By Rebecca John
It is hard to imagine a career more dedicated to public service and civic engagement than that of Martin Sabo ’59. One year after graduating from Augsburg College, Sabo was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives. More than 45 years later, he retired from a distinguished 28-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives. During that time, Sabo also served for 12 years as a regent for the College, was named an Augsburg Distinguished Alumnus, and received the first honorary degree, a Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), conferred by the College.
Front Row [L to R]: Rachael Okerlund ’12, Angela Bonfiglio ’13, Katherine DeKrey ’12, Sylvia Sabo, Martin Sabo ’59, Katie Radford ’12; Back Row [L to R]: Adam Spanier ’12, Rachel Svanoe ’13, Eli Grobel ’12, Claire Bergren ’12, Sabo Professor Garry Hesser, Arianna Genis ’13, Andrew Rodriguez ’13.
Today, Martin and his wife, Sylvia Sabo—parents of Auggies Karin Mantor ’86 and Julie Sabo ’90—continue their public service work by supporting the Augsburg College Sabo Center for Citizenship and Learning, the Sabo Scholars program, and the annual Sabo Symposium.
As the stories on the previous pages show, the Sabo Center encompasses a wide-ranging set of programs that include the College’s civic engagement, community-based involvement, and service-learning programs. Through the work of the center, Augsburg has earned national recognition as a college with a strong commitment to education for service.
In addition, each year the Sabos, along with Sabo Professor Garry Hesser, work directly with 10 Augsburg juniors and seniors chosen as Sabo Scholars for their interest in and commitment to engagement in the political process, public policy, or careers in public service. By engaging these students in conversation about public service, the Sabo Scholars program carries forward the Sabos’ abiding faith in the role that government can play in improving the lives of citizens.
The Sabo Center also annually convenes the Sabo Public Policy Symposium. Last year’s event was “2010 Healthcare Reform: What Will It Mean for You (and The Nation)?” This year, in place of the public policy symposium, the Sabo Center hosted the Festival of the Commons, featuring 2009 Nobel Laureate Elinor Ostrom, discussing how society creates, uses, and manages “the commons”—things we all share (see story, page 5).
Through these programs, supported by the generous gifts and engagement of the Sabos and others, Augsburg creates opportunities for civic experiences and skill-building—inside and outside the classroom—for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members—and carries on the Sabos’ and the College’s important commitment to public service.