Bing tracking

COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

Augsburg names Amy Alkire as Vice President of Institutional Advancement

Augsburg University is pleased to announce the appointment of Amy Alkire as vice president of Institutional Advancement, effective September 8.

Amy will lead the university into the public phase of Augsburg’s Great Returns Campaign, our largest campaign in history, as well as continue to grow our culture of philanthropy and engage our alumni, friends, faculty, and staff.

Amy started at Augsburg eight years ago as a gift officer and director of leadership gifts. In 2015, she was promoted to assistant vice president, a role she held until this past August when President Pribbenow asked her to move into the interim vice president role after Heather Riddle’s departure.

“The opportunity to promote Amy to serve as Augsburg’s vice president for institutional advancement was very meaningful to me,” says President Paul Pribbenow. “She has been a part of the advancement staff for several years and has illustrated through her outstanding work a passion for Augsburg’s mission and strong professional skills. I look forward to working with Amy and her colleagues as we continue to strengthen Augsburg’s philanthropic culture.”

When asked about her new role, Amy says she is excited for the challenge of it. She loves working with Augsburg’s alumni, donors, faculty, and staff and is passionate about Augsburg’s mission.

“Amy has provided amazing leadership working with our board and the Augsburg community over the years,” says Matt Entenza, Augsburg University’s Board of Regents chair. “I’m very excited to get to work with her because she embodies what it means to be an Auggie!”

Prior to her work at Augsburg, Amy was a development officer for two years at Children’s Hospital Minnesota and a major gift officer at Concordia University—St. Paul for three years. Amy was also a teacher for eight years, teaching English and literature, before she moved into a career in development.

“I’m laser focused on the strategies that will engage the Augsburg community and foster philanthropy to solidify Augsburg’s long-term financial stability,” says Amy. “We have a strong team and I am eager to continue to build upon their strengths. I am grateful to Kristen and Sarah for their partnership in leading Advancement efforts and look forward to great successes in the future.” 

Along with Amy’s promotion to vice president, Institutional Advancement has two other promotions. Sarah Erkkinen, assistant vice president for special projects, will be promoted to associate vice president, Institutional Advancement leading principal and major gifts and the campaign. Kristen Cooper, senior director of advancement, will be promoted to assistant vice president, Institutional Advancement Operations and Alumni/ae Engagement.

Outside of work, Amy serves on the Lake City Education Board of Directors and is a member of the City Council for Lake City.

Amy currently lives in Lake City, her hometown, with her husband, their two kids, and their three dogs.

A legacy of tremendous advancement at Augsburg

After nearly nine years of advancement work and leading two of Augsburg University’s most successful fundraising campaigns, Heather Riddle, vice president for Institutional Advancement, has accepted a position as senior vice president and chief development officer for American Public Media and Minnesota Public Radio (MPR).

“Under Heather’s leadership, generous Auggies have given millions of dollars for strategic campus improvements, created new scholarships for talented Augsburg students, and made impacts well into the future. I am thrilled for Heather and confident in the great group of Augsburg advancement leaders she’s encouraged, who will continue the culture of generosity at Augsburg moving forward,” says Matt Entenza, chair of Augsburg’s Board of Regents

Heather on a 2016 hard hat tour of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Heather on a 2016 hard hat tour of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Heather joined Augsburg in September 2012, during the capital campaign for the Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Under Heather’s leadership, that campaign successfully raised more than $55 million from more than 1,000 donors. Heather herself closed three of the largest gifts for the Hagfors Center campaign, totaling more than $25 million.

“Heather’s leadership in Institutional Advancement has been nothing short of transformational,” says Robert Groven, associate professor of Communication Studies, Film & New Media, and director of the Minnesota Urban Debate League at Augsburg. “She built a true culture of collaboration and philanthropy across campus and throughout Augsburg’s worldwide network of alumni. Heather’s creativity and relationships helped to break nearly every fundraising record in Augsburg history!”

Heather’s commitment to lead Augsburg’s development and constituent relations work has made a great impact on the university. During her time at Augsburg, Heather helped reimagine alumni relations and supervised an Alumni Board that has hosted many successful events in recent years, including Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Gala and Homecoming in 2019. She has also helped lay the foundation for Augsburg’s first ever All School Reunion, to take place Fall 2022.

Beyond Heather’s fundraising skills was her ability to build an exceptional team in Institutional Advancement. The team has been working hard on the quiet phase for Augsburg’s next campaign, the Great Returns Campaign, which is already poised to reach a level of giving that will make it the largest single campaign in Augsburg history.

Heather with artist Rory Wakemup at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Heather with artist Rory Wakemup at the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

“When I first met Heather, it was obvious that she found joy in both the art and science of philanthropic fundraising. When she came to Augsburg nine years ago, she brought that joy, along with her strong professional experience and skills, and helped transform the culture of philanthropy for our university. There are obvious signs of her good workthe Hagfors Center, the Great Returns Campaign, Give to the Max Day records, and so onbut perhaps most importantly, she has invited all of us into the wonder of how philanthropy can transform an institution. Heather’s impact on Augsburg will be clear well into our next 150 years,” says President Paul Pribbenow.

President Pribbenow has asked Assistant Vice President of Advancement, Amy Alkire, to serve as interim vice president for Advancement. Assistant Vice President for Special Projects Sarah Erkkinen and Senior Director of Advancement Kristen Cooper will work closely with Amy and President Pribbenow on organizational planning during this transition.

The Augsburg Community shares our gratitude for Heather’s work as she embarks on a new adventure. We thank her for her unyielding commitment and dedication over the past nine years and wish her all the best.

Celebrating In-Person Commencement for the Classes of 2020 and 2021

On A collage of three photos. The upper left photos consist of graduates walking in their caps and gowns outside, one of them is waving. The upper right photo shows a man with his diploma holder and balloons. He is smiling with a woman to his right. The bottom photo shows a row of graduates standing in front of their seats, all of them are masked.June 8, 2021, Augsburg held an in-person commencement ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021. After a difficult year of virtual learning and social distancing, the community was able to come together and celebrate the achievements of our Auggie grads!

The event recognized 857 graduates from our undergrad, graduate, and doctoral programs. 4,000+ attendees watched as their loved ones crossed the stage and received their diplomas. U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar also had a special message to share with the graduates. You can watch it on our Facebook page.

To all of the new alumni, congratulations and we hope you stay connected with us!

Welcome New Members of the Alumni Board!

A collage of the new members headshots are displayed in two rows. On the upper left is Berlynn Bintengo '21, top middle is Auggie Eagle with the word "Congratulations" repeatedly written out in the back, top right is Arianna Antone-Ramirez ’20, bottom left is Willie Giller ’19, bottom middle is Navid Amini ’19 MBA, and bottom right is Dave Stevens '90
Upper left: Berlynn Bitengo ’21, top right: Arianna Antone-Ramirez ’20, bottom left: Willie Giller ’19, bottom middle: Navid Amini ’19 MBA, bottom right: Dave Stevens ’90

We are thrilled to introduce the newest members of the Augsburg Alumni Board! Please join us in welcoming:

  • Berlynn Bitengo ’21
  • Arianna Antone-Ramirez ’20
  • Willie Giller ’19
  • Navid Amini ’19 MBA
  • Dave Stevens ’90

The Augsburg Alumni Board is an opportunity for alumni from all programs and class years to build relationships with each other and the University today. Members connect with institution leaders, faculty, and students to better understand and support the mission. To learn more go to our Alumni Board page.

Alumni Spotlight: Max Marcy ’03

Max Marcy headshotAt the beginning of December 2020, Max Marcy was promoted to Global Corporate Treasurer at H.B. Fuller. He started with H.B. Fuller over eleven years ago, initially managing foreign currency and investor relations. His leadership skills were quickly noticed and by 2018, Max was recognized as a top investor relations professional by Wall Street analysis.

From a young age, Max knew he wanted to go to school for finance.

“My goal was always to be an investment banker; I’ve always been a finance guy. I’ve always been interested in numbers.”

Max is a graduate from 2003. After spending one year at Luther College in Iowa and one year off, he found Augsburg’s StepUP program and began in the fall of 2000. StepUP was a relatively new program at the time, but Max fell in love with the program and with Augsburg, particularly the fitness center.

“Being in StepUP wasn’t like what it is today, it was a new program. The fitness center was a level playing field where we were all out there trying to do the same thing, trying to stay active. It was a great meeting ground, and I met a lot of people from all over campus,” says Max.

Max also had the opportunity to play in Augsburg’s Jazz and Concert bands. He enjoyed playing at Sunday gospel praise group and had the chance to travel to Ireland with the Concert Band under Professor Bob Stacke.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Finance and a minor in Management Information Systems, Max joined Valspar Corporation. Max had the opportunity to go back to school with Valspar’s education benefits and earned his MBA in Corporate Finance at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in 2008. This degree, along with his experience as a Senior Treasury Analyst, got Max on H.B. Fuller’s radar.

“Corporate treasury is the finance you study in undergrad and in business school. Learning how to issue bonds, operating bank accounts, projecting cash flows around the world. That’s what I do, that’s what I like to do.”

Today, Max is the Corporate Treasurer for H.B. Fuller.

“I’m the company piggy bank!”

Max is responsible for oversight of the funds his company generates, which can get very complicated when operating businesses in over 100 countries.

When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, Max spent most of his time studying a multitude of scenarios to make sure the company could weather the pandemic. Now, his focus has shifted to looking more at how to work remotely while bringing back some of the engagement lost in a virtual landscape.

“I’m not your typical finance person. I’m very analytical, but I don’t sit behind a desk all day. I like talking to people and socializing, and that’s more difficult when you can’t run down the hallway to talk to them. People now are scheduling all sorts of calls all the time, booking calendars up, so instead of the two-minute hallway conversation we are having long meetings. How do we fix that? We need to figure out how we connect more efficiently through all this remote working.”

When looking back at his time at Augsburg, Max believes the best thing he did and the best thing students can do today is to take in the full experience of class.

“The easiest thing you can do is go to class, learn what you’re paying to learn. I wasn’t always the best at spending time with homework and studying, but my butt was always in the chair. Get in your chair or on your computer and just listen.”

Max also credits talking to others and asking questions for helping him get to where he is today.

“Reach out, ask questions. Ask what people do in their job. Figure out what it means to be a business analyst, what it means to be an IT professional, what it means to be a Treasurer, so that you have a little more direction.”

Max had a clear direction of where he wanted to go – finance – so he put himself in career opportunities to learn. He wanted to understand what jobs actually entailed before he just took a position.

“It’ll give you a leg up to know more. You’ll have more of a work/life balance, and more job satisfaction. Take the opportunities, and that will go a long way versus being frustrated with what you’re doing and always waiting for a payday.”

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!”

Making an Impact Through Problem Solving

Brynn Watson ’89 is Lockheed Martin’s Vice President in the Digital Transformation Program. As COVID-19 moved most of Lockheed Martin’s work online, Brynn’s work became more important than ever, helping her teams pivot to a digital platform. She has been pleasantly surprised that productivity and efficiency have continued and says her teams have adapted positively to online programs to stay connected. While this has been a big change for most of the company, it’s a change Brynn embraces, especially in her leadership role.

“We’re more empathetic about work-life balance. Parents are teaching their kids. We’ve become more accepting about dogs barking in the background of a phone call. I like that change. It’s a good thing.”

Brynn has an award-winning record for her leadership abilities: Lockheed Martin Space NOVA Full Spectrum Leadership Award; Tribute to Women Honor by the YWCA of Silicon Valley; and Lockheed Martin Space Ed Taft Diversity Leadership Award.

In 2018, Brynn was recognized with Augsburg’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her commitment to helping young women in STEM.

Brynn’s dedication to helping others through community building started long before her work at Lockheed Martin. It started in middle school with the influence of another Auggie: Ertwin “Ert” Jones-Hermerding.

Ert graduated from Augsburg in 1969 with a degree in Speech, then moved to Robbinsdale to teach speech and theater at the middle school. This is where Brynn first met Ert and first learned about Augsburg.

“What he had our theater groups focus on was not only our craft, but our community. I got into the focus on service really young.”

Brynn thought Augsburg sounded like the best college from Ert’s depiction. In fact, when applying for college, she only applied to Augsburg.

“I followed in the footsteps of my favorite teacher,” says Brynn. “I was really motivated to go to a place where I could learn and also make an impact on my community.”

At Augsburg, Brynn was involved in campus life as a resident advisor, a cheerleader, and as part of ODK, a national organization that recognized students with responsible leadership and service in campus life skills. And it was in her math class that she developed a love for problem solving. Dr. Lawrence Copes, Chair of Math Computer Science, challenged Brynn and her classmates to think differently about math.

“He opened our minds to what math is, he called it a beautiful language and problem solving language.”

Brynn credits Dr. Copes’ coaching and mentorship for steering her into the aerospace industry. When she thought about what to do with her mathematics degree, she thought about solving hard problems. And the industry growing at the time of her graduation—the industry that presented all the hard problems—was the aerospace industry.

Leadership Through Mentorship

Brynn graduated from Augsburg, then went on to earn her master’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of California at Riverside. After a few years at Aerojet Electronic Systems, she attended a job fair where she met a female executive, Amy Flanagan, who was focused on recruiting women to Lockheed Martin. Brynn was so impressed with Amy that she decided she wanted to work for her.

“I honed my focus on service at Augsburg, but when I met Amy, I was introduced to her passion and I wanted to work for her and work for the place she was committed to.”

At Lockheed Martin, Brynn has held a variety of positions, including vice president of Navigation Systems Operations and deputy for the Global Positioning System (GPS) III program for Lockheed Martin Space.

“I have a lot of great memories and experiences of

developing products, launching satellites, those are awesome and amazing things that are doing wonderful things for our country and our world.”

When asked what she is most proud of in the time since graduating from Augsburg, Brynn says raising her daughter to be an amazing young woman. Brynn is also proud of her work mentoring others, especially women.

Augsburg prepared her to go out into the world and make an impact, and Brynn sees this impact in her daughter, in her daughter’s friends, and in others she’s mentored over the years.

“It’s visiting classrooms, it’s one kid that got a spark from that visit. That’s amazing to be able to create those sparks that can solve the next big challenge for the world.”

Brynn has mentored several women in her career, including college students who now work at Lockheed Martin. She is also on the Executive Steering Council for Lockheed Martin’s Women’s Impact Network, and is co-chairing this year’s virtual women’s leadership forum.

“As much as I believe we are making a lot of progress in our quest to improve the diversity metrics—particularly the female to male ratios—there’s a lot of work to do. I always make sure that people surround themselves with mentors and sponsors and champions. You are creating a network of support so as you need to make difficult decisions—whether it’s technical decisions within your day job or it is advice on how to find that next opportunity—you’ve got that support network.”

Brynn’s daily work doesn’t include typing code or doing math problems on the white board like she used to, but she believes her work is still about solving problems and making sure the barriers her teams might be facing are addressed.

“Sometimes you think you have to do it all on your own and that’s never the case. I got to where I am because of mentors and teachers and my parents, all those people are the shoulders that I stood on to get to where I’m at.”

Augsburg University News from the Office of the President

President Paul PribbenowThis pandemic has challenged us all, challenged our way of life, and changed, at least for now, our way of educating students. It has not curtailed what is at the heart of Augsburg: our commitment to our students and community. Today Augsburg alumni, parents, donors, and friends are on my mind, and I hope you are safe and finding a sense of steadiness amidst the turbulence. 

As we work to navigate these challenging times together, I have three perspectives on our current situation: as a parent, as a faculty member, and as Augsburg’s president.

As a parent, my priority is to support my children through these difficult times. Last fall, Augsburg welcomed its largest incoming class of freshmen, which included my son, Thomas. He is now moved out of Mortensen Hall and back home with us. Both he and his sister Maya are adjusting to online classes and the loss of their educational environments. It is a challenging situation, but also a unique opportunity for us to learn with and from each other.

As a faculty member teaching a course to seniors on the importance of place in our lives, my priority is to help them achieve their learning outcomes even though we had to quickly switch to an entirely online format. It is a time for us as educators to dig deep—with empathy, flexibility, and understanding—as we offer the support that will help our students navigate to a successful conclusion to the Spring 2020 term.

Like the rest of us, our students are doing their best to adapt to new pressures and stresses. Augsburg serves one of the most diverse and remarkable student bodies in higher education. We have thousands of traditional undergraduates, adult undergraduates, and graduate students. This pandemic is affecting our students in varied ways, so we are doing our best to adapt on a daily basis. Our number one focus between now and the end of the semester is student success. We want them to finish strong.

As Augsburg’s president, my top priority is to advance our mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders in a safe and healthy environment. Augsburg suspended in-person classes in mid-March and moved all classes online. We’ve been in close contact with the Minnesota Department of Health and the governor’s office as we reached these decisions.

The Augsburg community has always worked to help our fellow Auggies. In the winter of 1919-20, the 1918 Influenza pandemic hit our campus. It forced the cancellation of choir events, athletic games, and student groups. With the help of the Augsburg staff, healthy Augsburg students organized to care for those who were sick. As the epidemic passed, the school celebrated by hosting an event honoring those who came together to care for their fellow Auggies.

Today, we are again shifting gears to support our community. I am inspired by how Augsburg faculty and staff across the institution have dedicated themselves fully and in earnest to the work that is now in front of us. Faculty have acquired new pedagogical tools and refined old ones to help our students transition online. Staff have pivoted their work with the fast-changing circumstances of this pandemic. Augsburg’s IT team has ensured our students are able to attend class virtually with laptops and internet connection, as well as kept our technology working as the Augsburg community moved online. The custodial staff has worked with impressive dedication to clean and disinfect areas of campus for the nearly 200 residential students still living on campus.

And there are many others working in ways that may or may not be visible to the rest of Augsburg’s community, all working together to ensure Augsburg’s promise to our students is upheld. I’m grateful for everyone’s efforts.

Unfortunately, during our modified operations related to the coronavirus, Augsburg’s revenue is significantly reduced. There are a number of Augsburg employees who are unable to complete their work from home or whose responsibilities are impossible to complete during a stay-at-home order. In these situations, we’ve let individuals know that they will be furloughed from May through August. We value these employees and hope to have them return to campus this fall. We have worked closely with these employees to help them take advantage of unemployment insurance programs and we will maintain health insurance coverage throughout the furlough period.

Among many canceled events this spring, I am heartbroken along with everyone at Augsburg that we cannot celebrate the class of 2020’s many achievements in a commencement ceremony at U.S. Bank Stadium. We will find ways to honor the spirit of these celebrations—and to experience moments of joy as a community. We are planning a virtual commencement in May, and when the time is safe, we promise to invite the community together again to celebrate the Class of 2020’s graduation.

Financial Restructuring

It is an uncertain and highly competitive time in higher education. Prior to our changes on campus related to the pandemic, we were following through on important strategic efforts to address projected flat revenue in the coming years while ensuring the long-term sustainability of our mission. As part of a strategic plan initiative to reduce expenses, we have made the difficult decision to reduce the size of our staff. That decision came out of three years of analysis and planning work that involved faculty, staff, students, and board members. 

In some cases, this has meant eliminating positions as people resign or retire. For approximately 20 employees, this has meant a lay-off. As we were planning this very difficult action, we never imagined it would intersect with anything as stressful and disruptive as the COVID-19 outbreak action, but we concluded that delaying these planned layoffs in light of the outbreak would not help. We did not come to this decision, nor the timing of the action, lightly.  Every member of the Augsburg community is valued, and it distresses me that we have to say goodbye to these individuals who have helped our institution in meaningful ways.

The Augsburg Advancement division is one area where we have reduced the size of the staff. While these are particularly hard changes for everyone, I want you to know that the division—led by Vice President Heather Riddle—is 100% dedicated to alumni engagement and programming moving forward. As responsibilities shift from positions that were eliminated to the remaining staff, you will hear directly from that office.

In a period of great change, it can be especially powerful to remember those things that are steady and unchanging. Remember Augsburg’s mission and our 150 years of offering our students an education that equips them for life in the world; remember that we are a community that shows up for each other, with generosity and grace; and remember that we have found ways over and over again throughout our history to navigate difficult challenges—as we will do together in this moment.

In this demanding time, there is still much to be thankful for at Augsburg: remarkable students, 150 years of heritage, dedicated faculty and staff, and committed friends and alumni who continue to show support of our mission.

You all are in my prayers for health and peace.

Be well and keep in touch,

Paul C. Pribbenow

President

Celebrating Donna McLean’s Retirement – December 12

Donna McLeanAfter 34 years, four positions, seven fundraising campaigns, 12 office moves and thousands of conversations with alumni, parents, and friends, Donna McLean has decided to retire from her work at Augsburg. Her last day will be December 20. Her time at Augsburg will be celebrated with a reception on December 12 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (program at 4 p.m.) in the Arnold Atrium, Foss Center. All are welcome to attend.

“I have been extremely fortunate to participate in the exciting growth and development of this special place over the last 30 years,” Donna said. “It has truly been a privilege for me to serve Augsburg. I continue to be impressed by all that is Augsburg of today. I’ve had a most rewarding vocational journey here – the mission has always been my passion and the people my inspiration.”

Donna began her career at Augsburg as the assistant registrar in 1985. A year later she moved into the role of director of annual giving and held this position until 1990 when she became director of alumni and parent relations. She came back to fundraising in 1997 as the director of the Augsburg Fund and has held a number of positions in the advancement office since. Most recently, as a director of leadership gifts, Donna has had the opportunity to work with generous donors who wish to carry on the mission of the University through their philanthropy.

“In her 30+ year tenure at Augsburg, Donna McLean has had countless relationships with donors and alumni and has made a lasting impact through giving her time, talents and treasures to the University,” President Pribbenow said.

“At any Augsburg event, Donna probably knows half the guests and has made family connections with the other half,” said Martha Truax, director of leadership gifts. “Thanks to her incredible ability to build relationships and her genuine, contagious enthusiasm for Augsburg’s mission, she has helped donors create meaningful gifts that have transformed this campus.”

In 2011, she led a team of Auggie women who created AWE – Augsburg Women Engaged. This initiative serves as a catalyst for tapping the potential of Auggie women to connect, learn and give. This impressive group of women has generously supported several of Augsburg’s fundraising campaigns and most recently created the AWE Scholarship Endowed Fund that currently supports two AWE scholars.

One of her most rewarding experiences while working at Augsburg has been raising funds to support the StepUP Program, for students in recovery.  Donna wished to provide a legacy of support to the work of StepUP and in 2016, she established an endowed scholarship named the Donna Demler McLean Endowed Fund, in honor and memory of her son, Matthew, to provide financial support and encouragement to Augsburg students participating in the StepUP Program.

A meaningful way to thank Donna for her years of service to Augsburg would be a special gift to her scholarship fund.

We are collecting photos of Donna and her Auggie friends over the years for a slideshow at her retirement gathering. Please email any photos you would like to share to Martha Truax at truaxm@augsburg.edu by Monday, December 2.