Top AU Stories of 2017
Here's a look back at some of the top newsmakers and happenings at Augustana University in 2017.
We started the year with national recognition for two of our programs and the Augustana Research Institute released its housing study:
- U.S. News Ranks Augustana Among the Best for Online Master's in Education Programs
U.S. News ranked Augustana among the top 77 colleges and universities nationwide — and the best in South Dakota — for its online master's degree program in education.
- Augustana Physics Society Earns National Recognition
Augustana's Society of Physics Students earned a Distinguished Chapter designation from the SPS National Council.
- Augustana Research Institute Conducts Sioux Falls Housing Study
The Augustana Research Institute released a new research study titled "Affordable Housing Needs Assessment 2016." The study was conducted for Sioux Falls Thrive, a nonprofit coalition aimed at creating "cradle to career" pathways by improving the local ecosystem around K-12 education.
- Stephanie Herseth Sandlin Named President of Augustana University
Augustana University introduced former congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as its 24th president. The appointment, made by the Augustana Board of Trustees following an extensive national search, marked the first time in Augustana’s 157-year history that a woman will serve as president.
- Augustana Theatre Productions Earn Kennedy Center Honors; Actors, Playwrights, Designers Recognized
Three Augustana theatre productions earned regional honors from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, a national theater program involving 20,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide. In addition, a number of Augustana students and faculty members also received awards for playwriting, scenic design, acting and presenting.
- Boe Forum With Neil deGrasse Tyson Draws Thousands to Campus
Nearly 4,000 people filled the Elmen Center to hear acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson speak at the 20th Boe Forum on Public Affairs.
- Class of 2016 Grads: 98% Job Placement
According to a new report compiled by Augustana’s Student Success Center, 98 percent of recent Augustana grads seeking employment are employed in a position related to their major or chosen field.
- #GiveLikeAViking Breaks Records
Augustana's Giving Day, a 24-hour giving event held on Thursday, March 2, set a single-day Augustana record for most gifts received in a 24-hour period: $135,968 from 282 donors. Gifts came in from 33 states and the District of Columbia, with Augustana alumni making up 69 percent of donors.
- Symposium Showcases Student Research
More than 70 students representing each of Augustana's academic divisions presented their undergraduate research findings on Saturday at the 2017 Arthur Olsen Student Research Symposium.
- Augustana Nursing Program Ranked No. 1 in South Dakota
Augustana's nursing program was ranked the No. 1 program in South Dakota, according to RegisteredNursing.org.
- Interfaith Reflection Room Opens on Campus
Augustana hosted an open house for the campus community to celebrate the opening of the University’s new Interfaith Reflection Room, located inside Morrison Commons.
- Meet the 2017 Covenant Award Recipients
Meet Austin Krohnke, Cortney Mabry, Katelyn Graber, Alejandro Garcia and Jessica Schmitz were the recipients of the 2017 Covenant Awards.
- Hundreds Turn Out to Celebrate Retiring AU President, First Lady
Hundreds gathered on campus and many more took to social media to celebrate retiring President Rob Oliver and First Lady Angie Oliver on May 12, a day proclaimed as #OliverDay.
- Augustana Class of 2017 Celebrates Commencement
The Class of 2017 was celebrated at Commencement on Saturday, May 20.
- Augustana Wins Third Straight NSIC All-Sports Award
AU secured its third straight NSIC All-Sports Award from the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference.
- Augustana Introduces New STEM Composite Major
To meet a growing need in education, Augustana announced its newest major: STEM composite.
Augustana to Host Data Warehouse
Big data is coming to AU — Augustana is the home for a new central repository of workforce, economic vitality, social services, education and quality of life data for the Sioux Falls MSA.
Money Gives Augustana Top Marks for Quality, Affordability, Outcomes
Money ranked Augustana among the nation's best colleges, based on education quality, affordability and outcomes.
- Summer Researchers Share Experiences
The summer of 2017 saw Augustana students embark on a variety of undergraduate research projects and internships — everything from using genetics to personalize medicine to improving crop rotations.
- Augustana Earns Top Ranking for Scholarship Opportunities
A new ranking published by TIME and facilitated by MONEY placed Augustana University among the top 10 universities nationwide for the number and size of scholarships it awards to students.
- The Princeton Review Tabs AU Among 'Best in the Midwest'; Salutes Sustainability Efforts
The Princeton Review, a nationally known education services company, again ranked Augustana among the best in the Midwest. The University also made Princeton's list of "Green Colleges" for its overall commitment to sustainability.
- AU Welcomes New Faculty Members
Meet the 12 new faculty members who joined the Augustana University community this fall.
- Augustana's Newest Apartment Complex Ready for Students
The 13,780 square-foot Nelsen Apartment Complex is the newest housing option for Augustana students. It was named for the 17th president, Bill Nelsen. The former Summit Avenue Apartments were renamed the Balcer Apartment Complex after the 16th president.
September was a busy, news-filled month on campus:
- AU Welcomes Largest Incoming Class Since 1978; Enrollment Tops 2,000
Augustana University reported its largest incoming class since 1978 — 481 first-year students from 20 states and 10 countries, an increase of 14 percent from last year. The University’s newest Vikings join existing students, as well as 331 graduate students, for a total headcount of 2,080, a 7.5 percent increase from last year. This marks Augustana’s largest enrollment since 1990.
- U.S. News Gives Augustana Top Rankings
U.S. News ranked Augustana No. 3 among the "Best Regional Colleges in the Midwest," giving the University high marks for its commitment to teaching undergraduates and praising AU for its value in the report's "Great Schools, Great Prices" analysis.
- Forbes Ranks Augustana Among America's Top Colleges
Augustana is again ranked in Forbes' listing of "America's Top Colleges 2017," a listing of the top 650 colleges in the U.S. The ranking, Forbes says, correlates directly to value.
In addition, we celebrated the inauguration of Stephanie Herseth Sandlin as the University’s 24th president. Designed to illustrate the University's core values, inaugural events included a faculty symposium, a service project, worship services, a student research and creativity symposium, gatherings for alumni and community partners, a campus community celebration, the investiture ceremony, and more. See a recap at augie.edu/inauguration and these stories:
- Symposium Celebrates Student Research, Creativity
Students from each academic division presented their undergraduate research findings, displayed artwork and read from their literary works during the Student Research and Creativity Symposium.
- Campus Community, AU Alumni Team Up to Support Feeding South Dakota
Honoring a University core value of service, members of the Augustana campus community, along with AU alumni, teamed up to support Feeding South Dakota. More than 100 volunteers turned out for the food packing event, giving a total of 138 hours to support Feeding South Dakota.
- Norris, Graber Crowned 2017 Viking Days King and Queen
Seniors Shay Norris, a psychology major from Sioux Falls, and Katelyn Graber, a biology major from Hurley, South Dakota, were crowned the 2017 Viking Days King and Queen at Coronation. Later in the week hundreds of alumni returned home to celebrate homecoming. Relive the fun from the weekend via photos (including selfies!) and video at augie.edu/vikingdays.
- Augustana Earns Major Grants from National Science Foundation for Physics Research
The Augustana University Physics Department received three major grants from the National Science Foundation. The grants, totaling $294,000, will provide opportunities for AU undergraduates to engage in cutting edge physics research on campus, and at labs around the world, over the next several summers.
There were lots of awards in October, too:
- Augustana Recognizes Alumni for Achievement in the Arts
Augustana honored alumni for excellence and achievement in the performing and visual arts during the Command Performance on Friday, Oct. 13, as part of Viking Days 2017.
- 2017 Alumni Achievement, Horizon Award Recipients Honored
Five Augustana alumni were honored during Viking Days for their outstanding achievements in their fields and for exemplifying the core values of Augustana University: Christian Faith, Excellence, Liberal Arts, Community and Service.
- Wolter Awarded Spitznagel Medal for Achievement in Art
David Wolter '04, an award-winning story artist for DreamWorks, has been awarded the prestigious Harold Spitznagel Medal for Achievement in Art, the highest award presented by the Augustana art department.
- Duffy-Matzner Honored by American Chemical Society
Augustana's Dr. Jetty Duffy-Matzner received the 2017 E. Ann Nalley Award for Volunteer Service to the American Chemical Society (ACS). The award recognizes the volunteer efforts of individuals who have served the American Chemical Society through their local section, regional and national activities.
- Research Poster by Augustana Senior Earns Regional Award
A research poster by Augustana senior Skyy Pineda, a biochemistry major from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, was recognized at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Midwest Regional Meeting, held Oct. 18-20 in Lawrence, Kansas.
- Augustana Ranked No. 1 in SD by WalletHub
WalletHub's "2018 University Rankings" lists Augustana University at No. 1 in South Dakota and No. 195 nationwide among universities who offer "top-notch education at the most reasonable prices."
- Edda Wins 'Best of Show' Award for 2016-17 Edition
To encapsulate a school year in a book can be daunting, even without the added pressure of knowing that it will spark memories decades later. Andrea Conover ’17 and Kaylyn Deiter ’17, co-editors in chief of the Edda, Augustana's yearbook, and their team stepped up to the task and were recently commended for their work. The 2016-17 Edda placed eighth in Best of Show at the National College Media Convention in October, held in Dallas, Texas.
- Augustana to Offer Master’s Degree in Athletic Training
Augustana announced details for its new master’s of science degree program in Athletic Training. University officials say the new program comes at a critical time — according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for athletic trainers is expected to grow by 22 percent through 2026.
Evenson Receives DAISY Faculty Award for Excellence in Nursing Education
Connie Evenson, an assistant professor of nursing, is the first recipient of the Augustana DAISY Faculty Award, an honor that recognizes extraordinary nurses who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of patients and families, and nursing faculty who provide exceptional instruction and inspiration for nursing students.
Director of Media Relations