VIEW FROM SUMMIT AVENUE:
A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT STEPHANIE HERSETH SANDLIN
We hope this finds you well as you open this latest edition of The Augustana. In the following pages, we are blessed to bring you stories sure to inspire faith in our future.
As the new season unfolds, memories of last spring keep us at a heightened state of appreciation for the gift of living and learning in community. Continuing under the Viking Flex Plan, 90 percent of our spring semester courses are being delivered in-person. A steadfast commitment to the Viking Flex Health and Safety Pledge remains essential as we make our way to the successful finish of this academic year and the commencement celebrations of the Augustana Classes of 2020 and 2021.
Augustana’s 2020 Outcomes Report brings another reason to celebrate the Class of 2020. They entered a challenging job market with an Augustana degree, bold determination and a strong support system. We are proud to share that 97 percent of the graduates seeking employment found a position related to their major or chosen field.
True to our enduring commitments, Augustana continues to make progress in creating a more equitable, diverse and inclusive community. Last fall, we celebrated our largest class of Diversity Advocate Certification graduates, representing an important milestone in ongoing dialogue and education centered on deepening our intercultural awareness and understanding of individual and group diversity. This semester we are focused on further defining service learning within the model of high- impact practices and also engaged in cross-campus collaboration to better identify, enhance and communicate to students the mental health and wellness services available to them.
Relationships are at the heart of Augustana. In 2019, the Twin Cities Business Advisory Network (BAN) was established to strengthen our network of meaningful connections with Minnesota business leaders while also providing support for students and alumni. Members share about the network’s role in building Augustana’s future on page 4. On page 16, you’ll read how a holistic education of care prepares our nursing students to serve the critical needs of patients and public health. The story on page 20 reveals how Pastor Rev. Richard Nelson ‘42 has spent nearly 80 years living out Augustana’s motto of “Enter to Learn, Leave to Serve.”
The tradition of senior sermons and the meaningful way they reflect our core value of Christian faith is highlighted on page 22. And, on page 24, you’ll see the image of the beautifully restored tracker pipe organ in the Chapel of Reconciliation. Thank you to all of our alumni and friends who ensured organ music will remain at the heart of worship for years to come. Our student-athletes proved resilient as they focused on a return to competition, and the day finally came. We give thanks for our coaches and the entire athletic staff as they continue to work so tirelessly in support of student- athletes, their safety and success.
Our Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030 strategic plan continues to move us forward at a steady pace. Recent success has been fueled by a $1.35 million gift from longtime strategic partner Midco to renew and grow their support of Viking athletics and to create the Midco Media Campus & Midco Production Center on Augustana’s campus. This generous investment facilitates the development of the recently approved multimedia entrepreneurship major. And the announcement of our newest additions to Augustana’s sports offerings — men’s swimming & diving and the NCAA emerging sport of women’s acrobatics & tumbling — has generated great enthusiasm from both prospective students and fans. We look forward to welcoming both teams to the Viking family in the next academic year. These are some of the exciting advancements made in recent months, with more underway.
We began this academic year with faith and cautious optimism. While there were some bumps along the way, there was nothing we couldn’t overcome, together. Driven by our sense of purpose, we didn’t just get through — we trusted our roadmap and forged on, turning obstacles into opportunities.
On behalf of the Augustana community, thank you for your continued support and care. May God grant you peace and keep you and your family safe and well.
Stephanie Herseth Sandlin