Bing tracking

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!

A New Health Facility in LaCrosse

On April 12, 2022, Augsburg’s Campaign Chair, Dr. Paul Mueller ’84 broke ground on the new state-of-the-art hospital that will be built in La Crosse. Paul Mueller is the Vice President of the Mayo Health Clinic System in Southwest Wisconsin. Numerous Auggies joined this special occasion!

A photo of the group in hard hats holding shovels with dirt. From Left to right,: Jill Billings, Sarah Erkkinen, Amy Alkire, Nancy Mueller, Paul Mueller, Lisa Archer, and Matt EntenzaPictured here with hard hats and shovels are Jill Billings ’89 (Member of Wisconsin State Assembly), Sarah Erkkinen (Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement), Amy Alkire (Vice President of Advancement), Nancy Mueller ’85 (Augsburg Regent), Lisa Archer MAN ’17 (Chief Nursing Officer for Mayo, La Crosse), and Matt Entenza (Augsburg’s Board Chair).




Read an additional article about this exciting initiative and check out more photos from this historic event:


A Call to Nursing

Lisa Archer HeadshotLisa Archer (MAN ’17) started her role as the Chief Nursing Officer at Mayo Health Clinic Systems in Southwest Wisconsin in December of 2021. After speaking with her, you’d never know that this was her second full-time career! Lisa’s self-described unconventional pathway to nursing and healthcare administration is a reminder that one’s vocation can be fulfilled at any time. “I used to work in the IT industry as a business analyst, but personal events led me to pursue nursing,” Lisa shared. “When my grandmother fell and broke her hip and had to transition to a nursing home, I had a really impactful conversation with a nursing assistant.” The Nursing Assistant noticed Lisa’s dedication to her grandma and the round-the-clock care she was providing to her. It was during this time that Lisa reflected on how she could best impact people’s lives. “I wanted to allow other people to go home at night and feel secure in knowing that their loved ones were safe and being taken care of.”

Shortly after this encounter, Lisa took on the crucial yet daunting experience of returning to school. “At that point, I’m not even sure how long I had been out of school,” Lisa mused. After prerequisite work and earning her two-year ADN degree at North Hennepin Community College, she went on to St. Kate’s to earn her BSN. While working at the University of Minnesota, part of the Fairview Health System, Lisa knew she wanted to earn her master’s and Augsburg’s transformational leadership track in the Nursing Program seemed like the perfect fit. “The location and diversity of the campus were big draws for me,” Lisa shared.



Lisa shared how Augsburg’s nursing program challenged her perspective through coursework and clinicals. She described tending to homeless peoples’ wounded feet and working with women in the Somali community made her confront the difficult question of: How do you impart your healthcare knowledge to groups that may hold distrust with the healthcare system or might not be familiar with Western medicine? “Knowing how to meet people where they are at (spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically) allowed me to figure out ways to connect that came from an open and non-judgmental place.”

Someone Lisa credits in helping her navigate tough leadership situations is Joyce Perkins. “I took a class about quantum leadership with her and I’ve never wanted to drop anything so badly in my life!” she exclaimed. “Nurses are typically very analytical people, and I had a hard time grasping the abstract concepts,” Lisa admitted. However, in hindsight, that class was one of the best experiences because it helped prepare her to be the leader that was needed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lisa’s Auggie connections have followed her to Mayo Health Clinic Systems where she works in close partnership with Dr. Paul Mueller (’84), a fellow Augsburg graduate and the chair of Augsburg’s Great Returns Campaigns . “We have a triad leadership model. I’m the lead for nursing, Paul is the physician leader, and we also work with Mike Morrey as the administrative leader.” Lisa explained. “Paul is a great person to work with. We are like-minded in our approaches on how to address issues associated with healthcare and finding ways to provide equal opportunity and combat disparities.” 



Strong administrative leadership is critical during times of crisis. “A lot of the work leaders do is behind the scenes. We’re either trying to reinvent healthcare, obtain resources, remove and reduce barriers or create new processes.” Lisa said. Figuring out how to keep frontline workers motivated when they are experiencing emotional, mental, and physical burnout is an equally challenging feat. “It’s really tough. I think every nursing track should have a class on wellness and how to create an individual resiliency plan.” For Lisa, leadership has its limits. Removing barriers for her staff and creating an accommodating work environment will only get people so far. True happiness and fulfillment in a job have to come from within. One long-term goal for Lisa is making nursing school a feasible option for anyone who has the aspiration to become a nurse. “Creating more accessible programs that fit people’s lives and ensuring the nursing profession in this region and beyond is delivering high-quality and safe care are important to me,” she expressed.

Although she is still navigating her new role, the impact Lisa hopes to make in her field is resolute. “No matter who you are, everyone deserves access to healthcare,” Lisa reflected as she stated her desire to keep opportunities of centering safety, experience, and quality of care under her leadership. Leading with a safety lens is key to her philosophy. Tapping into more inclusive resources, and broadening accessibility gives Lisa hope for a safer and more equitable future in healthcare.

Using History to Better Understand Public Safety

An event sponsored by Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Virtual Event
7:30 – 8:45 pm
Free of charge 


Headshot of Dr. William Green and Dr. Michael Lansing against a maroon backdrop. The Augsburg Women Engaged logo appears at under their photos.

Join AWE for a free online presentation and discussion with Augsburg faculty Dr. William Green and Dr. Michael Lansing. Dr. Green will speak about his article, “An Ever-Present Impulse: The Legacy of Anti-Black Violence and the Paradox of Minnesota Exceptionalism” and Dr. Lansing will present his article “Policing Politics: Labor, Race and the Police Officers Federation in Minneapolis, 1945-1972”. Professors Green and Lansing are planning for generous time to field questions from attendees about their essays and related issues. Engaging the history of race and community-police relations in Minneapolis provides context and perspective to consider as citizens weigh options for moving forward.



Babette ChatmanREV. Babette Chatman ’06 is an Augsburg University graduate and serves as one of our University Pastors. Prior to joining the campus ministry team full time in 2019, Pastor Babette served as a community collaborative partner with Campus Ministry and was the Associate Pastor of Redeemer Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. She also co-chaired the Mission Table on the Minneapolis Area Synod Council.


Wrestling Reunion

Bill Schmidt ‘76 and his wife Jill were more than thrilled to welcome fellow Auggie Alumni to their cabin for a wrestling reunion that took place on Saturday, August 14.  This annual event provides a fun way for Auggie wrestlers to stay connected.


Attendees (in alphabetical order): Thomas Barringer, M.D. ’78, Mike Benson ’78, Charles E. Blixt ’77, Jeffery A. Blixt ’77, Scott J. Brown ’73, Michael R. Good ’71, Roger L. Gorham ’73, Murray L. Herstein ’78, William C. Hickman ’71, Thomas L. Howe ’72, Ronald R. Johnson ’72, Dean R. Kennedy ’75, Jeff Lamphere, Patrick J. Marcy ’72, James V. Mastro ’73, John R. Nace ’75, James J. Pappas ’78, Mary H. Pappas, Jilaine S. Schmidt, William A. Schmidt ’76, Michael R. Scott ’71, Larry A. Stewart ’72, Jeff F. Swenson ’79, Stephen M. Varichak ’84, David W. Wygant ’77

Front row left to right: Daryl Miller ’69, Larry A. Stewart ’72, William C. Hickman ’71,Michael R. Good ’71, Scott J. Brown ’73 Back row left to right: Roger L. Gorham ’73, Charles E. Blixt ’77, Jeff F. Swenson ’79, Murray L. Herstein ’78, William A. Schmidt ’76, Mike Benson ’78, James J. Pappas ’78, Jeffery A. Blixt ’77, Stephen M. Varichak ’84, Ronald R. Johnson ’72, Patrick J. Marcy ’72, Dean R. Kennedy ’75


Check out more fun photos from the reunion:

Bill Hickman and Ron Johnson.
Bill Hickman and Ron Johnson
Mary & Jim Pappas, Bill Schmidt, Melissa & Jeff Swenson
Mary & Jim Pappas, Bill Schmidt, and Melissa & Jeff Swenson
Daryl Miller, Ron Johnson, Mike Good
Daryl Miller, Ron Johnson, Mike Good
Pat Marcy, Ron Johnson, Bill Hickman, Mike Good, Daryl Miller, and Larry Stewart.
Pat Marcy, Ron Johnson, Bill Hickman, Mike Good, Daryl Miller, and Larry Stewart
Mike Good, Larry Stewart, and Bill Hickman
Mike Good, Larry Stewart, and Bill Hickman


Online Event: Augsburg Alumni and Heath Care Leaders on “Elevating Advanced Practice Providers: COVID & Beyond”

covid imageJoin us virtually on Tuesday, December 15 at 7 p.m. for an online panel discussion on “Elevating Advanced Practice Providers: COVID & Beyond” hosted by Capsule Pharmacy.

This special discussion with the Augsburg community features alumni and other health care leaders working on the front line of the pandemic. Hear about today’s most innovative strategies for managing COVID-19. Get first hand reports of how healthcare systems are responding and adapting to the challenges of the pandemic.


  • Natalie Ikeman ’12, PA: Physician Assistant in the Family Medicine Department at Hennepin Healthcare. She earned her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and her Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies at Augsburg University. She is the Lead Advanced Practice provider in Family Medicine, the program director of The Great Slim Down weight management program, and most recently the program director of the COVID 19 Home Monitoring Program.

  • Sonia Patel, PharmD: Chief Pharmacist at Capsule Pharmacy. She is one of the founders and helped launch Capsule in 2015 in New York

  • Ashley LaFontaine ’14, PA: Augsburg Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies

  • Travis Reddinger, APRN-CNP, CEN: Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Certified Nurse Practitioner, and Certified Emergency Nurse in the Hospitalist group at Allina Health and Emergency Department at Regions. In his Hospitalist role with Allina, he has oversight at United Hospital and works as a Trauma/Charge Nurse for Regions Emergency Department.


  • Nick Swanson ’09, ’12 (MBA), Partnerships Manager for Capsule Pharmacy in the Twin Cities.

We will send the zoom link to all registrants prior to the start of the event.

Facebook Live Events: Taking the Alumni Office Online

Screenshot of Scott Cooper ’13 and Mel Lee ’04 during their Facebook Live event

Question – How do you engage a community when you can’t be together, as a community?

Answer – You, take it online!

Like many of you, I have been consuming digital content in a way I haven’t before. I am a lover of arts,  sports, and food, but how do you pursue those passions from your own house?

In this time, we are seeing the world around us reach out and become closer in a way that I never would have expected. How lucky do I feel to watch Sir Patrick Stewart read a Shakespear sonnet each day? I’m following along with my favorite Bon Appetite chefs and have tried two new recipes (mushroom carbonara and slow-roasted gochujang chicken). In our house, my husband and I are trying to calm our worries and stir-crazy selves with these outlets.

Now, the Alumni Office is joining in on the fun. Last week (March 23), Melissa Lee ‘04, head softball coach and assistant athletic director, invited you into her home to spend some time on warming up your body and your mind. On Friday, March 20, Scott and I visited with you from our homes to let you know we were working on some ideas. Well, I am excited to share that our ideas are turning into realities and here is how you can connect:

  1. Like and follow the Augsburg University Alumni Associate page on Facebook. Then, when content is added you will get an alert.
  2. Even if you can’t join us for the live stream you can go back and watch the videos that will live on the page.

So far we have the following content confirmed (all times are in listed central standard time)

Tuesday, March 31

1 p.m. – Alumni, Friends & Donors Town Hall outlining Augsburg’s response to COVID-19

Join the webinar via this zoom meeting link:

Wednesday, April 1

12:15 p.m. – Storytime with Darcey Engen ‘88, chair of the Augsburg Theater Department

Friday, April 3

Noon – Renee Most ‘01, director of the StepUP Program

Monday, April 6

3 p.m. – Leon Van Eck, assistant professor of biology, takes us on a tour of the Hagfors Center Greenhouse

Other Confirmed Guests with Details TBD:

Hans Wiersma, associate professor of religion, Dr. Paul Mueller ‘84, chair of the Board of Regents, Curt Rice ‘84, Rector of Oslo Metropolitan University, Doug Green, professor of English, Destyn Land ‘19, and a panel of alumni speakers geared toward preparing the class of 2020 for post-graduation life.

We hope you will tune in and will consider engaging with us virtually. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or Scott directly at

-Katie (Koch) Code ’01

The Forum on Workplace Inclusion: 32 Years of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Training

President Pribbenow speaking at The Forum conferenceOn March 11, Augsburg’s President Paul Pribbenow spoke at The Forum on Workplace Inclusion’s 32nd annual conference, “Facing Forward.” The session was called Hospitality is Not Enough: An Institutional Journey from Diversity to Inclusion to Equity.

Pribbenow shared the story of Augsburg’s journey with our many concrete implications for policy and practice, including efforts to make higher education more accessible to diverse students, internal work to build intercultural competencies, and governance strategies that position Augsburg as a thought and practice leader in the DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) space.

“Augsburg University is one of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest and proud to partner with The Forum to help expand diversity, equity, and inclusion skills, so our students can fully participate and succeed in the workforce,” said Pribbenow. “We’re on the front edge of what education will look like in the 21st century.”

people speaking at the Augsburg booth during The ForumA record-setting 636 undergraduate first-year students started at Augsburg last fall. The Class of 2023 marks the third year in a row in which the majority are students of color. Augsburg now has 2,159 students in the traditional undergraduate program, which is also a record for our university.

“People were really impressed with Paul’s presentations at the opening general session and his Hospitality is Not Enough session. A lot of people came by Augsburg’s booth and talked about Paul’s presentations. They didn’t know about Augsburg, didn’t know about all of our impressive work,” said Lee George, Executive Director of the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work.

This year’s conference focused on equipping the workforce and workplaces with the diversity, equity, and inclusion skills needed to sustain businesses into a forward-facing future that is innovative on both local and global levels.

George, along with other Augsburg volunteers, talked with employers and Human Resource representatives about our recruitment practices over the last ten years. “Augsburg had to think through our recruitment and expand, now employers are looking at how to elaborate to reflect our global economy. Augsburg really resonated for employers,” said George.

the Augsburg booth during the forumForum participants were invited to engage with our 2023 student class picture, which had quotes from students about their hopes and fears for the future. Participants wrote responses to be shared with the students.

Hana Dinku, Augsburg’s Director for the Pan-Afrikan Center, hosted multiple sessions at The Forum. “I was pleasantly surprised at The Forum,” she said.

One session Dinku hosted stood out to her: Journey Beyond the Comfort Zone: Designing and Facilitating Transformative Learning Experiences for Leaders. “The session was about how to be aware of people’s stress levels when doing diversity training. It was interesting to look at this through an emotional lens, how to be effective and aware of people’s stress and stop them from shutting down,” said Dinku.

The conference featured more than 70 sessions, three general sessions, more than 180 presenters and speakers from around the world, along with the Marketplace of Ideas exhibitor space. The DEI Coaching Center was also available, where DEI professionals provided coaching for attendees to apply when returning to the workplace.

Steve Humerickhouse, Executive Director of the Forum on Workplace Inclusion, spoke with the Star Tribune about how the Twin Cities is becoming one of the largest hubs for workplace diversity and inclusion.

“Part of it comes from our belief in Minnesota exceptionalism. Maybe it’s in the water here. It’s something about commitment to issues of diversity and equity. This is why refugees come here, why international adoption began here. This is a place where people feel deeply about issues,” said Humerickhouse. “At the Forum, we’re about workplace inclusion, but there is nothing that happens in the workplace that isn’t affected by society at large. We talk about people who have committed felonies and what that means in terms of hiring when they get out of prison. We talk about unconscious bias. It’s easy to exclude people because we’re tribal. We are the way we are for a reason, but how do we overcome that?”

About The Forum

For 32 years, The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change. The annual conference is HRCI and SHRM Continuing Education Credit (CEU) eligible.

Augsburg University became the new home of The Forum on Workplace Inclusion in July of 2019. We have been on a journey during the past decade to become an institution that embraces diversity, works at inclusion, and seeks equity. It is a journey with lessons for other higher education institutions, as well as other organizations.

Pastor Sonja Hagander Describes the Norwegian Word “Friluftsliv” While Preparing for the Pilgrimage to Nidaros

Sonja HaganderFinal few weeks to register for this trip!

Norway is known to be one of the “happiest places on earth.” Is it the people? Is it the food? Is it the over-the-top scenery? Is it the healthcare and education? I wonder if it’s “friluftsliv.” My Norwegian friends try to translate it, but that’s challenging. Come on the pilgrimage to Nidaros on August 4-13, 2020, and experience “friluftsliv” for yourself!

-Friluftsliv: the moments standing on top of a mountain with friends looking down into an emerald green fjord.

-Friluftsliv: the indescribable warmth sipping hot coffee surrounded by mountain goats as you finish a day-long hike and prepare to dine on locally grown foods.

-Friluftsliv: God’s abundantly beautiful creation that makes one feel grateful to be alive.

-Friluftsliv: The Norwegian belief that “there’s no bad weather, only bad clothing.”

-Friluftsliv: The complete trust in one’s fellow hikers.

-Friluftsliv: The way that life outside creates kindred spirits.

-Friluftsliv: The gift of creation that feeds one’s soul.

I know and trust that on our upcoming pilgrimage, we will experience “friluftsliv.”  I’m filled with wonderful anticipation. And as fellow hikers, we will each have our own definition of this awesome experience—one that will be very difficult to put into words. But upon return, may we each exclaim: Friluftsliv!

—Pastor Sonja M. Hagander, Vice President for Mission & Identity

If you’re interested in this trip, please email Katie Code ’01 at or call 612-330-1178.