Fryxell Humanities Center

The newly named Fryxell Humanities Center will honor a legacy of teaching.

Whether studying the creative work of great authors or learning how to create messages that inform and persuade, whether creating a global consciousness through developing skills in language or understanding that consciousness through the creative lenses of philosophers, whether seeking to know the whole of God’s creation through theology or celebrating that creation in song, creativity is the hallmark of the humanities at Augustana.

“Creative” defines what students of the humanities do and the way in which they do it. All of this creativity has a home in Augustana’s Humanities Center. But that space no longer reflects the quality of the work done there or the passion with which that work is pursued. Soon, though, it will, as the University RECREATES its Humanities Center.

The humanities are key to studying the liberal arts. In fact, at some point in their academic lives, all Augustana students pass through the hallways of this building to take their religion and English classes. The majority of First Year Seminar courses are also taught in the Center. Since one-quarter of AU students participate in instrumental and choral music ensembles, they fill the halls, rehearsal rooms and practice studios throughout the music wing.

When the Center was dedicated in September 1971 at a cost of $2.1 million, it brought together a division that previously had offices and classrooms scattered throughout campus. Dr. Don Fryxell, Shakespeare scholar, fierce proponent of the liberal arts, and former English department and Humanities Division chair, was the central figure in the planning and design of the new building.

Augustana’s goal is to raise $3 million to refurbish the Center to create a more contemporary, functional and attractive learning environment in the classrooms, studios, performance venue, rehearsal rooms and public spaces. The successful completion of  this effort will result in naming the Humanities Center after Drs. Don and Lucy Fryxell.

“The legacy lies naturally with Don and Lucy Fryxell. They came to Augustana and spent a lifetime of remarkable teaching, forging the way for this building to come into existence.”
— Dr. Sandra Looney ’62, professor of English 

Recent renovations and upgrades made to the Madsen Center, home to the Social Sciences Division, and the Froiland Science Complex, home to the Natural Sciences Division, serve as an impetus to continue the momentum to recreate the place where the Humanities are studied and experienced. Several classrooms have already been updated  enhancing technology and flexibility for lectures, discussion and group projects.

In addition to the classrooms, the academic suites, housing the offices for each department within the humanities division, will also be upgraded with new furnishings and gathering spaces for faculty-student collaboration and study.

The recreated Fryxell Humanities Center will accurately display the quality of the faculty and the talented students who are drawn here. It will showcase the creativity that takes place throughout its halls and will elevate Augustana’s appeal to prospective students.

“We say Augustana is preparing students for the 21st  century — we need to be in a  space that shows that. This is a necessary part of the ongoing process of addressing education for the 21st century and ensuring this campus is as attractive — and as  usable — as it possibly can be.”
— Dr. Jeffrey Miller, chair, humanities division

The most notable improvements are taking place in the music wing. It has included a complete overhaul of the former Kresge Recital Hall that was renamed Hamre Recital Hall in honor of the benefactors’ parents, Melvin and Ruth Hamre. In addition, updates will be made to the lower level practice rooms, the Lillehaug Instrumental Rehearsal Room, named after former music professor and director of bands, Dr. Leland Lillehaug ’51, and the newly named Winden Choral Rehearsal Room, named for benefactors Art ‘54 and Mary Winden, retired educators whose love for music inspired their gift.

“We’ve focused on attracting and retaining the best faculty. The physical structure of the building, the classrooms, offices and rehearsal spaces should also reflect that. This should be a physical manifestation of the pride this institution places on the arts.”
— Dr. John Pennington, chair of the music department


For more information about contributing to this renovation project, contact Brad Heegel, PVA Development, at 605.274.5508 or