Monthly Archives: November 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

As a working mother, Middleton attended Weekend College

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

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

“My mother loved Augsburg College because she felt welcomed”

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

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

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

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

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.

837 Donors Help Augsburg Achieve Goal!

Hello Augsburg friends!

What a great time it is to be an Auggie! Each month we share great news with alumni, parents and friends of the college in this Class Challenge newsletter and this month we have so much news to share!

As a businessman and athlete, I believe in visualizing a goal and going for it. Well, that is what the team of volunteers, faculty and staff of Augsburg did. Last spring we started imagining Augsburg at the top of the leader board for the statewide day dedicated to giving to charities in Minnesota. Known as Give to the Max day or Give MN, Augsburg wanted to demonstrate that Auggies are among the most generous when it comes to supporting the great students, and faculty and staff of the College.

 Check out the Leaderboard

The results are in and they are fantastic!

Augsburg raised $313,639 from 837 unique donors! GO AUGGIES!

We received more than ten times the dollars, from nearly four times the donors, as compared with  last year’s results of $26,776 from 222 donors.

We reached our goal of coming in first place among all Minnesota colleges and universities, and finished in fourth place among all Minnesota nonprofit organizations. Check out the leaderboards and final numbers at

Your support of 27 projects and programs representing many areas of the Augsburg community, from Film to StepUP to Volleyball and more, was incredible. If you were tracking the friendly competition between ourselves and last year’s titleholder, St. Olaf, you’ll notice we finished more than $137,000 ahead of their 2nd place finish. In addition, the day generated another $100,000 in support of the campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion (CSBR) which has been the focus of our class challenge efforts. More about that in a moment.

One especially fun part of this very special day of generosity was watching the shouts of encouragement on social media sites, such as, “So awesome! Very proud and happy to share this news about Give to the Max and the response to Augsburg’s appeal!” And, “So proud of my school!” Thank you to all who donated to our alma mater! And thank you to all staff and volunteers who worked so hard to make it happen.”

Saying thanks!

It was the goal of the  staff and volunteers to thank each donor for their gift. Following up on the responses to these thank you’s surfaced many core expressions of what it means to be an Auggie. “Such a genuine place, such genuine people!” “Thanks for letting me know my gift makes a real difference!”

That’s the kind of team effort by staff, student workers and others that makes our College such a real and welcoming place. So thank you to everyone who made Give to the Max Day a remarkable achievement for Augsburg!

Classes Challenged to Support the CSBR

In early October, the Board of Regents hosted a summit to inform alumni and friends about the crucial importance of building this CSBR. A mere 30 days since that exciting event, 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.

Don’t feel left out!

With December just around the corner, we all still have opportunities to turn our attention toward the effort to raise $1 million from every class. Check out the statistics for all the classes here.

Please join everyone who is doing their part to create a culture of generosity and giving at Augsburg and read more of the stories of people who, like you, love the College and want to carry forward its relevance, mission and future strength.


Chris Ascher ’81

Jeroy ’48 and Lorraine Carlson sponsor a physics faculty office in CSBR

The name says it all in terms of dedication to the College: “Mr. Augsburg.” That is the nickname for Jeroy Carlson ’48, a man who worked for Augsburg for 44 years in alumni relations and development, retiring in 2007, after raising millions of dollars for the College.

Jeroy’s wife, Lorraine “Ainy,” a Winona State Teachers College graduate, worked for Augsburg for 20 years in the financial aid office from 1969 to 89. Today she volunteers with the Augsburg Associates.

The Carlsons’ son Jonathan ’79, daughter Liz ’82, their granddaughter Andrea (Carlson) ’05 and her husband Riley ’05 Conway all are Auggies.

Jeroy and Ainy have demonstrated their love for Augsburg through decades of work undergirded by their financial gifts. Recently they committed $25,000 to sponsor a physics faculty office in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

A sacrificial gift for Augsburg

For the Carlsons, the gift is sacrificial, given over-and-above their tithe.  “We both grew up in Wanamingo, Minn., during the Great Depression,” Jeroy says. “Ainy’s father was a harness maker, and my dad was the trashman. I earned extra money by delivering milk for 7 cents a quart. We all worked hard for every penny.”

“We had to think four times before we made a purchase,” Ainy adds. “That’s been our pattern for many years. We give a lot of thought to what to do with our funds. And yet when we learned about Augsburg College’s vision for building the Center for Science, Business, and Religion, we wanted to give a gift. Now is the time to step in and make a difference. Our love for Augsburg College is so deep. We feel this project is important for the future.”

“We need to get the spade in the ground as soon as possible on the CSBR,” Jeroy says.

Faculty and students need a place to do research

“We have the great faculty and the great students,” Ainy comments. “Now they need a place to work together to do their research.”

When the Carlsons recently attended a summit meeting to meet Augsburg students describing their scientific research, they were impressed. Ainy says: “Most of these students are headed for doctoral degrees. They will serve humanity. Their attitude of wanting to go out and do something for people really inspired us.”

Bernhard Christensen presents Jeroy with the 1946 MIAC Honor Athlete Award

Jeroy enrolled at Augsburg in 1942. He was a star athlete, playing quarterback in football, guard in basketball, and pitcher in baseball, his best sport. Jeroy was part of four MIAC championship teams, though his student years were split by a stint in the Navy during World War II. He returned to Augsburg in December 1945, and graduated in 1948.

The year before graduation, he married Ainy. Their first year of marriage they lived in veterans barracks.

After graduating, Jeroy taught high school history and physical education, and coached multiple sports for 15 years, including 12 years in Cannon Falls, Minn.

Jeroy Carlson, age 90, still fundraising for Augsburg

He was recruited to come back to Augsburg College as alumni director. Later his job shifted to fundraising. Even today, as a retiree, he continues to volunteer as a fundraiser for Augsburg. Recently, he accompanied Keith Stout, director of principal gifts, on a donor visit to invite a fellow Auggie to consider making a leadership gift to the CSBR campaign.

Stout says: “Jeroy is awesome in his fundraising abilities, and Ainy helps behind the scenes too. Everyone knows and loves them.”

“As a result of Christian faith, believers want to help people, just in simple ways of caring,” Ainy says. “Giving to Augsburg College is a way we all can do this.”

Bill Anderson ’56 Sponsors New Biology Laboratory

Anderson, biology major, combines current gifts with his estate gift to sponsor state-of-the-art lab facilities

Bill Anderson ’56 believes that Augsburg College urgently needs the new Center for Science, Business, and Religion. “The current science building was in use when I was a student, and that was more than 50 years ago. Augsburg College has wonderful science teachers, and the college needs a new facility that can match their level of excellence,” said Anderson.

A biology major, who then taught high school biology for 34 years—first in Bagley and later Mound-Westonka, Minn.─Anderson says it means a lot to him to see Augsburg’s plans for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

 A creative way to give

Anderson found a creative way to make a big difference with his support for the Center. Currently president of the Minnesota Federation of Stamp Clubs, he is a lifelong stamp collector, carrying on his father’s interest in this field. He gives Augsburg College valuable stamps each year, and also has named Augsburg as a major beneficiary of his estate. With current gifts and his estate plan gift, he is sponsoring a biology laboratory in the new center.

Anderson, a past president of the Alumni Council, says about his student days: “I absolutely loved being at Augsburg College. It was a very good choice in my life, and the friends I made there are still my friends today. It feels like a big family. I am so happy to see the college continue to develop.”

John Schwartz ’67 gives $100,000 to thank Augsburg for his vocational preparation and his choir experience

It was a thrill for John Schwartz ’67 to perform as a backup singer for Josh Groban, Patti LaBelle, Usher and others on the “Surprise Spectacular” show honoring Oprah’s retirement from her longtime talk show.  Schwartz sang as part of the famed Apollo Chorus, a 125-member “auditioned” choir in Chicago that has also performed with the Chicago Symphony.

During his student days, Schwartz sang in the Augsburg Choir throughout all four years. He says going on a five-week concert tour of Europe with the Augsburg Choir in 1965 “showed me how much joy I receive from singing choral music.”

 Gift of a study room is a tangible way to express appreciation

In appreciation for his Augsburg Choir experience and for his excellent education, Schwartz is giving $100,000 for a study room in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.

Schwartz majored in Business Administration at Augsburg, and later received a Master’s in Hospital Administration from the University of Minnesota. His sister Judi, working in a hospital as a young adult, encouraged Schwartz to consider the field. While at Augsburg, he tested the water by working as an orderly at Deaconess Hospital in Minneapolis, and this experience solidified his vocational path.

Hospital administration was road to career success

After receiving his master’s degree, Schwartz accepted a position with Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee, where he worked for 20 years. While in Milwaukee, Schwartz sang in three choirs: the Lutheran a Cappella Choir of Milwaukee, the Sullivan Chamber Ensemble, and the Master Singers.

Later, Schwartz moved to Chicago to become president of Advocate Trinity Hospital on the southeast side of Chicago, serving from 1989 to 2004. The following six years he was an interim CEO for four different hospitals within the Providence Health System based on the West Coast. During these years, he felt the job demanded so much that there wasn’t time to rehearse and perform with a choral group.

Back to singing after retirement

Now fully retired, he relishes having time for singing. Music was always important in his family. His mother, sister, and cousins all played piano and sang, performing regularly.

Schwartz recently returned to Minneapolis to perform in the choral concert honoring Leland Sateren’s 100th birthday.

Throughout his career, Schwartz has stayed closely connected to Augsburg College, visiting the campus regularly, meeting with various Augsburg presidents when they would visit his area, and also talking with students about health administration careers.

A focus on helping Augsburg grow and prosper

In 2000, Schwartz set up an estate planned gift for Augsburg College. “I wanted to help both Augsburg and the U of M as these schools prepared me for my career, which has been financially beneficial to me.  When I heard Augsburg’s plan to build a Center for Science, Business, and Religion, I decided to put some of these dollars to work right away.”

Schwartz says that the focus of his health administration career was to help “an institution achieve its mission and to grow and prosper. Now I am focused on that same goal in my giving to Augsburg College. I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. I heard the need and thought, ‘I want to help this building get built.’”

“When I think about where I want to give my resources,” Schwartz says, “I like to give to a place that will help a lot of people. Augsburg helped me and helps so many others. It feels good to give this gift.”

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 or 612-330-1711.

Our invitation to you:

January 30, 2014: Discover how the Center for Science, Business, and Religion will Transform Augsburg College

You are invited for an evening of inquiry and fellowship

Hosted by members of the Augsburg College Board of Regents

and Campaign Action Team

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Hoversten Chapel, Foss Center

4-8 p.m.

The evening will include student research presentations; a faculty panel discussion; featured speakers, President Paul Pribbenow, Board of Regents Chair Jodi Harpstead, and National Campaign Chair Mike Good ’71; and special music by Augsburg students, directed by Bob Stacke ’71.  Dinner will be served.  Valet parking provided.

RSVP by Monday, January 13, by contacting Sonja Casperson at 612-330-1171 or  Space is limited.










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.