150 Sesquicentennial Norway Arts & Culture trip in May 2020

Led by Darcey Engen ‘88 & Luverne Seifert ‘85

About five years ago, I fell in love (again) with Henrik Ibsen. As an Augsburg graduate, theater artist and Professor, I’ve been reading his plays for over 30 years, but after re-reading An Enemy of the People, my passion for Ibsen’s plays gave me a big mid-life boost. 

It happened shortly after hearing about the Flint Michigan’s water cover-up. My husband, Luverne Seifert who is also an Auggie and a professional actor in the Twin Cities said: “do you remember that play about contaminated water that Ibsen wrote”? Sure enough, after reading our little weathered paperback version, we were forever changed. Turned out that Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People had an uncanny similarity to the contaminated water problem that occurred in Flint Michigan. 

For those of you who need a little reminder, Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People examines how a community responds when a local doctor threatens to expose that the water it relies upon for tourism is being poisoned. The play questions how far a community will go to protect their town’s secret in order to avoid financial ruin. 

The re-read inspired us so much that we created our own adaptation and produced it. Supported by the MN 

State Arts Board, our Sod House Theater Company (Luverne and my theater company we formed in 2011) has performed our unique bluegrass music-infused adaptation to over 15 communities in greater MN. 

Our renewed love of Ibsen also spurred our interest in traveling to Norway in order to experience not just Ibsen’s artistry but all the arts that Norway has to offer!  We are so delighted to be asked to lead the 150 Sesquicentennial Norway Arts & Culture trip in May 2020! Both Luverne and I, as Augsburg Theater graduates (’85 and 88’), find it so meaningful to have the chance to explore our institution’s origins. Both Luverne and I had life-changing experiences at Augsburg—we, like you, had professors that significantly influenced who we are today.  We’re humbled to be leading this trip, for Augsburg, together. Full circle. 

We’d love for you to join us in experiencing all of the amazing activities we have planned in Norway! We’ll visit The National Theater, the Ibsen museum, the incredible Opera House that seems to emerge from the ocean, The Viking Ship Museum, a Stave Church and celebrate Syttende Mai Festival! Come join us in the land the inspired one of the greatest playwrights of all time.  

Pastor Sonja Hagander on Becoming a Pilgrim in Norway – Augsburg Travel Opportunity

Sonja Hagander
Pastor Sonja Hagander

Careful travelers search the internet for maps, cruise over to AAA for their fancy brochures with highlighted directions, giving details on gas stations, food, rating campgrounds, and hotels. If you’re a careful traveler, you probably clean out your refrigerator, dump the garbage, pay your bills, upload all travel apps—and complete this in good time before you depart.

And then there are the spontaneous types—the adventurous ones who prefer to hop in the car and take off out of town, buying licorice and chips and string cheese on the way, making no arrangements about where to lodge– and forgetting toothpaste.

We are pilgrims, those who will hike with me on the 2020 Norway Pilgrimage. Daniel Taylor writes, “What does it mean to say one is always on a pilgrimage? It means, among many things, that one must always be alert. The pilgrim is on the lookout for significance, for signs and rumors of transcendence . . . It means I must look for the holy within the mundane,” (In Search of Sacred Places).

Join me and other pilgrims in this rare opportunity to hike with companions in some of the most gorgeous landscape in the world; we will traverse rivers, be awed by mountain ranges and woodsy paths, and finally set foot in Nidaros, the northernmost cathedral in Europe and our destination in Trondheim, Norway. Our route is the Gudbransdalen Path, which during the Middle Ages was the main road from Oslo to Nidaros (Trondheim).

No matter what kind of traveler you are, you will become a “pilgrim” and experience the holy ground of this route.  Your footsteps, at times challenging, will have the grounding of our travel company who provides expert planning and support, the friendship of other Auggie pilgrims, and the hospitality of our Norwegian hosts throughout the trip.

pilgrimage sign
The Pilgrims Path. Photo: Mattian Jansson / trondelag.com

Two years ago, I led this pilgrimage and here is one participant’s reflection:

Today’s hike was absolutely breath-taking. No pun intended… And the beauty was objective. It was the type of beauty everyone can agree on, not to be portrayed by words or even pictures. I found myself wishing that my mom, dad or close friends could’ve been there too. How am I supposed to have this magic all to myself? When I return home (yuck), I’ll try to share my experience in words, but again, it won’t bring this experience justice – not even close.

We started the hike from Skaun Commune. This space has been popular among fellow hikers, or “pilgrims,” that travel along Pilgrimslea. We followed the blue, “Pilgrimslea” sign up a large, paved road visible from the commune. Slowly, we made our way into the mountains. The trail started off as a leisure walk. The ground was solid and we were able to observe our surroundings as we moved along. This was easy! “Follow the orange, wooden stake, follow the orange, wooden stake.” (That was my attempt at mimicking the “yellow brick road” bit from The Wizard of Oz, however, my version feels much more forced.)

The wooden stakes were marked with red-orange tips and a small marking we called a “squiggle.” Yes, we’re intellects. One of these sat on the outskirts of a heavily wooded area, and we had no choice but to accept it’s invitation.

We made our way down the mountain, each turn instilling us with hope that our destination was near. Well, the trees were probably laughing at us. Towering above, they could see we wouldn’t reach our bed and breakfast for another several hours. And to the trees, we said, “who’s laughing now!” The group was relieved to find our new friend, John. For his presence signified the end of our 10-mile hike. John was the husband of Karen. John and Karen owned a bed and breakfast across the river from where we stood, and it looked promising. We followed John down to the river where we expected to board a ferry. But alas, the ferry we chalked up to be large and Victorian was a small, wooden, five-person boat just wider than a canoe. But at this point, our bodies were sore, knees weak and feet swollen to the point where chuckling was a natural reaction. All aboard!

Across the river, we entered our farmhouse sleeping quarters. Karen opened the green and white striped barn door. Inside, was a room constructed entirely of wooden beams. The dining room was extravagant, with chandeliers hanging about and candles lit up and down the tables. The building was taller than it was wide and with each set of stairs leading to a new level of charm. Trinkets played on every surface, and memories of the past draped the walls. If hobbits were to occupy this town, this would be the hobbit Castle. I don’t think I’ve ever slept in a place so perfect.

Right now, I feel so lucky. I’m in Norway, which is across the world. The bed I’m laying in has been appreciated by so many before me, all with their own reason for sleeping here. That realization alone could set my mind wandering for hours! Each with their own interpretation of the pilgrimage and this gorgeous space that welcomed our desperate bodies. Although, I bet we could all agree on one thing. Today was beautiful.

Contact Katie (Koch) Code ’01, Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations, at codek@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1178 if you are interested in learning more about Augsburg’s travel opportunities or to be placed on a list to receive the most up to date information about the trips.

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.

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 Agboke@Augsburg.edu

Join the Inaugural Auggie Beer Choir

beer choirDo you like to sing? Do you like to support Auggies?

We hope that you will join us for the inaugural kick off of the Auggie Beer Choir on Tuesday, April 16 from 6:30-9 p.m. open to all Augsburg alumni. We are delighted to be able to gather at the Auggie alumni-owned Boom Island Brewing Company. This event is free to all participants. The option to upgrade for purchase of a meal will be available through Tuesday, April 9. Please note that all beverages (both beer and non-alcoholic choices) are available for purchase on your own. Register today to help us keep an accurate count for music.

The song selection will be a mix of Auggie choir favorites and drinking songs led by Augsburg music directors.

We hope you will “Stay with Us”, and “Look to this Day” as we remember that “In Heaven, there is no Beer”…Manga Tussen!

More Than 1000 Alumni and Community Members Gathered for the Aquarium Expo 2019 in the Hagfors Center

If you missed your chance to visit the Aquarium Expo 2019 in the Hagfors Center this year, you can catch the highlights reel here! The Hagfors Center was packed with more than 1000 people on Saturday, March 23. Attendees of this free event enjoyed creative displays of more than 100 aquaria, presentations from local experts, live demonstrations, and a marketplace.

The Augsburg University Biology Department offered a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hagfors Center to small groups. Professor Bill Capman led the tours showcasing the design and function of the state-of-the-art coral reef/marine aquaria he maintains in the lab. Capman also highlighted the up-and-coming marine breeding lab he is currently setting up. Capman shared his thoughts after the event:

“It really seemed like our visitors were enjoying themselves and were impressed by what they were seeing and experiencing, and by the quality of our facilities. It is one thing to do a lot of publicity and draw people in, but it is another thing to have them actually be happy that they came.” – Bill Capman, Associate Professor of Biology

Check out some great footage from the event courtesy of Natural Dental’s Chue Cha:


A-Club Hosts Happy Hour at Finnegan’s Brewery for Alumni and Auggie Athletics Supporters

Spring Happy HourIt’s been a record-setting year for Augsburg Athletics and we can’t wait to celebrate the kick off of the Spring Season.

The A-Club is hosting its third Happy Hour at alumna-owned Finnegan’s Brewery in the beautiful Brewers Den on Wednesday, March 27 from 5 to 7 p.m. At the event, you will have the chance to hear from Baseball Coach Keith Batman, Softball Coach Melissa Lee ’04, Lacrosse Coach Kathryn Knippenberg, and Track and Field Coach Keith Barnier.

A-Club members, athletic alumni and Auggie Athletics supporters are invited to enjoy complimentary food, beer, and parking. Attendees are invited to bring a nonperishable food item for the Finnegans Reverse Food Truck. Please RSVP your attendance.

Grab Your Norwegian Sweaters for Velkommen Jul!

Velkommen Jul
Treats abound at the Velkommen Jul buffet.

As we near the holiday season, Co-Chair of the Augsburg Associates Jessica Wahto has a special message to share about an Augsburg favorite tradition:

Remember the days of walking into grandma’s kitchen at the holidays, and the smell of cardamom and sugar wafting through the air. Recall that trip you took to Norway and Sweden. The beauty of the Fjords, the colorful knit sweaters and the delicate embroidery on their bunad’s. Think of your exchange student who visited from Denmark and all the laughs you shared. Enjoy these memories and make new ones at Velkommen Jul!

Please join us and kick off your holiday season at Velkommen Jul on Friday, Nov. 30! Augsburg University’s annual Christmas celebration is open to all. Attend chapel and worship featuring Scandinavian Christmas music at 10:40 a.m. in the Hoversten Chapel. Then head to the Christensen Center at 11 a.m. Here you will find our Velkommen Jul boutique, offering unique Nordic gifts and treats.

After you have claimed your treasured gifts, join us for a festive celebration in Augsburg’s commons with music and traditional costumes and sweaters! Reminisce with friends and make new introductions while enjoying a smorgasbord of Scandinavian treats. Don’t worry; there will be plenty of coffee as well! You can add to the celebration by wearing your Norwegian sweater or Bunad! Velkommen means Welcome, and here at Augsburg you always are! We hope to see you there!

*All proceeds from the boutique as well as donations gathered at the smorgasbord go to help fund student scholarships.

From the Archives: “One Day in May” Recordings: Digitizing a Crucial Day in Augsburg’s History

Lillian Anthony and Dr. Mary Howard reflect the thoughtful mood of "One Day in May."In 2013, the Augsburg University Archives received fifteen boxes of “reel-to-reel” audio recordings and promptly began an ongoing project to save them. Created from the late 1950s to the early 1980s, these recordings documented everything from commencements and building dedication ceremonies to notable speakers and chapel talks. Lindell Library purchased a refurbished reel-to-reel player and oversaw a student workers’ painstaking inventory of more than 500 tapes in the collection.

“Over the past year, I have supervised a small army of students who have transformed these recordings into a collection of YouTube videos that grows by the day,” said Stewart Van Cleve, digital archives librarian.

Van Cleve shared that some of the most significant and fascinating recordings come from a single day: May 15, 1968. President Oscar Anderson canceled classes on this “One Day in May,” and the Augsburg community listened to leaders of Minneapolis’ black community as they detailed the racism, sexism, economic and geographic segregation, and other problems that continue to affect Minneapolis’ black community.

Of the fifteen original sessions from that day, thirteen recordings have survived. You can listen to those recordings here.

About the Augsburg Archives

The University Archives preserve Augsburg’s legacy and make its historical information available to students, faculty, staff, alumni, and researchers. The archives include information related to the university’s history and provide limited information about administrators, faculty, staff, and alumni.

Volunteers Needed for Advent Vespers

Vespers concertJoining us at Advent Vespers this year?

We are looking for as many as 20 volunteers for each Vespers service to help usher and work at the will-call table. Central Lutheran Church has recently added a beautiful addition to their building and there is a need for extra hands this year to help direct attendees.

Vespers services will be held:

Thursday, November 29 at 8 p.m. (Dress Rehearsal)
Friday, November 30 at 5 & 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 at 2 & 5 p.m.

Volunteers should plan to arrive at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis (333 S. 12th St.) 60-90 minutes prior to each service. The service lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Please contact Kia Burton (burton@augsburg.edu, 612-330-1329) if you are able to volunteer.

About Augsburg’s Advent Vespers:

For more than three decades, Augsburg University has ushered in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation. Advent Vespers is set in downtown Minneapolis in the majestic sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, soaring 65 feet high with large stained-glass windows.