View From Summit Avenue:
A Message From President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin
We are excited to bring you the fall edition of The Augustana. As you will read, our Viking Bold journey is bringing us many reasons to celebrate.
We embarked on the new academic year in September with 2,022 students, including part- and full-time undergraduate and graduate students — the fourth largest student body in the last three decades at Augustana. Our 1,715 undergraduates hail from 34 states and a record-number 48 countries, as well as from the Armed Forces-Europe. Our 466 first-year students represent the third- largest freshman class reported in the previous 30 years at the university — and include a record number of both legacy and international students.
As we follow our Viking Bold road map, we remain faithful and true to our enduring mission and commitments. The quality and value of an Augustana education continues to garner national recognition. For the third year in a row, career site Zippia ranked AU No. 2 in the nation for postgraduate employment. Also, for the third year in a row, U.S. News & World Report named Augustana a top regional university in the Midwest in its 2022 Best College Rankings.
There are exciting academic updates to share, as well as news of alumni accomplishments. On page 8, you will read about Augustana’s new Anatomage Virtual Cadaver table — state-of-the-art technology made possible by generous alumni. Turn to page 23 to read how our graduates, serving in ministry near and far, are finding meaning and purpose through their vocation. Pages 26 and 27 feature our 2020 and 2021 Alumni Achievement and Horizon Award recipients, recognized for their leadership and significant impact as they live out AU’s core values. And, on page 12, you’ll learn the university will offer its own semester-long study abroad program in Central America with a physical location in Costa Rica, set to open by the spring of 2023. Generous alumni who are passionate about experiential learning provided the leadership gift for this exciting endeavor.
In May, we broke ground on a $50 million housing plan focused on new and enhanced facilities that will serve the educational, spiritual and holistic needs of Augustana’s students and staff, as well as inspire others in the community who utilize our campus. The south residential village is taking shape, with the construction of the new residence hall and renovations to Bergsaker Hall well underway.
This fall, we announced the addition of women’s lacrosse as Augustana’s 22nd intercollegiate sport. Lacrosse will be the first collegiate lacrosse program in South Dakota, regardless of division or affiliation. The Vikings will compete at the NCAA Division II level, with play beginning in the 2023-24 academic year. As you will read on page 16, Oct. 5 marked the public announcement of Augustana Men’s Hockey — the university’s first sport to compete at the NCAA Division I level. The day included the groundbreaking ceremony for the Midco Arena — the hockey program’s campus home. We are incredibly grateful to T. Denny Sanford for providing the largest gift in the university’s history, Midco for providing the naming gift and all of our strategic partners and donors for paving the way as lead investors. Together, we bring the first collegiate hockey program to South Dakota and first athletics program in Sioux Falls to compete at the Division I level.
Highlighted on page 2 is more detail regarding the impressive progress made last year on Phase 1 of Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030. We are confident in our ability to continue building on the momentum we have created together, and look forward to realizing even more progress toward our strategic goals throughout this academic year.
This is a historic time for the university, our nation and the world. Our ability to adapt and innovate will remain critically important as we navigate the ongoing complexities of a global pandemic, as well as the technology and national trends driving change in higher education. Guided by our strategic plan and with your continued support, I have every confidence we will continue to make great strides in our journey and further strengthen the university’s position in a highly competitive environment.
Thank you again for all of the ways you are supporting Augustana’s goals and vision. We appreciate your prayers, words of encouragement, engagement with the AU community and financial support. Sincerely, Stephanie Herseth Sandlin President
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin