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Council connects parents with university, students and activities

By Lorraine Ralston

Parents play an important role at PLU, and the Parents Council is a great way to help them stay connected with their children’s education.

Made up of more than 30 parents, the Council provides parents a voice at

the university. The council acts as a sounding board for the administration and provides feedback about issues important to parents.

“The council represents the total PLU experience for current and prospective students and their families,” outgoing Co-chair Tom Renne said. “The Parents Council provides an opportunity for interested parents to represent the concerns, recommendations, and opinions of the entire body of PLU parents.”

Renne and his wife, Mary, have been active on the Parents Council for three years. Their son, Mark, graduated in December, and their daughter, Julie, graduated in 2001. “We have always been actively involved in Mark’s and Julie’s activities so it was the right fit for us to participate in the council,” said Mary Renne.

The council was created in the 1980s. Council members are all parents of current full-time undergraduate students and represent all four classes. They meet on campus twice a year to develop projects and programs such as:

  • Parent-to-Parent Calling: This program is designed to welcome parents of incoming students and to answer any last-minute questions. Members attempt to call all first-year parents during the summer.
  • Orientation: Members participate in a panel discussion for parents of first-year and potential students and host a hospitality tent for families.
  • Connections Events: Council members often take part in these events around the country for alumni, parents, friends and prospective students.

Parents Council members also have organized football game tailgaters, hosted parent receptions for the music program, ushered at spring graduation and are active in the LuteRecruit program.

“Being part of the Parents Council has been very informative, constructive and fun,” said Vicki Yoder, a member for two years whose son, Kevin, is a junior. We became members of the Parents Council to get a better understanding of the direction and the administration goals of PLU. We feel (our son’s) educational experience can be maximized if we work in a partnership with the school.”

2005-2006 Parents Council
  • Paul and Lynn ’77 Olson, chairs. Port Orchard, Wash.
  • Rick and Sheri Ashleman. Shoreline, Wash.
  • Dan and Susan Berentson. Burlington, Wash.
  • Wilt and Ann Feider. White Bear Lake, Wash.
  • Gail Hashagen. Sammamish, Wash.
  • Dan and Cindy ’81 Kennedy. University Place, Wash.
  • Scott and Kathie McClimans. Bremerton, Wash.
  • Patrick and Faye Melius. Salem, Ore.
  • Jack and Jan ‘70 Praxel. Spokane, Wash.
  • Tom and Sharon Rickey. Tacoma, Wash.
  • Jeremy Stringer. Bellevue, Wash.
  • Stewart and Suzi Whitham. Tacoma, Wash.
  • Bruce and Nancy Wojciechowski. Lake Oswego, Ore.
  • Bruce and Vicki Yoder. Port Orchard, Wash.

The Parents Council also helps the university with student recruitment and fund-raising. One of its recent projects has been to work with the Washington State Department of Transportation to improve directional signage to the university on Highway 512 and Interstate 5.

“PLU is a special place and offers a very life-changing experience for all who attend and play an active role,” Tom Renne said.

For more information about the Parents Council, visit, or contact the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations at 800-ALUM-PLU.


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© Scene 2005  •  Pacific Lutheran University  •  Summer 2005

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