A Grateful Harvester

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webHarvest is one of my favorite times of the year. Many of you know I have a farm and spend as much time as I can working in my garden. The cycle of planning, seeding, planting, cultivating, weeding, ripening and harvesting keeps me connected to nature and its astonishing cycles.

Each year something I plant exceeds my expectations, and each year something does not grow as I might hope. Last year was not a great year for my beets. This year, it’s been a great year for cabbage, cucumbers, and squash.

More importantly, this year, my expectations have been exceeded by the remarkable harvest for Augsburg and our campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. A full year ahead of schedule, we have pushed past our goal and now are looking to complete the campaign over our original $50 million target. This month we’re talking with a few of you about adding your gift to the campaign so that we will be in an even stronger position as we move forward with final architectural designs and then groundbreaking.

I am gratified with your responses to our call to assure Augsburg this distinctive and exceptional facility—a place where students and faculty will explore the intersections of three major fields of study. Just think of all the creative and innovative work that will flow from these collaborations!

Be sure you take a look at the latest issue of the Augsburg Now magazine; it should have already arrived in your mailbox. The cover illustration shows what the campus will look like once the building is completed—a new gateway to the campus perched right on the edge of downtown Minneapolis. The central spread also gives a glimpse into the way the building fits into the campus map and what it may look like from a classroom perspective. I can’t wait for the ribbon cutting and the day faculty move into the facility.

Thanks to each of you for your gifts and pledges … your investments made for a stronger Augsburg. The true spirit of Augsburg is alive and well. We’re THRIVING!

The confidence each new investment made in this campaign shows in the work of the college as it explores new opportunities. As the Board of Regents accepted the great news of the campaign’s success, the StepUP® board also set it’s sights on a significant goal for increased endowment. Other new projects designed to improve the campus and expand our impact with students have already emerged. We have much still to do and so many exciting avenues to pursue.

Your steadfast encouragement and actions in support of Augsburg’s future deserve our celebration! I’m an optimistic gardener … and also a grateful harvester. We give thanks to God, who gives us all good things!

Let’s keep planting the seeds to grow the greatest Augsburg, true to our purpose, always stretching toward our clear vision.

Thank you!

Mike Good ’71

We Are Stronger Than We Know

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webGreetings friends,

Just a month ago we announced the exciting news that Augsburg had reached—even exceeded—our $50 million goal to build the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion! Thanks to the generosity of nearly 1,000 Auggies and friends we continue to experience the gratifying emotions of a major dream coming true for Augsburg.

I’ve been reflecting on this journey we have been traveling together. As you know, tough economic conditions, doubt and discouragement hampered our early years of this campaign. You may have even heard me share the personal hesitation I felt in my own ability to serve and lead as Chair. Yet during this journey we found encouragement, confidence and renewed trust in God’s word … that all things are possible for those who believe. And believe we did—as individuals and as a community of Augsburg supporters!

One of my favorite Christian musical groups is Casting Crowns. One of their songs, “Let Me Dream for You,” has been very meaningful to me as I reflect on the circumstances that turned this campaign around. The words remind me of the awesome power we experience when we trust, not in our own limited plan, but in the vastness of God’s promise and His dream for us. Continue reading “We Are Stronger Than We Know”

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”

This is Truly Great News

Mike Good 5115 announcement for webGreetings Augsburg alumni and friends,

Today I send you this special edition of Good News because we have truly Great News to share with you.

This morning, the Augsburg Board of Regents gathered on campus, along with faculty, staff, students, and alumni, to hear us announce:

We’ve met—indeed, we’ve exceeded— our capital campaign goal to raise $50 million for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion!

You can read President Paul Pribbenow’s message to the entire Augsburg community announcing this marvelous news here

The journey of this campaign began years ago with a big vision for the future of Augsburg College. Along the way we’ve relied on the faith and belief of so many. You’ve heard me say many times “all things are possible for them who BELIEVE!” We have stayed true to our belief and have reached our target!

We set out, unwavering, in our intention to secure the financial support that would assure the completion of this distinctive new facility, creating a place where students and faculty will come together in cross-disciplinary inquiry and prepare to meet the future, inspired and committed to serve their neighbor in a changing world.

With the most recent gifts, our total secured for the campaign now exceeds $50 million. A truly magnificent accomplishment!

Sally celebrating for webThis campaign has become the most broadly supported fundraising effort in the College’s history, with contributions coming from almost 1,000 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of the College. This truly has been an all-out Auggie effort!

Along the way we asked God to use his great power to work through us in sharing this compelling Augsburg story with others. We asked Him to open people’s hearts to a special calling to support this transformational campaign with their prayers, support, and financial resources.

John Wooden, famed UCLA basketball coach, has said, “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” This is true of all who contributed their time, talent, and treasure to this campaign … it was a great team effort.

I thank you all:
•    Board of RegentsRegents1
•    Alumni
•    Faculty and Staff
•    Students
•    Parents and Friends of the College
•    Campaign Action Team and Development Staff
•    President Pribbenow and Cabinet Members

However, it would be contrary to the very foundation of our belief system for us to simply claim this victory as our own. This week, reading in my Daily Bible, I revisited Psalm 115, whose opening words ring loud and true today as they did in ages past:

“Not to us, oh Lord, not to us. But to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.”

These words remind us to rejoice in what we have accomplished together … but above all to give God the glory and thanks for the success of this campaign.

Now we have the opportunity to keep it going! Even as we celebrate this remarkable achievement, we invite everyone who cares for Augsburg to add your support to this special campaign. Wouldn’t it be great if every Auggie could say that they helped build this transformational facility?

We have more to do. The costs for construction have risen. Your gifts, added now, will help us meet this challenge. In the tradition of good stewardship, we want to take on as little debt as possible, and your additional gifts will assure as small a debt load as feasible.

We offer many ways to make your gifts: checks, pledges over years, appreciated securities, paid-up insurance policies, estate giving with documented gifts through your will. You can buy a brick and honor someone special to you.

Today my heart is full of gratitude for all that has led us to this great moment … this celebration of the power of belief. Thanks to all who have walked with us. Thanks to all who continue to believe in the spirit that is uniquely Augsburg.

I look forward to the celebrations yet to come, when we break ground, start construction, open the doors, and walk into this beautiful new facility and into an even brighter future for Augsburg!

Mike Good ’71

CSBR National Campaign Chair

An Exciting Announcement from the CSBR Campaign

President Paul C. Pribbenow shared the following message with the Augsburg College community this morning in celebration of an impressive milestone for the history of the College.

Dear Faculty and Staff,

CSBR announcementThis morning, with a contingent of students, faculty, and staff present, Mike Good ’71, national campaign chair for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, announced to the Board of Regents that we have reached the $50 million goal for the CSBR campaign!

Since the campaign passed the $45 million mark in late March, numerous donors have made gifts to the CSBR, building on the generosity of our two $10 million donors and allowing us to raise the final $5 million in a relatively short time. So many people were involved in getting us to this successful milestone that it’s not possible to fully express my gratitude for this amazing effort. I’m grateful for the more than 900 donors—including alumni, staff, faculty, regents, and parents–who have made gifts in support of this project. I’m grateful for the Board of Regents, whose leadership and commitment were the foundation of this campaign. I’m grateful for faculty and staff members whose advocacy energized the campaign, and for the Institutional Advancement team, whose work with our generous donors built the campaign’s momentum. And I’m grateful for Mike Good’s generous leadership as our volunteer campaign chair. Mike’s faith in this effort was matched only by his vision and tireless work in making it a success.

I’m profoundly grateful because the CSBR exemplifies the unique type of education Augsburg offers—where academic work at the intersections of today’s most important ideas and challenges is combined with hands-on learning experiences in labs, across campus, and in the communities we serve. As our signature academic building, the CSBR represents our commitment to be faithful to our mission and Lutheran identity and, at the same time, highly relevant to today’s students, who are a more diverse group of learners than ever before. It is a key element in our Augsburg2019 strategic plan and embodies our vision to be small to our students and big for the world.

With the $50 million campaign fundraising milestone achieved, the Board will vote this afternoon on a resolution to proceed to the next stage of architectural design. This stage involves the selection of an architect to work with our builder, McGough Construction, to develop detailed construction documents. This engineering and design work is needed in order to establish a guaranteed maximum price and a financing model for the project, which will be presented to the Board next year prior to approval of groundbreaking. More information about the Board’s action will be included in the summary from Board Chair, Dr. Paul Mueller ’84, in early May.

In the meantime, let’s celebrate this landmark milestone for Augsburg College! What a terrific addition to our commencement weekend, as we recognize our students’ accomplishments and anticipate the great things they will achieve next.

Yours faithfully,

Paul C. Pribbenow


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”

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.”


Science, Business, and Religion Keystone Course Inspires Vocation

At Augsburg College, Russell Kleckley, in the religion department, and Larry Crockett, in computer science, developed a keystone course for students to explore the intersections between science, business, and religion. Illustrator Timothy Foss visited the class and saw Augsburg College students making connections between disciplines and finding vocation at the core of their real-world implications.

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