The construction of the Person Pedway launched in September 2016, although the spirit of the project goes back much further. Named in honour of Alver and Arlene Person, two individuals who were an active part of Augustana for many, many years, the Person Pedway will continue to connect the couple to a campus that they knew and loved.
Alver and Arlene began their association with Augustana together, as they met at what was then Camrose Lutheran College. The institution continued to be a part of who they were as a couple as they built their life together in Camrose.
After graduating, Alver became Director of the Burgar funeral home, a position that was described as a perfect fit for his compassionate nature. When age and reduced mobility limited his attendance at events, the couple, with Arlene as Alver’s caregiver, continued to make campus visits a priority. When Alver passed away in 2011, the whole community attended his funeral—a true measure of respect for a man who loved and was loved widely.
Alver and Arlene were very generous to Augustana and, over the years, supported a number of campus initiatives and programs, with Chaplaincy, the Ronning Centre, and the Music Department as frequent recipients of their philanthropy. Forty-five years ago, they were among the first to establish a student award in the Community Awards Program at Augustana—a program designed to engage the local community in supporting student success. For Alver and Arlene, the growth and strength of a community come from within, and supporting your community is not something you simply think about, it is something you do.
Now, Alver and Arlene’s legacy lives on at Augustana in concrete and glass. Funds for the Alver and Arlene Person Pedway were given in the couple’s honour by their two children and their spouses: John (CLC ‘84) and Carmen Person (CLC ‘88) and Steve and Kathy Haugen. The donor family joined Dean Allen Berger, alongside University of Alberta representatives Hugh Warren, Associate VP Operations and Maintenance, and Kelly Hopkin, Manager of Campus Architecture, as well as other members of the Augustana community to cut the ribbon and officially open the Person Pedway the afternoon of March 23, 2017.
“Augustana meant a great deal to my parents and it means so much to us to pay tribute to them in this way,” said John Person, after the ribbon was cut and the group was given the opportunity to be the very first to walk across the pedway. “They would be both honoured and humbled to know that they continue to have a place on their campus.”
After being delighted by the official opening of the pedway, the campus community moved into the second floor of the library, a space that will soon become Augustana’s new Learning Commons. The Commons, which will be implemented next September, is intended to be a one-stop student service centre, offering a space for students to access programming that will foster learning beyond the classroom, and will also combine other services centered on collaboration and health and wellness.
The Person Pedway will allow the planning services in Learning~Advising~Beyond (LAB), housed on the second floor of Founders’ Hall, to be physically linked to the learning services in the Commons, providing students with a space that integrates both academic and non-academic support.
Students were also given the chance to provide their own input in the planning of the Learning Commons, submitting ideas on what they think would best serve the student body—a sentiment that echoed Alver and Arlene’s legacy of the power of community support. With a pedway in their name that will continue to enhance the Augustana student experience, once again, Alver and Arlene are at home on campus.