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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]


In the News


Norweigan Red Cross president Thorvald Stoltenberg meets with students after his lecture
Tom E. Vraalsen

Norwegian ambassador speaks peace
While the world has seen extraordinary changes in the past decade leading to greater peace and prosperity for some, many continue to struggle against famine, disease and war, Norway’s ambassador to the U.S. told a rapt audience at PLU last month.

Tom E. Vraalsen detailed many of the problems and possible solutions dur-ing his campus visit.

“More than one billion people live in absolute, abject poverty, and that number is growing,” Vraalsen told a large crowd at the Scandinavian Cultural Center on campus. Ethnic conflict, civil rights violations and illness are grave concerns.

“Conflicts within states are no less bloody than conflicts between states,” he said, attributing most of them to a lust for power and material goods. “On the contrary, they tend to be very vicious, they tend to be more hateful.”

It’s more important than ever to sharpen the focus and confront problems head-on, he said. Countries struggling to find clean water, for instance, need help not only so they will be healthy but so that more water is not contaminated.

“It will ultimately affect all of us, as this world is getting smaller and smaller,” he said. “If we upset the global life support system in one place, it will indeed strike another.”

Vraalsen supports effective early warning systems, a political commitment to setting aside money for international aid and confidential negotiations to help end conflict. Preventing conflict is better than dealing with destruction, he said, and the cost of repair usually far out-weighs the price of prevention.

Governments and people who can afford to help should do so for their own sakes, he said, noting that Norway is a leader in giving to poor countries. Those who have little should get help from those who have more, he said.

“We only happen to have this one world.”

PLU 2010 planning process goes online
The study phase of PLU’s new long-range plan is now well under way with “PLU 2010: The Next Level of Distinction” on track for publication in May 2002.

Four campus commissions working along with a steering committee are studying four major themes: identity and constituency, community, academic distinction and fiscal strategies. Details of their charges and accomplishments are available on the new PLU 2010 website: www.plu.edu/~plu2010.

The site has three purposes: to com-municate current activities and events, to seek involvement and report suggestions from the community, and to serve as a site of record for the study.

“While the planning process is now focused on-campus, we continue to be interested in the views of our wider campus community,” said Loren J. Anderson, university president.

The town meetings were held last year in 21 locations across the country, and in sites as distant as Hong Kong and Helsinki. A total of more than 1300 alumni, parents and friends of the university suggested planning themes that are now serving as the basis of the work of the on-campus study commissions.

“Alumni, parents and friends of the university are encouraged to visit the PLU 2010 website and add to the important contributions many of them made during the town meeting phase of the planning process,” Anderson said.

In the months ahead, the steering committee and study commissions will continue to have regular meetings, using the website and public programs as means to open conversation across the community.

FOR MORE ON 2010 PLANNING PROCESS GO TO www.plu.edu/encore.

IIE Confirms PLU’s place as study abroad leader
PLU students gain more international experience than students at other similar universities—and the numbers continue to show that. Among comparable institutions, PLU ranks 10th in the nation in the number of students studying abroad: 379 in 1999-2000, according to the Institute of International Education.

“In the whole realm of international education, what has happened at PLU is remarkable,” said Bill Teska, associate provost. “The percentage of our students with international experience ranks very high in comparison to other universities.”

While the IIE says less than 3 per-cent of American college students study abroad, last year 40 percent of PLU grads had studied abroad in PLU-faculty directed programs, university exchanges and other programs.

With study abroad programs from Tanzania to Trinidad & Tobago and a core curriculum stressing a global perspective, PLU is committed to providing students with an international education.

Shorter study abroad programs have also grown dramatically. Six years ago, there were just a handful of international programs offered during J-Term, the January session in between semesters. This year there are 18, which include sending students to study politics in Cuba, the economy in Hong Kong and nursing in Jamaica.

The university’s International Core of classes continues to grow, providing an interdisciplinary approach structured around a theme of global studies. Also available are majors in Scandinavian Studies and Chinese Studies.

“It is critical to be preparing our students to be global citizens,” Teska said. “We are giving our students the tools they need to navigate through an increasingly interconnected world.”

International students also make up 5 percent of PLU’s student population, compared with a 3 percent average at American universities.

Norweigan Red Cross president Thorvald Stoltenberg meets with students after his lecture
President Loren J. Anderson

Anderson named chairman of NAICU
PLU President Loren J. Anderson was recently named chairman of the board of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. Having Anderson at the helm will improve PLU’s visibility nationally and provide him the opportunity to make important strides on behalf of all private colleges.

“There are 64 registered higher education organizations in Washington, D.C., and NAICU is probably the most effective,” said Anderson.

NAICU’s main goals are to lobby for financial aid, tax policies that benefit nonprofit organizations and regulatory reform relating to education. Congress has approved a 43 percent increase in federal financial aid for next year.

As chairman, a position he holds after serving a year as vice-chair, Anderson will lobby and work with law-makers, but he says students across the country are the most powerful voice. He attributes much of the support for the increases to students who made the case for financial aid.

“I can think of no other leader in private higher education more qualified to lead us through this time of change than Loren,” said David L. Warren, NAICU president. “He’s a first-rate strategist, keenly attune to national campus and policy issues and an articulate and dedicated advocate of private higher education.”

Celebrating its 25 th anniversary this year, NAICU represents more than 950 independent universities, from tiny private colleges to large schools, including Brown and New York University.

Anderson said he’s honored to fill the position and hopes to spotlight PLU and other Northwest universities.

Fall chapel series focuses on unity, reconciliation and hope
Discussions about religion and values at PLU reached fever pitch this fall. Students on all sides of the debate were shocked by graffiti painted on windows of the Hauge Administration Building, that delivered a hate message to sexual minorities.

“I think that incident really pointed to something deeper that was lacking in our community, issues of community and faith,” said Erik Samuelson ’01, chair of the Campus Ministry Council.

In the wake of these events, student leaders from a variety of campus Christian groups joined together to worship, share and unify during an Advent chapel series titled, “The Journey is Made Together.”

Taken from Campus Ministry’s year-long theme of “2001: A Spiritual Odyssey,” the chapel series focused on the Advent seasonal themes of unity, reconciliation and hope. Worship groups including the Upper Room and Jam 62 (formerly The Well) provided special music; speakers ranging from Marwa Nasser Metzler, a graduate student from Bethlehem, to PLU Regent Dr. William Foege ’57, delivered homilies.

“We wanted the music and speakers to appeal to a greater range of people at the university, and bring everyone together for a common purpose,” Samuelson said.

Organizers of the series believe the month was a successful beginning. “The chapel series, along with several ‘Let’s Talk Community Forums’ that were held, sent the message that the university was addressing these issues [following the graffiti incident],” Samuelson said. “It was only a first step, but it is one which I think set the tone for the journey that continues.”

Norweigan Red Cross president Thorvald Stoltenberg meets with students after his lecture
Pastor Nancy Connor with sponsored child, Marvin Barreno

Connor meets sponsored child on Guatemalan mission
A mission trip to Guatemala gave university Pastor Nancy Connor the opportu-nity to meet a young boy sponsored by University Congregation.

Connor joined a January 3-12 mission trip with 12 other women through the Godchild Project, a ministry started by a group of people in Minnesota who facilitate work in communities throughout the world.

Using affiliated families, the organi-zation does everything from helping construct houses, build stoves and obtain medical help to providing sponsorships and scholarships for children. In addition, Connor built a chicken coop and vaccinated chickens.

“I have quite a few more skills these days,” she said, laughing.

The highlight of Connor’s Guatema-lan experience, however, was her opportunity to meet 3-year-old Marvin Barreno, a child PLU’s University Congregation has sponsored since fall of 2000. Marvin lives with his parents and two brothers in a village outside Antigua. His family’s annual income is roughly $130.

“He is just the cutest little guy,” Connor said of her meeting with Marvin and his family. “It’s wonderful that we have the opportunity to sponsor him for several years, and really make a difference in his life.”

University Congregation has sponsored a girl from the Philippines for a number of years and made the decision to sponsor a second child in spring of 1999. Fifty percent of the congregation’s offerings go toward mission programs.

Connor presented the family with a panoramic photograph of University Congregation members, including both pastors and President Anderson, telling the family that the congregation holds them in their thoughts and prayers.

Marvin’s father, delighted with the opportunity to see his son’s benefactors, replied that his family would also hold University Congregation in their prayers.

PLU music ensembles travel the globe
PLU’s music ensembles are on the road again this spring, and the university’s premier choir will perform in Scandinavia this summer.

The Choir of the West, directed by Richard Sparks, goes on a major tour through Norway and Sweden May 29-June 11.

The April tour of the University Chorale includes Spokane, Wash., with several stops in Montana. The University Singers will perform in Portland and Salem, Ore., in May. Both are directed by Richard Nance.

Choral Union, also directed by Nance, will travel to a national choral director’s association convention in San Antonio, Texas, in March (see feature article for more on the Choral Union).

The University Wind Ensemble, directed by Raydell Bradley, performs at high schools in Tacoma and Seattle, the University of Washington and the University of Victoria March 15-18.

The University Jazz Ensemble, directed by David Joyner, and the award-winning Park Avenue Vocal Jazz, directed by Wayne Bliss, performed at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Moscow, Idaho, in February.


PLU People

Remembering Brian Olson

Norweigan Red Cross president Thorvald Stoltenberg meets with students after his lecture
Brian Craig Olson

Brian Craig Olson, born on April 28, 1961 in Patterson, Calif., died on November 28, 2000 in Seattle. Brian was diagnosed in February, 1999 with colon cancer, and died from complications following surgery.

Brian earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Pacific Lutheran University in 1983 and, after working for the PLU Admissions Office for a short time, earned a master’s in management from Southern Oregon State University in 1987. Brian worked for Hewlett Packard in Boise for the last 12 years in finance, manufacturing and most recently as a marketing manager. He made a lasting impact at HP through his leadership, especially with diversity issues, employee recruitment and modeling the HP way.

Brian was active in his church from childhood. As a youth he sang in the choir and worked summers at Mt. Cross Bible Camp in Felton, Calif. More recently, Brian was a member of the worship band and president of the congregation at Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran Church in Boise.

While Brian was passionate about most things—the two passions that stood out above the others were his love for Pacific Lutheran University and the game of soccer. Brian was a member of PLU’s Alumni Board from 1991 until the present, serving two years as president. Brian’s ability to motivate and validate each member of the board, to visualize the future, and to move a group of people to consensus, helped to complete a board restructuring process that had been in the planning stages for several years.

Brian’s passion for soccer began at a very young age playing youth soccer, college soccer and playing in community leagues and pick up games up until the day before his last hospital stay. Brian was co-captain of his PLU soccer team and many members of his team and their coach, Arno Zoske, were present at his Tacoma memorial service.

Brian was a devoted father to his sons, Daniel, 10 and Benjamin, 6. Brian was the son of Clarene Osterli Johnson ’56 and Robert Olson ‘57. Brian was one of five children including Mark, Marianne, Paul, twin brother David ’83 and Knut ‘90.

Services were held for Brian in both Tacoma and Boise. At the Tacoma service, Brian was honored by the Alumni Association through comments made by alumni director Lauralee Hagen ’75, ’78 and at a reception following, hosted by the Alumni Board. In Boise, Brian’s friend, HP colleague and fellow PLU alum, Todd Kraft ’84, provided remembrances.

A scholarship has been established in the name of Brian C. Olson. If you would like to contribute to that scholarship, please send your gift to the Development Office at PLU or call either Development (253-535-7177) or Alumni (253-535-7415) for more information.

Published Corner

Gregory GuldinGREGORY GULDIN, professor of anthropology, had his book “The Saga of Anthropology in China: From Malinowski to Moscow to Mao” (M.E. Sharpe, 1994) translated into Chinese and published in December 2000 by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences Press in Beijing, China. This book follows the development of anthropology in China through four distinct phases, beginning before 1949 and proceeding through the 1980s. Also in December 2000, Westview Press published a new book by Guldin, titled “What’s a Peasant to Do? Village Becoming Town in Southern China.” This book is a multi-province study of the transformation of Chinese society because of ongoing urbanization.


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