Former Augustana College and Augustana University presidents gathered on Sept. 22 in the Froiland Science Complex, where they conversed and enjoyed the company of alumni and current students.
The event was moved inside due to inclement weather, yet the chatter was all the same: Augustana community members laughed and told stories of Vikings old and new. Attendees were joined by President Stephanie Herseth Sandlin who dedicated the retention pond to the seafarers of the past and formally named the pond Viking Oasis.
The "Presidents and the Pond" event invited alumni, students, faculty and former Augustana presidents to dedicate the retention pond on the Friday of Viking Days. Former Presidents William Nelsen, Bruce Halverson, Robert Oliver and Ralph Wagoner attended the event. Wagoner was unable to attend in-person, but attended the event virtually.
According to Herseth Sandlin, the name “Aug Bog” was vetoed in March of this year for low voting participation and negative associations with the word “bog.”
On July 17, Augustana Marketing sent a poll to campus community members to vote for a new name for the retention pond. The poll closed on Sept. 6, and the winning name was decided.
Connie Oksol, a 1971 graduate of Augustana College, said she thought the name “sounded pretty good,” and she was excited to see how the landscape of the green and retention pond had evolved since her time at Augustana.
Lauren Teller, Augustana Student Association president, attended the Presidents and the Pond event. Although she was a fan of the name “Aug Bog,” she said she enjoys the pond’s new name.
“It’s not the one I voted for, but it’s fitting. It has a lot of zest,” Teller said.
Oliver thinks the name is a great representation of the Viking spirit and a great addition to the campus green.
“It’s wonderful to have [the pond] be a feature of campus,” Oliver said. “The name is great. It’s very creative. I love it.”
A sign identifying the retention pond as Viking Oasis and explaining its name will be installed beside it.
“Viking Oasis represents all we can accomplish when we dare to dream and explore while also serving as a sanctuary in nature where we find solace and a sense of belonging,” the sign reads.