Alumni Travel Opportunity: Germany and the Oberammergau Passion Play

The mural covered buildings of Oberammergau.
The mural covered buildings of Oberammergau.

Update: If you are unable to attend the information session in person, University Events Video Streaming is inviting you to watch it via livestream. 

Join the Zoom Meeting on Wednesday, April 17, at 6 p.m.:

Auggies are hitting the road again. During the sesquicentennial year, the Alumni office will be hosting four trips to Germany and Norway. We are happy to share some information about the Germany trip that will take place on July 15-26, 2020.

This uniquely-Augsburg trip features professors Dr. Lori Brandt Hale and Dr. Hans Wiersma. Hale and Wiersma lead the Lutherland trip in 2017 and are now bringing their expertise to a trip that will include historic towns, castles, famous WWII sites, breathtaking scenery, and the world famous Oberammergau Passion Play which will have its 42nd showing. Details on the trip can be found on our alumni travel page.

Join us for an information session on April 17, 2019, from 6:30-8 p.m. in the Oren Gateway Center Room 100. Dr. Hale and Dr. Wiersma will present on the highlights of the trip, and you will have the chance to ask questions and learn more about this once in a lifetime opportunity. For more information about this trip or to RSVP for the info session please contact Katie Code ’01

We will also be hosting an additional info session for the Norway trips as well as the Germany Trip on May 14, 2019 at Augsburg.

Homecoming Auggie Talk: The Study Abroad Experience, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow – Hosted by the Class of 1978

Register now for Homecoming!

Auggie Talks, Auggie Eagle abroad in GermanySaturday, Oct. 13 from 1 – 1:45 p.m.

Auggies from the class of 1978 have traveled the globe studying in places like Norway, Central America, and London. The opportunities to study abroad while at Augsburg have shaped their lives and the lives of many of its graduates. Join the class of 1978 as they reflect on their own study abroad experiences and examine Auggie global education of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

About Auggie Talks:

They’re back by popular demand! Join us for 30-minute, insightful sessions presented by professors and fellow alumni on topics spearheaded by your class reunion groups. Talks will be published as they become available on social media and in upcoming communications.

Space is limited. Please register today for Auggie Talks.

Auggies Travel to Thailand and Cambodia

Auggie travelers ready to tour Thailand and Cambodia: Laureen Mathison and Renee Weaver, Jill Watson '10 MBA, Arthur (Dan) Cherryhomes '73 and Pat Collins, Sharon Carlson '72 and Susan Carlson, Deborah Dehnhoff Krofa '96 and Beth Daigle, Marcia Schneider '65 and Joyce McGlaston, Ava Beilke '14 and Laurie Powless, hosts Jack and Kathy Swanson. Not pictured: David Ishida '12 & Kathryn Lawson Ishida.
Auggie travelers ready to tour Thailand and Cambodia: Laureen Mathison and Renee Weaver, Jill Watson ’10 MBA, Arthur (Dan) Cherryhomes ’73 and Pat Collins, Sharon Carlson ’72 and Susan Carlson, Deborah Dehnhoff Krofa ’96 and Beth Daigle, Marcia Schneider ’65 and Joyce McGlaston, Ava Beilke ’14 and Laurie Powless, hosts Jack and Kathy Swanson. Not pictured: David Ishida ’12 & Kathryn Lawson Ishida.

Augsburg alumni, friends, family, and one li’l Auggie Eagle are on their way to Thailand and Cambodia today. The tour will be led by Augsburg English professor, Kathy Swanson, and her husband, Jack, who are both fluent in Thai and have hosted five trips to Thailand with Augsburg students.

This morning, alumni director Katie Koch ’06 met up with the happy travelers at MSP airport to wish them a safe and exciting trip! Alumni Board President Jill Watson ’10 MBA is carrying the same little Auggie that Katie Koch took on last fall’s alumni trip to Germany. Auggie Eagle will continue to share updates on Facebook.

Small plush toy bird buckled into an airplane seat
Li’l Auggie Eagle, all tucked in for a Hong Kong-bound flight.
Jill Watson is carrying the same little Auggie that Katie Koch took on last fall’s Augsburg trip to Germany.

Why Travel with Auggies?

Thailand-WebDan Cherryhomes, class of ’73, and his wife, Pat, saw promotional material for the Augsburg trip to Thailand and Cambodia in January 2017 and decided to go to the on-campus information session.

Both Dan and Pat had thought about different ways to travel and tour in retirement, had looked at tours, but had never given serious thought to any group package.

“We had  the opportunity to try out the idea in an orientation meeting with some of the people with whom we would likely travel. It was not so surprising to us that as part of the extended Augsburg family, we share the same values and hopes for the trip as a number of the participants. When we met the hosts, English professor Kathy Swanson, and her husband, Jack, we also learned they had spent time as Peace Corps volunteers in Thailand.”

Dan’s parents were missionaries, and he spent his first four years in Thailand. Jack talked with Dan about where he had lived and offered that they could make a brief side-trip one day in Bangkok to the place where Dan had lived.

Dan Cherryhomes '73 in Prague, 2014.
Dan Cherryhomes ’73 in Prague, 2014.

“This was something we didn’t expect  in a group tour—the willingness of our host to help make the experience more personally meaningful to us. We left the orientation and decided that the trip was not only something worthwhile, but that this was the best opportunity we would ever have to travel with people willing to share a similar experience.”

Tour host Kathy Swanson promises a trip that will be Uniquely Augsburg. Travelers will visit sites that appear on most trips to Thailand and Cambodia: the temples, the Grand Palace, the night markets, the floating market, Angkor Wat. The tour will, however, also include items that are uniquely Augsburg such as a visit to an orphanage for Hill Tribe children, Augsburg guides who know the country well and speak some Thai, and a group of travelers who share a common background and interest in being citizens of the world.
Swanson and her husband are already looking forward to the trip. “With all of our trips to Thailand, we most enjoy sharing our love and knowledge of the place with others who are interested in various cultures and new experiences. Each time, we see the familiar through the new eyes of our travelers,” she said.
Who should take this trip? “Anyone who values expanding a world view, learning about a new culture, experiencing beauty (and fun!),” said Kathy Swanson. As Mark Twain wrote:
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things can not be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” — from Innocents Abroad

The tour is open to all and now accepting reservations—just a dozen spots remain. Find a full itinerary and more details about the Thailand/Cambodia trip here. If you have questions or wish to register, contact Katie Koch at


Inspiring Media for Thailand Travelers

Considering a uniquely Augsburg trip to Thailand and Cambodia in January 2017? Get in the mood to travel with fellow Auggies with these books, movies, and resources recommended by your Thailand/Cambodia tour guide Kathy Swanson. Learn more about this tour especially planned for Augsburg alumni, parents, and friends with this complete itinerary.


A History of Thailand, by Chris Baker, Pasuk Phongpaichit

King Bhumibol Adulyadej: A Life’s Work, by Nicholas Grossman

The Thai Amulet, by Lyn Hamilton

Lonely Planet writer Isabel Albiston recommends the following “nine of the best books worth cramming into your carry-on”:

Bangkok Days, by Lawrence Osborne (2009)

Fieldwork, by Mischa Berlinski (2008)

Sightseeing, by Rattawut Lapcharoensap (2005)

Thailand Confidential, by Jerry Hopkins (2005)

Bangkok 8, by John Burdett (2004)

The Beach, by Alex Garland (1998)

Jasmine Nights, by SP Somtow (1995)

Touch the Dragon, by Karen Connelly (1992)

Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind, by Carol Hollinger (1965)

Lonely Planet Thailand — travel guide


James Bond – The Man with the Golden Gun

The Beach (starring Leonardo DiCaprio)


Google: Amazing Race Thailand

Uniquely Augsburg Travel in Thailand and Cambodia

January 3-15, 2017Bangkok

English Professor Kathy Swanson and her husband, Jack, will lead this educational trip through Thailand and Cambodia.

You’ll land in Bangkok, Thailand, and tour the Grand Palace, visit the temple at Wat Po (the Reclining Buddha), and shop for tropical produce and sample local cuisine cooked on boats at a floating market. From there you’ll continue to Chiang Mai to ride elephants, perfect your culinary skills with a cooking class, and make a difference in children’s lives volunteering at a local orphanage. This exotic trip will conclude in Siem Reap, Cambodia, where you’ll be awestruck by Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world.

Don’t miss this thoughtful and educational tour customized specifically for Augsburg alumni, parents, and friends! For more information, contact Katie Koch at

Find a full itinerary and more details about the Thailand/Cambodia trip here.


Kathy Swanson

Augsburg English Professor Kathy Swanson and her husband, Jack, are excited to share the  Kathy and Jack Swansonbeauty and culture of Thailand with Augsburg alumni and friends! Both Kathy and Jack are former Peace Corps volunteers who taught English to Thai students in a rural fishing village many, many years ago. Since then, they have led five trips to Thailand with Augsburg students, and have returned a few additional times with family. Kathy and Jack both speak Thai, are very familiar with the country, and are comfortable navigating this beautiful and exotic place. Jack is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a BA in art history and MFA in studio art. Kathy has a BA, MA, and PhD in English and has just finished her thirtieth year of teaching at Augsburg.


Celebrating Lutheran Heritage in Germany and Prague

October 27-November 6, 2016

Religion professors Mark Tranvik and Hans Wiersma host this journey through Germany and Prague celebrating Lutheran heritage in honor of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.

Erfurt Merchants BridgeFirst, explore artistic and vibrant Berlin before continuing on to Wittenberg to attend the spirited Reformation Festival. Then, discover the culture of Erfurt, Leipzig, and Dresden before making your way to the beautiful and historic Prague.

This informative trip is filled with guided tours of museums, Holocaust memorials, churches, monasteries, and castles. You’ll meander cities, scenic bridges, and vibrant squares, and savor local cuisine and scenic landmarks.

This uniquely Augsburg travel opportunity truly is once in a lifetime. Curious to learn more? Contact Katie Koch with any questions at or call 612-330-1178.

Find cost information, registration details, and a full itinerary here.


Mark Tranvik

mark tranvikMark Tranvik is professor of religion and director of the Christensen Center for Vocation. He has written extensively on the Reformation and edited and introduced a book, The Freedom of a Christian, designed to introduce people to Luther’s life and theology. Tranvik is the author of an upcoming book, Martin Luther and the Called Life, due out later this year from Fortress Press—the book is on Luther’s understanding of vocation. He is a Lutheran pastor, having served at Cross of Glory Lutheran Church in Brooklyn Center, Minn., for 10 years.

Hans Wiersma

hans wiersmaHans Wiersma is associate professor of religion and co-director of Augsburg’s Youth and Family Ministry program. His courses at Augsburg include “The Lutheran Heritage” and “The Life and Work of the Church.” Wiersma received a PhD in the History of Christianity in 2005. He has contributed to a variety of scholarly and popular religion-themed articles, books, and curricula, including The Lutheran Handbook series. He is presently working on the Second Edition of James Kittelson’s Luther the Reformer: the Man and His Career. Wiersma is an active member of the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, where he has presented a number of academic papers focused on the theological development of Luther and his earliest followers. In addition, he is a Lutheran pastor. Wiersma lives in St. Paul, Minn., with his wife and four children. They are members of St. Anthony Park Lutheran Church in St. Paul.

Katie Koch ’01

Katie-KochKatie Koch ’01, Director of Auggie Engagement, will serve as tour coordinator for the trip to Germany and Prague. Koch comes from a diverse background of performing arts management, having most recently worked at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University as an event and administrative manager. Katie worked for nearly five years at the Guthrie Theater as the assistant to former director Joe Dowling, where she supported the Guthrie Board of Directors and high-profile visiting artists. In her time at Augsburg,Koch was a member of The Augsburg Choir, Augsburg Concert Band, and Augsburg Jazz and Gospel Praise. She served as an admissions ambassador, a student coordinator for new student orientation in 1999 and 2000, and wrote for the Augsburg Echo.

New Uniquely Augsburg Travel Info Sessions Added

Berlin-WebAugsburg alumni, parents, and friends of the College are all welcomed to be a part of the Uniquely Augsburg Travel programs in 2016 and beyond, including a celebration of Lutheran heritage in Germany and Prague that coincides with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Curious to learn more? A special information session will answer all your questions. Join Sally Daniels Herron ’79 and religion professors Mark Tranvik and Hans Wiersma on Sunday, October 11, at 2 p.m. in Oren Gateway Center (OGC) 100. This is your chance to get on board for this historic trip happening October 27-November 6, 2016. Find cost information, registration details, and a full itinerary here.

In January, 2017, English Professor Kathy Swanson and her husband, Jack, will lead an educational trip through Thailand and Cambodia, visiting Bankok, Chiang Mai, and Siem Riep along the way. Learn more at the information session scheduled for Sunday, November 8, 2015, at 2 p.m. in Oren Gateway Center (OGC) 100. Don’t miss these thoughtful and educational tours customized specifically for Augsburg alumni, parents, and friends!

To RSVP for either information session and secure your parking pass, contact Sally Daniels Herron ’79 at  For more information, visit the Uniquely Augsburg Travel page or contact Sally via email or phone at 612-330-1525.

Journey to the Holy Land with Auggies

The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem
The Dome of the Rock, Jerusalem.

Join Auggie guides Dr. Phil Quanbeck and Dr. Ruth Johnson ’74 on a tour of the Holy Land to explore its past, present, and people. January 4-17, 2016, your hosts will guide you through a customized and comprehensive tour of the biblical places of the Older and New Testament in Israel, Palestine, and Jordan. Stay two nights in Bethlehem where, along with the biblical sites, you’ll meet and dialogue with local community leaders and learn about the ministry of the International Center of Bethlehem.

Riding a camel on the Mount of Olives in 2012.
Riding a camel on the Mount of Olives in 2012.

Visit Jordan with two nights at Petra, featuring explorations of Madaba, Mt. Nebo, the ancient city of Petra and the recently opened baptismal site on the Jordan River. Fly into Tel Aviv on Delta Airlines and stay 12 nights, enjoying the hospitality and services of a professional, licensed Christian Palestinian guide throughout Israel and Palestine and a professional, licensed Jordanian tour guide in Jordan. Continue reading “Journey to the Holy Land with Auggies”

Auggie Parent Event: Feb. 26

Parents Page Image On Thursday, Feb. 26, join other parents of Auggies to chat in small groups with Augsburg’s leaders from Academic Advising, the Dean’s office, Campus Ministry, Residence Life, Financial Aid, and Health and Physical Education.

We’ll take the “speed dating” approach as you’ll meet in small groups with these Auggie leaders and have the opportunity to learn about your student’s experience. Ask any question you like —no question too big or too small.

  • Shannon Smith, Academic Advising
  • Carly Eichhorst, Financial Aid
  • Karen Kaivola, Provost and Chief Academic Officer
  • Babette Chapman, Campus Ministry
  • Amanda Erdman, Residence Life
  • Carol Enke, Health and Physical Education
  • Chris Wallace and Sammy Coy, Augsburg Student Activities Council
  • Katie Radford ’12, Volunteer Engagement Manager

RSVP to Sally Daniels Herron ’79 by email at Reservations are required by 2/20 to ensure you receive a parking pass for the event.

Thursday, Feb 26

Oren Gateway Center, Room 100, 7-8:30 p.m.