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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]


Profiles: 30 Years of alumni dedication

Jens Knudsen ’52
The late Jens Knudsen ’52 devoted over 8,000 hours to creating a series of dioramas for the Point Defiance Aquarium. In February 1973, Scene paid Knudsen a visit as he worked on a scene depicting Cape Flattery.

While much of the world measures success in terms of financial “bottom line,” Lute successes, as detailed in Scene, are most often measured in terms of service to the community.

Alumni profiles have included such standout Lutes as Maria-Alma Copeland ’79, the first African-American woman to be ordained in the American Lutheran Church. The October 1985 Scene described her journey toward this ground-breaking position, explaining how, after 23 years of raising a family and working, Copeland felt a calling to the ministry when her life was spared in a 1972 car accident.

Distinguished Alumnus Award winners are often recognized, not for their prestige or power, but for their excellence in service. In 1975, Jens Knudsen ’52 was honored for his accomplishments as a PLU biology professor. He spent more than 8,000 hours producing a series of dioramas for Point Defiance Aquarium, and raised more than $6,000 (through sale of his freelance artwork) that he contributed to the Minority Student Scholarship Fund. In 1985, Dr. Insu Lee ’59 was honored for his work with the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration, studying the impact of chemicals such as Agent Orange. And in 1999, Beverly Hatlen ’66 was honored for her work in public health and her efforts in supporting young adults with learning disabilities.

Mortvedt Library construction in 1967
When the Mortvedt Library was constructed in 1967, building architects gave the two-story structure enough strength to support a third level at some point in the future. By the mid-1980s, the library’s collections had outgrown the first two floors. A third story was completed in 1987.

In recent years, the Alumni Board created an additional Alumni Service Award as a way of awarding those who live out PLU’s mission ofeducating for lives of service. This award has honored alumni such as Ron ’70 and Ingrid ’70 Gintz, recognized in 1999 for providing a home (since 1991) for 25 teenage boys who have struggled with problems such as drug addiction, anger management, conflict with their own parents and failure in school.

Of course, PLU also has graduated its share of alumni who have been successful in the more traditional realms of leadership. 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Donald Morken ’60, the owner of Genesee Investments, is known as one of the pioneers in the hedge fund business. He is a sought-after speaker on investment topics, and has been quoted numerous times in the Wall Street Journal and Forbes Magazine.

Still, alumni like Morken share their fellow Lutes’ dedication to service. While Morken has been one of PLU’s most generous donors, his devotion of time is even more impressive. He is a PLU regent, a class representative, and a Q Club member. He was the National Chairman of PLU’s “Make a Lasting Difference” campaign in the 1990s, and is currently a National Co-Chair of the Steering Committee for “The Campaign for Pacific Lutheran University: The Next Bold Step.” It was hard, almost impossible, to narrow the gigantic list of captivating, touching and inspiring profiles that have graced Scene’s pages. PLU should be most proud of that fact.

Scene makes a habit of sharing interesting stories about current students with its readers. In May 1978, the magazine profiled five Lute football players who made it to television’s “The Gong Show” as “The Non-Lettermen,” after discovering they could sing at a team camp. Clockwise from left, the “Non-Lettermen” included Mark Reiman ’79 (now the chair of PLU’s economics department), Kris Morris ’80, Mike Catron ’78, Mark Accimus ’80 and Phil Earley ’80.

May 1978 - Lute football players

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
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