Alvin E. Austin's Legacy
The legacy of Alvin E. Austin, friend, colleague, and former UND faculty member, is being preserved at the Center for Community Engagement. The Center has designated a wall of fame to honor Austin's life work, and each homecoming, the Center hosts Austin's former students and colleagues at a reception in his memory. In October of 2010, a campaign was launched at the reception to build an addition to the Center known as the Alvin E. Austin Community Room, or "Al's Room," to permanently memorialize the former professor on the University of North Dakota campus.
Austin was a member of the journalism faculty at UND for 34 years, serving as chair of the department for over 20 of those years. He retired in 1980 and died in 1999. He inspired students and launched them in their careers. Austin used experiential learning before most of the rest of higher education caught on to it. He knew that one of the best ways to learn is to put students in the authentic context where the knowledge is needed.
As one of his students in the 1970's at UND, I know Al Austin's values permeate what we do at the Center for Community Engagement. We believe in his values of education and engagement. We have launched or supported dozens of projects that connect students, faculty, and community partners. We have reached out statewide through community partnerships building relationships and engaging in small communities. I hope you will join me in preserving those values through the construction of a place where UND and the community can meet, Al's Room.
Lana Rakow, Director