Augsburg News

News Archives - 2002

Augsburg Professor Garry Hesser named for Distinguished Sociologist Award

Oct. 15, 2002

The Sociologists of Minnesota (SOM) have named Dr. Garry Hesser, professor of sociology and director of Metro-Urban Studies at Augsburg College, for the 2002 Distinguished Sociologist Award. The award was announced by Dr. Sue Smith-Cunnien, past-president of the organization, at the SOM Fall Meeting in St. Cloud.

Hesser is the third Augsburg recipient of the award, which was first presented to longtime Augsburg professor Joel Torstenson in 1980. Dr. Diane Pike, a current colleague of Hesser's, was selected in 1998.

Another of Hesser's current Augsburg colleagues, Dr. Tim Pippert, was named President-elect of the organization at the meeting. Pippert has served as the SOM treasurer for the past year.

Hesser, who has been in the sociology profession for more than 30 years, said he is immensely honored by the award. "My favorite quote, which I adapt slightly, comes from futurist Robert Theobald, who said "Privileged and fortunate people are those who are growing and helping others to grow.' All of us (in the Sociology profession) are immensely privileged, I think, to have a vocation and a discipline that enables us to make a living, growing and helping others to grow'."

A popular professor who has been named for both the "Teacher of the Year" and "Distinguished Faculty" awards at Augsburg, Hesser teaches courses in Community, Urban Sociology and Urban Planning, and Creativity and Problem Solving. In 1998 he was selected for the Thomas Erhlich Award for national leadership and scholarship in advancing the field of service-learning as a teacher, researcher, and community partner. In 2001, Hesser was given the Pioneer Award by The National Society for Experiential Education.

Active in numerous state, regional and national organizations, he is the past president of the National Society for Experiential Education and of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs. He has led workshops on service-learning and experiential education on more than 40 campuses and professional meetings and is a Minnesota Campus Compact Fellow collaborating on "Multicultural Education for Social Change."

The author of numerous articles and publications, Hesser earned his B.A. from Phillips University, his M.Div. from Union Theological Seminary (NY), and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. He and his wife Nancy, a city planner in St. Paul, are the parents of five children and reside near the Augsburg campus in Minneapolis.