The Top AU Stories of 2020

As 2020 comes to a close, we look back at the top stories from Augustana University over the last year.


More than 150 students traveled abroad to 16 countries for Augustana’s January interim or J-Term.


A new shortened study abroad program allowed international students to take Sioux Falls and Augustana for a "test drive" during its four-week January interim — also known as J-Term.

The Augustana University Department of Religion, Philosophy and Classics is pleased to announce a $100,000 pledge for a new scholarship for philosophy majors, the Ibn Sina Scholarship.

Ninety-nine percent of 2019 Augustana graduates seeking employment reported being employed in their major or chosen field.


As Augustana University begins to implement phases of its Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030 strategic plan, nearly every element of university life could experience energizing change – especially opportunities related to academics.

Augustana University announced that it would deliver curriculum online for the remainder of the spring semester, prioritizing the health and safety of its students and the broader community as the spread of COVID-19 continued to impact Sioux Falls, the state and the nation.


Augustana University announced that Dr. Laurie Daily was named the inaugural Dean of the School of Education.

With the help of generous funding from the Sheldon F. Reese Foundation, Augustana added a virtual clinical simulation software package to support the nursing program clinical experiences through the end of the fall semester and into the summer.


Augustana named Dr. Anissa Goehring as its inaugural Director of the Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree program.

Augustana announced its Viking Flex Plan for Fall Semester 2020, with classes set to begin on campus in late August.

Augustana University is excited to announce the creation of an environmental studies major that offers graduates with the training and skills necessary to help them lead the world towards a more sustainable and resilient future.

Augustana University announced that Dr. Peter Folliard has been named the inaugural Dean of the School of Music.


Augustana University’s December 2019 Accelerated Nursing Program graduates achieved a 100% pass rate when taking the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for the first time.

“The Interior Borderlands: Regional Identity in the Midwest and Great Plains," published by Augustana's Center for Western Studies, has been named the winner in the History-General category of the 30th annual Midwest Book Awards.


As part of the Viking Flex Plan, Augustana University is prepared to welcome students back in August and offer them the best on-campus experience possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Augustana University announced a $2 million gift that will help in the creation of the Sharon Lust School of Education, located in the Madsen Social Science Center on the university’s campus.


Augustana is pleased to announce that Dr. Marti Silvidi has been named the director of its new graduate nursing program.

Augustana University launches 18-credit Medical Humanities and Society Minor this fall, a goal set forth in Augustana’s strategic plan Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030.

Augustana University announced a $1 million estate gift from Sanford and Mae (Ellis) Brakke, designated to support student scholarships.


Augustana university announced that 1,900+ students chose to embark on a bold future at Augustana for the 2020-21 Academic Year.

Before COVID-19 Augustana's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship (CTS) rolled out an Exponential Mentorship Program in 2019. Aimed at developing faculty members into experts that would also benefit students in the classroom, the program proved extremely beneficial as the university navigated challenges due to COVID-19.

Augustana announced that the university would not increase undergraduate student tuition for the 2021-22 academic year. Augustana’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of the tuition freeze, recognizing the challenges placed on students and their families due to COVID-19.


Augustana announced the university’s 96th homecoming celebration, with the kickoff of Viking Days 2020 scheduled for Sunday, October 4.

Augustana University announced that it would continue with its Viking Flex Plan for its January Interim and Spring Semester 2021.

The Augustana University Physics Department secured three grants, totaling more than $450,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

This election season, Augustana announced that the university was launching a new initiative to encourage listening, learning and civil discourse through an effort called “With Malice Toward None.”

To celebrate South Dakota Opportunity Scholarship (SDOS) recipients, Augustana announced the SDOS Match Program.

Augustana University secured more than $1.5 million in support of student and faculty biomedical research projects.

Augustana University announced a $1 million endowed gift for student-athlete scholarships. This pledge, from Bob '61 and Trish Swanhorst, will support all athletes, regardless of sport, and help further many goals of Augustana’s strategic plan — Viking Bold: The Journey to 2030.


Augustana University announced that the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) awarded Assistant Dean of Students for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Willette Capers with the Innovative Program Award for her work on the Diversity Advocate Certification Program.

Augustana University announced that the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion graduated more than twice as many graduates who have successfully completed the Diversity Advocacy Certification Program in Fall 2020.

Augustana University announced the addition of two sports beginning with the 2021-22 school year. Men’s swimming & diving and the NCAA emerging sport of women’s acrobatics and tumbling are set to bring the Viking athletics offerings to 21 sports.

Augustana University announced that School of Music Assistant Director of Bands and Director of Athletic Bands Dr. Larry Petersen is working with Director of Bands Dr. Christopher Unger and Percussion Instructor Daniel Sailer to bring back the Augustana Marching Band.


The Augustana University Board of Trustees installed three new board members — who will begin their three-year terms — beginning in January 2021.

The School of Music invited the public to join the Augustana University community for its annual Christmas Vespers 2020 Concert “Risen with Healing in His Wings,” presented virtually through online streaming and television broadcasts.

The Augustana community came together in 2020 to restore the university’s nearly 40-year-old tracker pipe organ, originally dedicated on December 4, 1983.

Media Inquiries: Contact Jill Wilson, public relations and communications strategist.