Augsburg University announced today the creation of the John N. Schwartz ’67 School of the Arts, a destination arts hub for music, theater, and art and design. An estate gift from Augsburg alumnus John N. Schwartz ’67 will establish the school.
“With their power to connect, illuminate, break boundaries, and build relationships, the arts have been a vital part of Augsburg’s mission and community life for more than 150 years,” said University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “At a time when support for the arts in public life and education has become contingent and vulnerable, Augsburg is tremendously grateful for John Schwartz’s visionary leadership in establishing an institutional home for music, theater, and art for many future generations of students.”
The Schwartz School of the Arts will house Augsburg’s 12 undergraduate majors in the performing and visual arts, as well as the master of music therapy program. Students and faculty in the departments of theater, music, and art and design will have new and greater opportunities for interdisciplinary, collaborative work across disciplines, including with other areas of the university.
“We believe that a standalone arts school at a place like Augsburg—a university with deep commitments to access and equity, and one of the most diverse institutions in the upper Midwest—will send a strong message to potential students that the arts are for everyone. Your gifts are valued here,” said Paula O’Loughlin, provost and senior vice president for academic and student affairs.
The performing and visual arts at Augsburg have long reflected the university’s mission in the commitments to artistic excellence, intentional diversity, civic engagement, and social justice embodied in each discipline. The new school is a refinement to the university’s institutional structure following the change from Augsburg College to Augsburg University in 2017. It also aligns with Augsburg’s role as an anchor institution in the Cedar-Riverside community of Minneapolis.
“The Schwartz School of the Arts will be a key venue for Augsburg to explore with our neighbors and our students how to build and expand access to cultural assets,” said Pribbenow.
As an undergraduate, John Schwartz sang baritone in the Augsburg choir, igniting a love of choral music that persisted throughout his 40-year career as a healthcare executive in Milwaukee, Oregon, Montana, and Chicago.
“My experiences at Augsburg are a perfect example of how a well-rounded liberal arts education provides a pathway not just to a career but to a full and meaningful life,” said Schwartz. “Whether singing in a choral ensemble, performing in a theater production, or sculpting in the studio, the arts provide opportunities to grow and connect that don’t exist anywhere else. With this new school, Augsburg is clearly stating that the performing and visual arts are central to our mission.”
A current member of Augsburg’s Board of Regents, Schwartz has long supported Augsburg music students. His previous gifts to the university established the Leland B. Sateren ’35 professorship and chair of music, the John N. Schwartz professor of choral leadership and conducting, and the John N. Schwartz and James A. Mosley scholarship.
The Schwartz School of the Arts is one of a number of transformational outcomes of Augsburg’s ongoing Great Returns: We’re All In comprehensive fundraising campaign. With a goal to raise $125 million, it is the largest such campaign in Augsburg history.
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to approximately 3,200 students of diverse backgrounds at its campus in the vibrant center of the Twin Cities and nearby Rochester, Minnesota, location. Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders. An Augsburg education is defined by excellence in the liberal arts and professional studies, guided by the faith and values of the Lutheran church, and shaped by its urban and global settings. To learn more, visit Augsburg.edu/about.