Like colleges and universities across the country, Augustana felt the effects of the Great Depression keenly. Payment on pledges was down, enrollment did not increase over a number of years, and faculty salaries were cut. At the same time, Augustana risked losing its accreditation from the North Central Association, due primarily to inadequate science facilities in Ericson Hall. Rescue came in the form of the brand-new Wallberg Hall of Science, built from money left to Augustana by a former student. Notwithstanding the nation's general economic woes, other construction was completed later in the decade; most notable of these projects was Andreen Hall, named in honor of President Emeritus Gustav Andreen, whom Conrad Bergendoff succeeded in 1935.

Augustana Choir
March 18, 1931
Augustana Choir performs for the first time, under the direction of Henry Veld at Orchestra Hall in Chicago. The men's Wennerberg Chorus and the women's Oriole Chorus each perform separately but then sing three numbers together, for the first time in college history. By the 1934-1935 school year, the women's group will have changed its name to the Jenny Lind Chorus, and the combined choruses will officially be listed in the college catalog as the Augustana Choir.
February 18, 1932
The Observer reports end of compulsory church attendance; the college makes this change in response to disapproval among students who believe the policy has no real effect on attendance. Students are no longer required to sign slips on Monday mornings certifying they went to church-presumably, a local congregation-over the weekend. The college catalog will continue to include mandatory church attendance as a policy until the 1936-1937 school year, when daily, on-campus chapel attendance only will be listed as a requirement.
Diamond Jubilee celebration, in honor of Augustana's 75th anniversary. Special events include a youth conference organized by the Luther League of the Augustana Synod, and the dedication of Wallberg Hall in June.
Wallberg Hall of Science
May 6, 1935
First class held in Wallberg Hall of Science, by geology professor Fritiof M. Fryxell; the building is dedicated in June and opens for general use in fall. Wallberg Hall was built with money from a bequest by former student Marie Wallberg of Clinton, Iowa; its construction saves Augustana from losing accreditation from the North Central Association due to inadequate science facilities. Marie Wallberg also leaves money to the University of Toronto, which builds its own Wallberg Building on campus.
January 1936
Construction of bell tower completed. The tower houses the 731-pound bell that had been located in Augustana's first building, which was demolished in 1935; materials from that building go into the construction of the bell tower.
October 1, 1936
Conrad Bergendoff installed as 5th president of Augustana College. A 1915 graduate of Augustana, Bergendoff holds a master's in history from the University of Pennsylvania, a bachelor's of divinity from Augustana Seminary, and a doctorate from the University of Chicago. He began serving as president in 1935 and will be in office for a total of 27 years.
March 1937
Augustana obtains membership in the American Association of University Women (AAUW). The AAUW was formed in the late 19th century to promote equality and education for women. Out of 90 applicant institutions in 1937, Augustana is one of only two to gain membership. In the president's report of 1936-1937, Bergendoff writes, "while our alumnae and we rejoice over this recognition, we realize that Augustana must not only maintain its present conditions, but improve them, if she is to remain on this accredited list. There is, however, no inconsistency between the standards of the A.A.U.W. and our own-we are interested in giving our women students the best possible education and of providing for them the best possible environment during their college careers."
October 24, 1937
Andreen Hall dedicated. Andreen was built to house students after the demolition in 1935 of Augustana's first campus building. In the 1937-1938 school year, 86 men live in Andreen, while female students reside in the Woman's Building (now Evald Hall).
1938 Saga cover
May 1938
First annual Saga published. Saga is the brainchild of a Writer's Club formed in 1937 to discuss original manuscripts as well as other, published works. Desirous of a better venue for publication than the brief literary "supplements" occasionally included with the Observer, club members design their own literary magazine, which they name after the Swedish epic form, in honor of Augustana's Swedish heritage. The original faculty adviser to Saga is Augustana English professor Henriette C. K. Naeseth.
December 9, 1938
George Lenc ('39) drafted by pro football team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. Lenc is chosen in the eleventh round of the National Football League draft; he will report for practice in August of 1939. Lenc is the first Augustana student ever to be drafted by a professional sports team; Ken Anderson will follow Lenc in 1971, going to play for the Cincinnati Bengals.
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