Mary Baker Russell Music Center was constructed in two
phases, with the second phase beginning in December
1996. Scene was there as Mary Baker Russell herself
broke ground on the final addition. David Benson ’94,
Jane Russell and Darren Kerbs ’96 stand by as Mary wields
Scene has grown and changed throughout the years, so has PLU.
Scene began with the very…orange cover of the inaugural issue
in September 1970, featuring what was then the newly constructed
University Center. More recently, the shiny new W. M. Keck
Observatory graced the Winter 1999-2000 cover. And this issue’s
cover features (along with the history of PLU growth) South
Hall, which just opened its doors to students.
30 years, the list of new buildings is impressive and varied.
the dedication of the UC in November 1970, the next major
addition was the Names Fitness Center, which opened in 1984.
Rieke Science Center, named for then-President William O.
Rieke, was dedicated in January 1985. The ’90s saw the dedication
of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center in February 1995, and
the W. M. Keck Observatory at this fall’s Opening Convocation.
Finally, South Hall was dedicated during Homecoming weekend
While always special, national football championships
are nothing new to PLU. In March 1981, Scene celebrated
the 1980 team’s first national title under Frosty Westering.
The team and Frosty are pictured with then-President
have also been renovations and additions. Ramstad Hall, originally
built to house the natural sciences, was remodeled and converted
into a home for various academic services and the School of
Nursing. Ingram Hall, used as a student union and as a headquarters
for both the School of Nursing and the art department, today
is home to the School of the Arts. The former Parkland School
was annexed by the university in the 1980s, and became home
to the Marriage and Family Therapy program and several community
outreach organizations. PLU added a third floor to the Mortvedt
Library in 1987, and it now houses the University archives.
Scene’s inaugural cover story, the UC, has also seen many
the Scandinavian Cultural Center looks like it has always
been a part of the University Center, it is a relatively
recent addition. Scene caught up with construction crews
in 1988 as they renovated a former storage space to create
the new center.
area that is now the Scandinavian Cultural Center? During
construction of the UC in 1970, longtime UC director Marv
Swenson noticed the construction crew filling in a large hole
on the lower level. When engineers said it wasn’t necessary
to fill in the hole, Swenson had it left open, and added doors.
Despite a dirt floor, the space provided valuable storage
space during the UC’s early years, and was later converted
into music practice rooms.
The University Center Computer Lab opened in 1995, replacing
the bowling alley that originally occupied this first-floor
space in the U.C.
about the current studio and office space for KCNS Student
Television and KCCR Student Radio? When the UC opened its
doors, ASPLU occupied the rooms down the hall from the Mooring
Mast. One can only imagine what interesting exchanges occurred
late at night on the mezzanine level.
The University Center is one of many buildings that have
seen a multitude of changes over the past 30 years. The
space that began its life as a bowling alley is now the
UC computer lab.
computer center that current students use to type term papers?
Until 1992, it was a place to hurl balls at pins on weekends.
Yes, PLU sported its own bowling alley until lack of use and
a need for more computer user rooms forced a remodel. The
computer center opened in 1995.
in 2000, PLU awaits completion of the Xavier Hall renovation,
a $5 million project the first of three capitol projects funded
the Campaign for Pacific Lutheran University: The Next Bold
Step. Whatever the future holds, it is certain that new and
innovative planning will be reported in Scene.