Two influential Augsburg College alumni, Terry Lindstrom ’73 and Dean Sundquist ’81, have found that giving back to their alma mater is a way to inspire young researchers to pursue their passions.
They have chosen to support the Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate Opportunity, known as “URGO,” which aligns students’ interests in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), social sciences, humanities, and the arts with research by faculty. Each year, research by more than 20 Augsburg students is funded by the College for 10 weeks each summer. Because of the committed support of Lindstrom and Sundquist, 16 additional scholars participate in URGO and receive a stipend. This financial support is critical to providing the hands-on, skills-based training students need to successfully apply to graduate school and to shape meaningful careers.
“Fundamentals are absolutely essential,” Lindstrom said, “but it was the research experience that helped me determine what I wanted to do.”
Lindstrom and his wife, Janet, plan to fund URGO students for the next three years, just as they have since 2013, and will ensure the perpetuity of their scholarships through their estate plan.
“Everyone deserves to find the career that creates passion,” said Lindstrom, who retired in 2010 as a distinguished research fellow at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, where he spent 31 years in drug discovery and development.
Eager to find real-world applications to benefit society, Lindstrom earned his PhD in pharmacology and biochemistry at the University of Minnesota after his Augsburg graduation. He led the research teams that resulted in a half-dozen patents for life-changing pharmaceuticals, including Evista for osteoporosis and Cymbalta, used as an antidepressant and for bone and muscle pain. He visited campus this past summer to meet faculty and student researchers—including four students he sponsored directly: Josh Kuether ’18, Taylor Mattice ’18, Adam Pancoast ’18, and Ellyn Peters ’18.
Similarly, since 2006, Sundquist, a member of the College’s Board of Regents, and his wife, Amy, have sponsored research by URGO students. Sundquist visited campus this summer as well to meet with the 12 students he sponsors and learn about their research. As chairman and CEO of Mate Precision Tooling, a worldwide leader in metal products and laser technologies, he has a global perspective and understanding of how scientific improvements propel the economy.
His campus visit was a chance to see the energy, enthusiasm, and excitement in students as they researched projects with their mentors, including Assistant Professor Matt Beckman, Associate Professor Vivian Feng, and Assistant Professor Michael Wentzel.
“These URGO students are very smart and very impressive. They go on from Augsburg to graduate school and medical school and business school with research experience and the confidence to succeed at the next level,” Sundquist said.
Ultimately, generosity of people like Lindstrom and Sundquist has had a transformational effect on thousands of students. Alumni create learning opportunities that prepare students to solve real-world problems, develop lifelong relationships with peers and faculty, and deliver a uniquely Augsburg summer.
[Top Image: L to R]: Terry Lindstrom ’73 watches as chemistry student Taylor Mattice ’18 draws out a chemical reaction scheme from her summer research project with Assistant Professor Michael Wentzel, her faculty mentor.