Deidre (Durand) Middleton Office of Academic Advising Dedicated in Memory of Beloved Campus Advisor

Middleton family supports the Center for Science, Business, and Religion with a $100,000 gift

Bruce Middleton with grandson Andrew Leikam, daughter Alison Middleton Leikam ’88 and son-in-law Mark Leikam ’86.

Deidre Middleton ’88, a beloved academic advisor, worked with students at Augsburg College from 1988 until her retirement in 2001. On October 30, 2013, The Deidre (Durand) Middleton Office of Academic Advising was dedicated in her memory. She died the previous year after a long illness.

Her husband of 52 years, Bruce Middleton, and her mother-in-law, Edith Middleton, together gave Augsburg College $100,000 for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion and chose to honor Deidre by naming the Office of Academic Advising in her memory.  Bruce said, “It seemed appropriate to name that particular space, given Deidre’s 14 years of service in advising students.”

Middleton, serious about learning, didn’t take herself seriously

At the dedication ceremony, these words from Rick Thoni, founder of the Weekend College, were shared: “Deidre was the kind of person who made the Weekend College thrive─she was bright, capable, energetic, motivated, and caring. She was very serious about learning but not willing to take herself too seriously…. It is so very appropriate that Augsburg is naming this office in Deidre’s honor. In this way, her love of learning and care for others will live on at Augsburg.”

Benji Kent, Director of Academic Achievement, spoke at the ceremony and described Deidre as someone “who could make the most uncomfortable student (mother, father or grandparent), age 18 to 58, feel confident and great about completing their education. She managed these relationships with dexterity and professional expertise.”

“She had many fans among students, staff and faculty”

Kent added that he would remember “her sense of humor, grace, sincerity, and comfortable style, mixed with her sharp instincts.” He said that she “had many fans amongst the students, staff and faculty…. Whether you were a custodian or a member of the administration, it didn’t matter to Deidre. She enjoyed talking with people.”

She entered college at Macalester in 1957, which she attended briefly before marrying Bruce in 1960. They were high school sweethearts who met at Robbinsdale High School. Together they raised two daughters, Alison and Anne; Anne predeceased her mother. Deidre worked for 18 years in School District 281 as a para-professional.

As a working mother, Middleton attended Weekend College

Bruce, an electrical engineer, encouraged Deidre for years to go back to college. She pursued that opportunity at Augsburg’s Weekend College. Deidre graduated from Weekend College in 1988, the same year that their daughter Alison Middleton Leikam ’88 graduated from Augsburg College.

“I was really impressed that my mom was going back to school,” Alison says. “I loved it that she was there when I was. We talked a lot about our classes and our professors. The one class we had together was Shakespeare.”

“My mother loved Augsburg College because she felt welcomed”

Deidre enjoyed the Weekend College so much that she asked for a job there. Initially Deidre was an academic advisor for Weekend College students and later for traditional students as well.

“My mother loved Augsburg College because she felt welcomed,” Alison says. “Augsburg made her feel comfortable as an adult learner. She felt valued, and that’s why she wanted to be an employee.”

Bruce adds: “She started to believe in herself and what I’d been telling her for all those years about how smart she was. The school gave her the confidence to pursue what she was interested in.”

“Our family’s gift reflects the affection Deidre had for Augsburg College,” Bruce says. “We miss her terribly. This is something we could do to express our love for her and what she cared deeply about.”

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