President 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 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.
A recent report airing on WCCO radio noted that as students of all ages returned to school this fall, “Augsburg welcomed the class of 2020, with staff greeting students as they walked into the chapel for convocation. However, the class of 2020 had a special distinction – they are the most diverse class the college has seen, with more than 45 percent of them being students of color.”
As Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow explained, ““For Augsburg, that means that our commitment to diversity, to inclusion and [our] commitment to justice is actually being lived out by the students who come here to be part of our community,”
Augsburg College student and registered nurse Shannon Schuler ’17 was awarded the 2016 Charlotte McGuire Scholarship at the annual conference of the American Holistic Nurses Association held May 31-June 5. The Charlotte McGuire Scholarship Program was named in honor of the AHNA founder and is intended to recognize and celebrate individuals who are dedicated to practicing holistic nursing at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.
Schuler is pursuing a bachelor of science in nursing and is focusing on caring science, transcultural nursing and holistic approaches to nursing. She also is studying to become a master in reiki and a graduate from the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute in how to apply yoga philosophies and practices in the professional medical environment.
A recent South Washington County Bulletin article featured incoming Augsburg College student Mark Lukitsch‘s accomplishments and high school experience. The story describes Lukitsch as one of Park High School’s most well-known students. He has congenital muscular dystrophy, which the article said “limits his fine-motor skills but not his ambition.”
Lukitsch was influential in creating positive changes to a local stadium’s wheelchair-accessible seating options, and he chose to continue his education at Augsburg College, in part, because of the urban campus features tunnels, above-ground links, and a wheelchair-friendly layout that make it more accessible. He plans to pursue a communication studies degree and will continue to study alongside Avery, his service dog who can open classroom doors and perform other tasks that allow him to live more independently.
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 Hastings Star Gazette newspaper recently interviewed Abby Schultz ’17, a member of the Augsburg Choir who performed with singer Barry Manilow at the Xcel Energy Center last month. In addition to singing in the choir, Schultz also serves as its manager.
“It’s an experience I will always remember, not only because I got to perform with Barry Manilow, but as the choir manager I got to be interviewed by KARE 11 and FOX 9,” Schultz said. “I’m glad it happened when I was in the choir, for sure.”
The article also notes that Schultz will be performing with a mixed choir in Italy this summer. “I don’t know when I’ll get another opportunity to do this,” she said of the trip.
The Sun Current newspaper recently covered Augsburg Choir’s performance with Barry Manilow at the singer’s Xcel Energy Center concert on April 7. The article notes that Eden Prairie High School graduate Kaia Markovich ’17 was one of 30 choir members who joined Manilow on stage for his encore. Markovich is a chemistry major who sings alto in the choir.
The Hudson Star-Observer, a newspaper in Hudson, Wis., recently interviewed Augsburg College student and choir member McKenna Selissen ’18 about her experience performing with the Augsburg Choir as they joined Barry Manilow at the Xcel Energy Center.
“It was unbelievable to share the stage with someone so well respected and well known in the music world,” Selissen said. “I am amazed how many hit songs he’s had and with all the commercial jingles he’s wrote; he is extremely talented.”
The students who performed with Manilow were each given a pair of complimentary tickets to the concert. Selissen, a music therapy major, happily gifted her tickets to two of her clients. One of the clients uses Manilow’s music extensively in his therapy sessions.
“He knows every song and all the words so it was such a coincidence when we were asked to do this. This client was beyond excited to not only go to his first concert, but to see his very favorite singer,” Selissen said.
A reporter from the Minneapolis Star Tribune recently was on campus to interview Diana Pierce ’16 MAL, a longtime Twin Cities news anchor whose retirement from KARE 11 News was announced Wednesday. Pierce completed her Master of Art in Leadership at Augsburg College in December, and she will participate in Augsburg’s 2016 Commencement ceremonies.
Although she will be retiring from KARE 11, Pierce has not finished her work of “helping shape stories that provide a voice for the underserved.” She will use her degree to move behind the camera and produce documentaries. “It’s a weird, wonderful transition,” she said.
Retiring KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce MAL ’16 recently credited the graduate degree she is scheduled to receive at Augsburg College for her optimism toward the future.
“We’ll see what doors are open that weren’t in the past, as a result of getting a master’s. For me, I look at it as an additional set of skills,” Pierce said. “I’m looking into several different opportunities. [The advanced degree] lets me think there is life after broadcasting. Now I feel prepared for it.”
Pierce recently announced her retirement after having worked for the station for more than 32 years.