Bing tracking

COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

Najeeba Syeed Appointed Augsburg University’s Inaugural El-Hibri Endowed Chair and Interfaith Director

Headshot of Najeeba Syeed. Najeeba is wearing a yellow headscarf and blue spiral earrings.Augsburg University is pleased to announce that Najeeba Syeed has been appointed as the inaugural El-Hibri endowed chair and executive director of Interfaith at Augsburg, effective on August 1, 2022. In this role, she will serve as a national ambassador for the interfaith movement and will partner with campus leaders as a change agent for interreligious learning and living. She also will serve as the faculty advisor for Augsburg’s Interfaith Scholars.

“Professor Syeed is an experienced mediator, a publicly-engaged scholar, a passionate educator, and a seasoned organizational leader,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “This appointment represents a crucial and exciting step forward in our commitment to enhancing interfaith leadership on campus and nationally.”

For more than two decades, Syeed has been a professor and expert practitioner in the fields of conflict resolution, mediation, and interfaith studies. An award-winning educator, she has taught extensively on interreligious education and published articles on faith and community-based conflict resolution, restorative justice, and interfaith just peacemaking. She previously served for 10 years as an associate professor at the Claremont School of Theology. She also held faculty positions at Starr King School for the Ministry and Chicago Theological Seminary, where she was most recently associate professor of Muslim and interreligious studies. She has served as the co-chair of the American Academy of Religion’s Religion and Politics Section and was a member of the Academy’s Religion, Social Conflict, and Peace Section.

Syeed also brings significant executive experience in organizations focused on conflict resolution in community, higher education, and government settings, including the Western Justice Center Foundation and the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center. In 2021, she served as chief of staff to Nithya Raman, the first Asian American woman elected to the Los Angeles city council. She holds a law degree from the Indiana University School of Law and a bachelor of science degree from Guilford College.

“I am honored to serve as the inaugural El-Hibri Chair and Executive Director of Interfaith at Augsburg. This is a unique opportunity to extend and amplify Augsburg’s remarkable interfaith work and to honor the generous and visionary commitment of the El-Hibri family, “ said Syeed.

“My life’s work combines a commitment to scholarship, teaching, and community organizing,” she added.  “Listen, learn, partner, and co-create is the process I utilize to lead and build with fellow faculty, administrators, students, community leaders, and stakeholders from around the globe.”

Interfaith engagement is a core aspect of Augsburg’s academic mission and reflects the religious and secular diversity of the campus and surrounding community. Interfaith at Augsburg: An Institute to Promote Interfaith Learning and Leadership was established in 2019 to further the belief that religious diversity can be a constructive force serving the common good. In 2021, a significant gift from Fuad and Nancy El-Hibri allowed for the creation of the El-Hibri endowed chair and executive directorship for the institute.

Syeed’s appointment helps to fulfill one of the goals of Augsburg150, the university’s sesquicentennial strategic plan, to advance the public purposes of an Augsburg education by enhancing interfaith leadership on campus and throughout the nation. Building on the strong foundation established by Bishop Mark S. Hanson, founding director, she will lead a strategic planning process that strengthens, integrates, and extends the Interfaith Institute’s work on campus and beyond.

Augsburg University Announces $125 Million Comprehensive Campaign

White text on maroon background reads "Great Returns," with smaller orange text beneath that reads, "We're All In"Augsburg University leaders today announced the public phase of Great Returns: We’re All In, a comprehensive campaign to raise $125 million in endowment and core mission support. With commitments of more than $105 million received to date, it is already the university’s largest-ever campaign. A public launch event will take place on Friday, May 6, at 4:30 p.m. at the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion on Augsburg’s campus.

Rooted in Augsburg’s current strategic plan and following Augsburg’s sesquicentennial celebration in 2019, Great Returns seeks to provide long-term stability as the university looks ahead to the next 150 years. Specific campaign priorities include growing Augsburg’s endowment, including endowed scholarships and professorships; drawing on unrestricted community support for operating activities and athletics in the wake of the pandemic; and investing in campus improvements like the renovation to the athletic training center and locker rooms in Si Melby Hall.

“Donors who care deeply about our mission have made the initial commitments that set the pace for the broader campaign,” said campaign co-chair and Regent Emeritus Paul Mueller ’84, MD. “Through endowed funds, we can invest in students and faculty and produce great returns for many generations to come. A gift to an Augsburg endowed fund for scholarships can help ensure that an Augsburg education is affordable in perpetuity.” 

In recent years, Augsburg has become one of the most diverse private institutions in the Midwest. Fifty-eight percent of traditional undergraduate students are students of color, and half are the first in their families to attend college. More than 97% of Augsburg undergraduates receive financial aid. Great Returns donors have made 111 gifts to endowed scholarships to date, out of a campaign goal of 150 such gifts, along with five new endowed professorships.   

“Our vision is to be a new kind of urban, student-centered university,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “The hardships of the past few years, and the challenges facing higher education as a result, make our work to educate students as stewards of an inclusive democracy all the more critical. We are profoundly grateful to the supporters who invest in making this vision a reality.”

About Augsburg

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.

Learn more at Augsburg.edu/greatreturns.

Augsburg University Honors Nurses for Excellence in Transcultural Care

Two headshots of dark-haired, smiling women. Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (on the left) is wearing a red-striped shirt. Jenna Nelson is wearing a black shirt and gray cardigan.
Augsburg nursing students Valerie DeCora Guimaraes (left) and Jenna Nelson.

Jenna Nelson and Valerie DeCora Guimaraes, two nurses pursuing advanced degrees at Augsburg University, have received the inaugural Nilsson Transcultural Nurse of the Year Award. Transcultural nursing emphasizes care in culturally diverse settings, including outreach to people who are underserved by traditional care systems and who exist outside of the social mainstream. The award is named for professor emerita Beverly Nilsson, who chaired Augsburg’s Department of Nursing and championed care for people living in poverty.

Nelson has spent the majority of her career working with marginalized communities as an emergency department nurse. While working to become a family nurse practitioner, she has engaged extensively as an intern and volunteer at Augsburg’s Health Commons. These nurse-led drop-in sites provide hospitality and care to guests from diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, many of whom are unhoused or living with mental illness. When the pandemic closed the drop-in locations, Nelson joined a team making weekly food deliveries to local encampments. “Jenna truly accompanies people on their journeys, wherever the path may bring her,” said Health Commons Executive Director Katie Clark.

Guimaraes is the Mayo Clinic’s first Patient Experience Ambassador to work solely with Native American patients. In this role she works to dispel myths about Native American patients and educates colleagues across the Mayo enterprise about health disparities and spiritual care practices. She established a medication initiative to coordinate care with the Indian Health Service upon patient discharge from Mayo, developed a Native American family fund to address food and transportation needs, and successfully advocated to hire additional Native American Patient Navigators in Minnesota and Arizona. “These successes for Native American patients have not been easy,” said Guimaraes, who is pursuing a doctor of nursing practice degree at Augsburg. “It is my passion to help my people that keeps me going.”

Augsburg offers a comprehensive set of programs for nurses who want to advance their careers, including bachelor’s degree completion, master of arts in nursing, and doctor of nursing practice. Health equity and inclusion have been a major focus of the curriculum and experiential learning both locally and globally since the program’s founding. Augsburg’s doctor of nursing practice was one of the nation’s first programs to focus on transcultural nursing leadership.

Learn more about Augsburg’s nursing programs and Health Commons sites.

Advisory: Augsburg Celebrates Classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at In-Person Commencement

Augsburg UniversityAugsburg University will celebrate the classes of 2022, 2021, and 2020 at an in-person commencement ceremony at U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis on Wednesday, May 4 at 6:00 p.m.

Augsburg’s commencement ceremony reflects the diversity of its community, as graduates traditionally wear stoles and cords of different colors that represent affiliation with various communities and programs. Flags displayed at commencement represent sovereign nations of American Indian students and countries of the international students graduating in the ceremony.

Tickets are required to attend in person, but the ceremony will also be live streamed via YouTube. Follow the celebration through the hashtag #AuggieGrad on all social media platforms, where students will be sharing images of the celebration.

For more information, including accessibility information, visit the commencement website.

Andy Aoki Named Augsburg University’s Hawthorne Professor

Headshot photo of Andrew Aoki, who is an Asian man wearing a gray pullover over a collared shirt. In the background is a tree with bright pink flowers.Andy Aoki, professor of political science, has been named to the M. Anita Gay Hawthorne professorship of critical race and ethnicity studies, effective June 1, 2022. He succeeds Professor William Green, the inaugural holder of the professorship, who retires at the end of the current academic year. Recently elected to chair Augsburg’s Department of Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies, Aoki’s work as Hawthorne Professor will focus on building a strong foundation for the new department and strong connections with aligned disciplines.

A prolific writer and speaker on Asian American identities and racial politics, Professor Aoki joined the Augsburg faculty in 1988. He holds a BA in political science from the University of Oregon and an MA and PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At Augsburg, he teaches courses on American politics, political theory, and racial and ethnic politics. He has served as department chair of Augsburg’s political science department for a combined total of 18 years and as a senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship since 2014. He is currently serving as Faculty Senate President, a member of the faculty’s Budget Working Group, and chair of the workgroup charged with reviewing implications of the proposed “two college” structure for faculty governance. He co-founded the Asian Pacific American Caucus, bringing together scholars and community leaders, and has twice been president of the American Political Science Association’s organized section on Race, Ethnicity, and Politics.

The M. Anita Gay Hawthorne professorship of critical race and ethnicity studies was created in 2020 on the recommendation of a working group of students, faculty, and staff who advanced, simultaneously, a vision for the creation of a new academic department in critical race and ethnicity studies at Augsburg. The professorship honors senior faculty with extensive records of achievement as well as demonstrated commitments to critical race and ethnicity studies. It seeks to embody the student and community orientation embedded in this interdisciplinary field of study, and it expresses Augsburg’s commitment to culturally-responsive pedagogy in the undergraduate and graduate curricula. It honors the legacy of Margaret Anita Gay Hawthorne (“Anita”) who drew upon the concept of Pan-Afrikanism to create a program at Augsburg unique to any college in the country.

President Paul Pribbenow offers these comments: “It is a great privilege to appoint Professor Aoki to the Hawthorne Professorship. His appointment, following Professor Bill Green’s inaugural tenure in the position, illustrates that Augsburg’s commitment to critical race and ethnic studies—now ensconced in a new department—has deep and abiding roots across the entire span of our academic mission. I am delighted to witness the many ways in which our focus on research and teaching that engages the lived experience of all our students is being taken up by faculty and students across the entire university.”

Jeremy Myers Appointed to the Bernhard M. Christensen Chair in Religion and Vocation at Augsburg University

Headshot of Jeremy Myers wearing a gray button-down shirt over a black t-shirt against a background of windowsAugsburg University announced today that Jeremy Myers, associate professor of religion and executive director of the institution’s Christensen Center for Vocation, has been appointed to serve as the next Bernhard M. Christensen Professor of Religion and Vocation, effective on July 1, 2022. Myers will succeed Martha Stortz, PhD, who retired and was granted emerita status in 2020.

“It is a remarkable testament to Augsburg’s leadership at the intersection of faith, learning, and service that we have in our own faculty ranks a scholar so well prepared to continue the work begun by Marty and her predecessor, David Tiede,” said Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Jeremy is an innovative problem-solver, a collaborative colleague, and a creatively critical theologian.”

The Christensen Chair was established in 2005 to honor the legacy of Bernhard M. Christensen, who served as president of what was then known as Augsburg College and Seminary from 1938 to 1962. The chair provides public leadership in interpreting and advancing Augsburg’s educational mission, pursues scholarship and teaches in the religion department, and serves as counsel to the president and Board of Regents.

“Jeremy has thought deeply about President Christensen’s legacy at this university and the lessons his leadership continues to have for Lutheran higher education in the current age,” Pribbenow said.

“Dr. Myers’ vision for the Christensen Chair is grounded and shaped by the five lessons of Bernhard Christensen, the Augsburg University mission statement, and the realities and challenges of the 21st century, especially the 21st century church,” said the members of a faculty and staff discernment committee that met with Myers about the role. “This vision aligns with his innovative work guiding churches in ‘place-based vocational discernment’ and will help guide our Augsburg community in new and rich reflection on our own—individual and communal—vocational discernment. In candid conversation with Dr. Myers, we explored the expectations and opportunities of this position and his ability to meet those expectations and expand the opportunities. We think he is the right person for the job.”

Myers, who earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota and his master’s and PhD from Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, is a distinguished scholar in vocation and congregational ministry. In addition to many articles and chapters, he is the author of Liberating Youth from Adolescence published by Fortress Press and a sought-after speaker at conferences and in congregations. He has secured millions of dollars in grants to support the work of the Christensen Center for Vocation at Augsburg and has served on the steering committee of the Association of Teaching Theologians and on the board of the ELCA Youth Ministry Network.

Myers said the concept of vocation is a critical lens for thinking about transformational solutions to the problems we face in today’s world. “The key ingredients of vocation—the neighbor, the self, the common good, and God (or something larger than us all)—give rise to a method of discernment and discovery that is different from any other method currently being used to address society’s biggest issues. These ingredients produce a creative tension that leads to innovation, accountability, mutuality, and hope, and this approach to public life cannot be reserved for those who claim to live a religious life. The tables where vocation is being discussed and discerned need to become long and wide.”

Myers will offer his inaugural address as the Christensen Professor at a symposium at Augsburg in September.

Augsburg names new provost and senior vice president

 Paula O’Loughlin Augsburg University is pleased to announce that Paula O’Loughlin will become the university’s new provost and senior vice president of academic and student affairs effective July 1, 2022.

As provost, O’Loughlin will assume a critical leadership position as the university’s second-ranking officer after President Paul C. Pribbenow. She will serve as a member of the president’s leadership team and oversee the institution’s largest division, academic and student affairs, which aligns the academic program and other elements of the student experience under a unified approach to student learning and development.

“The Augsburg community is deeply impressed by Dr. O’Loughlin’s career-long focus on preserving and widening access to excellent higher education; her experience with staff and faculty development; and her commitment to transparency, shared governance, and the healthy communal life of higher education institutions,” Pribbenow said. “She was the top choice of each stakeholder group she met with during her candidacy.”

“Members of the provost search committee are excited to welcome Dr. O’Loughlin to Augsburg University,” said Tim Pippert, chair of the committee and Joel Torstenson endowed professor of sociology. “We were drawn to her straightforward communication style and her sincere desire to be part of our vibrant campus community. Her commitment to our mission made her an excellent choice as our next provost.”

O’Loughlin will have wide-ranging responsibilities, including working with faculty, staff, administration, and the board of regents to implement the Augsburg150 strategic plan; providing oversight of planning, development, and administration of the academic program for graduate, undergraduate, and international programs; overseeing campus life, residence life, student support services, and advising; accreditation; academic and student affairs budgeting; and leadership of—and advocacy for—the faculty.

“When we ensure access to higher education, we support social mobility in the aggregate and the opportunity to write one’s own story for the individual,” O’Loughlin said. “Augsburg’s well-known intentional pursuit of these values calls me to join this community. The university is doing amazing work, and I’m excited to become a part of it.”

O’Loughlin has served as provost and dean of the faculty at Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, since 2016, and also served the institution as interim dean of students and Title IX coordinator. Prior to Coe College, she served in leadership positions at Gustavus Adolphus College and the University of Minnesota–Morris. She has also taught at Carleton College, Macalester College, and the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. O’Loughlin earned her PhD in political science from the University of Minnesota and her bachelor’s degree in government from Smith College in Northampton, Mass. Throughout her career, she has been recognized for excellence in teaching, service, and scholarship.

“Dr. O’Loughlin’s skills, experiences in Minnesota’s higher education landscape and in Lutheran higher education, values as a leader, and unique perspective will contribute to Augsburg as we continue our mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders,” Pribbenow said.

About Augsburg

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. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.

Pa Her ’23 Named Newman Civic Fellow

Pa Her '23Pa Her ’23 is one of 173 students from the United States and Mexico who have been named 2022-23 Newman Civic Fellows by Campus Compact. Her received the fellowship in recognition of her contributions to ​​community building, equity, and food justice through her work with Augsburg’s Campus Kitchen and Campus Cupboard, as well as her leadership of Augsburg’s work on a National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant focused on food access research, advocacy, and service.

“In response to food insecurity made worse by the pandemic, Pa and the team built new partnerships with food providers and community-based organizations to make fresh, healthy food available to neighbors and students,” wrote Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow in Her’s fellowship nomination. “Pa shows up to work every day eager to collaborate, solve problems, and do whatever is needed to best serve students and our surrounding community.”

The Newman Civic Fellowship recognizes students who stand out for their commitment to creating positive change in communities locally and around the world. Fellows benefit from learning and networking opportunities, including the two-day Annual Convening of Fellows.

Augsburg Earns 2022-23 Military Friendly ® School Designation

Military Friendly School 21-22 BadgeAugsburg has earned the 2022-23 Military Friendly® School designation.

Military Friendly Schools strive toward and succeed in the areas that matter most in helping veterans make the transition from the military to school and, ultimately, satisfying careers in the civilian world.

The Military Friendly Schools list is created each year based on extensive research using public data sources from more than 8,800 schools nationwide, input from student veterans, and responses to a proprietary, data-driven survey from participating institutions.

Learn more about how Augsburg proudly supports military veterans and those who actively serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Augsburg Again Named a Fulbright Top Producer

Fulbright Student Top Producer 21-22 BadgeAugsburg University has been named a top producer of Fulbright students among U.S master’s institutions for 2021-22. Each year the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced the top producing institutions for the Fulbright Program, the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program. The Chronicle of Higher Education publishes the lists of top producers of Fulbright U.S. scholars and students annually. With three awards this year, Augsburg ranks among the top 10 master’s institutions in the United States for Fulbright students.

The three Augsburg students who received 2021-22 Fulbright Awards to teach English abroad are Shamsa Ahmed ’21 (South Korea), Citlali Escobar ’21 (Taiwan), and Ciashia Shiongyaj ’21 (Taiwan).

The Fulbright competition is administered at Augsburg through the Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity.

About the Fulbright Program

For over 75 years, the Fulbright Program has provided more than 400,000 participants-chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential-with the opportunity to exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to challenges facing our communities and our world. Over 1,900 diverse U.S. students, artists,and early career professionals in more than 100 different fields of study receive Fulbright U.S. Student Program grants annually to study, teach English, and conduct research overseas. For more information, visit eca.state.gov/fulbright.

About Augsburg

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.