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President Pribbenow sitting at a table with Augsburg students.

Notes from President Pribbenow: On belonging

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<strong>President Paul Pribbenow</strong> (Photo by Courtney Perry)
President Paul Pribbenow (Photo by Courtney Perry)

“You belong here.” These three simple words are heard time and again on campus as we greet new students and welcome those returning. And with these words, Augsburg offers the gift of belonging to all of its students, no matter their diverse backgrounds and lived experiences.

So, what does it mean to give the gift of belonging? It means that we see you, we meet you where you are in your life, and we surround you with community. It means that we offer you an educational experience like no other. Over my 18 years at Augsburg, I have witnessed again and again how this university community meets our students where they are—with their remarkable life experiences and gifts—and then offers them, each of them, what they need to be successful. We walk alongside students with amazing faculty and staff members whose sole purpose is to offer them the support, the challenges, the love (I might say) that buttress their success.

And in return, our students bring their whole selves to our community—they bring their gifts and skills as scholars, as leaders, as artists, as advocates for justice and peace, as family and community members. All of these skills and more help to make Augsburg stronger. We are a small community, and we need these many gifts to help us live out our mission. We join together with our students on their life’s journeys—journeys that have already been underway with family, in schools and faith communities, in neighborhoods. It is our privilege to have students join us for a number of years so that their journeys—to a career, to their own families, to their communities—are shaped by what they learn here; by the lifelong friendships they make with fellow students, faculty, and staff; and by the experiences we offer here to help them find their path forward.

You belong here. This is what it means to be student-centered; to believe, as Augsburg has throughout its 154 years, that we are called to educate and equip our students for lives of meaning and purpose in the world. Throughout this issue of Augsburg Now, you will find stories of what it looks like when our commitment to belonging and to our students shows up in the world. A faculty member donating a kidney for a student, a legacy of community engagement serving our neighbors, a young alum taking on some of the world’s most pressing climate challenges, and an institutional policy that takes away barriers to students who deserve an Augsburg education. Read all of these inspiring stories with pride for the work of this remarkable university, for you, too, belong here!

Faithfully yours,

Paul C. Pribbenow

Top image: President Paul Pribbenow with students in Foss Center (Photo by Courtney Perry)

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