Augustana Observer

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Augustana Observer

Former Sara Lee CEO and Augustana College alumna dies at 63

Brenda Czajka Barnes, former Sara Lee and Pepsi-Cola CEO died Jan. 17, 2017 of a stroke. Submitted photo.

Augustana alumna Brenda Czajka ’75 Barnes, who became one of the highest-ranking women in corporate America, died Tuesday after suffering a stroke. She was 63.
“Brenda Barnes was a friend, role model and mentor,” said President Steven C. Bahls. “As chair of the Augustana College Board of Trustees, she hired me as president in 2003. She was an inspiration and hero to all of us at Augustana. I will miss her greatly.”
Throughout her life, Barnes generously shared her time, talents and gifts with the college to ensure that Augustana students have the same transforming experience she had. She served 16 years as a college trustee, including five years as the board chair.
“I credit Augie for so much of what I have,” she said in a 2012 interview with Augustana College Magazine. “I give back what I can to a place that gave so much to me.”
Her many contributions to the college were seen in the donations she gave as one of the biggest donors the college has had in recent years. Barnes gave $1 million to the construction of the Gerber Center as well as donations to the PepsiCo Recreation Center. The hearth in the Gerber Center is even under her name.
“I had the privilege to meet her and I greatly enjoyed my time with her. We all mourn her loss, those who knew her from the Board of Trustees and the leadership she brought to the board,” Augustana’s Senior Communication Director Sam Schlouch said.

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Former Sara Lee CEO and Augustana College alumna dies at 63