went on to spend the majority of her 28-year teaching career educating first graders, mostly in Glenwood, Minn., where she and husband Earl still live. “I love working with children,” she says.

Making Friends and Music

unnamed(1)“You kind of felt you were family at Augsburg. It was a really good feeling, coming from a small community where you knew everybody.” Hauge says she has wonderful memories of going to games, performing in the band, and singing in the Cantorians women’s group. “Music was a big part of my college life.” She worked as a switchboard operator and senior counselor in the girls’ dormitory, a secretary to Mayo Savold, and a cashier in the dining hall. “Everyone has to eat, and I saw all the kids going in and out of the dining hall,” she remembers fondly. After graduation she worked in the office of Gerda Mortensen, dean of women, before starting her first teaching job. Hauge married Earl in 1963, and they have lived in Glenwood for the past 40 years. Continue reading

Celebrating Excellence and Providing Opportunity with Gift to CSBR

RebekahDupontLSAMPGrads14“One of the most exciting things about being an educator is seeing former students come back,” says Rebekah Dupont, Augsburg professor of mathematics, director of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Programs, and a donor to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). She’s looking forward to welcoming alumni and other volunteers to the CSBR and thrilled that Augsburg will have a STEM learning environment that reflects the excellence of its students and faculty. “The CSBR is exciting on a lot of levels,” she says. “I can’t wait!”

Welcoming STEM Alumni Back to Augsburg

131031 calc class 315(1)In the 20 years since Dupont joined the Augsburg faculty, she’s seen a lot of students come and go – and come back again. “It’s engrained in Augsburg alumni to give back,” Dupont says. Alumni help prepare students for high-paying, meaningful STEM careers by mentoring students, visiting classes, and arranging for site visits, research opportunities, and internships. “I’m passionate about being able to watch the journey of alumni and work with them collaboratively,” Dupont says. By helping students, alumni also help educate greater numbers of qualified STEM graduates to meet workforce demand and diversify the workforce. Part of faculty, staff, and alumni’s shared work is to ensure that first-generation college students and others master both the technical skills and the “soft skills” they will need to excel in the workplace. “If we can support these students, we’re benefiting them, their kids, their parents, and their families.”

CSBR Will Open Doors to STEM Careers

RebekahDupontConferenceThe design of the CSBR will facilitate both formal and informal interaction between students, alumni, and faculty in different fields. “This interaction will feed their careers,” says Dupont, who helps students discover career paths they may not have considered. “Jobs in STEM sectors are the highest paying and have the highest job satisfaction and security rates of any sector,” she explains. Increasingly, she says, scientists with advanced degrees are going to work for corporations, rather than colleges and universities, so interaction with business students and faculty in the CSBR will be valuable to students as they discern their vocations. As an example, Dupont points to significant growth in the need for highly analytical graduates who have the ability to work with “big data,” the unprecedented volume, velocity, and variety of information available to businesses today. “A STEM degree in a larger liberal arts context helps them understand the implications, ethics, and creativity of their work,” Dupont says.

Honoring Faculty, Students and Alumni with CSBR Gift

Dupont recalls a recent conversation with a 1965 alumni couple who shared how Augsburg faculty challenged them to do their best, but also supported them and gave them the confidence to succeed in their careers in mathematics. She loves to hear stories like theirs. “Our faculty give their all to their students,” she says. “And they’re resilient and resourceful! When you look at the level of work being done, the amazing amount of undergraduate research, and the limited resources and facilities the faculty have, it’s very impressive.” In a way, she says, her financial support of the CSBR is in honor of Augsburg faculty. “This facility will allow them to take their students to even higher levels.”

 

CSBR Gifts Support Auggie Success on the Mat and in the Lab

Jeff Swenson with distinguished alumni wrestlers at Homecoming 2014

Jeff Swenson ’79 with distinguished alumni award recipients (and wrestlers) Dean Kennedy ’75 and Mike Good ’71 at Homecoming 2014.

“Anytime that Augsburg does something spectacular, it’s time to celebrate,” says Augsburg Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79. Whether it’s making the dream of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) come true or winning the 2015 NCAA Divison III National Championship in Wrestling, it’s all good for Augsburg. “There’s a lesson to be learned for all of us,” Swenson says of the wrestlers’ victory. “You’re never out of it. You never give up. Many people had counted the team out, but the team never counted itself out. They believed anything was possible.” Swenson also supports another one-time underdog, the CSBR, as a donor and fundraiser. Like campaign leadership, fellow alumni and benefactors, he believes in the CSBR.

First Impressions Matter

“I took classes in our current science building in 1975, and it was old then,” Swenson says, pointing out the simple truth that Augsburg doesn’t have enough labs and science classrooms to meet students’ needs. He admits that coaches hoping to recruit student athletes often skip the science building on tours for fear that it will make a bad first impression. If facilities are inadequate, some students assume that the institution doesn’t care about a particular academic discipline or activity. That couldn’t be further from the truth in the case of science at Augsburg. “There’s some incredible work that goes on in that science building,” he says.

40 Years of “School”

Swenson says he’s gone back to school—not work—at Augsburg every fall since 1975. He keeps learning how to make the student-athlete experience a little bit better every day. “That’s what fuels me,” he says. “It might have to do with providing them with more coaches, or better-lit facilities, or more locker rooms. Whatever the project is, we always want to be moving forward.”

His job is about much more than athletics, though; it’s about Augsburg’s mission. “At Augsburg, we’re preparing our students to be future leaders. Once you’ve been a student athlete and you’ve managed classes, studying, practices, and competitions, then everything else is easy.” Continue reading

Faculty Member’s Gifts Support Augsburg’s Commitment to Vocation

Russell KleckleyRussell Kleckley got hooked on the study of Johannes Kepler when he was working on his doctoral dissertation in theology at the University of Munich in the late 1980s. Kleckley, Augsburg associate professor of religion, became fascinated by the work of the sixteenth-century scientist and theologian, as well as the role of religion in shaping the world that led to the rise of modern science.

“Part of my interest in the CSBR is my own background in the history of science and religion,” Kleckley explains. “The new twist for me is the business connection.” He has participated in several CSBR Summit panel discussions among faculty and alumni; co-developed a course on science, business, and religion; and is a CSBR donor himself. “The CSBR is a chance to invest not just in a building but in an idea,” explains Russell. “This idea, that science, business, and religion all benefit when they engage each other, can empower our students to think more deeply, to act more responsibly, and to believe more boldly than conventional approaches make room for. That’s something worth a commitment of dollars as well as mind and spirit.”

Science + Religion + Business = Vocation

Kleckley thinks that Augsburg’s take on integrating the three academic disciplines makes a lot of sense, historically speaking. “When you go back to the Reformation there is a great deal of interest in understanding the world from a science point of view, but, more importantly, understanding what use we make of it to promote human good.”

It also makes a lot of sense for Augsburg, in particular. “Augsburg’s commitment to vocation is at the center of what we do; it’s the hinge, the key that pulls science, business, and religion together… We need to be thinking about science, business, and religion not strictly in terms of academic dimensions, but in terms of what affects people’s lives,” Kleckley explains. Continue reading

“Unto whom much has been given, much is expected.”

Lee (Dyrud) Furman '61Leola “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

Nic Parsons ’15 Shares Inheritance with Augsburg and CSBR

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

Phil Formo Remembers Family with Gifts for Scholarships and New Building

If Augsburg had a title of “honorary alumnus,” it might go to Phil Formo. His family connections run deep at Augsburg, but he never studied on campus himself. “It was supposed to be automatic that I’d go to Augsburg,” remembers Formo. Instead, in a decision that he says surprised even himself, he chose to attend Pacific Lutheran University. Even without the Augsburg degree he did OK for himself: he became a special education teacher, earned a MEd from St. Cloud State and a MDiv from Luther Seminary, and was called to serve four Minnesota churches. Now retired, Formo celebrates his family’s Augsburg legacy through his philanthropy. His generosity includes support for two endowed scholarship funds and a gift for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

Papa – A Life Remembered

Formo’s Augsburg connections trace back to his grandfather, Andreas Helland, who emigrated from Norway in 1889 at age 19. A graduate of Augsburg seminary, Helland served as professor of New Testament from 1905 to 1940. He wrote an early definitive history of Augsburg Seminary; edited Augsburg College President Georg Sverdrup’s collected works; and in 1947 wrote a biography of President Sverdrup.

In 2013, his grandson Formo published a creative memoir based on professor Helland’s log of his life’s events. “Papa – A Life Remembered” follows Andreas from boyhood on a North Sea island, through his years at Augsburg and his nearly four decades of service on the Lutheran Board of Missions, to his death in 1951. “He was so connected with Augsburg,” says Formo. “When the campaign for the new science hall began [in the 1940s], my grandfather gave the first sizable gift, as well as others for the project as time went on.” Continue reading