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Economics professor, student present research at conference in Ethiopia

Faculty-student collaboration provided an extraordinary chance for a student to present a paper at an international conference in the rarely traveled country of Ethiopia.

Erin Burgess '04 and economics professor Priscilla St. Clair attended a conference on environmental sustainability organized by Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia in December. St. Clair was invited to speak at the conference, and she asked to bring along Burgess, her research assistant.

“It was my first time out of the states,” said Burgess, a double major in economics and environmental studies.

They joined researchers from as far away as China, Norway and Kenya to discuss environmental issues pertinent to Ethiopia, a country that has long struggled with problems including land erosion and poverty.

St. Clair, who specializes in environmental issues of Third World countries, collected data on forest management in Nepal in 2000. Using a Severtson research fellowship, Burgess helped sort data during a project last summer and presented some of the findings at the Ethiopia conference. She was the only undergraduate to address the conference.

“I thought she did a very nice job,” St. Clair said. “It's a fantastic opportunity for a student to get to do something like that, so I'm glad PLU supported it.”

The university helped cover Burgess' travel costs, and she said her professors helped accommodate the trip by allowing her to take finals early.

Though Ethiopia is not a common tourist spot, St. Clair and Burgess stayed at an eco-tourist resort, which offered solar powered hot water, fine food and conference workshops in a literal treehouse, high up in the branches of huge trees that are home to wild monkeys.

Burgess, who is from Billings, Mont., hopes to live in Seattle and then go to graduate school. Like St. Clair, she is interested in environmental economics. The pair continue to research whether community forest practices in Third World countries have a greater effect on the poorest local families. They hope to present more of their research at an economics conference this summer.

Student clubs aim to increase awareness of diversity issues

One new and one returning student clubs, Fused and BLACK@PLU, are opening eyes to different cultures on campus.

BLACK@PLU, which stands for Black Leaders Actively Communicating Knowledge at PLU, was dormant for two years and is back to bring awareness of racial issues to PLU and the surrounding community.

“We really need to be involved with each other,” President Sharron Allen '06 said. According to Allen, issues of race are “not black issues, but people issues.” The club, which is open to anyone, is spreading the word through events such as a platform to discuss racial questions with a panel of speakers from different ethnicities, a Gospel jamboree to honor Martin Luther King Jr. and activities throughout Black History Month.

Sharron Allen '06

Sharron Allen '06, president of BLACK@PLU

Fused – meaning mixed, multi-racial and multi-ethnic – also focuses on raising awareness. President Lisa Henderson '04 said the idea is to get students to share their experiences and realize that others understand where they're coming from. Not all members are multi-racial; for example, one student is Japanese, but grew up in China.

The club spent fall semester getting people and ideas together and is now planning activities. “We have no set standards,” Henderson said. “Students are welcome to bring their ideas. Whatever the students want to do, we'll do.” So far, Fused has sponsored campus-wide movies and is planning an event based on holidays around the world.

Grants and gifts help push the Morken Center toward completion

An $850,000 challenge grant from The Kresge Foundation has added even more energy to the drive to complete fund raising for the Morken Center for Learning and Technology. PLU will receive the money once it completes its $19 million goal to fund the Morken Center.

In addition, earlier in the campaign the university was awarded a $1 million challenge from the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust. The terms of both challenge grants are the same – they will be awarded only upon successful completion of the Morken Center fund raising by May 31st.

The university's efforts also received a boost through a $250,000 pledge from the LeMay family and Harold LeMay Enterprises.

“The Kresge Foundation challenge offers a resounding message of support and encouragement to the many friends of PLU who have been waiting to make a commitment to this project,” PLU President Loren J. Anderson said. “And the LeMay family's support will help us take the lead in the increasingly technological world.”

It is the largest gift to PLU from the LeMay family, which has deep connections to the university. Harold LeMay Enterprises is a Parkland-based refuse hauling service, operating in Pierce, Thurston, Grays Harbor and Lewis counties.

“We hold as important values community and education, both of which are represented in PLU's new Morken Center,” said Nancy LeMay, Harold's widow.

Family members involved in the business include Nancy LeMay, who assumed day-to-day operations of the business upon Harold's death; Norman LeMay '67, Doug LeMay, Hal LeMay '84 and Barb LeMay-Quinn. H. Eugene LeMay Jr. '62 is a professor of chemistry at the University of Nevada. Norman's son Craig is a 2003 PLU graduate, and daughter Jill graduated in 1996.

With the Kresge and Morken challenges and LeMay pledge, the Morken Center has commitments of $14.4 million. All gifts made from this point will help PLU qualify for the challenge grant.

PLU plans to complete fund raising by May 2004 and finalize construction by fall 2005. The Morken Center will house the School of Business with the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering and the Department of Mathematics. The 53,000-square-foot building will include classrooms, faculty offices and state-of-the-art laboratories.

Music professor, conductor Raydell Bradley dies

Raydell Bradley, associate professor of music and faculty member since 1992, died Nov. 27. He had been fighting serious illnesses including kidney disease, diabetes and a recurring viral infection.

In addition to teaching courses in music education, Bradley directed the University Wind Ensemble and Concert Band. He was also the musical director and conductor of the Washington Wind Symphony and had served on the music staff of the First Christian and Findlay Street Christian Church of Seattle.

Bradley pursued his music education at Truman State University in Missouri, where he earned a B.A. in music education in 1981 and his master's degree in 1986. He completed his doctorate in instrumental conducting in 2000 at the University of Washington, where he was the recipient of the Dorothy Danforth-Compton Foundation Fellowship.

Before accepting his appointment at PLU, Raydell was director of bands at Fort Hays State University in Hays, Kansas. He served as assistant director of bands at Truman State University and was on the music faculty in the Omaha public schools.

A concert featuring students, faculty and past and present members of groups he conducted took place in January.

University buys Garfield Street property for redevelopment

The urban blight at the intersection of Pacific Avenue and Garfield Street will soon be gone.

The site of the former Piggly Wiggly grocery store, Johnson's Drug and an adjacent vacant lot is under new ownership. And the new owner has big plans.

“Everyone agreed that the area, the gateway to PLU, was an eyesore and something had to change,” said Sheri Tonn, vice president for finance and operations. Something did change. The university purchased the lots.

“We are hoping for a complete new look on the corner in the next one to two years,” Tonn said.

The move was an endowment fund investment decision made by the investment and real property subcommittees of the Board of Regents' budget and finance committee. Endowment funds were used to buy the properties, and income from the properties will enhance the endowment in the future.

“The regents expect that this will be a very good endowment investment,” Tonn said.

The university intends to retain ownership of the property in perpetuity and lease the ground to a developer. Covenants in the lease will restrict the kinds of tenants that may occupy the space, giving the university some control over the atmosphere of the Garfield business district.

The redevelopment of the site also fits with Pierce County's interest in making the Pacific Avenue and Garfield intersection one of its retail-core redevelopment projects.

The buildings on the site will be demolished soon.

The university is working with a number of developers to assess the possibilities for new retail and other mixed use, including commercial and residential spaces.

Student version of eBay looks for buyers and sellers on the net

People looking for books, electronics or even a new carpet can check out Lutebid, PLU's Internet auction site.

Lutebid, created by Associated Students of Pacific Lutheran University as a service to the student body, launched last summer. Though it has not been too busy, ASPLU hopes Lutebid will evolve into a place students regularly go to buy or sell belongings.

“It has wonderful possibility,” said Scott Stauffer '05, ASPLU president. “It's fully functional and completely secure.” According to Stauffer, PLU is one of the first universities on the West Coast with such a program.

ASPLU contracted ePLU, the student-run e-commerce and technology management center in the School of Business, to oversee the day-to-day maintenance of the site. A PLU ePass, which allows access to various online services including e-mail, is required for access to Lutebid. Students must stick to ePass guidelines while using the site and are not permitted to sell anything illegal. Violations are reported to and handled by the Student Conduct System.

Micheal Steele '05, ASPLU director of public relations and personnel, says marketing is under way. Lutebid is working with business capstone classes to spread the word and plan a publicity campaign. Find the site at

University Symphony Orchestra tours West Coast during J-Term

Audiences far from campus had the opportunity to hear the University Symphony Orchestra perform in January.

The orchestra's tour explored the rich heritage of music from two worlds – the old and the new – during stops in Portland, Ore., Ferndale and Olympia, Wash., and Monterey and Pleasanton, Calif. Works representing the European origins of the orchestral repertoire included Johannes Brahms' rustic and delightful “Serenade in D Major,” “Op. 11,” Richard Wagner's musical birthday gift to his wife and son, and works by Mozart and others. From the new world, the orchestra performed works by contemporary American composers James Romig and Cindy McTee, ragtime music by Scott Joplin, and the fiery “Tangazo” by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla.

Conducted by Jeffrey Bell-Hanson, the orchestra undertakes an ambitious four-concert series every year. In addition, orchestra members participate in the annual Christmas concerts, host an annual invitational for several high school orchestras and present a spring concert featuring outstanding PLU soloists.

During the January tour, the orchestra also visited high schools in Ashland and Salem, Ore., and Olympia.

Poets take stage to share work at weekly coffee shop readings

From political statements and plays to short stories and animated poems, PLU poets share their work every Tuesday at Northern Pacific Coffee Company, one block from campus.

Hosted and founded by PLU's creative arts magazine Saxifrage, Poetry Open Mic at NPCC has been a hit with both students and the surrounding community. “There are people who haven't missed a week since we started,” said Jane Berentson '04, co-editor of Saxifrage.

The idea came from Dan Russell '04, co-editor of Saxifrage, who works at NPCC. “We wanted to have a poetic outlet for those who write poetry at PLU,” Berentson said. NPCC's book-filled Garfield Street location creates the perfect ambiance for coffee and prose, Berentson said.

Averaging five to 10 minutes at the microphone, writers typically read one to four pieces. Reading original work is encouraged. Saxifrage occasionally invites poets from around Tacoma to share their work and encourage students. The group usually hangs out to compare notes afterward.

The student newspaper The Mast now publishes poems from open mic night so the authors can see their work in print.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Saxifrage, and the editors want to make it special. Berentson hopes Poetry Open Mic will help increase submissions to the magazine this year. “People are more comfortable (with sharing their work) and more inspired,” she said. Students submit work, ranging from poetry and short stories to photography and drawings, for publication each year.

The coffee shop also stages other entertainment involving PLU students, including comedy, jazz and music open mic nights.

Westering succeeds Westering as Lute football coach

Scott Westering '82 will follow in his father's footsteps as head football coach. Frosty Westering retired after 32 winning seasons at PLU.

Westering has been an assistant coach for 23 seasons and has been the offensive coordinator since 1983. He teaches physical education and is operations supervisor of the Names Fitness Center. The university went through a national search before deciding on the inside candidate.

“We are excited about the future of football at PLU and the leadership Scott will bring to the program,” Athletic Director Paul Hoseth said.

Westering was a captain and member of PLU's first national championship (NAIA Division II) team in 1980. He was inducted into the PLU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1998.



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© Scene 2004  •  Pacific Lutheran University  •  Spring 2004

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