Associate Professor Lars Christiansen teaches courses in Augsburg’s Department of Sociology and Urban Studies Program. Christiansen puts his scholarship into practice as director of the Friendly Streets Initiative, a St. Paul-based organization that facilitates community organizing through creative public engagement events. The group aims to help communities envision positive change to public spaces, collect and analyze data, and assist neighbors in navigating city planning processes.
Christiansen described the successes of the Friendly Streets Initiative to author Jay Walljasper for a chapter of the new book, “America’s Walking Renaissance: How cities, suburbs, and towns are getting back on their feet.” Walljasper serves as a senior fellow in Augsburg’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, and his writing explores how new ideas in urban planning, tourism, community development, sustainability, politics and culture can improve citizens’ lives.
An excerpt from “America’s Walking Renaissance” was published by MinnPost and included a photo of Darius Gray ’15, a community organizer with FSI.
Augsburg College Professor William “Bill” Green studies and writes about Minnesota history and law. He recently was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio article that examined the roles non-black activists play in furthering the Black Lives Matter movement’s agenda.
In the article, Green called on the history of the U.S. Civil Rights movement to analyze current demonstrations and protests. He also discussed the ways “protest fatigue” could impact the movement’s progression.
As a local dentist, Augsburg College alumnus Dr. Pat Patel ’75 served the small communities of Clarkfield and Cottonwood, Minnesota, for decades. The Advocate Tribune of Granite Falls and Clarkfield recently published a story detailing Patel’s career and the unusual way he’s leaving his business upon his retirement. Instead of selling his dental practice property, Patel opted to donate his assets to the city of Clarkfield so that they could be awarded as an incentive for young dentists seeking to start their own practices in the area.
According to the article, Patel did not want Clarkfield to be without a dentist after his retirement and sought a way to “give back to the community that he spread his roots in.”
A recent report airing on KARE 11 television noted that, “Augsburg College is located in the heart of Minneapolis in one of the most diverse zip codes in the city.” And, the College’s graduating class reflects that diversity.
As the story explained, “Under President Paul C. Pribbenow‘s leadership, the college has more than tripled the percentage of minorities in the full undergraduate body. In 2006, there were 11 percent compared to 33 percent in 2016.” The traditional undergraduate graduating class of 2016 is comprised of more than 42 percent students of color — a record achievement for the institution.
Pribbenow said Augsburg has been committed to attracting and supporting students from minority populations for more than a decade and has partnered with college readiness programs to achieve its success.
The broadcast report also included an interview with Robert Harper ’16, an alumnus who described why he values his college experience and the diverse makeup of his graduating class.
The Star Tribune recently covered the start of construction on the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion — Augsburg College’s much anticipated interdisciplinary academic building scheduled to open in January 2018. The article notes that the capital campaign for this building project was the most successful in the College’s history and so far has generated $54 million, which is eight times more than Augsburg has ever raised.
The story also acknowledges the generosity of the building’s lead donors, describing Norm Hagfor’s career success and the decades-long connection the Hagfors family developed with Augsburg.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune recently included a statement by Sam Graves ’16 in an article covering a large donation to the PACER Center, which specializes in creating technology designed for children and young adults with special needs. The $1 million donation was given by the Otto Bremer Trust.
Graves, a recent Augsburg College graduate who lives with cerebral palsy, credits the Center’s library of software and adaptive devices as part of his educational success. “Without technology, I wouldn’t be able to be independent,” he said.
Graves graduated with honors April 30 and was awarded the first-ever Youth Leadership Award by the Otto Bremer Trust later that evening.
The Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal recently published an article covering the revelation that a previously unidentified $10 million donation toward the naming of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion had been given to Augsburg College by Norman and Evangeline Hagfors.
The donation originally was announced in early 2015, with the donors remaining unnamed until the recent groundbreaking ceremony. In a statement on the Hagfors Center website, Evangeline Hagfors said, “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.”
Sports news site The Post Game recently included former Augsburg College basketball player and legendary coach Lute Olson ’56 in an article about notable athletes from North Dakota.
Olson was born and raised near the Minnesota-North Dakota border before attending Augsburg. After graduating, he went on to become the head coach of the University of Arizona men’s basketball team. As the article points out, Olson’s teams made it to the Final Four a total of five times, winning the national title in 1997.
St. Paul-area newspaper Lillie News recently profiled Koua Yang ’99, a social studies teacher and tennis coach at Harding High School. Yang was one of 11 finalists for the 2015 Minnesota Teacher of the Year Award.
Yang was assigned to Harding High School as a student teacher in 1999 while he was an education major at Augsburg College. He was so loved by his students that they petitioned the school’s principal and asked him to hire Yang. The principle told Yang that a job would be waiting for him the following school year.
Yang’s family immigrated to the U.S. in 1980 when he was 4 years old.
“I know what it was like to struggle as a student. I knew what it was like to not be proficient in a language — a foreign language,” Yang said. “Sharing that path, that navigation piece is absolutely crucial. It also gives them hope. Because then they realize, ‘Hey somebody went through it, too; somebody like me went through it and they were pretty successful at it. I can do it, too.'”
Three Augsburg College students and a recent alumnus sat down with KARE 11 reporter Adrienne Broaddus to discuss “bathroom bills” that are popping up across the U.S. concerning transgender rights. In Minnesota, proposed legislation would define which restrooms transgender people could legally use.
Jens Pinther ’15 and Duina Hernandez ’16 expressed the importance of gender-neutral bathrooms, and the story described Augsburg’s intentionality in offering these facilities on campus.