Augsburg’s 155 All-School Reunion Volunteers

All School Reunion Volunteers
Volunteers at the first meeting on May 20, 2019.

We are so thankful for the 155 enthusiastic volunteers who have committed to helping us plan Augsburg’s first-ever All-School Reunion. Their involvement is crucial to our journey ahead. During our first volunteers meeting on May 20, it was exciting to witness old friendships and developing relationships among Auggies from the Classes of 1955 to 2020 — and that’s why reunions matter!

Volunteers are the core this upcoming year, and our work is not only more fun but exponentially strengthened by their participation and input. Our volunteers help us with Homecoming 2020’s schedule, entertainment, venues, marketing and more. We look forward to diving into all of this over the next 15 months to make this Sesquicentennial year the most epic one at Augsburg to date.

If you are interested in joining the following group of volunteers, please contact Katie (Koch) Code ’01 at or call 612-330-1178.

We have plenty of work to do, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Augsburg All-School Reunion Volunteers (Sesquicentennial Stewards):

Annika Hegrenes ’20

Joseph  Amrhein ’19

Eli Baker ’19

Willie Giller ’19

Grace Lindgren ’19

Brandon Williams ’19

Gabriel Bergstrom ’18

Abe Johnson ’18

Kevin Tran ’18

John Boyd ’17

Megan Carrell ’17

Thomas Kukowski ’17

Chau Nguyen ’17

Jack Swift ’17

Lauren Hurley ’16

Jaquan Kline ’16

Atlese Robinson ’16

Reies Romero ’16

Nadine Ashby ’15

Kendall Christian ’15

Nikolas Linde ’15

Hassan Sankoh ’15

Felecia Zahner ’15

Lia Capaldini ’14

Jasmine Grika ’14

Gary  Mariscal ’14

Katie Nelson ’14

Zaurean Nickens ’14

Jakkee-Patricia Phillips ’14

Patrick DuSchane ’13

Alyssa Fichter ’13

Beau Hansen ’13

Kris Vick ’13, MAE

Helen Truax ’12, MBA

Evan Decker ’12

Fardosa Hassan ’12

Lauren Lesser ’12

Aldo Lopez ’12

Shane Pantila ’12

Katie Radford ’12

Marty Wyatt ’12

Alex Beeby ’11

Laura Lou DuSchane ’11

Lucreshia Grant ’11

Van Hong ’11

Seth Lienard ’11

Ted Nielsen ’11

Lani Roldan ’11

Quinton Stibbins ’11

Kennitra Terrell ’11

Stefani  Zappa ’11

Irene Abdullah ’10

Taylor Davis ’10

Joshua Holmgren ’10

Matthew McEnery ’10

Jill Watson ’10

Shonna Fulford ’09

Raymond Kidd ’09

Agnes Kigwana ’09

Caitlin Lienard ’09

Derek Francis ’08

Joshua Harris ’08

Bryan Ludwig ’08

Brian  Bambenek ’07

Erik Helgerson ’07

Maria Helgerson ’07

Charlie Scott ’07

Babette Chatman ’05

Hannah Dietrich ’05

Sheryl Wallace-Holman ’05

Mel Lee ’04

Mathew J. Shannon ’04

Jamie E. Smith ’04

Jarret Howard ’03

Nick Rathmann ’03

Brent Peroutka ’02

Nick B. Slack ’02

Erica Bryan-Wegner ’01

Erica Huls ’01

Jason  Beckendorf ’00

Kirsten Kelly ’00

Stephanie Lein Walseth ’00

Ross Murray ’00

Meg Schmidt Sawyer ’00

Brandon Hutchinson ’99

Guillaume Paek ’99

Terry Marquardt ’98

Jessica Wahto ’98

Amy Bowar Mellinger ’97

Nancy Holmblad ’95

Jay Lepper ’95

Liz Pushing ’93

Heather Johnston ’92

Kristen Hirsch Montag ’91

Greg Schnagl ’91

Drew Privette ’89

Tracy Sundstrom ’89

Jerry Dieffenbach ’88

Darcey Engen ’88

Jenni Lilledahl ’87

Lisa  Anderson ’86

Nancy Mueller ’85

Norm Okerstrom ’85

Lisa Kastler ’84

Jenny Kelley ’84

Karen Casanova ’83

Joan Evans ’83

Karsten Nelson ’83

Cinthia W. Sisson ’83

Lori Moline ’82

Eric Anderson ’79

Becky Bjella-Nodland ’79

Sally Daniels Herron ’79

Jeff Swenson ’79

James Bernstein ’78

Rick Bonlender ’78

Beverly Meyer ’78

Dennis Meyer ’78

Jeff Nodland ’77

Roselyn Nordaune ’77

Jeffrey Mueller ’76

Kathryn Wahl ’76

Norm Wahl ’76

Merilee Klemp ’75

Linda Holmen ’74

Bob Strommen ’74

Linda Andell ’72

Saul Stensvaag ’72

David Andell ’71

Wayne Jorgenson ’71

Bonnie Niles ’71

Bob Stacke ’71

Dennis King ’70

Richard King ’69

Peter Strommen ’69

Karolynn Lestrud ’68

Lennore Bevis ’66

Richard Mork ’66

Allen  Anderson ’65

Eunice Dietrich ’65

Joyce Pfaff ’65

Livi Smith ’64

Barbara Larson ’63

Dean Larson ’62

Lawrence Gallagher ’61

Winnie Nordlund Anderson ’61

Dale Hanka ’60

Robert Herman ’55

Michael Bloomberg – Staff

Frank Haege – Staff

Paul C. Pribbenow – President

Margaret Bostelmann – Friend

Lois Swenson – Friend


Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Gala – Join the Waitlist

Update: This event is now sold out. If you are interested in being added to the waitlist, please follow the registration link and add your name. We will let you know as soon as possible if we have ticket(s) available!

Join us for a once-in-a-lifetime event. On Friday, September 27, 2019, we kick off Augsburg’s sesquicentennial with a gala in downtown Minneapolis. This gala will acknowledge our history of pursuing the calling to serve the community, and it will rally our energetic support for the next 150 years of Augsburg University.

During this unprecedented evening, we will share stories of gratitude and hope for the future. We will celebrate with friends who have been a part of the community: alumni, parents, faculty, and staff. We’ll enjoy moments to reflect, share, and give while surrounded by the relationships that have always been at the heart of Augsburg.
We look forward to seeing you there.

—Darcey Engen ’88 and Jeff Swenson ’79
Sesquicentennial Committee co-chairs

Event Details

Friday, September 27, 2019

4:30 p.m. Reception, 6 p.m. Program

Renaissance Minneapolis Hotel, The Depot

225 3rd Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55401

This event will likely sell out. Order today to reserve your place.

Learn more about the Sesquicentennial and subscribe to our calendar.

Celebrating the Faces of Augsburg with “Inside Out”

Inside Out Rendering
A rendering of what part of the installation may look like.

Augsburg Community: We need your help!

In 2019, Augsburg celebrates 150 years as a University. Our sesquicentennial will be a year-long opportunity to reflect on our past and present – to honor our leaders and legacies, and also to discover our roots.

As part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, Augsburg has commissioned several public art projects around campus lead by Kristin Anderson and Christopher Houltberg. The main installation is a participatory art project called “Inside Out” that will cover 4 city blocks and showcase over 1,869 faces of people part of the Augsburg community.

Let’s celebrate the faces of current and historic members of the community with this ambitious public installation! Woven together, each black and white portrait will create a mesh of faces celebrating, recognizing and honoring the core of the institution: its people. This textile of woven portraits will be a unique opportunity to take part in an international art project empowering community actions.

Augsburg is everywhere.

faces of Augsburg photo shoot
The Faces of Augsburg photoshoot set up

Having the whole Augsburg community represented in this installation is very important to us. That includes Rochester campus, weekend university students, international students, faculty, staff, and alumni. So we want to invite YOU to participate by sending in your photo from wherever you are through this form. The deadline to send in these photos is Friday, May 24.

Let’s show who we are behind the walls of the institution and each of our roles within it for the past 150 years. Whether to pay tribute or simply pay attention, this project creates the opportunity to recognize how many shoulders it takes to create a strong and successful academic community in every single realm existing in a university.

Beyond getting your portrait taken or sending in a photo, this is about shared moments, pride, and seeing yourself appear side by side with around 3,000 other faces with the same pride and commitment to Augsburg.


Submit your photo

Tour the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with the Augsburg Associates

minnesota landscape arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

The Augsburg Associates are hosting a lunch and Arboretum Tour for their spring event at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Wednesday, May 29. This event includes a lunch starting at 11:30 in the Tea Room at the Arboretum with featured speaker Dr. Stan Hokanson a horticulture professor at the University of Minnesota during lunch. At 1:30, the Associates will be taking a tour of the Arboretum on the tram. The cost for this event is $35.

Register for This Event

Celebrate 2019 Augsburg Graduates with the Tassel Challenge

tassel challenge videoAs we celebrate the completion of this academic year and honor the newest class of Auggie graduates, Augsburg is promoting the Tassel Challenge fundraising campaign.

This online giving event supports future Auggies with all proceeds benefiting the Sesquicentennial Scholarship Fund, an endowed scholarship fund at Augsburg.

A donation today in any amount is an investment for Auggie generations to come. Over 200 donors have already contributed more than $110,000 to the Sesquicentennial Scholarship.

The Tassel Challenge is a great way to recognize your favorite graduating Auggie, give back to Augsburg, and help ensure an Augsburg education is accessible to all.

Honor a student special to you and we will make sure they know they were recognized, and send you and the student an Augsburg tassel keychain as a token of our gratitude.

More information can be found and donations made on the Tassel Challenge Donation page. The Tassel Challenge will run from today through May 19. If you have any questions please contact

Alumni Spotlight: Darin Rowles ’04, ’15 (MSW)

Darin RowlesRowles Named New Head for State’s HIV Services

Darin Rowles ’04, ’15 (MSW) has worked in the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) sector since 1995, a time when an HIV diagnosis was a death sentence. He worked very closely with many people whose lives were coming to an end due to HIV. But in 1995, the first advanced HIV treatment became available—“a game changer in HIV,” says Rowles. Things have changed dramatically since then, and he now has a new opportunity to spread the hopefulness.

On Halloween 2018, Rowles stepped into a new position that will bring to bear his 23+ years of experience in direct-service and management of HIV—and to a much wider audience. As Manager of HIV Services for the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), Rowles now oversees the administration of numerous services for people living with HIV, but on a statewide basis. The work includes the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program Part B and the AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP).

Ending the Epidemic

Rowles says we now have the treatment options and knowledge needed to end the HIV epidemic. Though there is still no cure or vaccine, two major assets have recently been added to the HIV toolbox.

The first is a concept known as “U=U” (undetectable equals untransmittable), based on research that has shown conclusively that people living with HIV who are able to engage in medical care can maintain an undetectable HIV viral load, thereby preventing them from passing on the virus to sexual partners.

The second new tool is PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), a daily medication for those not living with HIV who want to remain HIV-negative. Rowles says that now we also know how to provide HIV treatments that enhance quality of life for those already living with the virus and prevent transmission to others.

But Rowles acknowledges that some of the greatest HIV challenges we have today are with young people, who are both less likely to use preventive measures like PrEP, and less likely to have the resources to manage their HIV and maintain an undetectable viral load. He knows that much work remains to be done in the HIV sector to raise awareness. In Minnesota alone, there are about 300 new HIV infections each year. In 2017, about a third of the 284 new cases were individuals under age 30, and about one-fifth were 24 or younger. The majority of those 24 or younger were male-identified, and almost all of these identified sex with another male-identified person as their primary risk.

Rowles’ work is cut out for him, and he is excited about this opportunity to gain experience in administering service to the public sector. His new role will include supervising, mentoring, and teaching emerging social work professionals, as well as overseeing the administration of contracted support services, insurance assistance, medication-access programs, capacity-building programs, and policy initiatives–plus monitoring compliance with federal funding, and activities that engage the community.

Previously, much of Rowles’ work involved relating one-on-one to people living with the disease. From 2002 to 2018, he worked in multiple roles with MAP (the Minnesota AIDS Project, now called JustUs Health). In addition, he has done focused worked with people living with serious and persistent mental health issues in residential settings. For five years, he served on the Minnesota HIV Services Planning Council and was an active part of the community planning process in allocating federal funding for HIV services within Minnesota. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors for the Professional Association of Social Workers in HIV/AIDS.

Minnesotan, Through and Through

Rowles values his Minnesota roots, and confesses to being a “massive Prince fan.” He feels fortunate to have seen Prince over 100 times, often at late-night parties at his Chanhassen studio. In addition to his love for music, Rowles has “geeky” interests, such as Star Wars, Harry Potter, and the Marvel-verse. These interests recharge him for his day-to-day work, he says, as do his husband and three cats, who live with him in South Minneapolis.

Rowles’ ongoing relationship with Augsburg began with some “post-secondary” classes during his senior year in high school. When he put his academic life on pause partway through his freshman year, he took some time to “experience life,” before returning to complete his Bachelor’s degree, and later, his Master’s in Social Work. He has stayed in touch with various professors and with Auggies from his Master’s cohort and has supervised a number of social work undergrads in internship roles. This trimester he is back on campus as a co-facilitator for an Intergroup Dialogue. He says that both of his social work experiences at Augsburg made a major impression on him, and he continues to be a cheerleader for the university and the social work program.

Perhaps Rowles’ greatest contribution as a Minnesotan is yet to come, as he pursues his new work with DHS. In partnership with the Minnesota Department of Health, DHS is implementing a statewide strategy to end HIV in Minnesota. As Rowles says, “We have the tools to end this epidemic, and now is the time.”


–by Cheryl Crockett ‘89

Augsburg Family Spotlight: Bruce ’91 and Michael Rivers ’19

Michael Rivers ‘19

Facing an Unexpected Tragedy

When Michael Rivers graduates from Augsburg this spring, he plans to do some private investigative work for criminal lawyers, and then enroll in law school. His goal of becoming a criminal defense attorney with a private practice would seem like a natural progression, especially since that’s what his father has done since 1998. But his pathway to this decision was a long and painful one—and never a given.

Rivers recalls that growing up in the southwest Minneapolis house once occupied by his great-grandparents, he sensed a strong bond between his parents (both Auggies who went on to earn doctorates), and he enjoyed many childhood pleasures—skiing, baseball, and biking the Minnehaha Parkway weekly to Lake Harriet. Life seemed simple then.

But he remembers a lot of fighting, too. When Rivers was five years old, his parents divorced. In the beginning, that wasn’t very troubling for a five-year-old—it meant two birthday celebrations, two Christmas gatherings, two homes, and several “double events.” But within the year, his mother died and—even though the full impact of having her “gone forever” didn’t really sink in—he managed to continue with sports and many of his other activities, including regular attendance at his dad’s Sunday School class. He also participated in an “amazing grief group” at his elementary school, which helped him talk about death with peers and contributed greatly to healing and an understanding of death.

As Rivers was entering his teens, he was told the truth about how his mother had died. She had not been sick, as he had been led to believe. She had taken her own life—just as his grandfather and uncle had done. This new information—and the intentionality of those deaths—forced him to reconstruct everything on which he felt his life had been based.

Trying to Cope

He began drinking at age 13, becoming intoxicated regularly to calm the chatter in his brain. During his teen years (the “trouble phase”), Rivers quit going to church. He no longer had any interest in academics, and his grades plummeted. He resented and disregarded authority and started lying to his father. Expelled from one high school for possessing a taser, he ended up attending three others. He was arrested four times. He ran away from home four times, once ending up in Omaha where he was arrested for shoplifting and being a runaway, another time in Colorado where the $6,000 he had stolen from his father funded a weeklong drug ride, and twice in Florida. He “went through a lot of friends” and surrounded himself with people who had low expectations of him.

The fire that fueled the animosity he then felt toward the world was his understanding of his mother’s death. He felt betrayed and lied to. He was haunted by the image of his mother in her casket: the lifeless body that once held his life inside of her, and the burn marks on her lips from the gun she used—and the images still inhabit his dreams today.

While in an after-care treatment program, Rivers learned there were school programs that could help him earn a GED—a fact that became enticing only when he discovered he could possibly get into Augsburg as well. Though his high school academic record held little promise, his optimism increased as he recalled nostalgically the stories from his parents about how much they had enjoyed Augsburg. He also learned more about the StepUP program, Augsburg’s residential collegiate recovery community.

When Rivers began his studies at Augsburg, he lived in the dorms. He ended his first year with a 2.1 GPA, a slight improvement from high school. But he knew he could do much better. In terms of the required sobriety in StepUP, he had relapsed the first time and had to join the program again. But soon he began to thrive and discovered that there was great value for him in the communal connection he found in the StepUP community, even with substantial staff turnover in the program and some gossiping that can come from living in close proximity.

The Road Ahead

Throughout his Augsburg years, he has gone through waves of emotions, thinking about his mother and the strong possibility that he has likely sat in the same classrooms as she did, interacting with some of the same professors (like Dr. Nancy Steblay, the psychology professor for whom his mother once wrote a meta-analysis).

And he has changed. His outlook on his mother’s death has gone from intense grief and resentment of her and the world to a fuller understanding and admiration of the person she was, and a respect for the world around him. Now, as he approaches graduation time, Rivers can taste victory. Of the last 15 classes he has taken, he has earned a 4.0 in 13 of them, putting him on the Dean’s List for four consecutive semesters and likely resulting in a 3.5 GPA when he graduates.

In the years ahead, Rivers sees himself working on hard criminal cases, owning property, working at both passive incomes and vacation destinations, and traveling the world with the one he loves. Given his skills in photography, he may even start a film production company. But as he pursues law school and a career, his work in Augsburg’s student government will likely be useful, as will advice and encouragement from his lawyer father, Bruce ’91, who is especially pleased about his son’s progress. Bruce says, “It is only through hard work and perseverance that this fine young man has achieved all that he has.” He must be especially gratified that Michael has chosen to pursue the same career path as he did.

–by Cheryl Crockett ‘89

Important Images Linked to Augsburg’s History

Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring images that are core to the history of Augsburg. These images are featured in “Hold Fast to What is Good” by Professor Phillip Adamo – a book to commemorate Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial looking back from 1869 to today.

Augsburg Shovel
This shovel is so important to Augsburg’s history that it even has a name. Learn more in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
This lectern is the oldest piece of furniture on Augsburg’s campus, dating to at least 1916. Augsburg professors still lecture from this lectern, but they also teach in other ways. A deeper history of teaching at Augsburg can be found in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
newspaper ad
This ad from a Norwegian newspaper enticed Augsburg’s founders to come to America. It’s a fascinating story that can be found in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
This bell was given to Augsburg at its founding in 1869, but now the bell resides at Augustana University in Sioux Falls. Did they steal it? The story behind this image can be found in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”


How to order “Hold Fast to What is Good”

We are accepting preorders of one or more hardcover, limited edition, boxed copies of this book through May 1, 2019.

Price: $162.04 (this price includes tax)

Select the “Hold Fast to What is Good” Book Event to order online today.

Attendees at the Sesquicentennial Gala will be able to pick up their books that evening. Other orders will be delivered by mail in October 2019.

For more information about “Hold Fast to What is Good” by Professor Phillip Adamo, contact Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle at 612-330-1177 or

All Are Welcome to the 612 Football Spring Scrimmage

Augsburg vs Carleton Football. Courtesy of Kevin Healy 10-13-2018

You are invited to join Auggie Football for a final practice/scrimmage before the Auggies International Spring Game.

The 2019 spring semester is a unique one for the Augsburg football team because it will culminate with international travel to face the Winnipeg Rifles on Sunday, May 5, at 11 a.m. Before that game takes place, the team will complete their NCAA allotment of padded practices, which is what really makes this situation unique.

In a normal spring semester, NCAA Division III football universities are not permitted to conduct padded practices. All practice must be in shorts and a t-shirt. No contact at all is permitted. The only time a provision is made is if an institution is playing an international spring game. Thus, Augsburg football is one of very few Division III teams that will get an opportunity to practice in full pads this spring.

Our final practice/scrimmage will be on Saturday, April 27, at 1 p.m. There is an open invitation for any alumni (including those who did not play football or any sport) to come and enjoy the scrimmage. We also plan on inviting recruits and parents of our current student-athletes. It will be a great day with a lot of energy and excitement in the air. Please join us for this unique opportunity!

Schedule of Events:

12:30: Arrival and Check-in

1:00: Fast Pace & High Energy-Practice Starts (Fast start – OL vs DL 1v1/Skill 1v1 catch & shake)

2:30: Game Ends

Please register for this event so we know how many to expect. If you have any question, please contact Tunde Agboke via email at

What’s Inside Augsburg’s Newest History Book?

Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring images that are core to the history of Augsburg. These images are featured in “Hold Fast to What is Good” by Professor Phillip Adamo – a book to commemorate Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial looking back from 1869 to today.

Cartoon drawing
In 1890, cartoonist Herbjørn Gausta poked fun at Augsburg president Georg Sverdrup, shown here fighting a dragon called St. Olaf College. Read more about the early history of Augsburg in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
whale bone
There’s a whalebone at Augsburg in the attic of Old Main. That’s right. A whalebone! It’s a fascinating story that can be found in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
burning effigy of Nixon
In May 1970, Augsburg students set fire to an effigy of President Richard M. Nixon. There’s more to this story that can be found in Augsburg’s newest history book “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
plaque for Communication Center
This plaque hides a secret from Augsburg’s past that is so dark the plaque itself is hidden in a hallway on Augsburg’s campus. The secret can be found in Augsburg’s newest history book “Hold Fast to What is Good.”

How to order “Hold Fast to What is Good”

We are accepting preorders of one or more hardcover, limited edition, boxed copies of this book through May 1, 2019.

Price: $162.04 (this price includes tax)

Select the “Hold Fast to What is Good” Book Event to order online today.

Attendees at the Sesquicentennial Gala will be able to pick up their books that evening. Other orders will be delivered by mail in October 2019.

For more information about “Hold Fast to What is Good” by Professor Phillip Adamo, contact Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle at 612-330-1177 or