Augustana Recognizes Alumni for Achievement in the Arts

Performing & Visual Arts Hall of Fame award

Augustana honored five alumni for excellence and achievement in the performing and visual arts over Viking Days weekend.

The 2017 Arts Hall of Fame awards were presented during the Command Performance on Friday, Oct. 13, at the Washington Pavilion. 

2017 Augustana Arts Hall of Fame Inductees

Dr. James Ode ’57 (Instrumental Music)

A music major and English minor, Ode sang in the choir, played in the band and orchestra, and directed the Northlanders jazz band during his time at Augustana.

He went on to earn a master’s degree in music, a doctor of musical arts degree and a Performer’s Certificate in Trumpet from the Eastman School of Music,.

Following Eastman, he taught trumpet and was director of graduate studies at the Ithaca College School of Music, served as chairman of the music department at Trinity University in San Antonio, and led the music division of the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. In 1994, he received the Augustana Alumni Achievement Award.

Ode is the author of “Brass Instruments in Church Music” and has published more than 20 solo arias for voice, trumpet and organ.

Anna Hamre ’75 (Choral Music)

A music major at Augustana, Hamre went on to earn a master’s degree in choral music from the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley and a doctor of musical arts in choral literature and performance from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Before moving to California in 1999, she worked in public schools and churches and served community ensembles in Colorado.

Hamre currently serves as artistic director of the Fresno Community Chorus where she conducts the Master Chorale and Coro Piccolo. Hamre also serves as president of the American Choral Directors Association, western division. 

In demand as a conductor, adjudicator, presenter and clinician, Hamre has accumulated hundreds of guest engagements and has conducted at Carnegie Hall twice. Most recently, she conducted a choral ensemble on a tour of France and Spain.

She is the author of “The High-School/University Sight-Singer,” a music literacy method, and “The Weekly Sight-Singer: An Abbreviated and Accelerated Method.”

David Wolter ’04 (Art)

An art major at Augustana, Wolter made a name for himself on campus as the creator of “The Back Alley,” the popular comic strip that ran each week from 2002-04 in The Mirror, Augustana’s student newspaper.

A graduate of the animation and cartooning program at the California Institute of the Arts, Wolter now works as a story artist at DreamWorks Animation. His student film, “Eyrie,” won the Gold Medal for Animation at the 2012 Student Academy Awards and earned him a spot in the DreamWorks Story Training Program. Since then, he's worked on feature films including the third installments of “Kung Fu Panda” and “How To Train Your Dragon.”

In 2014, he received the Horizon Award from Augustana, an honor recognizing the accomplishments of alumni within 15 years of their graduation.

Ronald ’57 and Margaret ’62 Robinson (Theatre)

  • An English major, Ron Robinson was also an active member of Augustana theatre during his four years as a student. After graduation in 1957, he went on to earn a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota. He worked as a sports writer and news editor before joining Augustana in 1962 to teach English and journalism. He retired in 1997. Robinson counts playwriting, novel writing, non-fiction writing, editing and publishing as his greatest accomplishments. His first novel, “Thunder Dreamer,” won a New York Public Library Award for young adult fiction. He also edited, designed and produced the epic history of Minnehaha County, “Twelve Thousand Years of Human History,” by Bruce Blake. Today he serves as president of the Minnehaha Century Fund, a group dedicated to regional history. 
  • Margaret (Fjellestad) Robinson was an education major who was also active in theatre during her time at Augustana. After graduation in 1962, she went on to teach English at Brandon Valley High School. Throughout her career, she remained active in community theatre. Known for her innovative approach to theatre, her productions on the gymnasium stage were revered for their quality and spirit, and for giving scores of Brandon students their first performance opportunities. In recognition of her efforts to positively impact students, she was named to the Brandon Valley High School Hall of Fame. 

Ron and Margaret (Margie) have been married since 1964.