Marc McIntosh, an MBA out of Harvard University, spent the first half of his career as an investment banker on Wall Street and in the Twin Cities.
The Chicago native long planned a second career teaching business to a diverse group of students. And McIntosh, 60, a finance professor at Augsburg University since 2008, finally has a business building in which to teach.
In January, after more than a decade of planning and fundraising, Augsburg opened the $73 million Hagfors Center for Science, Business and Religion, for business and eight other academic departments.
McIntosh and Jeanne Boeh, an economist and chair of the business department, and their students no longer have to shuffle among several buildings on Augsburg’s compact campus across Riverside Avenue from the University of Minnesota.
McIntosh and Boeh point to well-appointed class and conference rooms with state-of-the art technology on the business floor of the Hagfors Center.
“It brings alive the course materials,” McIntosh said. “But this building is not just about studying stock-and-bond markets.
“We have Auggies at U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, RBC, the big four accounting firms, Piper Jaffray and other local companies,” McIntosh said. “We also are a good neighbor … as part of our [hands-on] experiential-learning model.
The West Bank and surrounding neighborhoods, settled by European immigrants in the late 19th century, are still an immigrant gateway.
“We’re active, including working with small business owners from Somalia and Ethiopia,” McIntosh said. “We also work in the area of financial literacy. And also what really separates us is our diversity.”
Augsburg has about 3,500 undergraduate and graduate students. About a third of its graduates are students of color. The university is best known for its inner-city location, solid academics and presidential recognition for community service; to say nothing of its MIAC-championship basketball team playing in the NCAA Division III tournament this weekend.
Augsburg, with one of the smallest endowments among Minnesota private universities, has lagged in the business-and-other-facilities arms race led by neighbors such as the University of Minnesota and the University of St. Thomas (UST). (Disclosure: I’m a night-school business graduate of UST, as well as an Auggie parent.)
For example, UST, which has campuses in St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, raised $500 million-plus in its last and largest capital campaign. And UST and the U have built new business schools since 2000. The Hagfors Center makes Augsburg more competitive.
It was named for lead donor Norm Hagfors, an early engineer at Medtronic and his wife, Evangeline, a nurse who studied at Augsburg.
The interdisciplinary Hagfors complex is a four-story, open-architecture edifice on the west end of the campus, replete with local art and bathed in natural light. It was designed as the centerpiece of an upgrading campus, according to 12-year Augsburg President Paul Pribbenow. It also will help Augsburg recruit sharp students from suburbs as well as Cedar-Riverside.
Zane Larson, a senior accounting major from Prior Lake, said he almost wishes he could hang around another year to enjoy the Hagfors Center, which boasts a coffee bar, a three-story commons, an arboretum, modern science labs, and an ecumenical chapel for a college that boasts a Muslim female chaplain, an Auggie grad, along with a Lutheran female chaplain.
Larson, heading for a job at accounting firm Boulay, came to Augsburg for the people and the location.
“My favorite part of the business school is the teachers,” said James Rush Jr., a junior finance major who transferred from two-year St. Paul College. “Most have real industry experience.”
The Hagfors capital campaign was floundering in 2012 when Mike Good, then-CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates, retired early to take the call from the Augsburg board. Good, a self-effacing Auggie All-American wrestler and 1971 graduate, helped grapple $10 million gifts from Hagfors and two other anonymous, business-rooted donors. The $53 million capital campaign included $23 million from 1,100 Augsburg graduates, staff and other donors. A loan brought the total to $73 million for the Hagfors Center and adjacent work, including an upgraded community vegetable garden.
Good, a low-key salesman, said a couple of years ago: “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit. We focused on our heritage … experiential learning, our diversity and our call to serve. That resonated.”
Neal St. Anthony has been a Star Tribune business columnist and reporter since 1984. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org