[IMAGE: Pacific Lutheran Scene]
W I N T E R     1 9 9 7


  • Kresge grant provides computer links, lab equipment
  • Nearly 1,000 turn out to hear Thor Heyerdahl
  • PLU ranks high among western schools
  • KPLU named Jazz Station of the Year
  • Johnson to head national board
  • PLU professor emeritus Burton Ostenson dies
  • President Anderson knighted by Norway
  • New Works by PLU Faculty
  • PLU finances securely in the black
  • Educate students to be citizens, national expert says
  • First summer commencement is a shining success
  • Swenson receives university service award
  • Higher Education Day informs legislative candidates
  • Did you know...
  • Music center funds provide for completion

  • Kresge grant provides computer links, lab equipment

    Computer networking in Rieke, Memorial Gym and the math and computer science building is a part of PLU's future thanks to a grant from the Kresge Foundation of Troy, Mich. In addition to creating campus and Internet computer links, the $250,000 grant will also provide computers for Rieke's open lab and resource center, and for computer science, engineering and math; microscopes for biology; a global positioning system for geosciences; and interface boards and mechanics equipment for physics.

    Still remaining is the task of raising $1 million by Nov. 1, 1997, for an equipment endowment, to which Kresge will add another $250,000. "The endowment will provide stable funding for updated lab and classroom equipment for future generations," said Sheri Tonn, dean of the division of natural sciences. Jerold Armstrong '60, CEO of UIC Inc (a chemical instrumentation company), will chair the fund-raising effort, with Drew Nelson '81, who is involved with high-tech sales and equipment, serving as vice chair.

    For more information on how to be a part of the Science Equipment Endowment Challenge, call Faye Anderson, director of corporate and foundation relations, 206-535-7422.

    In other grant news, Rick Spillman, engineering professor, received a $13,700 grant of computer software and hardware from Xilinx University Program in San Jose. The software and hardware will interface with the Mentor Graphics software received earlier last year, and will allow Spillman and his department to create the equivalent of Very Large Scale Integrated chips. These VLSI chips can contain 10,000 to 1 million transistors on one chip.

    Nearly 1,000 turn out to hear Thor Heyerdahl

    [CREDIT: Chris
Tumbusch][IMAGE: Thor

    Thor Heyerdahl almost drowned - not once but twice - when he was young. His father said he didn't think he'd ever learn to swim.

    Not only did Heyerdahl learn to swim, he crossed major stretches of open water in an untested raft made of balsa logs - the famous Kon-Tiki voyage. Heyerdahl, now a well-known anthropologist, archaeologist, author and explorer, hoped to demonstrate the possibility of aboriginal South American voyages to the Pacific islands. While such a voyage could not prove that ancient South Americans visited the South Pacific, it did open many minds in the closed scientific community.

    Nearly 1,000 people from a several-state radius came to PLU in October to hear Heyerdahl talk about this famous voyage and to receive a President's Medal for an extraordinary lifetime of achievement. The crowd gave Heyerdahl a standing ovation after President Loren Anderson bestowed the award. This was Heyerdahl's second visit to PLU. In 1966, he received a PLU Distinguished Service Award.

    After the lecture Heyerdahl spent two hours signing books.

    PLU faculty member Don Ryan '79 was responsible for bringing Heyerdahl to campus. Ryan - a celebrated archaeologist and childhood fan of the famous explorer - is working with the 82-year-old Heyerdahl on a revision of the first book about the Kon-Tiki expedition.

    [IMAGE: U.S.
News and World Report]

    PLU ranks high among western schools

    PLU was ranked number nine among the best regional universities of the West by a U.S. News and World Report survey, up from number 15 last year.

    The magazine also listed best university values, of which PLU was number 15 in the West. Values were calculated using both the stated or "sticker" price (tuition, room, board and fees) and the discounted price (expenses minus the average of need-based grants).

    PLU is the only Northwest school to be listed in all U.S. News "Best College" surveys since they began in 1983.

    KPLU named Jazz Station of the Year

    [CREDIT: Chris
Tumbusch][PHOTO: KPLU
Staff Members]

    KPLU 88.5 was named Jazz Station of the Year by the National Association of Broadcasters in the Marconi Radio Awards competition. The station was chosen from five finalists with jazz formats. The award is the second the station brings home for its 30th anniversary, having also won a special award for commitment to daily news from the Public Radio News Directors Incorporated earlier this year.

    Johnson to head national board

    Roger Johnson, KPLU director and programming assistant, was elected chair of the board of directors of the Public Radio Program Directors, a national organization that seeks to improve the quality of public radio programming. The election was held at a PRPD conference in New Orleans.

    [IMAGE: Burton

    PLU professor emeritus Burton Ostenson dies

    Burton Ostenson, professor emeritus, died on Sept. 27 at the age of 84 from Parkinson's disease. Ostenson spent 42 years at PLU, during which time he developed curricula in field biology and ecology, and instructed a variety of biology classes. He served as the chair of the departments of biology, general science, and earth science. His students may remember him best for his popular summer class on the natural history of the Pacific Northwest.

    Ostenson was born in Elbow Lake, Minn., and received a bachelor of science degree from Luther College, and a master's and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. During World War II he served as a communications officer in the Navy. Memorials may be made to the Burton Ostenson Natural History Museum at PLU or to the Tacoma Zoological Society.

    New Works by PLU Faculty

    Art professor BEA GELLER was selected to participate in three national exhibitions. Her work will be shown at "Within and Without-The Intimate Moment" at Muskingam College in New Concord, Conn., at "The 31st National Exhibition" at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands, Calif. and at "Body Language" at the SOHO Gallery in Pensacola, Florida.

    CHARLES BERGMAN, PLU English professor, wrote "Orion's Legacy: A Cultural History of Man as Hunter," published by Dutton, a division of Penguin Books. Bergman's book uses the mythic Orion along with personal experience to explore the role of hunter in modern male identity.

    CHRIS BROWNING, PLU history professor, wrote "Human Nature, Culture, and the Holocaust," an essay exploring the human nature of the perpetrators of the Holocaust, which was published on the back page of the Oct. 18 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education. Browning is on sabbatical, serving as a senior scholar-in-residence at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.

    President Anderson knighted by Norway

    The Norwegian consul general, Hans Ola Urstad, knighted PLU President Loren Anderson in a simple ceremony on campus on Sept. 13. By order of His Majesty King Harald V of Norway, Anderson was appointed Knight of the First Order of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit. Anderson is only the sixth person from Washington state to be knighted by Norway, an honor that rewards those who demonstrate outstanding service to Norway. The knighthood highlights his varied works on behalf of Norwegian interests and PLU.

    PLU finances securely in the black

    The (Tacoma) News Tribune reported on Sept. 5 that PLU has eliminated $4.3 million in operating deficits four years ahead of schedule, bringing its finances well into the black, according to President Loren Anderson.

    In the article, Anderson also said that fund-raising success to date of the Make a Lasting Difference campaign has enabled the university to refinance its long-term debt and save about $360,000 a year in interest payments.

    Educate students to be citizens, national expert says

    [CREDIT: Chris
Benjamin Barber] A push to focus on preparing students for careers instead of on becoming citizens has put our American democracy in trouble, said Benjamin Barber, a Rutgers University professor and national expert on higher education. Barber addressed PLU faculty and staff in September at the university's third annual fall conference. "Historically we knew for a democracy to work we needed citizens, and citizens were made and educated, not born," he said. "Today we think you're just born to be a citizen, but citizens need to be trained."

    Named by Newsweek as one of an influential circle of advisers to President Clinton, Barber created a local education-based community-service program that was used as a model for AmeriCorps.

    Barber emphasized that 19th-century schools had the central function of preparing students for life in a democratic society, including teaching them their responsibilities as well as rights as citizens. In the 20th century, however, schools look more toward careers for students, resulting in many apathetic and cynical young people with their backs turned on public life.

    Instead, Barber said, colleges and universities need to teach students the basic skills of citizenship: to understand the importance of differences, to listen and communicate and to use their imaginations to empathize with others, and to look to themselves to help solve society's problems.

    [CREDIT: Chris
Tumbusch][IMAGE: Summer

    First summer commencement is a shining success

    The sun was high and bright above PLU's first ever outdoor commencement ceremony on Foss Field in August. Under blue skies and against the backdrop of Rieke Science Center, PLU awarded 103 bachelor's and 72 master's degrees. Because of the day's success and with a little more luck in weather, the university may try to hold future summer graduations outdoors.

    Swenson receives university service award

    [IMAGE: Rodney
Swenson]Service to Fulbright scholar candidates and language students has been a focus of Rodney Swenson, German professor, in his 28 years at PLU. For this commitment, expanding PLU's international horizons and the opportunities available to students, Swenson received the Dis-tinguished Faculty Service Award in September.

    Swenson joined the university faculty in 1968, and since has taught students at all levels of language study and invested effort and creative energy in teaching English to international students. In addition, Swenson has served as Fulbright adviser, shepherding the application process for Fulbright scholarships. Since 1975, 40 PLU students and graduates have earned the prestigious award, an unusually high number from a school of PLU's size.

    Higher Education Day informs legislative candidates


    Gov. Mike Lowry declared Oct. 10 "Higher Education Day" in the state of Washington. In Pierce County, the day was marked with a legislative candidates' forum on the subject of higher education.

    PLU President Loren Anderson spoke to the candidates on behalf of Washington's 10 private colleges and universities. He noted that - though independently funded - private higher education serves the public interest. He shared three main ideas:

    • Higher education must provide more opportunities for Washington's citizens to secure a four-year degree. Currently, Washington ranks near the bottom in the nation when it comes to per capita enrollments in four-year degree programs. Over the next 15 years, some forecasters predict as many as 84,000 additional people will be seeking access to higher education in the state of Washington.
    • In addressing this access challenge, Anderson urged policy makers to view private colleges and universities as part of a solution. State-funded and independent schools are interdependent. For example, PLU enrolls about 300 transfer students each year, primarily from the community colleges; PLU alumni enroll in the University of Washington's graduate programs more than at any other school; and collectively, PLU faculty hold more UW degrees than from any other university.
    • Strong state financial aid programs encourage both student access and choice. With the support of financial aid programs, Washington residents can choose to attend independent colleges or universities. In 1995, about 800 PLU students with family incomes below $25,000 were awarded state-funded financial aid that helped enable them to attend PLU. Expanding Educational Opportunity Grants, State Need Grants and State Work Study programs will create additional opportunities for students in need.

    Pierce County's Higher Education Day was sponsored by The (Tacoma) News Tribune.

    Did you know...

    Independent higher education in Washington
    • is made up of 10 colleges and universities, including PLU
    • enrolls more than 28,000 students annually, representing 23.2 percent of Washington's four-year students
    • last year awarded
      • 30 percent of Washington's business degrees,
      • 40 percent of Washington's teaching - education degrees, and
      • 37 percent of Washington's computer science degrees
    • awards 32 percent of graduate and 47 percent of professional degrees in Washington
    • enrolls 70 percent of its students from the state

    Music center funds provide for completion

    Major and unexpected funding was received and plans are being finalized for the construction of Mary Baker Russell Music Center - Phase II.

    "Several months ago, Mary Baker Russell initiated a major gift to the university as a first step toward funding the second phase of our music center. Now I am pleased and humbled to report that Mrs. Russell has made a second major commitment in support of Phase II," said PLU President Loren Anderson.

    These gifts, when supplemented by a limited number of smaller yet very significant contributions (some completed and others under development) and a portion of the university's capital funds (secured as a part of our long-term debt refinancing), are sufficient to fully fund the $3 million Phase II project, including all equipment and furnishings.

    Phase II will include instrumental and choral rehearsal facilities, faculty offices and teaching studios, practice rooms, and administrative space. Construction for the $3 million project is scheduled to begin in February, with a completion target of November 1997.

    [IMAGE: Mary Baker
Russell Music
Center Model]
    Phase II of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center will add wings on the east side of the current structure. This model was created by the building's architect, Zimmer Gunsul Frasca Partnership.

    Table of Contents

    Scene Home
    Previous Article | Next Article

    Source: Pacific Lutheran Scene, Winter 1996
    Edited by: Janet Prichard, Senior Editor (prichajd@plu.edu)
    Maintained by: Webmaster (webmaster@plu.edu).
    Last Update: 12/17/96