February 10, 2021
Written by Public Relations & Communications Strategist Jill Wilson
Augustana University is excited to announce a $500,000 gift from Eric and Danae (Smith) Delman ‘77 of Alexandria, Virginia, designated to benefit the Augie Access Program within the Sharon Lust School of Education. The Augie Access Program, established in 2015, is the only post-secondary comprehensive transition program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in South Dakota.
The generous pledge from the Delmans will enable the university to acquire a job developer and coach for the Augie Access Program and Student Success Center, helping students make the transition from college to their professional careers. With the addition of the new position, the Augie Access Program will explore adding a fourth year, which would allow its students to graduate with their cohort. Available in the spring of 2021, the funds will also support need-based scholarships for students at any stage of the program, making the program more affordable for both current and future students and their families.
“This is not only validating, but fundamentally critical to preserving the legacy of what the program offers, as well as expanding and enhancing Augustana’s mission,” said Dean of the Sharon Lust School of Education Dr. Laurie Daily, who is certain that the gift will impact generations to come. “These students have become a part of the fabric of both classroom and co-curricular activities. They’re seeking out ways to make an impact, be connected and experience the core value of community here at Augustana.”
The Delmans have a deep connection to Augustana. The couple donated $300,000 to the Augie Access Program three years ago, understanding the importance of opportunities for students with disabilities as their son Zachary has autism. He graduated from college in the spring of 2020 with a degree in French. Eric Delman’s parents, Ed and Edith (Mortenson) Delman ‘41, were generous supporters of the Edith Mortenson Center Theatre on Augustana’s campus.