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Get involved and discover the difference you can make for PLU

By Lisa Ottoson '87, Alumni Board president

William Butler Yeats once said, “Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

That is how I felt as I graduated from PLU back in the day, and how I felt in May when witnessing more than 500 enthusiastic, energized and proud students graduate from this beloved and contemporary learning establishment.

Those who spoke at the podium at Commencement shared messages of hope for a post 9-11 world and of realism in the opportunities and challenging decisions that will present themselves to each graduate over the years to come. I couldn’t help but wonder what each wild and precious life had in store following the hoopla and the celebratory receptions of the day.

In a world where a two-year-old cell phone is considered ancient technology, the concept of lifelong learning speaks to us more than ever. Where change is the norm and tradition often finds itself competing for a few mere moments in the 24/7 of our daily lives it is imperative to keep our minds and hearts open to new ideas, new challenges and new, yet unknown, solutions.

If I were at that podium, I would have chimed in with my share of optimism and realism, but I would have most fervently suggested that everyone in the room believe in the power inside themselves and challenge each person to act on his or her convictions. Yes … it’s easier said than done. We all want to believe that we do this, but at the end of the week, when we add up the hours committed to work and sleep and all the other obligations, consider the time allocation for giving back. Is it 1 percent, 3 percent? What should it be? What do you want it to be?

Writer Susan Jeffers said, “Knowing that we can make a difference in this world is a great motivator. How can we know this and not be involved?” It’s a great question to ponder.

My involvement with PLU enables me to give back in different ways and in varied capacities and for that, I feel privileged. It has been my experience that my giving to PLU has returned tenfold to me in satisfaction, fellowship and spiritual strength. Over the years I have participated on the Alumni Board, on committees, donated auction items to the Student Alumni Association, volunteered at the Wang Center, given financial support to Q Club, volunteered as a member of the Scandinavian Cultural Center, taught a cooking class, acted as a mentor for students and will soon serve on the Board of Regents as part of my role as Alumni Board president.

Alumni Board 2005-06
  • John Carr ’87 West Linn, Ore.
  • Michelle Cheney ’85 Big Fork, Mont.
  • Clayton Cowl ’88 Rochester, Minn.
  • Carol (Teslow) Dahl ’62 Pullman, Wash.
  • Dayna (Hesse) Hall ’02 Kirkland, Wash.
  • Don Isensee ’64 Klamath Falls, Ore.
  • Clarene (Osterli) Johnson ’56 Lakewood, Wash.
  • David Johnson ’74 Vice President Orange, Calif.
  • Jon Kvinsland ’63 Gig Harbor, Wash.
  • Mari (Hoseth) Lysne ’96 Sumner, Wash.
  • Dale Nienow ’79 Bellevue, Wash.
  • Lisa Ottoson ’87 President Spanaway, Wash.
  • Jeff Rippey ’78 Portland, Ore.
  • Carmen Rowe ’92 Tacoma
  • Pam (Weeks) Russell ’72 San Diego, Calif.
  • Susan (Hildebrand) Stringer ’76 Bellevue, Wash.
  • Dick Weathermon ’50
    Sumner, Wash.
  • Lauralee Hagen ’75, ‘78 Director
  • Erik Melver ’96 Assistant Director
  • Ann Johnson ’82 Administrative Assistant
  • Heather Dewey ’01 Director Annual Giving/Q Club
  • Jacob Himmelman ’03 Assistant Director
  • Stephen Cornils ’66 Vice President Development & University Relations
  • CJ Kipper ‘06 Student Alumni Association
  • Executive Director Willie Painter ’06 ASPLU president

I am so lucky, and I want to share this with you! Participate somehow, and in some way. By providing time, prayer, funds and spreading the awareness of PLU to potential students you too are participating in the legacy of the university and are helping it to prosper.


leadership & service

© Scene 2005  •  Pacific Lutheran University  •  Fall 2005

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