NBC Nightly News highlights Augsburg’s StepUp collegiate recovery program

Neil King walking across the stage on Commencement day
Neil King ’18 on NBC Nightly News

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt reported about how Augsburg’s StepUp program has successfully helped students in recovery to graduate.

NBC’S Catie Beck talked with Neil King ’18 about the support StepUP provided him while he was a full-time student at Augsburg.

According to NBC, King began using drugs at age 14, and discovered Augsburg’s StepUp program four months into his recovery. “I really learned to believe in myself, and my skills and capabilities,” said King, who is now heading to graduate school.

StepUp Program Director Tamarah Gehlen also was interviewed by NBC. “We always say that no one should have to choose between recovery and a college education.”

See full interview on NBC’s website.

Kelly D. Holstine ’11 named Minnesota’s 2018 Teacher of the Year

Kelly D.Holstine
Kelly D. Holstine photgraphed by Jeff Wheeler for Star Tribune

Kelly D. Holstine ’11 is Minnesota’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. She earned her M.A.E. from Augsburg in 2011 and currently teaches at Tokata Learning Center, an alternative high school in Shakopee.

“Every kid matters” is the motto she’s carried throughout her 11-year teaching career.

“Sometimes they might need a little bit of extra love, a little patience, a little more understanding, and once they get that, they can flourish and blossom and excel and learn,” Holstine told the Star Tribune’s Pat Pheifer. “All children deserve the opportunity to grasp their dreams … regardless of ZIP code, race, creed, color, sexual orientation.”

Education Minnesota named Holstine the 2018 Teacher of the Year in May.

Read full story on the Star Tribune’s website here.

Augsburg Mourns Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold

Pastor Dave in a suitPastor Dave speaking at commencementAugsburg Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold passed away on Thursday, April 12. Following is the message sent this morning, Friday, April 13, from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Pastor Dave Wold passed away last night. Pastor Dave served Augsburg for three decades — 1983 until he retired at the end of the 2012-13 academic year — and was named Campus Pastor Emeritus by the Augsburg Board of Regents in recognition for his many contributions to our campus life and faith community.

One of Pastor Dave’s gifts was that he knew everyone’s name. He knew each of us. It’s hard to imagine how he was able to personally connect with so many people, but he did, and the breadth of his pastoral care strengthened and supported generations of Auggies. He touched thousands of lives and is beloved by alumni and Augsburg community members around the world.

Pastor Dave was also quick witted and loved to craft words and music. I’m sure everyone who knew him can recall how he loved to share jokes as a way of engaging with people. He lent those talents for words and music to the leadership of our Advent Vespers services over the years. He also wrote hundreds of light-hearted parodies, using familiar tunes as a unique means of sharing messages about faith.

Of course, we all know Pastor Dave’s passion for athletics and for working with young people. He was director of youth ministries for the American Lutheran Church (prior to the formation of the ELCA), founded the Holy Hoops congregational basketball league, and supervised many intern pastors. And, while the number of athletic games and matches he announced may not be known, our memory of his distinct announcer voice will not fade.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to Cathy Wold, Dave’s wife, and his family. Pastor Dave was a fiercely committed husband, father, and grandfather. We will share information about memorial services once those plans are confirmed. This morning, those on campus are invited to gather in Hoversten Chapel following our daily chapel service (10:55 a.m.), for a brief time of remembrance, prayer, and song.

I was honored to work with Pastor Dave for seven years, to sing with him before many an athletic contest, and to have him as my pastor on campus.  I join Dave’s many friends and colleagues in mourning his death and the loss of a good and faithful servant.

Faithfully yours,

Paul

 

Finance and Commerce highlights Augsburg’s Hagfors Center in private college construction update

Exterior of the front of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and ReligionAugsburg College’s $73 million, 135,000-square-foot Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion is the largest construction project underway at Twin Cities private colleges and universities. Finance and Commerce included details on the project’s scope, timeline, and funding in an article that outlined summer building and renovation projects on campuses across Minnesota.

Scheduled to open in January 2018, the Hagfors Center will be Augsburg’s newest and largest academic building. The facility — designed by Minneapolis-based HGA Architects — features a student-centered layout that will foster intersections among areas of study and encourage collaboration. As the Finance and Commerce article noted, the Hagfors Center was the focus of a successful $50 million fundraising campaign that exceeded its goal.

Comprehensive project milestone information is available through weekly updates on the Hagfors Center website.

 

 

Alumni trip to Germany featured in Star Tribune’s Protestant Reformation anniversary coverage

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThis fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.

Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.

As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”

In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.

The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.

Read, “Minnesota Lutherans at forefront of new Martin Luther revolution” on the Star Tribune site.

 

MinnPost unveils Augsburg College’s urban arboretum plan

MinnPost - logo“You’d never expect to find a leafy arboretum in a high-density, high-diversity, high-traffic neighborhood,” says MinnPost writer Jay Walljasper. “But that’s exactly what Augsburg College is planning for its unmistakably urban campus in the heart of Minneapolis, which borders Fairview Riverside Medical complex, the high-rise Riverside Plaza towers, two freeways, two light rail lines, busy shopping districts on Franklin Avenue and Cedar Avenues, plus one of the largest Somali communities outside of Africa.”

Walljasper, a senior fellow for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, described Augsburg’s ambitious plan to transform its campus into a living laboratory in a recent article on the history of the urban college, its intent to plant native Minnesota species, and its brainstorming and decision-making processes for the landscape design project.

Read: “Augsburg College looks to transform its campus into an urban arboretum” on the MinnPost site.

 

Star Tribune Editorial Board recognizes Augsburg College’s equity and inclusion work

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoPresident Paul Pribbenow met with leaders of the Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board to discuss Minnesota’s educational achievement gap among children and youth of diverse backgrounds. The state has one of the largest achievement gaps in the nation, and Augsburg is working to ensure all students of academic ability have access to higher education. The College’s pledge to this work includes limited debt pathways to graduation, setting aside dedicated housing for homeless students, increasing financial aid literacy, supporting faculty in creating inclusive classrooms, and increasing access to course materials.

The College was applauded for this leadership through a compelling editorial, “Augsburg College leads the call for campus equity,” written and published by the Star Tribune editorial board on Aug. 30.

The editorial explained that Minnesota is rapidly diversifying, but increasing student diversity on college campuses involves more than waiting for more nonwhite Minnesotans to enroll. “As Augsburg College is demonstrating, academic institutions can do much to adapt their own policies and practices to educate what previously has been an underserved share of the state’s population,” the editorial explained.

Augsburg has sought to reduce barriers to college success that often impede students of color, and the College aims to not only to enroll a larger share of nonwhite students, but also to see them through to graduation.

Lars Christiansen discusses Friendly Streets Initiative

Lars ChristiansenAssociate 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.

Read, “Friendly Streets: Bottom-up St. Paul project changes the way people look at their city” on the MinnPost site.

 

Bill Green lends historical perspective to MPR News article

bill_green
Bill Green

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.

Read, “Allies on the front lines: Black Lives Matter’s non-black activists” on the MPR News site.

Augsburg alumnus and business owner leaves small community big gift

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.”

Read, “Dr. Patel retires with an abundance of smiles” on the Advocate Tribune site.