Faithful and Relevant

picture of Paul PribbenowDuring the past several months, Augsburg’s Board of Regents has invited the campus community into a strategic mapping process focused on our priorities and aspirations leading up to the College’s sesquicentennial in 2019. Fittingly titled “Augsburg 2019,” the plans emerging from extensive research and conversations are aimed at enabling the College to live into a vision we have stated this way:

In 2019, Augsburg will be a new kind of student-centered, urban university, small to our students and big for the world.

As we have engaged in this important strategic work for Augsburg, I have been struck by the synergy we have found between what it means to remain faithful to our core values—our Lutheran faith, the liberal arts, diversity, and urban life—while at the same time looking for ways to be relevant in the world—equipping students for lives of meaning and purpose in the 21st century.

Some might note the paradox in such a framework—faithful and relevant—but as good Lutherans, we know well how to live as people centered in the gifts of our faith and of service to God’s good creation.

It seems especially fitting that this issue of Augsburg Now includes a meaningful tribute to Charles Anderson, who served as Augsburg’s eighth president from 1980 to 1997, and whose legacy is very much the foundation for the College’s work today and in the future.

Chuck Anderson believed deeply in the College’s Lutheran heritage. He was a tireless advocate for the liberal arts. And he made the College’s urban setting an even more central part of its daily life and work.

At the same time, Chuck paid close attention to the needs of the world. He championed Augsburg’s ground-breaking Weekend College for adult undergraduates, its Rochester campus, the StepUP® program for students recovering from addictions, the CLASS program for students with learning challenges, the Center for Global Education, and the College’s first graduate programs. Chuck also set the stage for Augsburg’s commitment to intentional diversity, a commitment that has been realized in the increasing diversity of our student body during the past several years.

Chuck Anderson’s legacy of sustaining Augsburg as a faithful and relevant institution may be best captured in our new vision statement. He put students at the center of the College’s life. He cared deeply for the urban neighborhoods around campus and saw them as an extension of the classroom. And he watched over the expansion of Augsburg’s academic programs, leading to the comprehensive range of undergraduate and graduate programs that characterize the College’s academic profile today—the profile of a small university, a new kind of 21st century university.

As this issue of Augsburg Now so powerfully demonstrates, this vision is very much alive and thriving on campus and around the world today: Keeping students at the center of our lives through scholarships made possible by the generosity of remarkable alumni like Milt Kleven ’46. Students and faculty achieving at the highest level and being recognized nationally and internationally for their work. Innovative new curricula, aimed at sustaining Augsburg’s abiding commitment to face-to-face instruction, while at the same time using technology to enhance student experiences. Augsburg’s ground-breaking work to educate teachers for diverse schools, bringing the best of new classroom methods together with the College’s strengths in the sciences and mathematics. And so much more. It is a great time to be an Auggie!

Augsburg is a new kind of 21st century university. Small to our students—the reasons we exist—and big for the world. Thanks for all you do to help keep Augsburg faithful and relevant.

PAUL C. PRIBBENOW, PRESIDENT

Posted in Notes from President Pribbenow