Leading Augustana beyond its sesquicentennial
“It causes me to pause and recognize the gravity of it all,” said Rob Oliver, in regard to Augustana’s 150th year of operation, which begins this fall. Oliver, the president of Augustana College, Sioux Falls, added, “It is a big thing to turn 150.”
This achievement will be celebrated by adding special recognition of the sesquicentennial to events that are typical for an academic year, as well as creating events specifically to recognize the college’s 150th year of operation.
“When these young people go into the world and are committed to a vocation, they will face tough times, but if they believe in their vocation they will survive.” -Rob Oliver
“When we look at the times we’re in today, we’re emboldened by the fact that many before us persevered because they believed in our mission, because they believed in the value of this institution,” Oliver said. For him, that is the goal of recognizing Augustana’s 150th year.
“That is the lesson we want to share with faculty and staff, and with students,” Oliver said. “When these young people go into the world and are committed to a vocation, they will face tough times, but if they believe in their vocation they will survive.”
Oliver is encouraged by the example of Anthony G. Tuve, who, in his third year as president, gave from his own resources to help the school avoid financial deficit. “How many people would do that? He wrote checks from his personal checkbook account to continue this school’s mission, rather than letting Augustana fail,” Oliver said. “That is a significant commitment; had he not done that we might not be here today.”
Reflecting on the commitment of the past prompts renewed dedication to the future. “We’re here for such a short slice of time. I am the 23rd president of Augustana, and I won’t be the last,” Oliver said. “These lessons remind us of the importance of being good stewards. It is an exciting place to be. That is our challenge: How will we help the college reach future celebrations of 175 years and 200 years?” he added.
Currently, Augustana is expanding and renovating its science facility. “In the end we will have a state-of-the-art facility,” Oliver stated. “The natural science department is a strong program at Augustana,” he added.
Oliver also hopes to renovate the “old main” facility. Old Main was the original facility when Augustana relocated to its current location in Sioux Falls.