Monthly Archives: September 2013

Augburg Faculty Awarded Over $695,000 In National Science Foundation Grants

As we kick off Homecoming week I want to take a moment to share some exciting news regarding faculty research and applaud the ongoing scholarly and creative activities of faculty and staff that are vital to our vision to be “small to our students, big for the world.”

Three Augsburg faculty, Mark Engebretson, David Hanson, and Ann Impullitti, have been awarded competitive research grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF). These grants, totaling $695,087, will support discrete research projects in physics, chemistry, and biology, and provide opportunities for undergraduate student learning and engagement in research..

Leading In The State of Minnesota

These awards demonstrate our strength in scholarship and build on the momentum of our past successes in securing grant funding. As I mentioned in last week’s State of the College address, Augsburg ranked third in Minnesota for the total dollar amount awarded by NSF in 2012. This positioned us as the leader in NSF funding among every private college in the state!

As we celebrate this great achievement, I want to also recognize the hard work and dedication of all faculty and staff. Your efforts have built and sustained the programs, supported the students, and established the relationships that make these awards possible.

To those of you who have taken the time to engage in research, scholarship or creative activities–Thank You. To those who have engaged or facilitated student participation in research, scholarship, or creative activities–Thank You. To those of you who have written proposals, received grants, mentored students, or mentored faculty–Thank You. You create the vibrant, inquiry driven environment that supports our students and the community. You make Augsburg small to our students and big for the world.

Award Details

Dr. Mark Engebretson, Professor of Physics, was granted a three year, $185,940 award from NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences for his project, “Collaborative research: Continued study of ultra low frequency (ULF) waves at cusp latitudes on Svalbard to probe earth’s space environment.” This project builds on a longstanding partnership between Augsburg and the University of New Hampshire (Dr. Marc Lessard) in an effort to better understand the dynamics of Earth’s magnetosphere and its interaction with the solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF).

Svalbard, Norway is the only place in the northern hemisphere where polar cusp field lines can be observed for extended periods in darkness at noon, making it an ideal location to carry out observations of ionospheric phenomena (including dayside aurora) on magnetic field lines that map to the outer boundary of the Earth’s magnetosphere. Funding will support the continued operation of an array of four search coil magnetometers (induction antennas) located in Svalbard and the analysis of magnetometer data for studies of ULF waves and associated phenomena in Earth’s space environment.

The data from the magnetometers are valuable for a number of space physics studies, and will be made available to the scientific community through the NASA Virtual Observatories. Additionally, this project will provide undergraduate student researchers with education and training opportunities in space physics and data analysis.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AGS-1202267.

Dr. David HansonAssistant Professor of Chemistry, was awarded $386,163 from NSF’s Division of Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences. The three year project, “Nucleation studies with sulfuric acid (H2SO4) and Nitrogenous Bases,” will test models for nucleation rates that can be incorporated into global climate models.

Nucleation is the driving force for new particle formation in the atmosphere. Newly formed particles affect clouds that greatly influence climate.  The investigation of nucleation with the atmospherically important species sulfuric acid, water and amines is the focus of this project.  The project will: 1) provide measured nucleation rates over a wide range of experimental conditions and 2) develop computation fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations of the experiments.  The comparison of laboratory results to CFD simulations will yield the free energies of formation of small molecular clusters, which are the smallest of the small particles.

The results of this project will improve the representation of particle formation processes in climate models and increase understanding of the sources of particulate matter dangerous to human health. Additionally, eight undergraduate research students will be supported over the life of the project, providing opportunities to develop technical expertise, critical thinking skills, and confidence, in addition to supporting NSF’s goal to develop a diverse, globally competitive STEM workforce.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AGS-1338706.

Dr. Ann Impulitti, Assistant Professor of Biology, received a $122,684 Major Research Instrumentation Grant from NSF’s Division of Biological Infrastructure, and a $52,400 from the LiCor Environmental Education Fund (LEEF).   The funds will be used to purchase a suite of instruments for plant ecophysiology research.  Dr. Impulitti and her Co-Principal Investigators, Dr. John Zobitz, Associate Professor of Mathmatics, and Dr. Dean Malvick, University of Minnesota, will use the instrumentation to investigate the physiology of economically important plants infected by fungi and study mathematical modeling of ecophysiological processes. Research activities will explore: 1) the physiology and productivity of economically important plants colonized by pathogens that do not cause symptoms of disease; 2) the functional role of endophytes in plants; 3) the impact of sublethal infections by soil-borne pathogens of roots on plant productivity; and 4) the measurement of leaf-level physiological processes to parameterize ecosystem models of carbon cycling.

The instruments will be used for faculty research and undergraduate research in plant biology, environmental science, and mathematics.  Students interested in research will have opportunities to be involved in quantitative data analysis in biology and mathematics, and research in a field and/or lab. The instrument will also improve collaborative and interdisciplinary research projects with faculty at the University of Minnesota.  Results from these collaborations will improve our understanding of plant-fungal interactions, and will be applied to improving soybean yield and productivity, an important model plant due to its economic importance and growth throughout the U.S.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DBI-1337582.

If you are interested in learning more about securing grants for your research, scholarship, or creative activities, please visit or contact Erica Swift at


Regent Curt Sampson Sponsors Conference Room

U of MN graduate and racetrack entrepreneur Curtis Sampson and spouse Marian contribute a conference room for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion

An interest in physics research and a personal relationship with Augsburg leadership helped Curtis and Marian Sampson decide to make a major gift to the Center for Science Business and Religion. The Sampsons recently gave $150,000 to name a conference room in the building.

Curt’s love for Augsburg College runs deep, though he graduated from the University of Minnesota. His father was a classmate of Augsburg’s President Bernhard Christensen, who once visited their home when Curt was a boy. He can still visualize the black coupe President Christensen drove that day.

Feels good to increase support

Their gift honors family members who attended Augsburg Academy or Augsburg College: Curt’s father Selmer B., his uncle Alvin, his brothers Aldin and Selvin (all now deceased), and his living brother Wayne Sampson ’51. “President Christensen knew our family couldn’t give much then,” Curt says. “It feels good that we can support Augsburg today.” The Sampsons have been generous Augsburg donors over many years, with both their time and money. Recently Curt rejoined the Augsburg Board of Regents.

Inducted into the Twin Cities Business Hall of Fame, Curt built a series of telecommunications companies headquartered in Hector, Minn., including Communications Systems, Inc.  In 1994 he purchased and revitalized Canterbury Park in Shakopee, Minn.

Taking pride in a small college’s excellence

He is proud that the Augsburg College Physics Department conducts geophysical research in the Antarctic with other research institutions across the world. When asked why others should support the Center for Science, Business and Religion, Curt says: “Donors have a chance to be part of a small Minnesota college being recognized globally. We can help students who want to pursue science access a premier facility for teaching and research.”

What Is It About Augsburg? The President’s Perspective

Greetings from Augsburg College where we have just begun our 145th academic year. We are excited that our first-year class will be one of the largest in the Colleges history and our returning students represent some of the most successful we’ve had the pleasure to teach. We are humbled by the multitude of gifts, passions, personal stories, and ambitions that these students bring to our campus. We are honored that these remarkable students have chosen Augsburg to pursue their education.

What is it about Augsburg that is attracting students today?

Last month, I was asked to speak on behalf of my presidential colleagues from Lutheran colleges and universities at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly. My remarks focused on the vitality of the 26 colleges and universities of the ELCA. As I explained at the Churchwide Assembly and have mentioned in past editions of the Presidents Perspective, I’m deeply concerned about and committed to the relevance of Lutheran higher education. Our core commitments as institutions of learning are unique and particularly relevant in the 21st century. ELCA colleges share five gifts of the Lutheran tradition that form a common identity and character, and these gifts highlight the synergy between what it means to be faithful to our core Lutheran values while at the same time relevant in the 21st century. These gifts include a focus on:

(1) vocation,

(2) critical and humble inquiry,

(3) engaging others in diverse communities,

(4) serving our neighbors, and

(5) semper reformanda—a belief in the value of reform, innovation, and new ways of approaching our work.

As you may know, in the past several years, students and parents have become highly focused on the role that higher education plays in the pursuit of secure, valuable careers. Families are seeking evidence that their college investment will yield a return in the form of successful post-graduate employment. In fact, career advancement now ranks as the No. 1 reason people choose to further their education.

Here at Augsburg, we are keenly aware that students and parents expect us to prepare graduates for successful lives and careers, and, I am pleased to say, we are uniquely positioned to deliver on that promise. We equip our students for vocational journeys that take them down many different pathways – and we do it by offering an educational experience unlike any other!

Augsburg has a long tradition of preparing students for careers. In the early years of the College, we focused on education for service in ministry, teaching, nursing, social work, and other professions. The strength of our reputation in these areas is well known. What’s as impressive — though perhaps less well known — is that we’ve launched thousands of scientists and engineers into their careers during that time. We have a strong pipeline to medical, law, and other professional and graduate schools. Our alumni include small business owners and corporate leaders, actors and musicians, IT professionals, writers, and leaders in the nonprofit world. Thanks in large part to our location in the heart of the Twin Cities, our students are able to build professional relationships in the field of their choice through internships, hands-on research, and other opportunities.

Perhaps most compellingly, Augsburg prepares students best for their various roles in the world by bringing together a diverse student community from across Minnesota, the United States, and the world. Students regularly point to the diversity of the Augsburg campus as one of our most attractive qualities. In our rapidly changing world, relationships that cross traditional boundaries are essential for effective leadership, problem solving, and civic engagement.

To help you imagine what today’s students are bringing to our campus, let me tell you about three who stand out in my mind.

Hannah attended high school in rural Wisconsin and is the recipient of a President’s Scholarship, our highest merit-based award. She is passionate for musical and theatrical performance and has a record of exceptional academic achievement. As the fifth of her family’s five children to attend Augsburg, Hannah knows this is the right college for her.

Samuel attended high school in northern Minnesota and is a Regents’ Scholarship recipient. He started two-a-day practice with the Augsburg football team a couple of weeks ago, which was a great way for him to establish friendships before classes began. As a pre-med student with the additional rigor of participating in the College’s Honors Program, he is going to have a busy first semester.

Stephanie is a Twin Cities native. Her high school teacher—an Augsburg alum—encouraged her to apply to the College. Stephanie is planning to major in Special Education and is the first member of her family to attend college. She will navigate the college experience with assistance from AVID, a program dedicated to increasing student learning, completions, and success in and beyond college. Augsburg was one of the first colleges in the U.S. to pilot AVID for Higher Education, and we are fortunate to connect with smart, driven students like Stephanie because we remain the only four-year private liberal arts college in the Upper Midwest with AVID.

When Augsburg opened its doors in Minneapolis in 1872 the total population of the city was about 20,000 people. Norwegian Lutherans and educational reformers like Sven Oftedal and Georg Sverdrup believed in offering students a practical and useful education that was relevant to their time.

Today, Minneapolis offers our students exposure to global corporations, thriving nonprofits, citizenship and government in action, an internationally known arts community, beautiful lakes and parks, ethnic and cultural diversity, and more. In the midst of this great city, we hold fast to the reform-minded values of our founders. We educate students for careers and for life. Augsburg is a college of choice because it is both faithful to its past and relevant to today’s students.

As always, thank you for your continued support and for positively influencing the lives of our students.

Faithfully yours,

Paul C. Pribbenow

CSBR Mary Laurel True and Wayne Jorgenson ’71 believe Augsburg helps students develop a spirit of generosity

Director of Service Learning and Community Engagement Mary Laurel True and Board of Regents member Wayne Jorgenson ’71 believe Augsburg fosters a spirit of service by encouraging students to engage and serve in the local community.  Likewise, Augsburg alumni recognize the generosity that made their educational experience possible and give back in order to allow future students to experience the same quality education at Augsburg.

Sharing a Passion for Giving

Did you ever go in the door of a networking event and come out with a great new connection? Did you follow through and turn a connection into a relationship?

Some time ago I attended an Augsburg student/alumni networking event on campus and met a young man, Dennis Som ’12, who seemed interested in my field of finance. A few weeks later I ran into him again at the Ivy Hotel in downtown Minneapolis. I remembered he had written me a thank you note after that initial networking event. A note in which he basically said, “I want your job someday!” So when I saw him again at the Ivy we struck up a conversation and he offered to buy me lunch.

Follow-up leads to follow-through

Impressed by his desire to improve his life and excel in his career, I knew right away, I wanted to help Dennis. We decided to meet periodically and talk about careers, life and serving others. I gave him a book titled The Go Giver. He read it and has been using its theme to inform his thinking about life and work. The message is that the secret to life is giving. He has learned to base relationships on giving.

While I set out to help Dennis through this mentorship, I already know, I am getting a lot from our relationship. He inspires me with his energy, follow-through and great instincts—all qualities that will make him successful in work and life.

I share this story because I believe our work to bring the Center for Science, Business, and Religion will succeed when more of us reach out to one another to share our gifts with one another and with Augsburg.

Creating an environment for mentoring

When the CSBR is completed by 2016, Augsburg will be better able to attract and retain top students like Dennis and support our exceptional faculty with an environment designed to foster great teaching/learning relationships.

I’ve always felt that people want to be part of a winning team, so when the effects of our new CSBR reflect even stronger outcomes for our graduating students, more alumni will want to step up and and join the growing team of mentors who are helping to advance all of our great Augsburg students.

Keeping the doors opening, challenging more to join

We invite all of you to join us in the effort to secure the funding for this great new academic center on campus. Several challenge grants are waiting for your generous gifts, helping meet our goal for each class to contribute $1 million or more to the Center.

In the meantime, I have another book waiting for Dennis when I am finished with it titled, Give and Take. We will let you know what we learn from sharing our passion for giving and our determination to invite others to join us.

Auggies Supporting Auggies

Let’s move the ball on this important campaign. We carry our alma mater with us into the world. We can add our talents and gifts to make it a great and greater College.

Augsburg Legend Jack Osberg ’62 Makes Legacy Gift

Former Augsburg College head football coach Jack Osberg ’62 and his spouse Nina have created a legacy gift for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

“Augsburg has touched our lives. I’m a graduate. Nina is an honorary Auggie. Three of our six children graduated from here: Peter ’93, Jamie ’95 and Anne ’01. I got to work in my dream job as head football coach. We want to help, so we named Augsburg as a beneficiary of our retirement plan.”


Many people want to leave a legacy. If it seems complicated though, they may not get around to it. That’s where Qualified Retirement Plans like IRAs come in. These retirement assets often generate high taxes if you leave them to children or grandchildren. Yet gifting them to charitable causes that share your values can be extremely simple. And through December 31 of this year, if you are age 70 ½ or older, you can make an immediate charitable gift up to $100,000 from your IRA using the charitable rollover.


Retirement assets make ideal gifts to charitable organizations like Augsburg College. If you leave them to family members or loved ones (other than your spouse), they may be subject to estate or inheritance taxes─and they will be subject to income taxes. That adds up in a big way.

Taxes can eat up more than half the value of the retirement asset. When given to charitable organizations, no tax is due, preserving the full value and giving you a powerful impact.

If you would like to name Augsburg College as beneficiary, simply contact the administrator of your IRA or retirement plan for a Change of Beneficiary Form.

To create the gift, simply name a percentage of the plan’s value or name a specific dollar amount for Augsburg on the form, and then return it to the plan administrator. It’s as simple as that!


The IRS is allowing an opportunity for IRA charitable rollovers through December 31, 2013. Donors who are age 70 ½ or older can transfer up to $100,000 directly to a charity from a Traditional IRA to a qualified charity, including Augsburg College, without paying income taxes on the funds transferred. The gift must go directly from the IRA to the charity.


Call Augsburg’s Office of Gift Planning at 612-330-1575 or e-mail Doug Scott at to schedule a confidential appointment to discuss your planning options.

Newlyweds Honor the Memories of their First Spouses by Naming Faculty Offices in the CSBR

Augsburg alumni Evelyn Sonnack Halverson and William H. Halverson just returned from their honeymoon to Norway and England. Sitting beside each other on a couch, holding hands, they finish each other’s sentences as if they have known each other for decades. And they have.

Evie’s first husband, Paul G. Sonnack Jr., and Bill Halverson were Augsburg College faculty colleagues, overlapping there from 1959 to 1967. The two couples were good friends, so close in fact that the Sonnacks were baptismal sponsors for Kay, one of the Halversons’ five daughters.

Recently Evie and Bill each decided to make naming gifts, in memory of their first spouses, for faculty offices in Augsburg’s new Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Life insurance gift makes Paul G. Sonnack Jr. faculty office possible

“After Paul died in 1992,” Evie says, “I set up a life insurance policy to benefit the schools where he taught─Augsburg College and Luther Seminary. I wanted to do something in his memory, and at Augsburg I created the Paul G. Jr. and Evelyn Sonnack Scholarship Fund. Recently I decided to cash in the insurance policy and give the money to the schools right away.” Part of her gift will expand the scholarship fund, and $25,000 will name a faculty office for Paul.

Donna McLean, Director of Development Initiatives at Augsburg, suggested to Evie that she consider naming a faculty office after Paul. “I thought it was a splendid idea,” Evie says. “This opened up a new idea completely for how my gift could be used. The faculty office is another way to reinforce the memory of Paul at Augsburg in perpetuity.”

Paul and Evie met as students. They both sang in the Augsburg Choir, where Evie was a soprano soloist. After graduating, Evie taught school while Paul attended Augsburg Theological Seminary. Then they were married. “In those days,” she points out, “you couldn’t be married while going to seminary.” He was then ordained and served Lutheran Free Church congregations in Moose Lake, Minn.

Paul began teaching at Augsburg in 1949, after graduate study at the University of Chicago. Later he was professor and dean of Augsburg Seminary. From 1967 to his retirement in 1989, he was Professor of Church History at Luther Theological Seminary.

Remembering a beloved professor

When you read part of the Rev. Judith Mattison’s poem about him, Our Teacher, you immediately sense the impact Prof. Sonnack had on students:

With a burst of energy he would meet us at the door,


with a twinkle in his eye,

loyal to the Gospel

                        to truth, to justice

and he would Teach!

as if our lives depended on it

                        and they did.

Evie’s life too was deeply embedded in the College. She worked at Augsburg in various capacities including secretary to the academic dean. She later served Luther Seminary as Director of Housing.

The Sonnacks had two children, a daughter Mary who died at age 15 months, and a son John, who is married and has one son.

Evie was deeply touched to learn that another family, giving anonymously, also named a faculty office in honor of Paul G. Sonnack Jr.

Important symbols on Bill and Evie’s wedding day

Bill says that as happy as he and Evie are in their new marriage, they loved their first spouses very deeply and have not forgotten them. To symbolize this truth on their wedding day, Evie wore diamond earrings Paul had given her on their 40th wedding anniversary, and Bill wore a birthstone ring that his first wife Marolyn had given him on his 50th birthday. They placed two red roses on the altar in memory of Paul and of Marolyn.

Bill also met his first spouse in the Augsburg College Choir. Though he went to Augsburg for four years, Marolyn Sortland came just for her senior year. She earlier had gone to Concordia College, and then worked as a teacher while earning money to complete her college degree. In the meantime, her parents moved from Fargo to Minneapolis, and her brothers had enrolled at Augsburg, so she came too.

Marolyn devoted herself to family and community

Bill and Marolyn married shortly after graduating. Marolyn taught school for a year and then focused on her family which eventually included five daughters, 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. “She was a superb mother and grandmother,” Bill says.

Marolyn was the primary caregiver for their daughter Kay, who just before her 18th birthday had a severe stroke that left her without the ability to talk or move any voluntary muscles. Marolyn cared for Kay for 35 years, until her death in 2006. As a victim of Locked-In Syndrome, Kay was unable to communicate with others.

A volunteer leader, Marolyn served as president of the Ohio State University Women’s Club, as education chair for the League of Women Voters in Columbus, and as a board and committee member for several arts organizations.

Bill personifies the liberal arts through his careers

After college graduation, Bill taught high school English and music in Sherburn, Minn., and later received both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University. He then joined the Augsburg College faculty to teach philosophy. In 1967, Bill became associate dean in the Office of Academic Affairs at Ohio State University.

Bill retired in 1987, and then pursued a quite different career translating books and other materials primarily focused on Norwegian music. He has translated most of Edvard Grieg’s song texts and co-translated with Leland Sateren two books─Edvard Grieg: The Man and the Artist, and A History of Norwegian Music.

“I have always valued and treasured my Norwegian background,” Bill says. “I learned to appreciate classical music as an Augsburg student, and took a special interest in Grieg because he was Norwegian.”

In connection with the release of the Augsburg Choir Legacy Recordings in 2010, Bill penned a monograph titled The Sateren Legacy, a brief account of the life and work of Augsburg’s legendary former choir director.

Looking for and finding a way to honor Marolyn

After living in Ohio for 40 years, Bill and Marolyn returned to Minnesota in 2007, the year after Kay died. Marolyn died in 2012 of Parkinson’s Disease.

“Since her death last year, I have been thinking about ways to honor Marolyn’s memory,” Bill says. “When Donna McLean came to visit Evie about naming a faculty office for Paul, I realized that this would be a suitable way to memorialize Marolyn also.”

Bill and Marolyn previously gave a gift to Augsburg College to create the Kay Halverson Scholarship Fund. “We had saved money for each of our daughters to go to college,” Bill says. “When Kay had a stroke at an early age, we knew that she could not go to college. We wanted to use the money then to help others access a college education.”

They were honored by the College with the Spirit of Augsburg Award in 2001.

Bill says that Augsburg College “meant a great deal to Marolyn and me. Now it is important to me to find ways to preserve her name in perpetuity. Evie and I both are delighted with this way to show how much we loved our first spouses and to make sure that their memories live beyond our lifetimes.”

Bill and Evie honor the past while embracing the future.

Building Toward Belief

Greetings and thanks for taking time for some Good News!

As Augsburg welcomes its largest freshman class in its history, I am remembering what helped me decide to become a student at Augsburg and the ways my experiences on campus turned me in a direction that shaped the rest of my life. It’s a decision I know was right for me.

Now, these many years later, I have had a chance to embrace my student experiences, understand how they led me to a career that took me to places I had only imagined, and offered me the opportunity to come full circle so I can give back to the place that gave me so much.

I invite you to take a few minutes to hear a bit more of that story by watching a short video. It will show you what happens when you focus on a goal, let yourself detach from the outcome, and believe. You will see, while some things are not always clear, when you allow yourself to listen and connect to what really matters to you, the answers are right there all along.

After you hear my story, please remember my ever present request—that you join me in the great work of bringing the Center for Science, Business and Religion to the heart of the Augsburg campus. Join me and help move Augsburg forward.


Mike Good ’71

Steve ’71 and Catherine Larson Lead Agre Challenge

Steve Larson '71 attended Augsburg on a scholarship funded by Dr. Courtland Agre.  The CSBR Campaign gave him the opportunity to give back.

Steve Larson ’71 attended Augsburg on a scholarship funded by Dr. Courtland Agre. The CSBR Campaign gave him the opportunity to give back.

Do you remember sitting in high school with your eyes roving over items pinned on a bulletin board? For Dr. Steve E. Larson ’71 that moment during a high school chemistry class in River Falls, Wis., changed his life forever.

The bulletin board announced chemistry scholarships at Augsburg College provided by Dr. Courtland Agre, then chair of Augsburg’s Chemistry Department. Larson decided to apply for one, and he got it.

“This scholarship, given from Dr. Agre’s personal funds, was quite an advantage for me,” Larson says. “I was from a poor family and going to a private college wouldn’t have been possible without a scholarship. I had a great experience at Augsburg College, and then went on to medical school. I have been looking for ways to give back to the college since that time, especially honoring Dr. Agre.” (For more about the Agre family, read the story from Good News)

Inviting others to join them

The Larsons decided to invite others to join them in giving gifts to honor Dr. Agre. Steve has worked with the Augsburg Development Office to identify classmates interested in honoring Dr. Agre.

“Initially I thought we as a group could name a courtyard space for Dr. Agre in the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. To do that would take $250,000. Now we are far beyond that level. I wonder now if we can raise enough to name a laboratory for him, at a cost of $500,000.” So far gifts in Dr. Agre’s honor total over $300,000.

Larson says that the college does not have records showing which Augsburg students benefited from scholarships provided personally by Dr. Agre. He remembers though who his fellow chemistry majors were in his class: “There were eight of us. Seven are living, and those seven have all given gifts for this purpose. Dr. Agre’s enthusiasm and professionalism and the amount he cared about the students was contagious. You wanted to perform well for him.”

Feeling forever indebted

Dr. Agre was one of three chemistry professors who wrote letters of recommendation for Larson to get into medical school. “I will be forever indebted to them. They must have stretched the truth a bit in my case, but I am very grateful.”

He was awarded the M.D. degree in 1975 from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa, and later completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in infectious diseases at the Medical College of Wisconsin Affiliated Hospital in Milwaukee. He also received a Masters in Public Health, Health Administration, from Loma Linda University.

Larson currently serves as CEO and chair of the board of Riverside Medical Clinic, a multi-specialty group in Riverside, Calif. He is a Clinical Professor of Biomedical Sciences at the University of California, Riverside. Catherine is an Internal Medicine physician at Riverside Medical Clinic. They have three children.

“I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am today without the opportunity I got from Dr. Agre in particular and from the whole college. I see this gift as a way to complete the circle of giving back a small amount to the college of what Augsburg gave to me,” says Larson.

New building will be transformational

“The new Center for Science, Business, and Religion will be a fabulous addition to campus,” according to Larson. “It will reinvigorate the sciences, and also business and religion. It will make the campus much more appealing to prospective science majors. A new building can bring new vitality. I have seen it happen with our own medical group’s building. When we got a new building, it really enhanced our reputation… just the building. I think this building will do the same for Augsburg.”