This 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.
Stop by the Augsburg College booth in the Education Building at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The fair runs August 25 through Labor Day, Sept. 5.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press recently published an article about real estate leader Ted Bigos ’74 and the current climate of urban living in downtown St. Paul. Bigos owns five buildings in the area and many others across the state.
“I put a lot of my back into those buildings,” Bigos said. With the help of his father, Bigos began purchasing, renovating, and reselling apartment buildings at age 19 while he was a student at Augsburg College. Eventually, he retained some of the renewed properties and began renting them to tenants himself.
About the current state of the downtown area, which has seen many development projects in recent years, he said, “In all the years I’ve been in St. Paul, it’s never felt as good as it feels today.”
Read: Ted Bigos: ‘I think the city has really come into its own’ on the Pioneer Press site.
Legendary Minnesota athlete and coach Stan Nelson ’43 will add another honor to his career, having earned the Bud Grant Distinguished Minnesotan Award from the National Football Foundation. The award, named after the former Minnesota Vikings coach, will be given at the ninth Minnesota Football Honors event April 17.
Nelson had a successful athletic career at Augsburg College, having earned letters in football, golf, baseball, and basketball. In 1942, he served as the football team captain and was named all-MIAC. After graduating from Augsburg, he earned a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and began a career as a coach. He held coaching positions in Zumbrota, Farmington, and Anoka, where he coached for 26 years.
Read Award in honor of Bud Grant to go to Anoka legendary coach on the ABC Newspapers site.
Lillie News recently reported that Koua Yang ’99, a human geography and Asian American studies teacher at Harding Senior High School in St. Paul, is one of 114 candidates for Education Minnesota’s 2016 Teacher of the Year Award. The award is one of the most prestigious given to educators in Minnesota and will be awarded May 15.
“I am very, very much humbled by the candidacy,” said Yang. “There are so many great teachers.”
The full list of nominees was published by the Star Tribune. Fellow Auggies Julie Swanson ’85 and Aaron Olson ’11 also have been nominated for the award.
Read Two East Side teachers are candidates for Teacher of the Year on the Lillie News site.
Bob Lockwood ’56 was a star athlete during his time at Augsburg College; he lettered 11 times and was inducted into the Augsburg Athletics Hall of Fame in 1994, but his history with athletic greatness did not end with the conclusion of his career as a player. A recent article by Arizona newspaper Your West Valley tells of the many friendships and interactions Lockwood has had with famous professional athletes.
In the article, Lockwood, a former coach in the Golden Valley and Hopkins school districts, tells of meeting legendary baseball player Rod Carew through one of his players. “My player used to cut Rod Carew’s grass when Rod lived in Golden Valley,” he said. “So I went over to the house and introduced myself. Pretty soon, Rod would come out to our practices and give the kids tips.”
The article also includes the stories of Lockwood’s run-ins with Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway and baseball great Sammy Sosa.
Fox Sports North interviewed former Augsburg College basketball player Devean George prior to a recent game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Los Angeles Lakers. George played his first seven seasons in the NBA with the Lakers and was asked about his experience with Kobe Bryant, who is retiring after this season.
In the segment, he is introduced as having drawn “national attention at Augsburg.” When asked about Bryant’s impact on his career, George states, “It was huge. I learned from him everyday.”
Minnesota Public Radio News recently published an article covering Somali singer Maryan Mursal’s concert series at the Cedar Cultural Center, an event co-sponsored by Augsburg College as part of the Midnimo program that seeks to build knowledge and understanding of Somali Muslim culture through music. Mursal rose to early fame as a teenager in Mogadishu, but was forced out of Somalia by war. She eventually found asylum–and a renewed musical career–in Denmark.
In addition to the concert performances, Mursal participated in public discussions, workshops, and community events, as well as a live radio performance on The Current that featured an Augsburg alumni jazz band and Somali musicians from around the world.
Read: Superstar, refugee, legend: Singer Maryan Mursal’s voice endures on the MPR News site.
The Star Tribune recently published an article highlighting ice skating coach Diane Ness and her son, former Augsburg hockey player Andy Ness ’01, for their involvement with the Minnesota Wild. The article states that Diane and her company ProEdge Power were recently hired by the Wild as consultants, though some of the players have been training privately with the Nesses for years. The article quotes the Wild’s Chris Porter as saying, “They’re both incredible.”
The article states that Andy grew up surrounded by skating and hockey. “My babysitter growing up was the rink,” he said in the article. That background has paid off. Porter is quoted saying that Diane often tells the players to “‘Watch Andy,’ because he’s such a phenomenal skater.” Now, Andy spends the NHL season working with injured Wild players until they regain enough strength to practice and play with the team.
Read “Skating coaches Diane, Andy Ness push Wild, NHL stars to improve” on the Star Tribune website.
A retail and affordable housing development founded by Augsburg College alumnus and former NBA player Devean George ’99 was featured on a recent WCCO-TV broadcast.
The segment included several statements by George about his desire to help revitalize the area near Penn Avenue and Golden Valley Road in Minneapolis, which is often cited as an impoverished neighborhood with high crime rates. George also discussed his childhood connection with the neighborhood and the importance of affordable housing.
Watch “Former NBA Star Developing Affordable Housing Complex In North Minneapolis” on the WCCO website.