Bing tracking

COVID-19: Updates and Plans ›

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 receives $1.25 million grant from Lilly Endowment

Augsburg UniversityAugsburg University has received a renewal grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to further develop the work of the Christensen Center for Vocation and its Riverside Innovation Hub initiative. The Riverside Innovation Hub helps congregations build new connections with young adults at the intersections of their faith and their public lives and works with congregations towards becoming public churches. 

This work is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Young Adult Initiative, which aims to help congregations develop and strengthen ministries that build relationships with young adults, nurture their religious lives, and foster their engagement with religious communities.

Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation is eager to deepen its capacity to accompany congregations and young adults discerning their call, in relationship with their neighborhoods. We are grateful for the Lilly Endowment’s continued support of these efforts as Augsburg lives into a new imagination of congregational relations for the 21st century,” said Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg University president.

In 2017, Augsburg received $1.5 million from Lilly Endowment’s Young Adult Initiative to enable the creation of the Riverside Innovation Hub. The Riverside Innovation Hub has partnered with 25 congregations along two overlapping pathways. Sixteen congregations were accepted into a 3 ½-year partnership with RIH, which included working with an innovation coach toward experiments that were supported by grant funding. Another nine congregations have participated in learning events, taking key insights and questions from the larger experiment into their own contexts. They have been learning at the periphery from the main cohort of congregations and contributing their voices and experiences to the shared learning of this project. Thanks to a Thriving Congregations grant from the Lilly Endowment, RIH launched a second learning community of local congregations focused on the call to be public churches in the summer of 2021.

In phase two of Lilly’s Young Adult Initiative, Augsburg will work with young adult leaders to write a manifesto to the church, articulating their hopes and dreams for the church; create a national network of ministry leaders and congregations who are interested in the idea of public churches; and design training modules for this work.

To learn more about the Christensen Center for Vocation and its work, visit Augsburg’s Christensen Center for Vocation website

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen their pastoral and lay leadership. 

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.

Announcing El-Hibri Endowed Executive Directorship for the Interfaith Institute

Nancy and Fuad El-Hibri
Nancy and Fuad El-Hibri

Augsburg University announces that a significant gift has been made for a new leadership position: the El-Hibri Endowed Executive Directorship for the Interfaith Institute.

This new role is thanks to a gift from Fuad and Nancy El-Hibri. They first learned of Augsburg while researching higher education options for their son Karim, who was in recovery from substance issues. The family has been actively engaged with the university since then and Karim has meanwhile graduated from Augsburg’s StepUP program.

In 2019, Augsburg University established Interfaith at Augsburg: An Institute to Promote Interreligious Leadership. This program illustrates the many ways in which our commitment to interfaith learning and leadership can shape our work on campus and in the wider community, and this work requires a strategic leader and distinguished scholar to provide direction.

Learn more.

Riverside Innovation Hub’s work with congregations to expand with $1 million grant

(Minneapolis) – Augsburg University has received a  $1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help expand the Augsburg College Sealwork of the Riverside Innovation Hub within the university’s Christensen Center for Vocation (CCV).

The program is funded through the Lilly Endowment’s Thriving Congregations Initiative. The aim of the national initiative is to strengthen Christian congregations so they can help people deepen their relationships with God, build strong relationships with each other, and contribute to the flourishing of local communities and the world.

Lilly Endowment is making nearly $93 million in grants through the initiative. The grants will support organizations such as the Christensen Center for Vocation as they work directly with congregations and help them gain clarity about their values and missions, explore and understand better the communities in which they serve, and draw upon their theological traditions as they adapt ministries to meet changing needs.

The Christensen Center plays an integral role in stewarding the university’s commitment to, and exploration of vocation, the unique way God calls and equips us—as individuals and as communities—to work towards a better world for and with our neighbors. The Thriving Congregations Initiative grant will enable Augsburg’s CCV to expand and solidify the future of this work with congregations. We will walk with our partners through two consecutive two-year learning communities consisting of leadership teams from twelve congregations. Our hope is to develop an ecumenical network of twenty-four congregations over five years who are becoming more deeply engaged in the proclamation of Christ’s good news in transformative ways in their neighborhoods.

“The Christensen Center for Vocation is creating an innovative model for how a university of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America can be a learning partner with local congregations and ministry leaders for the sake of the world,” said Paul Pribbenow, Augsburg’s president. “These partnerships will create exciting learning opportunities for our students, staff, and faculty, who wrestle with what it means to live faithfully in the church and in the world in the midst of the various challenges our communities are facing: COVID-19, growing economic inequality, climate change, and the prevalence of racist systems.” 

Augsburg University is one of 92 organizations taking part in the initiative. They represent and serve churches in a broad spectrum of Christian traditions, including Anabaptist, Baptist, Episcopal, evangelical, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Reformed, Restoration, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox, as well as congregations that describe themselves as non-denominational. Several organizations serve congregations in Black, Hispanic and Asian-American traditions.

“In the midst of a rapidly changing world, Christian congregations are grappling with how they can best carry forward their ministries,” said Christopher Coble, Lilly Endowment’s vice president for religion. “These grants will help congregations assess their ministries and draw on practices in their theological traditions to address new challenges and better nurture the spiritual vitality of the people they serve.”  

Lilly Endowment launched the Thriving Congregations Initiative in 2019 as part of its commitment to support efforts that enhance the vitality of Christian congregations.

Media Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, Director of Public Relations and Internal Communications. 651-353-0061-cell

About Lilly Endowment Inc.
Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and sons Eli and J.K. Jr. through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly & Company. Although the gifts of stock remain a financial bedrock of the Endowment, it is a separate entity from the company, with a distinct governing board, staff and location. In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment exists to support the causes of religion, education and community development. The Endowment funds significant programs throughout the United States, especially in the field of religion. However, it maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis and home state, Indiana. The principal aim of the Endowment’s grantmaking in religion is to deepen and enrich the lives of Christians in the United States, primarily by seeking out and supporting efforts that enhance the vitality of congregations and strengthen their pastoral and lay leadership. 

About Augsburg
Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Augsburg University Launches Justice for George Floyd Initiatives

A new Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department and a requirement that all faculty and staff complete diversity, Augsburg University logoequity, and inclusion training are among efforts at Augsburg University to combat systemic racism after the police killing of George Floyd near our Minneapolis campus. 

“We acknowledge the pain, fear, and trauma faced by the Augsburg community, especially our students, faculty, and staff of color, that was amplified in recent weeks but remains a lived reality every day,” said Paul Pribbenow, the university’s president.

The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives being planned are an important continuation of our ongoing work to build and maintain an equitable and inclusive campus. This work by Augsburg will be persistent, resolute, courageous, and integrated into everything the university does. The Justice for George Floyd Initiatives focus on working to heal our community, creating leadership and structures that make tangible change, and ensuring accountability for the work of undoing racist systems. These initiatives include:  

  • Funding an emerging proposal from faculty, staff, and students for a Critical Race and Ethnicity Studies department.
  • Completion by all faculty and staff of our robust diversity and inclusion certificate program within the next two years—and anti-racist training by the end of the fall semester.
  • Creating a scholarship at Augsburg in memory of George Floyd.
  • Establishing a fund to match donations from students, faculty, and staff to organizations doing important work, especially for Black-owned businesses and nonprofit organizations.
  • Expecting new accountability for inclusive, anti-racist leadership across the institution. 
  • Reviewing Augsburg’s major academic and administrative policies and practices with a special focus on undoing bias and discrimination and enhancing student success.
  • Creating a new blog-format daily calendar on the Equity and Inclusion Initiatives Department webpage that lists community events and volunteer opportunities connected to the memory of George Floyd. The calendar will also have a Google form available for Augsburg community members to submit information about their own events, or events they wish to have added.

About Augsburg
Augsburg University, celebrating its 150th anniversary, offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 11 graduate degrees to 3,400 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.

Augsburg Names Inaugural Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, Advancing Music Education in a Pluralistic World

Kristina Boerger head shot
Kristina Boerger

Augsburg University has named Kristina Boerger the inaugural John N. Schwartz Professor of Choral Leadership and Conducting, beginning fall 2018.

The Schwartz Professorship supports Augsburg’s 21st century choral program—combining music reflective of a pluralistic society, superior choral performance standards, and the University’s commitment to civic engagement and inclusion. Boerger, who most recently served as director of choral activities at DePauw University, will lead a creative and visionary program that honors Augsburg’s legacy of engaging music majors and students from across campus, forging innovation in choral music education.

“Kristina Boerger has collaborated with leading composers and artists in creatively advancing the field of choral study and performance,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “Her work has garnered national recognition, and we’re excited to have her join Augsburg this fall.”

Boerger holds degrees in music education and conducting from the University of Illinois; has worked in public school, collegiate, and professional settings; and spent a number of years working in New York, where her work received favorable reviews in The New York Times. In addition to conducting, she’s performed with numerous groups as well as being a soloist. Boerger also has founded choirs and is deeply committed to the values of inclusion, access and equity, musics of diverse cultures, and commissioning original works.  

Augsburg undertook an international search to fill the Schwartz Professorship. Named for alumnus John N. Schwartz ’67, the professorship will initially be supported by an operational fund that provides for creative choral activities. Like many Augsburg choir alumni, Schwartz was not a music major. He majored in business but found meaning in the choir and has been singing his entire life.

Augsburg Mourns Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold

Pastor Dave in a suitPastor Dave speaking at commencementAugsburg Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold passed away on Thursday, April 12. Following is the message sent this morning, Friday, April 13, from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow.

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness that I share the news that Pastor Dave Wold passed away last night. Pastor Dave served Augsburg for three decades — 1983 until he retired at the end of the 2012-13 academic year — and was named Campus Pastor Emeritus by the Augsburg Board of Regents in recognition for his many contributions to our campus life and faith community.

One of Pastor Dave’s gifts was that he knew everyone’s name. He knew each of us. It’s hard to imagine how he was able to personally connect with so many people, but he did, and the breadth of his pastoral care strengthened and supported generations of Auggies. He touched thousands of lives and is beloved by alumni and Augsburg community members around the world.

Pastor Dave was also quick witted and loved to craft words and music. I’m sure everyone who knew him can recall how he loved to share jokes as a way of engaging with people. He lent those talents for words and music to the leadership of our Advent Vespers services over the years. He also wrote hundreds of light-hearted parodies, using familiar tunes as a unique means of sharing messages about faith.

Of course, we all know Pastor Dave’s passion for athletics and for working with young people. He was director of youth ministries for the American Lutheran Church (prior to the formation of the ELCA), founded the Holy Hoops congregational basketball league, and supervised many intern pastors. And, while the number of athletic games and matches he announced may not be known, our memory of his distinct announcer voice will not fade.

Our prayers and sympathies go out to Cathy Wold, Dave’s wife, and his family. Pastor Dave was a fiercely committed husband, father, and grandfather. We will share information about memorial services once those plans are confirmed. This morning, those on campus are invited to gather in Hoversten Chapel following our daily chapel service (10:55 a.m.), for a brief time of remembrance, prayer, and song.

I was honored to work with Pastor Dave for seven years, to sing with him before many an athletic contest, and to have him as my pastor on campus.  I join Dave’s many friends and colleagues in mourning his death and the loss of a good and faithful servant.

Faithfully yours,

Paul

 

Finance and Commerce highlights Augsburg’s Hagfors Center in private college construction update

Exterior of the front of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and ReligionAugsburg College’s $73 million, 135,000-square-foot Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion is the largest construction project underway at Twin Cities private colleges and universities. Finance and Commerce included details on the project’s scope, timeline, and funding in an article that outlined summer building and renovation projects on campuses across Minnesota.

Scheduled to open in January 2018, the Hagfors Center will be Augsburg’s newest and largest academic building. The facility — designed by Minneapolis-based HGA Architects — features a student-centered layout that will foster intersections among areas of study and encourage collaboration. As the Finance and Commerce article noted, the Hagfors Center was the focus of a successful $50 million fundraising campaign that exceeded its goal.

Comprehensive project milestone information is available through weekly updates on the Hagfors Center website.

 

 

Alumni trip to Germany featured in Star Tribune’s Protestant Reformation anniversary coverage

Minneapolis Star Tribune - logoThis fall, Augsburg College hosted alumni, faculty, staff, and community members for an international travel experience that took participants to the Czech Republic and Germany, which is in the midst of a tourism boom accompanying the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The travelers visited Wittenberg, the long-time home of Reformation catalyst Martin Luther, and ventured to historic sites to learn about the origins of the Lutheran faith from Augsburg College Religion Department faculty members Hans Wiersma and Lori Brandt Hale.

Star Tribune reporter Jean Hopfensperger and photographer Jerry Holt accompanied the group to chronicle how Minnesotans are observing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in the “Land of Luther” in addition to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” given that religious, arts, and cultural organizations across Minnesota are planning special events and exhibits to mark the occasion.

As Hopfensperger wrote, “Luther’s legacy is particularly deep in Minnesota, and not just because of his followers’ enduring embrace of hymn fests — often followed by Jell-O and hot dish. One in four residents trace their namesake faith to the monk from Wittenberg.”

In a Star Tribune story, Augsburg alumnae Carol Pfleiderer ’64 and Kathleen Johnson ’72 described their excitement with the trip itinerary and the ways it reflects and builds upon their understanding of their faith.

The Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, the College’s Executive Director of the Christensen Center for Vocation, was among other alumni quoted in the article. He described some of the ways the Lutheran church is using the Reformation anniversary to foster Lutheran-Catholic dialogue and to make the church accessible to all people.

Read, “Minnesota Lutherans at forefront of new Martin Luther revolution” on the Star Tribune site.

 

MinnPost unveils Augsburg College’s urban arboretum plan

MinnPost - logo“You’d never expect to find a leafy arboretum in a high-density, high-diversity, high-traffic neighborhood,” says MinnPost writer Jay Walljasper. “But that’s exactly what Augsburg College is planning for its unmistakably urban campus in the heart of Minneapolis, which borders Fairview Riverside Medical complex, the high-rise Riverside Plaza towers, two freeways, two light rail lines, busy shopping districts on Franklin Avenue and Cedar Avenues, plus one of the largest Somali communities outside of Africa.”

Walljasper, a senior fellow for the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, described Augsburg’s ambitious plan to transform its campus into a living laboratory in a recent article on the history of the urban college, its intent to plant native Minnesota species, and its brainstorming and decision-making processes for the landscape design project.

Read: “Augsburg College looks to transform its campus into an urban arboretum” on the MinnPost site.