Volunteers Needed for Advent Vespers

Vespers concertJoining us at Advent Vespers this year?

We are looking for as many as 20 volunteers for each Vespers service to help usher and work at the will-call table. Central Lutheran Church has recently added a beautiful addition to their building and there is a need for extra hands this year to help direct attendees.

Vespers services will be held:

Thursday, November 29 at 8 p.m. (Dress Rehearsal)
Friday, November 30 at 5 & 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 1 at 2 & 5 p.m.

Volunteers should plan to arrive at Central Lutheran Church in downtown Minneapolis (333 S. 12th St.) 60-90 minutes prior to each service. The service lasts approximately 90 minutes.

Please contact Kia Burton (burton@augsburg.edu, 612-330-1329) if you are able to volunteer.

About Augsburg’s Advent Vespers:

For more than three decades, Augsburg University has ushered in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of the Incarnation. Advent Vespers is set in downtown Minneapolis in the majestic sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, soaring 65 feet high with large stained-glass windows.

Meet Distinguished Alumni Award Winner David J. Melby ‘68

David Melby '68David J. Melby ’68, Ph.D., is a psychologist, executive leader, professional volunteer, and advocate who embodies faithful service in true Augsburg University form.  Melby attended Augsburg, graduating in 1968 with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and philosophy. Following his graduation, Melby attended graduate school in counseling psychology at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, receiving both MA and Ph.D. degrees.

Melby’s career centered around providing and promoting the development of outpatient community mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities services for people of all ages, as well as adult residential services. In 1974, he joined Mental Health Services of Franklin and Williamson Counties, Inc. (now known as Centerstone of Illinois) as a clinical psychologist. His role expanded the following year to include that of division director of mental health services; he served as CEO of that agency from 1996 until his retirement in 2006. Prior to his retirement, Melby served six years on the board and one year as president of the Illinois Association of Community Mental Health Agencies.

One of Melby’s nominators says, “His professional leadership in community mental health has made the lives of many who struggle with these issues brighter and more hopeful because of his nearly 50 years of service. David brings a selfless approach to volunteerism that inspires and supports those in our community’s efforts to improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.”

For almost two decades, David has served as a volunteer for the American Heart Association (AHA).  He twice served as chairperson of the Southern Illinois Heart Walk and once of a Southern Illinois Heart Gala, raising awareness regarding heart-healthy lifestyles and fundraising for heart research, education and life-saving equipment, such as Automated External Defibrillators in public places. He currently serves as a member of the Illinois Advocacy Committee of the AHA, advocating for a heart-healthy state and federal legislation.

Throughout his career, Melby has been influenced by his father’s ministry and involvement in clinical pastoral counseling and the death of his infant brother, who was born with a heart defect and Down Syndrome. He was also motivated by the growing needs of his parents in their last years. He has consistently demonstrated his concern for people marginalized in society, often the poorest, sickest, and most stigmatized among us.

In retirement, David has become more involved in the work of not-for-profit and governmental agencies whose missions he supports. They include multiple terms on the Williamson County Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, including as chairperson, and on the River to River Residential Communities Board, providing independent living, assisted living, supported living, and memory care services for seniors in multiple communities across southern Illinois. He has served since 2012 on the Board of Directors of Centerstone of Illinois, one of five Centerstone state service entities that, collectively, comprise one of the largest and most influential not-for-profit behavioral healthcare enterprises in the nation. Since 2014, David has also served as a board member and, now, current board chair of the Centerstone Research Institute (CRI), based in Nashville. CRI is currently developing evidence-based best practices for addressing the national opioid crisis, developing its first Center of Excellence for the treatment of depression, and reducing the “science-to-service cycle” in the treatment of behavioral health disorders.

Melby exemplifies servant leadership and the Augsburg value of being educated to serve.  For decades, he has served his church community in many capacities, including as president of the church council for over 10 years, co-chair of the building committee during construction of a new sanctuary, and delegate to the 2013 ELCA churchwide assembly. Whether through his contributions to the field of behavioral health care or his volunteerism, David has worked tirelessly to serve his community and embodies the values we work to instill in Auggies. In his life as a thoughtful steward and responsible leader, he has used his skills and gifts to impact communities and create healthier, more fulfilling lives for all.

Lefse, Waffles and Friendship: Velkommen Jul 2017

Augsburg celebratedPicture of Lefse the holiday period in true Norweigian style, and nearly fifty Augsburg Associates volunteered at the 2017 Velkommen Jul festivities on December 1. Many volunteers were busy putting in extra days to make special Norwegian treats, and arrived early to help butter bread and lefse, and ensure that the event was a huge success.

There was exceptional student participation, including the Associates scholarship students who served waffles to hungry patrons. The event celebrated long-standing Augsburg Three ladies browsing the items for sale.friendships, and encouraged guests to create new friendships from our diverse community. Guests expressed their appreciation with kind words and contributions, and the scholarship baskets gathered a superb $1190.

Measured Impact

Grazzini-June16
Frank Grazzini ’96.

Growing up with an entrepreneurial father planted the seed in his mind that running his own business could make a lot of sense—and was doable. But the idea really took root in his adult life, when Frank Grazzini ’96 realized, after 12 years of working for larger corporations, that this work wasn’t a very good fit for him. He’d much rather create something new than fine-tune an existing structure. So he switched gears. In fact, starting a new business seems to have become a way of life for him, and he sees himself as a serial entrepreneur of sorts. He is now involved in his fourth early-stage business (his third technology start-up), with the potential to scale into a much larger business. The down side? He’d much rather start a new remodeling project than mow the grass!

At Prevent Biometrics, his latest venture, Grazzini is working with two other co-founders and the Cleveland Clinic to commercialize a groundbreaking technology to monitor and measure the force of head impacts to athletes (both male and female) in sports such as football, lacrosse, hockey, and soccer. He says that if a concussion is treated early, it usually results in a full recovery; if not, there is a much greater risk the athlete will suffer permanent neurological damage, even CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy) or Second Impact Syndrome, which can cause death.

In spite of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s estimate that over half of all sports-related concussions in the U.S. (approximately 3.8 million each year) are never identified, response has been slow. But now, there finally seems to be a growing awareness that the problem must be taken seriously, as indicated by laws in all 50 states, as well as recent statements by professional sports league representatives. Though some would make the case for ending football altogether (most notably, Dr. Bennet Omalu, whose exposure of the widespread consequences of NFL injuries was dramatized in the recent film, Concussion), Grazzini believes that better monitoring of injuries, plus a few changes to the rules, would likely be sufficient to keep football a healthy sport for kids.

PreventBio graphicPrevent’s head-impact monitor, currently being tested by athletes, has been in development for six years and is expected to be officially released for sale in December 2016, though various inquiries to the company have already been made by researchers in the military and the NCAA for earlier sales. Continue reading “Measured Impact”

Auggie Alumni in the Classroom: Bill Koschak ’91

Bill Koschak Auggies are everywhere, including back in the classroom!  Last week, Bill Koschak ’91 came back to speak to the seniors in the Business and Religion Keystone class led by Lori Lohman & Josh Miller. His topic? To speak about his vocational journey, his career path, and advice he would give students today.

Koschak had much to share about his journey from entry level job to partner at KPMG, to vice president of finance at General Mills, and now chief financial officer at YA Engage (formerly known as Young America). He noted he was especially thankful for his adviser, business professor Stu Stoller who first encouraged him to look into public accounting. Koschak made sure Stoller would be in attendance so that he could personally thank him.

Additionally, Koschak shared that he has had three strong mentors in his career who were instrumental to his career growth. These mentors were workplace leaders he admired for their management style, ethical behavior, and focus on work-life balance. He made a point to engage with these leaders and check in with them regularly. What started as occasional meetings turned into mentoring relationships that opened up many doors. He challenged the students to seek similar relationships as they start their careers.

Koschak is one of many alumni who have been invited to share their experiences with current students. If you are interested in speaking in classrooms or sharing your stories, contact Volunteer & Alumni Engagement Manager Katie Radford ’12 at radford@augsburg.edu.

Augsburg Alumni Unite to Volunteer and Celebrate Earth Day!

day of service-1Are you looking for an opportunity to make a difference this Earth Day? Enjoy networking with Auggie alumni and some current students who need a study break! Want to learn more about gardening and don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty? With groundbreaking preparations afoot for a new building on campus, the community garden needs your help!

The community garden serves as a place to connect the campus and community through food. In order to continue to fulfill this mission there’s a lot of work to do – raised beds to beautify, pollinator gardens to rework, and all general love and care is appreciated. All of this will help gardeners start the season off right. Come ready to learn, dig, and “grow”!

What: Augsburg Community Garden Earth Day Volunteering and Celebration

Who: All Augsburg alumni are invited to assist a small group of student volunteers on this joint project

When: Earth Day, Friday, April 22, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Where: Augsburg College Community Garden—Corner of South 7th St. & 20th Ave. South, near parking lot G

What to bring: wear clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. Gloves, tools, and gardening 101 education provided!

Proudly hosted by the Young Alumni Council

RSVP today!

Young Alumni Council Elect Leadership

The Young Alumni Council is proud to announce the first elected President, Rosine Johnson ’10, and Vice-President, Evan Decker ’12. These positions have been added in preparation for anticipated council growth in engagement opportunities for young alumni. We are currently looking for additional young alumni who are seeking advanced leadership and professional board development experience, while expanding the opportunities for alumni connections to Augsburg College and other alumni. For more information or to apply, please visit our site.

To qualify, you must be within the last ten years of graduation. Visit the Young Alumni Council page for more information.

President: Rosine Johnson ’10
Rosine
Rosine Mina Johnson graduated in 2010 with a BA in Political Science with a Public Policy Concentration and minored in International Relations. After graduation, she chose to attend Minnesota State University Mankato to receive a Master’s in Public Administration degree, and graduated with high honors in December of 2012. She currently holds a few public sector administrative positions with Hennepin County and local city governments such as the City of Edina and Richfield. Rosine gives back to her community by working with youth ministries at Christ the King Lutheran Church and serves on the church council as well. She also volunteers at local charities and organizations. She loves to be with people, laugh, travel, be silly, cook, garden, ski, read, keep up with current events and politics, and attend Zumba and dance classes.

Vice-President: Evan Decker


EvanDecker​Evan Decker 
graduated in 2012 with a double major in MIS and Management. While at Augsburg he participated in several activities on campus, including football, the Augsburg Business Organization, and working in the IT department. After graduation, he pursued a career in information systems because it combined two of his passions: business and technology. He currently works as an IT project manager and does consulting projects on the side. Evan joined the council in 2015 because he wants to give back to the college and further develop his leadership skills. Outside of work he enjoys anything away from screens—lifting weights, reading, DIY home improvement projects, hanging out with his cats, and riding his motorcycle.

Nov. 7 Memorial Bench Dedication Honoring Lois Swenson

Lois-and-kids-photoOn Saturday, November 7, the family and friends of Lois Swenson, a resident of north Minneapolis and well-known local peace and justice activist, will be gathering at Augsburg College to remember Lois and give a handcrafted, wooden bench to the college in her memory. Amy Gort, Dean of the College, will be accepting the gift on behalf of the college.

Lois left her estate to Augsburg so that seminary students will be financially supported in their study abroad through the Center for Global Education and Experience. “My experience living in Central America opened my eyes to the real world and changed my life. I would like to provide similar experiences to seminary students who will be in a position to further educate people.”

The entire Augsburg community is invited to attend this brief ceremony and reception. Read more about Lois Swenson here.

Saturday, November 7, 2015
2 pm
Lindell Library, first floor
630 22nd Ave. S., Minneapolis

The handcrafted wooden bench, made by Wisconsin artist Edward Wohl will be placed on the first floor of Lindell Library so students will be inspired by and be reminded of Lois’ commitment and work for peace and justice. Inscribed on the bench is one of Lois favorite quotes, “Live simply so that others may simply live.” For more information, call Sherilyn Young, Donor Relations Coordinator at 612-330-1462.

Call for Alumni Award Nominations

120111 auggie 323You can help the Augsburg Alumni Board identify potential recipients for the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards. Use the nomination form to submit nominations by January 4, 2016. The Alumni Board votes on the recipients at their February board meeting.

Award Criteria:
The First Decade Award is presented to Augsburg graduates of the past 10 years who have made significant progress in their professional achievements and contributions to the community, and in so doing exemplify the mission of the College: to prepare future leaders in service to the world. Graduates from the day, weekend, and graduate programs are eligible.

The Spirit of Augsburg Award honors alumni and friends of the College who have given exceptional service that contributes substantially to the well being of Augsburg by furthering its purposes and programs.

The Augsburg Alumni Association bestow the Distinguished Alumni Award in recognition of significant achievement in vocation, for outstanding contribution to church and community, and for a life that exemplifies the ideals and mission of Augsburg College.

Young Alumni Service Saturday: May 16 at Bethany Lutheran

bethanyContinuing community engagement and volunteering are important parts of being an Auggie, even after graduation. The Augsburg Young Alumni Council invites other graduates from the last 10 years to volunteer on May 16 at Bethany Lutheran Church in Seward, where young alumnus Rev. Mike Matson ’06 serves as pastor.

soup for youYour help is needed! Augsburg volunteers are needed to serve meals in the Soup for You Cafe, and assist with the rummage sale and clean-up.

Sign up for a volunteer shift by emailing Katie Radford ’12 at radford@augsburg.edu. Two time slots are available, and we need Auggies for both:

  1. 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.
  2. 2 p.m.-6 p.m. (If you have a truck or large vehicle that can be used for deliveries, sign up for the 2-6 p.m. time slot.)
  3. Have more time to volunteer? If you’re available to help out on Friday, 5/15, please contact Sherry Reagan at 936-443-5650.
  4. Donations to the rummage sale are welcome. Bethany accepts furniture, appliances, decorations, clothing, children’s clothing, toys, backpacks, hygiene items, blanketsm bikes, and more. Please, no old TVs. Drop off items at 2511 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis, M-F 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

mikePlease come together with other Auggies and family members to help further the good a fellow Auggie is doing in the community. Matson was just featured in local media for his good work at Bethany. Read the StarTribune story.

The weekend of May 16 is a busy one for this well-known Seward neighborhood church. The annual rummage sale takes place on Friday, May 15, from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, May 16, from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

For more information about this event, volunteering, or joining the Young Alumni Council, contact Volunteer and Alumni Engagement Manager Katie Radford ’12 at radford@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1329.