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[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

For Parents Council members, PLU is truly a family affair

by Greg Brewis

Peter and Mary Ellen Gulsrud

If you referred to it as "Gulsrud University" probably half the people you talk to would know you meant PLU. There are more Gulsruds and friends of Gulsruds with a PLU connection than you can count.

Now serving as volunteer members of the PLU Parents Council, Peter '76 and Mary Ellen (Ezell '77) Gulsrud are part of a clan that is Lute to the core. Among them is daughter Natalie, a PLU junior who was recently awarded the prestigious Udall Scholarship for her work in environmental policy. Peter's father, Ernest, was a PLC regent in the 1940s and later a founder of California Lutheran University. "PLU has been a perfect fit for my family for generations," Peter said. "Maybe it's our Scandinavian heritage, I don't know. But I do know that at PLU we have just fit right in."

Peter and Mary Ellen were high school sweethearts who went their separate ways to college. After a visit to see Peter at PLU, Mary Ellen realized that the California state school she was attending was the wrong choice. She soon transferred.

"I was amazed. There was a real strong sense of support and caring for each other at PLU. It just felt right," Mary Ellen said. "And it's still true. Natalie is experiencing the same atmosphere, the same combination of challenge and support that we did."

We have discovered that the Parents Council really does make a difference

-Peter Gulsrud

"I graduated feeling fully prepared for the world of nursing," said Mary Ellen, a registered nurse in IV therapy now studying for a credential as a legal nurse. "My education has never let me down and I am proud that Natalie will feel the same." The Gulsruds say that is the reason why they are staying involved at PLU as volunteers.

They attend all of the PLU activities held in their hometown, Spokane. At recruiting, alumni or fund raising events, they answer questions and relay their and Natalie's experiences at PLU.
When recruiters from PLU come to the high school where Peter teaches science, he meets with students who have shown an interest and gives them his insider's perspective.
"On the Parents Council we are able to support other parents and offer the university advice on how things might be improved from a parent's perspective," Peter said. "Mary Ellen and I can also bring the perspective of a long affiliation with PLU to the council and that is something the other members appreciate."

What is the Parents Council?

Sponsored by the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations, the PLU Parents Council is comprised of parents or families of full-time undergraduate students at PLU. Their objective is to generate and maintain the goodwill and support of parents of the university. Members serve as a vehicle to inform other parents about all aspects of the university, strive to promote the welfare and advancement of the university, and to encourage participation in PLU activities. Activities include serving as hosts in residence halls and hosting question/answer session for parents during orientation, phoning new parents to the university in the parent-to-parent calling program, and serving as resource persons in local communities.

The Gulsruds have served on the PLU Parents Council for three years.

"We have discovered that the Parents Council really does make a difference," Peter said. "In the past we have raised concerns about lighting on campus and Mary Ellen has requested changes in health care information provided by the university. In every case the university has followed up."

The Gulsrud family makes it a point to visit campus about twice a year. "Homecoming has become a real family tradition for us," Mary Ellen said. "We attend the game, stop by Afterglow, and stop by the bookstore to pick up PLU hats and shirts for our boys. They love coming to campus."

It seems that sons Philip, 12, and David, 10, are getting an early taste of "Gulsrud University." Look for them in the classes of '10 and '12.

2001-2002 Parents Council

Paul and Carol Abodeely
Seattle, Wash.

Tom and Kathryn Baerwald
Alexandria, Va.

Dan and Susan Berentsen
Burlington, Wash.

Bill and Anne Buck (chairs)
Portland, Ore.

Randy and Jeanne Castello
Honolulu, Hawaii

Jan and Ann Hockert
Vancouver, Wash.

Becky and Donald Greetan
Bremerton, Wash.

Peter '76 and Mary Ellen
(Ezen '77) Gulsrud
Spokane, Wash.

Dan and Linda Jamieson
Omak, Wash.

Jim Berg and Marylou Knudsen
Eagle River, Alaska

John '68 and Shirley '69 Oakley
Billings, Mont.

Paul and Lynn '77 Olson
Port Orchard, Wash.

Tom and Mary Renne
West Linn, Ore.

Sharon Schauss
Fircrest, Wash.

Chuck and Linda Spiedel
Boise, Idaho

Paul and Cynthia Stabbert
Tacoma, Wash.

Bill and Rosemary Stewart
Spokane, Wash.

Glen and Karen Takenouchi
Lihue, Hawaii

Terry '75 and Martha '75 Teigen
Seattle, Wash.

Bill and Yvonne Van Nostran
Vancouver, Wash.

Tom and Wendey Weathers
Spanaway, Wash.

Tim and Sue Wolbrecht
Redmond, Wash.


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