[Pacific Lutheran Scene]
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Leadership and Service

A funny thing happened on the way to the university -- I fell in love with the place

B Y   G A R Y   S E V E R S O N ,   C H A I R ,   P L U   B O A R D   O F   R E G E N T S

My earliest experiences with Pacific Lutheran date to the '50s when a five-and-a-half hour Greyhound ride was my usual connection between Portland and Parkland. The "U" in the Memorial Gymnasium window was still a "C," as in Pacific Lutheran College, when I first attended a relative's graduation here. Later trips included other sibling and cousin graduations and a Luther League Leadership Conference or two before an absence of nearly 20 years as I built a banking career outside of the Pacific Northwest.
      When I moved to Seattle in the mid-'80s, PLU was an account in First Interstate's Corporate Banking Division. My involvement with the university was mainly business, although some nostalgia seeped in from the earlier experiences. I was invited to join the PLU Board of Regents in 1987. As a banker I was invariably assigned to the finance committee. While honored with the appointment, I remember feeling that it was basically another community service role. I'd do my best to provide business and financial advice to yet another not-for-profit organization, as I had done with the likes of Pacific Northwest Ballet, Corporate Council for the Arts, Alliance for Education and others.
      Then a funny thing happened. A wonderful thing happened. I fell in love with the place. For the past 11 years, I've had an incredible vantage point from which to watch PLU continue to grow and evolve into the remarkable academic institution it is today. (Witness the biennial kudos in U.S. News & World Report and the prestigious fellowships our graduates have earned.) I've watched it win league and national sports championships and a Sears Director's Cup Trophy. I've seen its plays, listened to its choirs, thrown some frisbees and sneaked into some classes. It's a great university with fantastic students, faculty and administration. That's the fun part of being a regent.
      The hard part of being a regent is making sure PLU remains a great university. PLU is heavily dependent on tuition and fees for revenue, or said another way, we get comparatively little income from our small (but growing) endowment. The constant dilemma of this frustrating disequilibrium is to improve programs, facilities and faculty salaries, among myriad other things, while keeping our price tag on tuition and fees within reason. "Within reason" is modified further at the individual student level by our significant commitment to financial aid. About 85 percent of our students receive some financial aid, which makes it one of the largest line items in the university's budget.
      So how do we measure our success - by the bricks and mortar, the breadth and excellence of programs, the quality of faculty, the size of endowment? No! We measure it by the person these and other vital university assets help create: the PLU graduate. If that is a responsible, involved, contributing person operating on a basis of knowledge, ability, commitment and values, I think PLU is working well. And based on my personal observation of PLU graduates (and graduates-in-process), I think PLU is working pretty well, indeed.

Regent Profile

Gary Severson, PLU Corporation President and Chair of the Board
TERM: 1995-98
OCCUPATION: Retired chairman of the board, First Interstate Bank of Washington
CORPORATE COMMUNITY BOARDS: Vice chairman of Laird Norton Financial Group and a director of Laird Norton Trust Company, Inc.; trustee of The Casey Family Program; among others.
"PLU really delivers on its 'Education for Service' motto. It is a great privilege as a regent to observe the breadth and vitality of the university's classes, programs and activities and feel the excitement of the students. Energizing on the one hand, yet challenging on the other, it clearly reminds us of the fundamental responsibility we have as regents: taking the appropriate actions to sustain and enhance the excellence of PLU's educational opportunities."

Board News

Dr. William Foege '57 elected regent-at-large

Dr. William Foege '57 was elected to the board as regent-at-large for the 1997-2000 term. An epidemiologist and pioneer combating communicable diseases, Foege is most recognized for his work in eradicating small pox worldwide. In June 1997, he received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Harvard University. His exceptional medical missionary service in Nigeria led into a position as director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, followed by a position as Executive Director of the Carter Center. In addition to numerous other honors, Foege's expertise aided two presidents, numerous agencies and human health throughout the world.

Board of Regents

Daniel L. Alsaker, Spokane, WA
Neal L. Arntson, Portland, OR
Richard L. (Dick) Bauer, Boise, ID
Becky Burad, San Francisco, CA
Gwendolyn Carr, Salem, OR
Cynthia Edwards, University Place, WA
Linda M. Evanson, Steilacoom, WA
William Foege, Atlanta, GA
Anne Hafer, Billings, MT
Ken Hartvigson Jr., Seattle, WA
Roe Hatlen, Apple Valley, MN
James Hushagen, Tacoma, WA
Theodore Johnson, Seattle, WA
Mark Knudson, Shoreview, MN
William W. Krippaehne, Jr., Seattle, WA
Anne Long, Bellevue, WA
Rev. Rebecca Lucky, Kent, WA
Bishop Donald Maier, Seattle, WA
Kurtis K. Mayer, Tacoma, WA
Donald R. Morken, Bellevue, WA
Rev. Dr Larry Neeb, St. Louis, MO
Martin Pihl, Ketchikan, AK
Bishop Mark Ramseth, Billings, MT
William Ramstad, Rancho Bernardo, CA
Gerry Anne Sahlin, Bellingham, WA
Gary Severson, Kirkland, WA
Jim Stauffer, Missoula, MT
Otto Stevens, Spokane, WA
Susan Stringer, Bellevue, WA
Rev. John L. Vaswig, Spokane, WA
Rev. Dean Wigstrom II, Mt. Vernon, WA
Don Wilson, Lake Oswego, OR
Bishop David Wold, Tacoma, WA
Loren J. Anderson, Tacoma, WA
Bishop Robert Keller, Spokane, WA
Bishop Donald Parsons, Anchorage, AK
Bishop Paul Swanson, Portland, OR
David Aubrey, Vice President for Development & University Relations
Charles Upshaw, Vice President for Finance & Operations
Laura Majovski, Assistant to the President
Paul Menzel, Provost
Laura Polcyn, Dean of Admissions
Cristina R. del Rosario Fridenstine, Director, Student Involvement and Leadership Office
Rev. Richard Rouse, Director of Church Relations
S. Erving Severtson, Vice President for Student Life
Philip Nordquist, History, Chair of Faculty
Dennis M. Martin, English, Vice Chair of Faculty

Q Club

AMBASSADOR ($3,600-4,999)
Karen and James Phillips *
Bill and Doris Rea *
SENIOR FELLOW ($2,400-3,599)
Christopher Flaat
FELLOW ($1000-1,799)
Paul and Megan Benton *
Waite and Patty Dalrymple
Ross and Dana Laursen *
Hans and Ann Lindstrom
Ann Marie Mehlum *
Stan and Cecilia Purvis *
Tom Carlson *
Paul Hartman
Rich and Monica Hurley *
Gus and Connie Kravas *
MEMBER ($300-479)
Thomas Alexander
Sheri Baker
Charles and Claudia Branham
Laetitia and Lindy Carmack
Ray and Cassandra Damis
Bruce and Lisa Deal
Larry Deal and Lisa Simonsen
Dale Dillinger Construction
Evelyn Finley
First Lutheran Church, Tacoma
Richard and Nancy Huling
James and Constance Jaeger
Bill and Carolyn Kees
Clarence and Rosemary King
Thomas and Susan Laidlaw
Mike and Rebecca Larson
Paul and Linda Larson
Martin and Darlene Pihl
Nancy and Howard Polen
Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Seattle
Edward and Margaret Rosin
Louise Sawyer and Brian Seaman
Phyllis and Clifford Schneider
Mark and Sheri Scholz
Vicky and Sid Swick
Gregory and Heather Thorwald
Zion Lutheran Church, Everett
Mark and Christine Henderson
Max and Monica Milton
Matt Montzingo

*Increased from previous level

In Support of Excellence

Herman and Vivian Anderson $46,519 Clock Tower Repair Fund
Anonymous $200,000 Endowed Scholarship Fund
Anonymous $50,574 Charitable Gift Annuity
Anonymous $12,500 Unrestricted Annual Fund
O. Jurgis Bendikas $130,150 Charitable Gift Annuity
The Boeing Company $100,000 School of Business Program Development Grant
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America $10,749 Unrestricted Annual Fund/Partners in Ministry Grant
Arthur H. Hansen $15,000 Jennie L. Hansen Endowed Scholarship/Q Club
Independent Colleges of Washington $20,199 Unrestricted
Mildred E. Johnson Estate $40,024 Unrestricted Annual Fund
Gordon and Alice Kayser $10,000 Q Club
William Killworth Foundation $10,000 Restricted Scholarship Grant
Lee Charitable Trust $90,000 Unrestricted Annual Fund
M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust $63,500 Murdock College Research Program for Life Sciences Grant/Student - Faculty Research in Biology Grant
Research Corporation $14,000 Partners in Science Program Grant
Eunice L. Schleicher Estate $15,308 Q Club Endowment
State of Washington Office of the Superintendent of of Public Instruction $63,351 Integration of Social Studies Standards in Language through Technology Eisenhower Grant/Improving Middle and High School Science Instruction Eisenhower Grant
Union Pacific Foundation $30,000 Conference Center Grant

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