search PLU

alumni news & events

more alumni info

Alumni Recognition Awards

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Kenneth "Skip"Hartvigson ’65
Because his life and approach to work embody the mission of PLU, Kenneth "Skip" Hartvigson ’65 receives the Distinguished Alumni Award.

He had a remarkable career in sales starting with Proctor & Gamble from 1965-1972 and Connecticut Mutual Life from 1972-1983. He was a highly successful Lutheran Brotherhood general agent for 19 years until he retired in December. In the first five years after joining Lutheran Brotherhood in 1984, Hartvigson more than tripled his agency’s earnings. His expertise made him a sought-after speaker and mentor, and he has shepherded the careers of numerous Lutes over the years. The values, mission, sense of commitment and work ethic he instills have helped those he manages reap success.

Hartvigson has served his "beloved" university in many ways since his days as senior class president. A valued volunteer, he is a member of the Board of Regents, sits on the School of Business Administration Advisory Board and is a member of the business alumni club PLUS Business. He and his wife, Joyce (Haavik ’65), have been leaders in fund-raising campaigns, are Q Club Fellows and members of the Heritage Society and Lifetime Giving Society.

Hartvigson and his wife share homes in Seattle and Mexico. They have two sons, Brett ’92 and wife Jocelyn, and Koll ’93, and five grandchildren.

Outstanding Alumnus Award

Bill Kees ’65
For his dedication to the Lutheran Church and his advocacy for youth, Bill Kees ’65 receives a 2003 Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Kees is director of the ELCA Youth Ministries and Gathering. He has made it his life calling to challenge the church to make young people full members of the church. His ministry is defined by a deep sense of empathy for and interest in youth and their contribution to the community of faith. As part of that, he oversees the Lutheran youth gatherings. The ELCA carries out the largest gathering of youth in North America, bringing together 40,000 youth and their sponsors from 3,000 congregations every three years to affirm young people in their faith.

A former parish pastor, he served five congregations in Minnesota and California more than 21 years. At PLU, he was a member of the Choir of the West, and he has had a strong relationship with PLU’s Campus Ministry for years.

He and his wife, Carolyn ’66, live in Park Ridge, Ill. They have two children, Matthew, ’93, and Amanda, a ’92 graduate of California Lutheran University, and six grandchildren.

Outstanding Alumnus Award

Calvin Watness '50, '61
For his work in promoting education and decades of service to students and the community, Calvin Watness ’50 and ‘61, receives an Outstanding Alumnus Award.

Watness started his career as a teacher in the Kent and Clover Park school districts. He was director of Adult Education and Summer School for Clover Park, dean of extension services at Fort Steilacoom Community College (now Pierce College) and after retirement in 1980 was director of Adult Education at Northwest Regional Education Lab. He served as administrative manager for the Puyallup Tribe of Indians from 1982 to 1986. He tried retirement, and though he enjoyed bowling and fishing in Alaska, he wanted to return to work. He volunteered for numerous organizations, most notable being president of the Washington State Retired Teachers Association and state director of AARP. He works part time as a reverse mortgage specialist in a program that allows senior citizens to access money from their home equity.

During his academic career, Watness spearheaded several drives to seek state aid for summer programs and was an advocate for adult education who helped propose new community colleges in the ’60s. He created night programs that allow adults to attend classes while working – and are still a model today.

In 1970, Watness helped develop the self-help housing program House My People, which has built hundreds of homes and continues today as Northwest Housing Program. He also was on the original committee seeking incorporation for Lakewood starting in 1971. Lakewood achieved cityhood in 1996.

He and his wife, Julia, ’52, live in Lakewood. They have four children and five grandchildren.


Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award

Dave Howell '89
For his visionary work in combining the arts and technology, Dave Howell ’89, receives the 2003 Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award.

A founding employee of the highly successful gaming company Wizards of the Coast, Howell was a pioneer in the electronic publishing industry. In the mid-’80s, he envisioned digital publishing becoming an indispensable part of readers’ lives. He created a powerful "reader recommender," a computer algorithm to help people make book selections.

He founded AlexLit (, which publishes books and short stories online and makes his reader recommender available to everyone. The timely launch of his company preceded the development of hand-held computer "books," and he invented a converter to convert text of books into various formats used by the hand-held devices. His company is now known as Seattle Book Company. At Wizards of the Coast, he was responsible for card production and online customer support, and ultimately served as director of the Book Publishing Division.

Howell started in business at age 17, when he formed Magnetic Media Merchants in 1983, selling computer diskettes to business in his hometown of Walla Walla, Wash. Since then, he has started several other companies, authored several books, published books and games, founded a yearly science fiction convention and created many computer programs for Web sites.

He is also a musician, graphic designer, calligrapher and has worked in the Seattle theater scene. Another goal is to write and perform his own works in musical theater. Howell lives in Tukwila, Wash.

Alumni Service Award

Dan Wiklund '89
For providing medical services to some of the neediest in the world, Dr. Dan Wiklund, ’70, receives the Alumni Service Award.

Wiklund, a physician at Puyallup Dermatology Clinic, serves on the board of Health Teams International, based in Tulsa, Okla. The mission is to deliver medical and dental care to areas including Mongolia, Tibet and Cameroon. The team partners with in-country pastors to deliver the Christian gospel to "unreached peoples," often animists in nature. He donates several months of his time each year to the organization, often practicing under extreme and primitive conditions. In seven years, volunteers have seen over 40,000 patients. He lobbies for better sanitation and knowledge about public health in poor rural areas, hoping to help prevent common maladies such as worms, parasites, AIDS and malaria.

Wikland is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Washington Medical School, where he was named UW Teacher of the Year for Clinical Faculty. He works with a Seattle area Christian medical students group, encouraging them to participate in third world medicine. He has also set up an Internet consulting partnership with doctors in China, India and the Philippines, in which they send him photos and descriptions of skin problems and he makes recommendations for their care.

He and his wife, Ulrike, live in Puyallup, Wash. They have three daughters.

Heritage Award

Helen (Jordanger) Nordquist '57
For her longtime dedication to PLU, Helen Nordquist ’57, receives the 2003 Heritage Award.

Nordquist will retire in May with nearly 25 years of service in the Q Club office. She made her work much more than a job – it has been a personal crusade to encourage support for PLU and to thank those who offer it. She knows donors by name and works hard to build relationships with alumni and contributors. Her willing and caring attitude will be missed around the office, but her work will be long remembered by the thousands of students who have been helped with Q Club Scholarships.

Nordquist has served as a class representative and is a longtime member of the PLU Women’s Club, once known as the Faculty Wives Club. She has been involved with the annual Yule Boutique since its inception and works diligently to ensure the annual event, which benefits student scholarships, is a success.

She is a member of the Lutheran Social Services Board and is active in Trinity Lutheran Church.

She and her husband, Philip, ’56, longtime faculty member and campus historian, live in Tacoma. They have two sons, Chris and Paul ’92.

Special Recognition Award

Clark and Rae Peters
For their commitment to recruiting students and raising funds for PLU, Clark and Rae Peters receive the 2003 Special Recognition Award.

Neither of them attended PLU, but both their children did, and they have become grand supporters of the university. They were co-chairs of the PLU Parents Council and have been members of the past two campaign committees. They can be seen cheering at nearly every football game.

Because their children, Diana ’92 and Scott ’94 had such good experiences at PLU, Clark and Rae have been particularly interested in recruiting students and sharing their story with other parents and prospective students.

Rae grew up in Hawaii, and knowing how far students travel and what cultural differences they find here, they have always looked for ways to support students from Hawaii.

They are true friends to the university and epitomize the family atmosphere that is a hallmark of PLU.

Brian C. Olsen Leadership Award

Elisabeth Pynn '03
The Brian C. Olson Leadership Award is presented to a student who has demonstrated a commitment to the university and the Alumni Association. By recognizing the importance of connecting students and alumni, the recipient has shown potential for lifelong service to the university. Senior Elisabeth Pynn ’03 receives the 2003 Brian C. Olson Leadership Award.

Pynn came to PLU from Walnut Creek, Calif., and graduated in May with a degree in psychology. She hopes to use her education as an industrial/organizational psychologist or high school counselor. She has been involved with admissions events and hosted students for the Red Carpet program, has been a member of the residence hall government, served as a resident assistant, and acted as a student representative to the PLU Alumni Board.

Last year, Pynn served as the first executive director for the Student Alumni Association, implementing programs and events for the student body. Her personal goal for SAA has been to "invoke a strong sense of community and excitement for students at PLU." Pynn lives in Seattle, Wash., and is engaged to Jacob Himmelman ’03.

This award is named in memory of Brian C. Olson ’83.


More Alumni News

Join the Lutes at the Rainiers

Enjoy your Labor Day Weekend with fellow Lutes at a Tacoma Rainiers ballgame at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma. We invite you to join us for a night of baseball, food and fun Saturday, Aug. 31,

We have reserved the Upper Deck for use by PLU alumni, parents and friends that night. For just $15 per person, you receive VIP parking, entry into the park with special seating, an All American BBQ and a baseball signed by a player. Come watch the Tacoma Rainiers (Triple-A Affiliate of the Seattle Mariners) take on the Salt Lake Stingers. Call the Alumni Office or go to

Homecoming 2003 – Attaway!

jCalling all Gladiators, Knights and Lutes: Mark Oct. 17-19, 2003, on your calendar and make plans to join us for Homecoming 2003: ATTAWAY! In addition to reunions for the classes of 1953, 1958, 1963, 1968, 1973, 1978, 1983, 1988, 1993 and 1998, we are excited to welcome all those who have been involved in the football program for a special reunion celebrating 75 years of PLU football. Please watch for the Homecoming registration brochure this summer outlining all the details of the weekend’s festivities. We look forward to offering many of the popular events that have become a tradition during Homecoming Weekend and we hope to see many of you there!

Friday, Oct. 17
Register for the Athletic Hall of Fame Luncheon and learn first hand about the accomplishments of several athletes who will be inducted. Football reunion attendees will take part in many activities, including a day of golf, a cookout and a special reunion program.

Saturday, Oct. 18
Start out the day with a college workout challenge, led by Susan Westering ’80. Alumni will have the opportunity to attend the Heritage Lecture, reunion brunches or the Alumni Tent and the Lute Football game at Sparks Stadium. There will also be an opportunity to join a PLU tour of the new Tacoma Museum of Glass. While their parents are attending reunions, children of alumni can take part in "LuteCamp" on campus. Finally, join us at the Homecoming Gala, where we will honor the 2003 Alumni Award recipients, enjoy a wonderful meal and be entertained by some of PLU’s finest musical talent.

Sunday, Oct. 19
We wrap up the festive weekend with a Pancake Feed, a special University Congregation worship service and an afternoon Wind Ensemble concert.



Greg Guldin, professor of anthropology, wrote "Cultural Diversity in School: A Guide for School Board Members and School Administrators." The 90-page manual, was a project of the Washington State School Directors’ Association’s Diversity-Multicultural Advocacy Team. Guldin, the organization's diversity consultant, has worked with a number of local school districts on a range of issues related to educational diversity. The manual offers extensive information and practical advice on addressing and fostering cultural diversity in school.

Peter Grosvenor, assistant professor of political science, won a Canadian government Faculty Enrichment Grant to undertake work in Newfoundland and Labrador this summer. Under his proposal, "Atlantic Canada: Provincial Government, Party Politics, and Political Economy," he will undertake a month of field research to develop extensive new course material on Eastern Canada.

Janet Rasmussen will continue in her role as director of the Wang Center for International Programs. Her leadership during the center’s inaugural year has advanced PLU’s global initiatives.

Jill Whitman, professor of geosciences, began a three-year term on the U.S. Science Advisory Committee to the Ocean Drilling Program. USSAC is the scientific steering committee responsible for the overall long-term scientific direction and continuity of the program.

KPLU law and justice reporter Paula Wissel won a spot in the National Press Foundation's Homeland Security Conference in Washington D.C. Feb. 9-12.

PLU President Loren J. Anderson was awarded the Outstanding Executive Award of the Association of Lutheran Development Executives. Anderson was cited for his skill, commitment, selflessness and remarkable contributions he has made throughout his career, both to the larger philanthropic community and to PLU.

Dr. Chung-Shing Lee, ePLU director and assistant professor of business, and Jeffrey K.H.Liu ’03 presented "A Case Study of Taiwan Electronics Industry’s Supply Chain Management Strategy" at the Conference of the American Society of Business and Behavioral Sciences. Lee also visited the College of Economics at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China in December to discuss further academic cooperation between PLU and Sichuan University. In addition, he delivered a presentation on "Achieving High Performance on E-Business Supply Chain Management" at the Department of Business Management of the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Back to top Summer 2003 Scene Copyright 2003 Pacific Lutheran University Credits ~ Last Updated 06-04-2003 ~ Comments