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Highlights of 30 years for Mortvedt Library

C O M P I L E D   B Y   L I Z   R U S S E L L   ' 9 8

1937 Xavier library built with seating capacity for 140, shelves to hold 75,000 volumes.

J.U. Xavier, interim PLU president from 1920-21, also was the librarian at various times and remained involved in PLU library activities throughout his 34-year association with the university.

Ole Stuen, who taught mathematics and Norse at PLU in the first part of the century, became librarian when J.U. Xavier left in 1942, until his own retirement in 1952.

"We can provide a study space for only one out of every 12 of our enrolled students."

--Frank H. Haley

Frank Haley spent a quarter-century as PLU's librarian, from 1951-76.

July 1964 Regents authorize construction of new library. Building permit for $1,327,000 library awarded.

February 1965 Bindon & Wright, architects from Seattle, Wash., provide preliminary specifications. The library's 63,000-square-foot design is based on the students' concerns and advice, and includes plans for a future third floor.

April 8, 1965 PLU receives Federal grant of $571,786 for library construction.

November 1965 Alumni Association kicks off its Library Fund Drive, the first time since 1958 alumni had been asked to make a capital gift.

December 1, 1965 Faculty and staff contribute $75,000 to library.

December 15, 1965 Absher Construction Company of Puyallup, Wash., awarded the construction contract.

December 17, 1965 President Robert A. Mortvedt at groundbreaking ceremony.

October 1, 1966 Alumni Library Fund reaches $210,125 from pledges and gifts, representing 1,695 alumni, with an average gift of $156 per alum.

November 17, 1966 Unanimous approval by the Board of Regents to name the library after current President Robert A. Mortvedt.

"The chapel is the 'center of the institution,' and the library is the 'beating heart of the university.' In no way could you honor me more than to decide that the library bear the Mortvedt name. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

--Robert A. Mortvedt
The library was named for Robert A. Mortvedt, PLU president from 1962-69.

December 4, 1966 First books cross library threshold following the "Service of Recollection." The first three books were the Gutenberg Bible facsimile, the Luther translation and the King James Bible. Next, family members of former librarians, including Ole Stuen and J.U. Xavier, carry the first 300 titles acquired by the library.

PLU's brand-new Mortvedt Library opened its doors in the fall of 1966.

December 5, 1966 Moving day! Students, staff and administration contribute to moving all the library materials and volumes beyond the first 300. Library opens in the evening with students already hitting the books.

April 2, 1967 Dedication service held in Eastvold. Tacoma News Tribune praises the library as "one of the most functional educational facilities in the Northwest."

September 8, 1987 Dedication of third-floor addition.

Summer 1994 Leslie J. Thomas Collection of 1,304 colonial and constitutional history books given to the library, one of the largest gifts in the library's history.

February 1996 Dedication of the Language Resource Center.

May 1996 MaryAnn Dase serves as executive director of information resources through July 1997.

May 31, 1997 Library collection reaches 433,880 volumes.

October 1997 Sheri Tonn is named the new dean of information resources. She oversees the library and computing and telecommunications services. Tonn had previously served as a professor of chemistry and dean of the Division of Natural Sciences at PLU since 1979.

Information and photos gathered with the help of Kerstin Ringdahl, university archivist.

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