Sunday, August 23, 2015

Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD will become Augustana University

Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD announced on August 21, 2015 that it will become Augustana University on September 1, 2015.  Augustana is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA]. The institution has a fascinating history that dates from 1835 and the founding of Hillsboro Academy in Hillsboro, IL.  

Christy Olsen Field of the Norwegian American Weekly offered a brief historical sketch noting that Augustana College"...traces its roots to the Hillsboro Academy in Hillsboro, Ill. in 1835. A Scandinavian Lutheran group changed the name in 1846 to “The Literary and Theological Institute of the Lutheran Church of the Far West.” The school later moved to Springfield, Ill., where it became known as Illinois State University...Due to doctrinal differences, Professor Lars Paul Esbjorn and a group of followers moved to Chicago in 1860 to establish the Augustana College and Seminary. In the 1860s, the fledgling college was caught up in the westward movement of pioneers, moving its location to Paxton, Ill. in 1863; Marshall, Wis. in 1869; Beloit, Iowa in 1881; and to Canton, S.D. in 1884...Meanwhile, the Lutheran Normal School for educating teachers opened in Sioux Falls, S.D., in 1889. In 1918, synod officials felt that two institutions so close together —approximately 20 miles— was not cost-effective, and therefore merged Augustana College in Canton with the Lutheran Normal School in Sioux Falls under the name Augustana College. After the merger, the school site in Canton became the Augustana Academy (no affiliation with the college), and closed in 1971. Augustana College identifies 1860 as its founding date along with its sister-school, Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill. Those familiar with the two institutions, often refer to Augustana, Rock Island as the Swedish Lutheran school while Augustana in Sioux Falls is known as the Norwegian Lutheran school."