In 1978, I arrived as transfer student at Augsburg and found myself in a new and inspiring home:
- Learning from faculty who challenged me to see things in new ways;
- Making friends who guided me to discover sides of myself I hardly knew and to experience the world through their perspective;
- Playing on field that brought with it lessons in team work and accomplishment (we won the MIAC soccer championship in my senior year);
- and people with whom I now share a lifelong bond.
What I did not fully understand, until recently, is that my association with Augsburg stays with me. Just like my contact information on my professional profile, my education follows me everywhere. Augsburg’s reputation today and the college it becomes tomorrow, and over the decades, matters to my life. That is why I decided to join the Alumni Board and see what more I can do to support the college. I was able to come to Augsburg because I was awarded a Reid Scholarship funded by people who knew how vital scholarship support is. I realized that others had opened doors and helped me secure a great education. I wanted to know what I could do to open doors for others.
Today, I have learned that Augsburg alumni care deeply for the College. Yet we don’t always show that support in a meaningful way that can help the College stay vibrant and relevant. That is why I committed to serve on the alumni board. I wanted to do three things:
- Identify alumni willing to serve as connectors to other alumni and friends;
- Drive greater engagement with alumni and the college;
- Increase alumni giving, both as a percent of alumni (an important external indicator that influences other investments, such as foundation gifts, as well as rankings) and in total dollars.
Already we have seen great results from this effort, including the remarkable $10 million gift made by a member of the class of ’65. Few institutions have received such transformative gifts. And few of us can make such a gift, and yet each of us share a stake in the future of this great place!
That is why several alumni leaders are joining forces to invite our peers to become part of the Alumni Class Challenge and help build the Center for Science, Business and Religion at the heart of campus. This building represents the next stage of advancement for Augsburg, a place where great faculty will shape the leaders of the future to innovate and create solutions to issues that confront our communities, our country and our world. It is urgently needed.
The Alumni Class Challenge invites each class to work at a team and raise $1 million or more from their class. If each class achieves this goal, it will mean $50 million for the college. Now that’s a collective impact!
Last month the Classes of the 70’s and 80s each gathered on campus to learn more about the planned CSBR building and to see the students and faculty at work. One of the current students they met told them that, while the building will not be built until after she graduates, she wants to do everything she can to help make it a reality. “It’s for the faculty. They are such amazing educators. They deserve to do their work in a state-of- the-art facility.” Her spirit exemplifies the spirit of opening doors for others! (See the video about Opening Doors here).
Each one of us left the summit inspired, ready to make our own gift and to ask others to join us. If you missed this event, you can join us for one of the many events coming up. Check out the schedule included in this newsletter.
Please join me in opening doors for the leaders who can shape a great new future. I believe that like me, you’ll find for each gift you give, you’ll receive so much more in return.
Chris Ascher ’81