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Youth Theology Institute Receives Nearly $500,000 from Lilly Endowment

The Augsburg College Youth Theology Institute (ACYTI) will enter its 13th year with a huge boost from the Lilly Endowment.

This month, Augsburg received a grant of $476,188 to bolster its summer Youth Theology Institute. The award is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutelily-logos initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues, and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

“This grant supports Augsburg’s continued commitment to intentional diversity and to modeling what it means to be a Lutheran college of the 21st century, located in the heart of one of the nation’s most diverse zip codes,” said Augsburg College President Paul Pribbenow.

“It equips young people with theological and vocational skills and helps them learn what it means to practice their faith, with its commitments to education, radical hospitality and serving your neighbor.”

Each summer, ACYTI gathers rising 10th, 11th and 12th graders and recent graduates for an intense week of friendship, classroom learning, worship, solitude, contemplation, discernment, and action on Augsburg’s urban campus. Participants, mentors, instructors, and program staff learn together, pray together, play together, explore the city together, and discern God’s work in the world together.

Since its inception in 2004, the program has been designed to carry out a theme that’s germane not only to the Augsburg’s mission, but also to key topics in current events. Augsburg’s emphasis on interdisciplinary learning shaped the 2013 Institute, titled “Navigating the Intersection of Science and Theology,” and the 2014 Institute, titled “Christian Community in the Internet Age.” Likewise, the 2012 Institute, “Stories Worth Living: Exploring Lives of Interfaith Action,” was very much reflective of the college’s setting in a largely Muslim neighborhood, as well as its growing diversity.

Over the course of the year following the Institute, Augsburg faculty and staff will provide ongoing guidance and support so that students can better engage with the themes of the Institute at home, in school, in church, and in their community. In doing so, the Institute hopes to provide students with a more thorough and more thoughtful exploration of opportunities for leadership in those settings.

“We pack a lot into one week,” said Jeremy Myers, ACYTI’s Program Director, “but we have found there to be a significant need for more frequent communication with participants and families as well as with their pastors and/or youth ministers.”

In its expansion, the ACYTI will be carrying out part of an institutional strategy to enhance Augsburg’s connections to congregations. The ACYTI will first focus on outreach to the four designated ELCA synods that form Augsburg’s governing structure—Minneapolis, Saint Paul, Southeastern Minnesota, and Northwest Wisconsin, but also plans to build stronger ties to specific congregations in the Twin Cities metro area and beyond.

The program hopes to increase attendance to 20 students in 2016, 30 in 2017, 35 in 2018, and 40 by 2019. The college will continue to provide a scholarship of $1,000 per year, per student, for up to four years, for those who wish to enroll at Augsburg.

The 2016 ACYTI will take place June 19-24, 2016 on the campus of Augsburg College. The Institute will be directed by Dr. Jeremy Myers. Dr. Myers is associate professor of religion in the Youth and Family Ministry department. Justin Lind-Ayres, Augsburg’s Associate College Pastor, will lead worships and other leadership exercises. Lonna Field, Program Coordinator for the Christensen Center for Vocation, will continue serving as the Institute’s primary coordinator.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family – J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons J.K. Jr. and Eli – through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company.


IME Becas Awards Scholarships to Augsburg Students of Mexican Descent

On October 30th, the Institute for Mexicans Abroad announced it had awarded Augsburg College $9,000 in scholarship funds to be distributed to students of Mexican descent.

This is the third consecutive year Augsburg has been a recipient of funds from the program.

At the start of the 2014-2015 school year, Augsburg’s student population included 131 students who self-identified as Latin@. Approximately 86% of this group are students of Mexican heritage, including many with undocumented/DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status whose financial aid is made possible by the MN Dream Act.

As part of our commitment to provide a welcoming campus that helps students succeed, Augsburg operates four culturally-specific student support programs that mentor students of color, including the Latino Student Services (LSS) program. LSS is professionally staffed with an experienced and committed Program Director, Dulce Monterrubio, who provides students with the support and encouragement to successfully complete a bachelor or master’s degree. A graduate of Augsburg College, Dulce has over 10 years of student support services, academic advising, admissions, administrative financial aid, and study abroad experience in higher education.

Dulce also advises the Augsburg Latin American Students (ALAS) group and helps plan and carry out cultural and social events throughout the school year that recognize the diversity of nationalities, race, languages, and experiences of the Latino community.

During the 2015-2016 school year, LSS will offer a series of workshops and events designed to complement and enhance the scholarship awards provided by the Institute for Mexicans Abroad. These workshops will be free of charge for students and their parents.

Thanks to the Consulate of Mexico in Saint Paul and Head Counsel Alberto Fierro for their support.

EAST Program Receives Renewed State and Foundation Support

EAST Scholars, Augsburg College, 2014-2015

In early June, the House and Senate Education Finance Committees of the Minnesota State Legislature approved the Collaborative Urban Educator (CUE) bill, which allocates $190,000 per year to the East African Student to Teacher (EAST) program at Augsburg College. The main goal of the EAST program at Augsburg College is to graduate and license K-12 teachers of East African origin. The CUE fund also supports teacher training programs at Hamline University, Concordia University, and University of Saint Thomas.

The EAST program also received renewed support from the Marbrook Foundation. In June, trustees of the Foundation approved a grant of $15,000 to provide one-on-one and small group English language support as well as ongoing tutoring for the MTLE exam for the program’s multi-lingual enrollees. This is the second year the Foundation has supported the EAST program.

Since the program launched in Fall 2013, three EAST scholars have successfully completed student teaching and obtained a MN teaching license, and two are employed as teachers in MN school districts. There are 13 additional students of East African origin enrolled in undergraduate and graduate Education programs at Augsburg’s Minneapolis and Rochester campuses, three as undergraduates and ten as graduate students. With the sustained funding from the State, Augsburg’s Education department will now accept a new group of EAST scholars to join the cohort. These students will begin coursework in the Fall semester of the 2015-2016 school year.

Thanks to everyone at the Capitol and in the community who have lent their support and encouragement to the EAST program!

Mike Newman Receives the Augsburg College Golden Bow Tie Award

President Pribbenow invited Mike Newman, Director of Community Relations at Travelers, to celebrate five years as a partner institution with the Travelers EDGE® program, Empowering 10930906_10153492962312119_7913379471985689532_n-1Dreams for Graduation and Employment, for a cocktail hour and focused program highlighting key aspects of the Travelers EDGE program:

  • Increase the pipeline of underrepresented students to Augsburg
  • Help underrepresented students graduate from Augsburg
  • Build awareness of careers in the Insurance and Financial Services industries

Newman is a true champion of education, and advocates strongly for access to higher-education for all students.  As a surprise to Mr. Newman, President Pribbenow, presented Mike Newman with the “Golden Bow Tie Award, which is bestowed upon a leader within the Augsburg Community who exemplifies outstanding contribution, embodies the core values of an Augsburg education and inspires great pride for all Auggies. The award was named, playfully, after Paul Pribenow’s daily ritual of wearing a bow tie, a tradition he started to initiate conversation with students.  Along with a certificate, Newman also received bowtie cufflinks.

We are so grateful for the strong institutional partnership with Travelers and the Travelers EDGE program.  Sixteen Augsburg EDGE scholars have completed eleven traditional summer/academic year internships and five short-term summer internships. Moreover, Travelers EDGE scholars graduate and are prepared with the soft-skills necessary for success in the workforce.

Attendees at the celebration event in April included representatives from Fairview Health Services, Wallin Partners, Upturnships, and Wells Fargo, Strommen Center staff, Travelers EDGE alumni and current students.   Mike Newman also shared during the event that, “Augsburg is a meaningful partner for Travelers:  the students are engaged and motivated, and the staff and faculty work hard to consistently support all students.”

Thank you to all who attended including four Travelers EDGE scholar alumni, and two current Travelers EDGE scholars, and Janet Morales the college access partnership manager.

For more information please contact, Asst, Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations at Augsburg College, Amanda Scherer, 612-330-1720,

Pohlad Family Foundation Provides Challenge Grant to MN Urban Debate League

UDL Photo - Seward Sharks Smaller
Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), a program of Augsburg College, has been approved for a challenge grant of up to $10,000.00 from the Pohlad Family Foundation. The Foundation received 51 requests totaling $510,000 but selected only 16 organizations.  MNUDL was awarded the challenge grant because its strategy for increasing individual giving was specific, measurable, and likely to result in a full match.

The Pohlad Family Foundation will match individual donations up to $500 per person between April 1, 2015 through October 26, 2015.

MNUDL will issue a call for support during its annual Mayor’s Challenge Breakfast, which takes place May 13th from 7:30AM-8:30AM in Hoversten Chapel. This year’s honored guests St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Generation Next Executive Director and former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will judge a special debate on the topic of aquatic species and the environment.

Thanks to the Pohlad Family Foundation for their continued generosity! To learn more or make a matchable gift, please visit the Minnesota Urban Debate League home page.

Pictured above: Young debaters from Seward Montessori School in Minneapolis.  

Auggies Go to the Capitol

Senator Kari Dziedzic and Representative Diane Loeffler’77

Wednesday February 25, a group of Augsburg students and staff spent the day at the Minnesota State Capitol with Minnesota Private College Council(MPCC).  Every year, the MPCC invites students to advocate for continued Minnesota State Grant Support.

Our day began with walking to the Green Line on a rather frigid day. Once we arrived at the Capitol, we made our way to the meeting room. Sen. Kari Dziedzic, Representative Diane Loeffler, Danna Elling, DFL Senate researcher, and Auggie parent, and her daughter Libby Schultz ’13, a graphic designer for MNDOT, shared their connection to Augsburg and their vocation.

Augsburg participants wrote 35 notes to co-chairs of the higher-ed committee, their senators, and thank you notes to Governor Dayton. Each student also met with their representative to thank them for their support of the MN State Grant and advocate for Governor Dayton’s budget proposal for a $25 million addition and expanded support for day students and adult undergraduates.

Thank you to the 19 students who dedicated their day to support the Minnesota State Grant and for faculty and alumni support. See you next year!

Wells Fargo makes $100,000 gift to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

141218 Wells Fargo 10
In recognition of Augsburg College’s leadership in closing the higher education disparity gap for students of color in Minnesota, Wells Fargo has made a gift of $100,000 to the campaign to build the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR).

Wells Fargo joins several other corporations (including U.S. Bank, 3M, and General Mills) in supporting the CSBR.

In a statement, Dave Kvamme, CEO of Wells Fargo Minnesota, expressed admiration for Augsburg’s commitment to partnering with College Access programs like College Possible to help recruit, support, and retain first-generation and low-income students.

“We support Augsburg College’s commitment to provide opportunities for a college education for those students who may face life challenges to attain it,” said Kvamme. “We know our donation will help Augsburg be successful in developing Minnesota’s future business and community leaders.”

Nearly 120 alums of College Possible are currently enrolled at Augsburg and receiving intrusive advising to help them achieve academic success. Intrusive advising connects faculty advisors, academic advisors, coaches, and other academic partners on a near-daily basis to gain a better understanding of each student’s progress – using lead indicators like attendance, health, and financial stress to identify and address risks.

“Augsburg understands its student body and offers a wealth of student support services to meet the needs of its community,” said Jim McCorkell, CEO and Founder of College Possible. “Four different multicultural student offices, TRiO/SSS, academic skills coaches, disability services, and the StepUP program, which serves students in recovery, all exist to support the student experience. Rarely do I see a college as committed to access and success as Augsburg College.”

“We rely on partnerships with flagship companies like Wells Fargo not only to enrich the educational experience of our students but also to help improve how we share our own resources with our neighborhood and the broader community,” said Paul Pribbenow, President of Augsburg College.

The facility will be 135,000 square feet in size and, when fully completed, will include eight classrooms, 24 laboratories, and 6,000 feet of student and faculty research space. Centralized administrative services, kitchens, meeting rooms and lounges will provide opportunities for spontaneous, informal learning and will support cost-effective sharing of resources such as support staff and equipment.

“By encouraging students to think and act across the boundaries of ideas, values, and disciplinary perspectives, the CSBR will help Augsburg prepare them for civic agency in a complex world,” said Pribbenow.

In addition to this grant, Wells Fargo continues to fund a scholarship program through the Minnesota Private College Fund. The fund, started in 1976, provides scholarships at each of the 17 Minnesota Private Colleges, including Augsburg.

Delegates from Wells Fargo’s Diversity Council Leadership Team visited the campus on December 18th, 2014 to present a check to a group of Augsburg student leaders.

Pictured above (left to right, from back): Ann Garvey, Vice President of Student Affairs; Carolyn Roby, Vice President at Wells Fargo Foundation of MN; MayKao Fredericks, Vice President Community Affairs – MN Region; Joel Taylor, System Engineer and Chair of Black/African American Member Network; Joe Ravens, Area Bank President; Wael Abdelkader, Mortgage Implementation Consultant and Chair of Middle East Team Member Network; Carla Foster, HR Consultant and Diversity and Inclusion Council Advisor; Jay Peterson, Assistant Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations; Paul Pribbenow, President; Karen Kaivola, Provost and Chief Academic Officer; Lauren Canales; Shoua Lee, Community Development Officer/Financial Education; Vincent Henry; Janet Morales, Manager of College Access Partnership, Koal Williams; Duina Hernandez; Laurel Rohloff, Nazih Safi, and Cuong Nguyen.

Strong Support for Minnesota Urban Debate League Programs

Mayors Challenge Photo
The 2014-2015 school year will mark another impressive year of growth for the Minnesota Urban Debate League (MNUDL), a program of Augsburg College. Under the leadership of Executive Director, Amy Cram Helwich, and with the support of Faculty Advisor, Robert Groven, the MNUDL is on track to serve over 750 students in 40 Twin Cities high schools and middle schools, an increase of almost 200 students from the 2013-2014 school year.

Debate is highly effective in fostering academic skill building among students in the core cities. It requires students to thoroughly research an assigned public policy topic, develop fact-based arguments to support their positions, hone their public speaking skills, and accept criticism to further refine their arguments. This methodology develops research, critical thinking and language skills, which are essential to success in high school, college, and beyond.

Before MNUDL was launched in 2004, debate had been virtually eliminated in inner city schools in Minnesota due to budget constraints. Since then, we’ve been experiencing exciting growth. This year, MNUDL will host its 2nd Spanish Debate competition and will pilot a Somali-language debate program in partnership with student leaders from Augsburg college.

Such growth is owed, in large part, to generous contributions from Twin Cities family foundations, corporations, and corporate foundations. In 2014, MNUDL received support from the following organizations:

Carl and Eloise Pohlad Family Foundation
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation
The Saint Paul Foundation
Women’s Foundation of Minnesota
H.B. Fuller
Social Venture Partners
Carolyn Foundation
Carlson Family Foundation
Oppenheim, Wolff and Donnelly, LLP
Minneapolis Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Fund
RBC Wealth Management
General Mills Foundation
MoneyGram International Foundation
Lockridge Grindal Nauen P.L.L.P.
Nilan Johnson Lewis
Gray Plant Moody & Bennett
Fredrickson & Byron Foundation
Dorsey & Whitney Foundation
Deluxe Corporation Foundation

Thanks, also, to the numerous individuals who support MNUDL each year.

The photo above is from the 2014 Mayors’ Challenge – The Great Economic Debate, featuring students from Minneapolis’ Washburn and Roosevelt and St. Paul’s Central and Como Park.  Yassin Ahmed (pictured in red) has been a part of the MNUDL since he was in 6th grade at Murray Jr. High and later at Como Park. Yassin is now a first-year student at Augsburg College on a nearly full-ride scholarship. Yassin will also be assisting us with the piloting of a Somali Debate Initiative this spring. 


Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) Awards $12,000 in Scholarships

IME LogoThe Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul and the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) have awarded $12,000 in scholarships to students currently enrolled at Augsburg College.

The IME Fellowship Program recognizes colleges and universities who have pledged complimentary grants as part of a commitment to facilitating the enrollment and educational success of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans.

Dulce Monterrubio, Director of Latino Student Services, and a group of faculty, staff, and students, will attend a November 20th ceremony to accept the award.