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COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

Augsburg Athletics Facebook Live Discussion with Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79 and Head Football Coach Derrin Lamker ’97

Imagine getting your dream job as head football coach at your alma mater just months before the start of a global pandemic. What are your new priorities? How do you serve your students and the University?

On Thursday, November 5 at 11:00 a.m. Central Standard Time all Augsburg alumni, faculty, staff, donors, friends, and students are invited to join a Facebook Live discussion with Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79 and Head Football Coach Derrin Lamker ’97 as they share updates on Augsburg athletics in 2020 and what they envision for the future. Click here to join the Auggie Connections Facebook Group where this discussion will be shared.

Jeff Swenson has been a member of the Augsburg community for more than 30 years — as a student, athlete, coach and administrator. A national champion wrestler at Augsburg in his senior year of 1979 with a career record of 102-17. Thanks to Swenson’s leadership, Augsburg produced 98 NWCA Scholar All-Americans, the most of any college in any division in the nation. Augsburg has had at least two Scholar All-Americans every year since 1993. Augsburg has also had eight ESPN The Magazine Academic All-Americans in wrestling, as awarded by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). Swenson, whose teams also won 20 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference team titles, was named MIAC Coach of the Year 13 times and NWCA National Coach of the Year six times (1983, 1991, 1995, 1998, 2000, 2007). Swenson was inducted into the NCAA Division III Wrestling Coaches Hall of Fame in 2005, the Minnesota Wrestling Coaches Association/David Bartelma Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004 and the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999. In 2000-01, Swenson was named Lutheran College National Coach of the Year (all sports) from Lutheran Brotherhood, and in 2002, he earned National College Coach of the Year honors (all divisions) from Wrestling USA Magazine.

Derrin Lamker, an Augsburg University Athletic Hall of Fame member who has become one of the top high school football coaches in Minnesota, is the 15th head coach in Augsburg football history. Lamker began his coaching career at his alma mater, where he spent four seasons (1999-2002) as an assistant coach, his final two seasons as offensive coordinator. He then moved to Robbinsdale Armstrong, his high school alma mater, where he was an assistant coach in football, boys’ basketball and baseball, and served as head coach for the girls’ basketball team in 2003-04.In 2005, Lamker was named head coach for the Osseo High School football team. In 11 seasons there, he led the Orioles to three conference championships, two section titles and the Minnesota Class 6A state title in 2015. He had a 74-39 record at Osseo, part of his 94-50 high school career coaching record. He earned Northwest Suburban Conference Coach of the Year honors three times, was named section coach of the year twice and was named Minnesota Class 6A State Coach of the Year in 2015. He also served on the coaching staff for the Minnesota High School All-Star Game twice, including as head coach in 2015. For the past three seasons, Lamker served as head coach at Edina High School, where he led the Hornets to the Minnesota Class 6A state tournament quarterfinals in 2017 — only the team’s third state tournament appearance in school history — and a 20-11 record. He served as offensive coordinator at Edina in the 2016 season before being named head coach in 2017. He earned section coach of the year honors in 2017.

 

Post-Election Facebook Live Discussion with Political Science Professor Andy Aoki

All members of the Augsburg community are invited to join a post-election Facebook Live discussion on Wednesday, November 4 at 4:30 p.m. Central Standard Time. Click here to join the Auggie Connections Facebook Group to hear Professor Aoki’s reflections on election 2020 and to participate by asking questions during the Q & A.

Professor Aoki joined the Augsburg faculty in 1988 where he now specializes in racial and ethnic politics and American political thought, and teaches courses in political theory and American politics. He started out in high school wanting to be a physicist, lawyer or musician, but his interest in public affairs led him to political science. He holds a B.A. University of Oregon, a M.A. University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Ph.D. University of Wisconsin-Madison. His publications include Asian American Politics (Polity Press, with Okiyoshi Takeda) and Newcomers, Outsiders, and Insiders: Immigrants and American Racial Politics in the Early Twenty-First Century (University of Michigan Press, with Ronald Schmidt, Sr., Yvette Alex-Assensoh, and Rodney E. Hero), as well as a number of other works on the politics of race and ethnicity, Asian American politics, and the politics of immigration.

Video Playback: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way with Rachel Engebretson ’98 and Alex Gonzalez ’90

Simple advice from Auggies. Make a will and make a difference.

If you missed our “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way” series this summer, you now have the opportunity to watch a replay the virtual conversation with host alumna Rachel Engebretson ‘98 and alumnus Alex Gonzalez ’90. As a financial consultant at Stonebridge Group of Thrivent, Alex shared his expertise in financial and estate planning and answered questions about wills, why everyone needs one, where to start, and how you can create your own will for free.

We get it…times are uncertain right now. The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting all of us, and raising questions about what if? These discussions can be overwhelming, but making end-of-life plans now will give you more control and ease the burden on family if the worst should happen.

Your Gift will be Matched for the Student-Driven Scholarship Campaign

student led scholarship video, linked

Exciting news, Auggies! A dollar for dollar matching donation has been made by an anonymous donor for the student-led fundraiser for the Pan-Afrikan Center and future scholarships for the newly announced Critical Race and Ethnic Studies department. Make a difference for Auggies right now with double your donation.

About the Student Driven Scholarship Campaign

“What side of history do you want to be on?” 

Dear friends:

Our names are Zakariya Abdullahi and Mallory Ferguson – seniors at Minnesota’s first university where the majority of students are people of color. Augsburg University serves our community and we are proud to be a part of this student-led fundraising effort.

Why are we excited to do this?

Like many of you, we’ve experienced firsthand the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our administration, faculty, and staff are working to offer some semblance of normalcy, but campus life is peculiar right now.

Like many of you, we’ve experienced the social unrest following the death of George Floyd. Our campus is minutes away from the destruction the world witnessed during the unrest in Minneapolis. Many of our fellow students, their families, and their friends call the Twin Cities home and are facing difficulties due to violence, lost jobs, and disrupted communities.

Like many of you, we believe that it’s vital right now to do our part in creating immediate and systemic change.

Building upon the critical work of Augsburg alumni involved with “One Day in May” following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we invite you to join our efforts to raise funding for scholarships for students involved with the Pan-Afrikan Center and future scholarships for the newly announced Critical Race and Ethnic Studies department.

Your support will have an impact on students to help shape a diverse university that honors, respects, and advocates for the lives, histories, and traditions of all.

In solidarity,

Zakariya Abdullahi ’21 & Mallory Ferguson ’21

Help Welcome the Class of 2024 by Sharing Your Community Service

Augsburg’s commitment to community service and engagement is long-standing and deeply held. Since 1992, day undergraduate students have participated in service projects on City Engagement Day, even before they’ve had their first class.

The COVID-19 pandemic requires us to press pause on City Engagement Day this year, but our commitment to community building is unwavering. Instead of sending hundreds of incoming students out to serve Minneapolis neighborhoods and organizations, we are encouraging students, faculty, and staff to engage with their local communities in ways that are meaningful to them personally.

You can help by sharing with Augsburg your community service work. Where to do you volunteer? What do you want today’s students to know about the place where you do your service?  Fill out this short online form where you can upload a photo to encourage others to build community through service. This form requires that you are logged into a google account so you can easily upload a photo. You can also email your community service information to Vice President for Alumni Relations and Advancement Heather Riddle (riddle@augsburg.edu).

For those looking for volunteer opportunities, the Sabo Center has compiled this list of local opportunities for community service. This list will be updated as we learn of new opportunities. The University has not vetted every one, so take care in considering COVID-19 safety practices, the organization’s capacity to host groups, and other key questions.

President Pribbenow and Athletics Director Jeff Swenson ’79 Discuss Athletics During a Pandemic

Augsburg University is preparing to start a new school year in the midst of a global pandemic. Covid-19 has had significant impacts on student athletes. In this recording of an August 2020 online event, President Paul Pribbenow and Athletics Director Jeff Swenson ’79 discuss ways Augsburg is working to meet the needs of students and adjusting plans for players and teams whose schedules have changed.

Augsburg President Speaks on Systemic Racism and Lasting Change

In August 2020 Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow participated in a live, virtual forum with other nationally recognized Presidents and Chancellors of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU). A recording of this online event is now available on YouTube.

From the event invitation:

“After the tragic murder of George Floyd, many colleges and universities released strong statements denouncing police brutality and the relentless racism Black Americans face. However, systemic racism has plagued our country for over four hundred years, and it isn’t something that will simply dissipate—it must be met with anti-racism strategies.

Join the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU) for a live, virtual event where four CUMU university presidents and chancellors will honestly discuss where we go from here. This critical dialogue will center on how and why higher education leaders need to go beyond rhetoric to combat systemic racism and inequities towards systematic and lasting change.

  • How can we develop proactive agendas that combat discrimination, inequalities, and injustices that are omnipresent in American society?
  • How can we support individual and institutional readiness in addressing racism and inequities?
  • What is our role as engaged anchor leaders in addressing our own institution’s history and role in creating the very systems and structures in place today?

This virtual discussion will highlight ways to center anti-racism into our urban missions and is a space for attendees to think critically about their role within their institution and cities.”

The Man in the Pines – one Auggie’s quest to find a story

The Man in the Pines-NashPer Minnesota tradition, David Nash ’06 first met the giant, talking Paul Bunyan in Brainerd, Minnesota when he was really young, and it left a lasting impression. So a few years ago when picking an American folklore to read to his son, it was obvious to David he should read the story of Paul Bunyan. Unfortunately, his son wasn’t that interested in tales of Paul and Babe the Blue Ox.

David has always enjoyed writing music, so he wrote a song about Paul to sing to his son, imagining if Paul was a real person. He wondered what if Paul’s story was a bit sadder, and perhaps we were taking advantage of his story and turning it into something else to get the happy folklore that it is now.After writing the song, David played it at an open mic and people really enjoyed it. Later, he heard an interview of a musician he listens to who mentioned they wrote a book based off a song.

“It occurred to me: why does my song have to be the end of the story?”

After his kids went to bed one summer night in 2018, David sat down and started writing. Then it was every night when the kids went to bed. He’d sit down in a chair and write and write and write.

“It all came on suddenly, almost to the point that it felt kind of like a sickness. It was like I couldn’t get better until the story was all written down.”

By researching the history of logging in Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as the great Hinckley fire, David aimed to write a historically accurate novel with American folklore, historical ecology, Native American spirituality, and love.

When a draft was complete, the next step was publication. David’s wife, alumna Sara (Holman) Nash ’06, suggested he reach out to Augsburg’s English Department. Sara is an English major graduate from Augsburg and connected David with Professor Emerita Kathryn Swanson.

“Kathy Swanson and the English Department helped me look for publishers and things to consider in terms of what makes the project marketable, and writing resources.”

Two publishers accepted David’s book: one was from Oregon and the other, Orange Hat Publishing, is located in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

“I went with the Waukesha publisher. Being more local, I felt a good connection with their owner, who went to the same high school as me.”

After rounds of formal editing and book designs, The Man in the Pines was ready to be released. A book launch party was planned for April 2020 at a local brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin. The party and book tour was going to be accompanied by David’s The Man in the Pines music.

However, the current pandemic prevented the party from happening and canceled the book tour.

“With COVID, self-promotion is hard right now. As a musician, I thrive more off immediate interaction with people, in-person.”

David isn’t giving up, though. He still released the book in March and did an online reading with a few other authors. He also hosted an online concert with one other musician, during which David explained a few stories from book and played songs. When it’s safe to do so, he will tour with his book and accompanying songs, and have a proper launch party in La Crosse.

One surprising thing David learned about himself while writing The Man in the Pines is that he really likes writing.

“If someone would have told me I would enjoy writing a book, it would have been hard to comprehend. I like that you can start with an idea and you may not know your destination. I like writing myself out of problems. It can be frustrating, but also gratifying to discover the journey of your characters as you write.”

Photo from alumna Lauren (Falk) McVean ‘06. Photo credit Lauren B Photography (laurenbfalk.com).

David had an early connection to Augsburg. His mom, Susan Nash, Ed.D., has been a nursing professor at Augsburg’s Rochester campus since 1998, and his older brother, Collin, played hockey at Augsburg. David was a biology major and also played hockey. He met his wife, Sara, their senior year in college, at a mutual friend’s birthday party.

Today, David is a Pediatric Ophthalmologist and Strabismologist at Gundersen Health System in La Crosse. He lives in Wisconsin with his wife and two children, where they spend most of their time outdoors, kayaking, jogging, fly and trout fishing, hiking, painting, and practicing photography.

“I have more interests and hobbies than I have time for!”

Listen to Online Alumni Event “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”

A new series of online alumni events launched last week. Each is led by Augsburg alumni with expertise in constructing a will and financial planning. Listen online to Cody Tresselt-Warren ’09, Vice-President, Senior Wealth Planner at Wells Fargo Private Bank and Lewis Nelson ’00, Sales Manager at Fluke Corporation discuss wills and why it’s important to plan now instead of leaving decisions for others to make in the future.

 

Make a Donation of Household Supplies on August 4 to Support the Cedar Riverside Community

The weight of the COVID-19 pandemic, amplified by high unemployment rates and the closing of local stores during the unrest following the killing of George Floyd, has left our Cedar Riverside neighbors in need of support now more than ever.  As media coverage and attention to the situation has slowed, donations to aid sites in South Minneapolis have dropped significantly.  As a result, many of our neighbors are struggling to meet their basic needs.  Augsburg has a special relationship with the nearby Brian Coyle Center so we would like to continue our support by collecting household supplies and personal care items to supplement food shelf distributions.  The generosity shown by the Augsburg community in early June was amazing and we plan to express our care for our neighbors by again hosting another successful effort on August 4th.

In partnership with M Health Fairview, Pillsbury United Communities, and the Brian Coyle Center, we invite you to join us for a Supply Drive for the Cedar Riverside Community.

When:

Tuesday, August 4 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Where:

Parking Lot L at the intersection of Riverside Avenue and 25th Ave S which is immediately east of the Edor Nelson Field and Dome; Augsburg University, 2211 Riverside Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55454.

Note – if you are not able to drop items at Augsburg on August 4th, M Health Fairview is collecting donations from August 3-14, 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM, at two locations: Smiley’s Clinic (2020 E. 28th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55407) and their Midway Campus (1700 University Ave. W., St. Paul, MN 55104).

Donate:

We are collecting new, unopened household supplies and personal care items.  We encourage you to purchase items from locally owned businesses, if possible.  Donations will be transported to the Brian Coyle Center, one of the Pillsbury United Communities sites, for distribution.

These are the most needed supplies:

  • Diapers
  • Baby wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Toilet paper
  • Laundry soap
  • Dish Soap
  • Bar soap
  • Deodorant
  • Razors
  • Household cleaning supplies
  • Facemasks (homemade face coverings welcome)
  • Bottled water
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tote bags and paper bags with handles

We reserve the right to decline donated items if they are not needed or if we are unable to distribute them. We will not be accepting donations of clothing, furniture, or food.

If you would like to volunteer to help collect and organize donations, please contact Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle at riddle@augsburg.edu.

Thank you for considering a donation of items or an online donation to Pillsbury United Communities to help our neighbors in need get through this most challenging time. Augsburg’s Campus Kitchen program continues to deliver meals to the Brian Coyle Community Center, People’s Center, West Bank CDC, and the Ebenezer Tower Apartments. If you would like to support this critical meal deliver service please make an online donation here.