This week, the beautiful Medtronic Community Garden at Augsburg on the north side of the Hagfors Center for Science, Business, and Religion has sprung forward so much life! Thanks to a $100,000 grant from Medtronic we were able to make significant investments in this very special space that is shared by Augsburg students, faculty, staff, and many of our neighbors. The new community garden has a variety of raised beds, apple trees, a pollinator garden, and accessible pathways and irrigation systems.
We designed the community garden with four goals in mind: to provide a space for the community to come and learn together; beautify the neighborhood and campus; provide growing space for those without it, and to assist gardeners in providing themselves a healthy diet. In every way, it has exceeded our expectations! On any given afternoon you’ll find families working on their personal garden plot, students working for Campus Kitchens, faculty and student researchers from Physics having lunch with Professor Ben Stottrup, or someone from the neighborhood reading on a bench and finding a moment of peace in the city. The view from Hagfors Center windows is beautiful and inspiring.
This past weekend I drove my daughter Morgan back to Minnesota from her summer job at a camp on Big Bear Mountain a couple of hours east of Los Angeles. She had a wonderful summer, made a lot of new friends, and between sun and spills and lack of sleep she wore herself out! As we drove across country, Morgan slept and I had a lot of time to think about my work in higher education, the privileges young people like Morgan have, and the lack of opportunities so many other children and families face.
Have you listened to Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History? Gladwell got some press in July for being critical of leaders in higher education and some of the most generous philanthropists who support them. You can read some of what was said here in the Huffington Post, Washington Post, and Forbes to point out just a few examples.
A total of 87 gifts of $100 million+ have been made to colleges and universities in the United States. The first was made by Hank Rowan who gave $100 million to what is now named Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. The story of this remarkable gift is posted here. Since Rowan’s gift to a relatively unknown university, nearly all of the subsequent $100 million+ gifts have been made to the wealthiest institutions in our country. In one of Gladwell’s podcasts he asks “what are they thinking?” The result of his inquiry is a fascinating argument that I hope you’ll enjoy listening to as much as I did.
My Little Hundred Million, Episode 6 of Revisionist History, a podcast by Malcolm Gladwell
Returning to the office today, I’m thinking about Hank Rowan and how we can build on his unprecedented investment in the promise of higher education.
“It felt like cutting off my right arm,” Harvey Peterson ’52 says about selling CATCO, the company that had been in his family for three generations. He joined his father Art’s fledgling company, Clutch and Transmission Services, in 1951 while still an Augsburg student.
By the time the family sold the renamed company in 2012, all three of his children worked in the business. The firm, selling and servicing heavy duty parts for trucks, had grown to 18 locations spread over a five-state area.
Suddenly Harvey and his spouse Joanne ’52 faced a stewardship decision. What to do with the resources God had placed in their care?
Investing in vitality, making an impact
They chose to give $250,000 to Augsburg College to sponsor the Electronic Modern Physics Laboratory in the Center for Science, Business, and Religion.
Interestingly, they do not have a personal tie to physics. Harvey, a star athlete in high school and college, double majored in business and sociology. Joanne majored in sociology with minors in English and business. Her favorite activity on campus was singing in the Augsburg Choir.
So why sponsor a physics lab?
“We want to be part of the forward momentum at Augsburg”
“The Center for Science, Business, and Religion demonstrates how Augsburg is preparing for the future with energy and vitality, and we know that the CSBR is the next step to helping the school advance,” Joanne explains. “We want to be a part of that forward momentum.”
Harvey adds: “We have been giving to Augsburg for many years, and we had an opportunity after selling our business to increase our support. This gift is about our Christian faith and about relationships. We wanted to give something back to the place that means so much to us.”
“We want to support Augsburg College because we are thrilled that young people, especially those who have very little money, can gain access to a college education,” Joanne says. “And we appreciate the college’s urban location.”
Choosing connection over differences
They have deep ties to the College beyond their own student years, when each lived with their families while commuting to campus for classes and activities. Their daughter Lia ’89 graduated from Weekend College, and Harvey served on Augsburg’s Board of Regents from 1984-1996. He was elected to the Augsburg Athletic Hall of Fame in 1983 for his contributions as a quarterback for the football team and shortstop and third baseman for the baseball team.
Harvey says he and Joanne are more conservative than many people on campus today. That potentially could have gotten in the way of their support for Augsburg. He reflects: “Our faith teaches us to give. And now when we reach the point in our lives where we can give a more sizeable gift, we think carefully about where to put our dollars. We ask ourselves, ‘What do we love?’ And we realize how much we love Augsburg. This college has meant so much to us over the years. We feel it is a good place for us to put the money.”
Paid-up life insurance policy made a wonderful gift
They are surrendering a life insurance policy to Augsburg College, which had gained more value than they realized. Augsburg will sell the policy for the cash value to make the dollars available immediately for the CSBR. Giving this investment provided tax advantages, and the couple added a gift of cash to expand their gift. “We set up the policy years ago,” Harvey says, “but we had ignored the notices on value. Suddenly this seemed like a wonderful choice for a charitable gift.”
They live in Edina, Minn., and are members of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church in Minneapolis.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 612-330-1711.
Our invitation to you:
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
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 email@example.com. Space is limited.
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.
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.
On March 15-16 more than a dozen alumni leaders from the classes of 1980-84 participated in two days of meetings related to the Campaign for the Center for Science, Business, and Religion. Alumni Board Chair Chris Ascher ’81 hosted this special event.
This was part of a new effort underway to expand our base of alumni committed to achieving our vision for the Center of Science, Business, and Religion. The objective of this Summit was to educate our most engaged alumni about the importance of this transformational facility and discuss meaningful ways that they can contribute to the success of the campaign and engage our fellow classmates in the process.
The Summit was a wonderful opportunity to see the outstanding work being done by the faculty, to tour the science building and to reconnect with the school and our as classmates.
Advancement will be supporting alumni leaders like Chris who will be hosting Summits by class year and affinity groups to provide all of our fellow alumni the opportunity to return to campus, meet with our current faculty and students, learn the exciting things that are taking place here, and discover how we can play a role in the continued success of Augsburg.