Alumni speak about time after graduation

Brooke Kinney

After 48 years at Augustana College, professor of English Sandra Looney cannot think of a single favorite memory, but she will try to put her overall experience into her address at the Thought Leader Forum next week.

Looney graduated from Augustana in 1962 and began teaching in 1964. “I graduated from here, I came here as a student, and this is my first job and my last job… And I can’t believe I’ve been here this long,” Looney said, attributing her energy to being surrounded by young people and new ideas everyday.

Her address, “A Viking Chronicle: Your Stories and Mine,” will focus on the universal quality that comes from being a part of the Augustana community, no matter the graduation year.

Speaking of alumni and current students, Looney says her purpose at the forum “is meant to bring them all in and to make them think, too, to think about their Augie experience.”

Looney will speak at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 5, at CJ Callaway’s Event Center. Students are encouraged to talk to administration about reduced or free tickets to attend the Thought Leader Forum.

Junior Matt Anderson says the forums allow students the opportunity to hear professors speak on a variety of topics.

“We are blessed to have incredibly passionate professors here at Augie, and students are bound to gain valuable insight and become more engaged citizens after attending any one of these events,” Anderson said.

Other upcoming Thought Leader Forums include Mark Larson and Maureen Diggins-Hutcheson’s joint address on Oct. 22 in St. Paul, focusing on the science program at Augustana.

Larson, associate professor of biology, says they’ll give an overview of the science department’s emphasis on teaching by having students be scientists.

“We feel we have one of the most impressive programs of undergraduate-driven scientific research at any college in the area,” Larson said.

“We want to get people excited about what we’re doing in the Gilbert Science Center, and we hope to get people excited about the new building project as well.”

Larson and Diggin’s speech will be primarily geared toward alumni. Diggins, professor Emerita of biology, says they’ll mention the faculty’s research with current undergraduate students.

“My job is to link the faculty of the past, whom they probably remember, with the exciting young scientists who have replaced us.  So I get to do a delightful thing,” Diggins said.

The Thought Leader Forums happen every few weeks and feature faculty or alumni, including President Rob Oliver and alum Hannah Miller ’12.

“The lineup of speakers for this year is quite impressive. I will make it a priority to attend at least one or two of them,” Anderson said.

“I see my contribution to the Thought Forum as not in really dispensing any new information or taking up a certain issue, but as something that is a remembrance … of things present, a remembrance of things past,” Looney said.