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Dave Markward ’71: ‘Ask what you can do for your college’

Gen Matters

(Generosity Matters is a series of spotlight stories about alumni who give back to Augustana College.)

In 2017 and 2019, Dr. Dave Markward ’71 traveled to Selma, Ala., to re-enact the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge in support of voting rights. “The spirit of unity and hope was contagious,” he said. “The message I received in Selma was do something.”

Shortly after these two trips, he began to research social justice. He believes what he learned helped him understand the potential of making an endowed gift to the college. 

Dave Markward

Dave Markward at the Edmund Pettus Bridge.

In 2020, he established the Dr. David C. Markward Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. As an endowed fund, the principal is invested and the market earnings are pulled each year and distributed to help advance the college’s diversity, equity and social justice efforts.

“We all need opportunities,” he shared. “Years ago, journalist Peter Jennings said, ‘education is the way America hands out life changes.’” 

Dr. Markward worked in public education for 40 years, and saw that many of his students, through no fault of their own, came from backgrounds where resources were scarce. 

“I am hopeful that the endowment can open a few doors of opportunity for students by helping others understand our interconnectedness and how the world is a better place when we identify, celebrate and utilize our similarities and differences,” he said.

Dr. Markward has been a generous donor to Augustana for many years. But what first began as giving to fulfill a sense of obligation eventually transformed to a recognition of the opportunity to help make a difference. “At important times in my life, there have been others who have helped ease my way,” he said. “I truly consider giving as a pay-it-forward act of appreciation.”

He considers Augustana as a place where students can grow and learn in ways that prepare them to take their places in the world after graduation. “I don’t believe there is any field of human endeavor where you will not find students from Augustana who have made their marks, not only for themselves, but for the many they have served,” he said.

After working as a teacher, coach and school administrator in Rock Island, Ill., and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Dr. Markward retired and then worked with the Augustana’s education department for 10 years. He supervised students during their clinical teaching experiences, and taught a course when one of the department’s professors was on sabbatical.  

“I have enjoyed all my experiences at Augie, and am grateful to those who were my teachers, coaches and mentors as well as those with whom I’ve worked,” he said. “To paraphrase the late President John F. Kennedy, ‘ask not what your college has done for you … ask when you can do for your college.”