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Photos from Velkommen Jul

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.

Velkommen Jul 2018

Augsburg Hosts Bruce Shoemaker ’82 Book Launch for “Dead in the Water: Global Lessons for the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos”

Dead in the Water coverSponsored by the McKnight Foundation and the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, a book launch for the release of “Dead in the Water: Global Lessons for the World Bank’s Model Hydropower Project in Laos,” by Bruce Shoemaker ’82 will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Student Art Gallery in the Christensen Center.

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 ShoemakerBruce 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.

15 Days for Auggies to Give to the Max

A descriptive audio version of this video is available at

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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.
  4. Tell your Augsburg story. – What does Augsburg mean to you? Why are you getting involved on Give to the Max Day?
  5. 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:
    Thank you for helping to make Give to the Max Day a success!

Homecoming Auggie Talk: A Hagfors Center Pilgrimage – Hosted by AWE (Augsburg Women Engaged)

Auggie Talks, Hagfors BuildingSaturday, Oct. 13 from 3 – 3:45 p.m.

Join Auggie women on a special exploration of the new Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. This tour, led by Religion professor Marty Stortz, will begin with reflection in the Gundale Chapel, highlighting the vocational journey of Augsburg students; then a visit to the Food Lab; and along the way, reflect on the inspirational art that captures the intersections between science, business, and religion.

About Auggie Talks:

They’re back by popular demand! Join us for 30-minute, insightful sessions presented by professors and fellow alumni on topics spearheaded by your class reunion groups. Talks will be published as they become available on social media and in upcoming communications.

Space is limited. Please register today for Auggie Talks.

Other Auggie Talks:

Rebekah Dupont: STEM Stories

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.


Rebekah Dupont
Rebekah Dupont, director of STEM programs, shares a few of her most memorable student stories.


Meet Spirit of Augsburg Award Winner Grace Kemmer Sulerud ’58

Grace Kemmer Sulerud '58Grace Kemmer Sulerud ’58 has displayed faithful service to Augsburg University across her time as a graduate, librarian, faculty member, and alumna. She personifies Augsburg’s deep sense of calling to humbly serve others in a variety of ways, with joyful dedication.

As a dedicated volunteer, her nominators say, “You will find her wherever an extra hand is needed.”

Determined to gain a full education, Sulerud worked and saved money to go from her hometown, Williston, North Dakota, to Augsburg, as it was the college of the Lutheran Free Church. Sulerud’s Augsburg education and excellent professors prompted her to experience life in the Twin Cities, exploring the state capitol and fine arts like symphony concerts and plays. She made lifelong friends and enjoyed being on the staff of the student newspaper, The Echo.

After graduating from Augsburg in 1958, she was an elementary librarian and junior high English teacher in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. From 1961 to 1964, she was an elementary librarian in U.S. Air Force Department of Defense Schools in Tokyo, Japan; Tripoli, Libya; and Wiesbaden, Germany. This gave her an opportunity to travel around the world with a stop in India to visit a friend, Maxine Berntsen, another distinguished alumna of Augsburg. After returning to the United States, Sulerud studied for a master’s degree in Library Science (1968) and later received a master’s degree in English (1970), each from the University of Minnesota.

During her many years as Augsburg’s Collection Development Librarian and faculty member, she was committed to the learning of students. She served two terms as the treasurer of Augsburg Associates, from 2003 to 2007 and 2011 to 2017, ensuring they raised funds for Augsburg student scholarships. Her interests and energy lead her to participate in travels to Cuba with the Delegation For Friendship Among Women, and to Ethiopia supporting the efforts of REAL, Resources for the Enrichment of African Lives, an organization that helps girls stay in school.

In Minneapolis, Sulerud is a member of Trinity Lutheran Congregation located on Riverside Avenue, a congregation associated with the founding of Augsburg, where she sings in the choir, leads the monthly quilter’s work session and has participated in activities with Metropolitan Interfaith Council on Affordable Housing.

With her late husband Ralph, long-time Augsburg biology professor, Sulerud has remained a supporter and enthusiast for all things Augsburg. Though she retired from Augsburg in 2003, she continues to stay involved at important university events: the recent grand opening of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion; Homecoming festivities; Velkommen Jul; and Advent Vespers.

Sulerud lives out the Spirit of Augsburg Award and exemplifies Augsburg’s historic mottos consistently: “Education for Service” and “The Truth Shall Make You Free.” Her loyalty, dependability, and generosity enable Augsburg to carry forward with hearty conviction, intellectual rigor, and relational connectedness.

Rev. Justin Lind-Ayres Publishes Book on Parenting While Christian

Is That Poop On My Arm? book cover of hand holding a diaperAugsburg University and Luther Seminary Pastor Justin Lind-Ayres has recently had his aptly named book “Is That Poop on My Arm? Parenting While Christian” published by Fortress Press. The book is now available in paperback and ebook format.

Lind-Ayres has been at Augsburg since 2013 and this is his first book to be published.

About the Book

Parenting is messy business. Joyful, but messy. When faith is combined with parenting, we double down on the mess. Pastor and father of three Justin Lind-Ayres chronicles his adventures (and misadventures) raising children and passing on his faith to them–teaching them to be compassionate, generous, quick to forgive, and to trust in God’s promises. But this father is sure to point out that it is children who are our best teachers in faith, opening our eyes and our hearts to God’s love for us. In the messy and challenging moments of parenting, and in the joyful ones, God is fully present. And a God who knows your story–especially the messy parts–is a God who can redeem you.

With stories full of humor, honesty, and, yes, even some poop, this book is a welcome encouragement for parents, grandparents, and anyone who cares deeply for the children in their life.

Homecoming Auggie Talk: Strengthening Experiential Education: A New Era – Hosted by the Clair & Gladys Strommen Center for Meaningful Work

Register now for Homecoming!

Auggie Talks with Dr. Garry HesserSaturday, Oct. 13 from 2 – 2:30 p.m.

You could talk about the Mississippi river in class, or you could live on it for a semester and learn from experts all along its path. That’s the Augsburg way. Experiential education is at the core of every class here, and there’s a reason why. Join sociology professor emeritus and Sabo Chair for Citizenship and Learning Dr. Garry Hesser for a conversation and reading of his book “Strengthening Experiential Education: A New Era.” A book signing will follow the talk.

About Auggie Talks:

They’re back by popular demand! Join us for 30-minute, insightful sessions presented by professors and fellow alumni on topics spearheaded by your class reunion groups. Talks will be published as they become available on social media and in upcoming communications.

Space is limited. Please register today for Auggie Talks.

Professor Jeremy Myers Publishes First Book on Liberating Youth Through Theological Reflection on Vocation


book cover of Liberating Youth“I often say I love kids more than I love Jesus. I think Jesus is okay with this sentiment. In fact, I think Jesus prefers it this way. He can handle it. Jesus knows our young people are caged birds like the ones in Maya Angelou’s poem. I write this book to change the way we think about our young people so that we might love them as they are, not as we think they should be.”

This is how Dr. Jeremy Myers, associate professor of religion at Augsburg, begins his first book, “Liberating Youth from Adolescence.” The book is scheduled to be released in paperback and ebook format on Oct. 1 by Fortress Press.

Myers says he has been teaching this material in the Youth and Family degree program at Augsburg for the past decade and it was an honor and privilege for him to finally put it down on paper for a larger audience.

“The writing process was both exhausting and exhilarating,” Myers said. “I struggled to find the words to best communicate thoughts and convictions that are so important to me. There were many times I considered throwing in the towel. But the urgency and importance of the topic kept me motivated. I am so excited to have these ideas out there in the larger conversation and can not wait to hear what people think about it.”

Professor Jeremy Myers About the Author

Jeremy Myers has been teaching at Augsburg University since 2006. His approach to instruction includes a faithful, honest, and critical look at people’s lived realities while simultaneously attempting to seek and proclaim meaning, truth, and hope within the context of that reality. This is also how he approaches his discipline of Theology & Public Leadership. Therefore, he often incorporates insights from sociology, psychology, cultural studies, and ritual studies into the class’s theological process.

In addition to teaching, his work at Augsburg University includes directing the Theology & Public Leadership major, the Youth Studies minor, the Augsburg Youth Theology Institute, and the Riverside Innovation Hub. Jeremy’s areas of research include youths’ experiences of God’s presence and activity, how young people construct theology, contemplative youth ministry practices, interfaith youth work, a vocational understanding of young people, and a public understanding of church.


Augsburg Hosts Author Anne Panning ’87 Book Reading

Anne Panning ’87 returned to campus Wednesday, Sept. 26, in the Gundale Chapel to do a book reading and signing of her new memoir, “Dragonfly Notes: On Distance and Loss.”

Faculty, staff, students, family, and friends of Anne were present and were able to ask questions about her writing as well as get their new copies signed. Anne was an English major at Augsburg and is now an English professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York.

Anne Panning '87 Book Reading and Signing

About the Book

When a seemingly routine medical procedure results in her mother’s premature death, Anne Panning is left reeling. In her first full-length memoir, the celebrated essayist  draws on decades of memory and experience as she pieces together the hard truths about her own past and her mother’s.

We follow Panning’s winding path from rural Minnesota to the riverbanks of Vietnam’s Mekong Delta and all the way back again—a stark, poignant tale of two women deeply connected, yet somehow forever apart. Dragonfly Notes is a testament to the prevailing nature of love, whether in the form of a rediscovered note, a sudden moment of unexpected recall, or sometimes, simply, the sight a dragonfly flitting past.