Lou Anne and Tim Sexton believe philanthropy is based on a personal experience with an organization. They experienced this connection with Augsburg after their son, Shea ‘19, joined the StepUP Program.
“Shea’s experience with StepUP and Augsburg was transformational,” says Lou Anne.
Shea learned about StepUP while at a Hazelden Fellowship in St. Paul. A group of clients from fellowship were going to tour the StepUP dorms and Shea went along.
“He had kind of given up on the notion of pursuing a four-year degree while staying on a college campus.”
Shea attended Luther College and Inver Hills Community College where he struggled to stay sober. But after learning about StepUP, he realized there was a way he could get a degree and stay sober.
“He was mainly concerned about finding a place to live that would allow him to continue his recovery.”
Tim and Lou Anne appreciated the community aspect of StepUP for their son. They also liked the mission of StepUP: being able to live in recovery and pursue a higher education in a university, a university that also focused on diversity and non-traditional students.
So when Lou Anne and Tim learned of students who loved Augsburg and StepUP but had to leave because they couldn’t afford it, they knew they could help.
“We want to be part of the solution, to help students realize their potential. StepUP parents have already spent a lot of money on treatment and often can’t afford to send their kids to Augsburg also.”
The Sexton’s set up a StepUP Endowment Fund in 2020. It is a blended gift which includes a cash gift, a future IRA distribution, and a bequest in their estate. They hope their gift will help future StepUP students who can’t afford to go to or stay in StepUP.
“StepUP actually helped our entire family. It’s a great investment.”
Lee ’88 and John planned early on in their lives to give back to a program that affected them so dramatically: Augsburg’s Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE).
“It’s where we met and fell in love! John was a student at Pacific Lutheran and I was at Augsburg,” says Lee. “Our experiences in the program allowed us to recognize our shared values and commitment to equity, while enjoying life.”
Lee and John made lifelong friends through their CGEE trip to Central America, people who are still their good friends today. Their experience had a major impact on both of their careers. Before the trip, John planned on getting his PhD in plant ecology and doing research. However, he was so drawn to what he learned in Central America that he decided to become a teacher instead.
“Studying Freire and seeing the impact of liberating education in Mexico and Nicaragua opened my eyes to what education can bring about in a person’s life. CGEE allowed me to see teaching as an impactful, inspiring career,” says John.
For Lee, the experience reinforced everything she was already doing.
“I was committed to advance gender and racial equity and justice. CGEE helped me realize the importance of listening to communities and centering their wisdom as the foundation of change. I also witnessed the courage to act. I have applied these principles throughout my career,” says Lee.
CGEE also impacted how Lee and John would raise their daughter.
“We have a family mission statement! It’s written on a cocktail napkin somewhere… but basically it’s: create a family that is supportive and provides agency, love, kindness, joy, and growth as we move through the world and do our part to create change,” says Lee.
Lee and John enrolled their daughter in a global exchange program in Guatemala when she was in high school, where she helped with the local community and learned Spanish. Their daughter, Astia, had such a good experience that she went on to do a semester in Ecuador during college. Both of these experiences impacted her life and career in much the same way as her parents. Lee and John are proud that today Astia provides bilingual medical care as a doctor.
“My parents raised me with the practice of tithing. I think that’s part of the reason I have a very comfortable relationship with using money as a resource for change. Philanthropy is just tithing on a macro level,” says Lee.
Financially, Lee and John barely made their trip to Central America work. Lee was working full time and going to school full time. The reason they are giving back to Augsburg’s CGEE program today is to make the same experience available to students who might not otherwise be able to go.
“There are scholarships and grants that help with tuition, but things like living expenses, incidental money, airline tickets, and lost income from not working are generally not covered and can present a big barrier. We’re delighted to make this gift in the hope that it will help remove barriers. And we hope others will join us in supporting CGEE,” says Lee.
The Roper-Batker family wants to use their resources to create more equitable outcomes in this world.
“To me, the question is how do you align your values with your philanthropy. It’s important to John and me that our legacy changes systems in order to multiply opportunities for many people; our wealth is not for family inheritance. It feels great to know that we will have a small part in creating a more level playing field so that any student can enjoy the transformative experience of immersion study abroad.”
Carol Seiler’s personal mission is to contribute to the greater good. Whether this is through her job, through volunteer work, or through donations, she feels she must contribute through all aspects of her life. Her Augsburg experience, particularly in her undergraduate courses, affirmed this.
“I always need to feel like I’m contributing to something. I think we would all like to leave the world a better place,” she says.
Carol has been supporting women’s organizations since the 70’s. Having a service frame of mind is something she remembers from an early age, and something she learned from her father through his involvement in their local government.
When she graduated from high school, Carol was not encouraged to go to college. Instead, she was told what many women were told in that time: become a nurse, a secretary, or a teacher. But Carol wanted more. After working for many years at Honeywell, she wanted a change.
“I just woke up one morning and decided it was time [to go to college]. I looked at a few schools and found Augsburg. Augsburg was perfect for me because it was urban, diverse, had a small campus, classes were available nights and weekends, and I liked the curriculum. Once I stepped in a classroom I didn’t want to leave.”
Carol joined Augsburg’s Weekend College and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Communications in 1990. She continued at Augsburg to earn a Master’s Degree in Leadership, graduating in 1993.
“The whole experience was really life changing. That’s why I want to leave this gift so that other people can have that experience. Especially women, and especially women of color who are historically underserved.”
Carol is gifting a portion of her estate to the Augsburg Women Engaged Endowed Scholarship.
“I want to leave my estate gift to an organization that’s going to do good things in the world. I had such a wonderful experience at Augsburg and to help give someone else that opportunity is very rewarding.”
When asked what she wishes to pass along to future generations, Carol said to never stop learning.
“Recognize and acknowledge your value in the world.”
Carol worked for Honeywell for 35 years in their human resources department and credits Honeywell’s excellent education benefits for her success. She hopes that her estate gift will enable young women in the future to earn a degree and follow their passions.
An anonymous donor sent a letter to us, along with their generous gift to the Augsburg Endowment Fund. We believe their words ring true to the heart of Augsburg, and ring true to the goal of raising our endowment fund.
I give to the Augsburg Endowment Fund with thanks and fond memories of my four years there. My husband and I have given scholarships to Augsburg for many years, even though we did not live in Minneapolis after our college days. Augsburg has always been valued and it is my hope that the school will always be there to educate and direct people to be responsible citizens of the world.
In grade school and high school, I was always the youngest in my class and became the first of my family to get a college education. The years at Augsburg actually became the place where I grew up and formed an outlook for life. The professors were there to educate, but also to motivate and guide me. The friends I made at Augsburg became my friends for life.
It is always a pleasure to see and hear the great things Augsburg students achieve. I specified these funds go to the Augsburg Endowment Fund for two reasons. First, Augsburg competes with many other small schools and the Endowment Fund should be much larger. Secondly, I want Augsburg to exist and thrive for many more years.
The school today serves the same purpose it did when I was in school, but it reaches a larger variety of people. It offers the opportunities of a city and still motivates great ethics. My Augsburg education taught me that life is an Avocation – a responsibility to the world.
At the end of 2020, Lloyd Amundson decided to start a nursing scholarship at Augsburg. But this wasn’t the first nursing scholarship he’d established. It wasn’t even the second. Lloyd and his late wife, Barbara, have multiple nursing scholarships set up around the country, from Maui to Sioux Falls and now at Augsburg.
“Nursing scholarships have been our pride. My wife and I were sold on the nursing profession because we feel like they’re the masters of the health care industry. Doctors are good, of course, but when the doctor walks into a room, the nurses have everything ready for them to go,” says Lloyd.
One of Lloyd’s passions is a nursing program at Mayo Clinic in Rochester he and his wife helped launch years ago, which helps nurses continue their education.
“I have a good friend named Leeann Johnson who has really been a good pusher for these things, so now we’re doing more to urge nurses to go on to higher education to earn a master’s degree in nursing.”
Lloyd graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1951. While in school, he didn’t know much about Augsburg other than it was a smaller school near the U of M and had a good athletics program. Lloyd followed Auggie Jeroy Carlson’s career. Also known as “Mr. Augsburg,” Jeroy played baseball, basketball, and football as a student and was part of four MIAC championship teams. Years later, Lloyd and his wife started going to Mayo Clinic and met Dr. Paul Mueller ’84. Paul is a Regent Emeriti of Augsburg University, is a past chair of Augsburg’s Board of Regents, and currently serves as Chair of Augsburg’s Great Returns campaign.
“We’re nuts for Mayo since they’ve taken care of us over the years. My wife had pancreatic cancer, it was a routine checkup and Dr. Mueller caught it. He is a really, really good guy, a good doctor. He was such a supporter of my wife.”
So when Lloyd was looking to establish another scholarship, he thought of the university that Dr. Mueller loves so much and started the Lloyd A. and Barbara A. Amundson Nursing Scholarship Honoring Dr. Paul Mueller ’84.
Lloyd hopes this scholarship will inspire more students to go into nursing.
“It’s a good job, it’s a responsible job, and we need more people in there. I would like to see this nursing program get a lot bigger. We’re working our way into a bad problem of not having enough nurses. As the population is getting older, like I am, we need to be careful to graduate enough qualified nurses.”
Lloyd also hopes his gift will encourage others to create their own scholarships for students.
The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial support to Augsburg nursing students, prioritizing students who demonstrate academic achievement and financial need, and are passionate about nursing.
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Lloyd Amundson for many years. I also knew his wife, Barbara. Their love for each other and their communities was obvious. After his wife died several years ago, Lloyd has expressed his enduring love for her and compassion for others through generous philanthropy. Lloyd is a strong advocate for education, especially of future nurses. Lloyd appreciates the student-centric values of Augsburg University and the outstanding nurses that graduate from Augsburg—many of whom now work at Mayo Clinic. Lloyd’s generous gift will support the training of many future Augsburg nursing students.”
– Paul Mueller ’84
Chair of Augsburg’s Great Returns campaign
Donors who give annually to academic scholarships or create permanent scholarship endowments reduce student debt and provide financial support to those who may not otherwise be able to afford college. These gifts encourage students in highly valued academic disciplines, reward students for high achievement, and inspire students to pay it forward.
Eleanor and John Yackel first became acquainted with Augsburg through the Center for Global Education and Experience (CGEE). They took a trip to Nicaragua with the CGEE founder and first director, Professor Joel Mugge, and loved the connections they made with Auggie students through travel. When they returned from their trip, they discussed ways to stay connected with students, stay connected with Augsburg, and ways to encourage travel in higher learning.
“Eleanor had the heart for sharing with others,” says John. “She was the driving force in guiding our philanthropic interests and goals.”
In 1998, Eleanor and John established the first of many endowed scholarships to support students engaging in educational experiences through CGEE. Both believe that higher education serves a purpose greater than just getting a job and making money. Higher education is where students discover their passions and commit to social justice and service to the world.
“My first reaction when hearing about the Students of Color crowdfunding campaign was, ‘Oh I like that!’ It’s timely and necessary right now. Eleanor and I believed in Augsburg. Augsburg is a shining example of an institution that really cares. Their acceptance for all goes way back. Augsburg reaches out to those who are typically ignored. Their focus on their urban neighbors, reaching out to students of color, as well as students in recovery and students with disabilities. Racial and social justice was always important to my wife especially, which is why I’m offering $50,000 as a matching challenge for the Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies Scholarship initiative in her honor.”
John is calling on the Augsburg community to support students through the new Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies program. You may give online by clicking here, or you can contact Ilse Rolf ‘93 in our Institutional Advancement office at 612-330-1512 or email@example.com.
Kris attended Augsburg carrying on a family tradition of Auggies majoring in Psychology. Her parents Jim E. Peterson ’50 and Gladys M. Dahlberg ’52 met at Augsburg, fell in love, and were married after Jim completed seminary at Luther Seminary.
“I remember my first week at Augsburg I called and said I want to come home. I missed my mom’s home cooked meals, I hated living in the dorms. My dad said no, you have to live there at least one year and have that college experience and then you can decide next year. He was right. Two weeks in I absolutely loved it,” says Kris.
Kris pursued a career with the airline industry for many years. Then in 2009, she left to pursue a career in real estate with faith-based company Keller Williams. Faith has always been important to Kris and her family. Kris’s grandfather, uncle, and great-uncle were also Lutheran ministers.
“My parents tithed 10% regardless, before food or anything else. That was instilled in me very young. To the church, Augsburg, etc. In order to keep things running, they need money. I think it’s important for all alumni to give at any level. You don’t need to give $25K. Even $20 is important. If everyone gave that much, think of what that adds up to,” says Kris.
Over the years, Kris has continued to stay involved with Augsburg, serving on the Board and Augsburg Women Engaged Advisory Council. And now she has established a new scholarship – the Kristine Pearson Endowed Scholarship – to support women becoming ordained ministers in the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA).
“My parents have a scholarship at Augsburg in memory of their parents, in Physicians’ Assistant studies. As I was doing estate planning I was thinking about where I would want some of my money to go. Augsburg means a lot to me because I’m an alumna, but also because my parents met there,” says Kris. “I’m an ELCA delegate to my church, we have a female bishop which I love, and we don’t have enough women going into seminary.”
Kris hopes her scholarship will help students overcome the financial burden of a higher education. She also hopes her scholarship will encourage others to think about endowing scholarships – now or as part of their retirement or estate plan.
“Thankfully we have those that can give big gifts and we need them, but in order to serve our students, we need everyone to participate. My generation, the Boomers, are not the tithers our parents were. But I think we need to get back to giving more. I would encourage people to look at what $20/month would look like in their budget.”
“I love Advent Vespers. I’ve been going for 30+ years. This year, we’re not going to have Vespers, Velkommen Jul, and some of those things that rejuvenate us as an Augsburg community. So I would encourage people to take some time to go back and study the history of Augsburg and how Augsburg was founded, the campus, Murphy Square, and Luther Seminary’s affiliate history with Augsburg and be proud of the fact that you are part of a great institution.”
Karen’s family has a long history with Augsburg. She attended Augsburg, graduating in 1967. Karen’s brother and nephew also went to Augsburg. Her uncle, Conrad Sunde, left his estate to Augsburg after multiple conversations with Jeroy Carlson, a senior development officer for Augsburg known as “Mr. Augsburg.”
“I have always thought of giving to Augsburg,” Karen says.
Philanthropy also runs deep with her family. When Karen was 10 years old, her small town raised money to build a hospital. She remembers her family not having much money, but her parents still made a pledge.
David was the first in his family to go to college. Growing up in Minneapolis, Augsburg was the obvious choice for higher education because he could live at home and still work while in school. David’s parents also regularly gave to their church and supported missionaries, instilling a sense of philanthropy in him at a young age.
The Haugen’s both credit Augsburg’s great education as the start of their successful careers. David went to graduate school at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for biochemistry and felt he was as well prepared as any student.
“The buildings, campus, so many accommodations for people with disabilities, so much diversity. All the emphasis on working with people in the neighborhood is so inspiring. And seeing the new building and labs now is so impressive,” says David.
The couple established the David and Karen (Jacobson) Haugen Endowed Scholarship Fund through a portion of their estate. The scholarship will support students majoring in the sciences.
“For us, giving a large sum of money now is not possible. But, we’re so glad we can do it from our estate, because that is possible. I’m glad this is an option,” says Karen.
Karen and David hope that the scholarship will encourage students to consider a career in science, or at least an opportunity to be literate in science.
Approximately 4 out of every 10 college students are experiencing food insecurity because of Covid-19. Augsburg Women Engaged (AWE), together with Campus Cupboard, is sponsoring a week-long fundraiser to support these students. Augsburg’s Campus Cupboard (CC) provides food to Augsburg students by making deliveries both on-campus and off-campus. They estimate serving up to 75 students per week this fall semester. CC partners with Loaves and Fishes to purchase high quality food. Did you know a 20-pound grocery bag for an Augsburg student costs $2.60? A donation of $104 will provide grocery bags for up to 40 Augsburg students!
Please consider supporting Campus Cupboard by making a gift between September 21st-25th, in any amount online at www.augsburg.edu/giving and select the “Campus Kitchen” designation.
Your donation will make a significant difference for so many Augsburg students.
Augsburg is gearing up for this year’s Give to the Max Day! This year’s goal is to have 1,869 Augsburg donors participate during Give to the Max Day, which would make it our largest giving day ever!
Auggie passion is the fuel that drives strong donations on Give to the Max Day, and that’s why it is Augsburg’s biggest fundraising day of the year. It is exciting and inspiring to hear your personal stories about Augsburg and why you are passionate about supporting a particular cause.
So far we have the projects listed below fundraising this year during GTMD, with more participating every day. If you would like to help advocate for one of these projects, or advocate for a new project, we would love to hear from you. You can send in a 45-60 second video of yourself sharing what inspired you at Augsburg, and you can be featured in our Give to the Max Day campaign.
Please contact Chris Bogen ‘09 by October 15th with videos or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.