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Alumni News

Class Notes

Classes of 1965 - 2008


In Memoriam

Achievement award goes to Kuehnle '67

Kenton KuehnleIn previous years, the Robert L. Hausser Memorial Award had been given to either retired or recently deceased members of the Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA). Kenton Kuehnle '67 jokes he began to worry slightly when told last spring he would receive the award at the organization's annual convention.

The award from the OSBA's Real Property Section recognizes longtime outstanding achievement, contribution and leadership in the practice of real property law. Kuehnle is a partner in the Columbus law firm of Allen Kuehnle Stovall & Neuman, LLP.

"Coming, as it does, from a group who has worked tirelessly over the years on legislation, education and the betterment of the profession, I felt extremely honored and humbled to receive the distinction," says Kuehnle, who is married to Sherry Esposito '68 Kuehnle.

Grandparents welcome at children's camp

When Linda Jones '66 Patterson was a small group leader at Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center (LOMC), she didn't anticipate returning years later to coordinate the camp's grandparent program.

LOMC's grandparent program is a way to connect its youngest campers, including many who have never been away from home, with older volunteers. Last summer, these volunteers helped during LOMC's nine weeks of summer camp that served more than 1,300 children. "Grandparents come by twos and fours each week to read stories, help with mealtimes and art activities, and provide a listening ear to the younger ones during their week at camp," Patterson says.

Russ Senti, LOMC's executive director, says the program has exceeded his expectations. Beginning with two camp grandparents in 2004 to having 30 grandparents last summer, the program provides relief for camp counselors, many of whom are Augustana students, when caring for record numbers of campers. It also has created a ripple effect. "The stories that go back to the church communities about a successful intergenerational program at LOMC have stimulated ideas for intergenerational programs in the churches," Senti says.

Augustana alumni seem to gravitate toward this service opportunity as Patterson signed up eight graduates this past summer. "They were selected because of their interest in helping children feel comfortable at camp," Patterson says. "I didn't even know three of the eight went to Augie until we began talking."

Linda Jones '66 Patterson (left) and Barbara Lincke '69 Novak help campers roll dough for cinnamon-coated monkey breadBesides Patterson, recent Viking volunteers were Diane Rose '64 Berley, John '62 and Nancy Telleen '64 Califf, Sandie Patterson '60 Donahue, Sina Moore '69 Mercado, Barbara Lincke '69 Novak and Judy Miller '68 Toppert. Chris Woodcock '70 Stamberger and the Johnsons, B. Ben '49 and Trudy Swanson '50, volunteered previously.

Toppert-or Grandma, as she is called at camp-is looking forward to returning as a camp grandparent for her fifth year next summer. She describes herself as a kid at heart who relishes camp life and enjoys helping children get the most of their experience.

Located on 640 acres near Oregon, Ill., LOMC is a year-round retreat center not only for youth, but also adults and families. The center is a ministry of the Northern Illinois Synod, Central/Southern Illinois Synod, Metropolitan Chicago Synod and Central States Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). Visit for more information.

Miller '85 returns to campus with his own students

High school art teacher David Miller '85 was looking for a setting where his students could photograph architecture, landscapes, still life, interiors and people. They already had hiked through Starved Rock State Park and taken a canoe trip in Indiana. Miller needed an aesthetic location closer to the town of Table Grove, Ill., where he has taught for the past 11 years at V.I.T. High School.

Miller '85 with his high school classThat's when it hit him. Augustana! What better place to bring his students to capture the variety of shots they needed. So, on a beautiful day in late August, Miller toured campus with eight camera-equipped students. "It was a great experience," he says. "They took some nice photographs and got a taste of collegiate life."

Miller, who majored in art and education, keeps in touch with former classmates living in the Quad Cities and tries to visit Augustana every couple of years. But that may change. "Our visit worked out so well that I'm thinking about making this an annual field trip," he says.

Alumni who work with high school students, in connection with a school, church or community group, are encouraged to share Augustana with their students. Contact the college's admissions office, (309) 794-7341 or (800) 798-8100 x7341, for information.

Iron Chef Augustana

Alumni who cook together stay together. In their own version of the Food Network's Iron Chef America, seven graduates reunite for a weekend each spring for some fairly friendly competition in the kitchen.

"We didn't have a judge our first year," says Kara Turner '94 Clark, "but our competitive spirit prevailed. We had three judges last year, including Heather De Krey '94, who some of us hadn't seen since our days at Augie."

The challenge of taking a mystery ingredient (they actually agree on it ahead of time) and creating a delicious dish is fun, but Kara admits the annual reunion is more about maintaining college friendships. "We all have busy lives, and this gives us an excuse to get together once a year ­to talk, cook and eat."

In addition to Kara and her husband Andy Clark '95, the culinary competitors are Ted '95 and Deidre Erlenborn '98 Dobbels, Sadaf Hussain '94, Mike Reynolds '94 and Melissa Phan '95. The friends met on campus as roommates, in class, on the basketball court at Erickson and through Residence Life activities.

Teh competition heats up as Mike reynolds '94 and Kara Turner '94 Clark focus on making homemade pastaThough Ted Dobbels reportedly cooked a "mean grilled cheese" in the College Center snack bar, neither he nor any of his Iron Chef cohorts are in a cooking-related field. By day, these amateur cooks work in insurance, speech-language pathology, human resources, hair coloring/styling and accounting.

Everyone resides in the Midwest, except for Melissa Phan, a New Yorker. They rotate the home in which they gather each year. Teams cook at the same time and follow a simple schedule: cook, eat, cook, eat, until they are done. This ensures the food is at the right temperature and tasting is best, Kara says. After each team makes and samples four dishes, a winner is declared.

Inspired by the "How Do You Iron Chef?" promotion on the Food Network, Kara says they have videotaped portions of all three battles but have yet to submit a video.

There have been only a couple disasters in the past three years. "The Appenzeller Cheese Crisps were supposed to be a light, savory funnel cake-light appetizer but unfortunately had to be turned into a crunchy tomato soup accent," Kara says. "And we had a deep fryer that was filled too high and overflowed-you would think with the years of education we have that the fill line would have been obvious to us."

Don't look down, whatever you do

2004 graduates at Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail

What are 2004 graduates Andy Ziemer, Jessica Gonet, Sarah Cunningham, Ellen Eckel Manning and Stephanie Allewalt so happy about? Do they know they've stopped at Dead Woman's Pass on the Inca Trail to take their photo? Fortunately, with the guidance of Cunningham and Manning-who traveled to South America on separate international study programs while at Augustana-the hikers reached Machu Picchu safely in four days. Cunningham and Manning organized the trip last summer so they could re-visit Ecuador and Peru, and share the experience with their former classmates.

In Memoriam


Trustees' vision and service honored

Roger W. Peterson '49

Roger W. PetersonPraised as a man of integrity, dignity and vision, Roger W. Peterson '49 died April 30 at the age of 82. Survivors include his wife, Elsie, whom he married on his 26th birthday, and four children and five grandchildren.

In the early 1960s, Peterson was vice president and division manager of Marshall Erdman and Associates, a national construction company specializing in medical buildings and schools. In 1963, he returned to Rock Island to serve as Augustana's first director of development.

"I never asked Roger why he made this bold career move, but I have a pretty good hunch," said Al DeSimone, Augustana's vice president for development, when he spoke at Peterson's memorial service. "I think he saw this as an opportunity to help his alma mater at a critical time in its history. He loved Augustana and proudly acknowledged the powerful role it played in his personal and professional life. The college and this position were also closely linked with another of Roger's passions-the church. And I believe Roger realized that through his efforts he would be able to help students benefit from the same kind of experiences that were so meaningful to him during his days on campus."

After successfully laying the foundation for a broad-based, professional fund-raising program, Peterson returned to Marshall Erdman, but his connection to Augustana remained strong. During the 1990s, he was a member of the college's Board of Trustees and was instrumental in the planning of the Thomas Tredway Library, the PepsiCo Recreation Center, the Franklin W. Olin Center for Educational Technology, and the Science Building.

In the mid-1980s, the Petersons established a scholarship in their family's name and, in the late 1990s, organized a campaign to establish the World War II Era Classes Scholarship.

"My colleagues and I are grateful for all of the ways Roger supported our mission as a church-related, liberal arts college," DeSimone concluded.

Reuben T. Swanson '47

Reubern T. SwansonLess than two weeks after celebrating his 86th birthday, the Rev. Dr. Reuben T. Swanson '47 died Oct. 3 at his home in Fort Collins, Colo. He was married to Darlene Carlson '47 Swanson for 60 years; she passed away on May 3, 2008. On a recent alumni reunion survey, Swanson noted that "meeting, courting and hearing ‘yes' from Darlene" was his favorite Augustana memory.

After earning his bachelor's degree from Augustana, Swanson obtained a theological degree from Augustana Lutheran Seminary. During his long pastoral career, he was elected president of the Nebraska Synod of the Lutheran Church in America (LCA) in 1964. In 1978, Swanson was elected secretary of the LCA, headquartered in New York City. He retired from full-time service in 1987 but continued to serve on boards and committees and was active in many community organizations. Swanson had been a member of the Augustana Board of Trustees since 2005.

"In his calling as a trustee of this college, Pastor Swanson brought with him the mind of a leader, but even more importantly he also brought the heart and soul of a servant," said Augustana President Steve Bahls. "In all of his many callings, he bore with grace the mantle of pastor. Whether you knew Reuben as a church officer, a fellow graduate of Augustana, a warm-hearted friend or generous benefactor, you knew that the qualities of a good shepherd were always at the core of his being."

During his lifetime, Swanson received numerous honors and awards for his work. He showed special interest in higher education, ministries that reached beyond the churches, and services for those with physical or social disadvantages. As a couple, the Swansons were active and generous philanthropists. In 1991, they established the Reverend Reuben T. and Darlene M. Swanson Scholarship to reward Augustana students for superior academic achievement.

Faculty's gifts remembered

Dr. Michael Kirn

Dr. Michael KirnDr. Michael Kirn, who came to Augustana in 1977, died on May 2 at the age of 63. Kirn taught philosophy and political science before gradually moving into administration. After serving as director of freshman advising and orientation, he became director of records in 1984. Kirn continued to teach political science until a few years before his retirement in 2004. He was married for 37 years to Dr. Mary Em Kirn, former professor of art history at Augustana.

Several members of Augustana's campus community attended a memorial service held in Kirn's honor in Beaver Dam, Wis. In his eulogy, Dr. Peter Kivisto noted that Kirn spent his professional life in institutions of higher education. It's hard to imagine him anywhere else, Kivisto said, for he truly did live a life of the mind and was an intellectual who took ideas seriously.

"To that end, he was committed to a special brand of education, one that led to a liberally educated person," continued Kivisto, the college's Richard A. Swanson Professor of Social Thought. Kivisto told those gathered that Kirn once suggested to a former Augustana dean that it might be a good idea to have the faculty read Cardinal Newman's The Idea of a University as a starting point for a serious conversation about liberal education.

"Mike observed the world of ideas and the world of real life politics with a highly critical sensibility," Kivisto added. "However, when it came to the world of family and friends, one found a very different person. His commitment to Mary and [his daughter] Emily was unreserved. When friends needed advice, he offered wise counsel. When they did discrediting things, far from abandoning them, he remained an unswerving sympathetic friend."

Dr. Glenn Robinson

Dr. Glenn RobinsonDr. Glenn Robinson died May 23 at his home in Rock Island following an extended illness. He was 62.

The political science professor graduated from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., and then earned his master's in government and doctorate in political science, both at Harvard University. He joined the Augustana faculty in 1988.

"We will remember Dr. Robinson for his commitment to a generation of students, particularly for the way he challenged students to think creatively about their vocational calling," said Augustana President Steve Bahls. "When I ask alumni to reflect on which professors made a difference to them, they often mention Dr. Robinson."

Among those serving as Robinson's pallbearers were Augustana professors Dr. David Dehnel, Dr. Margaret Farrar and Dr. Stephen Warren. Kai Swanson '86 delivered a eulogy that spoke of Robinson's caring spirit, compassionate heart and patient ear-and his overwhelming self-reliance.

"It has been said of at least one great historical figure that while every jot and tittle of his earthly life was known and documented, he was yet able to keep his heart secure from ‘the pick-locks of biographers,'" Swanson said. "With Glenn, I think we were all witness to the opposite phenomenon. While there is so much in the way of detail for which we hunger, his heart was ever on display for all who might seek it."

Swanson noted that Robinson passed away in what was for him a place of great serenity. He died in his office at home, surrounded by books and journals and piles of papers written by students-a realm of ideas and discoveries.

Louise (Meiszner) Nathanson

Louise NathansonPianist Louise (Meiszner) Nathanson-a member of Augustana's music faculty since 1980-died on June 30 at the age of 83. She was teaching students at nearby Rivermont Collegiate just days before she passed away.

A child prodigy who started playing the piano when she was three and a half years old, Nathanson studied for eight years at the acclaimed Liszt Academy in Budapest, Hungary, and performed throughout Europe. She was 14 when her family returned to the United States, and she went on to graduate from the Juilliard School of Music in New York. At the age of 20, Nathanson won the coveted Leventritt Award, the top prize in a prestigious piano competition.

After years of traveling thousands of miles and performing with most of the major symphonies and orchestras in the United States and Canada, Nathanson married a Rock Island businessman in 1959 and was thrilled to unpack her suitcases and finally settle in one place. When her son started playing the flute, she returned to the piano to accompany him.

In 1972, Nathanson began accompanying artists visiting the Quad-Cities area. When she came to Augustana, she often accompanied students and faculty members in recitals, in addition to teaching.

"During Louise's long teaching career, she taught piano students of all types from beginning children to experienced adults," said cellist Dr. Janina Ehrlich, associate professor of music. "Like all great teachers, she emphasized basic musical principles, proper technique first and then how to use those tools to express themselves. In that way, she accomplished her goal for all of them-to make the piano, and music in general, a vital part of their lives."