Capital Projects: Emmy Carlsson Evald Hall
Carlsson Hall, transformed, will receive the name of Emmy Carlsson Evald, who well understood how buildings change lives. The stunning new academic building will certainly improve facilities for five highly populated departments currently located in Sorensen, who also will benefit from their new proximity to the academic center of campus.
From 1892 until 1935, Emmy Carlsson Evald was president of the Women's Missionary Society (WMS) of the Augustana Synod. In this role, she founded and wrote hundreds of articles for the newspaper Mission Tidings (first published in Swedish as Missions-Tidning), and spread news of living in Christian faith to countries all over the world. But perhaps she best realized her call by constructing many buildings to benefit the communities in countries including Africa, China, India, the Holy Land and the United States.
Emmy was raised by Swedish immigrant parents in Chicago. Her father was Erland Carlsson, a minister well loved by the Swedish-American community. It was after him the college first named Carlsson Hall when it was built on campus in 1927. The irony of this naming stems from a couple areas. First, originally the building was a residence for female students. Emmy Evald, herself a forward-thinking feminist, and the WMS raised more than half the funding to build and furnish the so-called "women's building." Second, the necessity of physical structures in realizing important community goals was deeply felt by Emmy. In the article "Among Ourselves" published in a 1935 issue of Mission Tidings, she says, "It is overwhelming to acknowledge the blessing from on high: the sixty-three buildings built during these forty-three years."
To recognize her profound impact on the church and society, and the connection of her work to the mission of the college, Augustana re-named the building Emmy Carlsson Evald Hall in fall 2008, when its transformation from a student residence to an academic building was complete.