The 2020 Augustana Alumni Achievement Award and Horizon Award Recipients
Four distinguished Augustana alumni were announced as Alumni Achievement and Horizon Award recipients during Viking Days 2020. These alumni are recognized for their outstanding achievement in their field and for exemplifying the core values of Augustana University: Christian Faith, Excellence, Liberal Arts, Community and Service.
Alumni Achievement Award
Horizon Award (recognizes early career achievements of graduate of the last 15 years)
Caring for those in need has been one of the defining foundations for Dr. Tim Ridgway '80, M.D., and he credits his Augustana education for launching his career of care. The hard-working small town kid credits his professors at Augustana for encouraging him to dream about the impact he might one day have. After graduating from Augustana, Ridgway completed medical school at USD, and residency at Mayo Clinic.
He began his career in the hospital, and quickly built a reputation as an excellent physician. He has received recognition as a Top Gastroenterologist in Sioux Falls (by the International Association of Healthcare Professionals), the Presidential Award of the South Dakota Medical Association, and a listing in “Best Doctors in America” for the past 10 years.
His impact has gone beyond his patients. He has shared his expertise through teaching roles and has advocated for physicians in rural South Dakota. His teaching excellence was recognized when he was named the American College of Physicians Teacher of the Year in 2016, and the medical student body of the Sanford School of Medicine awarded him the Leonard Tow Humanism in Medicine Award in 2013.
Ridgway’s latest chapter has included serving in several leadership roles, including as the President of the South Dakota State Medical Association. During his years at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine he has held a number of senior appointments, including Dean of Faculty Affairs, member of the Administrative Council, member of the Executive and Faculty Development Committees, Dean of the Sioux Falls campus, Executive Dean, and most recently, Vice President of Health Affairs and Dean of the Sanford School of Medicine of the University of South Dakota.
Dr. Carol Casey '76, Ph.D., grew up on a farm outside of Mitchell, South Dakota, and is the oldest of eight children. The resilience she built as a child paired
with an Augustana education has made her an incredibly successful teacher and researcher.
Casey serves as a professor of Internal Medicine Gastroenterology & Hepatology at the University of Nebraska Medical center. Her work also has her involved as a VA Research Career Scientist. As a former colleague has attested, “Carol has gone on to develop a reputation in another, quite different, area of research and scholarly work, to which others can no doubt attest. There is another dimension of (Dr. Casey) important to mention, (and that is) her outstanding character, and a person full of joy and care for people."
As a researcher, Casey has focused on the negative impact of alcohol on the liver. She has had research funded by the National Institute of Health and has over 120 publications. Though her focus has been on research, she also actively mentors as many as six scientists every year, and was recognized with the Outstanding Faculty Mentor of Junior Faculty Award.
For Dr. Brent Loken ‘94, Ph.D., sustainability, adventure, and an insatiable thirst for learning have led him throughout his career. He has become a leading expert in global sustainability, especially in the area of food systems, leading him to research projects on environmentally sustainable food systems.
Loken is also well known for his work on endangered species conservation and has been featured in high-profile pieces from National Geographic, Scientific American, and CNN. A fun fact is that he once rediscovered an extinct monkey species in Borneo! He has an accomplished history of working with diverse stakeholders around the globe to promote change, including co-founding Integrated Conservation, an organization which combines conservation and social development, often in rural or undeveloped areas.
Loken joined the World Wildlife Fund in March 2020 as a Lead Food Scientist. In this role, he is one of the drivers of WWF's science and policy surrounding the organization's work on sustainable food production and supply chains. Before joining WWF, Loken was the Director of Science Translation at EAT where he was part of a team developing sustainable food practices for feeding a planet with 10 billion people. He led research on multiple aspects of food production, and the resulting impacts, including the consumption patterns in G20 countries and greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production.
The Church has never been confined to four walls. For Rev. Ingrid (Arneson) Rasmussen ‘05, that message would be reinforced in the summer of 2020.
On March 27, 2020, Governor Tim Walz initiated a stay-at-home order for the state of Minnesota in response to the global pandemic. As the senior pastor of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Rasmussen was immersed in caring for her church members and transitioning to remote worship. While the stay-at-home order introduced new challenges, it also allowed her to exercise additional caution in pregnancy, as she was due in June.
In May, an even larger challenge was soon to arrive. The senseless killing of George Floyd set off uncertainty and unrest. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is located just one block from the 3rd Precinct, set on fire in response to the killing. At that moment, Pastor Rasmussen knew for the church to be the Church, she needed to reopen the doors of Holy Trinity. The parking lot at Holy Trinity quickly became one of the main logistical centers for supplies and volunteers.
Medics needed a place to care for the injured — the doors were opened. Grocery stores and pharmacies burned and were no longer viable, and volunteers needed a place to drop supplies — the doors were opened. Those experiencing trauma, grief, anger, and uncertainty needed a place for prayers and blessings — the doors were opened. Risking her health, and the health of her unborn child, Pastor Rasmussen knew that God’s call often comes not in our most comfortable moments, but in the moments where God is most needed. The Church has never been confined to four walls, and in summer of 2020, Pastor Rasmussen opened four walls of shelter and comfort to those in need.