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In memoriam 2020-2021


Augustana Magazine — Fall 2021

Dr. Morton “Mort” Eliason, professor emeritus of chemistry, passed away on Jan. 3, 2021, at the age of 88, and his wife Dorothy, 91, passed away on the following day.

Dr. Eliason taught chemistry at Augustana from the late 1950s until 2001. He focused on excellent teaching but also pursued research that took his family to various universities during the summers. Some may recall that the Eliasons’ daughter, Ellen Eliason ’78 Kisker, was the first recipient of the Seaborg Award in Science.

In addition to chemistry, Dr. Eliason was interested in the relationship between science and religion and spent a sabbatical year at the Graduate Theological Union in California exploring this topic.

Upon retirement, he and Dorothy moved to St. Peter, Minn., where their son Eric ’82 was on the faculty at Gustavus Adolphus College.


Dr. Myron Fogde, professor emeritus of religion, passed away Aug. 9, 2020. He was 86. Dr. Fogde taught at Augustana from 1965 to 2000, and frequently participated in foreign study terms. 

Members of the Class of 1968 offered these memories of Dr. Fogde:

When we arrived at Augustana in the fall of 1964, our class was small by comparison to current numbers. The college was smaller and the faculty was smaller in numbers. There were only a few faculty members in the departments of religion and philosophy, and one of them was Professor Fogde.

Many (if not most) of us were students in Professor Fogde’s required Old Testament class. As we moved through the four required religion classes, many (if not most) of us were repeaters in Professor Fogde’s other courses such as New Testament, History of Religion, and Religions of the World.

Our connections with Professor Fogde did not end with our graduation in 1968. We stayed in touch with him, and he stayed in touch with us. In fact, he was a regular faculty attendee at our reunions. We always appreciated those opportunities to reconnect.

When we learned of Professor Fogde’s passing on Aug. 9, 2020, we posted his obituary on our Class of 1968 Facebook page. That posting stimulated some heartfelt words of remembrance such as ”great teacher,” “absolutely loved his class in history of religions,” “what a great man,” and “his approach to historical criticism really helped me in graduate school.”

While, at the time, we may not have appreciated the required religion classes, we did appreciate the professor whom we later considered a good friend and mentor.


Alvin B. (Ben) Jasper, who taught art at Augustana from 1964 to 1980, passed away Jan. 31, 2020, at the age of 88. He had been living in Palm Springs, Calif., in recent years, though his career had taken him around the world.

Generous to a fault, Jasper shared his work with the communities in which he found himself. Augustana was a special beneficiary, and his works have hung in numerous venues across campus. The community room of the Rock Island Public Library is home to Jasper’s large-scale mural of some of the city's most important buildings, including Augustana's (old) Old Main, which stood from 1875 to 1935.

His works also found their way into private collections in Japan, the United Kingdom and United States, and even the Kungliga Slott (Royal Palace) in Stockholm.


Dr. Don Peterson ’51, professor emeritus of education, passed away July 3, 2021, at the age of 93.

Dr. Peterson taught at Augustana from 1957-1993, serving as department chair for 27 of those 36 years. He remained active in the life of the college and the Augustana Historical Society long after his retirement. 

Community service was always important to Dr. Peterson; he served on the Rock Island School Board and the Quad Cities Red Cross Board, and was a 54-year member of the Rock Island Rotary.

Survivors include his wife, Virginia Johnson, who retired in 2017 after 21 years as director of Augustana’s Reading/Writing Center and several more years as a faculty tutor in the center.


Dr. Don McLaughlin ’55, professor emeritus of mathematics and an early leader of the computer science program at Augustana, passed away on April 13, 2021. He was 88.

Dr. McLaughlin was invited to join Augustana’s math faculty in 1959. In the early days of computing at Augustana, he regularly loaded up his station wagon with punch cards to transport them to Deere & Company, which in the early 1970s made their processors available to the college for weekend use.

He retired in 1995, and left from Commencement that year towing a moving van to return to his beloved Colorado. An avid hiker and backpacker and member of the Sierra Club for 50 years, he was honored by the Colorado State Forest Service as Volunteer of the Year in 2001.


Dr. Roald Tweet, professor emeritus of English, passed away Nov. 4, 2020, at the age of 87. He was a member of Augustana’s faculty from 1960 to 1999. He taught with a mischievous sense of humor that he reportedly inherited from his father. Students called him “Doc.”

Dr. Tweet chaired the English Department from 1967 until 1984. In 1998, he was appointed to the Conrad Bergendoff Chair in the Humanities.

In addition to his work in the English department, Dr. Tweet served as the faculty advisor for the Observer and the Writer's Club. He taught travel writing on multiple terms abroad in South America, and he loved hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.

During his lifetime, Dr. Tweet wrote and spoke extensively about local history, the Mississippi River, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Quad Cities. In October 1995, he started broadcasting the still-popular “Rock Island Lines” segments on WVIK, Augustana’s National Public Radio station.

Former students share their memories.