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StepUP Gala

Celebrate - 20 years of empowering students in recovery to achieve academic success

THE STEP UP GALA IS Saturday, October 28, 2017

Join us for an evening of inspiration, entertainment, and fellowship as we celebrate 20 years of the StepUP Program at Augsburg University. 

5 p.m.
Si Melby Hall, Augsburg University
Valet parking available

All alumni are welcome to register below for the alumni reception at 4:00 p.m. 

Gala Registration Individual Sponsorship Opportunities Corporate Sponsorship Opportunities View Silent Auction Items

GALA co-Chairs: Gina Gage and Cindy Piper


Emcee: Emmy-Award-winning former WCCO news anchor Don Shelby            

Don Shelby, now retired from the daily practice of television journalism, wrote in his weekly post for, “I am an addictive personality. I have been addicted to tobacco, alcohol, getting engaged (five times).” Through journalism, he also became addicted to “learning things.” Shelby writes about a variety of topics, and he has a special interest in the environment and ecology. He is the author of The Season Never Ends, a book about basketball.

Alumni Speaker: Heidi Bausch ’07

As a student at Augsburg, Heidi achieved a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy, was an active member of the StepUP program, and worked at the Center for Wellness & Counseling. This year she celebrates her ten-year graduation anniversary.

Heidi’s vocation has led her into service for the recovery community. She is passionate about supporting youth in recovery and has experience working with The Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as well as a youth substance use and mental health program at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Fairview. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Counseling Psychology with a focus on grief associated with recovery for adolescents and young adults. She will continue to serve this community as a clinical trainee at CARE Counseling.

Heidi has also been working with her StepUP roommate, Samantha Yerks, to launch their business, Singularity Behavioral Systems & Technology, with the mission of developing clinical software solutions for the behavioral health field.

Heidi has recently become involved with the Minnesota Psychology Association where she engages with legislation and advocates for quality behavioral health care. She will be facilitating a symposium on substance use and mental health at the 2018 MPA Annual Convention.

Heidi has maintained a strong connection with StepUP over the past 10 years and continues to partake in efforts to initiate, build, and celebrate a meaningful network of StepUP Alumni for generations to come.

Toby LaBelle Award Recipients: Dowdle and Dwyer Families

The Dowdle Family


James and Sally Dowdle smile and embrace each otherJames and Sally Dowdle raised five children, Colleen, Jeanne, Sarah, Pati and Jim. James had an outstanding career in the media business working for Hubbard Broadcasting for 18 years and Tribune Broadcasting for 20 years. During the time he worked for Hubbard Broadcasting, James and Sally spent 10 years raising their children in Minnetonka. It was also during this time that James became very involved in the AA recovery community in the Minneapolis area. Although James passed in 2014, Sally continues to spend her time between Chicago and Florida, always surrounded by her 16 grandchildren.

The Dwyer Family


Dwyer Family stands in a line wearing formal attirePat and Jeanne Dwyer live in Winnetka, IL and raised five children, Spencer, Conor, PJ, Brenden, and Pati. Spencer is an alumnus of the Retreat in Wayzata and a graduated Augsburg’s StepUP program in 2013. Jeanne is a member of the StepUp Board and the Dwyer family continues to be involved and committed to the recovery community.

The Dowdle and Dwyer families believe in the dreams of the StepUP program.