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Dr. Ruth Johnson ’74 and Philip A. Quanbeck II lead a pilgrimage tour to Israel and Palestine

Dr. Ruth Johnson ’74, and Philip A. Quanbeck II, religion professor emeritus, will lead a pilgrimage tour to IA large group of people smile for the photo in front of the Jerusalem city background srael and Palestine on May 20 – 31 with an optional extension to Jordan on May 31-June 3, 2023. 

Dr. Ruth and Dr. Phil led four tours to Greece and Turkey with Augsburg University students in 2003, 2005, and 2007, and with adults in 2008. They also led an Augsburg alumni tour to Israel in 2012, and most recently, in 2017, they led their own tour to Israel, Palestine, and Jordan, which included a number of Auggies.

“We had a good group ready to go in May 2020 but COVID hit and we had to cancel,” they said. Adding, that conditions are now very favorable again for travel to the Holy Land.

Currently, they are working with a travel agency in Bethlehem called Shepherds Tours, which is closely associated with Dar Al-Kalima University and the Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb. Mitri Raheb and Dar Al Kalima have ties to Augsburg. Several Augsburg faculty including Jacqui DeVries have been to Dar Al Kalima in recent years, and Mitri Raheb has visited Augsburg on several occasions.

Ruth and Philip smile next to each other posing for a picture outside in front of an old middle eastern building Johnson and Quanbeck’s tours visit well-known biblical sites associated with both Old Testament and New Testament stories and figures. They will visit the Galilee region and Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Masada, and Jerusalem. And Bethlehem on the West Bank. They also engage current realities in Israel and the West Bank (Palestine). The extension to Jordan will include Petra, the area of building carved in red rock. 

“We also meet with the Parents’ Circle Family Forum which is an Israeli and Palestinian group of parents who share their losses of children in the struggle,” they said. “We visit an Israeli settlement on the West Bank and a refugee camp operated by the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, camps which are a remnant of the 1948 war.”

Johnson and Quanbeck encourage Augsburg alumni and friends to join them on the next pilgrimage and experience the tour firsthand. 

View the Quanbeck Tour Brochure

Celebrating the Life of Dr. Peter Hendrickson ’76

Peter Hendrickson in a suit smiles at the camera sitting between stone pillars text reads Celebrating the life of Peter Henndrickson Saturday October 22 at 2 pm

Longtime Director of Choral Activities and Professor Emeritus, Dr. Peter Hendrickson, died this past June at the age of 67. A celebration of his life will be held at Hoversten Chapel on the campus of Augsburg on Saturday, Oct. 22, at 2:00. All are welcome to attend!

An important part of the memorial service will be a special choir made up of Augsburg alumni and former Masterworks Chorale singers who had the privilege of singing under Dr. Hendrickson. A short rehearsal, led by Mark Sedio and Nancy Grundahl, will take place at 12:30, just prior to the memorial service in Hoversten Chapel.

Tina Brauer in the Augsburg Music Department can be contacted with questions as needed (brauer@augsburg.edu). Music to be sung will be emailed to you in advance.

Register to sing in the alumni choir- https://forms.gle/tDJemuQDwviJueDG6

If you would like to be part of the memorial service choir, please RSVP- https://forms.gle/RPTZMD9JDzKEBBYs5

The Passing of Evangeline “Vangie” Hagfors

Evangeline “Vangie” Hagfors passed away peacefully on October 4, 2022 at her home. Evangeline Hagfors smiles in front of flowers for the photo

Vangie’s deep connection to Augsburg began when her father, Elnar Gundale ’33, emigrated from Norway and attended Augsburg Seminary. Vangie attended classes on Augsburg’s campus from 1957-1959 as part of the Nurse’s Training Program through the Lutheran Deaconess Hospital. And three of Vangie’s siblings – John Gundale ’67, Stephen Gundale ’70, and Ruth Gundale ’73 – also attended Augsburg.

Vangie married Norm, a University of Minnesota graduate, and together they had two children, Mark and Rachel. Norm joined Augsburg’s Board of Regents in 1989 and both Norm and Vangie have faithfully served on Augsburg’s President’s Council since its inception in 2018. They embodied Christ’s teaching to love your neighbor, a core tenant of Augsburg’s mission.

Dr. Paul Mueller ’84 shared, “We are saddened by the passing of Mrs. Vangie Hagfors and extend our condolences to our friend, Norm, and the entire Hagfors family. Vangie understood the tremendous value of an Augsburg education rooted in our Lutheran faith. Over the years, the Hagfors have been leading benefactors of Augsburg University. Their lead gift in 2015 resulted in the construction of the campus’ signature building, the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion, in which our students—and future leaders—learn about and explore the intersections of these three disciplines.”

The Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion is a multi-discipline complex that opened in January of 2018 and serves more than 3,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year.

Norm and Vangie Hagfors visiting the construction site of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion with President Paul Pribbenow and architect Bill Blanski.
Norm and Vangie Hagfors visiting the construction site of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion with President Paul Pribbenow and architect Bill Blanski.
Vangie is pictured above ready to cut the ribbon and officially open the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Vangie is pictured above ready to cut the ribbon and officially open the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

 


Vangie’s gentle and generous spirit will be missed dearly by the Augsburg community. She truly clothed herself in “compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience” as we read about in Colossians 3:12.

Evangeline “Vangie” and Norm Hagfors pictured together in the Gundale Chapel in the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion on Augsburg’s campus.
Evangeline “Vangie” and Norm Hagfors pictured together in the Gundale Chapel in the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion on Augsburg’s campus.

President Paul Pribbenow shared that “It is a most sad day for all of us who have come to know and love Vangie. Her historic ties to Augsburg through her father, the Rev. Elnar Gundale ’33, are fittingly celebrated in the beautiful Gundale Chapel in the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, and her deep faith was an inspiration to all of us. One of the greatest joys of my time at Augsburg has been to witness the remarkable vision and generosity of Norm and Vangie, whose legacy is forever secure in the remarkable Hagfors Center – a transformative academic building that still takes my breath away with both its architectural beauty and its impact on our students and faculty each day. Along with her family and friends, we grieve Vangie’s death and celebrate a life so faithfully led.”

The funeral service will be held at 11:00 AM on Monday, October 24, at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church, 900 Stillwater Road, Mahtomedi. Visitation will be held from 3 PM to 6 PM on Sunday, October 23, at Bradshaw, 4600 Greenhaven Drive, White Bear Lake, and one hour prior to the service at church. Read Vangie’s official obituary.

Great Returns: We’re All In – All School Reunion

Great Returns We're All in All-School Reunion October 6-8 2022 event co-chairs Jeff Nodland '77 and Becky Bjella-Nodland '79 Co-Chairs

Come back to Augsburg University for an event that has been years in the making, the first ever Great Returns: We’re All In – All School Reunion weekend starting Thursday, October 6th through Saturday, October 8th. 

Reminisce, reconnect, and reunite with your fellow Auggies during this in-person celebration. Enjoy festive foods and delicious drinks from Airlie Winery (Mary Olson ’74), Finnegans (Jacquie Berglund ’87), and Zevia. Experience music by Maryann Sullivan ’82 and The Money Makers, presented by Rock What You Got (Buffie Blesi ’90) – and that’s just Friday evening! 

And don’t forget to consider hosting an “Auggie Alcove” as a way for your special Auggie group to get together in a more personal way during Friday night’s festivities. 

“Auggie Alcoves” are rooms reserved within the Hagfors Center. There, your alumni network and Auggie friends can connect, celebrate the past, and create memories for the future. 

Space at this in-person event is limited. Please RSVP by Monday, October 3rd. RSVP TODAY!

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

https://youtu.be/RSP8aq3WnwoIn 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.”