Bruce, a biology and education major, said growing up in northern Minnesota he felt like there were few career paths if he stayed, but he had other plans.
Upon visiting Augsburg, Bruce like many “Auggies” fell in love with the campus and city life. He would go on to enroll at the university and join the football team, playing for four years while finishing his studies.
Unlike Bruce, Pam, an English major, was native to the cities. She lived in South Minneapolis, knew people who attended Augsburg, and her church had an affiliation with the school.
Pam said she knew she wanted to go to college, but at the time there weren’t many career opportunities for women. However, Pam would find her opportunity at Augsburg and work for a number of organizations while putting herself through school.
“We [Bruce and her] formed many lifelong friendships at Augsburg,” Pam said. “That’s just one of the reasons why Augsburg is at the forefront of our minds’ when it comes to giving back.”
The Santerres met at Augsburg and were married shortly after Bruce graduated. Six weeks later, he was sent to Fort Leonard Wood, MO, for National Guard training.
When he arrived back in Minnesota, Bruce began teaching as a substitute teacher for the Minneapolis school system. And Pam was working at the Lutheran Brotherhood, now Thrivent, which started her longtime career in information technology.
Pam received her master’s degree in theology and a certificate in spiritual direction, while working at Andersen Windows, where she later retired from. She continued her spiritual direction practice, companioning people who are exploring a deeper experience of the divine presence.
“A lot of what we do is at a spiritual level and basis,” Bruce said. “This aligns with a core value in the StepUP program.”
While completing his doctorate degree, Bruce, now a retired high school principal, wrote his dissertation on spirituality and leadership. He said part of that experience helped him understand the impact of spirituality in our [people’s] lives’.
“There’s a soft spot in our hearts for the work that the StepUP program is doing,” they said. “So many of those kids are overcoming some of the most incredible odds, and what we’ve seen from Augsburg, in helping their students, we want to be a part of.”
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