Merton Strommen ’42 and Gladys Strommen ’46 were a part of a family legacy at Augsburg that has spanned generations. The Strommens have widely shared their gifts and talents with the university, and their impact on the Augsburg community will be felt for many years to come.
Mert Strommen died September 2. Youth ministry was the core of his life’s work—as campus pastor at Augsburg and founder of Search Institute, which has an international impact on youth work through research. Mert and his wife, Irene (Huglen) ’44, started the Youth and Family Institute at Augsburg and also created the David Strommen Endowed Fund for youth ministry. Mert also served on Augsburg’s Board of Regents, founded and directed the Augsburg Centennial Singers, and was awarded Fellow status by the American Psychological Association for his pioneering research in psychology and religion.
Gladys Boxrud Strommen passed away May 26. Gladys and husband, Clair ’46, who passed away in 2001, have served and supported Augsburg in many significant ways over their lives and created a lasting legacy through their work and dedication. Gladys was a supportive partner to Clair in developing his career in business and leadership with Strommen & Associates and Lutheran Brotherhood, now known as Thrivent Financial. Gladys served on the Board of Regents, co-founded the Augsburg Associates, and hosted many alumni gatherings in her homes in Minnesota and Florida.
Through a generous gift, the family established the Clair and Gladys Strommen Center for Meaningful Work in 2014 in recognition of their personal commitment to create meaning and purpose in work and life. “Clair and Gladys Strommen are forever woven into the fabric of Augsburg through their commitment to lives filled with purpose and meaning,” said Lee George, executive director of the Strommen Center. “Through the Strommen Center for Meaningful Work, Clair and Gladys’ legacy is realized in students who commit themselves to exploring their values, passions, and skills and understanding how they can be put to use in the world.”
The Strommens also commissioned a sculpture in front of Christensen Center and have two endowed funds: a scholarship fund and a program fund for the Strommen Center.
As President Paul Pribbenow said in his campus announcement of Gladys’ passing, “Her loss is a big one, but her legacy will continue to be felt by generations of Auggies to come.”