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COVID-19: Fall 2020 plans and student resources ›

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.

Want to check something off of your bucket list?

Nidaros Cathedral from the skyDo you have a few lingering questions about what it means to be a Pilgrim? Please join us on Monday, November 4 from 6:30 p.m. – 8 p.m. in the Marshall Room. We will learn about the exciting Sesquicentennial Heritage trip to hike the Nidarose Pilgram Path. You will hear from Rev. Sonja Hagendar, who has hiked this path twice as well as Tour Operator Lori Moline ’82 and Alumni Director Katie Koch Code ’01.

Reservations are currently being accepted for this trip and this trip is filling up fast.

To RSVP for this meeting please contact Katie Koch Code ’01 at or at 612-330-1178.

Learn more about this trip here.

Spiritual Journey to Norway: Hiking the Pilgrim’s Path to Nidaros is Now on Sale

The last signpost of St. Olavsleden.Led by Rev. Sonja Hagander August 4-13, 2020

In August 2020, the Rev. Sonja Hagander, Augsburg University Vice President for Mission and Identity, will lead a hike to the Nidaros Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway—a pilgrimage made by travelers for more than 1,000 years. Along the way, you will learn about history and culture, and experience firsthand some of the most beautiful nature in the world. This trip is intended for experienced mountain hikers. Hagander has hiked parts of this trip twice and will be joined by a ground guide who will travel with the group. This trip will be limited to 22 participants and it is expected to sell out quickly.

This trip includes 19 meals, all entrance fees for the Peer Gynt Festival, all motorcoach transfers, gratuities, and lodging. It does not include airfare.

Over 10 days you will hike over 70 Kilometers from Dovre Church to the Trondheim Cathedral. The group will also attend the Peer Gynt Festival and will explore Lillehammer and Trondheim. 

To learn more or to register for the trip please go to the online travel brochure.

Or, to learn more about the Pilgram walk check out St. Olav Ways.

Any additional questions can be directed to Katie Code ‘01, Director of Alumni & Constituent Relations at or 612-330-1178

Stacy Freiheit: Applied Psychology, S2E14 of The Augsburg Podcast

The Augsburg Podcast features voices of Augsburg University faculty and staff. We hope this is one way you can get to know the people who educate our students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. Subscribe on Itunes.

Stacy Freiheit
Stacy Freiheit, Associate Professor of Psychology, trains the next generation of mental health care providers to be inquisitive researchers, sensitive observers, and keen auditors of evidence-based practice.

Sarah Degner Riveros: Language for Life, S2E13 of The Augsburg Podcast

The Augsburg Podcast features voices of Augsburg University faculty and staff. We hope this is one way you can get to know the people who educate our students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. Subscribe on Itunes.

Sarah Degner Riveros
Language is so much more than vocabulary and grammar. For Sarah Degner Riveros, Lecturer in Spanish, languages are inseparable from their history, community, and culture. In this discussion, we explore many ways the teaching and learning of Spanish opens doorways to a wider world and into the deeper self.


Norway Now — one of the most peaceful nations in the world?

I am from Norway. I grew up there and spent my first 20 years of life in a country that many consider being the perfect place to live. Norway ranks the lists of countries that inhabit the happiest people. We are known for a wonderful supportive healthcare system, long and paid maternity/paternity leave, free dental care (first 18 years), sick leave and good pensions as well as at least 6 weeks of vacation each year. 


Not only is Norway good on the homefront, on the international stage, Norway has become increasingly known for its global peace efforts: both through the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize but also through peace processes outside and inside of its borders. Since 1993 Norway has made an active contribution to peace and reconciliation processes in Afghanistan, Colombia, Myanmar, Nepal, Israel/Palestine, The Philippines, Somalia, and Sri Lanka to name a few. 


Not easy to top, right?

As a native Norwegian, it’s hard to put into words how proud I am of these facts. And as an employee of Augsburg, it adds another dimension to my pride that I am so fortunate to work for a Norwegian founded institution that—on an ongoing basis—highlights and celebrates Norway’s accomplishments through our 30-year history hosting the Nobel Peace Prize Forum; our long history of teaching the language and culture; hosting students from Norway; our new partnership development with the Oslo Freedom Forum; and through our collaboration with local and national Norwegian initiatives and programming through our very own Norway Hub


For most of you, the information above is common knowledge. You have lived and breathed the Augsburg air and you are an Auggie after all, right? But wouldn’t you want to experience this first hand? Like go to Norway and participated in a uniquely planned itinerary that will take you to places you normally wouldn’t go? I would. 

The May 2020 trip—Norway Now—provides amazing opportunities to experience our deeply rooted ties, history and contemporary connections with this unique country. You will indeed visit and experience where and how some of these peace efforts take place and see how deeply Augsburg University has been engaged and still is. 


In Oslo, you will have a chance to visit the City Hall where 

the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony takes place each year and where the walls are covered (literally) in Edvard Munch’s murals. You will also have a chance to tour the Norwegian Nobel Institute where the Nobel Committee each year picks a winner to receive one of the most prestigious prizes: the Nobel Peace Prize. The Nobel Peace Center, down by the gorgeous Aker Brygge (harbor), will share with you several interesting exhibits including past Nobel Peace Prize winners, and the most current laureate (announced in October 2019) will be on display!

In Lillehammer, we will visit and experience the work of the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue a center that “has become an international hub for dialogue work focused on interethnic dialogue, conflict transformation, reconciliation, inclusive communities, and democracy.” Steinar Bryn, a longtime friend and supporter of Augsburg and a mentor to our Peace Scholars Program, will lead the way and provide us with a lecture about current work, pedagogy, and programs. Heck, we may even engage in a dialogue as we hike down the Olympic Ski Jump’s 936 steps together (hint: one of Steinar’s tools)? 


And wouldn’t you want to be able to answer the following questions upon your return? 

Are Norwegians indeed happier than others? 

Why is the Nobel Peace Prize given out in Norway?

Who is Bertha Von Suttner?

Why is Fritfjof Nansen considered a peacemaker?

What are some of the peace processes Norway uses? 


Can you tell how excited I am to bring you to Norway to discover, discuss and see the actual sites where this important work takes place? I am. 


Join me in Oslo on May 10, 2020. I have ordered blue skies and about 20 degrees celsius. 

Vi sees i Norge! 



Jill Dawe: The Connectivity of Music, S2E10 of The Augsburg Podcast

The Augsburg Podcast features voices of Augsburg University faculty and staff. We hope this is one way you can get to know the people who educate our students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. Subscribe on Itunes.

Jill Dawe
Jill Dawe, Associate Professor of Music, shares her fascination with the connective power of music: its capacity to share, express, and bring together communities across cultures and centuries.


Augsburg’s 155 All-School Reunion Volunteers

All School Reunion Volunteers
Volunteers at the first meeting on May 20, 2019.

Editor’s note: The All-School Reunion has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. (updated October 13, 2020)

We are so thankful for the 155 enthusiastic volunteers who have committed to helping us plan Augsburg’s first-ever All-School Reunion. Their involvement is crucial to our journey ahead. During our first volunteers meeting on May 20, it was exciting to witness old friendships and developing relationships among Auggies from the Classes of 1955 to 2020 — and that’s why reunions matter!

Volunteers are the core this upcoming year, and our work is not only more fun but exponentially strengthened by their participation and input. Our volunteers help us with Homecoming 2020’s schedule, entertainment, venues, marketing and more. We look forward to diving into all of this over the next 15 months to make this Sesquicentennial year the most epic one at Augsburg to date.

If you are interested in joining the following group of volunteers, please contact Katie (Koch) Code ’01 at or call 612-330-1178.

We have plenty of work to do, and we look forward to hearing from you!

Augsburg All-School Reunion Volunteers (Sesquicentennial Stewards):

Annika Hegrenes ’20

Joseph  Amrhein ’19

Eli Baker ’19

Willie Giller ’19

Grace Lindgren ’19

Brandon Williams ’19

Gabriel Bergstrom ’18

Abe Johnson ’18

Kevin Tran ’18

John Boyd ’17

Megan Carrell ’17

Thomas Kukowski ’17

Chau Nguyen ’17

Jack Swift ’17

Lauren Hurley ’16

Jaquan Kline ’16

Atlese Robinson ’16

Reies Romero ’16

Nadine Ashby ’15

Kendall Christian ’15

Nikolas Linde ’15

Hassan Sankoh ’15

Felecia Zahner ’15

Lia Capaldini ’14

Jasmine Grika ’14

Gary  Mariscal ’14

Katie Nelson ’14

Zaurean Nickens ’14

Jakkee-Patricia Phillips ’14

Patrick DuSchane ’13

Alyssa Fichter ’13

Beau Hansen ’13

Kris Vick ’13, MAE

Helen Truax ’12, MBA

Evan Decker ’12

Fardosa Hassan ’12

Lauren Lesser ’12

Aldo Lopez ’12

Shane Pantila ’12

Katie Radford ’12

Marty Wyatt ’12

Alex Beeby ’11

Laura Lou DuSchane ’11

Lucreshia Grant ’11

Van Hong ’11

Seth Lienard ’11

Ted Nielsen ’11

Lani Roldan ’11

Quinton Stibbins ’11

Kennitra Terrell ’11

Stefani  Zappa ’11

Irene Abdullah ’10

Taylor Davis ’10

Joshua Holmgren ’10

Matthew McEnery ’10

Jill Watson ’10

Shonna Fulford ’09

Raymond Kidd ’09

Agnes Kigwana ’09

Caitlin Lienard ’09

Derek Francis ’08

Joshua Harris ’08

Bryan Ludwig ’08

Brian  Bambenek ’07

Erik Helgerson ’07

Maria Helgerson ’07

Charlie Scott ’07

Babette Chatman ’05

Hannah Dietrich ’05

Sheryl Wallace-Holman ’05

Mel Lee ’04

Mathew J. Shannon ’04

Jamie E. Smith ’04

Jarret Howard ’03

Nick Rathmann ’03

Brent Peroutka ’02

Nick B. Slack ’02

Erica Bryan-Wegner ’01

Erica Huls ’01

Jason  Beckendorf ’00

Kirsten Kelly ’00

Stephanie Lein Walseth ’00

Ross Murray ’00

Meg Schmidt Sawyer ’00

Brandon Hutchinson ’99

Guillaume Paek ’99

Terry Marquardt ’98

Jessica Wahto ’98

Amy Bowar Mellinger ’97

Nancy Holmblad ’95

Jay Lepper ’95

Liz Pushing ’93

Heather Johnston ’92

Kristen Hirsch Montag ’91

Greg Schnagl ’91

Drew Privette ’89

Tracy Sundstrom ’89

Jerry Dieffenbach ’88

Darcey Engen ’88

Jenni Lilledahl ’87

Lisa  Anderson ’86

Nancy Mueller ’85

Norm Okerstrom ’85

Lisa Kastler ’84

Jenny Kelley ’84

Karen Casanova ’83

Joan Evans ’83

Karsten Nelson ’83

Cinthia W. Sisson ’83

Lori Moline ’82

Eric Anderson ’79

Becky Bjella-Nodland ’79

Sally Daniels Herron ’79

Jeff Swenson ’79

James Bernstein ’78

Rick Bonlender ’78

Beverly Meyer ’78

Dennis Meyer ’78

Jeff Nodland ’77

Roselyn Nordaune ’77

Jeffrey Mueller ’76

Kathryn Wahl ’76

Norm Wahl ’76

Merilee Klemp ’75

Linda Holmen ’74

Bob Strommen ’74

Linda Andell ’72

Saul Stensvaag ’72

David Andell ’71

Wayne Jorgenson ’71

Bonnie Niles ’71

Bob Stacke ’71

Dennis King ’70

Richard King ’69

Peter Strommen ’69

Karolynn Lestrud ’68

Lennore Bevis ’66

Richard Mork ’66

Allen  Anderson ’65

Eunice Dietrich ’65

Joyce Pfaff ’65

Livi Smith ’64

Barbara Larson ’63

Dean Larson ’62

Lawrence Gallagher ’61

Winnie Nordlund Anderson ’61

Dale Hanka ’60

Robert Herman ’55

Michael Bloomberg – Staff

Frank Haege – Staff

Paul C. Pribbenow – President

Margaret Bostelmann – Friend

Lois Swenson – Friend