In 2019, Augsburg celebrates 150 years as a University. Our sesquicentennial will be a year-long opportunity to reflect on our past and present – to honor our leaders and legacies, and also to discover our roots.
As part of the Sesquicentennial celebration, Augsburg has commissioned several public art projects around campus lead by Kristin Anderson and Christopher Houltberg. The main installation is a participatory art project called “Inside Out” that will cover 4 city blocks and showcase over 1,869 faces of people part of the Augsburg community.
Let’s celebrate the faces of current and historic members of the community with this ambitious public installation! Woven together, each black and white portrait will create a mesh of faces celebrating, recognizing and honoring the core of the institution: its people. This textile of woven portraits will be a unique opportunity to take part in an international art project empowering community actions.
Augsburg is everywhere.
Having the whole Augsburg community represented in this installation is very important to us. That includes Rochester campus, weekend university students, international students, faculty, staff, and alumni. So we want to invite YOU to participate by sending in your photo from wherever you are through this form. The deadline to send in these photos is Friday, May 24.
Let’s show who we are behind the walls of the institution and each of our roles within it for the past 150 years. Whether to pay tribute or simply pay attention, this project creates the opportunity to recognize how many shoulders it takes to create a strong and successful academic community in every single realm existing in a university.
Beyond getting your portrait taken or sending in a photo, this is about shared moments, pride, and seeing yourself appear side by side with around 3,000 other faces with the same pride and commitment to Augsburg.
The Augsburg Associates are hosting a lunch and Arboretum Tour for their spring event at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum on Wednesday, May 29. This event includes a lunch starting at 11:30 in the Tea Room at the Arboretum with featured speaker Dr. Stan Hokanson a horticulture professor at the University of Minnesota during lunch. At 1:30, the Associates will be taking a tour of the Arboretum on the tram. The cost for this event is $35.
When Michael Rivers graduates from Augsburg this spring, he plans to do some private investigative work for criminal lawyers, and then enroll in law school. His goal of becoming a criminal defense attorney with a private practice would seem like a natural progression, especially since that’s what his father has done since 1998. But his pathway to this decision was a long and painful one—and never a given.
Rivers recalls that growing up in the southwest Minneapolis house once occupied by his great-grandparents, he sensed a strong bond between his parents (both Auggies who went on to earn doctorates), and he enjoyed many childhood pleasures—skiing, baseball, and biking the Minnehaha Parkway weekly to Lake Harriet. Life seemed simple then.
But he remembers a lot of fighting, too. When Rivers was five years old, his parents divorced. In the beginning, that wasn’t very troubling for a five-year-old—it meant two birthday celebrations, two Christmas gatherings, two homes, and several “double events.” But within the year, his mother died and—even though the full impact of having her “gone forever” didn’t really sink in—he managed to continue with sports and many of his other activities, including regular attendance at his dad’s Sunday School class. He also participated in an “amazing grief group” at his elementary school, which helped him talk about death with peers and contributed greatly to healing and an understanding of death.
As Rivers was entering his teens, he was told the truth about how his mother had died. She had not been sick, as he had been led to believe. She had taken her own life—just as his grandfather and uncle had done. This new information—and the intentionality of those deaths—forced him to reconstruct everything on which he felt his life had been based.
Trying to Cope
He began drinking at age 13, becoming intoxicated regularly to calm the chatter in his brain. During his teen years (the “trouble phase”), Rivers quit going to church. He no longer had any interest in academics, and his grades plummeted. He resented and disregarded authority and started lying to his father. Expelled from one high school for possessing a taser, he ended up attending three others. He was arrested four times. He ran away from home four times, once ending up in Omaha where he was arrested for shoplifting and being a runaway, another time in Colorado where the $6,000 he had stolen from his father funded a weeklong drug ride, and twice in Florida. He “went through a lot of friends” and surrounded himself with people who had low expectations of him.
The fire that fueled the animosity he then felt toward the world was his understanding of his mother’s death. He felt betrayed and lied to. He was haunted by the image of his mother in her casket: the lifeless body that once held his life inside of her, and the burn marks on her lips from the gun she used—and the images still inhabit his dreams today.
While in an after-care treatment program, Rivers learned there were school programs that could help him earn a GED—a fact that became enticing only when he discovered he could possibly get into Augsburg as well. Though his high school academic record held little promise, his optimism increased as he recalled nostalgically the stories from his parents about how much they had enjoyed Augsburg. He also learned more about the StepUP program, Augsburg’s residential collegiate recovery community.
When Rivers began his studies at Augsburg, he lived in the dorms. He ended his first year with a 2.1 GPA, a slight improvement from high school. But he knew he could do much better. In terms of the required sobriety in StepUP, he had relapsed the first time and had to join the program again. But soon he began to thrive and discovered that there was great value for him in the communal connection he found in the StepUP community, even with substantial staff turnover in the program and some gossiping that can come from living in close proximity.
The Road Ahead
Throughout his Augsburg years, he has gone through waves of emotions, thinking about his mother and the strong possibility that he has likely sat in the same classrooms as she did, interacting with some of the same professors (like Dr. Nancy Steblay, the psychology professor for whom his mother once wrote a meta-analysis).
And he has changed. His outlook on his mother’s death has gone from intense grief and resentment of her and the world to a fuller understanding and admiration of the person she was, and a respect for the world around him. Now, as he approaches graduation time, Rivers can taste victory. Of the last 15 classes he has taken, he has earned a 4.0 in 13 of them, putting him on the Dean’s List for four consecutive semesters and likely resulting in a 3.5 GPA when he graduates.
In the years ahead, Rivers sees himself working on hard criminal cases, owning property, working at both passive incomes and vacation destinations, and traveling the world with the one he loves. Given his skills in photography, he may even start a film production company. But as he pursues law school and a career, his work in Augsburg’s student government will likely be useful, as will advice and encouragement from his lawyer father, Bruce ’91, who is especially pleased about his son’s progress. Bruce says, “It is only through hard work and perseverance that this fine young man has achieved all that he has.” He must be especially gratified that Michael has chosen to pursue the same career path as he did.
Throughout the month of April, we will be featuring images that are core to the history of Augsburg. These images are featured in “Hold Fast to What is Good” by Professor Phillip Adamo – a book to commemorate Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial looking back from 1869 to today.
How to order “Hold Fast to What is Good”
We are accepting preorders of one or more hardcover, limited edition, boxed copies of this book through May 1, 2019.
This elegant china was once used for dinner parties and events hosted by the president at the Augsburg House – it has since been retired due to our name-change and rebranding, which changed the look of the “A” icon that appears on most of the dinnerware. Each item has been professionally packaged and can be shipped or picked up from campus once the auction ends at midnight on March 1.
Please contact Hannah Walsh if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-330-1098.
If you’re a regular reader of the Augsburg Now magazine, you may recognize leading literary scholar, Austen expert, and roller derby devotee Devoney Looser ’89 from the featured article “No Plain Jane.” She is the author or editor of seven books on literature by women. Looser will be visiting Augsburg’s campus on February 5 at 7 p.m. to read from her most recent book “The Making of Jane Austen” in Hagfors 150. Books will be available for purchase at this event and Looser will stick around to visit with guests and sign their copies after the reading.
“The Making of Jane Austen” Press Release
Just how did Jane Austen become the celebrity author and the inspiration for generations of loyal fans she is today? Devoney Looser’s The Making of Jane Austen turns to the people, performances, activism, and images that fostered Austen’s early fame, laying the groundwork for the beloved author we think we know.
Here are the Austen influencers, including her first English illustrator, the eccentric Ferdinand Pickering, whose sensational gothic images may be better understood through his brushes with bullying, bigamy, and an attempted matricide. The daring director-actress Rosina Filippi shaped Austen’s reputation with her pioneering dramatizations, leading thousands of young women to ventriloquize Elizabeth Bennet’s audacious lines before drawing room audiences. Even the supposedly staid history of Austen scholarship has its bizarre stories. The author of the first Jane Austen dissertation, student George Pellew, tragically died young, but he was believed by many, including his professor-mentor, to have come back from the dead.
Looser shows how these figures and their Austen-inspired work transformed Austen’s reputation, just as she profoundly shaped theirs. Through them, Looser describes the factors and influences that radically altered Austen’s evolving image. Drawing from unexplored material, Looser examines how echoes of that work reverberate in our explanations of Austen’s literary and cultural power. Whether you’re a devoted Janeite or simply Jane-curious, The Making of Jane Austen will have you thinking about how a literary icon is made, transformed, and handed down from generation to generation.
Alumna Lois Hofstad Esselstrom, Ph.D., has recently published “An Intimate Journey with Our Father: Walking and Talking with God,” available on Amazon for purchase. Before earning her bachelor of arts from Augsburg in 1958, Lois grew up in the home of a pastor and educator and says her family walked and talked with God through Bible reading and prayer. She went on to earn both an M.A. and Ph.D. from Western Reserve University. She has been a church parish worker, a publish school teacher and a professor of English at Indiana University South Bend. She and her husband Michael Esselstrom have two children and are now retired in Florida.
About this Book (from the author)
To walk life’s road with the Almighty God, engaged in intimate conversation with Him? Can it be? As astonishing, indeed shocking, as this concept is, it is simple enough for a child to experience. I know because I was that child. When I was very small, Mother found me on a chair talking to Someone she could not see. “Who are you talking to?” she asked. “I’m talking to Jesus. You said He was here.” Ever since that day decades ago I have known that I may talk to Jesus, or more precisely, with Jesus, with God. God chooses to engage with children, men, and women in intimate dialogue. Sometimes He initiates the conversation through words of the Bible as we read or remember them. Sometimes words from morning devotional reading steady me all through the day. Our answer is amazement and gratitude. Or we speak to Him first, through conscious prayer or through longings which He hears in our hearts. He answers according to what is best for His child. Jesus was very specific about God’s intentions. He said that He and His Father would “come and make our home” with those who love Him. It occurred to me that God, Who is Love, may enjoy being welcomed to be at home in our personal lives even more than we limited mortals can rise to being glad He has come. Thus, as the almighty God lives in our lives, we, together with believers of all ages, bear witness to the reality of An Intimate Journey with Our Father: Walking and Talking with God.
Thank you for ringing in the holiday season with us at Velkommen Jul and Vespers. This weekend is always a great time to see friends and celebrate togetherness. And a special thank you to all the volunteers who worked these events, to the Augsburg Associates who raised more than $4,800 for student scholarships at Velkommen Jul and to Trudi Anderson ’77 who lead the pop-up flute choir.
The book “offers a new understanding of Laos in a difficult period of nation building and development [and] a vital lesson to policy planners, scholars, and INGOs encountering the illusory success of a globalizing economy,” according to the forward by Yos Santasombat.
About the Author
Bruce Shoemaker is an independent researcher based in far northern California who focuses on natural resource conflict issues in the Mekong Region. Among his current projects is the preparation of an edited volume on the World Bank’s involvement in the Nam Theun 2 hydropower project in Laos, to be published by University of Wisconsin Press. He has lived in Laos for eight years and Thailand for three while working for a number of NGOs and subsequently was employed, for more than ten years, as the program advisor for the Southeast Asia Grants Program of The McKnight Foundation, helping the foundation focus its grant making around natural resource rights issues as well as support for Indigenous Peoples organizations and other grassroots community organizing. He has a particular interest in the impacts of large hydropower projects on the lives and livelihoods of local communities in the Mekong Region and has authored or co-authored numerous articles and reports in this field.
Give to the Max is a giving event where Augsburg athletic teams, academic programs and student groups across campus create fundraising pages and secure Auggie support to make their projects a reality. This year, fundraising begins on Nov. 1 and ends on the big Give to the Max Day: Nov. 15. You can see all 30 projects on our Give Campus page.
Each year, our global community responds generously to support and recognize the breadth of programs and experiences offered by Augsburg.
Over the past five years, Augsburg programs have raised more than $1.5 million through Give to the Max efforts thanks to the commitment of our alumni, faculty, students and friends of the University!
This year, it is our goal is to raise $250,000 from 1,001 donors.
Ways you can help:
Image text: Give to the Max Day Social Media Toolkit. Here are 5 ways to be an Auggie Advocate:
Mark your calendars for Nov. 15. – This is the biggest day of the year for giving. Spread the word about our Give Campus website and how every donation makes an impact.
Share posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. – From Nov. 1 – 15, Augsburg University and the Alumni pages will be posting information about Give to the Max Day, sharing videos, and updates on our progress. Share as much as you are able!
Make a donation! – No matter the size, your donation is meaningful to Auggies. Lead by example and let your friends know how your donation is helping Augsburg.
Tell your Augsburg story. – What does Augsburg mean to you? Why are you getting involved on Give to the Max Day?
Create a personal plea on Give Campus. – A personal plea is a short video in which you explain why you support Augsburg’s campaign and encourage others to do the same. Personal Pleas are accessed from the Advocates tab of the campaign page. Videos create a huge impact!
Helpful resources: Use #AuggiesGive and #GTMD2018
Give Campus Page: https://www.givecampus.com/bmwmew
Thank you for helping to make Give to the Max Day a success!