Augsburg News

News Archives - 2000

Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson and author David Wood co-author book about the history of Augsburg College

Sept. 29, 2000

Well-known Minneapolis Star Tribune writer Dave Wood and Professor Emeritus Richard Nelson, will be on the campus of Augsburg College, Saturday, Oct. 7, to sign copies of their newly released book, "The Anderson Chronicles," a book about the history of Augsburg College from 1963 to 1997, during the administrations of Oscar A. Anderson and Charles S. Anderson. This is not the typical "classical college history book," said Nelson, who recently retired after teaching at Augsburg College for 32 years. "This is a book that deals with the growth and development of Augsburg, not necessarily in brick and mortar, but mainly on the growth of the place as a college, as a place of learning, as a place of community and worship."

Nelson co-authored this book with long-time friend Dave Wood, who taught English at Augsburg College for 13 years and was feature writer and book editor for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. This is Wood's second work he has had published about Augsburg College, the first one being in 1976, which is a collection of interviews with Augsburg alumni titled, "Telling Tales Out of School."

Nelson said he was approached by college officials shortly after Charles Anderson retired in 1997 about writing such a book. He then contacted Wood to see if he was interested in collaborating with him on this project.

"We approached it (the book) with the idea that history is to an institution or to society as memory is to an individual," Nelson said. "It helps us understand who we are, how we get here."

Nelson researched files, publications, committee minutes, letters, memos and other public documents, while Wood interviewed the two presidents emeriti and others who helped shaped Augsburg College, as well as wrote on topics, some of which are light-hearted.

Even though the project took two-and-a-half years to complete, Nelson and Wood describe the project as an opportunity to "tell Augsburg's story from the heart."

Nelson and Wood agree that they wrote this book as an act of love. "Not as an act of faith or act of hope, and certainly not one of contrition, but one of love."

Nelson and Wood will sign copies of their book during Augsburg's homecoming week celebration, "Remembering Old Main: 100 Years, 100 Memories." They will be at the Christensen Center Lounge on the Augsburg College campus between 9:30 and 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7. "The Anderson Chronicles" is published by Kirk House Publishers, Minneapolis.