Thomas W. Krise, Ph.D.
Thomas W. Krise became the 13th president of Pacific Lutheran University on June 1, 2012. He also holds a full professorship with tenure in the Department of English.
He earned a B.S. in history from the United States Air Force Academy in 1983, an M.S.A. in human resources management from Central Michigan University in 1986, an M.A. in English language and literature from the University of Minnesota in 1989, and a Ph.D. in English language and literature from the University of Chicago in 1995. He is a member of Sigma Tau Delta, Phi Kappa Phi, and Phi Beta Kappa.
Prior to his appointment as PLU’s president, he was dean of the College of the Pacific at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., where he was responsible for 32 graduate and undergraduate programs in the arts and sciences, and more than 200 faculty and staff members in 27 departments, centers, and programs with a total budget of more than $20 million.
Prior to his appointment at Pacific, he was chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. With more than 180 full- and part-time faculty and staff members and a budget of $5.2 million, it was one of the largest academic departments in the country.
Before moving to UCF, he served 22 years on active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a regular commissioned officer, retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He was a Strategic Air Command flight commander in North Dakota followed by military-academic assignments on the faculty of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, as a senior military fellow of the Institute for National Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C., and as vice director of the National Defense University Press. He was the founder and first director of the Air Force Humanities Institute and deputy head of the Department of English and Fine Arts at the Air Force Academy, also serving as president of the faculty senate there.
His academic interests focus on early Caribbean, early American, and 17th- and 18th-century British literature. He served as general editor of the McNair Papers monograph series and managing editor of War, Literature, and the Arts: An International Journal of the Humanities. He has published numerous articles and other scholarly works, including Caribbeana: An Anthology of English Literature of the West Indies, 1657-1777 (University of Chicago Press). In 1999, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of the West Indies in Jamaica. He has worked and lectured on six continents and is a member of the Pacific Council on International Policy, was president of the Society of Early Americanists and founder of the Early Caribbean Society.
The son and grandson of Army medical service officers, he was born at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas, and spent his early childhood in Washington, D.C., and on military posts across the U.S. and in Germany. He lived aboard a sailboat for the better part of two years and then attended high school on the island of St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, where he was a deckhand, a divemaster and an Eagle Scout. He is married to Patricia Love Krise, a native of Indianapolis, who earned a B.A. from Hanover College and an M.B.A. from Miami University of Ohio. She has been a Fortune-50 manager and executive for more than 25 years, currently with the Ford Motor Company. They live at Gonyea House, the official residence of the President of PLU, in Tacoma, Washington.
Steven P. Starkovich, Ph.D.
Steve Starkovich, provost and dean of graduate studies, is an associate professor of physics at Pacific Lutheran University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in atmospheric sciences with an emphasis in atmospheric chemistry from Oregon State University. His master’s degree is in educational policy and management with an emphasis in higher education administration from the University of Oregon. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and his area of specialization is general relativity and field theory.
After completing his bachelor’s degree in 1976, Starkovich pursued his interest in Oregon state politics, and in 1982 he was elected to the Oregon State Senate. In 1985 he was chosen by his fellow state senators as majority leader – only the second time to that point in Oregon history that someone was elected to serve as senate majority leader while still in his first term. He worked mostly on issues related to the environment, labor and education, and he chaired several significant legislative committees. He earned his master’s degree while still serving in the Oregon Legislature, and returned to graduate school in 1987, earning his Ph.D. in 1992.
Starkovich first came to PLU in 1992 and was hired into a tenure-track position in 1997. He was a principal investigator on a grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation that brought an astronomical observatory to the PLU campus in 1998. The observatory has been a valuable addition to the university’s astronomy curriculum and to its public outreach efforts through PLU’s Jazz Under the Stars concerts and through events held in collaboration with the Tacoma Astronomical Society.
Starkovich taught for 17 years prior to becoming acting provost in 2009 and then provost in 2010. Before becoming provost, his university service included chair of the physics department (three and a half years), a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee (five years), a member of the Budget Advisory Committee (six years), parliamentarian to the chair of the Faculty Assembly (two years), elected faculty representative to the Board of Regents, and special assistant to the provost for budget modeling.
Starkovich was raised on his family’s farm in Oregon. He and his partner, Ruth Williams, have lived in Seattle since 1989.
Vice President for Admission and Enrollment Services
Karl Stumo became vice president for admission and enrollment services on June 1, 2007. In his role, Stumo oversees the Offices of Admission, Financial Aid and Student Services, and works with the university community to develop marketing, financial aid, recruitment and communication strategies in support of the university’s overall enrollment goals. Prior to becoming vice president, Stumo served as dean and associate vice president of admission and financial aid.
A native of Minnesota, Stumo earned a bachelor’s degree in 1992 from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., with majors in English writing and organizational communication. In 2000 he earned a master’s degree in higher education from Iowa State University. Stumo is currently studying in the education leadership doctoral program at Seattle University.
From 1992 to 1997, Stumo served as admission counselor and assistant director of admission at Concordia College, Moorhead. While at Iowa State University from 1997 to 1999, he served as graduate assistant in the Office of Special Recruitment working with National Merit student recruitment services as well as the Office of Financial Aid.
From 1999-2004, Stumo served as associate director of freshmen admission at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, overseeing the freshmen admission staff and recruitment activities.
Stumo has served as a member of the Government Relations Advisory Committee of the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC) and Chair of the Government Relations Committee of the Iowa Association for College Admission Counseling. He has been recognized as an outstanding admission professional in both regional and national divisions of NACAC.
He has served PLU as a member of the 2020 Long Range Planning Steering Committee, the Admission and Retention Committee, the University Diversity Committee, and advisory member of the Ad Hoc Steering Group for General Education.
Stumo is a member of Mt. View Lutheran Church in Edgewood, Wash., serving as Sunday school teacher for senior high students, choir member, and congregational worship assistant.
Stumo lives in Parkland, Wash., with his wife, Nicole, and his three children, Bryn, Karsten and Maren.
Vice President for Finance and Operations
Sheri Tonn, Ph.D.
Veteran PLU educator and administrator Sheri Tonn was named vice president for finance and operations in May 1999. She oversees Facilities Management, Culinary and Retail Services, Auxiliary Services, Garfield Book Company at PLU, Conferences and Events, Human Resources, and the Business Office. Her office manages all university property and real estate transactions. She is also responsible for PLU construction projects, risk management, and management of the endowment and trusts. She led the development of the 2006 campus master plan and the major institutional master plan for Pierce County. PLU has built two LEED Gold buildings, completed a remodel that achieved LEED Silver and one that is expected to receive LEED Platinum. She is responsible for the planning for the restoration of Eastvold, Olson, Rieke Science Center and the development of new athletic facilities.
Tonn, who served as PLU’s dean of Information Resources from 1997-2000, led the university's technology initiative, which resulted in the installation of the first high-speed campus network.
From 1993 to 1997, Tonn was dean of PLU's Natural Sciences Division. She was chair of the Department of Chemistry from 1989 to 1993, and has taught chemistry here since 1979. Before coming to PLU, she was a postdoctoral fellow and instructor at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, Minn., from 1976 to 1979. She earned a doctorate in chemistry from Northwestern University in 1976, and a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Oregon State University in 1971.
Tonn has been instrumental in securing many millions of dollars in grants for PLU's science program, lab safety, sustainability, campus security, energy conservation and various building upgrades. She is the recipient of over 30 grants and served as the institutional representative for many of these. Under her leadership, PLU was the first campus in the country to receive a rating through STARS (Sustainability Tracking and Rating System).
Tonn also serves on the board of directors of Educational & Institutional Insurance Administrators, Inc. (an insurance consortium), the Tacoma Pierce County Greater Tacoma Community Foundation and Citizens for a Healthy Bay.
Tonn is a member of the American Chemical Society, Sigma Xi and the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
A native of Hood River, Ore., Tonn resides in Brown’s Point, Wash., and is married to Jeffrey Tonn, a design engineer.
Vice President for Student Life
Laura F. Majovski, Ph.D.
Laura Majovski became vice president for student life in June 1999. The Office of Student Life gives direction to a variety of student service departments and co-curricular programs, including new-student orientation. Departments within the division are Student Involvement and Leadership, Residential Life, International Student Services, Athletics, Career Development, Student Employment, Health Center, Campus Safety, Counseling Center, Diversity Center, and Disability Support Services.
From 2003 to 2007, Majovski also served as vice president of Admission and Enrollment Services, where she oversaw admission, financial aid and the Student Services Center. Majovski was assistant to the president from 1996-1999. She came to PLU in 1992 as a clinical psychologist for Counseling and Testing Services. Born and raised in the San Marino, Calif., area, she earned a bachelor's degree from Duke University in 1976 with majors in psychology and religion. She earned a master's degree in theology (marriage and family therapy) and a doctorate in clinical psychology at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1978 and 1982, respectively.
She was in private practice specializing in individual and family therapy in Pasadena, Calif., for 10 years before coming to PLU.
During her tenure at PLU, Majovski has served on numerous university committees. Most recently, Majovski served as co-chair of the PLU 2020 Steering Committee. She currently serves as co-chair of the University Diversity Committee. In addition, she has served as chair of two Master Plan committees: the Athletic, Recreation, and Physical Education Master Plan Study Committee; and the University Center Renovation Planning Committee.
Majovski serves on the Region V Board for NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education), and is active in the local community as a fellow of the American Leadership Forum of Tacoma/Pierce County and with her church.
Majovski lives in Gig Harbor, Wash., with her husband, Dr. Larry Majovski, a Tacoma area clinical psychologist. They have two adult children.
Vice President for Development and University Relations
Stephen J. Olson, M.Div.Steve Olson was named vice president for development and university relations in December 2008. He began his work at PLU in July 2007 as associate executive director for development, and then as associate vice president for development prior to his current role. As vice president, he oversees the offices of Alumni and Constituent Relations, Development, University Communications, and KPLU 88.5 FM, for which PLU is the licensee.
Born in Wisconsin and raised in Minnesota, Olson received a bachelor’s degree from Concordia College, Moorhead, Minn., in 1980, with majors in business administration and psychology. In 1986 he earned a master of divinity from Luther Northwestern Seminary in St. Paul, Minn.
Following ordination, Olson served congregations in the Northwest Washington Synod for 14 years. He served from 1986-1989 at Salem Lutheran Church in Mount Vernon, and from 1989-2000 at Sammamish Hills Lutheran Church, Sammamish. During those years, he became interested in stewardship and making the connection between faith and response, including financial management and generosity.
From 2000-2007, Olson served as a program director for The James Company, a Midwest consulting firm for philanthropy. He led stewardship and capital appeals for churches of many denominations, raising money for building projects, mission efforts, and debt reduction. He also served part-time on staff of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Chanhassen, Minn., as resource development pastor. In that role he led stewardship and capital appeals, as well as financial education strategy for children, youth and adults.
Olson lives in Steilacoom, Wash., with his wife, Barbara Nornes Olson. They have a son and daughter who graduated from PLU. They represent the fourth generation of the family to benefit from Lutheran higher education.