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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

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PLU contingent receives red carpet treatment in Scandinavia

PLU contingent visits Scandanavia
The Oslo reception provided an opportunity for Norwegian PLU alumni to socialize. Shown are Kari '81 and Andreas '83 Udbye, along with Yngve Josef Foss '82 and Guri Vestad, study abroad advisor at the University of Oslo.

By Nancy Covert

In the process of strengthening PLU's ties with its Scandinavian alumni, a group of campus leaders received the red carpet treatment during a recent, two-week trip. Visiting Denmark, Finland and Norway, the university's outreach efforts included alumni events in Finland and Norway. Those making the trip included PLU President Loren J. and MaryAnn Anderson, and their daughter, Maren; Director of International Admissions Chuck Nelson; and Director of Alumni and Parent Relations Lauralee Hagen '75, '78.

Besides a full schedule of social activities, President Anderson had an opportunity for an audience with His Majesty, King Harald of Norway, who had conferred the title of Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit on Anderson in 1996. Anderson's itinerary also included meetings with the new Norwegian Minister of Education Jan Lilletun, and the U.S. Charge d'Affaires, Jon Gundersen.

"The university is widely known and highly regarded in Norway," said Anderson. A large part of this tremendous presence is owed to the cultivating work of more than 25 years by Nelson, who was PLU's Registrar for many years before moving into International Admissions.

PLU contingent visits Scandanavia
Director of International Admissions Chuck Nelson (left) with U.S. Charge d'Affaires in Norway Jon Gundersen and PLU President Loren J. Anderson during the Oslo alumni reception.

As part of an outreach to PLU's Nordic alumni, the university group hosted two events. One on Nov. 21, in Helsinki, was attended by about 30 alumni; the other, in Oslo, was held on Nov. 29, at the official residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Norway, where about 150 people enjoyed the opportunity to renew acquaintances.

In Denmark, Anderson visited the Danish National Center for Distance Learning, as well as some schools to encourage the interest among business students to study at PLU.

"PLU currently has more than 500 alumni in Norway and smaller numbers in other Nordic countries," according to Hagen. A common theme expressed by the alumni attending the reunion events was the pride they have in their PLU education and the successes they've enjoyed in their countries since earning their degrees at PLU.

The November gathering, Hagen said, was a "great opportunity to reflect on the programs and services that we are able to provide to our international alumni." Among the ways the office will expand its outreach services to those graduates in far-away places, she said, "we'll continue to think globally, perhaps with more outreach via the Internet, and by changing our procedures for international mailings."

Nelson said that the November trip provided "an opportunity for President Anderson to personally see what's been happening in the field of education in those countries." Enrollment in PLU's Nordic program is currently more than 100.

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