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Smooth construction means early opening for Morken Center

The Morken Center for Learning and Technology should open months earlier than planned. Construction has gone so well, contractors expect to have the building complete by the end of the year.

The new home for the School of Business and the departments of math and computer science and computer engineering should be in use by spring semester 2006, PLU President Loren J. Anderson said. That’s well ahead of the summer opening that had been planned.

The steel framing was completed in early April, and the university marked that milestone with a traditional “topping out” ceremony. The final beam was painted white and signed by members of the PLU community. A crane put the final beam in place, along with an American flag and an evergreen tree, which is traditional for ironworkers marking the completion of the framework.

The ceremony took place during Earth Week, and Anderson noted that along with being a state-of-the-art technology center, the building is environmentally friendly. The Morken Center is designed to be LEED certified, meaning it meets requirements of the U.S. Green Building Council’s program for Leadership in Environmental Engineering and Design.

This certification means increased energy efficiency, including a ground source heat pump, improved indoor environmental quality, use of recycled materials and landscaping to reduce heat and utilize storm water.

The $19 million, 53,000-square-foot building is the biggest capital project in university history.

You can follow the progress any time with a new Web cam. Visit to see the latest work.

Capital campaign under way to revitalize historic Eastvold Hall

A revitalized Eastvold Hall will become the true heart of the university as the new home for the humanities, a stunning auditorium and a renewed chapel. PLU’s next capital campaign is officially under way with the push to revitalize Eastvold.

The project will allow the humanities departments now scattered across campus to relocate to Eastvold. That will improve efficiency and collaboration in the departments of English, languages and literatures, philosophy and religion. Faculty offices will be built as “learning neighborhoods” that open into common areas where professors and students can meet informally.

The auditorium will become a stunning venue for theater, dance and music. The remodeling will include modern fly equipment and a new orchestra pit with a lift, as well as improved workspaces for costume, makeup and set construction. The grand Casavant organ will be restored. Along with university productions, Eastvold Hall will be an attractive venue for symposia, forums and community events.

A terrace and dramatic entrance will invite people into the chapel. The chapel will include space for choir or overflow seating, a narthex, sacristy and an alcove for the historic pipe organ, which will be rehabilitated.

The building, including the chapel, will be accessible to all with elevators and accommodations for people with disabilities.

For more information about the project or naming opportunities, go to

Historian Carp named to new endowed Benson Family Chair

History professor E. Wayne Carp, a nationally recognized authority on the history of adoption, was named to the new Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History.

Carp has taught American history at PLU for 18 years and served as chair of the History Department for six years. His expertise in the history of adoption has led to the publication of dozens of scholarly journal articles, speaking engagements at conferences and seminars and regular appearances in the national news media. His recent books include: “Adoption Politics: Bastard Nation and Ballot Initiative 58,” “Adoption in America: Historical Perspectives,” and “Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption.” He is currently working on a biography of Jean Paton, the “mother” of the adoption search movement. Carp’s awards include two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, PLU’s University Faculty Excellence Award and the National Historical Society Book Prize.

Last year a gift from the Benson Family Foundation of Portland, Ore., created the first fully funded, endowed chair at PLU.

The Benson Family Foundation

was created by Dale ’63 and Jolita Benson with a $3.4 million gift, the larger portion of which is intended for the benefit of PLU as one of the independent foundation’s two supported organizations.

Professor’s book basis for film on Christians in Nazi Germany

A documentary based on history professor Bob Ericksen’s book about how and why leading Lutherans supported Hitler was released this spring.

“Theologians Under Hitler,” by follows Ericksen’s 1985 book by the same name. Ericksen ’67 outlined the careers of three prominent Protestant theologians, Paul Althaus, Emanuel Hirsch and Gerhard Kittel, who actively supported Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in 1933 and continued to support the Nazis even when Nazi brutality became widely known. The book considers issues such as how intense nationalism, traditional Christian prejudice against Jews and traditional support for a strong German state allowed many Christians to give support to the Nazi regime.

“Theologians under Hitler” is a one-hour documentary adaptation of Ericksen’s work. The program features the story of these three theologians and why their religious beliefs did not prevent them from supporting Hitler in one of the darkest times of human history. It asks timely questions, such as: Can the mind rule over the heart? How can one be sure that God is acting through events in history? And most importantly, could it all happen again? It includes interviews with Ericksen, as well as footage shot on campus.

Andersons represent U.S. and PLU at Namibian inauguration

The inauguration of the new president of the Republic of Namibia had a distinct PLU presence.

President Loren J. and MaryAnn Anderson were citizen members of the U.S. delegation to the inauguration in March. U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Joyce Barr ’76 played an important official role in the ceremony and in events surrounding it.

Also attending the inauguration from PLU were Janet Rasmussen, director of the Wang Center for International programs, and Claudia Berguson, professor of Scandinavian studies.

Others present in Namibia at the time were PLU student interns who are working in Namibia and many graduates of the university who have returned to their native country to serve in government and industry.” In Namibia you are struck by a powerful sense that freedom and liberty are working,” Loren Anderson said.

Before the inauguration, Rasmussen and Berguson were in Windhoek, Namibia, to participate in festivities surrounding the 25th anniversary of the Namibia Association of Norway (NAMAS), which received a Peace Builder Award at the Wang Center’s Pathways to Peace symposium in January.

Berguson, Rasmussen and the Andersons also celebrated the renewal of an agreement between PLU, the University of Namibia and Norway’s Hedmark University College.

Established in 2001, this three-way partnership is designed to enable students to become world citizens, aware of global problems and committed to creating constructive responses to these problems in the spirit of democracy and peace.

Signed by the three university presidents, the renewed agreement extends the partnership through 2010.

KPLU School of Jazz connects young musicians with professionals

A new KPLU CD showcases the work of Puget Sound area high school musicians and benefits programs at their schools.

As part of its continuing support of music education in schools, KPLU developed a mentoring program between jazz professionals and bands from 10 high schools and one middle school. Together, they made recordings that have become “KPLU School of Jazz.”

“With ‘KPLU School of Jazz’, we’ve greatly expanded our support of school music programs in the community, which are vital to fostering study at university jazz programs, including PLU, as well as nurturing future jazz artists and jazz enthusiasts,” KPLU General Manager Martin Neeb said.

Schools from Tacoma to Mountlake Terrace took part, and musicians Ernestine Anderson, Jay Thomas, Michael Brockman, Darren Motamedy, Vern Sielert, Thomas Marriot, Mark Taylor, Doug Miller, Steve Korn,

Tracy Knoop and Bill Anthony lent their talents.

Because of a grant from The Boeing Co., proceeds of sales will go back to the school music programs. The CD is available at several area stores for $12. For more details on the CD and where to buy one, go to

ASPLU raises awareness and money for ongoing international needs

When members of ASPLU returned to campus from winter break, they did exactly what many people around the world did – they got together to figure out how best to respond to East Asia’s tsunami crisis.

Their response, however, was somewhat different. Headed by ASPLU President Joel Zylstra ’05, the group tried to figure out how to ensure that the student body is concerned about ongoing international needs, not just thinking about one crisis after another.

To reinforce that, ASPLU promised to donate $10,000 from its contingency fund if students could match that amount. The donations would then go to five different beneficiaries, including World Vision and Lutheran World Relief.

“Our plan was to create programming with a purpose,” Zylstra said.

This included concerts, open-mic nights, discussions and traditional PLU events like Foss Fest. In each case, members of ASPLU used the events to remind students of their global responsibility, and to seek donations of both time and money.

The results, so far, have been positive. By mid-April, Zylstra said they had received more than $4,000 – about where they expected to be. They hoped to hit their goal by the end of the semester.

Students volunteer to build Habitat for Humanity house

Two students helping families get houses of their own spurred others in the PLU community to get involved with Habitat for Humanity this spring.

Jennifer Ng ’08 and Holly Harkema ’06 organized PLU’s participation in a student Habitat project, in which college and high school students help build a house for a local family.

“It’s great because there’s a diverse group of people that are there for the cause,” Harkema said. “It makes you feel like what you are doing is worthwhile.”

Each school worked on the Tacoma house at different times. Seven PLU students put up siding, built interior and exterior walls and painted.

The family moving into the house helped build it. This idea of “sweat equity” – helping with their own homes and other Habitat houses – is one of the cornerstones of Habitat’s success.

“At lunch, the owner said a prayer in Russian and by the end of the prayer she was crying,” Ng said. “She was really moved.”

Habitat for Humanity International is a nonprofit organization that builds houses with volunteer labor and donations of money and materials. The houses are then sold to families at no profit and financed with affordable, no interest loans.

Ng and Harkema have more projects planned and hope to set up a PLU chapter of Habitat.

The Morken Center for Learning and Technology celebrated the completion of the steel framework at a ceremony in April that included lifting the final beam – which was painted white and signed by members of the community – along with a flag and evergreen tree. Top left: President Loren Anderson and project superintendent Ken Cass discuss the building’s early opening.


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© Scene 2005  •  Pacific Lutheran University  •  Summer 2005

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