Monthly Archives: July 2013

Roommates from 1945 Sponsor Rooms in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

Genevieve Hendrickson ’45 and Beth Opgrand ’45, former Augsburg roommates and supporters of the CSBR Campaign

When Beth (Buesing) Opgrand, ’45, attended Augsburg College during World War II, she needed a job. She became a streetcar driver, a job held exclusively by males before the war. She recalls that it was “exciting and scary handling something so large.” Her job included opening the door for people who wished to board. She can still hear the hissing sound made when she released the brake to head on down the street.

Almost seven decades later, Beth still is opening doors. She recently gave a $50,000 gift to Augsburg College to name a faculty office in the new Center for Science, Business and Religion. Her gift will help transform the learning environment for a new generation of students at Augsburg. You may click on this link to learn more about the new Center:

Giving the gift fills her with joy. Her husband Arnold, now deceased, was a tax accountant. “Arnold loved math and handled all of our finances for many years,” she recalls. “He was a generous giver. When he became ill with dementia, I took over handling the finances.” With this new role, she made a discovery: “I like to give money away.”

Beth relies on a financial advisor. She has requested that, whenever the value of her investment portfolio surpasses a predetermined level, he place the excess in a separate fund she can use for gift giving.  Beth says: “I shared my plans with my son Mark, who is an ELCA pastor in Wilmington, N.C. He told me I had his full support. That felt good to hear. We both want to be good stewards.”

“God has been especially good to me,” Beth says. “I have decided to give away a percentage of my assets each year. I don’t want to wait until after my lifetime to make these gifts.  It means a lot to me to do it now.”

She also has created a charitable gift annuity benefiting Augsburg College. This type of deferred gift provides a lifetime income stream to her. “I can determine how to use the income, but each year I choose to give the income back to the Augsburg Fund,” Beth explains.

Beth deeply values the college’s programs to educate students with mobility issues and other challenges related to learning as well as students in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. She also admires the Weekend College designed for working people. “These programs impress me very much. I want to be a part of giving to a college that is accessible to many people. This place strikes a chord with my values.”

When asked what she valued most about her own student experience, she recalls the deep relationships she made within her dormitory, Sivertson Hall, especially her roommate of three years, Genevieve (Larson) Hendrickson ’45.

Genevieve and Beth had not seen each other for 50 years. Then Keith Stout, Director of Leadership Gifts at Augsburg College, helped them reconnect. Genevieve spends winters in Yuma, Ariz., not far from Beth’s home in Peoria, Ariz., and her daughter recently brought her to visit Beth.

Then Beth opened the door in a new way. She allowed Keith to share with Genevieve the story of the gift she gave Augsburg College to name a faculty office in the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Beth says: “I don’t care about getting my name on something. But giving this gift gives me a nice, warm feeling because this is such a worthwhile cause.” She hoped that her friend also would want to experience the joy of giving to Augsburg.

Genevieve decided she too would give a naming gift for a faculty office in the new Center.  She herself took science classes and likes to think about helping students today who are taking science, business and religion classes. She recalls a chemistry class where she was one of just three students. “I got a lot of personal attention,” she remembers.

Genevieve taught school for 31 years, teaching high school science for the first five years and then first grade. She knows the importance of having a good facility for education.

It seems only fitting that the faculty offices Beth and Genevieve are naming sit side by side.

Chris Ascher ’81 Announces Class Challenge

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

CSBR Gary Hesser and Phil Adamo believe in the interdisciplinary model of learning.

Professor and Martin Sabo Chair for Citizenship and Learning Gary Hesser and Professor and Chair of the History Department and Director of Medieval Studies Phillip Adamo believe in the interdisciplinary model of learning. Interdisciplinary learning is a centuries-old practice which has yielded countless accomplishments and advances.  For decades, Augsburg has been integrating subject areas like science, business, and religion as a means to carry out its mission to prepare global citizens.

It Takes an Auggie

I grew up in an era of great social movements that shaped my thinking about what it means to be a citizen, a leader, and a member of a community. One thing I learned about these remarkable movements (civil rights, women’s rights, etc.) is that one person can make a real difference (think of Rosa Parks sitting down on that bus) AND, no one person can create a movement alone.

Today I am writing to you because, as someone close to Augsburg, you also believe in the power of movements to transform people, institutions, and communities for the better.

Power of a singular vision:

When I came to study at Augsburg, I held a vision for a contribution I wanted to make and a goal I wanted to achieve. I knew Augsburg needed to make its mark with a special athletic achievement. My goal was to stretch myself to make this special contribution. I visualized becoming an All-American wrestler and bringing that recognition to the college. I had a strategy and I knew I needed discipline to follow it through.

During the match that would make or break my goal I found myself flipped over on my back, my opponent pressing down on me, doing his best to pin me and win the match. I could see the field house lights overhead. Determined not to get pinned, I could hear my own thoughts:

  • Don’t panic.
  • You need a fresh start.
  • You know what to do.

I managed to get off my back and get that “fresh start” I needed.  After being behind 6-0, I won the match 7-6.  I was a step closer to my goal and learned an important lesson in life—to never give up and to focus on what you know works.

Today, Augsburg is poised to make its mark and signal its place as a center for innovative thinking and cultural clarity by building a new building that will serve as the campus crossroads and academic “heart” for the college. The Center for Science, Business, and Religion will bring together the study of global business, advanced science and technology, and world faith traditions into a first-of-its-kind education center.

My new commitment to Augsburg is to fulfill the vision for this campus Center by securing $50 million in new gifts. I wake up each day with the image of the building fully operating, filled with students eager to learn and apply their gifts to the problem solving necessary for our global challenges. I imagine others joining me with their generous gifts that will support laboratories, equipment, classrooms, and the people who bring them to life. To date we have raised over $23 million and will break ground soon after we secure another $12-15 million.

Become part of the movement:

You can join this movement to bring this special building to fruition. I invite you to read the next article about Dan Anderson, ’65 who shares my belief in the Augsburg of today AND tomorrow. Like Dan, I invite you to do three things:

  • Prayerfully consider becoming a significant donor to the campaign.
  • Think about who you know who needs to hear the story of this special place.
  • Become a class leader and join the effort to raise $1 million or more per class.

Everyone has a place in this effort. Movements begin with vision, courage, and commitment. They succeed because of the strength each person who joins the cause adds to its growth.

Please join our movement for the CSBR building. I look forward to hearing from you and keeping you updated on this wonderful effort.

Mike Good, ’71

Campaign Chair





The Agre Challenge

Dr. Steven E. Larson, ’71 is CEO of the Riverside Medical Clinic in Riverside CA. Steve believes in the value-based education that Augsburg offered during his Augsburg years, and believes those values still provide the foundation for a great Augsburg education today.

When Steve was introduced to the campaign for the Center for Science, Business and Religion a year ago, he immediately connected to two experiences. One, the same classrooms and laboratories that he studied in are still being used today. As a medical physician, and professor at the UC-Riverside Medical School, Steve knows the importance of creating the finest classrooms and laboratories in which students to study and learn and faculty can teach effectively.

As important as those facilities are, Steve was also reminded of the impact of Professor Courtland Agre on his studies and life. Steve, working with Augsburg development staff, has initiated, and provided the first funding for, the Courtland Agre Challenge.

The Courtland Agre Challenge is designed to raise money to honor Dr. Agre through the naming of the 2nd floor Center for Science, Business, and Religion atrium, as the Courtland Agre Atrium. The 2nd floor of the CSBR will be the location for Chemistry classrooms, laboratories, and faculty offices. The Atrium will be a “main thoroughfare and hub” for students, faculty and staff.

This challenge, started by Steve, has identified and enlisted several of his 1971 Augsburg classmates. Now the opportunity is available to all whose education and lives have been impacted by Dr. Courtland Agre to participate in this Challenge.

For more information, contact:
Doug Scott
Director of Leadership Gifts

Former Physics Professor Ted Hanwick Inspires Alumni Today

A respected scholar of astronomy and astrophysics. A devoted Lutheran. A dedicated teacher. An inspiring presence on campus.  A person committed to opening doors for others to step forward and lead.

All of these describe Dr. Theodore Hanwick, a professor who gave up a higher salary at Rutgers University to lead the Physics Department at Augsburg College from 1957-78.  He told his wife Fern, when they were contemplating this move, that the voice of God settled it.

Ted Hanwick, who died in 2005, deeply influenced Dan Anderson, ’65, and helped shape his life. Now, Dan and his wife Alice invite others to join the movement and help them honor Dr. Hanwick.

Dan Anderson ’65 thinks often of his days at Augsburg and all he learned from Dr. Ted Hanwick.

The Hanwick Challenge

The Andersons created a $250,000 challenge grant to match gifts for the Theodore Hanwick, Sr., Intro to Physics Laboratory in the new Center for Science, Business and Religion at Augsburg College. In making their generous gift, they set an ambitious goal —to raise $500,000 overall to name this lab in his honor. The lab is one of seven physics labs slated for the CSBR building.

“When I was a student,” Dan says, “Dr. Hanwick was the Physics Dept. I took many classes from him and ended up with a physics minor alongside a math major. I respected him. He taught with dedication and purpose, and he influenced my life. I want to honor him for what he did for the college, as he inspired many, many students.”

Ted Hanwick’s Legacy

Today Augsburg College’s Physics Department enjoys a reputation as one of the strongest undergraduate physics programs in the country. Dan thinks the reputation rests in part on the foundation laid by Dr. Hanwick.

Dr. Hanwick emphasized the compatibility of science and faith. He attended chapel daily and spoke unapologetically about his deep Christian faith and Lutheran upbringing. Dr. Hanwick would be pleased that the new Center will house Science, Business and Religion.

Dan has served on the Board of Regents at Augsburg College for 11 years. He chuckles when he says that attending Augsburg “was almost decided by the time I was in second grade.” Dan lived in a North Dakota parsonage as a boy, and he said representatives of the Lutheran Free Church came through frequently—pastors, Augsburg development staff, and even Augsburg’s president.

They all noticed Dan’s remarkable height, even as a youngster, and encouraged him to play basketball for Augsburg. Dan’s parents Waldemar and Thora Anderson were Augsburg graduates. Ernie Anderson, the college athletic director and family friend, was persuasive, and Dan indeed chose Augsburg.

Dan is pleased that the family tradition has continued. His daughter Tracy Anderson Severson is the incoming chair of the Alumni Board.

“A liberal arts education is more important today than ever,” Dan says, “because today’s students will likely have several different careers. Augsburg students learn to think and analyze and connect ideas. This college, with a very diverse student body that is highly engaged with the city, has an important role to play in the world.”

Dan led the Augsburg team to three MIAC championships and was named MIAC Player of the Year three times. In 1977, Dan was inducted into the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame. He played for both the New Jersey Nets and the Minnesota Pipers professional basketball teams in the American Basketball Association.

In 1969 Dan joined Strommen and Associates in Minneapolis. Ten years later Dan and two partners bought the firm, now known as AdvisorNet Financial, which today has approximately 250 representatives.

Dan and Alice gave a gift reflecting their love for Augsburg College and their admiration of Ted Hanwick. They invite others to join them so that a physics lab might stand as witness to this remarkable professor’s impact on the lives of students.