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Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit

Hannah Johnson

The best illustrations of the power of the Augustana experience are found in alumni whose lives were transformed by their years on campus. One such transformation is seen in Dr. Nils Hasselmo ’57.

Hasselmo came to study at Augustana as an international student, after receiving the college’s Mauritzson Memorial Scholarship for students from Sweden. After earning his Ph.D. in linguistics from Harvard University, he served in higher education throughout his career, including as a faculty member at Augustana College, the University of Arizona and University of Minnesota; vice president for academic affairs and provost at the University of Arizona; president of the University of Minnesota; and from 1998 to 2006 as president of the Association of American Universities (AAU).

In 2011, Hasselmo funded the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit at Augustana, in recognition of the ways in which his Augustana education both informed and transformed his life and vocational calling. The significant monetary prize is awarded to enrich the experience of a student who has demonstrated academic excellence and who expresses an intent to pursue higher education teaching and/or research as a vocation.

The inaugural recipient of the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit is Hannah Johnson. A senior in the college’s Honors program double-majoring in communication studies and English, Hannah plans on attending graduate school in communication studies with an emphasis in rhetorical theory and criticism. “The faculty in the communication department is mostly to blame for this ambition,” says Hannah. "My professors have been incredible, and I would want nothing more than to teach or research as well as they do."

Augustana commends Hannah Johnson for the academic excellence she has achieved, and offers the greatest thanks to Dr. Nils Hasselmo for inspiring peak Augustana experiences through the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit.