Augustana Trivia: Did you know?

Augustana's history is rich with interesting and unique details.  Here are just a few:

#1. Augustana adopted the name “Vikings” in 1922. Professor Carl Youngdahl was credited with the idea, and it was voted on by the student body on October 13, 1922.

#2. Augustana is older than the state of South Dakota (1880) and is older by one year than Dakota Territory (1861).

#3. Augustana is South Dakota’s oldest and largest private college.

#4. Augustana’s flag pole in front of the administration building was used at the Winter Olympics at Squaw Valley. It was acquired in the fall of 1960 and bears the signature of Walt Disney.

#5. Before coming to Augustana, President Rob Oliver was Southeast District President of Wells Fargo Banks. 

#6. Augustana was granted full four-year accreditation by the North Central Association of College and Schools in 1931.

#7. Augustana founded the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in 1922. Augustana still has a partnership with the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra, whose musicians perform and teach on campus.

#8. The late Mrs. Vera Sadler, long-time teacher at Sioux Falls Washington High School, became the first graduate of Augustana’s graduate school on July 29, 1965.

#9. The first summa cum laude honor degree given at Augustana was to Fred Koller in 1929. He went on to become a professor of Economics (agriculture) at the University of Minnesota, and in 1957 he received an honorary degree from Augustana for his accomplishments.

#10. More than 40 Augustana students serve at Pine Ridge, Nicaragua, Katrina relief on the Gulf Coast, and soup kitchens in New York City each year.

#11. Augustana was admitted to the North Central Conference (athletics) in 1942.

#12. During the 2007-08 school year, Maya Angelou and Dr. Jane Goodall spoke before thousands of college and community members in the Elmen Center.

#13. The college newspaper, then called “The Augustana,” was first published in 1908.

#14. Three hundred seventy-five students, faculty, and staff participated in the 2007 Community Service Day, volunteering at 34 agencies in the Sioux Falls area.

#15. The Boe Forum on Public Affairs, founded in 1995, has brought world leaders such as Colin Powell, George H. W. Bush, Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Former British Prime Minister John Major, Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Former Ambassador to Iraq Paul Bremer, and Former Presidents of Mexico and Pakistan, Vicente Fox and Pervez Musharaff, to campus.

#16. Famous actor James Earl Jones and author and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel have spoken on campus.

#17. Augustana is ranked in the Petersons 440 Colleges for Top Students.

#18. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks the College in the top ten of its classification. The 2010 edition lists Augustana No. 2 in its Midwest Best Baccalaureate Colleges category, and No. 2 in best values for Midwest Baccalaureate Colleges. Also, the Princeton Review consistently includes  Augustana among its 152 “Best Midwestern Colleges.”

#19. Augustana employees serve on more than 60 boards and committees throughout Sioux Falls, as well as volunteering at numerous agencies in the city.

#20. Robert Aldern, one of South Dakota's most talented and influential artists and educators, is professor emeritus at Augustana. He created a reredos of fourteen stained oak panels that hangs behind the altar in the Chapel of Reconciliation. The theme of the work is "God's Love Through Christ." His liturgical art hangs in over a dozen churches in the region. 

#21. Augustana's Center for Western Studies archives is home to a grocery list written by Thomas Jefferson. It is one of many unique items on display at the Center. 

#22. John Hamre, deputy secretary of defense in the Clinton Administration, is a 1972 Augustana graduate. He hails from Clark, SD, and is now the head of the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC.

#23. Mel Antonen, baseball writer for USA Today, is a 1979 Augustana graduate. He is from Lake Norden, SD.

#24. Mary Hart, longtime host of "Entertainment Tonight," is a 1972 Augustana graduate.

#25. The Templeton Guide recognizes the College among those that inspire students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives.

#26. Harvard Schmarvard identifies Augustana among “100 outstanding but underappreciated colleges” in the U.S.

#27. Augustana’s Center for Visual Arts contains 150 original Andy Warhol images.

#28. Laurel Prieb, ’77, is Vice President of Major League Baseball’s Western operations.

#29. Dr. Gene Hoyme, ’72, is chief of pediatrics and head of the Sanford Children’s Hospital.

#30. Augustana students regularly study abroad in many different countries, including: Australia, Austria, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, England, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, The Netherlands, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, and Wales.

#31. The 1956 Augustana graduating class included:
3 Danforth Scholars
2 Fulbright Scholars
1 Woodrow Wilson Scholar

#32. Nearly 80% of Augustana’s full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their field.

#33. Twenty-five Vikings athletes have been named NCAA Post-graduate Scholars, placing Augustana among the top ten percent of all NCAA institutions.

#34. Since 1993, Augustana has produced 173 All-American athletes and 42 student-athletes have been named Academic All-Americans.

#35. Augustana President Rob Oliver rides a Harley Davidson motorcycle and loves to tinker with cars of all kinds.

#36. Approximately 50 percent of Augustana students travel abroad at some point during their time in college, whether it’s for days, weeks, months, or a full academic year.

#37. Momentum Augustana is a $120 million multi-year comprehensive fundraising campaign begun in 2008 to support endowment, facilities, annual giving and new opportunities.

#38. Kevin Kaesviharn,’98, plays in the National Football League with the New Orleans Saints.

#39. Augustana College has strong ties to the deaf and hard-of-hearing communities, preparing students to teach in classroom settings and serve as interpreters.

#40. Brian Schwartz, ’94, was a second round pick in the NFL draft for the expansion team Jacksonville Jaguars.

#41. Each member of the Augustana men’s basketball team is required to do 2 hours per semester of volunteer work on their own time.

#42. “The Sower,” a fresco by former faculty member Palmer Eide, was hidden by white paint and used as a film screen in the old library at Augustana Academy in Canton. It was rescued and restored and now hangs in the Chapel of Reconciliation on campus.

#43. The Luther House of Study at Augustana is a program offering theological education to those interested and involved in ministry. In particular, LHOS hopes to reverse the decline in the number of pastors serving South Dakota and the ELCA by encouraging seminarians, providing clergy renewal, and delivering continuing education opportunities for pastors and other rostered leaders.

#44. Students on seven Outreach Ministry teams visited over thirty congregations in the region during the 2007-2008 academic year, leading Sunday morning worship and touching at least 280 youth with Bible study, worship, games, and friendship.

#45. The South Dakota Synod ELCA and Lutherans Outdoors in South Dakota have their offices on the Augustana campus.

#46. Augustana's Center for Western Studies has published more than 75 books, focused on the Northern Plains, since its beginning in 1970. "A New South Dakota History," published in 2005 received the American Association of State and Local History's 2006 Award of Merit. CWS is South Dakota's largest academic publisher.

#47. Each year Augustana's Center for Western Studies sponsors the Dakota Conference, a national history conference focused on historical and contemporary issues. More than 300 people from around the country attend the two-day event.

#48. Starting in 1992, Rob Oliver served as a member of Augustana's board of trustees for twelve years. Two of those years, he was board chair. His pastor encouraged him to become involved at Augustana because of Rob's deep faith and his love of higher education.

#49. The Center for Western Studies annual Artists of the Plains Art Show & Sale is the longest running show of its kind in Sioux Falls. Each February the event features 25 artists from the region. It is free to the public.

#50. The Center for Western Studies' archives and manuscript collections comprise 5,000 linear feet of institutional records and personal papers. The strengths of the archives include religious institution records, documents related to early contact with Plains Indians, the settlement period in the Dakotas, Sioux Falls, Civil War, and the Augustana College archives.

#51. Within eight months of graduation, 99 percent of 2007 Augustana graduates seeking employment reported accepting employment in their major or chosen field. Eighty-four of the graduates went on to graduate school.

#52. Today, more than 6,000 Augustana alumni live within the Sioux Falls metro area.

#53. In the 2008-09 academic year, Augustana added a minor in Northern Plains Studies. The program combines the resources of several academic departments, the Center for Western Studies, and the Augustana Archeology Lab.

#54. In 1923, the first “Viking Days” took place.

#55. In the 2007-2008 school year, 76% of freshmen and 63% of the entire student population participated in Intramural activities.

#56. Seventy-six percent of Augustana graduates finish in four years.

#57. Education majors have completed their student teaching in eight different countries.

#58. Approximately 50% of Augustana students are involved in some sort of campus ministry.

#59. 99% of Augustana freshmen received financial assistance in 2008.

#60. During the summer of 2008, 52 Augustana science students had the opportunity to perform research.

#61. During the 2007-2008 academic year, faculty taught 380 classes. The average class size was 23 students, and our student:faculty ratio was 13:1.

#62. Augustana currently has 16 theme houses, ranging in size from 3-10 people, located around the perimeter of the college. These popular campus homes provide an alternative living option for upperclassmen and unite students in a shared mission for the community.

#63. The Hovland Center for Liturgical Arts connects area churches, clergy, visual and performing artists and architects through networking and education. It was established to fulfill the vision of Palmer Eide, Ogden Dalrymple, and Robert Aldern, all artists and former faculty members at Augustana College, and was made possible through the financial contributions of Howard and Eunice Hovland.

#64. Dr. Patty Peters, class of 1976, was the first female chief of staff at McKennan Hospital.

#65. Julie Ashworth, class of 1975, was named South Dakota Teacher of the Year for 1992-1993.

#66. Augustana donated 30 units of shelving, worth $6,600, to the public library in Piedmont, S.D., after the town was heavily damaged by a hail storm in August 2007.

#67. Mary Beth Blegen, class of 1965, was chosen National Teacher of the Year in 1996.

#68. Bruce Halverson, class of 1966, is the only Augustana graduate to have served as president of the College.

#69. Christine Cole, class of 1980, was named Department of Defense Dependents’ Schools Teacher of the Year in 1996.

#70. For the 2008-2009 academic year, Augustana had 300 Sioux Falls high school graduates attending classes.

#71. The oldest part of Augustana's campus, originally home to the Lutheran Normal School, consisted of four acres donated by Senator R.F. Pettigrew. Today a granite marker on the north end of campus identifies the edge of the original campus.

#72. Augustana employees over 400 individuals, which can be broken down into:
190 faculty members
214 administrators & support staff

#73. Central to Augustana's mission are five core values that give life to its academic and student life programs: Christian, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community, Service.

#74. The College offers over 50 majors and pre-professional specializations leading to the Bachelor of Arts degree.

#75. Augustana has a well-developed undergraduate research program in the sciences with a 40-year history of federal grant funding.

#76. The Performing and Visual Arts department conducts a comprehensive rural arts outreach program involving theatre, music, and visual arts that gives students from rural schools the opportunity to experience the arts both in their rural environments and on a college campus.

#77. The Augustana Thought Leader Forum, a catalyst for insightful public discussion, utilizes Augustana alumni and faculty experts in various fields to inform and discuss important topics of the day. The Forum, in its inaugural year, is focusing on national security and international affairs.

#78. Twenty-four percent of Augustana students are involved in music ensembles, theatre productions and art exhibitions.

#79. Within Augustana’s student body of 1,750, over 75 percent come from rural communities, with over 60 percent from communities of less than 2,000. Close to 15 percent of the students are first generation college students and nearly 12 percent are alumni legacies.

#80. Augustana students come from nearly twenty-five states, with 90 percent of them from South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa and Nebraska. Additionally, a growing international student population represents more than a dozen foreign countries.

#81. More than 90 percent of the College’s enrollment is of traditional college age (18-22).

#82. The entering class of 2008 possessed an average ACT composite of 25 and grade point average of 3.62 with 62 percent ranking in the top quartile of their graduating class, and 27 valedictorians.

#83. Approximately 25 percent of Augustana’s graduating class attends graduate and professional school. Augustana's acceptance rate to medical school is nearly twice the national average with an 88% placement rate for applicants over the past three years.

#84. Augustana's new honors program, Civitas (Latin for “citizenship”), challenges participants to explore the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship in the Augustana community, as well as the nation and the global community. The interdisciplinary program integrates the core values of the College (Christian, Liberal Arts, Excellence, Community, Service) and helps students to consider how they can put knowledge into action.

#85. The Augustana Academy for Seniors offers area senior citizens a chance to share in worship, reflection, lunch, and book discussion series on topics such as languages, art, literature, and religion and ethics.