A window inside life at Augustana College

Downtown Rock Island smells like cheese.

Tonight was the big celebration event for Augie’s 150th anniversary. It was a massive celebration of the connection between Augustana and our beloved hometown of Rock Island, IL and in good Augie style, it was perfectly cheesy! I had a great view of the whole thing from my seat in the band and for those of you who were not able to make it, I will now count down the top cheesiest moments of the evening, in order of ascending cheesiness.

7. The huge inflatable Augustana “A” next to the stage. We bought it for the ice cream record-breaking event and now try to pull it out whenever possible in order to get our money’s worth. I know you’re now thinking to yourself, “this was the LEAST cheesiest thing??? What could possibly be next???” Well, my friends, hold on to your panties.

6. The t-shirts worn by the staff and available for $5 which listed Augustana’s top 10 historic facts on the back. stylish.

5. Augie’s own flavor of Whiteys ice cream, Viking Pride, being dished out by Whiteys’ owners, Augie grads Jon and Jeff Tunberg. So authentically Quad Cities and sooo yummy!

4. The sky. No doubt under Kai Swanson’s instruction, the clouds parted just as the band began to warm up, revealing a perfect summer sky which slowly transformed into a beautiful sunset over the new Schweibert Park in Rock Island along the beautiful Mississippi River while President Bahls talked about our forefathers and turning crystals.

3. The fireworks that ended the evening while the Symphonic Band played a few familiar marches. I have never played my french horn while fireworks were going off, much less so close to them. And I will be perfectly happy if that was the only time I ever have such an experience.

2. Poetry by current and former poet laureates of the Quad Cities including such whimisical images as Augustana being the beating heart of Rock Island and a comparison of nerves on the first day of freshman year and nerves on graduation day. touching.

1. The Augie Choir singing “By they Mighty Mississippi,” well, by the mighty Mississippi. It just doesn’t get much cheesier than that.

But amidst the cheese, there was a lot of history a lot of tradition, and a lot of compassion. I love those moments in life when you realize how small you are and what a tiny piece you are of something so much bigger than yourself. This college has meant SO much to SO many people over SO many years and I don’t think I can even begin to understand the scope of its impact. So maybe all the cheesiness was for a reason. Maybe all the speeches, the music, and the people, are just a small representation of what an impact this school has had on all the lives that it has touched.

I’m sure the next 150 years will bring a lot of change for Augustana but I know a part of it will always stay the same. And I hope that the party to celebrate the next 150 years of Augustana is just as wonderful, inspirational, and, yes, cheesy, as this.


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