The Augustana Magazine: Summer 2016


view from summit avenue: a message from president rob oliver

The great American writer and philosopher Henry David Thoreau once wrote that we should “pursue some path, however narrow and crooked, in which you can walk with love and reverence.”

In other words, the road to joy, happiness and success isn’t always straightforward and clear. As travelers on this journey called life we often encounter unexpected detours, traffic jams and one-way streets.

As human beings, our minds power our engines. But, if we’re lucky, our hearts are what steer us. And if we’re really lucky, the morals and values we’ve learned along the way serve as our compass.

The individuals you’ll read about in this issue have each, as Thoreau so wonderfully said, pursued a path in which they can indeed “walk with love and reverence.”

None of the alumni we feature in the pages that follow planned to open their own food or drink establishments. They were biology majors, political science majors, sociology majors, and more. They started out as wildlife preservationists, business and health care professionals, and communicators.

Yet throughout their personal and professional journeys, each said it eventually became impossible to ignore the voice from deep inside urging them to follow their true passions.

So they did.

And, they tell us, they are happy. And fulfilled. Their hearts, they say, are joyful while their minds are forever learning and growing and creating.

In today’s world, we often hear about the importance of specializing in one skill and the value that comes from learning and perfecting a trade. 

At  Augustana, we believe there’s more to life than learning just one skill and performing just one job. Here, we believe in nurturing students to help them discover their true vocation. We believe in providing a broad-based education rich in history, language, art, science, religion and more, in addition to helping students develop specialties in their areas of interest.

Along the way, our students develop what we call 21st century skills: the ability to communicate effectively, think critically, interpret and analyze, act with global awareness and – of significant importance in today’s world – the ability to adapt to change.

The alumni we’ve featured in these pages each told us, because of the education they received at Augustana, they weren’t afraid to change course. They weren’t afraid to travel down a new path in order to find true joy and happiness.

They are courageous, curious, passionate and determined. Without question, their lives and actions symbolize the Viking spirit.

I hope you find as much joy and inspiration in reading their stories as we do in sharing them.

Enjoy this issue!

Yours, for Augustana,
Rob Oliver

PS: We hope you and your family will make plans to come home again and celebrate Viking Days with us, Oct. 14-16. Find all the details for the weekend at!