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The many reasons alumni give back

Generosity Matters

The reasons alumni choose to give to Augustana College are varied: Some are following the an example of a family member; others simply want to give back to a place that gave them so much. And others have a desire to help a specific group of students or a meaningful program.

Larry and Marty Richards

Marty Swett ’67 Richards and Larry Richards ’65: first-generation supporters

Marty Swett ’67 Richards and Larry Richards ’65 both feel “greatly blessed” by their Augustana experiences.

“We want to pass it on,” Marty said. “We would encourage others to consider their own experiences, and how being at Augie laid a foundation for our lives and work.”

They were first-generation college students, and on Augustana’s recent First Generation College Student Day, they made a gift to support current first-generation students. (more)

Melinda Pavek
Dr. Dave Markward ’71

Melinda Pavek '92: repaying the gift of education

“Opening minds to different perspectives and new ideas, and teaching people how to think for themselves and work within a community is the most important work of an educational institution, and Augie did that very well for me.”  

That is the fundamental motivation behind Melinda Pavek’s philanthropy.

Pavek graduated in 1992 and made her first gift to Augustana during her senior year. She’s given every year since. (more)

Dave Markward '71: The potential of giving

After Dr. Dave Markward ’71 traveled to Selma, Ala., to re-enact the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in support of voting rights, he began to research social justice. He believes what he learned helped him understand the potential of making an endowed gift to the college. 

In 2020, he established the Dr. David C. Markward Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. (more)

Bobby Olson

Bobby '10 and Dana Swanson '10 Olson: Grateful for their choir experience

The Olsons enjoy lifelong relationships with friends they met through the Augustana Choir. That’s why giving to the Bergendoff Hall renovation project is a priority for the couple.

Bobby recalls that giving back was encouraged when he was still as student: “Just before we graduated, Dr. Hurty encouraged seniors in the Augustana Choir to donate, even if it was just $5, because the percentage of alumni who give to the college is important.” (more)

Melissa Renke

Melissa Shore ’11 Reke: Giving back since graduation

Melissa Shore '11 Reke learned the importance of giving from her mom. She gave her first gift to Augustana during her senior year, and has given every year since. (more)


Darrell Owens

Darrell Owens ’90: A leader in paying it forward

Many of the life and leadership lessons Darrell Owens ’90 learned on Augustana’s basketball court led him to a successful career in finance. He now wants to pay it forward to Augustana students. (more)


Greg Bednar

Greg Bednar '82: Lifelong friendships spark philanthropy

Greg Bednar '82 appreciates the lifelong friendships, skills and opportunities Augustana gave him. Following their dad’s lead, he and his brother Kirk ’87 are committed to giving back. (more)