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Designed as a men's dormitory in 1938, Sverdrup-Oftedal Memorial Hall was a visible sign of the college's growing population and its need for residential space to accomodate its coed student body. Memorial Hall replaced an 1880s-era frame building and would certainly have been understood as a shift to modernity on the then-aging campus. Further, the investment of over $100,000 in the project was a statement affirming the college's urban location, abandoning plans to move to a new suburban campus.
This was the first facility named after college worthies: the second and third presidents of the institution, Georg Sverdrup (1876-1907) and Sven Oftedal (1907-11). While the building was still in the planning stages, President Sverdrup (1911-1937) died at age 58, and the building's name was considered especially meaningful in the campus community.
William Ingemann, the architect, was known for other campus work around the state, including buildings at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota. His inspiration for the details of Memorial Hall came from Ragnar Östberg's Stockholm Town Hall (1912-1923).
When a coed high-rise residence hall was constructed in the late 1960s, Memorial Hall was converted for use as office space.
Chrislock, Carl. From Fjord to Freeway; Augsburg College, 100 Years. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg College, 1969.