Augsburg’s mission statement says that we educate students to be “thoughtful stewards” as well as “informed citizens, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.”
I imagine some may read “thoughtful stewards” and think about church fundraising campaigns or care for the environment, the typical places we consider stewardship—and both important causes!
At Augsburg, though, thoughtful stewardship is a much more compelling claim. It goes beyond simple acts of giving or environmental care. It is a way of living, an ethic that teaches us how to live in the world. And it is at the heart of an Augsburg education—from how we engage students with the community to help them discern their gifts and gain a holistic understanding of the needs of our world (see page 16) to the deep listening and conversation we embed in our classes, such as in the Master of Arts in Leadership course that was integrated with this year’s Nobel Peace Prize Forum (see page 20).
Also in this issue of Augsburg Now, you will read about the genuine privilege I had to deliver a major address on stewardship to Cargill employees worldwide.
In that address, I said: “… stewardship involves a practice of standing up, speaking up in a manner that reflects—and makes clear—our values. The challenge for the good steward—as a parent or manager or citizen—is to pursue practices that help connect us with the deeply held values and commitments that characterize our personal and corporate lives.
“The truth is that many people do not think about the reasons for their actions. They act, and they expect others to accept their action at face value. But good stewardship demands reflection, then the courage to act based on our convictions, and to do so overtly so that we are publicly accountable for how our actions reflect our values. Only in that link is there integrity in human life.”
At Augsburg—as reflected in the stories that follow in these pages—we educate students to embrace their many gifts, to understand the obligations they have to steward those gifts, and to appreciate the important work of taking a stand for the values and commitments that honor the gifts and contributions of each of us.
Thoughtful stewardship—a way of life for all of us. I give thanks for a teaching and learning community that is blessed with and inspired by our remarkable legacy and mission. I give thanks for the privilege of being a faithful steward of all the gifts that make Augsburg such a rare place.
Paul C. Pribbenow, President