Norm and Vangie Hagfors Make $10 Million Naming Gift to Augsburg for the New Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Norm and Vangie Hagfors at the Vespers Campaign Celebration Dinner with Bev '55 and Don '53 Oren, at left, and Anne and former President Bill Frame, at right.
Norm and Vangie Hagfors at the Vespers Campaign Celebration Dinner with Bev ’55 and Don ’53 Oren, at left, and Anne and former President Bill Frame, at right.

According to Evangeline (Gundale) Hagfors, “In our family there was only one calling, and that was to help others.”  The daughter of Norwegian immigrant parents, she and her husband, Norm Hagfors, have demonstrated this calling most recently with their gift to Augsburg.

Vangie’s father, Elnar G. Olsen (who later used his middle name, Gundale, to distinguish himself from so many other pastors named Olsen) emigrated to the United States in 1930, studied at Augsburg College and Seminary, and was ordained in 1937 as a Lutheran Free Church pastor. While a seminary student he taught Norwegian at Augsburg.

Norman and Evangeline (Gundale) Hagfors met at a Sunday evening after-church coffee. After visiting, Norm drove Vangie, a nursing student at Deaconess Hospital near Augsburg, back to her dorm. Over the next 55 years they would marry, have a family, enjoy a distinguished career, and form a continuing connection with Augsburg.

Last spring when they decided to make a naming gift for Augsburg’s new Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR), they affirmed their commitment to the importance of the three disciplines brought together in the building and the excellence of these disciplines. “The need for the building was not new. And their amazing science programs produce remarkable results,” said Norm.

Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow with Regent Norm Hagfors at a May 2015 campaign celebration.
In May 2015, Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow, with Regent Norm Hagfors, announced that the campaign for the CSBR reached its $50 million fundraising goal a year ahead of schedule.

Norm reported, “My real interest in the sciences was piqued by my high school teacher who was an Augsburg graduate named Donald Murphy. He made science so interesting.” While still a student, studying electrical engineering at the University of Minnesota, Norman joined Earl Bakken and Palmer Hermundslie as the number four employee of Medtronic, Inc., then located in Palmer’s garage. Later, as director of research and manufacturing, he was part of the management team that transitioned Medtronic from a medical instrument repair and service organization to a medical device company specializing in implantable products. It is now the largest medical device company in the world. He has received a number of patents related to the development of medical devices.

Norman was the founder and president of Stimulation Technology, Inc., a medical device company pioneering the development of pain control devices. The company was eventually sold to Johnson & Johnson. Prior to his retirement, he was president of Norsen, Inc., and partner of KLGT-23 television.

Why did they decide to add their name to the Hagfors Center? Vangie shared that with her family ties to Augsburg spanning 85 years, and Norm, as a longtime member of the Board of Regents, “The timing was right. Augsburg’s leadership is strong, the faculty is outstanding, the student enrollment is growing, and the need for the building is clear. Adding our name signals that we stand with Augsburg. We support the CSBR project and the many benefits it will provide faculty, students, and the Augsburg community.”

The Hagfors Center represents Augsburg’s commitment to be faithful to our mission and Lutheran identity, and highly relevant to today’s students. As we become a sought-after campus for leaders of the future, the Hagfors Center will be a home for the College’s extensive and renowned undergraduate research that prepares students for work and graduate studies, and fosters a culture of discovery and transformation.

The interdisciplinary Hagfors Center is designed to foster intersections among areas of study, support active learning, and connect the College to the community. The new building embodies Augsburg’s mission of educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.

Ground will be broken for the new academic building on April 29, 2016, and the building is expected to open in January 2018.

Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference

Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”
Mary Ann Kinney took this photo of a back-strap weaver on one of her trips to the Guatemalan Highlands. She shares it often to express her personal mantra, “The tapestry of others’ lives is solely in our hands.”

Mary Ann Kinney, ’04 MAN and ’11 DNP, found a way to support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) while honoring those who made a difference in her life. She bought 14 bricks for the CSBR, requesting that many of them be inscribed with the names of friends, family members, and Augsburg leaders. She’s especially grateful to nursing faculty Ruth Enestvedt and Sue Nash, who prepared her for academia at the graduate level.

“I bought bricks for those people who made me deeply aware of the needs within the community,” explains Kinney, an orthopedic trauma nurse at the Mayo Clinic St. Mary’s Campus and a long-time advocate for the homeless. “The bricks are hard and fast. They’re not going to shatter; they’re going to be around for a long time.”

Helping Those in Need Around the World

“The homeless do not receive our traditional hospice care,” says Kinney. “They are in and out of shelters or live in homeless camps or behind dumpsters.” That understanding led her to her master’s thesis topic, “Model for Access to Hospice Care for the Homeless,” which proposed a holistic and simplistic model of nursing care at the end of life.

In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right,
In a photo with her Doctorate in Nursing Practice cohort, Kinney is in the back row, second from right.

While studying at Augsburg, she participated in immersion trips to Guatemala, Mexico, and England, where she researched access to hospice for the homeless at St. Christopher’s Hospice in Sydenham. In immersions and practica like these, Augsburg nursing students work in settings where they encounter people who are under-served and struggling with poverty, despair, and access to basic health care and supportive services. These experiences help students understand the sociocultural complexities that lead to health and healing.

Kinney’s overseas immersions were neither the first nor the last of her journeys to help others. She has traveled to orphanages in Columbia and served as a delegate to the first Women’s Health Conference in China. In Ireland, she researched Irish wakes and funerals, traveling the countryside on her bicycle. She worked with the Free Romania Society to rescue orphans during wartime and in Marshall University’s rural medicine outreach program in Appalachia. Today she continues to serve the disenfranchised in the Twin Cities, and Rochester, Minn. through her volunteer work. Continue reading “Gift for CSBR Bricks Honors Those Who Make a Difference”

Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Meyer-Auggie-photoRegent Dennis Meyer ’78 remembers many conversations with Jeroy Carlson ’48, staff member in the alumni relations and development office. “Jeroy was never too busy to talk, and had a genuine interest in getting to know each and every student.” said Dennis.

To honor Jeroy and his wife Lorraine (Ainy), Dennis and Bev (Ranum) Meyer ’78 recently increased their pledge to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). Half of their total CSBR gift will go toward the $250,000 needed to name a second-floor gathering space in honor of the Carlsons, the Jeroy and Lorraine Carlson Atrium Lounge. “Jeroy was committed to building a community on campus, so we believe this is the most appropriate way to honor his legacy,” says Bev.  Augsburg will also name a faculty office to recognize the Meyers’ generosity.

Jeroy’s Lasting Impact on Augsburg Students

carlsonsDuring his 44 year tenure, Jeroy helped countless students get their careers off the ground. “He never hesitated to pick up the phone to make a connection,” explains Dennis. One of Jeroy’s introductions helped Bev make an important professional connection and launch her teaching career. “There were many faculty and staff members at Augsburg who provided career guidance and direction, but Jeroy stands out for us.” says Bev, who taught math at Wayzata High School for several years before becoming an actuary for consulting firms and insurance companies. Dennis is chief marketing and business development officer for the law firm Robins Kaplan LLP.

“I admire the connections Jeroy developed with alumni and his ability to make things happen,” says Dennis, noting that Jeroy raised millions for the college. “When he called and asked for something, people gave because they had great respect for Jeroy, his love of Augsburg, and the people who contributed to its success.” Continue reading “Honoring “Mr. Augsburg” with Increased Gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion”

An Extraordinary Bequest

James-EricksenJames E. Ericksen ’72, whose life was marked by his commitment to faith and passion for the arts, passed away in January at age 68, leaving Augsburg an unexpected and extraordinary bequest of more than $5 million.

To honor his legacy, the majority of Ericksen’s gift will be designated to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Part of this gift will honor Ericksen’s faith and be directed to Christ Auditorium, the 80-seat classroom at the heart of the new building. In tribute to his love of music, a renovation to the Sateren Auditorium lobby also will be named for him.

His gift was one of the largest estate gifts in Augsburg’s history.

“We wish so much that we could have thanked him during his lifetime,” said Heather Riddle, vice president of Institutional Advancement. Continue reading “An Extraordinary Bequest”

Driven by Care, Committed to Connections

Drs. Karthik and Amit Ghosh '12 MBA
Drs. Amit ’12 MBA and Karthik Ghosh

When patients come to the Mayo Clinic with a health concern, and no previous doctors have been able to determine a diagnosis, Dr. Amit Ghosh knows where to start. He begins by listening. “I talk a lot,” he says. “But not for the next 10 minutes.” You find out a lot about a patient when you just let them speak about what’s troubling them, he says. As a doctor, Ghosh says that listening is his most important skill.

Whenever Ghosh gets stuck, he doesn’t seek comfort in the two dozen diplomas displayed in his Rochester office. He’s more likely to pull a Business Communication textbook off his bookshelf.

Ghosh, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and a consultant in the division of general internal medicine, received his MBA from Augsburg’s Rochester program in 2012.

He is the director of the International Clinical practice at Mayo and received the Distinguished Mayo Educator award in 2010. Ghosh received his medical training and completed his internship in India, graduating from the Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education. He came to the United States in 1993 and completed a fellowship in nephrology and hypertension and a residency in internal medicine at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Ghosh has been with Mayo for 15 years, and says he is lucky to work with amazing colleagues from whom he can learn every day. Of the many accolades on his office walls, Ghosh says he is most proud of the District 6 Toastmaster of the Year award he received last year. The District 6 region has more than 5,000 members in Minnesota and Ontario, Canada. He keeps the plaques on the walls to “validate what I did in the past and also remind me what I need to do in future. I keep them in my room to allow me to stay grounded and treat my patients well,” he says.

The American College of Physicians-Minnesota Chapter presented the 2012 Laureate award to Ghosh at its annual scientific session in Minneapolis. The Laureate Award honors an internal medicine physician and member of the American College of Physicians who has demonstrated an abiding commitment to excellence in medical care, education, or research.

Witnessing Good Works

Ghosh grew up in India and went to school in Rourkela, a steel city in the state of Orissa. As a student, Mother Theresa visited his school. She challenged each student to return the next day with a cup of rice or a couple potatoes to feed hungry families. Instead, students returned with bags of rice, bags of potatoes, much more than was ever asked. Once each family heard Mother Theresa was asking the students for help, they went over and beyond to give.

toastmaster award
Karthik, Amit, and Divya Ghosh with his Toastmaster award.

“Philanthropy is contagious,” Ghosh says. The lesson stayed with him. “Always serve and ask for help when it can be used to serve others and not yourselves. You will be surprised how many people will step up to help for a good cause if you ask them to help.”

He is happiest, he says, when he is working with people, is challenged, and when he does not know what he is doing. This drive to do more and to serve may have pushed him into both medicine and business.

He considers himself a lifelong learner, excited by his interactions with patients, and inspired by developments at Mayo in his career there.

“Benefactors are so important,” he says, referring to the generosity he has seen influence Mayo’s competitiveness not only nationally, but internationally. More than any new addition or piece of technology, he sees that the environment and the culture of Mayo are defined by the principle of care that every patient receives.

In 2009, Ghosh’s colleague, Augsburg College Regent Dr. Paul Mueller ’84, suggested the MBA program. Ghosh was in a leadership position at Mayo and wanted to be able to be more concrete with the business side of operations. Ghosh now works on the same floor as Mueller and his administrative partner Rachel Pringnitz ’02, ’07 MBA, and they routinely see Auggies all around them as physicians and administrators at Mayo. Continue reading “Driven by Care, Committed to Connections”

Partners in Arms Challenge Alumni to Give What They Can

Wayne '71 and Carol '72 Jorgenson
Wayne ’71 and Carol ’72 Jorgenson

Augsburg Regent Wayne Jorgenson ’71 and Carol (Pederson) Jorgenson ’72 are on the front line of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) campaign. As Alumni Class Challenge chair, Wayne is leading the charge in a light-hearted competition designed to encourage classmates from all years to support the CSBR. He hopes to see well over 1,000 alumni giving to the campaign. “We’re still going strong,” he says, likening the campaign’s momentum to a snowball rolling downhill. “It just gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger.”

Wayne and Carol say they have been blessed in life, and they are happy to do what they can to help. “We paid tuition when we went to Augsburg, but it didn’t cover everything,” explains Wayne. “People ahead of us had given money; we never knew who those people were, but we benefited from them giving something.”

Now, he says, it’s time for alumni to join together to make a difference for future students. “The more we raise now, the sooner we’ll be able to do things like demolish the old science building and re-landscape.” Razing the old science building will open up more green space and create a long quad area anchored by the CSBR. “The campus will be very inviting to current students and those considering attending the school,” he says. “We have hit our campaign goal but the building will cost more than that goal. The more we can raise over that goal means there will be that much less debt that the school will have to take on to fund the difference.” Continue reading “Partners in Arms Challenge Alumni to Give What They Can”

It’s a Great Time to be an Auggie!

Chris Ascher '81Hello Auggies!

I’m excited to report again the great news that Augsburg, our fine alma mater, has succeeded in what it set out to do—secure $50 million from alumni and friends to fund the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and make it the new heart of our campus. How many ways can we say thank you!

You may know I serve as one of the chairs of the Alumni Class Challenge. It’s been my dream to welcome more and more alumni of Augsburg into the growing circle of generous givers. So many of you have agreed to meet the challenge!

You may also know I work for Morgan Stanley, and have relocated from Minnesota to Ohio. Each June, Morgan Stanley celebrates volunteer month, and I was recognized as a volunteer. Coincidentally, Augsburg staff member Amy Alkire visited us in Cleveland for a meeting with Augsburg alumni. Both meetings reinforced my belief that every class that has come out of Augsburg is filled with accomplished, high-quality people who want to help Augsburg take its future to whole new level. And the CSBR is a big part of that future.

One of the meetings I had was with Andrew Johnson, class of 2007. Andrew grew up in Plymouth, Minn., and was promoted within his Minneapolis-based firm, Ameriprise, 18 months ago and moved to Cleveland. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with Andrew before and was looking forward to catching up with him. Not only has Andrew supported Augsburg in the past but he offered to meet with any Augsburg alumni in the Cleveland area. He’s willing to see how many more Auggies will join the Class Challenge givers. That attitude is indicative of an Auggie! That is why the CSBR will get built! Continue reading “It’s a Great Time to be an Auggie!”

Gift to CSBR is Capstone on a Lifetime of Service

Mert-Strommen-42Mert Strommen ’42 is a household name for the many Augsburg alumni who knew him as youth director of the Lutheran Free Church, Augsburg campus pastor, and professor. A pioneer in youth ministry, a researcher, and a widely published author, Strommen has been loyal to Augsburg College since he was a child and his family included the College in their evening devotions. The Regent Emeritus recently capped off his gifts of time, talent, and resources to Augsburg with a $25,000 contribution for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. A psychology faculty office will be named in recognition of his generosity.

Music, faith, and science

“You should know this: I had only one interest, and that was music,” says Strommen of his teenage years. He recalls listening to the Augsburg choir’s Sunday-evening performance on WCCO Radio’s The Hour Melodious in 1935, when he was age 15. One particularly moving choral work by Russian composer Gretchaninov kept revolving in his mind, making it difficult to sleep that night. He later sang in the Augsburg choir under Henry Opseth and toured with the Augsburg Quartet. With income from choir directing and collections from quartet concerts, he was able to make it through college without debt. He went on to earn a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Minnesota, where he studied with some of the leading figures in the field. Bridging religion and science, he soon became one of the first to combine counseling psychology with the spiritual development of youth.

Many alumni and others remember Strommen from summer Bible camps, youth conventions, and Luther League activities. “At the time I got started, youth work as a profession didn’t exist,” he explains. “There were no books, no training programs, no research…. It was very primitive.” He calls the ensuing years a “golden period in the life of the church and youth work.”

Strommen’s path-breaking research into the beliefs, values, lifestyles, and concerns of U.S. Lutherans sparked the founding of the Minneapolis-based Search Institute in 1958. He led the organization for 25 years. Today, Search Institute remains an innovator in listening to young people and promoting positive change with and for them. Continue reading “Gift to CSBR is Capstone on a Lifetime of Service”

Raabes Honor Edor Nelson (Again) with Estate Gift to CSBR

Mark and Jean RaabeMark ’53 and Jean Raabe recently committed an estate gift of $250,000 to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) in honor of legendary Augsburg Coach Edor Nelson ’38. This is the second gift the Raabes have made for the project; in 2013, they made a gift of $50,000 for the CSBR, half of which was designated to name a faculty office in Coach Nelson’s honor. Since making that gift, Mark Raabe kept wondering if he’d done enough to honor his former baseball coach. “We wanted to make a gift worthy of this legend and that would be more reflective of our feeling toward him,” he explains.

A larger-than-life role model

When Mark Raabe came to Augsburg from St. James, Minn. in 1949, WWII had ended just four years earlier. Edor Nelson ’38 was a war hero and recent addition to the Augsburg faculty. “He had been a prisoner and escaped; he was larger than life in every way and such a good and decent man,” explains Mark. “He had a profound impact on me.”

In 2001, the Raabes attended a gathering to celebrate the naming of the athletic field in Coach Nelson’s honor. They had visited him only once since graduation, but, as Raabe remembers, “When we were still 20-30 feet away, he looked up and met my eyes, and said, ‘Here comes my second baseman!’ The fact that he would remember, 50 years later, who I was and what position I played for only two years is just amazing. What it says to me is that he cared about his kids. Edor is legendary in that regard.”

Estate planning creates path to greater giving

The Raabes settled in the Washington, D.C., area many years ago and are now retired. They don’t get back to Augsburg often, but they pay attention to what’s happening at the college and how the CSBR campaign is progressing. “We get emails about gifts and updates from Campaign Chair Mike Good,” says Raabe, explaining that the articles about others’ giving helped motivate them to dig deeper. Clearly there was a lot of momentum building for the campaign,” he explains. “That makes you re-evaluate. As you see people give more, you reach down and see if you can give more.” Continue reading “Raabes Honor Edor Nelson (Again) with Estate Gift to CSBR”

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 “The Band Plays On”