Associate Professor of Physics David Murr ’92, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Arts and Sciences Amy Gort, Vice President and Chief Information Officer Leif Anderson, Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies Lori Peterson believe student experience is at the heart of Augsburg’s mission. The CSBR will allow Augsburg to live into its dreams and take student experience to the next level.
A few nights ago more than 140 guests, invited by the Board of Regents, gathered on the Augsburg campus to hear from CSBR National Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71, President Paul C. Pribbenow and an outstanding group of faculty leaders led by Dr. Dale Pederson ’70. Each spoke to us about why Augsburg must build–and will, indeed, soon raise the funds needed to put a shovel in the ground and begin work on–the Center for Science, Business and Religion. They left me with no questions about the decision my wife Carol (Pederson) ’72 and I made to make a major gift in support of the College’s vital efforts.
For another of my friends, a similar gathering a few months earlier generated enthusiasm in him–enough to inspire his awareness that this new building is more than needed, and that the faculty and students who will conduct their teaching and learning there are very deserving of our investment. However, even in his excitement, as he told me he hoped for success of the CSBR and wished us luck, he added that he and his wife would not be able to make a gift because they were giving to their church’s building campaign.
I understood his statement because many of us are already involved in charitable giving to worthy causes. His comments got me thinking about what it means to share and own a vision. It made me ask, “To what extent do we each understand how essential it is for each of us who values our Augsburg education to play a part in the success of this vision?”
How a hill became a mountain
It reminded me of one of my favorite movies, The Englishman Who Went up a Hill and Came Down a Mountain. The film is set in 1917 (with World War I in the background), and revolves around two English cartographers, the pompous Garrad and his junior, Anson. They arrive at the fictional Welsh village of Ffynnon Garw (“Rough Fountain” or “Rough Spring” in Welsh) to measure its “mountain”– only to cause outrage when they conclude that it is only a hill because it is slightly short of the required 1000 feet in height.
The villagers, aided and abetted by the wily Morgan the Goat and the Reverend Mr. Jones (who after initially opposing the scheme, grasps its symbolism in restoring the community’s war-damaged self-esteem), conspire with Morgan to delay the cartographers’ departure while they add dirt on top of the hill to make it high enough to be considered a mountain.
What it means to own a goal
Much of the story involves our witnessing every member of the village contributing their own bucket of dirt which they add to the mountain top. Some, who are fortunate enough to own a cart, can carry a larger load up the hill. Others carry smaller amounts of dirt in buckets of various sizes. In the end we see that it is by everyone’s adding something, whether it is in small or large amounts, that they are able to pile enough dirt on the top of their hill to restore their village pride, and the right to have it called a mountain.
What I know from my own exploration into my decision to add my “bucket of dirt” to the campaign for the CSBR, is that “wishing us well” will not make the mountain whole. Rather, it will take each one of us finding our own right way to contribute and to stretch ourselves to reach the top together.
What is the goal we each can own?
I like Mike Good’s request that we all prayerfully consider how we can be involved and at what level we can financially help out. Then, as we all cumulatively ask ourselves this question and then respond positively, we will see this building arise.
Some will be able to give with modest participation. Some will be able to add solid building blocks of support. The important point is that, together, we will reach the top and we will be very proud of our contribution to what will be a beautiful and much used addition on our campus. When it’s done we will look on it with pride and be able to say, “I helped build it.”
Please join me by adding your financial support to this marvelous effort. If you want, I can stop by with a bucket and we can journey up the hill together!
With warm thanks,
Wayne Jorgenson ’71
On Thursday, October 3, 2013 members of Augsburg’s Board of Regents, Regents Emeriti, donors to the Center for Science, Business, and Religion joined faculty and student representatives in thanking the family of John Paulson for a leadership gift that was made in early stages of the campaign for the CSBR.
President Paul Pribbnow shared the following with over 140 attendees:
“You have all played a vital role in the rich history and present success of Augsburg College. The Center for Science, Business, and Religion is the future of the College! Many of you have supported this project financially and given generously of your time and resources. Early donors like the John and Norma Paulson whose lifetime gifts and commitments to Augsburg exceed $2 million. This includes the Atrium-Link between Sverdrup Hall and Lindell Library, and the new link between the library and the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
On behalf of the entire Augsburg community I want to thank you all. Without your support we could not be where we are today – more than halfway to our goal to creating this transformative building that will engage future leaders in collaborative inquiry and, through them, shape our world.”
This gift from the Paulsons was previously announced in the Spring 2006 Augsburg Now. A .pdf of the article is available online and the text is also included here. Since this gift announcement John Paulson has passed away. His wife Norma and many members of his family were able to attend the event on campus to celebrate and be honored for their generosity.
“Paulson family makes major gift to the Science Center”
This is the Paulson family’s second major capital gift to Augsburg. In 2001, the family provided major funding to complete the enclosed skyway link from Lindell Library to the two-story atrium between Memorial and Sverdrup Halls. “One does not have to be on campus long to see what an important need was met by the Paulson Link,” said Stephen Preus, director of development. “This new, special gift by the Paulsons will provide for an equally important and highly attractive space.”
While Paulson is not an Augsburg alumnus, three of his children and a son-in-law graduated from the College — Mary Jo (Paulson) Peterson ’80, Laurie (Paulson) Dahl ’76, David Dahl ’75, and Lisa Paulson ’80. The motivation behind the Science Center gift, however, may date back much farther than his family’s education.
Paulson served in the Second Infantry Division during World War II and was part of the Allied invasion landing on D+1 at Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, in June 1944. He was a frontline soldier until July 28, 1944, when he was wounded during the St.-Lo breakthrough. Among the awards Paulson received were the Combat Infantry Badge, Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.
In June 2004, Paulson and his wife, Norma, traveled to France to take part in the 60th anniversary commemoration of the event that proved to be the turning point of the war. The festivities brought together thousands of people—war veterans, military officials, local people and tourists, as well as Hollywood celebrities whose acting roles had recreated the battles on movie screens. Standing in his Army uniform, wearing medals depicting D-Day service, Paulson enjoyed the commemoration.
Following the ceremony, however, he noticed lines of French citizens forming to shake hands and request autographs from the U.S. veterans. Puzzled, Paulson finally asked someone why he wanted a soldier’s autograph. “Don’t you understand,” the
Frenchman told him, “you saved our country.”
Paulson recounted how vivid an impression these words made. When he thought about the statistics—the staggering numbers of soldiers who were killed or wounded during the invasion— he realized that he was, in fact, a survivor. And with that realization also came the insight that he had been blessed with many gifts in his life that should be shared with others. “I believe it is important to leave this world in better condition than it was when we arrived,” Paulson said, “so contributing to Augsburg and other worthwhile organizations is part of this process.”
The Science Center gift is provided in memory of Lois V. Paulson, Rose E. Paulson, and Johnny E. Paulson, by the Paulson family—John R., Sr., and Norma Paulson, John Reid Paulson, Mary Jo Peterson ’80, Deborah Stansbury, Laurie Dahl ’76, and Lisa Paulson ’80.
Nordaune believes that women possess untapped power and potential to change the world through their leadership and philanthropy. She has channeled the leadership skills, personal network, and superior education she received from Augsburg into her career as a family law attorney. She feels grateful and has big dreams for the impact she and other women can make on the College.
The stats about women at Augsburg may surprise you
Did you know that women make up 57 percent of Augsburg’s living graduates and 59 percent of Augsburg’s current students? “If hundreds of women get involved, there will be energy, visibility, and greater community identification with Augsburg,” Nordaune says.
“I would like to see women connecting, learning and giving at Augsburg College,” she adds. What effect will deeper engagement by women have? Nordaune predicts it will boost student recruitment, student life, career placement for recent graduates, and financial support for the college.
AWE provides an avenue for Nordaune and other women to have a powerful impact
She said yes immediately when Donna McLean, Director of Donor Initiatives, invited her to help found AWE, Augsburg Women Engaged. She served a term on AWE’s board, which includes women of different generations.
AWE sponsored focus groups to gather wisdom on how to engage women effectively, and hosted summits on campus so women could connect with classmates, faculty, students, and the college community. Planning is underway for a Spring 2014 event co-sponsored by AWE and Augsburg Associates.
More than halfway to the goal for an AWE-inspired study lounge in the CSBR
AWE will name a student study lounge in the Center for Science, Business and Religion. The goal is $100,000, and currently gifts total over $76,500. Nordaune created a $25,000 matching grant to encourage gifts from others for this space in the CSBR.
“Through AWE, we want to offer women the opportunity to reinvigorate themselves,” Nordaune says. “We also want them to recognize how much they gained—and still gain—from this wonderful place and choose to give back.”
A founding partner of Nordaune & Friesen, PLLC, in Wayzata, Minn., Nordaune came to Augsburg College with the dream of being an attorney one day. She then went to the University of Minnesota for her JD degree. She acknowledges the superior preparation she received during her student days at Augsburg, saying: “I don’t think I could have gotten a better education anywhere.” She has been recognized by her peers as a Super Lawyer since 2003, placing her among the top five percent of Minnesota lawyers. She was named one of the Top 100 Women Minnesota Super Lawyers in 2005 and 2006.
Just five years after graduating, she became president of the Alumni Board and joined the Board of Regents. She served as a regent for 12 years and made lifelong friends through volunteering at the college. She and Jay Phinney ’79 created the Augsburg College Public Affairs Forum, which was active for six years, and brought to campus William Buckley, Jr., Shirley Chisholm, and other public figures.
In October, Nordaune received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Augsburg College. In accepting this award, she said: “I pledge to you, I’m not done yet! My life’s ambition is to be better and to do more. To Augsburg, I pledge my work, resources and inspiration to remain in your favor. I owe you my very best, for you have given me yours.”
“Together we can have an extraordinary impact”
Recently, Nordaune created another challenge grant, this time to inspire others to help create the Norma Noonan Scholarship in Political Science, honoring the longtime Augsburg professor.
“I love Augsburg because of my experiences here as a student and as an adult volunteer. I give of my time and my financial resources out of gratitude,” she says. “I recognize that women find themselves at all different levels financially. If everyone gives from their means, together we can have an extraordinary impact.”
Nick Slack ’02 is the youngest Augsburg College graduate to give a naming gift for a room in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. This 33-year-old is giving $25,000 to name a faculty office for John Cerrito, assistant professor of business administration, and Peggy Cerrito, in appreciation for their guidance and friendship.
He credits John Cerrito, from whom he took several classes, with steering him into his vocation. John told him: “Nick, there is something about you. You are good at dealing with people. You should consider sales.”
Honoring the Cerritos for pointing the way
Peggy was Nick’s faculty advisor all four years. Nick became close friends with John and Peggy, and often babysat their children, taking them to Augsburg College, Twins and Wild games.
Nick graduated with a Business Administration major and a minor in Management Information Systems. After graduation, he followed John’s advice and looked for a job in sales.
Now he owns and operates Nick Slack Sales, distributing sporting goods for six manufacturers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. “I feel fortunate to have found my calling,” Nick says. “That is part of the reason I want to give back to Augsburg.”
Paying it forward, Buffett-style
It was not just one person who helped Nick find his way at Augsburg. In high school, many Division 1 and 2 schools were “offering scholarship money to me.” But at Augsburg he got a tour from Jeff Swenson ’79 who as a coach had won 10 national wrestling titles. Nick heard on the tour how Augsburg has study groups for the wrestlers three times a week. “I knew I couldn’t fail. That I would graduate in four years and get a degree and get a job, and have a great experience as a wrestler. It’s a special school. I didn’t feel I could get that combination anywhere else.
Later that day we went by the chapel and I met Pastor Dave Wold, who already knew my name and my high school accomplishments. He announced the wrestling meets. I loved the fact that the college chaplain is the wrestling announcer. My parents said that if I wanted to go here, the family would find a way to make it happen.” Nick had such a positive experience that his two sisters Danielle (Slack) Tieben ’04 and Andrea (Slack) Hodgdon ’07 also attended Augsburg.
As a result of these many influential people’s support, Nick wants to pay it forward in the manner of billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett whose quotation hangs in Nick’s office: “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”
“I thought it was time to pay it forward,” Nick says, “and I’m hoping that other people my age will take a look and decide to give for all of the good things they experienced at Augsburg. I hope others will get inspired to step up and give what they can so we can get this building built.”
Nick can name the people who planted the tree under which he sits. He feels grateful for his parents and grandparents, Augsburg professors, wrestling coaches, and donors who gave major gifts to Augsburg to create a world-class wrestling training facility.
Major gifts from other Augsburg donors inspired Slack’s philanthropy
Nick was a three-time wrestling NCAA finalist and an Individual Champion in 2000 and helped Augsburg win national wrestling championships in 2000, 2001 and 2002. He also helped coach the team to national titles in 2005 and 2007.
When he toured campus as a prospective student, he was surprised to see what he calls “the smallest wrestling room I’ve ever seen in my life, way smaller than my high school facility. And yet row upon row of pictures of All American wrestlers from Augsburg College hung on the wall.”
He recalls that Alan Rice gave a substantial gift to create the much larger wrestling training facility that Augsburg now enjoys, that Jim Haglund gave a major gift for the recreation center, and that fellow wrestler Dean Kennedy’s ’75 generous gift put the Kennedy Center project over the top. Like many others, Nick has also been inspired by the leadership and generosity of fellow wrestler Mike Good ’71 for his involvement in building the Kennedy Center and now the Center for Science, Buisiness, and Religion. “I have appreciated the philanthropy of these donors and others. They stepped up, and now Augsburg has the best wrestling training facility in the country. I have told them they are a big factor in my life. It goes back to that Buffett quote.”
“I first thought about designating my own gift for the wrestling program. However, the College really needs this new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. I heard how the building will help increase enrollment at the College, which in turn increases revenue, and it benefits everyone.”
So with added thought, he gave his gift to name a faculty office in the new CSBR for John and Peggy Cerrito, who nurtured him as a student and set him on a path to his future. With deep gratitude, he found a tangible way to express thanks. Now he invites others to join him in giving generously to the campaign.
Chemistry and physics majors delight in helping Augsburg’s future science students
Paul S. Mueller ’84 and Nancy Mackey Mueller ’85 met during physics tutoring sessions that Nancy led as a student. Science plays a major role in their lives, and now they are giving both current and estate plan gifts to support the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Through their gift, which includes 25% of their estate, they will name a study area in the new building.
Augsburg prepared the family well for scientific careers
Paul has served as an Augsburg College regent since 2005. He is a staff consultant and division chair in General Internal Medicine at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He is a Professor of Medicine and of Biomedical Ethics in Mayo Clinic’s medical school. Nancy teaches physics at Mayo High School in Rochester, and earlier taught chemistry and physical science. She has a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland. Early in her career, she helped design submarines. They have three children. Their eldest son Luke graduated from Augsburg last spring and will pursue a graduate degree in biostatistics.
Prospect of the new center excites the Muellers
Nancy says: “We feel that the new CSBR is a long time in coming. The departments are so strong academically, but they don’t have the facility to match that quality. We are missing a lot of potential students because of facilities. We are very excited that this new center will be built.”
Greetings and thanks for taking time for some Good News!
When the world offers distractions and difficulty, what do you do to renew your focus, energy and optimism?
In last month’s Good News I shared my personal story about my experience of turning doubt toward belief and my decision to lead Augsburg’s campaign for the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) and the positive ripple effects of that commitment.
Recently I found myself in the company of an Auggie whose genuine enthusiasm and sense of purpose reminded me again how one person can renew our excitement!
2002 Alumnus Makes Leadership Gift
In my role as campaign chair, I spend much of my time with alumni and friends of Augsburg who have been out of college for more than 20 years. They’ve had time to establish their lives making a home, career and family. Less often I get to spend time with loyal Augsburg people who are younger, more on the upswing in their lives.
Nick Slack ’02 is one of those people you feel fortunate to get to know. Nick shares my background in two ways, as a wrestler (Nick wrestled and has coached for Augsburg) and as a business man (Nick founded and runs his own sales and marketing company—Nick Slack Sales). Just last week I spoke with Nick at the Regents Leadership Summit where we celebrated donors to the CSBR and discussed ways to encourage more people to add their support to the effort.
Nick has converted his enthusiasm for Augsburg into a leadership gift of $25,000. Plus he won’t stop there. He is also sharing his belief in the college with others, inviting them to join him with their own gifts to bring this vitally important facility from plans to reality.
Next week you will read more about Nick when we profile him in the upcoming Class Challenge Newsletter. I am sure you will find his story exciting and motivating.
Asking You to Do Three Things
So many people inspire me to keep my faith and optimism and to know that with the support of many, with everyone adding what they are inspired and able to do, our goal comes closer to completion and fulfillment.
And, as you are filled with that inspiration, I invite you to remember the three things I ask each of you to do:
- 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.
Thanks for your continued interest in Augsburg and its commitment to its students, to prepare them for a life of leadership and service. With your support, we can keep transforming lives for good.
Mike Good ’71
Augsburg’s Capital Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71 has shared with many people his personal story of transforming his belief in the importance of the CSBR Campaign into commitment and action. The Office of Institutional Advancement has received many requests for copies of the CSBR Believe sign. Download and print your own from this link to a .pdf file. Watch this short video to learn more about the inspiration for this image.