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“Tienda” — A New Chamber Opera on February 21 and 22 by Augsburg’s Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (January 20, 2020) — The Augsburg University Music Department presents “Tienda,”  a new chamber opera by Augsburg faculty member Reinaldo Moya and Caitlin Vincent on Friday, February 21 at 7 p.m., and Saturday, February 22 at 7 p.m.

This unique performance presented as a part of Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Celebration will feature a partially-staged opera by Reinaldo Moya with words by Caitlin Vincent. The cast of singers includes mezzo soprano Jill Morgan, as well as Dominic Aragon (-baritone), Matthew Valverde (tenor), Mario Ángel Pérez (tenor), and Bergen Baker (soprano). The production will also feature The Augsburg Choir and the Augsburg Orchestra. The stage director is Doug Scholz-Carlson.

The opera tells the story of Luis Garzón, a Mexican musician who immigrated to Minneapolis in 1886 and opened a small Mexican grocery store, or tienda, in St. Paul in the 1920s. While Luis had married an American woman and was fully integrated into Minnesotan society, his store served as a community hub for the newest arrivals from Mexico, many of whom had fled the Mexican Revolution and now toiled on the sugar beet farms of rural Minnesota. “Tienda” explores the immigrant experience: what must be left behind—and what cannot be forgotten—on the journey to a new home. This world premiere performance of “Tienda” is one of the highlights of Moya’s two-year residency with the Schubert Club.

For Moya, Luis’s story has personal meaning. “I had wanted to write an immigration opera for some time,” said Moya. “When my librettist, Caitlin Vincent, and I started doing research for this project, we came across a human interest story of an immigrant’s journey to and life in the United States. Luis’s story resonated with me because we both came to the U.S. as young men and remained here for a long time. We are both musicians, and we both feel a strong pull towards our home culture while simultaneously seeing the promise of the American dream, even when it fails so many.”  

Moya also sees the strong connection between the issues immigrants faced in the early 20th century, and the struggles they still face today. “Luis’s story is also one that is still very relevant in today’s political climate. We might think of these immigration issues as relatively new, but “Tienda” shows that we as a country have had a long history of reckoning with our heritage as an immigrant country.”  

Tickets for “Tienda” include two options: An Immersive Seating* option for $20, and Balcony Seating for free. Tickets are required and available for purchase online at All Seating is general admission. 

* Immersive theater seating includes samples of Mexican food and beverage to accompany the opera 

About Reinaldo Moya
Reinaldo Moya is a graduate of Venezuela’s El Sistema music education system. Through El Sistema, he had access to musical training from an early age and was a founding member of the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra touring throughout Europe, North and South America. A graduate of The Juilliard School and a participant in the prestigious John Duffy Composers Institute and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra Conce Composers Institute, Moya now lives in Northfield, and is Associate Professor of Composition at Augsburg University. Moya is the recipient of the 2015 McKnight Composers Fellowship, the Van Lier Fellowship from Meet the Composer and the Aaron Copland Award from the Copland House.

About Caitlin Vincent
Caitlin Vincent is an American librettist and lyricist whose writing has been praised as “nuanced and honest” (DC Theatre Scene), “intriguing” (The Baltimore Sun), and “luminous” (The Huffington Post).  Her opera “Better Gods,” with composer Luna Pearl Woolf, premiered in January 2016 at the Kennedy Center as part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. In 2017, Vincent and composer Douglas Buchanan won the prestigious Sackler Music Composition Prize to fund a new opera about Bessie Coleman, the first African-American female aviator, and Miriam “Ma” Ferguson, the first female governor of Texas, for a premiere in 2019.  Other recent commissions include “Nullipara” with composer D. J. Sparr for the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and “Little Black Book” with composer Susan LaBarr for Carnegie Hall.  A classically-trained soprano, Vincent graduated cum laude from Harvard University and holds a Master of Music degree from the Peabody Conservatory and a PhD from Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. 

About Augsburg University
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

New York Times Interviews Graphic Design Instructor Daniel Ibarra about Award-Winning Chef Ann Kim

The New York Times featured award-winning chef Ann Kim’s journey from actress to chef-owner of Minneapolis restaurants Pizzeria Lola, Hello Pizza, and Young Joni. The Korean-born Kim was named this year the James Beard Best Chef Midwest. In this same article, Augsburg University Graphic Design Instructor Daniel Ibarra is interviewed about his work advising Kim about the branding of her restaurants, including the upcoming Sooki & Mimi. “It’s purely aesthetic and tactile and sensory,” said Ibarra, about her creative process. “It’s more like an artist working with media.”


Read full article at the The New Times.

Augsburg University Names Inaugural Sundquist Endowed Professor of Business Administration

(Minneapolis) –  Business Department Chair Jeanne Boeh has been named the Sundquist Endowed Professor of Business Administration, beginning September 2019.

The Sundquist Professorship supports Business Administration, Augsburg’s largest academic department with the most undergraduate majors on campus. Boeh, a professor of economics, has been teaching at Augsburg since 1990 and often appears in media interviews and on business panels given her talent for bringing complex business concepts to life. 

“Jeanne Boeh will lead Augsburg’s efforts to attract top business faculty, thanks to this generous endowment,” said Augsburg University President Paul C. Pribbenow. “She is known as a faculty leader on campus and for her strong commitment to students as they prepare for careers in business.”

This endowed professorship is named for alumnus Dean Sundquist ’81, an Augsburg Board of Regents member and chairman and CEO of Anoka, Minnesota-based Mate Precision Tooling.  Sundquist and his wife, Amy, have made several major investments in Augsburg, and this most recent commitment will add to the Augsburg endowment as a leadership gift to Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign.

“Augsburg’s competitive edge is rooted in being a small school in a city that is good for business,” Sundquist said. “Being so close to downtown offers students access to opportunities with many employers along with a close community feeling on campus.”

Boeh holds a bachelor of arts degree, a master of arts degree, and a doctorate, all from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has worked as an economist for the American Hospital Association, the Illinois Hospital Association and the investment research firm of Duff and Phelps. Her research and teaching interests are applied microeconomics focusing on the fields of urban and health economics. Boeh has taught at Loyola University, the University of Illinois in Chicago, and at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.

About Augsburg. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 10 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


Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright

(Minneapolis) – An Augsburg University faculty team was selected as one of 10 from a competitive, national pool of applicants to participate in a new program designed to prepare faculty members to adopt active learning methods proven to be successful in teaching science.

Associate Professor of Biology Jennifer Bankers-Fulbright  was the lead applicant and, along with Biology Lecturer Teresa Krause and Physics Department Chair Benjamin Stottrup, learned to implement new methods based on the research findings of Stanford University professor of physics and Nobel laureate Carl E. Wieman. These methods are designed to improve teaching effectiveness and student learning in biology, chemistry, and physics courses.

The summer 2019 seminar was offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and supported by a $300,000 grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation.

“The ability to think like a scientist is critical for all students, not just those who will major in STEM or plan to pursue an advanced degree,” said Richard Ekman, the CIC president. “Systematic change is needed to create the science-literate population needed to understand research-based science policy, which affects all aspects of today’s society.”

Although small colleges have long been recognized for the high percentages of their science majors who complete undergraduate degrees, earn advanced degrees, and enter STEM careers, this seminar marks the first systematic attempt to promote this powerful pedagogy among faculty members at smaller independent colleges and universities. Wieman provided the inspiration for and has been the guiding force in developing the seminars, recommending the facilitators, providing the syllabus, and shaping the process.

Despite numerous studies that have demonstrated improved effectiveness if instruction were changed from traditional lectures to more effective, active learning methods—in the sciences as in other fields—research indicates that the lecture is still the default method for many faculty members.

Each institution supported a team of four faculty members from no more than two disciplines (biology, chemistry, or physics), including at least one department or division chair or dean. The team received intensive training to prepare them to implement and assess research-based active learning methods in introductory courses in their departments when they return to campus.

The first seminar took place July 15–19, 2019, at Holy Names University in Oakland, California. After the seminar, college faculty members will participate in webinars, as well as conference calls and a site visit for each institution.

Contact: Gita Sitaramiah, director of PR and internal communications, 612-330-1476.

About Augsburg. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and 10 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

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 770 nonprofit independent colleges and universities, state-based councils of independent colleges, and other higher education affiliates, that works to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of independent higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on services to leaders of independent colleges and universities and state-based councils. CIC offers conferences, seminars, publications, and other programs and services that help institutions improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, student outcomes, and institutional visibility. It conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. Founded in 1956, CIC is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, DC. For more information, visit


TPT’s Almanac features Business Department Chair Jeanne Boeh

Jeanne Boeh on Almanac
Jeanne Boeh, second from the left, on Almanac

Jeanne Boeh, professor of economics and business department chair at Augsburg University, was recently a featured panelist on the weekly TPT news program, Almanac.

She provided commentary about trade, workforce participation, and interest rates.

The panel included Boeh as well as Louis Johnston, professor of economics at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University, and Lee Schafer, business columnist at the Star Tribune. 

Watch here, minute 40:15.


(Rochester, Minn.) –  Kaycee Rogers, director of education — Rochester, was awarded Augsburg University’s Outstanding Contributions to Teaching honor. She is the first full-time Rochester recipient of Augsburg’s outstanding teaching award.

The outstanding teaching award is given to one Augsburg faculty member annually to recognize outstanding contributions to the university that go beyond the expectations of their position.

Rogers received this award because of her active engagement with students, creative approaches to instruction, ability to challenge students, and her overall passion for teaching.

“Kaycee Rogers is a gifted teacher. As the director of education in Rochester, Kaycee has improved the programs extensively by updating course materials, designing engaging classroom activities, and providing educational workshops,” said Margaret Finders, professor of education. “What she does exceptionally well is advise and mentor students.”

Many would agree with student Jennifer Barnett: “I was terrified to return to school because it had been 13 years since I had been in a college class. Through a counseling session, Kaycee gave me the confidence that I belonged, and assisted me in every step of my academic planning,” Barnett said. “I instantly felt at home at Augsburg because of her.”

Rogers said she’s humbled to receive the award so early in her career and makes it a priority to truly know her students, their backgrounds, their lives, and their future aspirations.

“For me, great teaching has always been student-centered,” Rogers said. “It doesn’t matter if your students are third-graders or pursuing their master’s degrees, a good teacher plans and facilitates learning with the student in mind.”

About Augsburg. Augsburg University offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and nine 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. Augsburg has offered degrees at its Rochester location for 20 years. Today, the site offers degrees in nursing, business, and education. Learn more at

Michael Lansing calls history a “live project” in MinnPost

Augsburg associate professor of history Michael Lansing describes history as “a live project” in the MinnPost article, “On Dead White Men and the Politics of Minnesota’s History.”

“Evidence-based efforts to change the names of places with the questions and concerns of the present in mind is what the dead white men of the past tell us we should do,” Lansing wrote. “Historians of an earlier age knew that, by definition, history is always changing. On this count, we should listen to them closely.”

Read the full article at MinnPost.

Michael J. Lansing is the author of “Insurgent Democracy: The Nonpartisan League in North American Politics” (University of Chicago Press, 2015).

Support for Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama

(Updated May 2019)

Augsburg University is sharing this background about the immigration case involving Associate Professor Mzenga Wanyama to keep our campus and the public informed.

Status with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

The Board of Immigration Appeals has granted Mzenga Wanyama’s motion to reopen the asylum application for him and his wife, Mary Mzenga, for another hearing. Their case will now be transferred back to the local immigration court in the Twin Cities where they will be allowed to present new evidence in support of the asylum application and application for cancellation of removal. This decision allows them to remain in the U.S. while the immigration court reviews their case.

On August 31, 2018, the Board of Immigration Appeals granted a stay of removal. As a result, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement couldn’t deport them until the Board issued a decision on the merits of the motion to reopen the asylum case.

ICE had previously informed them that they were required to depart the United States in October 2018.

On April 5, 2018, Wanyama and his wife were informed in a meeting with Immigration and Customs Enforcement that ICE would allow them 90 days to depart the United States. During a June 29, 2018 meeting ICE confirmed that it had extended their departure date from July 4, 2018 to August 3, 2018. The ICE office had asked them to return to the office on July 25, 2018 for a check-in.

On July 25, 2018, ICE then informed them that they would have to depart the United States on September 9, 2018. He was required to bring the plane tickets with a September 9 departure data to a check-in appointment with ICE on September 4, 2018. The September 9, 2018 departure was later extended 30 days.

Meanwhile, a motion to reopen Dr. Wanyama’s asylum application based on changed country conditions and a stay of removal was filed earlier that summer with the Board of Immigration Appeals. Once ICE was unwilling to use its discretionary authority any longer, his attorney requested the emergency review of the stay of removal that was granted August 31, 2018. If the stay had not granted, he and his wife would most likely have had to leave the U.S. in October 2018.

Augsburg University statements
Augsburg issued a statement from Augsburg President Paul C. Pribbenow following the Wanaymas’ April 5, 2018 ICE meeting, as well as statements before and following the previous ICE meeting, on March 9, 2018. These statements are posted below:

Augsburg University Faculty Senate statement
The Faculty Senate of Augsburg University wishes to express our unanimous and unconditional support for our friend and colleague, Professor Mzenga Wanyama. We urge all those who care about Professor Wanyama to consider signing the petition on his behalf at

Augsburg University faculty statement
The Augsburg University faculty calls on the U.S. government to halt plans for the unjust deportation of our colleague Professor Mzenga Wanyama and his spouse and Augsburg nursing student Mary Mzenga and to permit their continued work and residence in the US. We stand against the anti-immigrant sentiment that is prompting the current wave of deportations and proudly affirm our status as an institution that supports the many immigrant and refugee members of our academic community.

A website,, has been created by friends and supporters of Mzenga and Mary Wanyama. The site includes a statement from the Wanyamas, information about the next Immigration and Customs Enforcement meeting, and information about getting involved and providing support.

Work authorization and sponsorship
Augsburg University complies with federal law that requires employers to verify that employees are eligible to work in the United States. Professor Wanyama has authorization to work in the United States, issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Sponsorship for permanent resident status is not an option at this time due to a restriction related to a J-1 two-year home residency requirement. The two-year home residency requirement means that those who come to the U.S. in J-1 status cannot become permanent residents in the U.S., change status, or get work or family-based visa status until they return to their country of last permanent residence for at least two years cumulatively. A request to waive the two-year home residency requirement was filed several years ago, but the waiver was denied. Augsburg is working with legal counsel to pursue all options available to us under the current scenario.

New Dean To Lead Augsburg Commitment To Student-Centered Learning In Arts & Sciences

Augsburg University has named Ryan K. Haaland as the dean of Arts & Sciences, responsible for providing vision and leadership for faculty and academic programs, and supporting Augsburg’s emphasis on student-centered learning.  

Haaland comes to Augsburg from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado, with many years of collaborative leadership experience in multiple institutional contexts, and 21 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Air Force.  

“Ryan is a passionate educator who shares Augsburg’s commitments to the liberal arts tradition and to serving students from groups historically underrepresented in higher education,” said Karen Kaivola, Augsburg’s provost and chief academic officer. “He will support faculty excellence, and his experience in programmatic innovation that prepares students for meaningful work in the 21st century will be a benefit to our students long after they graduate.”

Haaland will transition to Augsburg this summer and be on campus full-time in July. He also will hold a tenured faculty appointment as professor of physics.

“I’m eager to support the Augsburg mission of educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders,” Haaland said. “I also am dedicated to advancing Augsburg’s commitments to equity and inclusion.”

A nationally-recognized leader in broadening participation and diversity in STEM education, Haaland has received numerous grants and developed strategic partnerships that advance pathways and opportunities for students with industry, federal institutions, and research universities. Haaland currently serves as Arts and Sciences Liaison to the Provost at Fort Lewis College, where he is professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering. He serves in this dean-equivalent position with cabinet-level responsibilities that include representing 15 academic departments and 25 degree-granting programs. He helped lead the design and construction of a $35 million state-of-the-art science and engineering facility at Fort Lewis College, where he also developed and launched new computer engineering and interdisciplinary environment science programs. He brings extensive engagement and outreach experience with community partners, alumni, and members of the Board of Trustees.

Haaland joined Fort Lewis College in 2006 as a faculty member after serving 12 years in the Department of Physics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he rose through the faculty ranks from instructor to associate professor and department chair, in addition to other leadership roles. Haaland earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, a master of science degree in space physics from UCLA, and a doctorate of philosophy in physics from the University of Oxford, England.

Act Six Scholarship Winners Featured in Channel 5 Minnesota Moment

Augsburg University Dean of Students Sarah Griesse with an Act Six scholar.
Augsburg University Dean of Students Sarah Griesse with an Act Six scholar.

On March 12, 45 of the Twin Cities’ most promising high school urban leaders received the Act Six scholarship, an initiative of Urban Ventures. Act Six is Minneapolis-St. Paul’s only full-tuition, full-need urban leadership award. Augsburg University is proud to be one of the six partner colleges, all of which are located in the Metro area.

Watch the full report at KSTP Channel 5’s website.