The first decade of the twenty-first century was an ambitious one at Augustana, as the college strove to enhance its national reputation as a high-quality liberal arts institution. The college established new majors in response to burgeoning student interest in areas like anthropology and environmental studies. It also created new faculty lines, some to support the new majors and others to enhance learning opportunities in longer-established fields of study. Student enrollment increased as well-from about 2,200 to approximately 2,500-within the span of a few years. At the same time, Augustana changed its curriculum to re-imagine general education, provide a more coherent first-year experience, and give students in-depth research experiences in their majors in the form of a universal Senior Inquiry requirement. A variety of national organizations affirmed Augustana's academic excellence in the '00s: the Lilly Endowment gave the college a $2 million grant to open a new Center for Vocational Reflection; the Association of College and Research Libraries honored the Thomas Tredway Library with its prestigious Excellence in Academic Libraries Award; and the United States Board on Geographic Names assigned the name Mount Augustana to a peak on Antarctica, in recognition of the college's contributions to Antarctic research. Although Augustana felt-and continues to feel-the effects of the economic downturn of 2008-2009 along with colleges and universities of all kinds across the country, its continuous efforts at improvement and its commitment to student learning make it well-prepared to weather the years and decades ahead.

May 2000
President of Augustana no longer required to be Lutheran, as determined by the college's Board of Trustees. While this decision does expand Augustana's established practice of selecting the best qualified candidate for each position, regardless of religious faith, the choice of president remains bound to some extent by the college's affiliation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Any future president who is not a member of the ELCA-the mission of which continues to drive Augustana's educational vision-must belong to "a denomination to which the [ELCA] is related through ecumenical agreements," according to the college's revised constitution. Possible affiliations for the college president include the Roman Catholic Church and a variety of Protestant denominations.
November 2002
Augustana receives a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment, one of 39 grants totaling $76.8 million. The grant is in response to Augustana's "Called to Serve" proposal, which hopes to deepen students' understanding of vocation. A new Center for Vocational Reflection (CVR) will be established to oversee the program in curricular, co-curricular, and community areas. The CVR will provide increased opportunities for service learning and community service and provide support for those interested in pursuing church-related careers.
Steve Bahls
October 10-11, 2003
Steven C. Bahls inaugurated as 8th president of Augustana College. Bahls holds a juris doctor from Northwestern University School of Law; he is also a certified public accountant. A respected scholar of business law and agricultural law, Bahls has written prolifically in his areas of expertise. He comes to Augustana from the deanship at Capital University Law School in Columbus, Ohio; prior to holding that position he was associate dean and professor at the University of Montana School of Law.
Augustana adopts a new strategic plan with Senior Inquiry at its center. Senior Inquiry is a reflective research program intended to be the culminating experience of an inquiry-based curriculum that will ask students to bring synthesis, analysis, and reflection to their college years. Senior Inquiry projects allow students to demonstrate the critical thinking skills they have developed at Augustana and to reflect on their work.
Fall 2005
Augustana welcomes students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. In doing so, it joins a number of other colleges and universities nationwide that assist students from New Orleans institutions in the wake of the storm. The visiting students pay no tuition at Augustana for the time they are here, the ultimate intention being for them to return to their own schools as soon as they are able. "If it were the other way around," President Bahls tells the Observer, "we'd want the schools taking our students to encourage them to return. . . . [Augustana] is anticipating the stay will last one term."
Director Carla Tracy receives the Tredway Library's prize
April 19, 2006
Thomas Tredway Library receives Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the college category from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL), a division of the American Library Association. The ACRL's press release of February 7 cites Tredway Library's information literacy program, the high level of respect it has earned at Augustana, and its central role as the "living room of the campus" among the reasons for its winning this prestigious award. Tredway Library celebrates its achievement by donating the $3000 prize to renovate another library: the one at nearby Longfellow Elementary School, Augustana's Adopt-a-School partner.
Fall 2006
Honor Code implemented. The honor code defines academic integrity and plagiarism and establishes a 13-member Honor Council-which includes ten students and three faculty members-that will make decisions about infractions. All students must now sign the associated Honor Pledge, which indicates their understanding and acceptance of the code. The Student Government Association proposed the new honor code in the 2004-2005 school year, intending to give Augustana students greater responsibility for questions of academic integrity; the code passed student and faculty votes in spring of 2006, in time for implementation in the upcoming school year.
Mt. Augustana in Antartica
October 21, 2008
Mount Augustana named in Antarctica by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, a division of the United States Geological Service. The Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names commends Augustana's "long history in polar and glacial geology, with strong ties to Antarctic research," adding that "the Fryxell Geology museum at Augustana College is the home of the only fossils of Cryolophosaurus, the largest carnivorous dinosaur found to date in Antarctica." Mount Augustana is not the first Antarctic placename the college has inspired: Hammer Col (a glacial ridge) was named for Augustana geology professor William R. Hammer in 2007, while, in the twentieth century, glacial geologist Troy Pw ('40) named Lake Fryxell for Augustana graduate and later geology professor Fritiof M. Fryxell ('22) and Lake Hoare for Augustana geology graduate Richard Hoare ('51).
January 14, 2010
President Steven C. Bahls and President Emeritus J. Thomas Tredway officially open Augustana's sesquicentennial celebration with a convocation in Centennial Hall.