Campaign Milestone: $40 Million Raised

$40,000,000 thermometerThere is much to be grateful for and I want to share some good news with you today! Recently, Augsburg reached the significant milestone of $40 million in gifts and pledges toward Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign. Generous commitments from alumni, parents, and friends have already created 51 new endowed scholarships and three endowed professorships.

The story behind each gift is inspiring to me. Recently, I read about Tom Peterson ’69 who honors his father by contributing regularly to the Clifford A. Peterson Scholarship Endowment Fund so that students in the business program can receive financial aid to significantly offset their educational costs. Donors like Tom are the cornerstone of this campaign.

Peterson’s  insight on the importance of growing Augsburg’s endowment was recently featured as a gift announcement story:

“A small scholarship throws off enough to buy books. I would like to get to where I can make a material dent in someone’s tuition,” Tom Peterson says. Currently, a $1,000,000 endowment provides enough to cover one student’s full scholarship (tuition plus room and board) each year.

I look forward to working with the growing number of campaign insiders like Tom Peterson who choose to invest in the future of Augsburg.

The Board of Regents and President Paul Pribbenow expect to focus on fundraising for endowment through Augsburg’s sesquicentennial year (2019-20). Regular updates on campaign progress, including gift announcements, will be available on the Great Returns blog.

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly

Augsburg Announces Goal for 150 New Scholarships

When a water droplet hits the surface of a pond, it causes a ripple effect that spreads across the pond’s surface. That’s how my dear wife and Augsburg Regent Nancy (Mackey ’85) Mueller sees the effect a gift to the Augsburg endowment can have on the University’s future. 

On Saturday, Nov. 17, Augsburg hosted a brunch to thank scholarship donors who have given generously to Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign and to announce the ambitious goal of securing 150 new scholarships in honor of the 150th anniversary of the University’s founding.

As of mid-November, 65 new scholarships have been established toward this goal. During the brunch, donors were recognized with a special gift—a hand-blown glass water droplet. Each glass water droplet is one of a kind and has been signed and numbered by the artist. These small works of art symbolize the impact each benefactor has and will have on the lives of Augsburg students today and in the future.

As President Pribbenow said at Saturday’s brunch, “Your generosity is life-giving and sustaining. Your support ripples out to touch the lives of students for generations to come. It also ripples out to inspire other donors.”

These scholarships play a key role in the Great Returns campaign as they increase our endowment and make Augsburg more accessible to students. We are pleased to report the campaign reached $36 million in October and continues to grow through the philanthropy of the amazing Augsburg community.

Scholarship Donor Brunch

A special thank you to the following people who have given a scholarship so far:

Allen ’65 and Joyce Anderson
Shelby (Gimse) Andress ’56
Anonymous (2)
D. Scott and Meg Bassinson
Lola (Lidstrom) Berg ’50
Barbara and Zane Birky
Eric Browning-Larsen ’75
Barry ’89 MAL and Cynthia Carlson
Jason and Camilla Chan
Judith A. Christensen
Jerelyn (Hovland) ’63 and Clyde Cobb
Deborah (Fredrickson) ’76 and Bill Crowley
George ’72 and Janet Dahlman
Lars ’97 and Mocha (Holmgren) ’97 Dyrud
David and Edith Egertson
John ’82 and Joan Evans
Barbara and Edwin Gage
Linda Giacomo
Frank ’96 and Rebecca Grazzini
Sharon (Hendrickson) ’67 and Karl Gronberg
Corinne (Tandberg) and John Haglund
Karen (Jacobson) ’67 and David ’67 Haugen
John ’70 and Lynn (Benson) ’69 Hjelmeland
Kenneth ’74 and Linda (Bailey) ’74 Holmen
Bradley ’63 and Linda Holt
Marlene (Chan) ’74 and Shi-wah Hui
Diane and Paul Jacobson
Katherine ’81, ’16 MAE and James Johnson
Wayne ’71 and Carol (Pederson) ’72 Jorgenson
Dr. Rachel (Hendrickson) ’71 and Dr. Bruce Julian
Karen Kaivola and Bonnie Tensen
Karina Karlén ’83
Bruce and Maren Kleven
David and Barbara Kleven
Dean ’77 and Susan Kopperud
Kathryn Lange ’72 and Dennis Sonifer
Diane and Philip Larson
Jean Lingen
Frank ’65 and Beatrice Livingston
Carol (Torstenson) ’65 and Allan McCausland
Donna Demler McLean
Patricia McNevin ’90
Peter Mitchelson and Judith Henderson
Lori Moline ’82 and Steven Olson
Marlys (Backlund) Morland ’54
Sharon (Lindell) Mortrud ’64
Patricia (Larson) Moylan ’57
Paul ’84 and Nancy (Mackey) ’85 Mueller
James ’67 and Shirley Norman
Kristine (Peterson) Pearson ’78
Miriam (Cox) ’68 and Ronald Peterson
Thomas Peterson ’69
Philip Jr. and Margaret Rowberg
John ’77 and Jane Sandness
Douglas and Grace Schroeder Scott
Earl ’68 and Lisbeth (Jorgensen) ’70 Sethre
Grace (Kemmer) Sulerud ’58
Lisa Svac Hawks ’85
Nicolas Thomley ’06 MBA
Harold and Maureen Thompson
Sharon L. Upton ’79
Deborah (Lease) ’78 and Douglas Wagman
Katharine Watson
David Wattman ’77 and James Karason ’78
John Welckle ’57
Craig Wisness ’73
Marjorie (Chan) Wong ’79
John ’74 and Marvel Yager
Marlys Yu

Print Friendly

Campaign Milestone: $35 Million Raised

thermometer showing $35 million reached As Augsburg enters its 150th academic year, Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign led by Regent Emeritus

Paul Mueller ‘84, Regent Pam Moksnes ‘79, and others has reached an important, early milestone. Alumni, parents, and friends have committed more than $35 million including 62 new scholarships and three named professorships.

The campaign to build Augsburg’s endowment follows on the heels of a $50 million capital campaign for the 2018 opening of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion. While capital campaigns are often focused on current gifts to fund construction, endowment campaigns create opportunities for donors to give now and to plan for gifts in the future through beneficiary designations, will inclusions, and other types of plans. In Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign donors are also able to direct their gifts to support specific programs and academic departments.

The Board of Regents and President Paul Pribbenow expect to focus on fundraising for endowment through Augsburg’s sesquicentennial year (2019-20) and possible beyond. Regular updates on campaign progress, including gift announcements, will be available on the Great Returns blog.

Print Friendly

Investing in students: Building a lasting legacy

“I was the first person on both sides of the family not to go to Augsburg,” said Phil Formo with a smile. “My mother met my father in chemistry class there. She was in nursing and needed help with it, and he was good in chemistry. They also both sang in the first Augsburg choir concert that ever took place, after the men’s chorus and the women’s chorus merged.”

Phil’s parents, Jerome and Winifred, both class of 1937, were extremely dedicated to Augsburg and stayed deeply involved in all things Auggie throughout their lifetimes. Jerome served as a Regent in the late 60s, was active as a Regent Emeritus, and also was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1983.

“Seeing the way our giving has led to a better future for so many students inspires us to do more.”

Phil reports it was an easy choice to designate proceeds from his parents’ estate in 2009 to establish the Jerome and Winifred Formo Scholarship for music majors or those with a strong interest in choral music directing. More than eight students have benefited from this endowed fund, but it was not the first Formo scholarship. That distinction belongs to the David J. Formo Scholarship, which was established in 1979 and is awarded annually to a junior or senior student who has successfully overcome adversity to achieve academic and extracurricular excellence.

Phil reports it made great sense to make gifts to support endowed scholarships at Augsburg. His parents demonstrated the power generosity as a way to remember their son and Phil’s brother and carry on his legacy.

“Seeing the way our giving has led to a better future for so many students inspires us to do more. It’s great to meet the scholarship recipients and hear their stories. We’re thrilled each time we hear the influence the scholarship has had on their lives and their ability to attend Augsburg. It’s very satisfying.”

For a short video that tells more about the Formo scholarships and to view other videos, visit here: https://vimeo.com/augsburgu 

Contact Heather Riddle, Vice President for Advancement, at 612-330-1177 or riddle@augsburg.edu for more information on scholarships and ways to give to Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign.

Print Friendly

Building Momentum

At commencement for Augsburg University’s Class of 2018, President Paul Pribbenow congratulated graduates expressing his hope that they always be “good learners, good citizens, and good and faithful people.”

As Campaign Chair for Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign, I’ve met with hundreds alumni, parents, and friends of the University who are good learners, good citizens, and good and faithful people. As one of our most engaged supporters, I count you among them.  Thank you for your continued attention to our drive to build Augsburg’s endowment that will sustain its mission far into the future.

As a Great Returns insider, I want you to know that Augsburg has received nearly 1,000 early campaign gift commitments, five of which are at the 7-figure level. We’ve created over 50 new scholarships. Two donors have made commitments to endow professorships. This is good progress and there are many more conversations we hope to complete in the coming months.

As our momentum builds, I’m extra grateful for Regent Pam Moksnes ’79 who has agreed to serve as Vice-Chair for the Campaign with a focus on supporting donors in considering a gift through their estate. To date, 25 donors have made planned gift commitments to Great Returns. Pam will be a terrific partner who has decades of professional experience supporting donors with a range of planned gifts from simple to complex.

These are exciting times for Augsburg! Please keep the University and its students, faculty, and staff in your thoughts and prayers. If you would like to have a gift conversation or have any questions about the campaign, please reach out to me (muellerp@augsburg.edu) or Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle (riddle@augsburg.edu).

Warmly, 

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly

The Grand Opening of the Hagfors Center

Lent is a period of contemplation. As winter ends, we reflect on some of most difficult aspects of the human condition—rejection, disease, and death. Yet, as the days get longer and warmer, we know spring is near along with the joy associated with the meaning of Easter—the gospel fulfilled—when we exclaim, “He is risen!”

In the spirit of a long-anticipated celebration, Augsburg University recently welcomed about 1,000 people to campus for the grand opening of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion. For some Auggies, this was their first return to campus in years. Indeed, the celebration was a Great Return. As I reunited with friends and watched the delight on the faces of fellow Auggies, I felt a sense of closure on one amazing endeavor, the Believe campaign for the Hagfors Center, and momentum for the next, the Great Returns campaign.

As a Great Returns insider, I want you to know the Augsburg University Board of Regents, at their recent meeting, unanimously passed a resolution in support of leading the Great Returns campaign as the most ambitious fundraising endeavor in Augsburg’s history. The Board recognizes the value of growing Augsburg’s endowment in order to support student success through scholarships, innovative learning programs, professorships and strategic priorities.

Since I began writing these letters last June, Augsburg has received more than 510 early campaign gift commitments, five of which are at the 7-figure level. I continue to be moved by the generosity of Auggies!

Today, I want to announce a series of small group dinners beginning this spring called “Four Courses with Augsburg.” Over four food and beverage pairings, Augsburg faculty will explore four elements of the curriculum that comprise the core of the Augsburg experience. I invite you to attend one of these dinners. Please see the enclosure for event details and RSVP information.

As you reflect on this season of promise, please keep Augsburg University and its students, faculty and staff in your thoughts and prayers. If you would like to have a gift conversation or have any questions about the campaign, please reach out to me (muellerp@augsburg.edu) or Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle (riddle@augsburg.edu).

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly

Ordinary People Can Have Extraordinary Effects

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

During this Advent season, we ponder the commitment of Mary. Her task must have been laden with anxiety regarding the road before her and Joseph. Yet, in Luke 1:37, the angel provides Mary words of encouragement and hope: “For nothing will be impossible with God.” This simple message reminds us that our faith propels us forward.

It was just over a year ago that Augsburg’s Board of Regents initiated a calibration study to test the feasibility of Augsburg University’s next campaign—Great Returns—a campaign focused on building our endowment. In conversations with generous supporters like you, we heard enthusiastic endorsement of growing Augsburg’s endowment. One benefactor exclaimed, “Augsburg’s endowment is our most vital priority right now and we all need to find our own ways to support it.” Through endowed funds, we can invest in students (e.g., scholarships), faculty and programs in perpetuity and produce Great Returns for generations to come. In October 2017, I shared the results of the calibration study with the Augsburg Board of Regents Advancement Committee.  In January 2018, the committee will present its final recommendations moving forward to the full board.

The Christmas story reminds us about how ordinary people can have extraordinary effects. Mary and Joseph were ordinary people. She delivered a baby in a simple place. Of course, that baby, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, changed the world. Likewise, over the years, people working together have had extraordinary effects on Augsburg. As a Great Returns insider, I want you to know that during the past six months, Augsburg has received more than 200 early campaign gift commitments, three of which are at the 7-figure level. That is an amazing response!

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you as we move into the next phase of Great Returns. As you reflect on this season of joy, please keep Augsburg University and its students, faculty and staff in your thoughts and prayers.

If you would like to have a gift conversation before the end of the year or have any questions about the campaign, please let me (muellerp@augsburg.edu) or Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle (riddle@augsburg.edu) know.

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly

A Beautiful Oasis in the City

My wife Nancy ’84 and I recently visited the Augsburg campus—a beautiful oasis in the city! We were thrilled to see the new “Augsburg University” signage and the Hagfors Center nearing completion. It was only 15 months ago that we broke ground for this amazing facility and celebrated the generosity of so many people who gave more than $55 million and believed in the vision to make it a reality. In only a few months, the building will open its doors to facilitate what Augsburg does best: educating students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers and responsible leaders.

Earlier this summer, I wrote you to let you know that Augsburg’s Campaign Calibration Task Force will recommend to the Augsburg Board of Regents at its fall meeting that we move into the most ambitious fundraising campaign in our history.

Knowing this, I looked to Jesus’ parables for insights. In the parable of the talents (Luke 19:12-27), Jesus tells the story of how three different stewards handled their master’s money in his absence. One hid the money in fear resulting in no growth. His master was disappointed. The other two invested the money resulting in growth. Their master was pleased and rewarded them for being “faithful.” Along these lines, Isaiah 55:11 is illuminating: “My word . . . shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” This text suggests that investing our “talents” in the kingdom of God will assure great returns.

In our calibration study, we found great interest among our benefactors in directing our next fundraising campaign to build substantially endowed support of Augsburg’s mission. Through endowed funds, we can invest in students and faculty and produce “great returns” for many generations to come. For example, a gift to an Augsburg endowed fund for scholarships can help ensure that an Augsburg education is affordable in perpetuity.

Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts with you as we move into this next phase of our fundraising efforts. If you have questions or thoughts on our next campaign, please email me at (email)

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

P.S. Below is a story about an Augsburg alumna whose generosity will make a tremendous difference for students in the StepUP progam.

A Year at Augsburg, and an Impact For Life

It took just one year for Augsburg to make its indelible mark on Marlys Morland ‘54, who has pledged a sizeable increase to the Marlys B. and Robert Backlund Morland Scholarship, established in 2011 as part of the couple’s estate plan.

“I really did like Augsburg. The Christian influence was so sincere, and faith entered into everything,” says Marlys. “I was there when Bernhard Chistensen was president. His wife used to come over to the dorm for an evening talk with us. They were just good, kind people.”

One thing she remembers about her year at Augsburg was a dentist’s visit to her health class, where he had to listen to student complaints about rising dental care costs. Coincidentally, she had to have three wisdom teeth removed that summer. The $150 bill meant that she had to drop out of school, even though she was working 20 hours a week at Swedish Hospital, making 93 cents an hour.

“I found out partway through the year that other college students only got 76 cents an hour, so I was lucky. But I never got a penny from my parents—they couldn’t afford it—and I knew I wasn’t going to be able to go back to school,” she says. Instead, she took a national Lutheran youth leader’s advice to move to Helena, Montana, where she discovered her love for working with young people and also taught adult Bible classes. She went on to become a parish worker in Portland, Oregon, where she met her husband. The couple settled in Newberg, Oregon, in 1971.

When the youngest of their three children entered school, Marlys finished her degree at Portland State University and taught elementary and junior high school for 25 years. She retired early to travel with her husband, Robert, until he died in 2008.

Thanks to her career and extended family experience, she understands the special challenges and struggles that even the most academically gifted students face. “We designed our Augsburg scholarship to support the StepUP program. We also support students who are majoring in Bible and planning to go on to seminary,” she says. “There is such a need these days. I don’t want them to have a lot of debt when they are ready to start their work.”

Marlys notes how much Augsburg and its student population have changed. She grew up near Alexandria in Holmes City, population 65, where “we went to the Swedish Lutheran Church. We knew people who went to the Norwegian Lutheran Church, and some who went to the Finnish Lutheran Church, but we thought the Germans were really different,” she recalls.

She embraces the Augsburg of today. “We meant well, but we didn’t think about helping the community. We were struggling just to take care of ourselves, and everyone was just like us,” she says. “Today students are reaching out and helping others in the community who aren’t just like them. That is so important.”

A picture of Marlys Morland

Marlys Morland ’54

Print Friendly

Equipping Students to Make a Living, Life and Community

This time of year, we see overflowing flower and vegetable gardens. This abundance inspired me to consider Augsburg’s growth and reflect on the Parable of the Mustard Seed. In Mark 4:31-32, Jesus shares that the mustard seed is “the smallest of all the seeds on earth; yet when it is sown it grows up and becomes the greatest of all shrubs, and puts forth large branches, so that the birds of the air can make nests in its shade.”

Just as the tiny mustard seed grows into a substantial plant, an endowment gift can support the mission and growth of Augsburg in ways we can hardly imagine today.

I recently shared that Augsburg’s Campaign Calibration Task Force will recommend to the Board of Regents this coming October that we move into the most ambitious fundraising campaign in our history. We will dedicate a substantial portion of our campaign to growing Augsburg’s endowment, which will fuel our capacity to equip our students to make a living, make a life, and make a community.

How does an endowment fuel student success? One means is providing scholarships to promising students who otherwise cannot afford a college education. Another is supporting a professorship so that Augsburg recruits and retains the best faculty. Another is funding student experiences outside of the classroom such as internships and research. Indeed, over the years I have had the opportunity to interact with many Augsburg students who have engaged in summer research—thanks to the generosity of our benefactors—at Mayo Clinic. These students have presented their research at scientific meetings and have published their findings in medical journals. Most, if not all, are now in medical school or graduate school. What began as an idea for students to gain knowledge and experience has grown into a program for Auggies that will favorably change the landscape of healthcare.

We believe the successful fundraising campaign to build the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion prepared us well to engage people who care about Augsburg and our students. Thank you for your commitment to our shared work and for your generosity.

I hope you will consider supporting our next campaign with a gift to create a scholarship, fund a professorship, invest in a program that facilitates student success, or support another effort at Augsburg that inspires you. For our next campaign to really flourish, it will take all of our mustard seeds!

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly

The Most Ambitious Fundraising Campaign in Augsburg’s History

At the beginning of June, I had the pleasure of participating in the final meeting of Augsburg’s Campaign Calibration Task Force, which, as you know, was created by the Board of Regents to explore the potential for a new fundraising campaign. As we approach our sesquicentennial, our goal is to strengthen Augsburg’s ability to educate students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.

The Calibration Task Force has worked this year to determine carefully the scope and possible priorities for a new fundraising campaign. I’m inspired by all who participated in this work including the Advancement staff, our outside counsel Jim Daniel from Bentz Whaley Flessner, Wayne Jorgenson ’71 and Dennis Meyer ’78 who lead a separate task force on scholarships, and to all members of the Calibration Task Force: Matt and Jeannie Entenza, Mike ’71 and Ann Good, Mark Johnson ’75, Dean ’75 and Terry Kennedy, Karolynn Lestrud ’68, Dennis ’78 and Bev Meyer ’78, my college sweetheart & wife Nancy Mueller ’85, Jeff ’77 and Becky ’79 Nodland, Paul and Abigail Pribbenow, Mike Sime, Dean ’81 and Amy Sundquist, David and Muffy Tiede, and Bob and Jill Thomas. I’m also grateful to the more than 50 individuals from across the nation who were interviewed as part of our work. Thank you!

We are happy to share that Augsburg’s Campaign Calibration Task Force is optimistic about our future. We believe we have a strong case for support, terrific leadership at the College and on the Board, an outstanding pool of potential donors, an Advancement team ready to initiate a campaign, and a healthy economy in which to work. This coming October we will be presenting to the Board of Regents our recommendations for moving into the most ambitious fundraising campaign in Augsburg’s history.

As we move forward, we need your counsel, generosity, prayers, and all other forms of support. I will communicate regularly with you, the people who hold Augsburg most dear and who support it most generously.

Warmly,

Paul S. Mueller, M.D. ’84
Chair of Great Returns: Augsburg’s Sesquicentennial Campaign

Print Friendly