Robert A. Hanson, who died May 19, was at the helm of Deere & Co. as it made the tough choices necessary to weather the farm crisis of the 1980s. He also had a lifelong commitment to his community. In 2010, Hanson and his wife, Patricia Hanson, gave $8 million, the largest single gift in the history of Augustana College, to name the Science Building and the building's lecture hall wing.
Actor Eric Christian Olsen and father Paul Olsen, longtime English professor at Augustana, team up to deliver the commencement address to the 533 members of the Class of 2016.
05/23/16 Commencement 2016 in photos
More than 500 graduates participated in Augustana College's 156th Commencement Convocation on May 22 at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill.
Kendra Rakers ’16 is interested in memory and how it works, particularly as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. So she chose an interdisciplinary major in neuroscience with minors in biochemistry and history.It’s a perfect fit, she says, because each field approaches memory from a different point of view, which is a good way to provide more flexibility in her career. As she sees it, “I’ll probably wind up with a job that hasn’t been invented yet.”
05/19/16 2016 candidates for graduation
More than 550 students will participate in Augustana's 156 Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 22. Names listed here represent candidates for graduation; inclusion does not indicate completion of the degree requirements.
From July 9-15, local students ages 12-18 are invited to be a part of a film crew at Augustana through Fresh Films. Students will learn everything on-set at as they work on creating episodes of a TV show. Students will rotate through all key filmmaking positions, building their tech skills and résumé.
Augustana's chapter of Best Buddies has received the Chapter of the Year honor for central Illinois. Best Buddies is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Augustana faculty voted 124 to 47 this week, with six abstentions, to recommend to the board of trustees that the college switch to a semester calendar.
Senior Ben Ryan has been awarded an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. The $7,500 grant is awarded to student-athletes who excel academically and athletically. Ryan, captain of the basketball team, is the 36th Augustana student to win the scholarship. He is a biochemistry and pre-med major with minors in math and chemistry. In March, he was named the Vikings 161st Academic All-American.
From her days in Campus Ministries to her Civic Engagement project to living in the Quad Cities, Melissa Pepper '09 has always felt called to lead. Using her communication studies and English degree as the Director of Marketing and Client Relations at the law firm Lane & Waterman in Davenport, Iowa, the Augustana grad is preparing to launch her own non-profit: Lead(H)er.
Augustana College has selected Scott County, Iowa, as its partner in the second-annual Sustainable Working Landscapes Initiative (SWLI). During the 2016-17 partnership, students and faculty will work with Scott County officials and community stakeholders to complete community-identified projects related to the presence of lead paint in homes.
Nikki Johnson '11 Armstrong, language arts teacher at Bettendorf Middle School, is pushing more than literacy this spring with her 62 seventh-graders. The fourth-year teacher is helping lay the groundwork for project-based learning at the middle school, where students and faculty are set on tackling environmental issues.
Augustana students produced a colorful, panoramic mural representing the Quad-Cities in the auditorium at St. Anthony's Nursing and Rehabilitation Center near campus. This is the second spring the nontraditional class, "Arts Joined by a River," has been offered. An open house for the mural is planned from noon to 2 p.m. May 17 at St. Anthony's, 767 30th St., Rock Island.
Augustana student Michael J. Currie will direct "The Scene" as part of his Theatre Arts Senior Inquiry project May 13-15. Free performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in the Blackbox Theatre, Bergendoff Hall of Fine Arts.
The American Scandinavian Association at Augustana will celebrate Midsummer June 18 with traditional Scandinavian dress, decoration and raising of the Maypole, procession of flags and the midsummer queen, and a concert by mezzo-soprano Karin Osbeck, winner of Sweden's 2016 Jenny Lind Scholarship.
05/04/16 Inside the Celebration of Learning
The annual event gives students the opportunity to share their scholarly and creative work and be a part of a campus-wide community of learners. Students are invited to submit proposals for presentations, posters, and performances. Here is a closer look at a sampling of student presentations from the 2016 event.
Andrea Heinz ’07 Marrinson always knew she would be an art teacher. But when she began teaching at an Illinois elementary school after graduation, little did she know of the international adventures awaiting her in the cities of Minburi, Dubai and Hanoi.
Katherine Ludwig, a first-year student, has won the 2016 Geifman Prize in Holocaust Studies for her essay, "The Scapegoat." The essay discusses the treatment of Jews in Europe around the time of the Holocaust and what may have motivated this treatment.
Fresh Films, the non-profit arm of Chicago-based Dreaming Tree Films, Inc., is in the process of moving to Augustana. Headed by Estlin Feigley ’93 and Kelli Feigley, Fresh Films involves teens in the making of real science-related feature-length films and an Emmy-nominated kids’ television show. Augustana students from various disciplines will have the opportunity to work with the studio.
05/02/16 Ready, willing and able
We asked alumni to tell us about their jobs that didn’t exist 10-15 years ago. Here’s what we learned.
WVIK 90.3 FM, Quad Cities NPR, won 15 awards in state news contests last weekend. The WVIK newsroom competed in contests held by the Illinois Associated Press Broadcasters Association and the Iowa Broadcast News Association.
Augustana will present the musical "Sweeney Todd" as the last mainstage production in Potter Theatre before moving to a new theatre complex this fall. The show will run April 29-May 8. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 1:30 p.m. Sundays.
A new composition by Augustana's Jacob Bancks will be performed in Argentina this summer by the Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphonies on tour. Bancks wrote the two-movement piece, "Into the Wild," especially for the youth symphony, based in Minneapolis-St. Paul. His talents were requested by Mark Russell Smith, artistic director of the youth symphony and also conductor of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra.
04/22/16 Phi Beta Kappa elects 43 seniors
The Augustana Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa has elected 43 senior students to membership. "Election is a significant honor reflecting their fine academic work and the high opinion our faculty have of them,” said advisor Dr. Donna Dungan, president of Augustana's chapter, Zeta of Illinois, and professor of computer science.
More than $11,000 dollars was raised to aid childhood cancer research at the St. Baldrick's event on April 14. Dozens of students had their heads shaved in a show of support.
Mackenzie Butcher, a first-year pole vaulter from Colorado Springs, Colo., qualified for the NCAA Division III Indoor National Championship this season after a tie with her CCIW conference competition. She cleared 11 feet, 7¾ inches to tie for 12th at the indoor nationals. Her record height is 12-2 ½ — the third-highest pole vault in Augustana history.
Camilla Best's poem, "If Victoria's Secret Clearance Bras Could Talk," won the 18th annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award. Second-place went to Alyssa Froehling for "lost weight" and third to Alice Roberson, "They Make it So Difficult for Us to Love Ourselves."
Augustana College will add men's volleyball and women's bowling to the varsity lineup. Both teams' first seasons are set to begin in the 2017-18 school year. Amid uncertainty around higher education at both the state and federal level, and with demographic changes in the Midwest, Augustana leaders are strategically investing in new programs to attract more students.
Heather Slomski is the author of "The Lovers Set Down Their Spoons," winner of the 2014 Iowa Short Fiction Award and published by the University of Iowa Press. Her stories have appeared in TriQuarterly, American Letters & Commentary, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, The Normal School, and elsewhere. She was a recipient of a 2013 Minnesota State Artist Initiative Grant and a 2013 Minnesota Emerging Writers' Grant.
Dr. Andrey Petrov presents "The Other Arctic: Knowledge, Creativity and the New Frontier" as part of the annual lecture series sponsored by the Augustana Center for Polar Studies. Dr. Petrov is an associate professor of geography and geospatial technology at the University of Northern Iowa. He studies Arctic social and socio-ecological systems, sustainability, human development and global change in remote indigenous communities of Russia and Canada.
Tranforming Augustana's College Center into the Kim and Donna Brunner Theatre Center is on schedule, and the venue should be ready for the beginning of the 2016-17 academic year.
All Quad-Cities veterans are invited to be introduced and recognized for their service on Monday, April 18, at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall. The public is welcome to attend this salute to veterans and those currently serving in the military, hosted by Augustana students.
Felix Weil, a native of Frankfurt, Germany, who survived the Holocaust as a young boy, will speak at Augustana on Monday, May 2 at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall.
Alicia Odewale will discuss her interdisciplinary approach to identifying royal enslaved Africans' most pressing issues through their written words and archaeological evidence on Tuesday, April 19 at 10:30 a.m. in room 102 of the Hanson Hall of Science.
04/11/16 ‘Sticker price’ not the final price
In a state known for the unknowns when it comes to funding for public education, Augustana is more affordable than families might think. Once they receive their financial aid packages, students and families can be surprised at the cost difference between a private, independent college and a large, regional public university.
Ten seniors in studio art and graphic design will display their Senior Inquiry work in the New Departures exhibition April 13-May 22. The students will share their creative process at an artists' talk at 10 a.m. May 4. A closing reception will be held from 12:30-2 p.m. May 22.
Actor Eric Christian Olsen, who currently portrays Detective Marty Deeks on CBS' "NCIS: Los Angeles," was set to deliver the address at Augustana College's 156th commencement convocation this May, when Hollywood came calling. Another familiar face will deliver the address instead.
Augustana will celebrate Dr. Daniel Culver's impact on thousands of students with a spring concert and reception. The concert is free and the public is welcome to join the celebration at 8 p.m. April 30 in Centennial Hall. He is retiring after 42 years at the college.
Lizeth Tamayo '16 arrived at Augustana College with a clear direction in mind. She declared a major in pre-medicine with plans to become a doctor. It made sense, she thought, to make the most of a full scholarship and a proven ability in the sciences. Her feelings started to change, however, after some heartfelt talks with Dr. Pareena Lawrence, dean of the college.
03/31/16 Science on GMOs is 'missing'
The differences of opinion on genetically modified organisms were on display at a panel discussion that was a part of PlantBot Genetics: The Moth Project, an art exhibit encouraging awareness of ecology. Dr. Angie Carter, assistant professor of sociology at Augustana, said the science is missing. "In the absence of science, we are assuming safety," she said. "Or, we are relying on science that is being put out by the companies who are manufacturing the products themselves."
Dr. Pamela Trotter, professor of chemistry, writes about the benefits of helping undergraduates publish research. "Publishing undergraduate research benefits not only me and my students, but our institution as well. It provides tangible billboards, showing what our students are doing and how they are part of the greater scientific community."
Gregory Day is familiar with the choral classic, "Messiah," having sung it with the Augustana Choir. He will get to be part of the Handel oratorio at New York's Carnegie Hall on Nov. 27. Day is artistic director of the Lincoln-Way Area Chorale (based in New Lenox, Ill.), which has been invited to perform by Distinguished Concerts International New York in "Messiah" with other choristers from around the world and a 125-piece orchestra.
Augustana's John Deere Planetarium will be open for an evening of stargazing and planet viewing on Saturday, April 16, 8:30-10 p.m. The open house will feature programs in the planetarium and Carl Gamble Observatory, and outside the building.
Astrophysicist Dr. Tom Crawford presenting the Harry Nelson Lecture in Astronomy, "Probing Fundamental Physics with the Oldest Light in the Universe." This free public lecture is on Thursday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in room 102 of the Hanson Hall of Science.
Augustana College will "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde" Friday-Sunday. It deals with the Irish writer's trials on the matter of his relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas and others, which led to charges of "committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons" and his imprisonment in 1895.
03/14/16 Video: Saladin wins Hasselmo Prize
Junior Chris Saladin, a classics and history major, earned recognition from Augustana as the 2016 winner of the Hasselmo Prize for Academic Pursuit. Fascinated by the ancient world, Saladin plans to pursue a Ph.D. in history.
"The Moth Project," the new multimedia exhibit at Augustana College's Teaching Museum of Art, is very untraditional. It's fun, quirky, creative, interactive, and also will spread far beyond the walls of Centennial Hall.
Augustana College will host a panel discussion, "Arab Spring: Five Years Later," on Thursday, March 31, in Room 102 of the Hanson Hall of Science. Focusing on the aftermath of the Arab Spring protests of 2011, the panel will feature Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan Department of History, and Maytha Alhassen, a Provost Ph.D. Fellow in American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California.
"What if you had to face every decision you ever made and the people they affected most?" That is the question that highlights John Viscount's critically acclaimed short film, "Admissions," starring Academy Award nominee James Cromwell. Augustana College will host Viscount as he presents his film and leads a short Q & A session on Tuesday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m. in the Gävle Room.
No Augustana men's basketball player has started more games than senior Ben Ryan. He's also a biochemistry major with a 3.54 GPA, which helped earn him recognition as the Vikings' 161st Academic All-American.
Jacob Bancks, a composer and Augustana assistant professor of music, talks about the roots of his interest in making music. His "Dream Variations" will premiered by the Quad City Symphony Orchestra this weekend.
Rowen Schussheim, chair of the art department at Augustana College, isn’t surprised by the trend toward adult coloring events, which she says have “exploded” over the past year or so. She uses the books as inspiration in her drawing classes. “We all have a natural craving to be expressive and creative,” she said. “Everyone likes to doodle, but we don’t always have an excuse to do that.”
Fifteen students and three professors have returned from six weeks of study, reflection, snow shenanigans and communal life at Holden Village in the North Cascade Mountains of Washington. Dr. Jason Mahn, an associate professor of religion, wrote on the fortifying lifestyle and learning experiences of that special place.
Coming off their CCIW tournament title, the Vikings return to the NCAA tournament, where they finished second nationally last year.
The Fryxell Geology Museum is one of the jewels of the Augustana College campus, and it has been carefully polished by Dr. William Hammer, the head of the museum and professor of geology. Visitors are greeted by a 22-foot Cryolophosaurus, a carnivorous dinosaur he discovered in Antarctica in 1991.
02/26/16 Anderson '99 directs wildland trust
Eric Anderson has become the first executive director of the River Bend Wildland Trust. It manages the 100-acre Milan Bottoms and is working to restore its wetlands, prairie and river bottom hardwood forest. Anderson has been a volunteer and board member for the trust and was an organizer of the 2013 BioBlitz. He earned a BA in geology from Augustana in 1999 and a master's in geography in 2006 from Western Illinois University.
02/26/16 Get to know the Vikings
As the Augustana men's basketball team heads into the postseason, here's a look at the 17 players who have contributed to a school-record 24 victories in the regular season.
The staff of the Augustana Observer broke its own record last weekend by winning 19 awards from the Illinois College Press Association (ICPA) in Chicago. Last year, the Observer staff won 18 awards from ICPA and took first place in the General Excellence category. The staff took third place in the same category at the awards banquet on Feb. 20. Other staff awards included an honorable mention in the category of front page design.
Rock Island attorney Stuart R. Lefstein still remembers the day in 1988 when he came face to face with Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Beginning this fall, Augustana's residential life program will focus on the student experience from year to year. The new model will include ties to curricular and co-curricular programming, such as the campus-wide student learning outcomes.
Augustana College will hold its annual Summer Academy for high school students during the week of June 19-24. Ranging from two to five days, the academy's courses take an active, hands-on approach within a close learning community based on the beautiful Augustana campus.
A team of scientists announced they officially found gravitational waves — but, why exactly is that a big deal? “This is like finding a needle in a haystack, except probably on a bigger scale,” said Dr. Cecilia Vogel, professor of physics at Augustana. “Let’s say there’s a conversation going on three miles away and you can suddenly hear it with your ears. The event of the black holes colliding from so far away is really hard to detect, so it’s really impressive."
Dr. John L. Isbell '81, professor and research scientist with the department of geoscience at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, speaks on "Glaciation During the Late Paleozoic Ice Age."
Jack Cullen '13 was awarded the Jay P. Wagner Prize for Young Journalists by the Iowa Newspaper Association. Cullen has been a Davenport Quad-City Times reporter since December 2013. Before joining the Times, Cullen was an intern at the Wisconsin State Journal in his hometown of Madison. He graduated from Augustana with a bachelor’s degree in multimedia journalism.
It has been nearly 18 billion years since we have seen carbon emissions like we have now, says Dr. John Isbell, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He talked about the history of ice glaciers for the Polar Lecture at Augustana College. "We will have to reduce our carbon emissions, and it is still going to go up for a while. If we can reduce emissions, we can slow it down."
Students from Dr. Chris Strunk's urban and regional planning class have been working on the first-ever plan for Rock Island's Greenbush neighborhood. Last spring, students learned a lot about Greenbush by talking to residents and leading community meetings. They also worked with Christian Montbriand, a 2015 Augustana grad, and Brandy Howe, an urban planner with the city.
Augustana's Special Collections has an extensive collection of campaign memorabilia thanks to William Edmondson '49, who shopped in bookstores and at yard sales. He purchased buttons, hats and ties, and collected items which tell the story of presidential politics going as far back to the days of Teddy Roosevelt.
Augustana alumna Lauren Anderson, a Chicago native, is involved in music in two big ways: as a music therapist in the pediatric unit at the University of Kansas Medical Center and as a singer/songwriter who recently released “Truly Me,” her first full-length, and who has performed at various clubs around Kansas City, including Knuckleheads and VooDoo.
02/01/16 Covering the caucuses
It's caucus day in Iowa, and because of Augustana's location being just across the Mississippi River from the Hawkeye State, students and recent alumni in the Quad-Cities area have the opportunity to cover the caucuses for local news outlets.
Augustana alum Estlin Feigley will be back on campus Saturday to show his first feature-length film, "The Stream," followed by an interactive filmmaking workshop for students. His Dreaming Tree Films provide inner-city Chicago teens with filmmaking experiences.
Alycia Hund '97 will be honored with an Outstanding University Teacher Award from Illinois State University, where she is a professor of psychology. She has guided more than 5,800 students in face-to-face, blended and online course since joining ISU in 2003. Hund has mentored 83 undergraduate research assistants, 41 undergrad teaching assistants, 14 graduate research assistants, 10 dissertation students and 16 thesis students.
Christine Hedlin '11 is a PhD candidate in English at the University of Illinois. After the holidays back home she was inspired to reflect on her favorite childhood reading memories. "I wouldn’t point to any of these moments and say, 'And that’s why I became an English major.' Yet I can also safely say that I wouldn’t be where I am without these kinds of moments." Hedlin majored in English and Spanish and minored in Classics at Augustana.
Calvin Vo '13, a theatre and English major at Augustana, charged his Moline High School students with creating a unique production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream." The 16th-century comedy will be transported to 19th-century Moline. "One of my big pushes here at Moline is to emphasize dramaturgy," which was a major focus at Augustana, Vo said.
Crews are hard at work renovating the College Center into what will become the Kim and Donna Brunner Theatre Center. The $4.2 million project includes construction of a new mainstage theatre, black box theatre, outdoor pavilion venue and scene/costume shops. The work is expected to be done in time for the building to open for the 2016-17 academic year.
Senior Brandon Motzel, a pre-medicine and physics major, interned at the Texas Medical Center last summer. In addition to the academic benefits of the internship, he tested his skills against players from Rice University in pick-up basketball games. That experience is paying off for Motzel, whose play has helped set a tone for the Vikings since he moved into the starting lineup earlier this month
WVIK interviews Claire Kovacs, director of the Augustana Teaching Museum of Art, about "A Place Called Home: Frank Lundahl and the Quad Cities" on display through Feb. 12. Lundahl made a living painting interior murals, but the exhibit includes paintings Lundahl created for himself.
01/18/16 Video: River Readings with Eula Biss
In the second 2015-16 installment of the River Readings series, essayist Eula Biss reads from two of her books, "On Immunity: An Inoculation" and "Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays."
Peggy Anderson '60, who never wanted to become a nurse but wrote a best-selling book to correct stereotypes about the profession, died Sunday. Her second book "Nurse" (1978), was on the New York Times best-seller list for 30 weeks and is still in print. "Nurse" was also the basis for a CBS-TV series. Anderson returned to Augustana in 2011 to participate in the River Readings.
At 14, Cyrus Diaz is already aware of the preconceptions that often surround police and community relations. Perceptions, and misconceptions, were among issues Mr. Diaz and other community members sought to address at the Passing the Torch Community Youth Forum held at Augustana. It was a preamble to an evening event honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr. Bob Tallitsch's Human Anatomy class wore hats and wigs during the first class following Christmas recess, and not just because it was one of the coldest days of the year so far.
With the Iowa caucus fast approaching, Augustana will hold a discussion about the implications of the election for Christians, Jews and Muslims on Monday, Jan. 18 at 7 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall. The discussion will be led by Imam Saad Baig from the Islamic Center of the Quad Cities, Rabbi Jeffrey Lipschultz from the Tri-City Jewish Center and Pastor Richard Priggie from Augustana.
Passing the Torch, an annual community-wide celebration and tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., will take place Jan. 16 at Augustana. For the first time, the celebration will include a community youth forum.
Rabbi Elliot Dorff, Ph.D., an internationally known scholar of Judaism, will give a free public lecture, "God without Ethics, Ethics without God: What Does Judaism Add to Ethics?" on Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall.
Rev. Bryan Robertson '82 majored in English at Augustana before going to seminary. His intention was to eventually teach Christian religion at the college level. But an internship in the church resulted in Robertson’s decision to become a pastor. He has served in Rock Island, Decorah, Iowa, and most recently in Waupaca, Wis.
Vicki (White) Hynes '96 has created standards for participation and judging of a new annual event which showcases the work of Geographic Information Systems professionals. She was recognized last fall by the Illinois GIS Association for her contributions. Hynes majored in geography and environmental studies at Augustana. She worked for eight years for Naperville, followed by a year of consulting work, before joining the City of West Chicago in 2002.
CommUniversity, a series of Sunday classes taught by area experts, will begin its 37th year in February. The annual non-profit event is coordinated by a board of directors from local colleges, churches, libraries and other community organizations. Five Augustana faculty will teach classes at CommUniversity this year.