Passing Down the Dream
Corinne and John Haglund Scholarship
On behalf of the Corinne Tandberg Haglund and John Haglund Endowed Scholarship, we thank not only the couple's personal generosity and philanthropic spirit, but also, perhaps, the circle of life.
Corinne, still a fireball at 83, never attended Augsburg. It was her dream, though, born of happy childhood summers in rural Polk County, Wisconsin, where she grew up. In the 1930s and 1940s, the wise elders in her Garfield Lutheran Church parish sponsored Augsburg students during their summer break, providing room, board, and sometimes a small stipend. In exchange, the college students taught weekly Bible school, often walking to class with their young pupils, and sharing bag lunches and big city stories.
"I was very happy to learn all about Jesus, and to learn new songs and stories from those Augsburg students. I really admired them," Corinne says. When it was time to consider college, "Augsburg was where I always wanted to go. But there was no money. My parents couldn't help. I asked my grandpa, but he said he couldn't help, either."
Her Minneapolis dream did not come true, but her larger dream of education and meaningful work persisted. When River Falls State College, now University of Wisconsin-River Falls, offered her a scholarship covering tuition and books, she accepted. A female professor helped her along that first year, and Corinne went on to earn a BS in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she met her husband, John. The two continued their academic achievement at Iowa State University, where he got his PhD in science while she got her MS in business.
A rare female economist then, Corinne blazed trails wherever she turned. "The first Jewish woman I ever met helped me the most. She knew I was going to be up against all the brightest men, and she wanted me to be the best," she says.
"I was a women's libber. I worked with Betty Friedan, and I was the first woman ever hired in market research at Prudential," she adds, citing the often forgotten fact that jobs were advertised according to gender. In pursuit of management training, she discovered that women were not allowed to become insurance agents.
"They told me they wouldn't hire me unless I had a law degree. I told them I would be happy to go to court. Then of course they hired me. I persevered," she says. "It was very difficult because the men didn't even want me eating lunch with them." They also reveled in foul language, but thanks to her Norwegian lumberjack father and his friends, she was fluent in off-color discourse. And when they wouldn't promote her, her response was predictable: "Well, I'm going to become a millionaire then."
Which she did, of course. After moving to California with her family, she launched an extremely successful career in real estate. Known by her contemporaries as "Hats," in honor of her favorite accessory, Corinne and her husband, a principal scientist at Dole, had three children, who pursued careers in teaching and Lutheran ministry. (Their son, Victor, is pastor at Saron Lutheran Church in Escalon, California.) Still professionally active, Corinne has maintained her loyalty to the Lutheran church (she belongs to St. Stephen's in El Dorado Hills, California), her interest in church politics, and her devotion to that long-ago quest for an Augsburg education.
The scholarship endowed by Corinne and John, who is the chief supporter of his wife's philanthropic mission, will go to another young woman from rural Wisconsin who needs money to attend the school of her dreams.
"I made lots of money. I was blessed," Corinne says with customary candor. "I want this scholarship to be for a Christian and I want it to be for a woman, because that's what I was. I want someone to have an easy time going to Augsburg." Thus she has come full circle, revisiting her youth with the means of success and the wisdom of age.
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