Augsburg College alumnus Herb Chilstrom ’54, author and co-author numerous books, was featured by the St. Peter Herald shortly after the release of his newest publication, “My Friend Jonah and Other Dogs I’ve Loved.” All income from the book will be directed to Augsburg College and will honor of one of Chilstrom’s professors — Joel Torstenson. Visit the St. Peter Herald website to learn more about the book and Chilstrom’s career with the Lutheran church.
The Augsburg community mourns the death of Joel Torstenson, professor emeritus of sociology. He died Oct. 18 at the age of 94. On Saturday, Oct. 27, a memorial service will be held in Hoversten Chapel at 5 p.m., with visitation 1 hour earlier.
So much of Augsburg’s identity today as a college of the city stems from Torstenson’s work at Augsburg. He founded the sociology and social work departments, and the metro-urban studies program. He developed urban programs in Minneapolis that launched HECUA (the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs) and that led to the work of our Center for Service, Work, and Learning, including Engaging Minneapolis, which requires all students to connect with the city in their studies. Continue reading “Augsburg Mourns the Death of Joel Torstenson”
As Augsburg’s Department of Sociology celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, it is a good time to look back at how the program began. Or, rather, at who began it.
Joel Torstenson came to Augsburg as a history major from rural West Central Minnesota. After graduating in 1938, he worked in education for Farmer’s Co-ops. He began teaching part-time at Augsburg upon earning a master’s degree in history and sociology.
During the war years, he became involved in the Peace Movement and participated in establishing a cooperative farm community, which led to employment with Midland Cooperatives as an educational director and community organizer. In the fall of 1947, President Christensen invited him back to Augsburg to develop its programs in social work and sociology while completing his PhD in sociology at the University. Continue reading “The "Father" of Sociology at Augsburg”