Augsburg News

News Archives - 2002

Former CNN Correspondent Susan Rook to keynote StepUP Program at Augsburg College

Oct. 16, 2002

Susan Rook, who served as co-anchor with Bernard Shaw on CNN's "Prime News," will be the keynote speaker at the Second Annual StepUP Benefit on Thursday Oct. 17, at Augsburg College.

The 7 p.m. event also will honor StepUP supporters John and Karen Larsen of St. Paul, donors of Augsburg's "Transition House" for students who are nearing completion of the StepUP program. StepUP is a voluntary program for men and women in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. The program concurrently supports students in their academic studies and their recovery.

Rook currently serves as director of communications and outreach for "Faces and Voices of Recovery", a group in service to the nationwide recovery advocacy movement headquartered in Washington, DC. While at CNN she was the original host of "TalkBack Live" and one of three journalists selected to serve as a questioner for the nationally televised Presidential Debates.

Karen Larsen is an original member of the StepUP Board. She is active in church and community leadership, including service on the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra board. John Larsen is a retired senior executive from the Deluxe Check Corporation.

The program began with 20 students in 1997 and now has grown to 47. Time in the program ranges from one to four years based on individual needs.

Sean Cassidy, a member of the StepUP advisory board, will serve as master of ceremonies. Congressman Jim Ramstad, who has been a supporter of the program from the outset, will introduce Rook. And, two students, Sarah Cole, a junior from Mound, Minn., who has graduated from the program, and Matt Shapiro, a sophomore from Madison, Wis., also will speak and present a student-produced video.

Patrice Salmeri, StepUP's director, said the goal of the benefit is to raise $20,000 for the Program's operations. Major support has come from the Huss, Larsen, and Harris Family Foundations, the Johnson Institute, several corporations, and the Hazelden Foundation, which has been a key partner in StepUP since its inception.