Author Archives: Heather Riddle

Malcolm Gladwell on Higher Education Philanthorpy

This past weekend I drove my daughter Morgan back to Minnesota from her summer job at a camp on Big Bear Mountain a couple of hours east of Los Angeles. She had a wonderful summer, made a lot of new friends, and between sun and spills and lack of sleep she wore herself out!  As we drove across country, Morgan slept and I had a lot of time to think about my work in higher education, the privileges young people like Morgan have, and the lack of opportunities so many other children and families face.

Have you listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History?  Gladwell got some press in July for being critical of leaders in higher education and some of the most generous philanthropists who support them. You can read some of what was said here in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Forbes to point out just a few examples.

A total of 87 gifts of $100 million+ have been made to colleges and universities in the United States. The first was made by Hank Rowan who gave $100 million to what is now named Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey.  The story of this remarkable gift is posted here. Since Rowan’s gift to a relatively unknown university, nearly all of the subsequent $100 million+ gifts have been made to the wealthiest institutions in our country. In one of Gladwell’s podcasts he asks “what are they thinking?” The result of his inquiry is a fascinating argument that I hope you’ll enjoy listening to as much as I did.

My Little Hundred Million, Episode 6 of Revisionist History, a podcast by Malcolm Gladwell

Returning to the office today, I’m thinking about Hank Rowan and how we can build on his unprecedented investment in the promise of higher education.

July 1992 Announcement of Rowan Gift to University in New Jersey

Reflections on Martin Sabo and Augsburg

April is a time for transitions: spring training becomes the home opener and the Twin’s season. Crocus and forsythia start showing themselves in purple and gaudy yellow. Other flowers ready themselves for full flowering—I can see one of my favorites, the perennial bleeding heart, poking out of the ground.

At Augsburg, we’ve recently said goodbye to one of our greats: the honorable Martin Sabo ’59. According to his wife, Sylvia, he’d known his time was near and planned his own service of remembrance. It was a remarkable celebration of his life.

He stood for so much of what it means to be an Auggie. He carried a spirit of hospitality to all while living a life of great service to others, especially to the citizens of Minnesota as a longtime law maker. Even after his retirement, he stayed active with Augsburg, attending events and participating in the life of the College. He loved keeping in touch with his friends, with today’s students, and with our faculty and staff.

Augsburg has always thought of itself as educating for service. It’s in the bones of the place. It captures my imagination to think of one of today’s students as a future public servant and leader like Martin Sabo. Is there a young person here today on campus dedicated to learning, to seeking out his/her vocation and preparing for a life of public service?  As people remembered Martin, they also remembered those who shaped the values and actions of so many Auggies. In particular, people think of Dr. Joel Torstensen, faculty emeritus, who taught Martin sociology; he founded the Social Work Department and dedicated himself to the cause of social justice.

Martin’s life reveals a true clarity of purpose that he carried over the whole course of his life. Through Augsburg, he discovered his vocation and calling and lived into it all his life.

The two are intertwined and reflect one another. Martin Sabo reflects on Augsburg and Augsburg reflects in Martin.

Augsburg, too, embraces clarity of purpose. We’ve rededicated ourselves to our mission:

Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.

Small to our students and big for the world.

http://www.augsburg.edu/augsburg2019/

That’s why we created the Martin Sabo Center for Civic Engagement: to foster the vital and ongoing efforts to promote democratic action in community.  Students come to Augsburg with a measure of civic commitment. The Center focuses on empowering all students to become agents of democratic renewal and change.

I’m so grateful for the life of Martin Sabo and for the generosity with which he lived life. He brought greater visibility and focus to the work of Augsburg. I’m glad that we continued to be such a meaningful part of his life. It’s something special that makes us relevant, a place where people stay in conversation with each other.

As Vice President for Advancement, I’m really pleased to share that we’ve started efforts to secure additional investments in the Sabo Center’s endowment with an eye to expand the clarity of vision embodied by Martin Sabo. If you would like to know more, please let me know.   I’d be happy to speak with you about the Center and civic engagement at Augsburg or whatever is on your mind this spring.

You can find me at 612-330-1177, riddle@augsburg.edu, or on twitter @heather_riddle

Peace,

Heather Riddle
Vice President Advancement

Nodland Family Sponsors CSBR Classroom

To meet and know Jeff Nodland ’77 and Becky Bjella Nodland ’79 is to experience enthusiasm and positive energy along with a passion for Augsburg. Both currently volunteer for the College—Jeff, CEO of KIK Custom Products, also serves as a member of the Board of Regents and Becky as an active alum who appreciates the work of the Music Department. They are even more engaged now because their daughter, Emily, transferred to Augsburg this fall and is a sophomore studying early childhood and elementary education.

Now, through a pledge toward the Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, the Nodlands are committed to offering their generous financial support, with a goal of strengthening Augsburg’s academic programs. Jeff describes his career as a business leader as being “all about science,” which makes this gift especially meaningful.

Youth Group Weekend Leads to Love and Marriage

In the late 1970s, when many college students were taking to the streets in protest, Augsburg students (including Jeff and Becky) spent some college weekends traveling in station wagons to area churches. They spent their time singing songs, sharing their passion for faith and dedicating themselves to service to others and the church. Jeff and Becky met on one of these weekends and formed a partnership that has lasted for over 30 years. To this day, their eagerness and enthusiasm for Augsburg shine through. “It was life altering to attend Augsburg,” said Becky.

Giving Where It Is Needed Most

When asked what led them to make their leadership investment in the CSBR, Jeff replied, “If this is what is needed, we want to meet the need. We want to offer our resources where the College needs it most.”

Becky said, “We both had positive, encouraging, and supportive experiences at Augsburg. The music, and the academic and spiritual life at Augsburg made a huge difference in our lives and we are so grateful.”

Augsburg’s Strategic Vision for 2019. The President’s Perspective

With only a few weeks left in 2013, our campus is busy with preparations for final exams, final papers, and the holidays. Our 34th annual Advent Vespers services were a beautiful and profound way to usher in the Christmas season; it was terrific to see so many of you there again this year and to share the good news of Advent. Despite the bustle of activity that the holidays typically bring, I have always found the closing weeks of the year to be one of the best times for reflection. This year, my reflections focus on the unique role that Augsburg plays in the world.

This topic was at the core of the strategy discussions launched by the Board of Regents last January. And, as you may have read in the fall issue of Augsburg Now, one outcome of that strategic planning work is a vision statement that looks out to 2019, our sesquicentennial year: In 2019, Augsburg will be a new kind of student-centered, urban university that is small to our students and big for the world.

How will Augsburg achieve this 2019 vision?

1) First, we will focus on educating for lives of purpose. This is our academic distinction, the core of our work.

The statement in our 2019 vision that we are “small to our students” captures the student experience that so many of our alumni tell us made a difference in their lives. Augsburg is fundamentally student-centered. Our students work with faculty, coaches, and advisors who get to know them individually. In doing so, our faculty and staff are able to recognize each individual’s strengths and help them develop their gifts and talents in ways that provide each student with a pathway for success to graduation and beyond.

Of course, our most significant initiative in this area is the plan for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR), which, as far as we know, is the only academic building of its kind to co-locate these three disciplines. The Center will allow us to expand our science and research programs, welcoming more students into programs that have opened doors to prestigious off-campus research and graduate school opportunities. The Center will also create a signature learning environment for our business program, which comprises the largest number of undergraduates on campus. By its nature, business is an interdisciplinary field—focused on planning, execution, and management in a vast number of industries. Co-locating business with science and religion enriches the learning experience for students in all three of those areas of study. Finally, by housing our religion department, the CSBR will welcome students from every single major on campus, as each of them participates in two required religion courses as part of the core curriculum, and will equip them to understand how faith and values are central to all aspects of human experience.

2) Second, Augsburg will achieve its 2019 vision by being “at the table” in shaping education to address the world’s needs.

Augsburg is widely known as an engaged community partner in Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as in Rochester and around the world. Our commitment to preparing students for lives beyond college calls us to build on that foundation and be “big for the world.” This dimension of the plan recognizes that our academic program will be distinctive because it is relevant to the needs of our community, our region, and the world.

One recent example of our work in this area is the fast-track (three-year) bachelor’s in nursing program launched this fall in partnership with Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC). The program allows students to complete a single application and be admitted to both schools—finishing their first two years at MCTC, then transferring seamlessly to complete their bachelor’s degree at Augsburg. This partnership helps us to meet the growing marketplace demand in the field of nursing and, at the same time, provides nursing students an outstanding, high-value educational experience. It is a terrific example of the kind of collaborative, innovative thinking that helps us meet the needs of our region.

3) Finally, achieving our 2019 vision means that Augsburg will be “built for the future.”

Ensuring that Augsburg will thrive now and in the future requires that we maintain a welcoming and sustainable campus; organizational structures that foster collaboration, efficiency, and effectiveness; and a sound and sustainable financial footing.

An important differentiation Augsburg has in this area is our urban location. Few colleges—including those located in other parts of the Twin Cities metro area—are positioned to influence and to benefit from their location as Augsburg is. When the Central Corridor Green Line begins operation in 2014, Augsburg will be in the only neighborhood in the metropolitan area with access to both Light Rail lines, providing easy access to both downtowns and to the businesses, arts organizations, religious institutions, and civic life found there.

Our location in the city has a profound effect on student opportunities. Following are examples of just a few of our recent alumni who were actively engaged in internships during their time at Augsburg—opportunities that have served them well in their early careers:

  • Dan Brandt ’11, a marketing major, landed a public affairs and community relations internship with the Minnesota Twins during his senior year. He went on to serve in community and public relations positions with both the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Minnesota Wild before transitioning to a leading public relations firm in Minneapolis. Today, he is an assistant account manager at Karwoski & Courage, one of the top 10 public relations firms in the Twin Cities.
  • Kristi Vinkemeier ’11 majored in chemistry and minored in biology. Her internship, a joint project between Aveda and SarTec Corporation, involved synthesizing new surfactants (which are used in shampoos and soaps). Kristi discovered her love of research from this experience and joined SarTec as an R&D scientist following her internship. Today, she works as an environmental health and safety coordinator at Integrated Recycling Technology, a privately held, global company specializing in the recycling of catalytic converters and high-grade circuit boards.
  • After graduating with a sociology major, Tom Thao ’11 served as an AmericCorps fellow for Minnesota Alliance with Youth, working with a north-metro public charter school to support academic achievement in its elementary school programs. Following that, he has worked as a community organizing and public relations assistant at Cycles for Change, coordinating programs to make biking accessible to under-served communities. Tom’s interest in urban planning and sustainable transportation was ignited during his internship with the Local Initiative Support Corporation, where he conducted housing and zoning research along the Central Corridor Light Rail line.

A distinctive academic program. A commitment to being at the table. And a focus on ensuring we are built for the future. That is the framework provided by our 2019 vision. I couldn’t be more excited about this strategic plan or more optimistic about the future of Augsburg College. The support you have shown in the past year—moving the CSBR campaign past the $25 million fundraising mark and making Augsburg the top fundraising college or university on Minnesota’s online Give to the Max Day last month—has provided important momentum in making sure Augsburg can continue to offer the unique education experiences we all value so deeply.

Best wishes for a blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year,

 

Paul C. Pribbenow
President

Leroy Nyhus ’52 Supports the Campaign with a Charitable Gift Annuity

Creating Charitable Gift Annuities: One Way Leroy Nyhus ’52 Demonstrates his Appreciation for Augsburg College

If you attend football, basketball, hockey, or baseball games at Augsburg College, you likely will see Leroy Nyhus ’52 in the stands, supporting the team. Living in suburban Minneapolis gives him easy access to home games and some away games.

Supporting the team is one way he demonstrates his appreciation for Augsburg. Another important way is supporting the educational mission financially. He gives annually and also has established charitable gift annuities (CGAs), providing him with fixed income for life. Learn more about CGAs by clicking here.

Leroy set up a charitable annuity some years ago at Augsburg. Recently he decided to create another, supporting the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR), a facility that will enhance cross-disciplinary work.

1949 is 64 Years Ago!
“A new facility for science would be a real plus,” Leroy says. “I started Augsburg in January 1949. The current science building opened the next fall and now it is 64 years old. It is outdated. I toured the building recently and learned of the science instructional opportunities offered and the scientific research being done by students and faculty. Augsburg is well known for its quality science department. A new science facility will enhance instruction and research, and attract new students.”

He chose a gift annuity as his way to support the CSBR. “Getting tax benefits and a lifetime fixed-income stream at above-market rates doesn’t hurt. The rate of income I receive is much higher than I could get now through a CD at a bank. But the reason I give is my appreciation for Augsburg,” he explains. “Augsburg College gave me my teaching career, my beloved wife, and a circle of friends for life. I want to give something back for all that Augsburg has done for me.”

Badminton Was the Start of a Beautiful Relationship
Leroy met Betty Lee Munson, now deceased, one day when she was playing badminton her sophomore year at Augsburg. He later asked her to join him at an Augsburg football game. It was the start of a beautiful relationship. They married in 1953 and had three daughters, one of whom, Ruth, also graduated from Augsburg in 1981. Betty Lee attended Augsburg for two years, later finishing her B.A. at the University of Minnesota after raising their daughters.

Leroy majored in mathematics and minored in chemistry. After graduating, he taught 9th and 10th grade math plus a science class in Perham, Minn. for one year. Then he attained a master’s degree in education from the University of Minnesota. Afterward, Leroy signed on with the Mounds View School District, teaching and later counseling students for a total of 31 years.

From Homemaker to National Church Leader
Betty Lee, a homemaker for many years, later became Director of Stewardship for American Lutheran Church Women. When the Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed in 1988, Leroy and Betty Lee moved to Chicago. She was named the first Executive Director of Women of the ELCA. Later she was the ELCA Director of Stewardship and Mission Giving.

She also served on the board of directors for Lutheran World Relief (LWR). She traveled to Calcutta in 1987 to meet Mother Teresa, who wanted to thank LWR for a gift of 75,000 quilts. Leroy keeps a photo of Betty Lee’s meeting with Mother Teresa on his bookshelves. He thinks often of his love for her and of their shared Christian values, which included finding ways to be stewards of God’s many gifts.

Betty Lee relished a quote from Mother Teresa: “Rejoice that once more Christ is walking through the world in you and through you, going about doing good.”

Doing More Good!
Leroy ponders this quote each time he considers the good that Augsburg College is doing in the world and the many ways he and each one of us can help further that good.

Join Us on January 30, 2014, to learn more about Augsburg 2019 and the CSBR

We invite you to make a difference by joining in the effort to build the Center for Science, Business, and Religion at Augsburg. This ground-breaking facility will transform the Augsburg campus and the surrounding community, bringing together faculty and students who will discover new ways of thinking, talking, and learning about business, world culture and religions, and science and technology. We need people like you to make this Center a reality.

On Thursday, January 30, the Augsburg Board of Regents will host a special event on campus from 4 to 8 p.m. in the Hoversten Chapel. Attendees will meet with Augsburg students, faculty, and campus leaders to learn more about Augsburg’s strategic plan for “Augsburg 2019″ and the campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. RSVP to Sonja Casperson at casperso@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1711.

Our invitation to you:

CSBR Stephanie Weiss and James Trelstad-Porter believe

Director of News and Marketing Services Stephanie Weiss and Director of International Student and Scholar Services James Trelstad-Porter offer thanks to the CSBR’s $10 million anonymous donor and discuss the significance of Augsburg’s mission and the momentum created for the CSBR through generosity. Philanthropy creates excitement and enthusiasm for the CSBR and inspires others to participate and support the campaign.  The CSBR will further Augsburg’s vision to prepare global citizens who genuinely understand diverse cultures.

CSBR Campaign Hits New Milestone, Offers New Opportunities

When you fear or doubt, have faith

Early last month I shared my Believe story with 150 guests of the Regents at a Leadership Summit for the Center for Science, Business and Religion. I have told so many of you how I doubted myself and the call from President Pribbenow asking that I lead the Campaign to bring together three disciplines under one crossroads facility in the CSBR. But I turned my fear and self-doubt into faith and belief. Now I am even more clear that our shared belief is turning into a remarkable momentum for Augsburg’s future.

In a mere 30 days since that exciting Summit, alumni and friends have made new gifts and pledges to the campaign exceeding $600,000, enough to put the campaign over $25 million! We are grateful and inspired by the generosity and support coming from all parts of the Augsburg community. Please read this full press release about the campaign’s important milestone, what comes next and how you can join us.

Max out your Giving to Augsburg on November 14

There is so much good news to share and so many ways to join in the fun. In just a few days, all of us can join with other alumni and friends in our effort to expand giving across Minnesota to Augsburg and many special projects.

Thursday, November 14, is Give to the Max Day, and this year, more than 25 Auggie faculty, staff, and alumni from all over campus are creating their own Give to the Max Day fundraising projects to help Augsburg come in 1st place among all Minnesota colleges and universities.

There’s a project for everyone—from Chemistry to Volleyball and Wrestling, Medieval Studies to Campus Kitchens. Check out all the projects at givemn.org/auggiesgive. You can even indicate your giving plans and make sure you get it recorded on November 14, Give to the Max Day in Minnesota.

Great Giving to Class Challenges, including the Class of 2015

You have also heard about the Class Challenge effort led by co-chairs Wayne Jorgenson ’71 and Chris Ascher ’81. The goal is for every class to give at least $1 million to the college and the campaign. (As Wayne and Chris point out, with such a comprehensive and successful giving effort, the campaign for the CSBR will be complete!)

This effort is motivating so many great responses. Indeed, Chris and Wayne report that the classes of 1948-2015 have all contributed to the campaign! Of these, 43 classes have contributed at a $25,000 level or greater. This month the class of 1948 has joined the challenge with two $25,000 gifts.

Encouraging action today!

I appreciate the many ways Auggies are stepping forward. By adding their special contributions, in so many different ways, we are all making sure Augsburg students and faculty will experience a remarkable place for learning–a place designed to stimulate ideas and solutions to the challenges of a complex world.

Please contact me with any questions or suggestions, and to help you make your own gift to support Augsburg for a great future. I can be reached at goodm@augsburg.edu.

Sincerely,

Mike Good ’71
National Campaign Chair for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Joe Hognander: Honoring His Father’s Tenacity and Determination

Joe Hognander Sponsors New Study/Meeting Space

Joe (Orville C. Hognander, Jr.) has pledged $100,000 for a study/meeting space in the business faculty office suite in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “I want to do this to honor the memory of my father, Orville C. Hognander, Sr. ’36,” Joe said.

Orville, Sr., was a successful businessman who built the Tennant Co’s marketing organization. When he was just 43, he suffered a major stroke. No longer able to use his dominant hand, he relearned how to write, to walk with the aid of a brace, and to speak. After a recovery period, he resumed his work as vice president and director of the company, retiring in 1973. He was married to Gertrude ’36; both are now deceased.

“If I can do it, you can do it”

Joe recalls his father’s determination to resume a normal life, becoming an inspirational role model in the process. On one occasion, a young attorney who had suffered a similar stroke came to visit Orville Sr. “The attorney complained that he felt helpless because he couldn’t even dress himself with only one hand. At that point my father took off his tie and then re-tied it singlehandedly, saying, ‘If I can do it, you can do it.’”

“Though my father and mother made significant gifts to Augsburg during their lifetimes, there was nothing that solely honored him,” Joe says. “I felt it was very fitting that an area in the business department bear his name.”

Joe graduated from Franklin & Marshall College, worked for Black & Decker and was a career naval officer. Now retired, he is a private investor and president of The Hognander Foundation, living in Edina, Minn.

Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion Hits $25 Million Milestone

Augsburg  President Paul Pribbenow has announced that the College has passed the $25 million fundraising milestone for the Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR.)

As of November 1, 2013, the Campaign has raised $25,446,753 from approximately 470 donors. Donors have sponsored 100% of the faculty offices in the Chemistry, Biology, and Religion departments.  Alumni from every graduating class from 2013 to 1948 have participated in this campaign, demonstrating broad support for this effort. The Alumni Class-by-Class Challenge—a drive to secure $1 million+ in support from every alumni class—now has over 30 classes with totals over $25,000. The Athletic Department, led by Jeff Swenson ’79, boasts 100% participation from every employee. Faculty leaders from a number of departments across campus have worked with Biology Department Chair Dale Pederson ’70 to play a key role in CSBR Campaign “Summits,” resulting in nine major campaign events since 2012 and more than $12 million in new pledges. The success and growing momentum for the CSBR can be attributed to nearly every part of the Augsburg community.

The goal of the CSBR Campaign is to secure $50 million in commitments toward the construction of this new academic building by May 2016. Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71 and the Augsburg Board of Regents are following an ambitious strategic plan for the second half of this campaign. This plan depends on the engagement of leadership-level donors, broad-based support from alumni and parents, as well as the involvement and support of Augsburg’s faculty and staff. Over the next 16 months the Augsburg community will see many small group campaign events, campus tours, and other campaign activities. If you would like to be involved or if you have recommendations to help support campaign efforts, please contact Vice President for Advancement Heather Riddle at riddle@augsburg.edu or 612-330-1177.

Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71 has shared in this short video why he BELIEVES in the Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. If you would like to print your own CSBR Believe sign for above your door, it is posted as a .pdf here.