Viking Life: Spring 2017


viewpoints: a message from president rob oliver

As we welcome in a new calendar year, I’ve found myself reflecting on the many amazing things that have happened over the last year at Augustana.

From India to Norway, Ecuador, Greece and beyond, nearly 150 students studied abroad last January during Interim, a four-week session designed for curricular exploration. Hundreds more will study overseas this January, including members of The Augustana Choir who have embarked on a 20-day learning and performance tour of Germany and Italy.

Last spring, our men’s basketball team brought home their first ever NCAA DII National Championship. This exceptional group of young men and their coaches made all of Viking Nation very proud. Per tradition, as national DII champions, our Viking Men even had the opportunity to face the Duke Blue Devils in an exhibition game this fall.

We found inspiration and motivation in the student research presented at the annual Arthur Olsen Student Research Symposium. This summer, AU students earned critical hands-on experience and built invaluable professional connections through their participation in internships, clinical rotations, undergraduate research and volunteer positions on campus, across the region, and around the world.

While we marked 156 years since our founding, this fall we also celebrated the one-year anniversary of Augustana University. Our name change from College to University symbolized not only the breadth and depth of research and discovery that happens here, but also represents the direction charted for this great institution by our strategic plan.

We were happy to report our largest enrollment in 26 years. We’re proud and honored to serve more than 1,900 students from 34 states and 38 countries.

We welcomed the inaugural class of our new Master’s in Genetic Counseling Program, an exciting initiative developed in collaboration with Sanford Imagenetics. We’re proud to say ours is only the 32nd program of its kind in the United States, and the only one in South Dakota.

We dedicated the new Froiland Science Complex, a state-of-the art facility featuring a new, high-fidelity nursing simulation center, multiple technology-rich “classatories” — rooms that mix traditional classroom elements and laboratory components, advanced research areas for faculty and student collaboration, and glass-enclosed laboratories designed to put “science on display” to further enhance the culture of research that exists on campus today. See photos and video at

We again earned praise from national ranking agencies. It makes us extremely proud to say that Augustana was featured among “America’s Top Colleges” by Forbes; was ranked among the top 15 baccalaureate colleges in the nation for our efforts to advance social mobility, research and service by Washington Monthly; was named among the “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review; and was ranked No. 3 among the “Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest” and No. 2 for “Best Value Schools in the Midwest” by U.S. News.

We announced that Neil deGrasse Tyson, award-winning astrophysicist, author, and host and narrator of FOX’s “Cosmos,” will visit campus to speak at the annual Boe Forum on Public Affairs.

We often say that Augustana is the Place for Possibilities and the past year has certainly proven that to be true.

I hope you’ll visit us on campus soon to experience the excitement, community and momentum alive here. Once you do, I’m certain you will want to board the ship, Be a Viking, and chart the course for your life’s journey.

Yours, for Augustana,
Rob Oliver