This section of the News and Media Services department site tracks stories in print and broadcast media that feature Auggie faculty, students, and staff. The area also is home to material developed for University-related programs, events, and more.
Olivia Maccoux ’19 spoke with Kare 11 about her journey to graduation after 140 brain surgeries. Maccoux lives with a rare condition called hydrocephalus, which causes fluid to build on the brain. “College graduation to me is a big deal,” she told Kare 11. “The doctors didn’t believe I’d make it past birth.”
On May 10, Maccoux graduated with honors from Augsburg, a day she thought would never happen. During her freshman year in college, she had a seizure in her dorm room and had to drop out of school for a time. Aside from her family and friends, her neurosurgeon was also present at the U.S. Bank Stadium commencement ceremony. She credits him for why she was able to graduate and now wants to build a career sharing her story with the world. Her experiences have given her a purpose to advocate and be a voice for those with invisible illness and disabilities. Recently, Maccoux spoke at a fundraising event in Hollywood, California, with comedian Conan O’Brien, where she helped raise $300,000 by sharing her story. “Just because you have not so great circumstances doesn’t mean your life is over” she told Kare 11.
For the first time, the Augsburg University commencement will be held off campus at U.S. Bank Stadium at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10.
In making this location change, Augsburg is responding to consistent concerns raised by graduating students regarding the limited number of tickets available for their guests to attend on-campus ceremonies, which were held most recently in Si Melby Hall’s gymnasium.
Augsburg will use a portion of U.S. Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. The change in venue and dramatic increase in total available seats will enable all graduates, their families, their friends, and members of the Augsburg community to celebrate together. Tickets are required.
Former Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak will be the commencement speaker. He is currently The Minneapolis Foundation president and CEO.
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 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.
Website A website, www.mzenga.com, 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.
Augsburg becomes Minnesota’s only university with a varsity women’s wrestling team, media outlets reported.
The Star Tribune and City Pages featured stories about the Augsburg University team that will start competing during the 2019-20 academic year.
According to City Pages: “Wrestling is one of the fastest-growing high school sports in the country among women. Since 1994, the number of participants has shot up from 800 to 16,500. So far, only 46 other colleges and universities have programs, but Augsburg is expected to be one of 14 schools to jump on the bandwagon within the next two years.”
The wrestling team continues Augsburg’s pioneering tradition in women’s athletics. Augsburg was the first college in the Midwest in 1995 to sponsor a varsity women’s ice hockey team. Then, in 2014, Augsburg became the first collegiate institution in Minnesota to sponsor a varsity women’s lacrosse team.
The Forum on Workplace Inclusion® will have a new home starting July 1 at one of the most diverse private colleges in the Midwest, Augsburg University.
Currently based at the University of St. Thomas, The Forum is the nation’s largest workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion conference designed for a national and global audience. Leaders from The Forum, Augsburg University, and the University of St. Thomas made the announcement April 17 at this year’s Forum at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
“The Forum on Workplace Inclusion is excited to begin a new chapter with our move to Augsburg University,” said Steve Humerickhouse, executive director of The Forum. “The University of St. Thomas has been a great home for us for 23 of our 31 years. We will miss seeing our Tommie colleagues on a regular basis but look forward to meeting our new Auggie family and to the amazing things we can create together!”
The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change.
As a member of the Governor’s Workforce Development Board, Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow believes Augsburg’s inclusive Minneapolis campus, where undergraduate students of color total 47 percent, is a natural setting for The Forum to base its work.
“I welcome The Forum to the Augsburg campus and look forward to the partnership we will create toward a vibrant economy with equitable workplace opportunities for all,” Pribbenow said. “By partnering with the Forum, Augsburg gains immediate visibility, recognition, and connections among corporate leaders who share our commitment to diversity and equity.”
University of St. Thomas President Julie Sullivan said, “St. Thomas has great respect for The Forum on Workplace Inclusion and is proud to have had a hand in helping it become one of the nation’s largest workplace diversity, equity and inclusion conferences. More great things are in store as they move forward with their new partnership with Augsburg University.”
MediaContact: Gita Sitaramiah, Augsburg director of PR 612.330.1476.
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. Learn more at Augsburg.edu.
About The Forum. For 31 years, The Forum has served as a convening hub for those seeking to grow professional leadership and effectiveness skills in the field of diversity, equity, and inclusion by engaging people, advancing ideas, and igniting change. The Forum on Workplace Inclusion Annual Conference is the nation’s largest – and one of the world’s largest – workplace DEI conferences designed for national and global audiences. For more information and registration, visit ForumWorkplaceInclusion.org.
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.
Augsburg University basketball star Devean George, who went on to three NBA championship titles, was honored by the NCAA during men’s Final Four week as one of its 2019 Living Legends.
George grew up in North Minneapolis, played at NCAA Division III Augsburg and went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA, winning three championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Off the court, George devoted his time and energy to numerous Minneapolis charitable organizations focused on families, education and children.
Images from Augsburg University’s 11th Traditional Powwow were featured in a photo essay by the Star Tribune. The photos show various aspects of the powwow, ranging from dances and drumming to fellowship and friendship. The event, cohosted by Augsburg’s American Indian Student Services and Indigenous Student Association, includes food concessions, arts and crafts vendors, and informational tabling about Augsburg’s educational opportunities and services for native students of all ages. Graduating Augsburg American Indian students are also recognized.
President Paul C. Pribbenow is being awarded the highest Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) honor bestowed upon one of its members.
The Outstanding Fundraising Professional award recognizes effective, creative and stimulating leadership, as well as the practice and promotion of ethical fundraising. Pribbenow will formally receive the award on April 2 at the association’s International Fundraising Conference in San Antonio, Texas.
“The impact of Paul Pribbenow on the organizations he has served is only exceeded by the impact he has had on the entire fundraising profession,” said Mike Geiger, MBA, CPA, president and CEO of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “It is fair to say that fundraising—and how we look at ethics and philanthropy—would look differently without the contributions of Paul. His work will serve as one of the cornerstones of the profession for years to come, and all of us at AFP are so excited to be able to recognize his extraordinary work and contributions at our conference in San Antonio.”
Academic freedom on college and university campuses is part of a national dialogue in higher education today. The Star Tribune covered this topic in featuring Augsburg University’s work to be a more inclusive campus.
The story focused on Augsburg as it delves into how today’s increasingly diverse student-centered campuses are managing academic freedom and inclusive learning environments. Reporter Mila Koumpilova interviewed Augsburg faculty, students, and provost.