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President Pribbenow Headshot

Notes from President Pribbenow

On unexpected connections

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There are many ways in which higher education is a leap of faith. Students come to campus brimming with curiosity and promise. Faculty and staff meet them where they are and seek those connections that lead to genuine learning. And, if all works as intended, promises are kept, learning happens, and our mission to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders is advanced.

Easy, right? Or maybe not, because more often than not, those promises, that learning, and our mission are embedded in the daily, mundane, and sometimes messy interactions and intersections that define our lives together.

One of the cornerstones of our educational leap of faith is the importance of the unexpected conversations and experiences that transform our learning and our lives. These serendipitous moments are at the heart of every aspect of our work at Augsburg. Serendipity is built into our curriculum, which emphasizes experiences in which students face the unexpected—in the classroom, the laboratory, the neighborhood, and around the world—with the belief that they will be changed and equipped for their vocations. It’s in campus life, where our remarkably diverse students are challenged in their daily interactions with each other to imagine what a vibrant democracy looks like—the unexpected ways in which people of different backgrounds and faiths and perspectives learn to live together.

And it’s also in the ways we are designing campus spaces and facilities, including the remarkable Norman and Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion— which is highlighted in this issue of Augsburg Now. Nearly half of Augsburg’s faculty now call the Hagfors Center home, and, day by day, they are interacting with each other, forging new and unexpected relationships that are leading to new courses, new research projects, new ways of connecting students and faculty to the neighborhood. Students are making themselves at home in the building, enjoying departmental neighborhood spaces as well as group study rooms. There is an energy in the building that is itself serendipitous—who knows what unexpected connections will be forged to keep our promises, expand learning, and advance our mission.

What are your serendipitous moments at Augsburg? Send them to me at, and we’ll share what we learn in a future issue of Augsburg Now. In the meantime, thank you for taking the leap of faith that defines an Augsburg education!

Faithfully yours,

Paul C. Pribbenow, President

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