April is a time for transitions: spring training becomes the home opener and the Twin’s season. Crocus and forsythia start showing themselves in purple and gaudy yellow. Other flowers ready themselves for full flowering—I can see one of my favorites, the perennial bleeding heart, poking out of the ground.
At Augsburg, we’ve recently said goodbye to one of our greats: the honorable Martin Sabo ’59. According to his wife, Sylvia, he’d known his time was near and planned his own service of remembrance. It was a remarkable celebration of his life.
He stood for so much of what it means to be an Auggie. He carried a spirit of hospitality to all while living a life of great service to others, especially to the citizens of Minnesota as a longtime law maker. Even after his retirement, he stayed active with Augsburg, attending events and participating in the life of the College. He loved keeping in touch with his friends, with today’s students, and with our faculty and staff.
Augsburg has always thought of itself as educating for service. It’s in the bones of the place. It captures my imagination to think of one of today’s students as a future public servant and leader like Martin Sabo. Is there a young person here today on campus dedicated to learning, to seeking out his/her vocation and preparing for a life of public service? As people remembered Martin, they also remembered those who shaped the values and actions of so many Auggies. In particular, people think of Dr. Joel Torstensen, faculty emeritus, who taught Martin sociology; he founded the Social Work Department and dedicated himself to the cause of social justice.
Martin’s life reveals a true clarity of purpose that he carried over the whole course of his life. Through Augsburg, he discovered his vocation and calling and lived into it all his life.
The two are intertwined and reflect one another. Martin Sabo reflects on Augsburg and Augsburg reflects in Martin.
Augsburg, too, embraces clarity of purpose. We’ve rededicated ourselves to our mission:
Augsburg educates students to be informed citizens, thoughtful stewards, critical thinkers, and responsible leaders.
Small to our students and big for the world.
That’s why we created the Martin Sabo Center for Civic Engagement: to foster the vital and ongoing efforts to promote democratic action in community. Students come to Augsburg with a measure of civic commitment. The Center focuses on empowering all students to become agents of democratic renewal and change.
I’m so grateful for the life of Martin Sabo and for the generosity with which he lived life. He brought greater visibility and focus to the work of Augsburg. I’m glad that we continued to be such a meaningful part of his life. It’s something special that makes us relevant, a place where people stay in conversation with each other.
As Vice President for Advancement, I’m really pleased to share that we’ve started efforts to secure additional investments in the Sabo Center’s endowment with an eye to expand the clarity of vision embodied by Martin Sabo. If you would like to know more, please let me know. I’d be happy to speak with you about the Center and civic engagement at Augsburg or whatever is on your mind this spring.
You can find me at 612-330-1177, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on twitter @heather_riddle
Vice President Advancement