“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

Believe … Let’s Finish the Campaign This Year!

Hello friends,

Mike Good '71The incredible $10 million gift announced six weeks ago has given us tremendous momentum! Momentum is a great thing when you feel the wind at your back!

During much of this Campaign to build the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, we have felt like we were running uphill against the wind, and this change feels really special and good. We are within approximately $9 million of our stated goal and I BELIEVE we can finish the campaign yet this year and break ground on this long-awaited facility that represents the best of the transformational work already being done at Augsburg.

Even during moments of doubt, we found strength in believing that God was calling us all to this special challenge and would continue to be our strength throughout our work together. I remember many conversations with alumni who would ask me how we were doing … if we were getting campaign weariness. My response was always twofold.

First, I shared with them that I wouldn’t be personally engaged in this CSBR work if I didn’t believe that God was actively at work in the mission and life of Augsburg College. Secondly, I shared with them that each interaction, each meeting, each gift from an Augsburg alum or friend gave me and the entire staff new energy, new confidence and new faith that we were on the right path. You continually give us hope and encouragement, and we are grateful.

The donors of this transformational “naming gift” are very grounded in their faith in God and his redeeming grace. They have been long-time supporters of the College and believe in the mission of Augsburg. They understand the importance of not only maintaining our differentiation as an institution but in building on those key differentiators.

One such differentiator is that we boldly proclaim Augsburg as a college of the church, and that our calling is to educate future leaders for today’s and tomorrow’s world that know they are called to serve their neighbor with their unique gifts. Without that differentiation, Augsburg would not be the same institution.

The day after the joyous announcement of the $10 million gift, I was reading in my Daily Bible an important story that reminded me of Augsburg’s own journey. In the story, the Israelites have already forgotten their covenant with God in the desert and made a golden calf. Moses asks God to forgive His people. Then he asks God for His Presence to go with them on their journey to the promised land. Moses says to God: “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and your people unless you go with us?  What will distinguish me and your people from all other people on the face of the earth?” God responds: “I will do this very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

Without God’s Presence, we become just another urban college. But with His Presence we are distinguished from all the others because of our unique calling. May God’s Presence go with Augsburg as we finish this campaign to build the Center for Science, Business, and Religion and as our faculty, staff, and administration continue to live out that mission for the benefit of our students and Auggies everywhere!

Mike Good ’71

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

Tom Crook Honors Wife, Nancy English ’73, and Daughters with Gift to Building

Tom Crook with daughters Emily Crook (left) and Hilary Crook (right)“Augsburg has been part of our lives for a long time,” says Tom Crook. Tom isn’t an alumnus himself, but the three most important women in his life attended Augsburg: his late wife Nancy English, MD ’73, and their daughters, Hilary ’01 and Emily Crook ’07, ’15 MAE. His $25,000 gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) honors his wife and daughters. “We’ve always been fond of Augsburg,” says Tom. “I thought it was a nice way to remember my wife and honor my children.”

Tom and his family will be recognized with the naming of a psychology faculty office in the new building. Tom says that naming a psychology office seemed right because Nancy was a social worker before she went to medical school at age 37, and she had considered returning to medical school to become a psychiatrist. Instead, she decided to dedicate her career to the practice of family medicine. “Anyone who’s going to study pre-med at Augsburg will spend a lot of time in that building,” says Tom. The gift to Augsburg also celebrates the family’s and the College’s shared Norwegian roots. Continue reading

Neal ’57 and Judy (Fosse) ’61 Snider Find Joy in Giving to CSBR

Neal & Judy SniderAs a pastor for 54 years, Neal Snider ’57 saw how money can bring joy if it’s shared. Finding joy in giving to an institution that shares their values is one of the reasons why Neal and his wife Judy support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion with current and planned gifts.

He has witnessed how accumulating wealth can become an addiction, as real as alcoholism or any other. “Money is a dangerous thing,” explains Neal. “If it’s used only for oneself, it’s not a blessing, it’s a curse … few people can handle it properly.” “But then,” says Neal, “the question is, ‘why give for a building that in 60 years may be obsolete and torn down?’… The only justification for a Christian to give to the building is that it’s a gamble that the professors will motivate the students to leave Augsburg and be servants in the world and not aggrandize themselves. Then it pays off.” He can’t be sure the bet will pay off, but he’s hopeful. “I have confidence in the leadership … I was very impressed with the leadership of Bill Frame, and from what I can see, Paul Pribbenow is of the same mold.”

Formative Years at Augsburg

“I got an education and I met my wife Judy ’61 at Augsburg, and the College was formative for my entire life.” He remembers professors who cared about students, invited them to their homes, and supported the maturation of their faith. College professors Carl Chrislock (History), Mario Calacci (Humanities, Greek, and Latin), John Stensvaag (Religion), and Paul Sonnack (Religion) were especially important to Neal. He remembers time with friends at Smiley’s Point soda fountain and playing ping pong for hours in the basement of Gerda Mortensen Hall. “I was a really good ping pong player,” laughs Neal. “One of the best, but not the best. Jim Norman was the best.”

A Debt of Gratitude

“My father was a janitor [in Pembina, North Dakota], and wasn’t able to provide a lot of support,” says Neal. So in his freshman year Neal kept track of everything he spent. “If I put a nickel in a parking meter or bought a pack of gum, I wrote it down,” he remembers. “I got a full-tuition scholarship for the second semester, which was $80.” All told, he spent $1,001.58 that first year. “It didn’t come easily, but I was given an opportunity at Augsburg, and I got out of there without any debts,” says Neal, who worked and lived at Enger Funeral Home from his sophomore year through his first year in seminary. Continue reading

Investing in Minneapolis

Inez and Lyall Schwazkopf '59

Photo credit: John Walsh

Like many Augsburg students, Inez (Olson) Schwarzkopf ’59 counted on paychecks to help meet college expenses. She ran the switchboard at St. Barnabas Hospital and operated the freight elevator at Deaconess Hospital, taking the dirty linens down to the basement, and the morticians’ gurneys up to the morgue. The job at Messenger Press Bookstore on 22nd and Riverside was the one that really paid off, though. That’s where she met Lyall Schwarzkopf, a veteran whose widowed mother owned and operated the hardware store next door. “The best thing I got out of that was my husband,” laughs Inez. She and Lyall have been married for 56 years, and made a gift to Augsburg every year since Inez graduated.

It was Lyall who suggested they make a bigger commitment to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR). “I was a consistent kind of giver to the annual fund as well as capital drives” explains Inez. But when her non-alumnus husband said, “I think we have to do something [for the CSBR],” Inez listened. “He appreciates the value of the College as a business anchor for that part of Minneapolis,” says Inez of Lyall, who is former Minneapolis city clerk and city coordinator, and secretary of the Minneapolis Charter Commission.

Learning at Father’s Knee

Inez’s father, Iver Olson ’35, was an ordained pastor and professor at Augsburg Seminary and Augsburg College, where he taught religion and Scandinavian language, literature, and culture for twenty years. He’d regale Inez and her three siblings with Norwegian folk tales, as well as tales of Augsburg, all the while moving smoothly between Norwegian and English.

Her family expected that she would go to college, and that the college would be Augsburg. “Nobody ever told me there was anyplace else to go!” she remembers. A writer from an early age, at Augsburg Inez encountered professors like Jerry Thorson, head of the English Department, who helped her hone her craft. “He didn’t let me get away with any sloppiness,” she remembers. “That was an important turning point for me … I was a flashy writer, but I had to get good.” She received several writing awards at Augsburg and at the University of Minnesota, where she later received a Master of Arts. Continue reading

Exciting New Announcement for the CSBR

I have very exciting news to share with you regarding the Center for Science, Business, and Religion!

On the heels of another successful Summit, on January 30 we announced to the Board of Regents and to the faculty and staff that Augsburg has received a transformational $10 million gift that has lifted us above the $40 million mark in our campaign to raise $50 million to build the CSBR.

The name of the donor, a current member of the Board of Regents, will be announced in the near future when we can recognize and honor the family in a most appropriate way for their naming-level gift. The gift is to be given in cash before the end of 2015, which means that conversations will now begin as to when groundbreaking can be considered.

Thanks to each and every individual and family who has contributed to the campaign’s success and our growing momentum. We can now see the finish line ahead. We still have $10 million in pledges to secure in order to achieve our goal, and I ask all of you for your continued prayers and support.

I BELIEVE that we can finish the campaign this year! If we do that, we will be able to begin construction on the entire building instead of staging the construction in two phases. This would save the College several million dollars in construction costs.

Crossing the $40 million mark is a great accomplishment. I ask you to join us in celebrating this new milestone and giving thanks to God for the generosity of this family who has been so faithful to Augsburg. I also give thanks for all the volunteers, donors, and staff who continue to work for the completion of this campaign.

Thanks for BELIEVING! All things are possible for those who believe.

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

* There is still important work to be done in order to reach our $50 million goal and break ground in May 2016. I look forward to sharing more about how we can work together to complete this effort. To learn more about this project, visit augsburg.edu/csbr.

Transformational News for the CSBR

Mike Good '71“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5-7

Today I write with news that is more than good … it’s transformational!

When I said I BELIEVE in Augsburg and this campaign to build a signature academic building—where the disciplines of science, business, and religion will be housed in a first-of-its-kind new facility—I had faith in the generosity of Auggies.

On January 31, we announced to the Board of Regents and to the faculty and staff that Augsburg has received a transformational $10 million gift that has lifted us above the $40 million mark in our campaign to raise $50 million to build the CSBR.

“Faith does not need to push the river because faith is able to trust that there is a river. The river is flowing. We are in it.” —Richard Rohr

All of my life experiences—including my time on the Augsburg wrestling team, as an executive building new companies, as a member of the Board of Regents, and now as chair of the CSBR Campaign—have taught me that you need to believe in and visualize a new future before you can create that new future. (Watch the Believing is Seeing video here.)

As you increase your own belief in Augsburg, you’ll also see what the power of your belief creates. Today we celebrate this marvelous sign, this amazing gift, that we are on our way to completing this campaign … I invite you to turn your belief into action and investment. We still have $10 million to raise to reach our goal. Each and every one of you can make a real difference in our success.

In every meeting I hold, in every correspondence, I ask you to consider three things:

  • Prayerfully consider your own stretch gift. Could you confirm your estate plan with us? Or add to your existing pledge? Or advance your cash payment plan?
  • Think of others who you know who should hear our “Augsburg Story.” Who has not heard about this directly from one of us?
  • Consider being a Class Leader (See our Class Challenge news for more details).

With your belief and action, we can complete this campaign in time for the May, 2015 Board of Regents meeting. I am eager to hear from you. Thank you!

All things are possible for those who Believe!

Mike Good ’71

Alumni Couple Look Back with Appreciation, Pay Forward with Conviction

Erickson photoDenny and Mary Lou (Ervin) Erickson, both ’64, first read about plans for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion in an annual fund correspondence. They’d also heard about the Center from Chris Kimball, a former Augsburg provost and dean and current president of California Lutheran University, where Denny is serving his third term on the Board of Regents. But it wasn’t until Keith Stout, assistant vice president of major gifts, drove down from Denver to northern New Mexico to spend a few hours in their Los Alamos living room that the CSBR vision came into focus.

“That visit explained the project in a way that gelled our thinking and commitment,” Denny says. “The creative inspiration that brings these three mainstream disciplines together in one place can only happen at a faith-based institution. The synergy they create is one of the underlying thrusts of our culture, and that will be even more important as we go forward into the future. It’s going to be dramatic.”


Shaping a world view and a lifetime

Denny credits his Augsburg education for not only his esteemed physics career at Los Alamos National Laboratory but also a broad worldview that serves him well. He credits an inspirational pastor at what is now Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in Mounds View, where he and Mary Lou were active in the Luther League, with introducing them to Augsburg. LuVerne ‘Red’ Nelson was an Augsburg and Augsburg Seminary graduate who promoted his alma mater every chance he got.

“In those days we didn’t think too much about leaving home and going across the world to get educated, so for us it made sense. And once it got us, we never looked back,” Denny recalls.

He’d considered starting out at Augsburg, then transferring, but once on campus, he quickly reconsidered. “That’s when Ted Hanwick captured me,” Denny says. “I became one of his protégés, and he put me on a life track that I never got off. He was one of those few wise individuals I’ve been lucky to come across in life, especially in my young life. He understood the beauty and rigor of physics, and he recognized—I now know in retrospect—my aptitude for science. He kept feeding and pushing and inspiring me, and at the end of my junior year, he helped me get a summer appointment at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.”

Continue reading

Believing is Seeing: The CSBR Summit Video

A new video made its debut at the Campaign Summit for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion on January 29. This video, Believing is Seeing, articulated the vision that Mike Good has shared since he began in the role of volunteer Campaign Chair for the CSBR: all things are possible for them that believe. Thank you to all the many participants and students who made this video possible!


Believing is Seeing screen shot