The Class of 2014 shares memories, stories, and takeaways from their time as students
This spring, hundreds of new alumni celebrated their graduation at Augsburg College Commencement ceremonies. While these events often are treated as a conclusion—the grand finale at the end of years of study and hard work—it’s important to remember that commencement, in its very definition, marks a beginning or start.
As Augsburg’s newest graduates prepared to launch into new challenges and opportunities with an Augsburg degree in hand, we began to wonder, “What was it about this campus…this curriculum…this College that they came to appreciate during their time as students?”
So, we asked.
And the Class of 2014 answered.
This list, in no particular order, includes a brief sample of the things Auggies love about Augsburg. While it cannot represent all of the College’s valued traits, it does help depict just how unique the institution is. Our students, our alumni, our location, our heritage, and our mission help influence this place, just as the College—in turn—shapes many of these entities. Let’s take a look at why there’s so much to love about Augsburg College and why it’s such a privilege that
1. The Mission
Augsburg College educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.
It says it all, doesn’t it?
“I love Augsburg’s commitment to being an institution that prepares students for life beyond academics.” —Kimberly Club ’14
2. Working to be “Green by 2019”
“I love [Augsburg’s] effort to make the world a better place through means such as eliminating the carbon footprint.” —Mitchell Fuchs ’14 MSW
3. Intentional diversity
“I appreciate Augsburg’s dedication not only to being a diverse community but also to giving students the opportunity to fully acknowledge this through various assignments and campus activities.” —Sierra Barger ’14
4. That small-college feel
“Augsburg is big enough to fit your needs, and small enough that you’ll be noticed.” —Elizabeth Hendrikson ’14 MSW
5. The faculty
Professors, teachers, faculty members, instructors, mentors, and friends. The Class of 2014 used many names to describe the people at the head of the classroom and the backbone of their education. And, not surprisingly, these people were the most-cited aspect to love about Augsburg.
“The faculty are top notch and some of the most caring and conscientious people I have ever met.” —Holly Hanson ’14 MAN
“Professors are understanding and accommodating of non-traditional students’ individual circumstances.” —Maya Sutton ’14 MAE
“I love the close-knit community between students and professors.” —Andrew Dent ’14
6. Life in the city
Augsburg is the only college of the ELCA located in the heart of a large urban area, and students use the Twin Cities as a metropolitan classroom where they can engage with College neighbors, community partners, and companies large and small.
“I love Augsburg because of its strong commitment to its mission and its dedication to being a College of the city. I have never been anywhere that has a clearer sense of its identity or that has tried harder to be a ‘good neighbor.’” —Martha Truax ’14 MAL, director of annual giving
Augsburg teammates develop bonds akin to a “second family.” From hockey to swimming and from basketball to lacrosse, approximately 450 students participate in varsity athletics at the College each year. It’s a good thing maroon is always in style.
“The bond that was built over the years of workouts, practices, games, wins, losses, and just hanging out was one of the biggest benefits to me throughout my college career.” —Gary Mariscal ’14
8. The dress code
Okay, okay. Wearing Norwegian sweaters to Velkommen Jul and bowties with formalwear isn’t actually required. But, it’s fun!
9. Experiential education
Augsburg was the first Minnesota college or university to receive the Presidential Award for Community Service. Each fall, incoming first-year and transfer students participate in City Service Day—a day on which the students volunteer at organizations matched to their degree programs and learn in the neighborhoods that surround Augsburg’s Minneapolis campus. Undergraduate students begin their experiential education on
Day 1, and it’s a priority that extends throughout each of Augsburg’s degree programs.
“I learned how to be a ‘citizen professional,’ and work collaboratively with others to solve problems.” —Judy Schlaefer ’14 DNP
Some of Augsburg’s programs follow a cohort model that allows students to travel together from course to course, fostering strong relationships between classmates and outlining a clear path toward a degree.
“The cohort model for the MBA program allows for great camaraderie!” —Ava Beilke ’14 MBA
11. Global learning opportunities
Augsburg undergraduate and graduate students take courses around the world. Whether studying business in Germany, nursing in Namibia, or psychology in Slovenia, Auggies find that learning and living in a foreign culture catalyze academic, intercultural, and personal leadership skills and responsible global citizenship.
12. Dining together in Rochester
“Meals for the Rochester students kept [our] energy up for long evening classes.” —Heidi Ochtrup-Dekeyrel ’14
13. Small class sizes
Augsburg’s undergraduate classes average 13 to 17 students, which allows Auggies to learn from—and with—their professors and classmates.
14. Nearby restaurants
When it comes to dining out, the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood has something for everyone.
“I love that I can get a gyro, chicken curry, or Chicago-style hot dog all within a couple blocks of my dorm.” —Samantha Cantrall ’14
Tracy’s (just across I-94 on Franklin Avenue) serves up the “Augsburger,” which features two beef patties, sharp cheddar cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon, lettuce, tomato, mayo, and a side of school spirit. Yum, yum.
“Tracy’s is amazing and within walking distance!” —Emma Winegar ’14
15. Auggie Days
Leading up to the start of the fall semester, this on-campus orientation for incoming first-year students is so memorable that people think of it as a highlight of their Augsburg experience—even four years later. Part of the fun includes a Neighborhood Challenge relay in Murphy Square.
16. Peers (of course)
“The people—friendly, genuine, and approachable.” —Denise Herrera ’14 MAL, senior admissions counselor
“I love the ability to build life-long relationships with people from many different backgrounds and from many different places around the world.” —Matthew Schirber ’14
17. The campus
Not every school is so lucky as to have a 7 ½ Street on campus.
“I love that you can walk anywhere on campus in less than 10 minutes.” —Mollie King ’14
Augsburg’s StepUP Program helps students champion lives of recovery, achieve academic success, and thrive in a community of accountability and support. StepUP annually serves more than 100 students and is the largest residential collegiate recovery program in the United States.
19. The skyline
The Minneapolis campus has an eagle-eye view of downtown that’s perfectly fitting for the Auggie mascot. (We’ll let you know how things are coming on the new Vikings stadium).
“There’s a stellar view of the city from the top of Mortensen.” —Joe Vokracka ’14
20. On-campus art galleries, pop-up exhibits…
…guest speakers, music ensemble performances, and research festivals. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that there’s always something happening at Augsburg. Each spring, Zyzzogeton celebrates the creativity and scholarship of undergraduate students. It’s fun to say—and to attend. The College also hosts scholars and professionals at the leading edge in students’ academic disciplines and showcases artwork by visiting artists and Auggies. The exhibition spaces around campus transform multiple times each year in order to present an array of innovative and inspirational pieces.
“I love the changing art exhibits.” —Whitney Worley ’14 MPA
21. The staff
You name it; they do it. In many ways, Augsburg locations are like small cities unto themselves where students eat, sleep, shop, socialize, learn, and live. Augsburg staff members foster an exceptional student experience at locations in Minnesota and around the world.
“I love the super helpful and nice financial aid advisers, and the well-organized Registrar’s Office staff.” —Holly Reddy ’14
22. The changing seasons
Winter sometimes can last a tad too long, but Minnesota’s seasons certainly add variety to Augsburg’s academic calendar. Each year the Quad features fall colors, spring blooms, summer picnics, and winter snow angels, which means the weather outside helps to emphasize the timeliness of the College’s in-house traditions.
23. Nearby sidewalks, trails, and bike lanes
Home of the Greenway and the Chain of Lakes, Minneapolis has 92 miles of on-street bikeways and 85 miles of off-street paths, not to mention an abundance of pedestrian-only zones.
“I love running and walking on the River Road.” —Lauren Rice ’14
24. Arts and culture
Minneapolis has world-class museums, a vibrant dance scene, and more theater seats per capita than any U.S. city outside New York. It’s no wonder Minneapolis was named one of America’s most creative cities, and it’s no surprise that Auggies take advantage of the visual and performing arts in their midst.
“I love seeing new work at the Playwright Center just down the road.” —Hannah Youngquist ’14
25. Its influence
A snapshot of graduation
The graduating class of 2014 added more than 750 Auggies—from our undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral programs—to the College’s alumni ranks.
Commencement ceremonies held May 3-4 featured the theme “Thoughtful Stewards,” which was inspired by the College’s mission statement and reflected the Augsburg community’s passion for social justice and sustainability.
“Augsburg changed how I think.” —Peter Moore ’14 MAL