Seeing is Believing

Mike-Good-headshotWe commonly use the phrase “seeing is believing” to communicate the idea that only with concrete evidence can we be convinced of a new idea.  It is the essence of the disciple Thomas’s statement of doubt before he saw the risen Jesus and believed.  Jesus responded—“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed”.


I thank each of you who read our “Good News” each month. You know the power and passion of my message to ‘Believe’ that the Center for Science, Business,  and Religion (CSBR) will be a reality.  When we aim our vision in the direction of what we truly desire and believe, we open up new possibilities and along the way, and achieve that vision.  We are on an exciting journey.


This summer a new saying has emerged for me…”Believing is Seeing”.  As I continue to meet with Alumni and friends of Augsburg who believe in the college’s mission, they are visualizing (seeing) how the new CSBR, as the new heart of campus, will become a vehicle to help us live out our mission of educating future leaders for our changing and challenging world.  You continue to find ways to support this campaign because you believe and therefore you see the possibilities!


Most of you have heard and responded to my three calls for your action:

•         To prayerfully consider a stretch gift (cash, stock, wills and other creative mechanisms)

•         To consider who else needs to hear the story of Augsburg as this special place that is small to its students and big for the world;

•         To become a Class leader and help spread the word of this important project to classmates and help your class exceed its goal of $1 million for the campaign.


You have taken my requests and run with them. It’s exciting to see what happens when you do.


Last issue I mentioned the doors opened by Mert Johnson,’59, who has introduced us to business and technology leaders in Alexandria, MN. These relationships are blossoming with multiple exchanges involving campaign leadership, President Pribbenow, local retired business leader Rick Ekstrand, ’72, and faculty members who are learning about the exciting work being done in the sciences and business by a company guided by its strong faith and religious commitment.


It has been exciting to explore potential synergies with these community and business leaders as we share Augsburg’s story of excellence today and the exceptional alumni across many generations who are also business, community, and faith leaders.  These conversations would never have occurred without Mert’s thoughtful response to my second request of him.


I ask each of you to think about community and business leaders you know who might resonate to Augsburg’s mission and our vision of the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.  Each conversation, each meeting, each new commitment further convinces me that now is our time. This is Augsburg’s time to be bold and confident that we have something very special in our culture, our mission, and our urban campus to share with the world.


Please join this movement of those for whom Believing is Seeing–becoming leaders who embrace the challenges of life in the 21st century. Those who know that by acting on belief, we can truly shape a better future for us all.


Read on and enjoy the stories of some great Augsburg givers.


And remember, I am always eager to hear from you and look forward to sharing the inspiring stories of Augsburg.




Mike Good

June Good News

Mike-Good-headshot Answering the Call

You who often read and share this “Good News!” with me likely know my story very well. You understand that out of a dark moment came direction and guidance to persist—to accept the call to serve Augsburg and help bring the Center for Science, Business, and Religion to fruition. (If my story is new to you or you want a refresher, here is short video of that story…. link)



Today I see such encouraging signs as others take up the charge and are answering that same call.

Some recent examples are worthy of sharing with you here.

- Rick Ekstrand ’72, who has already committed financially to the CSBR, recently opened his home to many Auggies and friends in the Glenwood/Alexandria area. He wanted others to hear the story of the CSBR and to get involved.
- Mert Johnson ’59, who also has committed to the CSBR, answered our request that he think of others he knew who should hear “the Augsburg Story.” He has opened the door to business and technology leaders for us in the Alexandria, MN area with whom we are now sharing the exciting work underway by so many Augsburg students and faculty.
- Herb Chilstrom ’54, also committed to the CSBR, answered the call and sent us a list of additional Auggies whom he thought would be interested in learning about the campaign. We are already working on plans to visit with them
- Linda Engstrom Akenson ’72, got involved by inviting others to attend the event at Rick’s home in Glenwood. She wanted to express her enthusiasm for the CSBR and was willing to reach out to tell fellow Auggies more about the campaign and the vision of the College. Linda made her own commitment to the CSBR this past week and will continue to work with us in “telling the Augsburg story” to fellow Auggies.

As you know, I always have three requests of people I speak to about the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. 1) Prayerfully consider a stretch gift. 2) Think of others who you know that should her about our “Augsburg Story”. 3) Consider being a Class Leader.

Now you have the opportunity to act on behalf of our invitation to answer the call. Each time I share our story I see people get very excited about Augsburg. They relate to our relevance, our excellence, and our vision. Believe, Listen and Respond to your Personal Call.

When you answer the call, you act on an Augsburg value— to make the world better by following through on your ideas and your ideals.

You may not realize it, but now is a great time to listen to those voices, both in you heart and all around you, encouraging you to respond. Many donors have presented challenges to join them in giving to the CSBR. And more classes have reached their class goal of at least $1 million each in support of the CSBR.

In every way, Augsburg is an urban university making a real difference for us all. I am eager to hear from you and ready for what comes next.

With thanks,

Mike Good

Campaign Progress May 31, 2014

Campaign Progress as of May 31, 2014

The Campaign goal for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion is to raise $50,000,000 in philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends of Augsburg College.May 2014 3 sized thermometer

The Board of Regents will set a date to break ground when we have reached goals for both cash in hand and outstanding pledges that assure completion of the campaign.

Thank you for all you are doing to move this project forward.

May Good News

Mike-Good-headshotIt’s graduation season,

the time of year when we hear many great speeches that point us toward enduring life lessons. Addresses that often include tributes to inspired teachers. It makes me wonder, who introduced you to the values you consider most important to you? For many of us it was probably a teacher, and very likely someone from Augsburg. I know I learned a great deal about acceptance, determination, belief and friendship from my Augsburg mentors which included teachers, coaches as well as my Auggie classmates.

Later this month, we look forward to many alumni and friends of Augsburg joining us for a CSBR Class Leadership Summit. We will shine a light on the leadership of 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. We will celebrate the growing momentum both on and off campus and draw attention to some of the named spaces to honor 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 Bill Urseth ’71 that follows this report.

I am thrilled with the great update our volunteer and advancement teams were able to give the Augsburg Regents a few days ago. In addition to meeting a number of key goals (over 600 guests have attended a Summit thus far), we have been fortunate to receive gifts and pledges from our donors which have been totaling close to $1 million per month since last October. Many in our community of faculty, staff, alumni and business partners have acted on their belief in the power of an Augsburg education by making their stretch gifts.

At their meeting, the Regents observed that the momentum is changing both Campus and broader Community perceptions of Augsburg with our fundraising success. They agreed, the best plan for proceeding with the new Center will be to adhere to prudent fiscal benchmarks so that we can move forward with confidence to review program and construction planning as soon as it is feasible. The Regents recommend that we look to 2016 for this process to begin, but in preparation, we will take steps to remove existing structures currently where the new complex will stand.

As you read on, you will hear the many great reasons alumni and faculty have for generously investing in the future of Augsburg. Thank you for continuing to a) consider your own stretch giving, b) Refer people to us who need to hear the story of Augsburg and c) Believe in the CSBR and Augsburg’s future.


April Good News

What happens when a legend leaves us?Mike-Good-headshot

What might their legacy generate, stretching beyond a wonderful life well lived? What remains? These are some of the questions many of us asked when we learned that legendary Auggie hockey coach Ed Saugestad ’59 died last month following an extended illness.

An influential teacher and coach, he made such a difference for so many Auggies. Some saw him as a great teacher who helped them find talents in themselves they had never noticed. Some spoke of his great tenacity—his drive on the ice and for his teams. Everyone who knew him admired his commitment to and passion for Augsburg.

Before Ed died, his former athletes started a movement, to generate a wave of generosity and honoring with a goal of increasing investment in the Center for Science, Business and Religion.

In last month’s Class Challenge e-newsletter, we announced the challenge grant to name a hall in the new Center in Ed’s honor.

I am excited to report more than 30 new gifts have been added to the challenge, bringing total gifts to just under $100,000 toward the $150,000 goal. Even as you read this newsletter, new gifts are under discussion. The momentum is catching!

Some of you know I have admired this quote attributed to theologian John of Salisbury:

We are like dwarfs sitting on the shoulders of giants. We see more, and things that are more distant, than they did, not because our sight is superior or because we are taller than they, but because they raise us up, and by their great stature add to ours.

Ed was one of the giants of Augsburg. We see our way to a greater future because of his steadfast commitment to all that the College represents. And the residue of his leadership and vision carry on through the gifts to bring the CSBR into form.

Read on and learn about other investments being made in the CSBR because we BELIEVE!

Mike Good ’71

Campaign Progress March 31, 2014

Campaign Progress as of March 31, 2014April 2014 thermometer

The Campaign goal for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion is to raise $50,000,000 in philanthropic support from alumni, parents and friends of Augsburg College.

The Board of Regents would like to break ground for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion in 2014. We need at least another $10 million to consider when we can start construction.

Thank you for all you are doing to move this project forward.

Good News, March 2014

Mike-Good-headshotAll Minnesotan’s are tired of talking about the winter weather, but please allow me one more story.

On the morning of January 30, more than 10 inches of snow had fallen overnight with more predicted. The Board of Regents eagerly anticipated the arrival of more than 200 alumni and friends of Augsburg who planned to join us, along with an array of speakers including 5th District Congressman Keith Ellison, for our Leadership Summit.

At noon, the snow stopped, the sun returned, and the Advancement team sent out word—the show must go on!

Here is what Dr. Steven Larson’71 from Riverside, CA, said about the experience of attending this Regents Summit:

“Actually, I was really excited to attend this Summit, especially given the shock of -10 degrees and lots snow. It did not stop anyone from offering us true Augsburg hospitality and we were surrounded with the warmth of great people sharing their stories about their dreams and ambitions. Also, I saw so many good friends, including Jim Agre.

“I got to meet with some of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) students before the event. They came to Augsburg from around the country and the world, including students from Africa and Iran. Each student shared personal stories of how they got to Augsburg and what it means to be studying here now. They are eager to apply what they have learned and put it to work to help others. Some want to return home to serve. Some cannot return home and are seeking asylum here. All of them plan to use their gifts as healers for in communities in need.

“Someone asked me, what has changed since you attended Augsburg? What I see that stays the same is the passion for teaching and learning between faculty and students. What NEEDS to change is the science facility. I was a chemistry major and when I saw that chemistry lab, I thought—but it’s so small!

“We really must all get behind this campaign and get this building built by 2019!

“It’s not about the building, but rather, what happens inside it. Augsburg is a tremendous urban asset. These students have amazing abilities and they are demonstrating it every day. The faculty provide such personal attention. The CSBR demonstrates that Augsburg is pursuing its mission of excellence.”

Thank you, Dr. Larson, for these insights. I could not agree more.

As you read on, you will hear stories of others taking the step to make their commitment to the CSBR effort. Since the January Summit, we have received new gifts and pledges exceeding $1.9 million!

Please take Dr. Larson’s words to heart and “get behind” this exciting effort.
Thank you to all. You can see why, I BELIEVE!

2013—A Year for Augsburg Breakthroughs, A Time for Thanks

Already, it’s been a great start to a new year, but before we get much further into January, I want to invite you to join me in celebrating some remarkable moments for Augsburg from 2013. Many of you know that I found myself agreeing to dedicate myself to the campaign to bring a new center to the heart of the Augsburg campus—the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.


I am always amazed by what happens when we set our attention on what Jim Collins, the best-selling business writer, calls a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). Everything starts to point toward achieving that goal.


Alumni stepping up in big ways

Augsburg made a real commitment to leadership, placing first among colleges and universities in Minnesota for the Give To The Max Day (November 14), and fourth overall. We reported the results in detail in our previous newsletters.


Since our Regent-sponsored Leadership Summit on October 3, more than 200 alumni, friends and supporters have added more than $570,000 to the campaign totals. Most of these new gifts to the CSBR have been donated by alumni. With the closing of the financials for 2013, the campaign has currently raised $26.1 million. Our next very important target is to secure a total of $34 million by the end of April. Each of you reading this newsletter already knows why this date is so important. The Regents will use our progress toward that number as a guidepost for determining a “shovel in the ground” date to begin building the center, thus setting in motion the process of bringing it from idea to reality.


It’s the people who make all the difference

As important as all these numbers are in helping us track our progress and momentum, it is the people who generously make their commitment to Augsburg and its future, and the students and faculty working each day on the task of teaching and learning, that inspire us as we keep our eyes on the target.


People like you

As you read through the profiles of generosity that follow here, I hope you will also identify with their stories. As I have said before, I invite you to do three things:

  • Prayerfully consider a stretch gift to the campaign
  • Think about who you know who needs to hear the story of this special place
  • Become a class leader and join the effort to raise $1 million or more per class


Thank you to every one of you who shares our vision, who believes in the importance of investing in the Augsburg of today and tomorrow. I can feel the energy growing, growing toward our vital destination.


Mike Good ’71
National Campaign Chair

It’s a Great Time to Give Thanks to Augsburg

Each year I welcome this season of Advent. It’s a time for inward reflection and anticipation of the coming of the Light of the world. Augsburg celebrates this season with remarkable music and varied celebrations as we enter the holy season and celebrate in the spirit of Christmas. For all of us who care about Augsburg, it is also a great time to give thanks for this College.

When I consider all that happened for Augsburg in 2013, it is a robust list of achievements including:

  • The largest freshman class in our history
  • Significant research grants to fund faculty work, especially in the sciences, and
  • The largest single philanthropic gift—$10 million—given by an anonymous alumnus.

Auggies also came together to set a record for Give to the Max Day, placing the College in the enviable #1 spot among all Minnesota colleges and universities and #4 among all Minnesota nonprofit organizations in total gifts received ($313,639 from 837 donors).

We have surpassed one of our benchmark campaign goals with total gifts and pledges to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion exceeding $25.5 million. Surely groundbreaking will be just around the corner as more and more alumni, friends and supporters commit to make Augsburg the strongest College we can be.

We enter 2014 with renewed faith and vision of the completion of a new academic building that will serve all our students and faculty. This transformational facility will position us to achieve the goals set forth in the Augsburg 2019 Strategic Vision.

Included in this issue of Good News are more stories of alumni and friends who have made their commitment to this bright future. Thank you for joining us, and for your generosity.

Another example of the College’s commitment to interdisciplinary dialog around the intersection of Science, Business, and Religion is the annual Peace Prize Forum. We were honored two years ago to be given the opportunity to host this event every year on Augsburg’s campus in partnership with the University of Minnesota and our fellow Norwegian colleges and universities.

The Nobel Peace Prize Forum is a unique civic learning experience. This dynamic, global event brings Nobel Peace Prize winners, civic leaders, and scholars together with students and other citizens. As the Norwegian Nobel Institute’s only such program or academic affiliation outside of Norway, the Forum has a special mission: to inspire peacemaking by celebrating the work of Peace Prize winners. Please plan to attend the 26th annual Peace Prize Forum March 1 and 7-9 in Minneapolis, on the campuses of Augsburg College and the University of Minnesota West Bank.

Have a blessed Christmas!

Mike Good ’71
National Campaign Chair

CSBR Campaign Hits New Milestone, Offers New Opportunities

When you fear or doubt, have faith

Early last month I shared my Believe story with 150 guests of the Regents at a Leadership Summit for the Center for Science, Business and Religion. I have told so many of you how I doubted myself and the call from President Pribbenow asking that I lead the Campaign to bring together three disciplines under one crossroads facility in the CSBR. But I turned my fear and self-doubt into faith and belief. Now I am even more clear that our shared belief is turning into a remarkable momentum for Augsburg’s future.

In a mere 30 days since that exciting Summit, alumni and friends have made new gifts and pledges to the campaign exceeding $600,000, enough to put the campaign over $25 million! We are grateful and inspired by the generosity and support coming from all parts of the Augsburg community. Please read this full press release about the campaign’s important milestone, what comes next and how you can join us.

Max out your Giving to Augsburg on November 14

There is so much good news to share and so many ways to join in the fun. In just a few days, all of us can join with other alumni and friends in our effort to expand giving across Minnesota to Augsburg and many special projects.

Thursday, November 14, is Give to the Max Day, and this year, more than 25 Auggie faculty, staff, and alumni from all over campus are creating their own Give to the Max Day fundraising projects to help Augsburg come in 1st place among all Minnesota colleges and universities.

There’s a project for everyone—from Chemistry to Volleyball and Wrestling, Medieval Studies to Campus Kitchens. Check out all the projects at You can even indicate your giving plans and make sure you get it recorded on November 14, Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.

Great Giving to Class Challenges, including the Class of 2015

You have also heard about the Class Challenge effort led by co-chairs Wayne Jorgenson ’71 and Chris Ascher ’81. The goal is for every class to give at least $1 million to the college and the campaign. (As Wayne and Chris point out, with such a comprehensive and successful giving effort, the campaign for the CSBR will be complete!)

This effort is motivating so many great responses. Indeed, Chris and Wayne report that the classes of 1948-2015 have all contributed to the campaign! Of these, 43 classes have contributed at a $25,000 level or greater. This month the class of 1948 has joined the challenge with two $25,000 gifts.

Encouraging action today!

I appreciate the many ways Auggies are stepping forward. By adding their special contributions, in so many different ways, we are all making sure Augsburg students and faculty will experience a remarkable place for learning–a place designed to stimulate ideas and solutions to the challenges of a complex world.

Please contact me with any questions or suggestions, and to help you make your own gift to support Augsburg for a great future. I can be reached at


Mike Good ’71
National Campaign Chair for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion