100 Years in Sioux Falls

Campus buildings from 1920

As Augustana celebrates the 100th anniversary of our move to Sioux Falls in 2018, we reflect on our past: 

In 1889, the Lutheran Normal School was built on four acres of land given by lawyer and land developer Richard F. Pettigrew, one of Sioux Falls’ founding fathers. Nearly 30 years later, the Norwegian Lutheran Church of America merged the Lutheran Normal School with Augustana College in Canton, to be known as Augustana College and Normal School. Sioux Falls city and business leaders lobbied hard for Augustana to relocate and, in 1918, Sioux Falls became Augustana’s permanent home.

In the last century, both the University and the city have prospered from our more humble beginnings. Sioux Falls grew from a town of 25,202 in 1920 to a city of 178,500 in 2017 — with a four-county metro area of 261,400 residents. Augustana has grown, as well, from 242 enrolled students in 1920 to the 2017-18 academic year, when we welcomed the largest incoming class since 1978 and total enrollment reached 2,080 — the largest since 1990.

Our campus has adapted with the changes in Sioux Falls, offering new and expanded undergraduate and graduate degree programs, creating partnerships through our Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and connecting businesses with students for internships and career opportunities. As we have invested in our infrastructure, we are grateful for the businesses and individuals who have invested in us and our students, such as the experiential learning opportunities and internships our students take part in, all because we have the benefit of being located in South Dakota’s largest city.

We’re proud of the mark we’ve made on Sioux Falls over the last 100 years. What’s next? As we write our next chapter, the pages of possibility are endless.

Join us as we celebrate this century milestone throughout 2018. Events and activities will be announced soon. Read our timeline of notable milestones