Augustana College (Illinois)

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Augustana College
Augustana College seal.svg
TypePrivate college
Established1860; 161 years ago (1860)
Religious affiliation
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America[1]
Endowment$166.1 million (2020)[2]
PresidentSteven C. Bahls
Location, ,
United States

41°30′08″N 90°33′01″W / 41.5023°N 90.5504°W / 41.5023; -90.5504Coordinates: 41°30′08″N 90°33′01″W / 41.5023°N 90.5504°W / 41.5023; -90.5504
Campus115 acres
ColorsNavy blue and gold    
Sporting affiliations
Augustana College wordmark.svg

Augustana College is a private Lutheran liberal arts college in Rock Island, Illinois. The college enrolls approximately 2,500 students. Covering 115 acres (46.5 ha) of hilly, wooded land, Augustana is adjacent to the Mississippi River.


Augustana College was founded as Augustana College and Theological Seminary in 1860 by the Scandinavian Evangelical Lutheran Augustana Synod. Located first in Chicago, it moved to Paxton, Illinois, in 1863 and to Rock Island, Illinois, its current home, in 1875.[3]

After 1890, an increasingly large Swedish American community in America promoted a new institutional structure, including a lively Swedish-language press, many new churches, several colleges, and a network of ethnic organizations. The result was to foster a sense of Swedishness with pride in the United States. Thus, there emerged a self-confident Americanized generation. Augustana College put itself in the lead of the movement to affirm Swedish American identity. Early on all the students had been born in Sweden but by 1890 the second generation of American-born students predominated. They typically had white-collar or professional backgrounds; few were the sons and daughters of farmers and laborers. These middle class youth developed an idealized view of Sweden, characterized by romanticism, patriotism, and idealism, just like their counterparts across the Atlantic. The new generation was especially proud of the Swedish contributions to American democracy and of the creation of a republic that promised liberty and destroyed the menace of slavery.[4]

The college grew by donation of 5 acres (2.0 ha) on the south in 1886 and purchase, enabled by donation of C.J.A. Ericson, of 10–12 acres to the north in 1899.[5][6]

In 1947, when Conrad Bergendoff was college president, the Augustana Seminary formally separated from Augustana College and became an independent body. It remained on the Rock Island campus until the 1960s, when the Seminary moved to Chicago.[7] It merged with other Lutheran seminaries to form the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.


Augustana ranks among the top 40 U.S. liberal arts colleges in the sciences, based on the number of graduates earning Ph.D.s. Students accepted to Augustana typically rank in the top 20% of their high school classes. The middle 50 percent of enrolled students for the class of 2012 scored 26–30 on the ACT, well above the national averages. Augustana College is considered highly selective.[8] 73% of Augustana students graduate in four years and 78% graduate in six years.

The services offered through CORE (Careers, Opportunities, Research and Exploration) afford students an advantage in graduate school placement and the job market. Three distinguishing opportunities are: Augie Choice: $2000 offered to every student to support hands-on learning through research, an internship or international study; The Viking Scorecard: a career and graduate school preparation guide; A wide variety of faculty-led international programs ranging from 2 weeks to 3 months and covering all 7 continents.

Academic programs

Augustana currently has nearly 90 academic programs and fields of study including nine pre-professional and eight interdisciplinary programs: ranging from Accounting to World Literature.


Academic buildings[edit]

Old Main

Old Main was constructed between 1884 and 1893. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[9] On August 2, 2010, the New Science Building was officially named the Robert A. and Patricia K. Hanson Hall of Science after Robert Hanson, a former John Deere CEO. Hanson, who donated $8 million to the college, credits his success in life to his time spent at Augustana.[10] The science building, dedicated in 1998, is the largest academic building serving approximately 700 students in 17 majors, minors and concentrations.[11] The Hanson Hall of Science's facilities and resources include seven classrooms, 35 laboratories (including a cadaver lab), a 400 MHz liquid-and solid-state NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance) spectrometer, scanning electron microscope, instrumentation for X-ray powder crystallography and a fully functioning 40-foot (12 m) greenhouse.

Residential complexes[edit]

House on the Hill

Augustana has five traditional residence halls: Andreen Hall, Erickson Residence Center, Seminary Hall, Swanson Commons, and Westerlin Residence Center. All five of these residence halls are coeducational. The majority of first-year and sophomore-year students typically reside in one of these five residence halls.[12] For upperclassmen, Augustana also offers Transitional Living Areas (TLAs), apartment-like complexes or traditional off-campus houses administered by the college's Office of Residential Life, in which Augustana students live. The school takes care of basic maintenance in these areas, some of which are House on the Hill, Naeseth, and Arbaugh Apartments. These areas usually have 2–6 students who share a bathroom, a kitchen, and other living spaces.[13]

Fryxell Geology Museum[edit]

Th Fryxell Geology Museum, named after Augustana geologist Fritiof Fryxell, features a large collection of dinosaurs and fossils, rocks and mineral specimens.[14][15] Displays include a complete skeleton of a Platecarpus "sea serpent", skulls of Parasaurolophus, Ankylosaurus, Apatosaurus, Allosaurus and Tyrannosaurus rex and a 2-billion-year-old fossil. There is also a complete 22-foot-long (6.7 m) skeleton of Cryolophosaurus, a large, crested carnivorous dinosaur discovered in Antarctica in 1991 by Augustana paleontologist William Hammer. The museum is located in the Swenson Hall of Geosciences and is open during the academic year. Admission is free.

Student life[edit]


Since 1950, Augustana has had a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. The college also has non-"Greek" collegiate fraternal organizations, including Epsilon Tau Pi (ΕΤΠ)(Eagle Scouts), Alpha Phi Omega (APO) (service), Sigma Alpha Iota (SAI) (music), Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia (PMA) (music), Epsilon Sigma Alpha (ESA) (Service), Alpha Psi Omega (ΑΨΩ) (theater), and others.[16] The Omicron chapter of Phrateres, a non-exclusive, non-profit social-service club, was installed here in 1941. Between 1924 and 1967, 23 chapters of Phrateres were installed in universities across North America. (The chapter name "Omicron" was reused for the chapter installed at San José State University.)

Augustana has a local Greek system, which includes seven sororities Chi Alpha Pi (CAP), Chi Omega Gamma (COG), Delta Chi Theta (D-Chi), Phi Rho, Sigma Kappa Tau (KT), Sigma Pi Delta (Speed), and Zeta Phi Kappa (Zetas) and eight fraternities Alpha Sigma Xi (Alpha Sig), Beta Omega Sigma (BOS), Delta Omega Nu (DON), Gamma Alpha Beta (GAB), Iota Chi Epsilon (IXE), Omicron Sigma Omicron (OZO), Phi Omega Phi (Poobah), and Rho Nu Delta (Roundels).[17]

Augustana has many other organizations, including a chapter of MENC: The National Association for Music Education, a National Band Association chapter, American Choral Directors Association (ACDA), Paintball Team (NCPA), American String Teachers Association (ASTA), College Democrats of America, College Republicans, Psychology Club, Business Club, DDR Club, Anime Club, Asian Student Organization (ASO), Latinx Unidos, Investment Club, Ladies of Vital Essence (L.O.V.E.), The Order of the Phoenix, Martial Arts Club, Student Government Association and Viking Pups, a club dedicated to training service dogs on campus.[16]


The Augustana Vikings compete at the NCAA Division III level in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) for almost all of their sports. The only current exception is women's bowling, in which the Vikings are charter members of the single-sport Central Intercollegiate Bowling Conference, newly launched for the 2019–20 season. The Vikings compete in a combined total of 25 male and female team sports, and five out of seven students compete in some form of varsity, club, or intramural sport.

Between 1983 and 1986, the Augustana College football team won four consecutive Division III national championships under Coach Bob Reade. Coach Reade's overall winning percentage of 87% is second only to Larry Kehres and Knute Rockne on the all-time list. Augustana College was a member of the Illinois Intercollegiate Athletic Conference from 1912 to 1937.[18]

Current varsity sports include: baseball, basketball (m/w), bowling (w), cross country (m/w), football, golf (m/w), lacrosse (m/w), soccer (m/w), softball, swimming (m/w), tennis (m/w), track & field (m/w), volleyball (m/w), and wrestling.[18]

Notable people[edit]




  1. ^ "Mission and history". Archived from the original on 12 March 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  2. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Conrad Bergendoff, "Augustana...A Profession of Faith, A History of Augustana College, 1860–1935" (1969)
  4. ^ Dag Blanck, The Creation of an Ethnic Identity: Being Swedish American in the Augustana Synod, 1860–1917 (2006)
  5. ^ "An Augustana Campus History: 1900–1929". Augustana College. Archived from the original on 6 September 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  6. ^ Ernst W. Olsen (1917). The Swedish Element in Illinois, Survey of the Last Seven Decades, With Life Sketches of Men of Todayr. Swedish American Biographical Association. p. 125. (from sub-chapter section on "Augustana College and Theological Seminary")
  7. ^ Thomas Tredway, "Coming of Age: A History of Augustana College, 1935–1937" (2010)
  8. ^ "College Advice". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Old Main, Augustana College, 3600 7th Avenue". City of Rock Island. Archived from the original on 2011-05-05. Retrieved 2011-03-29.
  10. ^ "Hansons donate $8 million to name Science Building". Archived from the original on 9 September 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  11. ^ "Science Building fast facts". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  12. ^ "Our Residence Halls". Archived from the original on 2013-01-19. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  13. ^ Augustana College – Campus Archived 2011-05-18 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Fryxell Geology Museum". Augustana College. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  15. ^ "Fabulous Fryxell". January 30, 2015. Archived from the original on 10 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Student Groups". Archived from the original on 2013-04-03. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  17. ^ Augustana College – Greek Life Archived May 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ a b "The Official Athletic Website of Augustana College". Archived from the original on 14 May 2013. Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  19. ^ "Ken Anderson". IMDb. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  20. ^ "EVANS, Lane Allen, (1951 – )". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  21. ^ "Steven Kemenyffy bio". Archived from the original on 2016-03-16.
  22. ^ "Tennessee Governor Don Sundquist". National Governors Association. Retrieved October 19, 2012.
  23. ^ "Daniel C. Tsui – Biographical". Retrieved 24 August 2015.
  24. ^ "David Walton, MD MPH | ThoughtWorks". Retrieved 2019-11-04.
  25. ^ "Louise Nathanson Collection". Augustana College.[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]