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Connecting the college with the community

steve_peacockSteve Peacock’s education about the connections between colleges and communities started early. When he was a young man, Peacock’s father, who was a campus minister at the University of Illinois, would talk with his family around the dinner table about what the church and the university could do to improve lives of people in the Champaign-Urbana community.

These conversations influenced Peacock’s decision to pursue urban studies in college and ultimately steered him toward a career in community development. Last fall, he joined the Augsburg institutional development staff as the director of community relations.

For 17 years Peacock was a program officer with Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a national organization that works with neighborhood-based organizations to strengthen and revitalize communities. He also served as a community development specialist with the Minnesota Campus Compact, leading its community development initiative.

When he learned of the staff opening at Augsburg, Peacock felt it was a natural fit for him. “I knew of Augsburg’s commitment to the community, and I was excited about the opportunity to work with Paul [Pribbenow] given his vision for the college.”

At Augsburg, Peacock strives to build and maintain relationships with a particular focus on civic organizations like the West Bank Community Council and the West Bank Business Organization.

Recently he has met with the members of the Cedar Riverside Partnership, which is chaired by Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow. The partnership brings together the leaders of several organizations, including Fairview Health Services, the Univeristy of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis, and the Pillsbury United Communities, to promote strategic investment in the Cedar Riverside-West Bank neighborhood.

Peacock said the partnership is focused on public safety, transportation, business development, and workforce development. “It’s unique to have top leadership of institutions together with community based organizations,” he said. “That commitment provides a unique table to work together on things that are of interest to each other as neighbors.”

Peacock is also working closely with Augsburg’s Center for Service, Work, and Learning to develop a better understanding of the entirety of the civic engagement initiatives on campus.

In the first few months of his new career, Peacock said he has been impressed with quality of the people at Augsburg and with their commitment to their work and to the community. “They are involved in doing terrific things in the neighborhood. It’s really gratifying to be a part of this community and in this environment.”


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