2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Mission of Augustana University

The Mission of Augustana

Inspired by Lutheran scholarly tradition and the liberal arts, Augustana provides an education of enduring worth that challenges the intellect, fosters integrity, and integrates faith with learning and service in a diverse world.

The mission of Augustana is reflected by the following five core values:


Augustana, as a college of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, centers on worship, welcomes all faiths, nurtures the search for a mature religious faith, and relates Christian faith and ethics to learning and service.

Liberal Arts

Augustana provides an education of enduring worth by affirming that teaching and learning are central and life-long, by providing a broad understanding of humans and their interactions, and by enriching the lives of students by exposure to enduring forms of aesthetic and creative expressions. An education of enduring worth is created by the development of broad knowledge and skills crucial in a changing world, by the creation of an awareness of one’s own religious and ethical beliefs as well as those of others, and through the cultivation of health and wellness.


Augustana commits to high standards and integrity by practicing faithfulness in teaching, learning, supporting and administrating, nurturing potential, challenging the intellect, acting ethically, and by recognizing achievement.


Augustana fosters caring for one another and our environments by responding to needs, respecting human differences, empowering one another, and by tending to the ecology of place.


Augustana affirms that wholeness includes reaching out to others by accepting the call to servanthood, promoting justice, integrating career and service, and by serving church and society.

Augustana at a Glance

History of the University

Higher education in the early days of this country was dominated by private colleges originated by religious groups who saw in them a means to provide leadership for their churches, schools, and communities. Scandinavian immigrants to this country were no exception.

The institution which was to become Augustana College began with the foundation of Hillsboro Academy in Hillsboro, Illinois, in 1835. By 1846, a Scandinavian Lutheran group had changed the name to “The Literary and Theological Institute of The Lutheran Church of the Far West.”

The ambitious new name set the pace for the institution as it moved with the tide of immigration into America’s West. The school was moved to Springfield, Illinois, where it became Illinois State University and numbered among its students John Hay, who later became the nation’s Secretary of State, and Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln.

In 1860, due to differences over matters of doctrine, Professor Lars Paul Esbjorn and a group of followers moved to Chicago and established The Augustana Seminary with Esbjorn as the first president. The College has chosen to mark this as its founding date.

The name Augustana is drawn from the origin of the Lutheran Church in the Augsburg Confession in 1530 during the time of the Reformation. The Latin designation of this document was the Confessio Augustana.

During and after the Civil War, the fledgling college was caught up in the westward movement of pioneers. The school moved with its constituents to Paxton, Illinois, in 1863; and then in succession to Marshall, Wisconsin, in 1869; to Beloit, Iowa, in 1881; and to Canton, Dakota Territory, in 1884.

In 1918, following the union of three Lutheran synods, the College was moved to Sioux Falls where it merged with the Lutheran Normal School to form the present institution.

In 2015 the name Augustana College changed to Augustana University.

Twenty-three presidents have served Augustana since its founding: Lars Esbjorn (1860-1863); T. N. Hasselquist (1863-1869); August Weenas (1869-1870); J. Anderson (1870-1876); David Lysnes (1876-1884); M. D. Miller (1884-1889); C. S. Salveson (1889-1890); Anthony G. Tuve (1890-1916); P. M. Glasoe (1916-1918); H. S. Hilleboe (1918-1920); C. O. Solberg (1920-1928); H. J. Glenn (1928-1929); O.J.H. Preus (1929-1932); C.M. Granskou (1932-1943); Lawrence M. Stavig (1943-1965); Charles L. Balcer (1965-1980); William C. Nelsen (1980-1986); Sidney A. Rand (1986-1987); Lloyd Svendsbye (1987-1992); Sidney A. Rand (1992-1993); Ralph H. Wagoner (1993-2000); Bruce R. Halverson (2000-2006); Robert C. Oliver (2006-2017); Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (2017-).


The immediate management and control of the University is vested in the Augustana University Association composed of the South Dakota, Southwestern Minnesota, Nebraska, and Western Iowa Synods of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The association is incorporated under the laws of South Dakota, and functions through a Board of Trustees.


Augustana is accredited as a four-year institution by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).  The M.Ed program does not lead to any type of licensure or endorsement.  Certified teachers in South Dakota are allowed to add an endorsement in K-12 Special Education provided they have met all current requirements for endorsement.  https://doe.sd.gov/certification/.All graduate degree programs are also approved by the Veterans Administration under Title 38, U.S. Code in accordance with VAR 14253 and 14273.

The Augustana University Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Post-Graduate Certificate Programs are approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). These programs also have interim approval from the South Dakota Board of Nursing. The University is approved by the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE), the Accreditation Council for Genetic Counseling (ACGC), the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Science (NAACLS), the Committee on Professional Training of the American Chemical Society, and the National Association of Schools of Music.

The University is on the approved list of the American Association of University Women. It is authorized under Federal Law to enroll non-immigrant alien students.

Augustana holds membership in the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Council of Independent Colleges, the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America, the South Dakota Association of Independent Colleges, the College Board, the Association of Governing Boards and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, and the South Dakota Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (SDACTE). Augustana is an active member and participant in numerous professional and learned societies and groups.




The Seal

The Augustana Seal is composed of a circle representing eternity, a triangle representing the Trinity, and a book which is the Bible. The “cross” running through the book is the Chi Rho (the monogram and symbol formed from the first two letters “X” and “P” of the Greek word for Christ). The letters VDMA are symbolic of the College motto “VERBUM DEI MANET IN AETERNUM” or “The Word of God endures forever.” The letters on either side of the Bible are the Alpha and Omega of the Greek alphabet symbolizing the beginning and the end. The lamp is the Lamp of Knowledge. The three dates represent the founding dates of the College: 1860, the founding of the College in Illinois; 1889, the founding of the Lutheran Normal School in Sioux Falls; 1918, the merger of the two schools to become Augustana College. The name Augustana is drawn from the origin of the Lutheran Church in the Augsburg Confession in 1530 during the time of the Reformation. The Latin designation of this document was the Confessio Augustana. This seal was designed by Ogden Dalrymple, Professor of Art from 1946-1991.