Literary scholar on skates
Athletic facility spotlight
Sesquicentennial co-chair Q&A
Research and student success
FALL–WINTER 2018 | VOL. 81, NO. 1
Vice President of Marketing
Rebecca John ’13 MBA
Director... Show more
Literary scholar on skates
Athletic facility spotlight
Sesquicentennial co-chair Q&A
Research and student success
FALL–WINTER 2018 | VOL. 81, NO. 1
Vice President of Marketing
Rebecca John ’13 MBA
Director of Marketing
NOTES FROM PRESIDENT PRIBBENOW
On “Yes, and … ”
I teach the Honors Senior Seminar each spring,
which is always a highlight of my year, and one
of the class sessions introduces students to the
history and practice of improvisation.
I invite members of our theater faculty and
local improv performers to come to class to
help us understand why improv is so important
to places like Chicago (think Second City) and
Minneapolis (think Dudley Riggs’ Brave New
Workshop). Then the fun begins.
The improv artists invite us to the front
of the classroom where we are taught some
basic improv skills. Embarrassment aside,
these sessions are full of life lessons. My
favorite exercise goes like this: one student
makes a statement related to an assigned
topic. Perhaps the topic is the weather, and
the student proclaims, “Wow, is it hot.” The
next student then answers, “Yes, and ... I’m
sweating like a faucet.” The next student
continues, “Yes, and ... my faucets often leak.”
You get the point. No one is allowed to
say “No” or even “Yes, but … ”—it’s always
“Yes, and … .” That’s how improv works, and
I believe that’s how Augsburg works when we
are at our best.
We live in a “No” and “Yes, but … ”
world—a world of scarcity that keeps us
from risking ourselves in relation to others.
Improv teaches us the way of abundance, a
way that finds we are better together. “Yes,
and … ” builds upon the gifts of others
to help us live healthier, more just and
compassionate lives together.
The anthropologist Mary Catherine Bateson
offers this helpful word: “Improvisation and
new learning are not private processes; they
are shared with others at every age. We are
called to join in a dance whose steps must be
learned along the way, so it is important to
attend and respond.”
This issue of Augsburg Now is full of stories
of “Yes, and … ”—including highlights of
our planning for next year’s sesquicentennial
celebration, Augsburg’s 150th anniversary.
What a grand celebration it will be, as we
recall the abundance of our founding in 1869,
the decades of educating students for lives
of meaning and purpose, and the promise of
Augsburg’s mission in the years ahead.
Yes, and ... it will be good!
PAUL C. PRIBBENOW, PRESIDENT
Director of Public Relations
and Internal Communications
Assistant Director of
Laura Swanson Lindahl ’15 MBA
Senior Creative Associate, Design
Senior Creative Associate, Design
Denielle Stepka ’11
Social Media Specialist
Briana Alamilla ’17
Katie (Koch) Code ’01
Kate H. Elliott
Kelly O’Hara Dyer
Augsburg Now is published by
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Opinions expressed in Augsburg Now
do not necessarily reflect official
Surprising sights worth a
first (or second) glance
02 AROUND THE QUAD
This fall, Philadelphia-based artist
Margery Amdur created mixed media
installations in Augsburg’s Christensen
and Gage Family galleries. Amdur’s
art emphasizes the creative process
and incorporates unusual materials—
including cosmetic sponges. The
exhibition was presented as part of
a collaboration among Augsburg,
Bethel University, Minneapolis College
of Art and Design, and St. Catherine
University in conjunction with the
publication of the book “Creative
Practices for Visual Artists.”
ANNUAL REPORT TO DONORS
NO PLAIN JANE
CARVING PATHS FOR THE FUTURE
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE THE DOME
BANNER YEAR IN STUDENT SUCCESS
ALUMNI CLASS NOTES
On the cover: Undergraduate researcher and biology major
Angelica Diaz-Juarez ’20 waters plants in Augsburg’s Hagfors
Center grow room. Learn about Auggies’ research experiences
on page 20.
Inset cover photo by Deanna Dent, Arizona State University
All photos by Courtney Perry
unless otherwise indicated
Here’s a new take on the “spring thaw.” Virtually all summer and fall, the Augsburg Ice
Arena was iceless, which allowed construction crews to complete facility improvements,
including installing a more environmentally friendly refrigerant system and upgrading the
ice sheet floors from sand to concrete bases. Augsburg’s two-rink facility opened in 1974 and
is used extensively—not only by the university’s men’s and women’s hockey teams, but also
by community groups, youth sports leagues, figure skating clubs, and recreational skaters.
Send address corrections to:
Send comments to:
THAT’S GROOVY. Augsburg students
celebrate the start of the school year
Have you ever seen a dance floor filled with people swaying to the sound
of … silence? That’s what a silent disco looks like. But the amusement
was anything but muted for those who took part in an Auggie Bash
hosted by the Augsburg Student Activities Council this past September.
Participants wore wireless headphones tuned in to one of several audio
channels playing a variety of music styles. This unusual approach to
parties encourages dancers to move and groove their own way and to let
their uniqueness shine as brightly as their neon headwear.
Listen to the podcast online
at augsburg.edu/podcast or
download episodes from iTunes.
Hear Augsburg University faculty
and staff share stories of their
work with students in their own
words. Launched this fall, the
Augsburg Podcast is a new,
18-episode series offering a
variety of perspectives on the
university’s most important work:
educating students for the future.
NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt put
Augsburg University’s StepUP® Program
in the spotlight this May by showcasing
its success in helping students in recovery
complete their college education.
NBC’s Catie Beck interviewed Neil King ’18
about the support he received from StepUP
as a full-time student at Augsburg.
Beck also interviewed StepUP
Progam Director Tamarah Gehlen. “We
always say that no one should have to
choose between recovery and a college
education,” Gehlen said.
King, who began using drugs at age 14,
discovered the StepUP Program four months
into his recovery. “I really learned to believe
in myself and my skills and capabilities,”
said King, who’s now pursuing a master’s
degree at the University of Minnesota.
Top 200 Schools for Indigenous Americans: The
American Indian Science and Engineering
Society Winds of Change magazine selected
Augsburg as one of the 2018 Top 200
Schools for Indigenous American and
Alaska Native students pursuing degrees in
science, technology, engineering, and math.
THE PARADOX OF PEACE:
The 30th Nobel Peace Prize Forum
PHOTO BY REBECCA ZENEFSKI SLATER
The Nobel Peace Prize Forum in Minneapolis marked its 30th
anniversary in September. The forum, hosted and presented by Augsburg
University, celebrated the achievements of the 2016 Nobel Laureate,
President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, and the 2017 Laureate,
The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, represented by
Executive Director Beatrice Fihn. The program explored the intertwining
complexities and paradoxes of water, conflict, and peace.
“The paradox of peace lies in the paradox of the human condition—
that we are capable of great love and great cruelty, that we are always
a mix of some amount of ability and vulnerability. To achieve peace,
we often have to fight for it,” said Joe Underhill, Augsburg associate
professor of political science and director of the forum.
Schwartz Professor of Choral
Leadership and Conducting
This fall, Augsburg named Kristina Boerger
the inaugural John N. Schwartz Professor of
Choral Leadership and Conducting. Boerger
leads a visionary program honoring Augsburg’s legacy of engaging both
music majors and non-music majors across campus.
“Kristina Boerger has collaborated with leading composers and artists
in creatively advancing the field of choral study and performance,” said
Augsburg University President Paul Pribbenow. “Her work has garnered
national recognition, and we’re excited to have her join Augsburg.”
With a strong commitment to inclusion, access, and equity, Boerger
brings to Augsburg a long and diverse professional practice of
exploring music from varied cultures. She has worked in public
school, collegiate, community, and professional settings. In
addition to her achievements in commissioning and premiering
new works, Boerger served as director of three choirs that earned
critical acclaim from The New York Times. She holds degrees in
music education and conducting from the University of Illinois.
Best Regional Universities by U.S. News &
World Report: U.S. News & World Report again
named Augsburg one of the Best Universities
in the Midwest, ranking the university No. 5
among the Minnesota schools on the list for
undergraduate teaching, No. 10 on best value
schools, and No. 14 for most innovative.
Best in the Midwest by The Princeton Review:
This year, The Princeton Review again
named Augsburg one of the Best in the
Midwest for academic excellence.
Best Value in Minnesota: Best Value Schools
ranked Augsburg No. 6 on a 2018 list
of 20 Best Value Colleges or Universities
in Minnesota. Rankings are based on
graduation rate, net price, acceptance rate,
and 20-year net return on investment.
Top LGBTQ-friendly Colleges and Universities:
Augsburg was named to Campus Pride’s list
of the top 30 LGBTQ-friendly colleges and
universities in 2017 and 2018. Campus
Pride is the leading national organization for
creating safer, more LGBTQ-friendly colleges
honors Mandela centenary
An Augsburg University delegation that
included administrators and Board of
Regents members traveled to Namibia
and South Africa for Nelson Mandela’s
centenary celebration. While there,
Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow
visited the university’s Namibia
operations and met with students.
Here, he’s pictured in Cape Town
with guide Shireen Narkedien.
AROUND THE QUAD
test-optional admissions policy
BOARD OF REGENTS MEMBERS
Matthew Entenza, senior advisor on energy and the economy to
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, was elected chair of the Augsburg
University Board of Regents at its October 6 meeting.
In addition, the Augsburg Corporation, at its annual September
meeting, elected three new members to the Board of Regents and
re-elected six members.
Elected to their first term on the Augsburg Board of Regents:
Mark Johnson ’75, retired city planner and
former president of Sonju Motors in Two
Terry Lindstrom ’73, drug discovery
consultant and former Eli Lilly distinguished
research fellow in Indianapolis, Indiana
Nancy Mueller ’85, physics and chemistry
teacher in Rochester, Minnesota
Mark Johnson ’75
Elected to a second or third term:
Diane Jacobson, former director of the
Book of Faith Initiative for the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America
Terry Lindstrom ’73
for Hagfors Center for Science,
Business, and Religion
Toby Piper LaBelle ’96, senior vice president
of Northland Securities, a Minneapolis
securities brokerage firm
Nancy Mueller ’85
LaJune Thomas Lange ’75, former co-vice
chair of the Minnesota Supreme Court Task Force on Racial
Bias in the Courts and of the Minnesota Supreme Court Task
Force on Gender Fairness in the Courts
Dean Sundquist ’81, chairman and chief executive officer
of Mate Precision Tooling in Anoka, Minnesota
David Tiede, former president and professor of New
Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota
See the full list of Board of Regents members
LEED Gold Certification
Dr. Steven Larson ’72, chief executive officer
and chairman of the board of Riverside
Medical Clinic in Riverside, California
This past spring, the Augsburg faculty approved
a pilot test-optional admissions policy, making
submission of ACT or SAT test scores optional for fall
2019 first-year and transfer undergraduate student
applicants, except in specific circumstances.
“The test-optional admission policy aligns with
Augsburg’s mission of intentional diversity and
is expected to increase the university’s pool of
completed applicants each year,” said Nate Gorr,
assistant vice president for innovation.
For a number of student populations,
standardized test scores may not reflect an accurate
indication of academic ability—including, for
example, people without access to test preparation
courses and tutors, those who can’t afford to
retake the test, people with learning and physical
differences, and English language learners. This
policy change also aligns with Augsburg’s holistic
admissions process, which looks at quantitative
metrics and beyond. The application-review process
allows Augsburg to maintain the university’s
academic standards and ensure Augsburg admits
students with the capacity to succeed.
Augsburg University’s new signature
interdisciplinary building—the Norman and
Evangeline Hagfors Center for Science, Business,
and Religion—achieved Leadership in Energy
and Environmental Design (LEED) certification
from the U.S. Green Building Council. In keeping
with Augsburg’s commitment to environmental
stewardship, the Hagfors Center was
designed to incorporate elements that
maximize resource efficiency and
minimize environmental impact, both
in its construction and throughout
its operational lifetime. LEED is one
of the most popular green building
certification programs used worldwide.
RIVER SEMESTER 2018
A group of 15 Augsburg University students, two professors, and two guides
departed August 24 in 24-foot voyageur canoes to spend the semester
studying, researching, and living on the Mississippi River. The students
and their guides are traveling nearly 1,000 miles, making stops to camp at
The River Semester, led by Associate Professor of Political Science
Joe Underhill, is a unique 100-day, hands-on, interdisciplinary program.
Students earn 16 credits studying biology, environmental science, health
and physical education, and political science. This is Augsburg’s second
time conducting the program; the first was in 2015.
Experiential education is a trademark of students’ Augsburg experiences.
“We do this because we think this is the best way to learn both about the
Mississippi River and about what’s going on out in the world,” Underhill said.
Students return to the Twin Cities on December 1.
2018–19 CONVOCATION SERIES
In October, Augsburg’s annual convocation series kicked off with
the Bernhard M. Christensen Symposium featuring author and
educator Rahuldeep Gill and his presentation, “Who Are ‘We?’ A
Sikh Perspective on Vocation, Justice, and Death.” Through his
lectures and workshops, Gill works to build pluralism and crosscultural relations to inspire connected communities on campus,
in the workplace, and in the marketplace.
In November, the Center for Wellness and Counseling
Convocation welcomed Gloria Burgess, pioneering scholar,
author, and international inspirational speaker. Her presentation
was titled “Greatness Lives in All of Us!”
SAVE THE DATE:
Join us Monday, January 21,
for the Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. All
convocation events are free, public, and held
in the Foss Center. For more information, go
A look at environmental privilege
with social worker Christina Erickson
Whether it’s popping up in social media news feeds or emerging in conversations held
around the dinner table, the concept of “privilege” is rising in the public consciousness.
“Privilege has become a serious area of inquiry in recent years,” said Augsburg
Professor of Social Work Christina Erickson. “White privilege and male privilege have
hit the spotlight, as have racial disparities in policing and the #MeToo movement highlighting harassment and sexual
assault. Environmental privilege is a related phenomenon, and, while it seems to be an understudied area of privilege
(and not the only one), it is still important, probably more than we realize.”
Erickson teaches courses in environmental justice and social change, and she’s taking on the challenge of exploring
environmental privilege in greater depth. She is the author of “Environmental Justice as Social Work Practice,” a textbook
designed to bring an understanding of environmental privilege into social work curricula.
How do you describe
Environmental privilege is having
access to a resource simply because
of your social identity categories—race, age,
gender, income, and geography. Studies
have shown that if you have a higher
income, you likely have more green space
near your home, work, or school. Not to
mention owning a cabin, attending summer
camp, or even seeing people who look like
you at our most beautiful natural spaces. If
you use all the water you want for your daily
self care and other activities without thinking
about it, you have environmental privilege.
Is environmental justice similar to
social justice and, if so, how?
Environmental justice and social
justice are intricately linked in ways
that we have only begun to discover
and name. For example, kids living in
neighborhoods with poor air quality are
missing school due to asthma more than
kids breathing clean air. If you can’t
go to school, your chances for school
success, which leads to adult success,
Can you describe environmental
injustices and the disparities
some groups face?
In 1987, research found that
waste facilities were most often
near neighborhoods of people of color,
many of them containing toxic waste.
Even our own Minnesota nuclear power
facility, located near Prairie Island
Indian Community, is an example of how
some people are forced to live closer to
environmental burdens than others.
Why is it important to reflect on our own
privilege, and how can we dismantle it?
Dismantling privileges is one of
the ways we create social change.
When we think about creating shifts in
society, we generally need to stop certain
behaviors—such as racist hiring practices
or sexual harassment—to integrate new
behaviors to take the place of the old.
Augsburg already has taken a stand on
water—we encourage our entire campus
community to refill water bottles from our
own taps, which environmental studies
students tested for safety.
How does your social work
background align with your work
in environmental justice?
For most of my life I viewed myself
as a social worker who was an
environmentalist. It wasn’t until coming
to Augsburg, collaborating on our
interdisciplinary environmental studies
major, working with my social work
colleagues on privilege and oppression,
and participating in our Environmental
Stewardship Committee that I began to
recognize myself, in an integrated way, as
an environmental justice social worker.
AROUND THE QUAD
MINNESOTA URBAN DEBATE LEAGUE
receives renewed support from three area foundations
The Minnesota Urban Debate League, a program of Augsburg University,
entered the 2018–19 school year with a full head of steam thanks to funding
and partnership support from three Twin Cities grantmakers.
• With a $25,000 grant from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, MNUDL
will launch a program centered on building financial literacy skills. Young
women will learn financial concepts using the format of academic debate,
which breaks down abstract concepts and makes them more relevant. Funds
from this grant also will offer a cohort of women and gender-nonconforming
students the opportunity to attend The Advocacy Unit, an advocacy skills
training summer camp that takes place on Augsburg’s campus.
• MNUDL will reach even more students in St. Paul Public Schools using
a $40,000 grant from the St. Paul Foundation. MNUDL will add four middle
school programs over the next two years. Funds also will make it possible for
MNUDL to expand culturally specific debate programs for Spanish-speaking
and Somali students.
• A $40,000 grant from the Otto Bremer Foundation will provide general
operating support, helping MNUDL expand a variety of priorities, including
increasing summer camp opportunities for middle and high school students.
Athletics apparel, then and now
Forty years of serving
American Indian students
In October, Augsburg’s American
Indian Student Services celebrated
its 40th anniversary. The program
has been a national model of success
since 1978. Approximately 130
students representing more than 25
tribes are enrolled part time or full
time in Augsburg’s undergraduate
and graduate programs.
Special invitees to the 40th
anniversary reception included
Bonnie Wallace, Augsburg regent
emerita and the first director of the
AISS program, as well as current
Board of Regents members Eric Jolly,
Marlene Whiterabbit Helgemo, and
Noya Woodrich ’92, ’94 MSW.
Today Augsburg University’s varsity athletes wear high-performance gear that aligns with their high-caliber
capabilities. Many Auggie teams are sporting new uniform styles following Augsburg’s name change and a
recent partnership with BIG Athletics to supply athletes with adidas apparel, uniforms, footwear, and accessories
over the next five years. Here’s a glimpse at how current styles compare to those worn in years gone by.
See other athletic uniforms
2017–18 AUGSBURG UNIVERSITY
Thank you. Your giving supports current and future Auggies
as they gain skills and knowledge to thrive in their careers,
pursue advanced scholarship, and achieve in leadership
roles after graduation. Learn more about opportunities to
support an Augsburg education at augsburg.edu/giving.
ENDOWMENT MARKET VALUE
May 31, 2018—$48,136,083
EXPENSES BY CATEGORY
Salaries and benefits
Utilities and insurance
Fiscal year 2017–18 operating budget:
2009 2010 2011
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
As of May 31, 2018, Augsburg University had annual realized and unrealized gains of
10.19 percent on the university endowment. The five-year average annual return on
the endowment is 7.11 percent and the 10-year average annual return is 4.70 percent.
Augsburg is committed to maintaining the value of the principal to provide support to the
university in perpetuity.
PHYSICAL PLANT VALUE
REVENUE BY SOURCE
Room and board
May 31, 2018—$123.6 million
2009 2010 2011
$63.6 $65.5 $62.8
2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
The quality and value of Augsburg’s physical plant is on the rise. The largest recent
contributor is the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion, which was completed
in November 2017.
Augsburg University is stronger and more vibrant than ever.
Investments in priorities like scholarships, experiential learning, research, and faculty mentorship
change the trajectories of students’ lives. We are deeply grateful for your generosity and the generosity
of alumni, parents, and friends who helped Augsburg raise $18,187,380 during fiscal year 2017–18.
The philanthropy of more than 9,400 donors will help the university attract talented students and the
dedicated faculty and staff who teach and guide them.
THIS IS WHAT GRATEFUL AUGGIES LOOK LIKE
THIS IS WHAT A
Lex Dorfman ’18
Mabeth Saure Gyllstrom Scholarship, Helen (Mohn) Henderson Scholarship,
Mary E. (Mimi) Johnson Scholarship, Hoversten Peace Scholarship
Hometown: Minnetonka, Minnesota
Studying: Religion, Spanish, and Leadership
Lex Dorfman ’18 spent her summer in Norway studying alongside students from around the
world. As one of two Peace Scholars selected at Augsburg this year and funded by the Hoversten
Peace Scholarship and other donors, Dorfman’s time in Lillehammer and Oslo was part of a robust
program designed to pair academic inquiry with real-world dialogue and to give students an
introduction to the field of conflict studies.
For Dorfman, the Peace Scholar program aligns with many of the topics she’s explored
throughout her college experience. Also an Augsburg Interfaith Scholar, Dorfman called on her own
multicultural background to found a Hillel organization on campus and to foster new opportunities
to build connections between people from diverse backgrounds. “Augsburg has offered me a
personal, hands-on education,” she said. “I have been able to create an organization on campus,
interview Jewish leaders, and collaborate with a variety of students because of Augsburg’s
engaging and small-but-powerful community.”
THIS IS WHAT AN
Alex Wilson ’19
Arne and Jean Markland Scholarship
Hometown: Oak Grove, Minnesota
Alex Wilson ’19 can put the title “All-American” next to his name in two different contexts.
Competing in his first NCAA Division III National Championship tournament last March, the
Auggie wrestler earned All-American honors with a fifth-place finish at 149 pounds. He also
was among eight Augsburg wrestlers to earn the Division III Scholar All-America distinction
from the National Wrestling Coaches Association based on student-athletes’ GPAs.
Whether he’s facing an opponent on the mat or looking to ace an exam, Wilson has a
drive to excel that will serve him well as he applies to competitive graduate programs and
pursues his dream of becoming a physician assistant. For Wilson, Augsburg is a place where
there’s harmony between athletic and academic achievements. “Augsburg has helped me
develop as a student and as an athlete by giving me all of the resources I would ever need to
be successful,” Wilson said. “Faculty support creates an atmosphere where it is possible to
succeed in whatever you do.”
THIS IS WHAT AN
Baoyia Kong ’19
Leola G. Anderson Scholarship, William and Anne Frame
Scholarship, Adeline Marie (Rasmussen) Johnson Scholarship
Hometown: St. Paul, Minnesota
Studying: Social Work and Psychology
Baoyia Kong ’19 has the guts to just dive in. When she studied at Augsburg’s Center for
Global Education and Experience site in Cuernavaca, Mexico, the social work major interned at
a grade school, helping administrators infuse inclusive practices into the school’s operations
and culture—and honing her Spanish skills along the way.
Whether studying in Minneapolis or Mexico, Kong sees Augsburg as “a community with so
many opportunities.” Kong has enhanced her academic experience by seeking out opportunities
beyond the classroom, completing an additional internship with Hennepin County, volunteering
at a medical clinic in Augsburg’s Cedar-Riverside neighborhood, playing intramural volleyball,
and joining the Augsburg Asian Student Association and Hmong Women Together campus
organizations. Kong said her Augsburg experience has shaped her as a leader because the
university encourages students to be engaged in topics that align with their passions and
creates “spaces for all to grow and flourish in their education.”
BY JOHN W
her properly into the world,” said one of Jane Austen’s
characters, “and ten to one but she has the means of
settling well, without further expense to anybody.”
For a line published in 1814’s “Mansfield Park,” it
prophetically resonates in the life and work of Augsburg
alumna Devoney Looser ’89.
Looser earned a doctorate in English and women’s
studies, holds extensive credentials as a professor who
has served at leading universities, and has written and
contributed to dozens of books, scores of academic
journals, and even more book reviews. When national and
international publications need an expert on 18th-century
literature, British women writers, or Jane Austen, they want
Looser—if they can catch her before roller derby practice.
Looser grew up in White Bear Lake, Minnesota. College
seemed like a distant dream, both because of the financial
barrier and the fact that she came from a family with no
college degree in sight. Her perspective changed when she
applied to Augsburg and earned a President’s Scholarship
for her academic merit.
“That made all the difference in terms of my ability to
go to college. Augsburg gave me an incredibly generous
opportunity with that scholarship,” Looser said.
PHOTOS BY DEANNA DENT,
ARIZONA STATE UNIVERSITY
Looser wasn’t outwardly
confident, but she caught
the eye of Cathie Nicholl, an
English professor who taught
at Augsburg for nearly 30 years
until her retirement in 1999.
Though Looser was somewhat
quiet, Nicholl said, “her written
work was always wonderful.
She’s really blossomed a lot
Looser first became
enthralled with Jane Austen’s
writings through a literature
class with Nicholl, who has
with Looser through several
decades. “I had no idea at
the time how significant, how
important [that connection with
Nicholl] would turn out to be
to my life—to a path toward a
future in [literary] work.”
Douglas Green, a professor of
English who’s taught at Augsburg
since 1988, met Looser when
he first arrived at the university.
“She was exceptional. We
had a real conversation about
literature,” said Green, a
poet and scholar who teaches
Shakespeare, drama, and writing
as well as gender, sexuality, and
was very shy at 18, and to see
the same faces who could tell
me, ‘You can do this,’ made a
big difference in my believing
For a suburbanite, moving to
the heart of Minneapolis was
an education in itself. “Being
in an urban area, being able
to live among other students
was amazing,” Looser said.
“Augsburg’s student body was
very diverse. Being in class
alongside students from all over
the world was mind-blowing. It
made me reimagine my role in
women’s studies at institutions
including the University of
Missouri, Louisiana State
University, University of
State University, and the State
University of New York at Stony
Brook. She is described as a
thoughtful and wise mentor
who empathizes with firstgeneration college students.
Her ability to reflect on and
relate to the challenges others
face is something Looser shares
with the central figure of her
academic work: Jane Austen.
Did Austen predict roller derby?
Though literature was central
in feeding Looser’s ravenous
appetite for knowledge, people
and experiences also offered
lessons beyond the classroom.
“There were lots of things at
Augsburg that brought me out
of my shell,” Looser said. “I
the world, and what my world
could be, and how I was part of
Engaging with a variety of
people and ideas has served
Looser well in her literary
pursuits and academic
experience alike. She has held
positions teaching English and
“Austen is one of the most
observers in all of the history of
the novel,” said Jenny Davidson,
a novelist and professor of
English at Columbia University
who connected with Looser over
their shared professional interest
in 18th-century literature.
Known for romantic plots
steeped in English society,
including “Pride and Prejudice”
and “Sense and Sensibility,”
Austen’s writings have been
in print continuously for
nearly 200 years and retain
an unassailable foothold in
contemporary art and culture.
Who was Jane Austen, really—
and how did she become what
she represents now?
That’s the focus of Looser’s
latest book, “The Making of
Jane Austen,” which earned
high praise among literary peers.
It was named a Publishers
Weekly Best Summer Book for
nonfiction, featured in CNN
interviews, and reviewed in The
Economist, The New York Times,
and The Wall Street Journal.
scholarship has led to an
abundance of prestigious
opportunities, including a
fellowship from the National
Endowment for the Humanities
and a Guggenheim Foundation
Fellowship in support of one of
her current projects: a book about
unheralded British sister novelists
Jane and Anna Maria Porter.
Davidson offered a scholar’s
perspective: “The project on
the Porter sisters is a genuine
project of reclamation, of
rewriting an injustice of
literary history: these were
two extremely widely read and
well-regarded novelists whom
literary history has essentially
dumped in the trash.” Because
of Looser’s background,
Davidson believes, the firstgeneration college graduate
is attracted to the works of
underdogs and can convey
their stories empathetically and
Perhaps her affinity for the
underdog is part of what drew
Looser to a lesser-known sport—
Nearly a decade ago, Looser
and her friend Katie Carr, a
special collections librarian
at the University of Missouri
where Looser was a professor
of English, reconnected over a
mutual sense that they needed
a change. Angela Rehbein,
one of Looser’s then-graduate
students who is now a professor
of English at West Liberty
University, joined them to skate
at a roller rink’s retro night,
where members of a local roller
derby team invited the three to
derby practice. It sounded fun,
so they accepted.
Roller derby is a sport in
which two teams of five players
in roller skates line up on a
track. The “jammer” on each
team tries to maneuver past
the “blockers” on the opposing
team, and it all happens in a
series of two-minute increments
called “jams.” Players force
opponents off the track or block
them with their shoulders,
chests, and hips. Because it’s
full-contact, they wear helmets,
mouthguards, knee pads, and
It’s customary for derby players
to create personas based on
names that use a play on words.
Carr dubbed Looser “Stone
Cold Jane Austen,” a mashup
of Looser’s literary expertise
and professional wrestler Steve
Austin’s stage name.
Looser is now a faculty
advisor to the roller derby
team in addition to her work
as a professor of English at
Arizona State University. She
still remembers the coaches
who patiently taught her to
play derby, which perhaps
unexpectedly refreshed her
perspective on higher education.
“It’s humbling to start out as
a complete newbie, and being
laid flat and embarrassing
myself,” she said. “It put me
in headspace that made me
realize how students must feel
their first year of college, when
you didn’t know what you were
doing, and it was terrifying.”
People who know Looser
best—like Carr, Rehbein, and
her former doctoral student
Emily Friedman—point to
Looser’s knack for transforming
her interests into excellence.
“There’s this world-renowned
academic and also someone
who plays roller derby and
excels at it. She is an incredibly
generous friend and an amazing
wife and mother,” Carr said,
referring to Looser’s sons and
husband George Justice, a
fellow Austen scholar and
British literature professor at
Arizona State University.
“I learned a lot from Devoney’s
incredible work ethic and her
generosity toward her students
and toward other scholars,”
added Rehbein, who appreciates
Looser’s influence both in and
beyond the classroom.
The same is true for
Friedman, who has also worked
on Austen scholarship and now
serves as a professor of English
at Auburn University. Friedman
observed Looser’s simultaneous
commitment to hard work and
a rewarding life outside of
it, and how “she keeps them
dancing rather than in conflict
Like Jane Austen and many
icons before her, Looser will
maneuver past any limitations in
“She’s the hardest worker I
know,” said Friedman. “I’m just
trying to skate in her tracks.”
Looser’s next book topic:
for THE FUTURE
Theater professor Darcey Engen ’88 helps plan a
forward-looking 150th anniversary celebration
BY STEPHEN JENDRASZAK
arcey Engen, professor of theater
arts, has been on both sides of an
Augsburg education: student and professor.
As a leader on campus, she brings both
perspectives to bear.
Thinking from a student perspective, she
understands the intense obligations today’s
students face and, with her colleagues,
implemented a series of changes to
make it possible for students from all
backgrounds and enrolled in any major
to participate in Augsburg’s theatrical
productions despite family or work
As a faculty member, Engen observed
that faculty in the arts sometimes struggled
to receive appropriate credit for their artistic
and scholarly work, so she advocated
for revisions to promotion and tenure
guidelines to address the issue.
Now, she’s been asked to call on those
twin perspectives in a new leadership
role: helping to guide the commemoration
of Augsburg’s sesquicentennial during
the 2019–20 academic year. In a recent
interview, Engen shared her views on
the university’s 150th anniversary, the
important contributions faculty will make
in commemorating the occasion, and
what makes Augsburg unique in American
One of the things I love about Augsburg is that we
are more like the real world than other colleges
and universities. The needs of the real world
around us are present in everything we do.”
You are a co-chair of the sesquicentennial committee.
What do you hope this milestone will do for Augsburg?
I hope that it gives us a moment in time to understand our past,
mark where we are now, and look forward. It’s an opportunity for
us to appreciate those who came before us, what we’re doing in
the present, and those who will inevitably follow after us.
What does this occasion mean to you as both an alumna
and a faculty member?
In our costume shop, there are boxes and boxes that say things
like “summer hats.” Those labels were handwritten by my
professor, Ailene Cole, the former chair of the theater department,
before she retired in her 80s. When I’m in the costume shop
and see her handwriting, I’m reminded of her and what she did
for me and all her students. That inspires me to do the same
for my students. As a former chair myself, now, I am part of a
legacy, which gives me a lot of satisfaction. I’m aware that all of
us, chairs and faculty, are so privileged to be able to create an
atmosphere where our students can thrive as artists. I keep
the past with me as I try to carve out paths for the future with
How are faculty members going to be involved in marking
this significant moment in the life of the institution?
I’m very grateful that we were able to make resources available for
faculty to create scholarly projects that reflect sesquicentennial
themes. The support opens the door for these scholarly projects,
whether they be permanent works or ephemeral experiences, to
be installed or occur during our yearlong celebration. They will
honor and mark the 150th anniversary and also give faculty the
opportunity to expand the good work they do, which is ultimately
to support our students.
I understand that the number of proposals for faculty
sesquicentennial projects exceeded your expectations.
What does that enthusiasm say to you?
It was amazing to get all the proposals for such thoughtful
projects. It goes to show you that we faculty members all have in
us, no matter how busy our days can sometimes be, a great love
for this institution.
What kinds of projects are faculty members working on,
and what are they trying to achieve?
There’s so much incredible work being done, but I’ll offer a few
examples to give you an idea of the scope of the effort.
Sonja Thompson, assistant professor of music, is working on
an original musical—with original music—about Augsburg,
embracing both the rocky and exceptional moments in our
history. Her team is interviewing as many people as possible and
conducting story circles where students, staff, alumni, and friends
can share their Augsburg experiences to inform the production.
Erik Steinmetz, assistant professor of computer science, is
building an app for exploring Augsburg’s campus now and at
various points in history via augmented or virtual reality. The
idea is that if you’re on campus, you can look around through
your phone and see what a particular part of campus looked
like at another time. And if you’re not here, you can virtually
explore those same environments. We’re hoping to create online
experiences that capture as much of the art and activity and
scholarship happening on campus that year as possible.
As Augsburg prepares to commemorate 150 years,
what stands out for you?
I’ve toured a lot of colleges; I’ve taught at two other universities.
One of the things I love about Augsburg is that we are more like
the real world than other colleges and universities. The needs of
the real world around us are present in everything we do.
Augsburg’s plans to celebrate the sesquicentennial are developing,
and updates will be posted at augsburg.edu/150.
Katia Iverson ’12
orients newcomers to
the United States amid
and narrowing policies
The Augsburg Air Structure—and the rest of the Minneapolis campus—looked
practically otherworldly following a record-breaking April 2018 snowstorm.
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE DOME
THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE
BY KATE H. ELLIOTT
DOZENS OF BUSES
en route from 25
Minnesota school districts pause on 23rd Avenue
to unload hundreds of students in grades three
through six at the Augsburg University Air Structure
(aka the Augsburg Dome). The air lock opens, and
grinning youngsters wheel, walk, and run into the
360-by-216-by-63-foot inflatable bubble lined with
activities to exercise their cognitive, emotional, and
Augsburg has held this one-day Sports
Extravaganza for nearly 20 Novembers. Do the
math: that’s more than 4,000 children, teachers,
and paraprofessionals who have visited campus,
and two decades of Auggies who have applied
their health, physical education, and exercise
science coursework to the field.
HPE instructor Carol Enke said the event
wouldn’t have started without the dome.
“Imagine funneling hundreds of kids with
mental and/or physical disabilities into Si Melby
Hall via untold batches of elevator trips,” she
said. “Without the air structure, this dual
community engagement and learning opportunity
would have never taken off.
“Every year, teachers tell us that students ask
about the event from the first day of classes,
and we see that excitement as kids meet others
and participate in activities they might have
assumed were inaccessible to them.”
Sports Extravaganza is one of several community events
squeezed into the dome between softball and lacrosse
games and practices for baseball, track and field, golf,
soccer, and football. Physical education classes, intramural
activities, alumni events, and more also vie for the space,
which features four batting cages, a driving range net, and
four soccer goals.
About 35 campus and community groups schedule
the space each year, according to Greg Holker, the men’s
soccer head coach, who helps manage dome schedules as
part of his dual role as athletic facilities assistant manager.
Thousands of people use the dome for a total of about
3,000 hours during any given year.
“Regular users include our sports teams, HPE classes,
camps, the Minneapolis United Soccer Club, and other
prominent academies and associations,” he added.
“During Super Bowl LII this year, a large corporation
hosted a Punt, Pass, and Kick Competition, and
the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee filmed a
commercial in the space.”
Each November, more than 500 student-athletes join
coaches, staff, and administrators to erect the weather-proof
structure. It’s a Herculean effort that illustrates the
university’s cooperative, all-in attitude, according to
Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79. Come May, after 12-hour
weekdays and about 18-hour weekend days, the dome is put
away in about three hours, again by a campus-wide team.
Swenson said the dome has substantially increased
Augsburg’s workout space.
“Nobody appreciates the air structure more than our spring
sports,” Swenson said. “Access to a climate-controlled
regulation field in our backyard gets them in the game earlier
in the season without interruptions due to weather.”
The university also is able to offer physical education
classes, including golf and soccer, in the spring. Eric
Rolland ’97, men’s and women’s golf head coach, said
without the dome, spring offerings would be limited to
indoor activities like bowling. And while Rolland enjoys
throwing a strike as much as the best of them, the former
All-American golfer said he has enjoyed the ability to teach
golf throughout the year.
“It’s a lifelong sport that can enhance your career, given
that so many business meetings occur on the golf course,”
said Rolland, who has taught golf classes for the past five
years. “Students make lasting friendships, too, as the
dome transforms into a giant driving range where students
visit as they perfect their swings.”
The Augsburg University women’s lacrosse team competed in the dome in Spring 2018.
THE DOME ‘SAVED
Talk of spring takes Softball Head Coach Melissa Lee ’04
back to April, when the Twin Cities experienced its
snowiest and fourth-coldest April on record, according
to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, which
reported 26.1 inches of the white stuff and an average
high of 47.4 degrees.
“It was the winter that would never end,” said Lee, who
is in her 15th season on Augsburg’s coaching staff. “Other
teams in our conference have to rent out dome space
or practice on hard gym floors incapable of mimicking
competition, so when the weather is bad, those players
may catch—or try to catch—their first deep pop fly of the
season during a game. We made the playoffs last year,
and I believe the dome contributed to that success.”
Then-senior-outfielder Katie Parker ’18 was among
the Augsburg softball players who spent the majority
of the 2018 season under the dome. Playing inside
requires adjustment, she said, with rules against catching
deflected balls (to avoid injuries), turf vs. dirt, and many
lights, rather than the sun’s sole beam. But the snowy
season didn’t faze the native of Lakeville, Minnesota.
“It’s our home turf, literally, so we practice in the space
long before our first game,” said Parker, who graduated
in May with a bachelor’s in elementary education with
a focus on special education. “I loved the sense of
community and cooperation as we worked side-by-side
with student-athletes on other teams to take down and set
up fence panels and goals, depending on the sport. Coach
Lee also worked hard and stayed up late to make sure
other area softball programs could access to the dome to
finish out their seasons.”
Will this year be a repeat of last season? The Farmers’
Almanac indicates ‘no,’ Coach Lee said, but the Minnesota
native jokes the state’s weather is as unpredictable as a
curve ball. What is not inconsistent, she added, is Auggies’
willingness to work together—snow or shine.
Assistant Baseball Coach Zach Bakko ’18 echoed Lee’s
appreciation for the dome’s ability to bring athletes across
Augsburg’s 21 sports together with each other, the campus,
and greater community. Bakko spent several seasons
fielding balls under the dome lights as an Auggie outfielder.
“Whether it be quarterback Quinn Frisell ’19 throwing
out routes to his agile receivers, golfer Brett Buckingham ’21
working on his swing, or soccer forward Ashley St. Aubin ’20
figuring out another way to score a hat trick, I’ve been
able to see athletes in other sports work to maximize
their potential,” said Bakko. Plus, “The space allows
our campus to give back to the community and make a
positive difference in the lives of young athletes [through
camps and clinics].”
“Having worked for athletics, I’ve met the real heroes of
the dome—athletics administrators, coaches, and all the
maintenance staff—managing scheduling, cleaning, and
every other task that arises,” he added. “That willingness
to come together and do what’s needed, regardless of
whether it’s in your job description, has expanded my
understanding of the word ‘team.’”
Find bonus content and
fun facts about the dome
Augsburg community members work together to assemble the
dome each fall. First installed in 1993, Augsburg’s original dome
was one of the premier inflatable air structures in the Midwest.
gives students an edge
BY GITA SITARAMIAH
The summer before his third year at Augsburg,
Fekireselassie Beyene ’16 was paid to research Earth’s
magnetosphere. He worked in a lab on campus under the
direction of a physics faculty member.
And he discovered a passion for space physics.
Beyene’s research, which was funded by Dean ’91
and Amy Sundquist his first summer and TRIO McNair
Scholars for the second, helped him stand out in national
scholarship competitions. The following year, he was
awarded a Goldwater Scholarship, a prestigious national
program that provides financial support to undergraduates
who show the promise of becoming leading scientists,
engineers, and mathematicians. Then, Beyene’s Augsburg
advisors helped him successfully apply for the National
Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program,
providing him with more than $100,000 for graduate school.
Now a Ph.D. student in space physics at UCLA, Beyene
credits his Augsburg undergraduate research experience
with getting him where he is today.
“You don’t see the level of personal coaching at other
schools like you do at Augsburg,” he said. “I really
appreciate that about Augsburg.”
Augsburg’s undergraduate research opportunities are
paying off for students like Beyene, who compete alongside
the nation’s top students to land high-profile fellowships,
internships, and scholarships as well as selection to highly
competitive graduate programs.
In fact, Augsburg had a banner year in 2017–18, with
a record number of students earning prestigious awards
Here are some highlights:
• Augsburg had six Fulbright winners named this past
year and has been listed five times in The Chronicle
of Higher Education as a top producer of Fulbrights
for master’s level institutions. The previous singleyear record for Augsburg was four. Since 2008,
Augsburg’s Fulbright winners total 29.
An Augsburg student was one of just four Minnesota
recipients of the Goldwater Scholarship last year. Out
of 1,280 applicants nationwide, 211 were named.
Three Auggies were Critical Language Scholarship
winners in the first year that Augsburg undergraduates
pursued this fellowship. Only 10 percent of applicants
nationwide receive this award. Two of the students
were selected to study Swahili in Tanzania; the third,
to study Mandarin in Taiwan.
Another two Auggies were Public Policy and
International Affairs Program winners. Only
20 percent of applicants nationally are accepted
into this program. One of the Augsburg winners
studied at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at
the University of Minnesota. The other student spent
seven weeks at University of California—Berkeley in
a law-focused program.
For the first time ever, an Augsburg student won a
Boren Award, which honors undergraduates studying
language in areas underrepresented in study abroad
programs. The Auggie, who studied Swahili at the
University of Florida this past summer, is continuing
to study the language and culture in Tanzania this
semester. He will commit to one year of paid federal
government service after graduation.
Undergraduate research boosts the résumés of Auggies
like Holly Kundel ’19, who looked for a rare dragonfly in
Twin Cities area wetlands.
are the result of Augsburg’s
decade-plus commitment to
providing undergraduate research
opportunities for students.
Two programs are responsible
for much of this success: the Office
of Undergraduate Research and
Graduate Opportunity and the
McNair Scholars program.
URGO, now in its 14th year, offers
an 11-week, on-campus, faculty-led
undergraduate research experience with
50 students each summer. Students receive support
throughout the research process from a faculty mentor,
participate in weekly seminars, and engage in roundtable
discussions with fellow student researchers to hone their
communication skills. URGO also advises students about
national fellowships, graduate school, medical school, and
other health sciences.
The McNair Scholars program is a federally funded
program designed to prepare students from groups currently
underrepresented in graduate school for doctoral studies to
some of the most competitive institutions in the U.S. The
program currently serves 26 students a year and includes
21 months of graduate school preparation workshops, travel
to national research conferences, and hands-on scholarly
research projects with faculty mentors.
Through these programs,
talented Augsburg students
are earning prestigious national
opportunities that they otherwise
may not even have known about.
“Many [of the students] who win
awards and fellowships had never even
heard the word ‘Fulbright’ before they
were in this program,” said Dixie Shafer,
When students start their first summer
research experience, Shafer said, they’re
looking around wondering how they got selected.
“You can tell they’re a little bit nervous,”
she said. “By the end, when they’re giving oral
presentations and submitting projects, they’re the
experts in the room. Their level of confidence has grown.”
Students agree that they gain key skills from research
and writing in partnership with faculty members, presenting
their work at conferences, and receiving hands-on guidance
from advisors about how to translate those experiences into
top fellowships, internships, scholarships, and graduate
programs. And they often go on to other off-campus research
experiences to expand their curricula vitae.
Blair Stewig ’18, currently a Fulbright scholar in Poland,
first did summertime research at Augsburg in a biophysics
lab. She successfully applied for an Augsburg grant to do
research while canoeing the Mississippi River during the
2015 River Semester experience, then did summer research
with the Minnesota Lupus Foundation at the Mayo Clinic.
The next summer, she conducted cancer research at Baylor
College of Medicine in Houston.
three URGO advisors on her medical
Currently, Stewig is conducting
research on colorectal cancer at the
“It was almost like they knew
International Institute of Molecular
more about my story than I did,”
and Cell Biology in Poland and will
shadow physicians and volunteer at
Shafer sees this type of faculty and
the Maria Skłodowska Curie Memorial
staff interaction with students as a
key part of helping students evolve.
“Without my research experience
“Faculty and staff believe in students
and the support of staff and faculty
and then the students start believing
at Augsburg, I don’t think I would
in themselves,” she said.
have had the confidence to apply
for the larger competitive
research experiences,” said
Stewig, who plans to apply
for combined M.D./Ph.D.
programs in the future.
Similarly, two months into
her first year at Augsburg,
biology major Vision Bagonza ’17
regularly started visiting the
URGO office and mapping her
trajectory to medical school.
“They were with me every step
of the way,” she said.
In her first summer research
project, Bagonza worked
on genomics research with
Associate Professor and
Biology Department Chair
Matthew Beckman. “That
Fieldwork experience inspired Holly Kundel ’19 to apply for
was instrumental to my
doctoral programs in freshwater ecology.
understanding of what was
going on throughout the field,”
Fourth-year biology major Holly
Kundel ’19 chose Augsburg after
The following summer, she
meeting faculty on a campus tour and
researched biomedical ethics at Mayo
Clinic, and she spent her third summer learning that she would be able to do
research directly with them.
researching malaria at Johns Hopkins.
The summer after her first year,
These experiences set the stage for her
Kundel began her paid research on
participation in the Mayo Innovation
the rare Spatterdock Darner dragonfly
Scholars program, where she learned
in Twin Cities area wetlands. Kundel,
about the complexities of the FDA
who loves being outdoors during
approval process when bringing
Minnesota summers, was drawn to
innovation to market. Finally, Bagonza
the project after approaching Biology
was awarded a full scholarship to the
and Environmental Studies Assistant
Cleveland Clinic Lerner School of
Professor Emily Schilling and learning
Medicine after working closely with
that the research entailed doing
Since then, Kundel has received
other grants to support her research
with Schilling. “It’s nice to work with
a faculty member who knows exactly
what my strengths and weaknesses
are,” Kundel said.
This year, Kundel received a
Goldwater Scholarship, providing
tuition assistance for her fourth year at
Augsburg, and the associated
prestige is expected to set
her apart in her applications
for doctoral programs in
freshwater ecology. “I wouldn’t
be applying to the graduate
programs I am this fall if I
hadn’t done this research at
Augsburg,” Kundel said.
While many in the URGO
Summer Research Program are
science majors, other disciplines
are represented as well.
English literature major
Abigail Tetzlaff ’18 studied
patterns in language and
rhetorical uses in poetry and
prose. Currently a Fulbright
Fellow in Berlin, she is an
English teaching assistant
and plans to pursue a Ph.D.
in English literature to ultimately
become a university professor.
“Especially for undergraduates
studying within the humanities, it isn’t
very common to come out of college
with a research experience already
complete,” Tetzlaff said.
For Beyene, if not for the direct
support from faculty and his McNair
Scholars and URGO advisors, he
wouldn’t have considered himself
graduate school material. “Being at
UCLA now, I realize how fortunate I
was to have programs like McNair and
URGO,” he said.
FROM THE ALUMNI BOARD PRESIDENT
Dear alumni and friends,
As always, the fall season at Augsburg was full of
excitement. This past August, for only the second time,
our community sent a group of Auggies to explore the
Mississippi on a River Semester off-campus study
experience. Over the course of the semester, these
students will spend 100 days paddling down the
river while learning about history, politics, and the
environment, and having the adventure of a lifetime.
Then, as the calendar turned to September, the community welcomed returning
students to a new academic year and ushered in the first-year students who make
up the class of 2022.
At Homecoming in October, we honored an accomplished group of
Distinguished Alumni. We found inspiration in hearing their stories and
learning about their achievements, and we were reminded of the talent and
dedication that Augsburg alumni exhibit across a vast spectrum of vocations
and commitments. Augsburg alumni are, indeed, remarkable professionals and
This year, I’m especially excited to serve on the Augsburg Alumni Board as its
members strive to increase the ways in which they give to the university. I have
personally committed to giving 50 hours of my time to Augsburg. I plan to attend
events, mentor a student, and help reconnect the Auggies in my social network
with the university.
If, like me, you’re interested in making a difference in the lives of others in
our Augsburg community, you’ll find that there are many ways to connect with
Augsburg in support of students.
• Consider attending the Auggie Networking Event coming up in February.
This is an opportunity for alumni to help students practice valuable
interpersonal skills that will benefit them in their future job searches
• Join us for the 2018–19 Auggie Take Out student mentoring program.
• Reconnect with Augsburg by volunteering with the Alumni Office or
the Alumni Board. We’re always looking for people to join our
• Volunteer to usher at Advent Vespers or to serve in another capacity.
In all of the ways that Augsburg has shown up for you, it is now the time to
show up for Augsburg. You can find information about these and other volunteer
opportunities at augsburg.edu/alumni. I hope you will consider sharing your time
and talents with the university this year.
Nearly 525 Auggies attended the Augsburg
University Homecoming celebration held
October 11–13. Alumni, students, and
community members gathered for a festive
weekend featuring more than two dozen events
that united the university’s remarkable legacy
with its contemporary identity.
If you are interested in serving on an
alumni reunion committee or volunteering
to help plan Homecoming 2019,
NICK RATHMANN ’03, ALUMNI BOARD PRESIDENT
+ PHOTOS COURTESY OF REBECCA ZENEFSKI SLATER
* PHOTO COURTESY OF BRIDGET DONOVAN
A LIFETIME OF ACTIVISM:
Augsburg students of the ’60s reflect on the past 50 years
In 1964, folk singer Bob Dylan released his album and song
“The Times They Are A-Changin’,” which served as a call for
change to address the social injustices he saw in the world.
For the group of young students entering what was then
Augsburg College that same year, his words would prove prescient.
College is a transformational time for students, but for members of
the class of 1968, the impact was especially pronounced.
The Augsburg graduating class of 1968 witnessed the United
States live through some of the worst upheavals in the nation’s
history. In late 1963, President John F. Kennedy had been
assassinated. By 1968, assassinations also would claim civil rights
leader Martin Luther King Jr. and the late president’s brother,
Robert F. Kennedy, as well as political activist and leader Malcolm X.
At the same time, the country was becoming violently divided over
social issues, including civil rights and the increasingly unpopular
war in Vietnam, with ever-larger numbers of young people being
drafted and sent to southeast Asia to fight.
In response, Augsburg students began to march for peace and
civil rights and to take part in programs like Augsburg’s Listening
Witness, which brought them to live and work in impoverished and
racially segregated neighborhoods in Chicago and elsewhere.
It was fitting, then, that at this year’s Homecoming celebration,
1968 alumni celebrating their 50th reunion delivered an Auggie
Talk titled “The Baby Boomer Effect: How Four Years Affected 50.”
The five speakers—Michael Arndt ’68, Kim Gudmestad ’68,
Ted Johnson ’68, Augsburg Board of Regents member LaJune
Thomas Lange ’75, and Joey Sylvester ’68—said their time at
Augsburg shaped the course of their lives. They described how
education empowered them to pursue lifelong work in the areas
of diversity, justice, public leadership, and social activism.
“I think [those times] had a profound effect on many of us as
individuals, and it certainly had a profound effect on Augsburg,”
said Rev. Mark Hanson ’68, an alumnus who went on to serve
as a pastor and the third presiding bishop of the Evangelical
Lutheran Church in America. “For me, Augsburg provided an
immersive experience so that those changing realities, those
cultural conflicts, and those strivings for racial justice and peace
in southeast Asia weren’t just topics that one was reading about or
subjects in a classroom. They became lived experiences.”
Hanson, who is now the executive director of Augsburg’s
Christensen Center for Vocation, said he’s seen the university
change as a result of activism originating in those pivotal mid-’60s
years. He points to increasing diversity in the current student
body—the result of an intentional commitment to inclusion,
equity, and intercultural competency.
Like Hanson, Myrna Sheie ’68, co-chair of the 1968 reunion
events, went on to work with the ELCA after graduation. She
reflected that she had entered college without much experience
with diverse cultures but saw both herself and Augsburg change
during her college years.
“When I started at Augsburg, I was both naïve and unaware
of the diversity we lacked,” she said. “Over the next four
years, my classmates and I were exposed to ideas, concepts,
and lifestyles—both inside and outside the classroom—that
challenged us intellectually, socially, and personally. I became
less naïve as my eyes and heart became more open.”
A laboratory for life
When Arndt, one of the Homecoming Auggie Talk presenters,
reflects on his college experience, his memories often connect the
time he spent on campus with dramatic life events that followed it.
Shortly after graduation, Arndt was drafted from his first
teaching job and sent to Vietnam as a member of the Army’s First
Cavalry division. He served in the jungle near the Cambodian
border and saw heavy military action that killed seven of his
friends. During that time, Arndt says he recited the Shakespeare
he’d learned during college to calm himself.
CELEBRATING A SEASON OF HOPE
39TH ANNUAL ADVENT VESPERS
Today, Arndt is chair and professor of Theatre Arts
and Dance at California Lutheran University and
the artistic director of the Kingsmen Shakespeare
Company. He calls on his experiences as a veteran and
artistic professional to use theater to help treat fellow
veterans suffering the effects of post-traumatic
“There was a time after I got out of the army when
I felt that the country was going to dissolve into civil
war,” he said. “There was such a divide and … a real
sense that we were going to end up in total chaos. In
talking with my college students today, there’s a sense
of that now. [But] I think one of the things we’re saying
is that those of us who felt that strongly in 1968 tried
to work to make a difference. And many of us did.”
Hanson concurs. “All that was taking place in the
Twin Cities, in the country, and in the world in those
four years became, for so many of us, not just objects
of study, but context in which we were being formed
for our future lives and vocations. And that’s still to
this day what is particularly unique about Augsburg—
it takes its context as the laboratory for life, not as
something from which we seek to flee.”
Augsburg’s Class of 1968 is working to raise $68,000 in
scholarship funds for future students. Learn more about
this initiative and their Auggie Talk at augsburg.edu/now.
For more than three decades, Augsburg University has ushered
in the Advent and Christmas seasons with Advent Vespers, a
magnificent experience of music and liturgy, focusing on the
theme of preparation and culminating in the joyful celebration of
the Incarnation. Advent Vespers is set in downtown Minneapolis
in the sanctuary of Central Lutheran Church, and this year Advent
Vespers services will occur November 29–December 1. To learn more
or request reservations, visit augsburg.edu/music/vespers.
Velkommen Jul is one of Augsburg’s most beloved traditions. It’s
an event that celebrates the university’s Norwegian heritage and
ushers in the Advent season.
Come join us Friday, November 30, at 10:30 a.m., in Hoversten
Chapel for a special chapel service—with Danish, Norwegian, and
Swedish carols, Scandinavian dancers, and the Gospel read in
Norwegian. Wear your Scandinavian sweater, if you have one; it’s a
tradition to take a group sweater photo!
Following chapel, the festivities continue in Christensen Center.
Shop in the boutique for unique gifts and homemade goodies,
and make sure to visit the buffet featuring lefse, krumkake, and
other treats. The buffet is complimentary, but donations are greatly
appreciated. All proceeds from the event support Augsburg
SAVE THE YEAR
Join us in honoring the traditions of Augsburg’s rich history and
celebrating the remarkable progress we have made in educating
students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical
thinkers, and responsible leaders. A yearlong series of events
including a sesquicentennial gala will commemorate our deep
roots and recognize our present opportunities and future endeavors
as we become a new kind of urban university.
Subscribe to the sesquicentennial events digital calendar to
participate in these community celebrations. Visit augsburg.edu/150.
GIVE TO THE MAX
Each year, Auggies around the world respond generously to
support the breadth of programs and experiences offered by
In total, over the past five years, Augsburg has raised more
than $1.5 million through Give to the Max Day efforts. And even if
you missed the opportunity to participate this year, you can find
information about our fundraising results and learn more about
additional ways to support the university at augsburg.edu/giving.
Plan ahead to participate in exciting alumni trips commemorating
Augsburg’s sesquicentennial. Overseas trips are planned to
locations in Norway and Germany that are central in
In May 2020, Darcey Engen ’88, Augsburg University
professor of theater arts, and her husband, Luverne Seifert ’83,
head of undergraduate theater performance at the University of
Minnesota, will lead a tour exploring the rich and vibrant arts
and culture of Norway. The tour will include plays, concerts,
and historical landmarks as well as an opportunity to celebrate
Syttende Mai in Norway.
At the same time, a tour exploring Norway’s peace work,
government, and environmental agencies will be co-led by
Bettine Hoff Hermanson, Norway Hub managing director, and
Joe Underhill, associate professor of political science and
director of environmental studies. This trip also includes the
opportunity to celebrate Syttende Mai in Norway.
In July 2020, Rev. Sonja Hagander, Augsburg University
pastor and director of ministries, will lead a hike to the Nidaros
Cathedral in Trondheim, Norway—a pilgrimage made by
travelers for more than 1,000 years. Along the way, the group
will learn about history and culture, and experience firsthand
some of the most beautiful nature in the world.
Also in July 2020, Augsburg associate professors of religion
Lori Brandt Hale and Hans Wiersma—who led the 2016 alumni
tour for the anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation—will lead
a tour to Bavaria, Germany, with stops in Nuremberg, Salzberg,
and additional nearby locations. The tour also includes tickets
to the world-famous Oberammergau Passion Play, which first
opened in 1634 and has been performed every 10 years since.
Contact Katie (Koch) Code ’01, director of alumni and constituent relations, at
firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-330-1178 if you are interested in learning more
about Augsburg’s travel opportunities.
ALUMNI CLASS NOTES
The French government
posthumously awarded Chester
Hendrickson ’42 the Jubilee of Liberty Medal
for his service and work in Normandy during
World War II.
Sulerud ’58 received
a Spirit of Augsburg
Award at Homecoming
for her faithful service
to Augsburg across
her time as a student,
member, and alumna. After graduating from
Augsburg in 1958 with a degree in English,
she became a junior high English teacher
and an elementary librarian in U.S. Air Force
Department of Defense Schools in Germany,
Japan, and Libya. Sulerud earned master’s
degrees in library science and English, served
as the treasurer of the Augsburg Associates,
and continues to stay involved at university
events. She personifies Augsburg’s calling to
humbly serve in a variety of ways.
Ph.D., received a
Award at Homecoming
and was recognized as a
leader, and advocate
who embodies faithful
service in true Auggie form. With a bachelor’s
degree in psychology from Augsburg and
master’s and doctoral degrees in counseling
psychology, he has worked as a CEO and has
served on the boards of organizations relating
to behavioral health care, health practices,
and housing. As a thoughtful steward and
responsible leader, his work has created
healthier, more fulfilling lives for many.
The St. Michael-Albertville
(Minnesota) Coaches Association
Hall of Fame Committee selected Darrell
Skogan ’71 as a Hall of Fame inductee. This
fall marks Skogan’s 51st season as statistician
for the school district. He also has umpired,
run clocks, and coached girls’ basketball and
softball throughout his tenure with the district.
John Sherman ’72 was honored
with two awards for his work
as a sports journalist. Sherman received
the Outstanding Media Award from the
Minnesota State High School League and the
Spinnaker Award from Minnetonka School
District. While at Augsburg, Sherman was
the editor for the school newspaper and
played baseball and soccer. Since graduating
46 years ago, he has served on the Sun
Newspaper staff in Edina, Minnesota.
Terry Lindstrom ’73 and Mark Johnson ’75
joined the Augsburg University Board of
Regents. See page 4.
Augsburg Athletic Director Jeff Swenson ’79
explains how the university’s dome gives
Auggies a competitive advantage. See page 16.
Hall of Fame inductee
Jeff Andrews ’82 was a
key defender on Auggie
men’s hockey teams
that won NAIA national
titles in both 1980–81
and 1981–82, while
winning MIAC titles and
reaching the NAIA tournament all four years
of his career. Andrews accumulated 29 goals
and 60 assists for 89 points in his college
career, and he earned All-MIAC honors in
1981–82 and All-MIAC Honorable Mention
honors in 1980–81.
star Brad Nelson ’82
was inducted into the
Augsburg Athletic Hall
of Fame. An All-MIAC
guard in 1981–82,
Nelson was a three-year
member of the Auggie
men’s basketball team,
averaging 12.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.9
assists per game in his career. He averaged
20.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 4.4 assists
per game on Augsburg’s MIAC runner-up
team in 1981–82, and averaged 7.8 points
on the Auggies’ MIAC title (later forfeited for
use of an ineligible player) and NAIA national
tournament team in 1980–81.
Mayo Clinic Health System—
Franciscan Healthcare named
Dr. Paul Mueller ’84 the vice president of its
Southwest Wisconsin Region. As a regional
leader, Mueller will manage operations out
of La Crosse, Wisconsin. He completed
his undergraduate degree at Augsburg
and has spent the past nine years chairing
Mayo Clinic’s Division of General Internal
Medicine in Rochester, Minnesota.
Nancy Mueller ’85 joined the Augsburg
University Board of Regents. See page 4.
Darcey Engen ’88 employs perspectives
both as a student and as a faculty member
to plan Augsburg’s sesquicentennial celebrations.
See page 14.
The U.S. Track and Field
and Cross Country Coaches
Association announced that Carolyn (Ross)
Isaak ’89 was inducted into the NCAA
Division III Track and Field Athlete Hall of
Fame in May. Isaak set several records as an
Augsburg athlete, including the 400-meter
hurdles record that stood until 2014. Isaak,
a five-time national champion and nine-time
All-American, is Augsburg’s first athlete ever
to be inducted into this Hall of Fame.
Literary scholar Devoney Looser ’89 was
awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018
and will complete a biography of forgotten sister
novelists. See page 10.
Brynn Watson ’89
received a Distinguished
Alumni Award at
Homecoming. She is an
award-winning leader in
the aerospace industry for
her technical experience,
executive leadership, and
tireless advocacy of STEM
education for youth. She earned a mathematics
degree from Augsburg and a master’s degree in
applied mathematics before she gained several
director- and vice-president-level positions in
technology and engineering companies. She
now serves as vice president for the Future
Enterprise Program for Lockheed Martin.
Watson’s spirit and accomplishments mirror
the tenacity of Auggies around the world who
ascend to prestigious positions among today’s
Eastman ’95 was
inducted into the
Augsburg Athletic Hall
of Fame. Eastman
was a three-time
NCAA Division III
All-American in the
167-pound weight class, finishing second
nationally in the 1994–95 campaign, third
in 1993–94, and fifth in 1992–93. A transfer
from Mankato State, he was a member
of Augsburg teams that won the national
titles in both 1992–93 and 1994–95, while
ALUMNI CLASS NOTES
finishing fourth in 1993–94. Eastman won
two MIAC titles and was a conference
runner-up in his Auggie career.
Hall of Fame inductee
Tom Layte ’95 was
a dominant wrestler
for the Auggies in
the mid-’90s. Layte
competed at Augsburg
in the 1994–95 season
after transferring from
Western New England College, and he made
the most of his Auggie campaign, going 44-4,
winning the NCAA Division III national title
at 150 pounds, and earning Outstanding
Wrestler honors at the national championships
as the Auggies won the team national
crown. He later served as an Augsburg
assistant coach and was head coach at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Augsburg volleyball star
Carolyn Tuohy ’95 was a
dominant player in the
mid-’90s, playing three
seasons as a middle
hitter, earning All-MIAC
honors in 1994, and
honors in 1992. Tuohy, who was inducted
into the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame, was
a team co-captain in 1994 and finished her
career with 878 kills in 2,566 attack attempts.
She was voted the team’s MVP in 1992.
was inducted into the
Augsburg Athletic Hall
of Fame in recognition
of his successes on
the football, basketball,
and baseball teams. A
quarterback in football,
Lamker led the Auggies to the 1997 MIAC title
and a spot in the NCAA Division III national
quarterfinals. He earned All-MIAC honors in
1996 and 1997. He was the conference MVP
in 1997, in addition to earning All-America
honors and finalist honors for the Gagliardi
Trophy (Division III Player of the Year).
Joe Lavin ’97 had an
career on the Augsburg
baseball team. An ace
during the mid-’90s,
Lavin earned All-MIAC
and All-Midwest Region
in 1995, while earning
conference Player of the Week honors multiple
times. He had a 1.42 ERA in conference play
with five complete games, a shutout, and 41
strikeouts against only 16 walks and 32 hits
in 1995, while winning three games on the
mound in 1994 and four in 1996.
Eric Rolland ’97, the Augsburg men’s and
women’s golf head coach, teaches students
a lifelong sport each spring in the campus dome.
See page 16.
Jasha Johnston ’00 and Carrie
(McCabe) Johnston ’02 opened
their third restaurant, Mortimer’s, in the Whittier
neighborhood of Minneapolis. The new venue
features live music, an updated menu, and a
family-friendly atmosphere. In addition to their
new venture, the Johnstons own Nightingale
Restaurant and Tilt Pinball Bar.
Mitshulis ’02 was
inducted into the
Augsburg Athletic Hall
of Fame. Mitshulis was
an All-MIAC honoree
in 2000 and All-MIAC
Honorable Mention honoree in 1999 in
soccer, where she finished her career with 15
goals and four assists for 34 career points.
She led the Auggies in scoring in three
seasons. In hockey, she was a member of the
1998–99 and 1999–2000 MIAC title squads
and the 2000 national runner-up team. She
also played two seasons of softball.
Rachel Ekholm ’03
was inducted into the
Augsburg Athletic Hall
of Fame. One of the best
softball players in school
history, Ekholm earned
All-MIAC honors three
times, while earning NFCA All-Region honors
twice. As a pitcher, she won 39 career games
with a 2.45 ERA and 347 strikeouts. She
hit .389 and holds school records for home
runs, triples, RBI, and slugging percentage.
She also played in 60 career games in
basketball, averaging 9.1 points and 2.3
rebounds per game.
Softball Head Coach Melissa Lee ’04 said
the Augsburg air structure helped save the
team’s 2018 season. See page 16.
Excellence in Coaching
Jim Gunderson ’06.
Gunderson is in his
fourth season as
football head coach at
the Academy of Holy
Angels in Richfield, Minnesota, after serving
for 14 years as an assistant coach. He has
also served as track and field head coach
since 2012. In football, his team won the
Minnesota Class AAAA state title in 2017,
with Gunderson being named the Minnesota
Football State Class AAAA Coach of the Year.
graduating from Augsburg with a degree in
communication studies, he has devoted his
career to public leadership and making a
difference in his community. He ran for mayor
of Baltimore in 2016, becoming the youngest
person ever to run for the office. He also sits
on the boards of several Baltimore community
initiatives and is the co-founder of a nonprofit
Brian Krohn ’08, Ph.D.,
received a First Decade
Award at Homecoming.
After earning a degree in
biofuel, and becoming
Augsburg’s first Rhodes
Scholar, Krohn founded
companies Mighty Axe
Hops and Magic Wizard Staff. He earned a
doctorate from the University of Minnesota as
an Environmental Protection Agency Fellow
and master’s degrees from the University of
Oxford in environmental change and science.
He was an Innovation Fellow at the U of M’s
Medical Devices Center and is CEO of Soundly,
an app-based therapy to reduce snoring—an
initiative funded by the National Institutes of
Health and the National Science Foundation.
received a First Decade
Award at Homecoming.
His life and work in the
past 10 years embodies
Augsburg’s pursuit of
social justice, equity,
and inclusion. Since
Nikki Rajala ’70 published “Treacherous
Waters,” her second novel in the
“Chronicles of an Unlikely Voyageur” series.
A career ESL teacher, Rajala retired from the
St. Cloud School District in 2004 and lives in
Jeff Mueller ’76 was honored by Norway’s
King Harald V, who bestowed the rank of
Knight First Class in the Royal Norwegian Order
of Merit. Mueller, director of administration and
finance at Norway House, Minneapolis, is a past
president of the Norwegian American Chamber
of Commerce and currently serves on its board of
directors. He also has been active in the Syttende
Killa Marti ’08, J.D.,
received a First Decade
Award at Homecoming
because she embodies
through her thoughtful
thinking, and rigorous
pursuit of justice and equity. After graduating
from Augsburg with a major in international
relations and a minor in economics, Marti
earned a law degree so that she could serve
immigrant communities. She has worked
with the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota
and several law firms, has founded her
own law practice in the Atlanta area, and
has worked tirelessly for her law clients in
districts and cases where the decks were
stacked against them.
Former Augsburg cheerleader Cassandra
Roschen ’08 returned to Fairmont High School
to coach the cheerleading squad. Roschen, a
former Fairmont cheerleader, taught current
students sideline cheers and routines. She also
extended her service to include team building
and community outreach with the squad.
Chris Stedman ’08
received a First Decade
Award at Homecoming
for his robust intellectual
engagement as an
informed citizen and
critical thinker. A religion
major with minors in
English and social
welfare, he earned a master’s degree in religion
from Meadville Lombard Theological School at
the University of Chicago. He was the founding
executive director of the Humanist Center
of Minnesota, founded the Yale Humanist
Community, and was a humanist chaplain at
Harvard. Stedman is the author of “Faitheist:
How an Atheist Found Common Ground with
the Religious” (Beacon Press, 2012).
Mai Committee, the Norwegian Independence
Day celebration, the annual troop exchange
program with the Minnesota National Guard and
the Norwegian Home Guard, and Torske
Klubben. Mueller (right) is pictured with
Norwegian Ambassador to the U.S. Kåre R. Aas,
who presented the order of merit medal at
The HGA firm hired Mary Claire Olson
Potter ’84 as a health care business
developer and senior associate.
In June, former Augsburg football player
David Stevens ’90 hosted a Disability
Dream and Do Camp alongside the Binghamton
Rumble Ponies, an American minor league
baseball team based in Upstate New York. CBS
affiliate WBNG covered Stevens’ story and time
with the Rumble Ponies. Stevens, who led six
other athletic camps this summer, was the only
double amputee to play three seasons of football
for the Auggies. He later played for the St. Paul
Saints and tried out for the Minnesota Twins and
Janelle (Christensen) Nelson ’12 welcomed
a daughter, Kennedy Elaine, in April.
Nelson majored in art history. Her grandfather
also attended Augsburg.
ALUMNI CLASS NOTES
Laura (Schmidt) DuSchane ’11
and Seth Lienard ’11, ’16 MBA
opened a new business venture called Fretless
Marketing that provides social media and event
marketing services for small businesses. Their
company website is fretlessmarketing.com.
Ted Nielsen ’11 started a new job at Edward
Jones as a financial advisor. Nielsen assists
individuals and families with long-term
investing. Nielsen previously worked with
Thrivent and graduated from Augsburg with
a bachelor’s degree in English.
Kimberly Simmonds ’12 was
promoted to a program assistant
with the City of Minneapolis. Simmonds
majored in history at Augsburg before receiving
her master’s in public administration in 2014.
Alexandra Buffalohead ’13 started
a new role as manager of art and
cultural engagement with the Native American
Community Development Institute. Buffalohead
earned a bachelor’s degree in studio arts at
Augsburg. She has since served as a graphic
designer for the American Indian Cancer
Foundation and as a communications officer
for the Indian Land Tenure Foundation.
Tyler Heaps ’13 is a manager of analytics
and research at the United States Soccer
Federation. SportTechie, an online resource
devoted to covering topics at the intersection
of sports and technology, interviewed Heaps
regarding his work within the federation
tracking players and opponents using
innovative technologies. Heaps is working
to standardize analysis and support across
all soccer levels and teams to ensure the
federation can effectively track players
within the system.
The Chicago Tribune wrote about Dustin
Ritchea ’13, who returned to live and work
in his hometown of Chesterton, Indiana.
Ritchea serves as a promotions director for
Indiana Dunes Tourism and also works as an
actor, producer, songwriter, and writer.
Nikki (Ludwig) Darst ’15 started
a new job with Black Line
Group as a research and development tax
manager. She graduated from Augsburg with
a degree in accounting management.
Fekireselassie Beyene ’16 participated in
undergraduate research that contributed to
success after graduation. See page 20.
Jack Swift ’17 recently started
a new role with In The Groove
Music as a publishing assistant. As an
Augsburg student, Swift majored in
business administration with an emphasis
on music business.
Vision Bagonza ’17 conducted research
through the Office of Undergraduate
Research and Graduate Opportunity. See page 20.
The NBC Nightly News featured
Neil King ’18 in a story about
his success at Augsburg in the StepUP®
Program. After graduating from Augsburg
and StepUP, King started a master’s degree
in integrated behavioral health at the
University of Minnesota.
The Twin Cities Arts Reader interviewed
Brid Henry ’16 regarding her work in the
Minneapolis theater scene. Henry has
performed in the Minnesota Fringe Festival
and has directed and co-produced the first
year of the Minneapolis branch of the Future Is
Female Festival. Henry chose to study theater
at Augsburg because the university’s program
was ranked among the top opportunities
outside of New York.
Blair Stewig ’18 and Abigail Tetzlaff ’18
delved into student research with the
Office of Undergraduate Research and Graduate
Opportunity. See page 20.
Matthew Halley ’97 MSW serves as executive
director for Cookie Cart, a nonprofit youth
program that equips young people with
employment and life skills. Halley was
interviewed by the St. Paul Pioneer Press
for an article highlighting the program’s
continuing success since its founding in
1988. Halley is focused on expanding the
program by adding more youth workers.
This spring, Education Minnesota named
Kelly (Sheehan) Holstine ’12 MAE the 2018
Teacher of the Year. An English teacher at
Tokata Learning Center, an alternative high
school in Shakopee, Holstine created a new
English curriculum and developed policies
that the school has implemented. Lavender
Magazine featured Holstine’s accolades and
focus on diversity in education. As Teacher
of the Year, Holstine is an ambassador for
86,000 teachers in Minnesota.
Chung Eang Lip ’18 started a new role as
a graduate school teaching assistant at
Columbia University in New York City. Lip
is working on a Master of Public Health
degree with a concentration in infectious
St. Olaf College hired Gregory Mitchell ’18
as a wide receivers coach for the 2018
season. Mitchell was a receiver on the
Augsburg football team. He previously
coached receivers at Centennial High
School and Southwest High School.
Augsburg alumnus Scott Cooper ’13
returned to the university this August as
a full-time staff member serving as an alumni
engagement manager. Cooper started his
undergraduate degree at Martin Luther College
in New Ulm, Minnesota, before transferring to
Augsburg in 2011 where he completed a
bachelor’s degree in communication. Cooper
was a member of the Augsburg Choir and the
2012 and 2013 Auggie football teams. Prior to
SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE
joining Augsburg’s Alumni and Constituent
Relations staff, Cooper served in Minneapolis
Public Schools’ high school special education
programs. In his free time, Cooper has enjoyed
public speaking engagements in which he has
discussed his experiences as an Auggie
Rick Wolke ’12 and Ashley (Carney)
Wolke ’13 welcomed Aurora Jo Wolke on
Orville “Joe” Hognander Jr.
received a Spirit of Augsburg
Award at Homecoming for
his thoughtful stewardship
and responsible leadership.
Although he was not a
student at Augsburg, he
is a noteworthy Auggie
through and through.
His grandfather was an Augsburg graduate
more than 100 years ago, his parents were
highly involved in the music program, and his
ties to alumni and faculty run deep. A retired
naval officer and private investor now living in
Edina, Minnesota, Hognander’s longstanding
involvement with Augsburg speaks to a family
history of commitment and engagement,
particularly in the continued support of
Augsburg’s Department of Music.
Professor Emeritus John
Holum, Ph.D., received a
Spirit of Augsburg Award
at Homecoming. A beloved
retired professor whose
legacy spans more than 30
years, Holum is a prolific
writer who has published
dozens of scientific
textbooks and peer-reviewed papers. He came to
Augsburg with a doctorate in organic chemistry
and taught chemistry until his retirement in
1993. Holum, who lives in St. Paul, Minnesota,
has demonstrated a lifelong passion for
academic excellence and support for students on
their educational journeys.
Tell us about the news in your life—your new job, move, marriage, and
milestones. Visit augsburg.edu/now to submit your announcements.
January 8. Rick and Ashley both majored in
Caitlin (Hozeny) Lienard ’09, ’17 MSW
and Seth Lienard ’11, ’16 MBA were
married on September 23, 2017, in Stillwater,
Minnesota. There were several Auggies in
attendance. Pictured are [front, L to R]: Seth
Lienard, Caitlin (Hozeny) Lienard, Morgan (Bray)
Thompson ’09, Amanda (Chmiel) Spence ’09
[back, L to R]: Wade Wojick ’11, Ryan
Wilsey ’12, Erika Osterbur ’11, Aren Olsen ’11,
Luke Lienard ’16, Aaron Rosell, Stefan
Swanson, Sheridan Lienard, Lindsey Graff ’11,
and Ben Krouse-Gagne ’11.
Laura (Swanson) Lindahl ’15 MBA and
her husband, David, welcomed a son,
Lawson Robert, on April 26.
Jonathan Chrastek ’10 and Katie
Pendo ’10 were married on July 7 in
Leesburg, Virginia. Several Augsburg alumni
joined the couple as they celebrated their
wedding, which was officiated by Sylvia Bull ’10
and Emily Wiles ’10. Augsburg alumni Alissa
Nolan ’09, Nick Blixt ’10, and Cait Kortum ’10
were in the wedding party, and Kate Edelen ’11
was in attendance.
Lydia C. (Mitlyng) Pokrass ’35,
Ashburn, Virginia, age 104,
on May 29.
Eunice C. (Knudson) Iverson ’42,
Richmond, Minnesota, age 97,
on September 9.
Joyce M. (Reitan) Knutsen ’43,
Fridley, Minnesota, age 93,
on May 30.
Richard J. Koplitz ’45, Minneapolis,
age 95, on June 15.
Lenore “Beth” B. (Buesing)
Opgrand ’45, Wilmington, North
Carolina, age 95, on May 25.
Adele L. (Anderson) Cupit ’46,
Walnut Creek, California, age 94,
on May 26.
Jack E. Jacobsen ’46, Minneapolis,
age 95, on January 11.
Duane J. Christensen ’53, Bemidji,
Minnesota, age 87, on May 7.
Clara A. (Hookom) Cobb ’54,
Willmar, Minnesota, age 85,
on May 26.
Daniel “Dan” E. Peterson ’66,
Clear Lake, Minnesota, age 75,
on March 4.
Niles R. Schulz ’66, Minneapolis,
age 74, on July 10.
James E. Leschensky ’67,
Minneapolis, age 73, on March 25.
John “Johnny” M. Burke ’94,
St. Paul, Minnesota, age 54,
on March 20.
E. William “Bill” Anderson ’56,
Plymouth, Minnesota, age 84,
on May 16.
Judith A. (Anderson) Woods ’67,
Brainerd, Minnesota, age 73, on
Rebecca E. Rehfeld ’95,
Minnetonka, Minnesota, age 62,
on February 19.
Lloyd C. Grinde ’56, Minneapolis,
age 92, on July 1.
Dolores “Dee” M. (Larson)
Fagerlie ’72, St. Paul,
Minnesota, age 90, on
Phyllis A. Lee ’96,
Frederick, Maryland, age 76,
on January 18.
Russell C. Lee ’56,
Albuquerque, New Mexico,
age 86, on August 17.
Roger K. Ose II ’56, Minnetonka,
Minnesota, age 84, on May 9.
Sidney D. Berg ’57, Minneapolis,
age 88, on May 29.
Kathleen E. Tinseth ’74,
Minneapolis, age 66, on
John R. Burgeson ’75, Andover,
Minnesota, age 66, on May 19.
Leroy H. Conyers ’57, Marshall,
Minnesota, age 88, on June 13.
Margaret “Marie” (Salmonson)
Marx ’78, Scandia, Minnesota,
age 89, on September 7.
Arthur E. Marben ’47, St. Paul,
Minnesota, age 95, on July 14.
Charles H. Erbstoesser ’58,
Little Falls, Minnesota, age 88,
on July 18.
Estelle M. (Uleberg) Swanson ’47,
Madelia, Minnesota, age 92, on
Stephanie J. (Torgerson) Sipprell ’81,
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, age 59,
on May 5.
Harlan J. Jacobson ’59, Ashby,
Minnesota, age 81, on July 20.
Milan J. Sedio ’48, St. Paul,
Minnesota, age 94, on May 18.
Joyce K. (Johnson) Rudi ’62,
St. Paul, Minnesota, age 85,
on August 29.
Mary J. Andersen ’84,
Afton, Minnesota, age 61,
on March 10.
Richard J. Thorvig ’49, Minneapolis,
age 93, on August 4.
Lynn B. Lundin ’50, Pelican Rapids,
Minnesota, age 90, on May 29.
Verna M. (Haverly) Brue ’51,
Fergus Falls, Minnesota, age 90,
on July 16.
Gloria A. (Metcalf) Kubnick ’63,
Rice Lake, Wisconsin, age 77,
on July 12.
Susan D. (Graff) Mills ’96, Fargo,
North Dakota, age 65, on July 3.
Scott W. Schuck ’97, Minneapolis,
age 63, on August 31.
John M. Welch ’07, Sudbury,
Massachusetts, age 34, on
Marlene M. Taylor ’09, Plymouth,
Minnesota, age 31, on May 16.
Jennifer L. Lovering ’10, Bemidji,
Minnesota, age 29, on April 26.
Cheryl L. Miller ’10, Altoona,
Wisconsin, age 52, on August 9.
Jon “Ryan” R. Benson ’12,
Chanhassen, Minnesota, age 40,
on June 1.
Karlton “Karl” I. Bakke ’64,
Roseville, Minnesota, age 77,
on July 18.
Jon M. Leverentz ’92,
Hopkins, Minnesota, age 67,
on August 16.
Jacalyn “Jackie” S. (Ruschmann)
Pederson ’14, Danbury, Wisconsin,
age 65, on August 28.
Bruce E. Braaten ’64, Prior Lake,
Minnesota, age 76, on May 27.
Alisa J. (Norvold) Leonard ’93,
Northfield, Minnesota, age 48,
on July 8.
David “Alex” A. Jenny ’16, Kansas
City, Missouri, age 29, on May 27.
Charlotte K. (Jensen) Duty ’65,
St. Joseph, Missouri, age 75, on
A. Richard Petersen ’51, Sioux
Falls, South Dakota, age 89, on
Cengiz Gokcen ’66, St. Pete
Beach, Florida, age 74, on
Linda J. (Skay) Weinberg ’87,
Brooklyn Park, Minnesota,
age 69, on March 13.
Alice E. (Barden) Mapes ’96,
St. Paul, Minnesota, age 56,
on August 24.
Eileen M. (Henkemeyer) Saldana ’91,
Minneapolis, age 82, on January 6.
Erika R. (Staub) Niemi ’51, Tucson,
Arizona, age 91, on April 16.
David R. Berken ’94, St. Paul,
Minnesota, age 50, on May 19.
Duncan D. Flann ’55, Overland
Park, Kansas, age 85, on April 9.
Helen “Merle” M. (Houser)
Campbell ’47, Newberg, Oregon,
age 94, on June 27.
Donald L. Sween ’49, Lakeville,
Minnesota, age 93, on April 25.
Scott D. Syring ’93, Minneapolis,
age 48, on August 24.
Shirley A. Sopkiewicz ’93,
St. Paul, Minnesota, age 60,
on February 27.
John E. Sorlien ’93, St. Paul,
Minnesota, age 55, on July 19.
Cole R. McAdam ’17, Faribault,
Minnesota, age 23, on April 7.
The “In memoriam” listings in this
publication include notifications
received before September 15.
Whether you’re on campus often or haven’t
been back in years, there’s always something
new to see. Schedule a personal tour by
contacting the alumni office at 612-330-1329
Augsburg could be right for you. Traditional
undergraduate students who are children or
spouses of Augsburg graduates or the siblings
of current Augsburg students are eligible for
a minimum scholarship of $16,000 per year.
Schedule a campus visit at augsburg.edu/visit.
Augsburg’s press box, completed in 2008, was made possible by
gifts from Oliver Dahl ’45, John ’36 and Christine Haalan, E. Milton
“Milt” Kleven ’46, Glen Person ’47, President Paul C. Pribbenow,
Dick “Pork Chop” Thompson ’61, and Gunner and Mary Wick.
Augsburg press box name commemorates Campus Pastor Emeritus Dave Wold
Augsburg University dedicated the press box at Edor Nelson Field in honor of the late Rev. Dave Wold during the Auggie football team’s
home opener this fall. Augsburg’s campus pastor from 1983 to 2013, Wold died April 21 at age 72. In addition to his service to the
Augsburg community as a faith leader, Wold was a constant presence in the Augsburg athletics community, serving as public address
announcer for football, men’s basketball, and wrestling home competitions, along with events in many other sports. The breadth of Wold’s
pastoral care supported generations of Auggies, and he is beloved by alumni and Augsburg community members around the world.
PHOTOS BY KEVIN HEALY
2211 Riverside Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55454
Twin Cities, MN
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