Augsburg 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.
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.
In a recent MinnPost article, Harry Boyte said that commonwealth was a way for ordinary citizens to develop authority for their claims to equality. The commonwealth vision of civic construction made possible the creation of churches, schools and colleges, women’s organizations like the Council of Negro Women and labor groups like the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Boyte said.
“In a time of eroding faith in democracy and looming threats to the commons, from schools, colleges, and libraries to water resources, coastal areas, and public parks, remembering the commonwealth and the tasks of civic repair can generate the hope we need,” said Boyte, in the article. “The commonwealth vision makes democracy a way of life, not simply a trip to the ballot box, and puts citizens back in as its agents and architects.”
Boyte is a Senior Scholar in Public Work Philosophy at the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship at Augsburg University. He is the architect of the center’s public work approach to civic engagement and democracy, and the creator of Public Achievement.
In the 1960s, he worked for the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., as a field secretary with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference during the Civil Rights Movement, where he learned about the commonwealth and the claims from civic construction.
Mike Sime, Augsburg StepUP® program advisory board chair, talked with Paul Douglas on WCCO Radio Friday about the program’s foundation, success, and work to support other institutions in establishing recovery programs. Douglas called StepUP® a revolutionary program, as it currently is the largest residential collegian recovery program in the U.S. The program is dedicated to students in recovery from drug of alcohol abuse and provides a sober living environment and counseling.
“I look at it as a parent. If you have a student who is newly in recovery, has been sober and now you think about sending them off to college, that would be my worst nightmare, so to have a safe and supportive environment that they can come to that is clean and sober with other students, it really makes sense and creates an unique environment,” expressed Mike about the importance of having such program.
The program began after a student in recovery shared his need for a sober environment, explained Mike. The student expressed that his experience would have been easier if he had a community who was also in recovery with him. Augsburg made the commitment to develop StepUP® and through it, the program has helped over 750 students in 20 years.
In recognition of his work promoting civic engagement and non-violence, Augsburg scholar Harry Boyte has been awarded the Spirit of Gandhi Award. Boyte, the senior scholar in public work philosophy with the Augsburg Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, describes the spiritual, moral, and psychological aspects of non-violence in his Huffington Post article on the new nonviolence movement. The Spirit of Gandhi Award is given in celebration of Nonviolence Day, a globally-observed day on the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, at the Minnesota State Capitol.
As Augsburg’s new executive director for recovery advancement, Patrice Salmeri will work to reduce stigma associated with substance use disorder recovery, inspire additional universities to provide recovery programs, and work with StepUP Program alumni, among other duties. Salmeri has led Augsburg’s pioneering StepUP Program for the past 15 years, and Recovery Campus magazine featured Salmeri in a story about the transition to her new role and the current climate of recovery in higher education.
In the article, Salmeri explained that while she’ll miss daily interaction with StepUP students, she is truly “looking forward to focusing more attention on the alumni and the value they bring to our community as well as advocating on local, regional and national levels.”
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.
This 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.
Award-winning author, columnist, and professor Samuel Freedman featured five Augsburg College community members in a commentary for The New York Times’ On Religion section. The piece, “Muslim College Chaplains Extend a Hand Across Religious Divides,” highlighted the work of Muslim Student Program Associate and Chaplain Fardosa Hassan ’12.
As Freedman reported, Hassan is among dozens of chaplains on college and university campuses across the U.S. to “play a vital dual role: helping Muslim students feel welcome, and introducing Islam to non-Muslims.”
This work, according to Hassan, has the potential to assist students during their college days and positively influence individuals’ lives long after graduation.
“My role is to help students negotiate this multifaith, diverse environment,” Hassan explained to Freedman. “I’m going to give them a tool for when they go out of this institution, so they know how to be respectful of others. A lot of times, people are afraid even to ask the questions of people who are different. So I say, begin with friendship. Start by saying hello.”
In his column, Freedman acknowledges that interfaith conversations are meaningful and necessary not only on Augsburg’s campus but also just beyond its borders in Minneapolis.
Augsburg “is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and has traditionally attracted the vast majority of its students from white Protestant denominations,” he writes. “Yet its campus directly abuts the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood that is the epicenter of Minnesota’s population of 31,500 Somali Muslims. Perhaps nowhere else in the United States does a hockey rink sit so close to a halal meat market.”
While Augsburg has been a collaborative neighborhood partner for many years, President Paul Pribbenow has deepened that commitment in an effort to help the College fulfill its calling to foster conversations between the diverse residents of its vibrant community.
The story touches on interactions between Hassan and Augsburg College students whom Hassan has helped reflect on their spirituality to consider how it shapes their interpretations of the world. In this role, Hassan partners with College Pastor and Director of Ministries Sonja Hagander in individually supporting students as they navigate highs and lows, challenges and opportunities, faith and even their final exams.
Person-to-person efforts, according to Hassan, are at the heart of her work.
Augsburg College music therapy students created original compositions to help patients and families at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital get better sleep, and MinnPost recently featured the students’ collaborative endeavor.
During the 2016 spring semester, students in the Music Therapy Senior Seminar course taught by Annie Heiderscheit, director of the Master of Music Therapy program, wrote lullabies as part of a community partnership.
The music therapy students worked with music business students and their advisor, Augsburg Instructor Dain Estes, to produce high-quality recordings for use on the hospital’s network of digital, interactive health care features. Individuals can choose to play the calming tunes using devices in their hospital rooms. The Auggies’ compositions also are part of a pilot study that is exploring whether listening to music helps improve sleep quality in patients and families who use it in the pediatric intensive care unit.
“We had to spend time talking about how we use music for sleep and styles of music and specific elements within the music that we really need to leverage to help young patients fall asleep,” Heiderscheit explained to MinnPost.
Next the students began creating their original pieces, which was a complicated task, according to Estes, because the compositions included substantial tempo reductions to guide listeners into a relaxed state.
“This was an extremely difficult assignment because of how the heartbeat works,” Estes said. “Starting every song at 120 beats per minute and bringing it down to 40 beats per minute is not as easy as it sounds.”