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President Paul Pribbenow and Regent Emeritus Paul Mueller ’84 at the public launch of the Great Returns: We’re All In campaign, May 2022

Stories from Great Returns, Augsburg’s largest-ever fundraising campaign

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Augsburg University’s Great Returns: We’re All In campaign exceeded its goal by raising more than $128 million before its conclusion earlier this year.

The largest campaign in Augsburg’s history, Great Returns invests in the university’s long-term stability. In addition to providing targeted gifts to endowed funds for scholarships and teaching, donors supported Augsburg’s mission through unrestricted gifts, which allow the university to respond to its most critical needs.

Each one of the campaign’s nearly 15,000 benefactors has made a profound impact on the institution. Here are some of their stories:

Augsburg alumnus Will Jones ’97“One of the reasons I reinvest in the Augsburg experience, as I call the curriculum, is that it is indeed a value-added experience that provides individuals with the opportunity to excel in any endeavor they choose. As a graduate, you are now a very critical thinker, able to articulate and demonstrate and communicate your values and viewpoints from a position of authority. You are now ready to be a difference-maker and to lead others.”

Will Jones ’97

Augsburg alumnus Lewis Nelson ’00“Augsburg helped me cultivate vital skills such as critical thinking and leadership—skills that continue to serve me today, and that’s why I give. The feeling of giving back to the place that made me who I am today not only gives me personal pleasure, but it brings joy to other people’s lives. I encourage anyone to give what they can.”

Lewis Nelson ’00

“Chemistry was my passion. God is my passion. I came to Augsburg as a searching, struggling teen. I loved chemistry. I didn’t know what to think about God. My father was a pastor. I certainly didn’t want to be a pastor. My professors wanted me to be a doctor. But in the early ’70s a female couldn’t think about being a doctor and also a mom, and I wanted to marry and have kids. And so, I’d say that my time at Augsburg was about identity and seeking what was next. My science professors helped me to wrestle with all parts of who I was. For that, I’m most grateful. I started out as a teacher in Papua New Guinea, then worked at 3M as a chemist, then became a stay-at-home mom, and now I’m a Lutheran pastor. In all ways, I’m grateful for my four years at Augsburg. Why am I endowing a chemistry scholarship? Because my parents couldn’t afford to help me financially, but in their older years they were able to model the miracle of generosity. I had a good enough summer job that I didn’t need to work during the school year with the scholarships that I received. So, I could devote myself to my studies. I hope to bless another student with the same gift so that they can be strong going out into the world to be a blessing.”

Rebecca Sullivan ’74

Top image: Regent Emeritus Matt EntenzaPresident Paul Pribbenow, and Regent Emeritus Paul Mueller ’84 at the public launch of the Great Returns: We’re All In campaign, May 2022 (Photo by Courtney Perry)
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