30 years ago, two newly hired
fund-raisers sat down with their boss to come up with a new
twist on annual giving at PLU. David Berntsen '58 and Edgar
Larson '57 joined Clayton Peterson, vice president for development,
in rethinking fund raising as "friend" raising and
as a result established "Q Club" (a name with surprising
Peterson was among the first university development professionals
to understand that our work is a lot more than just asking for
money," Berntsen said. "He knew that a strategy that
rewarded donors by involving them in the life of the university
in a personal, meaningful way was the path to success."
Q Club focused on raising "unrestricted" gifts-gifts
that were not designated for any specific purpose but rather
went to support the university's greatest need in any given
year. "So we decided to invite them all to a banquet once
a year where we could tell them about the university, show off
the best of our students, and faculty and have them meet the
president. We called it a gathering of dedicated friends,"
mission of Q Club is to provide assistance to deserving
students as they prepare for lives of service through
a Pacific Lutheran University education.
1. To keep PLU accessible to deserving students by helping
to underwrite the cost of their education.
2. To increase Q Club membership by recruiting others.
3. To promote increased annual giving and to endow the
4. To serve as ambassadors to promote good will for the
In its first
year, 1972, the Q Club goal was to recruit 100 members. "We
achieved that goal and raised $51,000," Berntsen said.
"It grew each year from then on. The second year we raised
$67,000. As time went on we eventually set $1 million as our
goal and we reached that in 1991. Then we went for 1,000 members,
then 1,500." Today the group has almost 2,000 members and
raises more than $1.3 million a year.
years the Q Club concept evolved, and today all of the money
that comes to the group supports student scholarships. The banquet
has evolved too. It now includes members of the university's
Lifetime Giving Society and Heritage Society.
nine giving levels with a minimum contribution for membership
of $25 per month ($300 per year), although there are members
who have given $100,000 or more to the Q Club endowment.
So how did
the name "Q Club" originate? At first Berntsen would
"Ed, Clayton and I were looking for something that would
look good on a lapel pin," Berntsen said. "We wanted
it to be a sign of distinction for members to wear the pins
in the community and have others ask what it represented. So
we choose a "Q" because it looked good."
thought that the "Q" would look good on certificates
that would stand out on a member business person's wall or on
the desk in a faculty member's office. They thought maybe a
student or parent would see it and ask about the group of people
that is trying to help PLU.
we had to figure out what the "Q" should stand for.
Well, 'quality' of course," Berntsen said. "Surely
we had a group that would be trying to maintain the academic
and spiritual quality of the university with our gifts.
you can do a lot with a 'Q.' And the word quality just had a
good ring to it."
CLUB BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Karin Anderson '99
David Berntsen '58
Parke Blundon '79
Lee Dawson '72*
Kathy Edlund '64*
Ingrid Gintz '70
Barrie Mott '90
Erik Ogard '88
Knut Olson '90, President*
Laura Polcyn '75, '79
Erv Severtson '55
Phil Waldner '80*
CLUB ADVISORY BOARD
Neal Arntson '58
Lynne Bangsund '70
Alison Corrigan '94
Joe Dillon '70
Ron Douglass '53
Donald Isensee '64
Jeff Johnson '76
Dale Keller '53
Paul Larson '38
Jill Simonson '80
Inez Van Antwerp
Mark Woldseth '70
David Aubrey, Vice President for Development and University
Lauralee Hagen '75, '78, Director of Alumni & Parent
Anne Gintz, Associate Director of Annual Giving/Q Club
Helen Nordquist '57, Administrative Assistant, Annual