By Katherine Hedland ’88
Thirty years ago, they were the wives of faculty
members selling goodies on card tables in the University
Center. Today they make up the PLU
Women’s Club and run a professional, successful
Yule Boutique that has generated hundreds of
thousands of dollars for scholarships for PLU students.
CONTINUING TRADITION: Longtime organizers of the
annual Yule Boutique, Alice Govig, (LEFT) and Gloria Pederson ’42, pose in their authentic Scandinavian
“We started out with a table in the CK,” said
Ann Miller ’86, recently retired associate director of
the Health Center and a former president of the
But after Gloria Pederson ’42 saw a flea market
at the University of Puget Sound, she decided PLU
should step up its efforts.
“I just wanted to do something better than
UPS,” Pederson said with a laugh.
They did—and kept on doing it. The 30 th annual
Yule Boutique will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday, Nov. 17, in Olson Auditorium. A $3 donation
is suggested, but PLU students are admitted
The first official Yule Boutique was held in
1971 in Memorial Gym with booths from 22 organizations
and homemade lefse and other
Scandinavian treats for sale. Now, more than 100
carefully selected vendors sell their handcrafted
items at Olson. People fondly recall the early Yule
Boutiques, the personal feel and homemade food.
Tighter health regulations and increasing attendance
forced some changes over the years, like
having Dining Services prepare the refreshments
rather than having volunteers bring them in from
huge at-home baking parties.
With change came even greater success. As the
boutique raised more money, Miller proposed establishing
an endowment to make sure the
scholarships were always available. Since then, the
endowment for student scholarships has grown to
a market value of $280,000.
“I think it’s something we can build up and
keep going forever,” said Lynette Cubbage, who is
in charge of contracting with vendors for the annual
The founders of the group have changed with
the times, adopting a more modern name and
reaching out to other women in the PLU community.
“In the ‘old days,’ it was sort of expected that
you join if your husband was a faculty member,”
said current President Alice Govig.
Every year, the members of the club would vote
on whether to have another boutique the next year.
Eventually they voted to continue the boutique
unless anyone brought up the vote again.
That’s a relief to those shoppers who make the
Yule Boutique a regular pre-holiday stop. This
year, there will be new vendors, along with old favorites.
Bronn Journey will play the harp, and other
musicians will perform. While there is still a Scandinavian
slant to the boutique—noted by the
authentic costumes some organizers wear—the
boutique offers all kinds of specialty items, from
stained glass and woodwork, to Christmas ornaments
and homemade soap.
“There are several groups who meet up at the
Yule Boutique,” said Anita Christian ’59, the long-time
chairwoman of the boutique. “It’s a
There’s a strong contingent of supporters that
make the Yule Boutique a success.
“I think we’ve all held every office,” said Helen
Nordquist ’57, another longtime organizer who
works for PLU Development.
“After you do it as long as we have, you just
know things will fall into place,” Cubbage said.
“Each person does their own thing and it works.”