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FOUNDER OF AUGSBURG's "THIRD AGE" COLLEGE DIES

Mimi Johnson

Mimi Johnson

The founder of Augsburg College’s College of the Third Age died in late January at North Memorial Hospital, Robbinsdale, Minnesota, following a battle with liver cancer.
Mary Elizabeth (Mimi) Johnson, a resident of Plymouth and member of University Lutheran Church of Hope in SE Minneapolis, was a professor at Augsburg when she founded the special learning program for retired adults.
The “third age” refers to the retirement portion of an individual’s life. Johnson was convinced the Third Age was no time for a person to stop learning. So she organized a “college” at Augsburg, dedicated to providing off-campus learning opportunities for retired adults.
Today the program hosts almost 250 liberal arts programs in Twin Cities neighborhoods.
Johnson was dean of women at Luther College, Decorah, Iowa, before moving to Augsburg College in 1962, where she taught French. While on sabbatical, in France, she conceived of the Third Age idea.