P A C I F I C   L U T H E R A N   U N I V E R S I T Y

S P R I N G   2 0 0 2

[Pacific Lutheran Scene]

Leadership and Service

Doing a lot with a "Q": PLU Q Club serves school for 30 years

David Berntsen, Edgar Larson, and Clayton Peterson
EARLY DEVELOPMENT: In 1971 (L TO R) David Berntsen, Edgar Larson, and Clayton Peterson review drawings of the proposed 60-foot Anderson Clock Tower outside the University Center that was erected later that year. The tower was the gift of Herman ’31 and Vivian Anderson. Today Berntsen and Larson continue to serve as development officers for the university.

By Greg Brewis

More than 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 origins).

"Clayton 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."

At first 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," Berntsen said.

Q-Club Mission Statement

The 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 university's future.
4. To serve as ambassadors to promote good will for the university

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.

Over the 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.

There are 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 only laugh.
"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."

They also 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.

"Then 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.

"Yes, you can do a lot with a 'Q.' And the word quality just had a good ring to it."

Karin Anderson '99
David Berntsen '58
Ernest Bianco
Becky Bianco
Parke Blundon '79
Debbie Dawson
Lee Dawson '72*
Kathy Edlund '64*
Ingrid Gintz '70
Lisa Korsmo
Michael Larson
Barrie Mott '90
Erik Ogard '88
David Olson
Knut Olson '90, President*
Laura Polcyn '75, '79
Stan Purvis
Erv Severtson '55
Si Torvend
Phil Waldner '80*
(*Executive Committee)

Neal Arntson '58
Lynne Bangsund '70
Alison Corrigan '94
Joe Dillon '70
Ron Douglass '53
Ken Dunmire
Tal Edman
Larry Green
Donald Isensee '64
Jeff Johnson '76
Dale Keller '53
Paul Larson '38
Don Mott
Bill Rea
Jill Simonson '80
Inez Van Antwerp
Mark Woldseth '70

David Aubrey, Vice President for Development and University Relations
Lauralee Hagen '75, '78, Director of Alumni & Parent Relations
Anne Gintz, Associate Director of Annual Giving/Q Club
Helen Nordquist '57, Administrative Assistant, Annual Giving/Q Club

Pacific Lutheran University Scene
Credits | © 2002 | Comments