Commencement Season Kicks Off April 30 at Augsburg

Spring 2016 undergraduate class is the most diverse in College’s history

Students in Spring 2015 process down Seven and a Half Street to Si Melby Hall for Commencement Ceremonies.The Augsburg College community on Saturday, April 30, will celebrate the success of students from its Minneapolis and Rochester campuses, including the traditional undergraduate class that is comprised of more than 42 percent students of color.

In the past 10 years, since Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow has led the institution, the College has more than tripled the percentage of persons of color in the full undergraduate student bodygrowing from 11 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2016.

“An Augsburg education is marked by broad and intentional diversity in which students learn at the intersections of academic disciplines, diverse viewpoints, rich faith traditions, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender expressions, military commitments, learning styles and more,” Pribbenow said.

“We know that in order to secure a vital and vibrant future for our cities, state, and region, we must be united in our drive for equity. Our location in the city – in one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the nation – allows Auggies the unique advantage of leveraging the richness and abundance that these many forms of diversity offer.”

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Augsburg breaks ground April 29 for new academic building

State-of-the-art Hagfors Center a living demonstration of College commitment to equity, diversity

Exterior of the front of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and ReligionMINNEAPOLIS — Groundbreaking for Augsburg College’s state-of-the-art, interdisciplinary Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion is Friday.

More than 350 alumni, faculty, students, donors and friends of the College are expected to celebrate the groundbreaking for the Hagfors Center, designed to foster intersections among areas of study, support active learning, and connect the College to the community.

View of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion from the current Science Hall“The Hagfors Center is a living demonstration of the College’s dedication to interdisciplinary student learning, urban placemaking and thoughtful stewardship. Our commitment to equity and intentional diversity – our pledge to prepare students of academic ability to solve the most complex problems of our world – will be on view Saturday when we celebrate the success of students from Minneapolis and Rochester, including a traditional undergraduate class with more than 42 percent students of color,” said Augsburg College President Paul C. Pribbenow.

“The new Hagfors Center, which will create learning at the intersections of science, business and religion, is a commitment to our Lutheran heritage and identity. It’s also a promise to explore diverse viewpoints, rich faith traditions, socioeconomic backgrounds, gender expressions, military commitments, learning styles and more.”

In the 10 years since Pribbenow has led the institution, Augsburg has more than tripled the percentage of persons of color in the full undergraduate student body – growing from 11 percent in 2006 to 33 percent in 2016.

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Dennis Donovan discusses cookbook created by Public Achievement students in KARE 11 segment

kare 11 - logoKARE 11 television recently interviewed a group of 5th graders who created a multicultural cookbook as a way to promote diversity and tolerance. The students are part Public Achievement, an Augsburg College program designed to teach democracy and citizenship through service projects.

The segment also featured program director Dennis Donovan. “There are a lot of issues in the world, and we need people to come together and solve these problems,” he said. “Having young people participate in public achievement gives them a skill-set and process that normally they would not have.”

Watch and read Students create cookbook to promote diversity on the KARE 11 site.

Students, alumnus talk with KARE 11 about need for accessible bathrooms

Kare 11 - logoThree 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.

Watch Students at Augsburg College talk gender neutral bathrooms on the Kare 11 site.

Expert: Salmeri available to respond to President Obama’s address on substance abuse disorders, prescription drug addiction

Patrice Salmeri is director of Augsburg's residential collegiate recovery program

MINNEAPOLIS — Patrice Salmeri, director of Augsburg College’s StepUP® Program for students in recovery and President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education, is a national expert available to talk to media about President Barack Obama’s announcement to bolster medial services for persons in recovery from substance abuse disorders.

When: Salmeri is available until 6:30 p.m., beginning immediately following President Barack Obama’s announcement. (Watch President Obama on the White House live stream at 2:15 p.m. EST at https://www.whitehouse.gov/live.)

What: Salmeri can address the importance of eliminating stigma by:

  • Shifting language used to describe these disorders. For instance, rather than using the term “addiction,” shifting to “substance abuse disorders” to recognize that addiction is a medical issue.
  • Treating substance abuse disorders as medical issues, not unlike society responds to diabetes or other chronic medical illnesses.
  • Ensuring those with substance abuse disorders can access mental health and substance use services as readily as other medical services.

How: Call Stephanie Weiss, director of news and media services, at 612.330.1476.

Full Bio: Patrice Salmeri is the Director of the StepUP® Program at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the largest residential collegiate recovery programs in the nation. She also serves as the President of the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

She is a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor, holds a Master’s Degree in Human Development specializing in leadership and spirituality, and also serves as an adjunct faculty member at Augsburg teaching courses related to chemical dependency. During Salmeri’s tenure as Director of StepUP, the program has experienced a 250 percent increase in the quantity of young people in recovery pursuing a college education.

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Education appointed Salmeri a Fellow for the United States Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Violence Prevention. In 2013, The Association for Recovery in Higher Education presented Patrice with The Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Contribution to Collegiate Recovery.

Pribbenow discusses commitment to higher education achievement equity with U.S. Department of Education

Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow is the tenth president of the college.WASHINGTON, D.C. — Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow participated in a high-level meeting with the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C., last week focused on highlighting successful strategies for increasing equity in college access and graduation rates for students eligible for the Federal Pell Grant Program.

One recent strategy deployed by Augsburg, in partnership with Minneapolis Community and Technical College and with Saint Paul College, is the Auggie Plan. The thoughtfully and carefully constructed Auggie Plan, which is customized to the student profile of each partner institution, creates a clear, attainable, predictable, and efficient path from an associate’s degree to a liberal arts degree. The Auggie Plan is slated to be in five community and technical colleges by 2017.

“As a college located in one of the most diverse ZIP codes in the region and with a traditional undergraduate population comprised of 40 percent Pell-eligible students, Augsburg is deeply familiar with the work that a commitment to inclusion entails,” Pribbenow said. “We also know how rewarding it is when we get it right — which, admittedly, is not every time and not as often as we’d like. But the fact that there is still work to be done in no way deters our commitment.

“At Augsburg, we do this work because it is both right and necessary. It’s right and necessary for students — enriching our learning community with questions and ideas from a vast array of bright minds. It is right and necessary for businesses and nonprofits — marshaling the talents and perspectives of all our people to address our region’s most pressing needs and opportunities. It is right and necessary for Minnesota as a state that offers a lifestyle we cherish and wish to sustain. “

U.S. President Barack Obama, since the beginning of his administration, has worked to ensure more U.S. residents have the opportunity to earn a quality, affordable higher education.

“For us to thrive as a diverse democracy and for individuals to achieve their dreams of success, higher education must fulfill its promise of providing opportunity to all students, regardless of their race, gender, or income level,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell.

“That opportunity means access, but getting into college is not enough. It’s getting in and getting through that matters. There are remarkable institutions around the country succeeding at making access and success a reality for low income students. We need to learn from their leadership and spread the word about practices that work.

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder interviews Jennifer Jacobs on diversity in athletic administration

Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder - logoThe Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder recently interviewed Jennifer Jacobs, assistant athletic director at Augsburg College, for an article on the challenges present as colleges seek to increase the diversity of their coaching and administrative staff.

In the article, Jacobs discusses some of the steps higher education administration can take to create a pipeline for people of diverse backgrounds to enter leadership roles. She notes that it is important for institutions to encourage women to seize new opportunities and to promote candid conversations on difficult topics like race.

“[Schools] need to find and foster the female student athletes that would want to get into coaching, administration — you name it, all the way up to the presidential level,” Jacobs said.

Read Navigating through Minnesota Nice on the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder site.

Star Tribune features Fardosa Hassan in story on Muslim student advisers

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently reported on the growing number of Muslim college students and the ways that schools, including those with Christian affiliations, are adapting to the increasing religious diversity of their student bodies. One way that colleges are improving the experiences of their Muslim students is by hiring advisers like Fardosa Hassan ’12, Muslim student program associate at Augsburg College.

The article reports that since she accepted the position last summer, Hassan has organized weekly prayer meetings for Augsburg’s Muslim students, recruited the help of a therapist and imam to undercut the idea that seeking treatment for depression is un-Islamic, and has taken Religion 100 students to visit local mosques. “Islam has called me to serve my community,” Hassan said, and her work has not gone unnoticed.

When asked about Hassan, first-year student Mohamud Mohamed ’19 said that “Fardosa is our guide. She is our connection to the outside world.”

College pastor Sonja Hagander said that given the growing number of Muslim students, “it was really key to have a Muslim student adviser.”

The article notes that nationwide more than 50 colleges, including Ivy League schools such as Yale and Princeton, have hired advisers for their Muslim students.

Read More Minnesota colleges are hiring advisers to work with Muslim students on the Star Tribune site.

KARE 11 news airs segment on development project spearheaded by
Devean George ’99

Kare 11 - logoKARE 11 news staff recently interviewed former NBA player Devean George ’99 about The Commons at Penn Avenue, a mixed-use building development in north Minneapolis that George has been working on for four years. The building includes upscale low-income housing and will be the site of a co-op grocery store that will open this summer.

George compared the complexity of completing the project with the effort required to join the NBA.

“This has been really difficult. It was a little bit like pre-draft for me,” George said. “Coming from a small school I had to prove myself and play well all the time. It was similar to that.”

Watch and read Retired NBA players builds housing complex in north Minneapolis on the KARE 11 site.

Star Tribune highlights Augsburg College students’ participation in solidarity event

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThe Minneapolis Star Tribune recently published an article covering World Hijab Day events at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The article featured photos of Augsburg College students who hosted the Hijab Fashion Show at Augsburg. Students at Normandale and Augsburg hosted events in support of Muslim students and were joined by non-Muslim students in a show of solidarity.

Photos of Augsburg College students featured in the paper included Aisha Barre, Anisa Ahmed, Nahili Abdulahi and Juweria Hassan, who participated in the fashion show. Similar events have been taking place across the country in reaction to divisive rhetoric and anti-Muslim sentiment, the article notes.

Read Non-Muslim Minnesotans are donning the hijab to show support on the Star Tribune site.