The Augustana Magazine: Fall 2019

The Augustana Magazine

The Augustana is the university's magazine for alumni, parents and friends of the institution and is produced twice a year.


view from summit avenue:
a message from president stephanie herseth sandlin

What a beautiful fall it’s been so far! Spring semester and summer went by quickly and here at Augustana University, we welcomed back new and returning students for what will be an exciting and energizing year.

One of the things I’m proudest of is our students’ success. The spring semester demonstrated that our students excel in so many different ways. One of which was that 42 percent of our undergraduates earned the distinction of being named to the spring dean’s list. And, for the second time in history, our women’s softball team brought home the 2019 NCAA Division II Softball Championship trophy! As you may recall, men’s baseball won the College World Series in 2018 so this gives us two back-to-back national championships to celebrate.

It's because of our commitment to our students and excellence that we're earning national recognition. In early September, we were named by U.S. News & World Report as being a Top 10 Best Regional University and ranked number two for best value in the Midwest. This puts us in a whole new category, elevating Augustana above other universities in our area. A career placement think-tank also named Augustana as the second-highest university nationwide for post-graduate employment. This ranking complements the continued accolades for the great City of Sioux Falls, being ranked number one in the country as the Best City for Young Professionals. Sioux Falls was also named in the Top 10 for Best Cities for Entrepreneurs and Best Places to Live, and took the number 15 spot on the Happiest City in America list. Augustana is blessed to belong to this thriving community!

As you’ll read in this edition of The Augustana, we have many new and exciting campus updates. This fall, the university launches a Bachelor of Fine Arts program (BFA). It’s been a dream of many here on campus and for those who want that professional fine arts degree and now it’s a reality (pages 16-17).

Our Vikings will also notice an even more beautiful landscape as they navigate their way around campus. As this magazine was going to print, we were putting the finishing touches on a number of campus building projects. We celebrated a brand-new outdoor classroom, a space that encourages appreciation for our physical environment, and opened the Svendsbye Apartments — the newest apartment complex on Summit Avenue — named after Augustana’s 19th President, Rev. Dr. Lloyd Svendsbye. Renovations were also completed inside the Fryxell Humanities Center, and the dedication for the Larson Track and Field and Vance Butler Field Events Area was held on Sept. 20.

As we forge ahead with our goals for Vision 2030, Augustana is assessing and planning for the future. You can read more about the approved aspirational goals and strategic planning process at You’ll find everything outlined there, including updates, FAQs and timelines. Part of our strategic goals includes the growth of our diversity and inclusion efforts. Willette Capers joined the university earlier this year and has already made great strides with campus programming and implementation of the university’s diversity and inclusion plan. We are so grateful Willette joined the Augustana community (pages 8-9).

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to Augustana and its mission. As a member of the Network of ELCA Colleges and Universities, our common calling as an institution committed to the liberal arts and inspired by the Lutheran scholarly tradition is to be a place — a very special place — where our students are 'called and empowered to serve the neighbor so that all may flourish.'

This common calling serves not only our students, but also each and every one of you — alumni and friends of the university — who know, serve and care for one another.

Warm regards,

Stephanie Herseth Sandlin