Bing tracking

COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

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?

Student group photoI 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


Celebrating the Faces of Augsburg with “Inside Out”

Inside Out Rendering
A rendering of what part of the installation may look like.

Augsburg Community: We need your help!

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.

faces of Augsburg photo shoot
The Faces of Augsburg photoshoot set up

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.


Submit your photo

Tour the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum with the Augsburg Associates

minnesota landscape arboretum
The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

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.

Register for This Event

Augsburg Family Spotlight: Bruce ’91 and Michael Rivers ’19

Michael Rivers ‘19

Facing an Unexpected Tragedy

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.

–by Cheryl Crockett ‘89

An Exclusive Look at the Images in “Hold Fast to What is Good”

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.

Athletic charms
Up until 1989, women b-ballers at Augsburg used to get a little “charm” like this one, instead of an athletic “letter” for their jackets. Learn the whole story behind this image in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
Does a Norwegian sweater work with my hijab?
Does a Norwegian sweater work with my hijab? Of course, it does. The story of our unique Augsburg community can be found in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”
1898 Augsburg Chapel altar painting of Jesus.
An Augsburg professor preaching in Norway inspired the gift of this 1898 altar painting of Jesus. In 2014, Augsburg commissioned a new altar painting showing a different kind of Jesus. Learn the whole story in “Hold Fast to What is Good.”

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.

Price: $162.04 (this price includes tax)

Select the “Hold Fast to What is Good” Book Event to order online today.

Attendees at the Sesquicentennial Gala will be able to pick up their books that evening. Other orders will be delivered by mail in October 2019.

Augsburg Hosts Auction of Presidential Dinnerware to Benefit the Sesquicentennial Scholarship

Augsburg A dinnerware setEnjoy a piece of Augsburg history in your home! Institutional Advancement is hosting an auction for classic Augsburg A presidential dinnerware sets on eBay. All proceeds from this charity auction will go to the Sesquicentennial Scholarship. This scholarship will help eliminate financial barriers and launch the next generation of leaders at Augsburg.

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 or 612-330-1098.