Augustana Now leaps far past the finish line


Brady Johnson

The five-year long “Augustana Now” campaign reached its goal and then some. A golden lit ceremony reveals a total of $133,662,742.55 concluding the college fundraiser. Now, the funds will be spread across a number of college initiatives and scholarships.
Kent Barnds, vice president of external relations, said he was astonished by the figure, which consisted of an excess of 86,000 gifts.
“Our public goal was 125 million, and so we’re delighted to have been able to surpass that given all of the circumstances,” Barnds said. “Especially in the last nine months, which is usually when the development staff is traveling [and] closing final gifts. We are delighted to be in the position we’re in.”
One of the largest gifts came from the Austin E Knowlton Foundation, based out of Cincinnati Ohio.
“[They] offered a lead gift and a challenge grant for Peter J. Lindberg Center for Health and Human Performance,” Barnds said. “They also supported a couple of other initiatives throughout the course of the campaign.”
These include a few endowed scholarships, like a recent gift to help incarcerated individuals at the East Moline Correctional Facility earn a bachelor’s degree.
Yet, Barnds points out that over 13,000 gifts came from donor households. These can range from a single dollar up to a few hundred. Barnds was especially proud of these contributions.
Barnds did not have conclusive information on scholarships as many as still partially funded and will continue to collect before being offered to students. Yet, the campaign did include a number of fully funded endowed scholarships as well as contributions towards a number of student assistance resources.
“One is through a program called Close the Gap, which provides four years of assistance to students who meet the criteria,” Barnds said. “There is a large amount of support and it ranges from the annual to a four year commitment, to an endowed support. There is a significant portion for financial aid, but it would be difficult for me to pinpoint the exact amount because some of it will build over time.”
The campaign funds will also be used for many of the building advancements including Brudahl, Hanson and the Peter J. Lindberg Center. Barnds mentions these are capital investments. The Augustana Now campaign also contributed to the creation of a master’s program for speech language pathology.
According to Barnds, the original plan is for the dome to remain gold until current President Bahls retires. President Bahls spoke with the Observer back in the summer of 2020 after announcing his contract extension. President Bahls will finish his term in 2022.
President Bahls, in a Dec. 31 YouTube video said, “Augustana’s reach around the world, and the impact here in the Quad Cities, is only possible with the support of thousands of alumni and friends of the college.”
Photo Above: Screenshot of the YouTube “Augustana Now: Finale Celebration” video.