A Timeline of Notable Events in Augustana History

As the 2010-2011 academic year marks the celebration of Augustana's Sesquicentennial, we recall the following notable events over the past 150 years. For clarification, all "firsts" identified are associated with Augustana College and not the Lutheran Normal School (LNS). For instance, the first band at LNS was in 1896. At Augustana, the inaugural year of the band was 1908.

 

1860-1917

 

1918-1964

 

1965-Present

  • Rev. Lars Esbjorn is first president in 1860 when Augustana Seminary opens in the basement of the Norwegian Lutheran in Chicago; twenty-one young men enrolled with Esbjorn and Pastor Abraham Jacobson serving as the instructors.
  • In 1861, five graduates of the Seminary were ordained on June 9, thus the first "commencement."
  • The outbreak of the Civil War made the recruitment of students and raising money very difficult. In 1862, the Seminary closed early so that President Esbjorn could return to Sweden to raise money for the school.
  • The school moves to Paxton, Illinois and Rev. Tuve N. Hasselquist becomes president in 1863. Five students — three Norwegians and two Swedes — were enrolled. Professor Esbjorn returns to Sweden.
  • In 1865, the school receives its official charter as Augustana College and Theological Seminary.
  • In 1869, the Norwegians wanted their own school and parted ways with the Swedes and moved to Marshall, Wisconsin. The name of the new school is Augsburg Seminary and Marshall Academy to distinguish it from the Augustana College and Theological Seminary in Paxton. Rev. August Weenaas is the third president. The school is the first co-educational institution maintained by Scandinavian Lutherans in America and enrolls sixteen students. Wisconsin Farmer Endre Endresen Eidsvaag gives a bell to the school which will eventually be called "The Eidsvaag Bell."
  • President Weenaas leaves with seminary students and teaches them in different locations in Marshall. John J. Anderson is named the fourth president in 1870.
  • Augsburg Seminary and Professor Weenaas leave Marshall and relocate to Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1872.
  • Rev. David Lysnes is named fifth president in 1876 and the school is re-named Salem's Seminary and Marshall Academy.
  • Because of westward migration and the convincing argument of Norwegian James Wahl, Commissioner of Immigration for Dakota Territory, to "move with the people," the school relocates to Beloit in northwest Iowa in 1881 and re-claims the name Augustana Seminary and Academy.
  • The Eidsvaag Bell became the subject of a legal argument over whether or not it was school property and could therefore be taken as the school left Marshall and relocated to Beloit, Iowa. The bell was impounded by the local sheriff from the platform of the railroad station so that it wouldn't leave town. Court action followed for two years when finally, following an out-of-court settlement, the bell arrived in Beloit in September of 1883.
  • In 1884, the Academy — and its bell — moves to Canton, Dakota Territory and officially becomes known as Augustana College. Classes are held in a newly-built hotel that wasn't used for its intended purpose following the embezzlement of funds by the county treasurer to build it. This made it possible for the College to buy it for a fraction of what it cost to build. Professor M.D. Miller becomes the sixth president of the school and begins to emphasize the liberal arts. Sixty-seven students are enrolled. (The seminary remained in Beloit until 1890 when its assets were moved to Augsburg Seminary in Minneapolis.)
  • Henry M. Solem was awarded the first Bachelor of Arts degree in 1888.
  • In 1889, Rev. Christian S. Salvesen becomes the seventh president and serves only one year. In Sioux Falls, Richard F. Pettigrew, a lawyer and land developer, grants a parcel of land at the corner of what is now 28th Street and Summit for the construction of The Lutheran Normal School, now known as Old Main. Rev. Amund Mikkelsen is called to be its president.
  • Rev. Anthony Tuve assumes presidency of Augustana at age 26 in 1890. One hundred sixteen students are enrolled: 76 boys and 40 girls.
  • Enrollment grows to 170 in 1891.
  • Due to the economic panic of 1893, the church withdraws support from the school and it is leased to President Tuve. College courses were discontinued, leaving only preparatory, secondary and normal courses being offered.
  • A second bachelor's degree is conferred upon Otto Schmidt in 1894.
  • In 1895, the Augustana College Association is formed to operate the College.
  • Ole Rolvaag, who wrote Giants in the Earth, graduates from the academy division in 1901.
  • A new building is built on the east side of Canton to accommodate the growth of the school and was dedicated in 1903.
  • In Sioux Falls at the Lutheran Normal School, Ladies Hall—now known as East Hall—is built in 1905 to house girls.
  • Back in Canton, in 1908, the first College paper, The Augustana, was published. Its aim was to "... develop healthy school spirit, be a true exponent of school life, and an interesting median between the school and its friends." The first band is organized. A full four-year business course is developed to prepare students for a career in modern business.
  • In 1910, the Augustana College Association voted to provide for freshman and sophomore college work.
  • Dr. Paul M. Glasoe assumes the ninth presidency of the College in 1916.
  • The last academic year in Canton, 1917-1918, enrollment reached a record 324 students and 16 faculty members.

 1918-1964

  • By action of the church, Augustana College in Canton merges with the Lutheran Normal School in Sioux Falls and becomes Augustana College and Normal School (ACNS) in 1918; 195 students are enrolled. Professor H.S. Hilleboe becomes the tenth president. The Eidsvaag Bell is installed in the School's belltower.
  • Rev. Dr. Charles Orin Solberg becomes the eleventh president in 1920, determined to expand the liberal arts curriculum of the College and improve the quality of the faculty. The Administration Building is built and the first baseball and football teams are formally organized at Augustana College and Normal School.
  • The Augustana Concert Choir was founded by Dr. Carl Youngdahl in 1921.
  • The Augustana Student Association was organized; the College joined the South Dakota Intercollegiate Conference in athletics and became known as the "Vikings" and blue and gold are chosen as the official school colors. Augustana helps to create the South Dakota Symphony Orchestra in 1922.
  • In 1923, Miss Julia Tisthammer received the first Bachelor of Arts degree awarded by the consolidated Augustana College and Normal School.
  • The first homecoming was held on October 15, 1924.
  • In 1925, the Augustana College Association becomes the legal entity governing Augustana College and Normal School in Sioux Falls and the Augustana Academy in Canton.
  • In 1926, Augustana was recognized as a four year college.
  • Approximately 85 percent of the students are Lutheran in 1927; thirteen denominations are represented.
  • Dr. H. J. Glenn, pastor at First Lutheran Church, agrees to serve as the twelfth president for one year only and believes the key to the College's future is to hire more Ph.D. faculty. The Edda, the school yearbook, is published in 1928 and for three straight years receives All-American ratings.
  • Dr. O. J. H. Preus is named president number thirteen in 1929. Homecoming is now officially recognized as Viking Days.
  • The first night football game is played on campus, September 27, 1930.
  • Augustana received accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in 1931. Arthur Larson is named the College's first Rhodes Scholar and coach Lefty Olson arrives on campus to build an athletic program.
  • In 1932, music organizations increase in number and size with a string quartet, 40-member band, 75-member orchestra and a 51-voice choir.  Rev. Clemens Granskou becomes the fourteenth president.
  • In 1933, the College purchases a home for the president at the corner of 26th Street and Duluth. This served as the president's home until the Fellows built a new home at the corner of 37th Street and Grange during the Balcer administration.
  • Joe Foss, WWII flying ace, Congressional Medal of Honor winner, former governor of South Dakota and first commissioner of the American Football League, enrolls at Augustana in 1934 while Sig Mickelson, future president of CBS News, graduates.
  • In 1936, the Augustana forensics squad placed first in the nation at the Pi Kappa Delta speech tournament in Houston and the football team won their fifth straight SDIC conference championship.
  • The gymnasium is completed in 1937.
  • In 1938, the faculty organizes itself into three divisions: Humanities, Social Science and Natural Science.  An aviation minor is added to the curriculum, directed by Dr. Albert Hoyem, physics professor. 
  • "The Huddle" opens in the basement of the gym and Ole the Viking is created by Austin Kilian, '42. Crown Prince Olav and Princess Martha of Norway tour the campus. The Forensic Department was given first place in the nation in accumulated records in regional and national tournaments over an eight-year period in 1939.
  • Coach Lefty Olson leads the effort to build a new on-campus football stadium.  Much of the materials and labor is donated by area businesses and friends of Lefty's.  Total cost when completed in 1941: $32,000.  The stadium is built on the site of the College farm adjoining the campus. It provided seating for 2,600. The Moses statue and Humanities Center now sit where the stands and field were located.
  • The nursing program is developed; Lefty Olson's football teams won ten of eleven conference championships in the SDIC; Augustana joins the North Central Conference in 1942.
  • The beginning of the 1942-43 academic year opened with the largest enrollment in school history, 587 students. By October 1, enrollment dropped to an official 561; by second semester, 1943, it was down to 410. On March 1, enrollment dropped to 339. All of this happened as a result of the draft and enlistment of men into the military.  Later that summer, Dr. Lawrence Stavig is named the fifteenth president.  In the fall of 1943, Augustana became the third college in the North Central Conference to drop football, following the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State College.  All of the twenty-nine members of the previous year's championship squad were in military service.  Coach Lefty Olson enlisted in the navy, where he became an instructor in hand to hand combat.
  • In 1944, students could prepare for specialized training in teaching the deaf and a degree course in nursing was offered.
  • Several barracks were moved from the Sioux Falls Air Base in 1946 to campus to accommodate a post-WWII increase in enrollment. The last of these temporary facilities was removed from campus in 2006.
  • Augustana graduated its first international student, Kari Prydz of Norway, in 1947.
  • In 1948, an "H-shaped" barracks is moved to the east side of campus and becomes known as the Science Building.
  • Sometime in the late 40's, perhaps 1949, art professor Ogden Dalrymple designed the official College seal.
  • Tuve Hall is built and Dr. Earl Mundt is named director of the Augustana Theater in 1950.
  • Awards Day was first observed in 1951; it is now known as the annual Scholarship Dinner.
  • Augustana was the first Lutheran college to offer a major in deaf education in 1953. Viking Varieties, one of Augustana's most beloved homecoming traditions, held its first show in the gym, opening to a full house. Dr. V.R. Nelson, Chair of the Physics and Math Department, invents a “heart shocker” for use at McKennan Hospital.
  • Between 1954 and 1965, the College has 14 Woodrow Wilson Scholars, 6 Danforth Scholars, 17 Fulbright Scholars, 4 National Science Scholars, 22 National Defense Scholars, 3 Rockefeller Scholars, and one Rhodes Scholar.
  • Mikkelsen Library is dedicated in 1955.
  • Solberg Hall built in 1956. The last intercollegiate football game is played on campus as games are now played at the new Howard Wood Field.
  • Augustana ventures into educational television as Dr. Don Fryxell teaches a course in World Literature on KELO-TV in 1957.
  • Paul Rogness, class of 1958 is the College's second Rhodes Scholar.
  • Morrison Commons opens in 1959 and Eleanor Roosevelt visits campus and meets with students.
  • The Centennial Year celebration begins June 1, 1960. As part of the celebration, The Augustana Choir, under the direction of Dr. Arnold Running, toured Norway for a month and spent two weeks in Germany. It was the first international tour in the College's history. Margaret Mead spoke at the Social Science Division convocation.
  • The Board of Regents approves social dancing in 1963 and eminent British historian Arnold Toynbee lectured on campus.
  • Bergsaker Hall opens in 1964. Cora Stavig, first lady of Augustana, was named National Mother of the Year.

 1965-Present

  • Augustana awards its first Master of Arts in Teaching to Mrs. Vera Sadler and Dr. Harold Krueger organizes The Brass Choir. Leading up to the inauguration of Dr. Charles Balcer as the College's 16th president in 1965, architect and intellectual Buckminster Fuller, Lutheran theologian Dr. Martin Marty, and Augustana alumnus, Kenneth Thompson (vice-president of the Rockefeller Foundation) lectured.
  • The $2 million Gilbert Science Center was dedicated in 1966. A special education major is added to the curriculum.
  • The concrete statue of Ole the Viking on the south end of the Quad was created by Peter Eide, '66, and dedicated at Viking Days 1967. The Jabberwock Coffee House opens in a cellar attached to East Hall.
  • Four students, the debate coach and librarian die in a plane crash returning from a debate tournament in Colorado Springs. Granskou and Stavig Halls are dedicated in 1969.
  • The College adopts a 4-1-4 academic calendar; the football stadium makes way for a new Humanities Center and the Center for Western Studies is created in 1970 with Dr. Herbert Krause as its first director. The Lawrence Welk Orchestra, led by alumnus Myron Floren, '42, gives a benefit concert for the College at the Sioux Falls Arena.
  • In 1971, the Bachelor of Science degree is dropped leaving only the Bachelor of Arts degree and the Humanities Center is dedicated.
  • 1975, jazz great Woody Herman performs on campus.
  • Cleveland industrialist and Sioux Falls native Thomas Fawick presents the College with a bronze casting of Michelangelo's Moses in 1976.  Full-time enrollment reaches 1997—sixty percent are women.
  • The Viking wrestling team finishes second at the NCAA Division II national championships in 1977. Walter Heller, chair of the President's Council of Economic Advisors under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson speaks on campus.
  • The Augustana Student Congregation becomes an official congregation of The American Lutheran Church (now ELCA) and consumer advocate Ralph Nader speaks on campus in 1979.
  • Dr. Bill Nelsen named Augustana's seventeenth president in 1980.
  • The Chapel of Reconciliation is dedicated in 1981.
  • In 1982, art professors Ogden Dalrymple and Palmer Eide finish The Muse, now located at the entrance to the Center for Visual Arts.
  • Joe Foss speaks in chapel in 1983 and broadcast entertainer Art Linkletter was a featured speaker at the Augustana Fellows 20th anniversary celebration.
  • The original Eide-Dalrymple Art Gallery was dedicated in 1984. Jody Powell, former press secretary to President Jimmy Carter, speaks on campus.
  • Augustana celebrates its 125th anniversary during the 1985-1986 academic year.  Internationally known columnist Jack Anderson addresses a Spring Fellows Dinner crowd of 800 at the Sioux Falls Convention Hall. A History of Augustana College by Dr. Donald Sneen is published.
  • Dr. Sidney Rand serves for one year as the College's eighteenth president beginning in 1986. Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Secretary of State, lectures on campus.  During the summer, Old Main's east steps are removed, the windows are boarded up and the building is now entirely vacant.
  • In 1987, Dr. Lloyd Svendsbye is named the nineteenth president of the College.
  • University of Michigan football Coach, Bo Schembechler, is the speaker at  a special Fellows Dinner in 1988.
  • The Elmen Center opens in 1989.
  • The Viking softball team wins the NCAA Division II national championship in 1991 under Coach Sandy Jerstad, the first in College history.
  • Nobel prize winner Elie Wiesel and former vice president Walter Mondale speak at the Nobel Peace Prize conference on campus. Dr. Sidney Rand returns to serve the College again for one year as its 20th president in 1992.
  • William F. Buckley, syndicated columnist, lectures on campus. Dr. Ralph Wagoner installed as the College's 21st president in 1993.
  • The Augustana Choir, under the direction of Dr. James Johnson, performs in Normandy, France in June of 1994 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe.
  • The first speaker in the Boe Forum on Public Affairs is General Colin Powell, at the time the former Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in 1995. The second speaker in the same year is the 41st President of the United States, George H. W. Bush.
  • Mikhail Gorbachev, former president of the Soviet Union, speaks at Augustana as the third Boe Forum speaker in 1996.
  • In 1997, Terry Waite, Advisor on Foreign Affairs to the Archbishop of Canterbury and former hostage, spoke at the Nobel Peace Prize Forum.
  • In 1998, the Nelson Service Center is built. The Right Honourable John Major, former prime minister of Great Britain, and former first lady Barbara Bush, speak at two Boe Forums during the year.
  • The Augustana Band is the first collegiate band to perform in the Demilitarized Zone dividing North and South Korea in 1999; the Madsen Center is dedicated; Archbishop Desmond Tutu speaks at the Boe Forum. Crown Prince Haakon of Norway tours campus.
  • Dr. Bruce Halverson, '66, is the first alumnus to be named president, the College's 22nd, in 2000.
  • The Fantle Building, housing the Center for Western Studies, is dedicated in 2001 and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan speaks at the Boe Forum.
  • In 2003, actor James Earl Jones speaks in the Mortenson Center Theatre.
  • Former Mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani, is the 2004 Boe Forum speaker.
  • Rob Oliver is inaugurated as Augustana's 23rd president and the Center for Visual Arts is dedicated in 2006.
  • Former Vice President Al Gore speaks at the Boe Forum in 2007; the Hall Football Complex and Sanford Practice Gym are dedicated; Maya Angelou lectures at a Union Board of Governors event; Dr. Jane Goodall speaks on campus and former president of Mexico Vicente Fox and his wife Marta speak at the Boe Forum. The honors program, Civitas, enrolls its first class.
  • A new Viking logo is unveiled and the Vikings join the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference in 2008. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT) visits campus. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is the Boe Forum speaker and Greg Mortenson, (author, "Three Cups of Tea") lectures on campus. The faculty approves an Honor Code.
  • A $7 million renovation of Mikkelsen Library is completed. A record 61 students participate in undergraduate sponsored research in the summer of 2009. Kirkeby-Over Stadium, the Soccer Field and Huether Tennis Centre are dedicated and former Pakistan president Pervez Musharaff speaks at the Boe Forum. All Viking Days festivities return to campus.
  • The faculty approves a new Master of Arts in Sports Administration and Leadership.  The first three Civitas students graduate as the academic year ends in May of 2010.  The Vikings finish 11th among 288 NCAA Division II colleges and universities in the Learfield All Sports rankings, the highest in school history.  The Eidsvaag Bell is removed from Old Main in summer.  It rings officially for the first time in over twenty years on the Sesquicentennial Day Opening Convocation on September 8.  Kelsey Ramstad, a sophomore who is the great, great, great granddaughter of James Wahl, the bell's savior, does the honors.  It rings again following a Viking Days football victory on October 9.  First woman U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, spoke at the Boe Forum on November 4.


Sources: Through Trials and Triumphs, A History of Augustana College by Dr. Donald Sneen, 1985; A History of Augustana College, by Dr. Emil Erpestad, 1955; From the Archives, Volume I, by Dr. Helmer M. "Pat" Blegen, circa 1970; The Augustana Today and personal accounts.