A C I F I C L U T H E R A N U N I V E R S
I T Y
U M M E R 2 0 0 1
Jeff Rippey ’78 reconnects
to PLU through the Board of Regents
By Greg Brewis
PLU’s well-deserved reputation
as a warm and friendly place probably began well before Jeff Rippey
’78 arrived on campus. But if you had to choose the personification
of that PLU spirit, you’d be hard pressed to find a better choice
A member of the Board of Regents
and the Alumni Board for almost two years, Rippey is a highly
success-ful financial management expert. He is also the most upbeat,
super-charged, positive personality around.
“When I arrived on campus for the
first time I didn’t know anything about PLU. I gave myself a self-guided
tour and I couldn’t believe it. I said ‘Wow! This place is beautiful.’
Within days I had checked it out with family and friends and made
PLU my number one college choice,” Rippey said.
“I didn’t know a single person on
campus when I started out as a freshman, but before long had many
great friends who continue to be friends today.” Rippey considers
his time at PLU a major turning point in his life.
“I had a very good experience at
PLU. The people I met here, the activities I was involved in,
and even my academic work helped me grow spiritually,” Rippey
said. He didn’t grow up attending church much—his interest in
Christianity began only a year to two before he came to PLU.
Baptized at Trinity Lutheran Church
as a junior, Rippey lived for several years with the Trinity pastor
and seriously considered entering the clergy himself.
“Eventually I decided that instead
of pursuing an interest in the ministry, I would concentrate on
my skills in economics and finance,” Rippey said. “I found myself—and
my life’s work—at PLU.”
Rippey worked part-time at Rainier
Bank in Seattle in the trust department during his senior year
evaluating financial statements of closely held companies. After
graduation, he stayed with Rainier for three years.
He then returned to his hometown,
Portland, Ore., and went to work for Columbia Management Company.
Rippey has now been there for almost 20 years.
He eventually became a share-holder
in the company. When it was sold
three years ago to Fleet Bank of Boston, he stayed on and managed
one of the most successful high-yield investment funds in the
“Except for being a Q Club member
I didn’t have much contact with PLU after I graduated,” Rippey
said. “The school was always in my mind, I just never reconnected.”
It was when President Loren Anderson and Alumni Director Lauralee
Hagen asked if Rippey would serve on the Alumni Board, and as
one of three Alumni Board representatives to the Board of Regents,
that the reconnection was sparked.
“When I attended my first regents’
meeting it probably had been 20 years since I had been on campus,”
Rippey said. “Here I am again, walking on campus thinking what
a beautiful place this is—but this time I’m wearing a suit and
a tie and carrying a briefcase. If it weren’t for the gray hair
I’m sure I could just walk right into class, sit down and fit
Rippey has fit right into his new
volunteer activities. He serves on the executive committee of
the Alumni Board and on the Board of Regents’ finance committee,
where he helps with the management of the university’s endowment
“It has been personally rewarding
for me to get to know the people on the Board of Regents, especially
those who serve on the finance committee,” Rippey said.
“Most students, faculty and alumni
have no idea how much knowledge and expertise the high powered,
talented people who volunteer as regents bring to help guide the
“I’ve learned a lot from them and
feel fortunate to have a chance to donate my time back to the
school to help them keep that special PLU spirit alive. It is
such a good feeling and uplifting experience for me to be back.
PLU is a special place. It’s great to see how nice and friendly
this campus and the students still are.”
Some nice guys, like Jeff Rippey,