Scan Center painting is solid gold

A Norwegian painting that used to hang in PLU’s Scandinavian Cultural Center sold at Sotheby’s auction house in London for $525,000 on June 27.

Painted by Norwegian artist Nikolai Astrup, “White Night, Buttercups at Jølster” was donated to PLU by Tacoma resident Neil Anderson in 1999. The sale marked the first time the university sold a donated item, said Susan Young ’92, director of the SCC.

“We couldn’t be happier. This is going to put us in a position to offer exciting new programs, make stronger ties between PLU and contemporary Scandinavia, and enhance our scholarship program,” she said.

The net proceeds of the sale after commissions and fees – about $400,000 – will be put into the university’s endowment and used to benefit the SCC, fund student scholarships and enhance the center’s programming.

Sotheby’s, an auction house that deals exclusively in fine art, took bids on the painting as part of its annual Scandinavian sale. The painting was valued between $495,000 and $694,000. There were four bidders for the painting.

UC renovation creates new campus commons

An improved and more student-focused University Center greeted students when they returned to campus for the start of fall semester.

Tom Huelsbeck, director of residential life, highlights changes to the University Center during a tour of the remodeled building.

From mid-March through August, the building underwent its first major renovation since opening in 1970. The improvements include an expanded dining hall, additional meeting and conference space and more student gathering areas.

On the main floor, the building gained valuable real estate with the relocation of the bookstore to Garfield Commons. The former bookstore is now home to conference and meeting spaces, and additional storage for Dining Services.

The former meeting spaces gave way to a greatly expanded dining hall and new convenience store. The store provides to-go food items and other essentials, like personal-care products and school supplies.

Meanwhile, the ground floor is hardly recognizable. The Scandinavian Cultural Center remains unchanged, but gone are the Lute Lounge, Commuter Lounge and Coffee Shop. The space occupied by Campus Ministry was demolished, leaving an open space and exposing the back staircase. The space is slated to become a lounge area, complete with comfortable seating and Wi-Fi.

Meanwhile, the former Coffee Shop was divided into two meeting rooms, and the former lounges were split into an array of office suites. The suites will be used by ASPLU, student media and student-run organizations, as well as student-oriented offices such as Residential Life, Campus Ministry and Student Involvement and Leadership.

A grand reopening celebration is slated for Sunday, Oct. 14, at noon.

New VP, interim dean named

PLU recently named a new vice president for admission and enrollment services and an interim dean for the School of Business.

Karl StumoKarl Stumo is the new vice president for admission and enrollment services. Formerly the associate vice president for admission and financial aid, Stumo is beginning his fourth year at PLU. In his new position, he is responsible for overseeing the admission, financial aid and student services offices, as well as implementing enrollment initiatives.

Stumo holds bachelor degrees in English and communication from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn. He earned a master’s degree in education leadership and policy from Iowa State University.

William FramePLU’s former vice president for finance and operations, William Frame, returned to the university in September as the interim dean for the School of Business.

Frame brings a wealth of experience to the position. A former professor and chair of the political science department at Kenyon College, Frame also worked in corporate banking, and as vice president and corporate treasurer of the Tonka Corporation.

He worked at PLU from 1993 to 1997, before becoming the president of Augsburg College in Minneapolis. He retired from that position in 2006.  

Nanolithography comes to PLU

Chemistry professor Dean Waldow produced the world’s smallest PLU logo last spring. Measuring less than half the diameter of a human hair, the “nano-Rose” cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Etching of PLU logo on human hair

An etching of the rose window, half the diameter of a human hair, thanks to the university’s new atomic force microscope.

Waldow used the chemistry department’s newest piece of equipment – an atomic force microscope – to scratch the outline of the logo into the surface of a compact disc. The cutting-edge process is referred to as nanolithography.

The chemistry department received a grant from the National Science Foundation to acquire the high-end microscope. The equipment is “the BMW of atomic force microscopes,” and will contribute significantly to the undergrad experience at PLU, Waldow said.

“In chemistry, we often imagine how things look. This is the first piece of equipment that allows us to actually see, and any time you can bring in visualization, the more insights you can learn,” he said.

Unlike traditional microscopes, the atomic force microscope works through touch. A miniscule pinpoint-tip taps along the surface of a sample, similar to the stylus on a phonograph, and translates an image of the sample’s surface to a computer screen.

While the tiny version of the logo doesn’t have many practical uses, the microscope’s ability to scratch the surface of a sample does, Waldow said.

“Being able to manipulate matter on the nanometer scale helps us understand our world,” Waldow said. “More manipulation of matter leads to more scientific questions.”

Five alums receive Fulbright awards

Jessica Hansen ’07, Jamie Stewart ’07, Mike Wauters ’07, Vanessa Bruce ’07 and Lucas Dolge ’06 received Fulbright scholarships for study overseas this fall.

Hansen will travel to Austria to examine the country’s approaches to immigration, while Wauters will go to Ecuador and study Chagas disease. The remaining PLU recipients – Stewart, Bruce and Dolge – will spend next year teaching English as a second language. Stewart will travel to Indonesia, Bruce to France and Dolge to South Korea.

The group brings the total number of PLU students to receive the prestigious Fulbright award to 76. Professor Emeritus

Rodney Swenson coordinates the program through PLU’s Wang Center for International Programs, helping students tailor their applications and answering questions.

The Fulbright Program was founded in 1946 to promote “international good will through the exchange of students in the fields of education, culture and science.”

Nursing students earn honors for best public service announcement

When nursing students Rebecca Miner ’06, Allyce Doody ’06 and Jamye Gore ’06 were asked, as part of their community health class, to come up with a concept for a television public service announcement, they never thought it would actually get produced.

Not only did it get produced, but this spring it won an award from cable provider Comcast for best public service announcement.

Comcast cast the 30-second spot with actors, shot the video and did all of the production work. But when it came to the concept for the PSA and writing the script, it was all Miner, Doody and Gore.

“When we sent them the script, we figured they’d never actually do it,” recalled Gore, who currently works in Tacoma General Hospital’s cardiac care unit. “Not only did it come out almost exactly the way we wanted it, but it is even being broadcasted on channels that people actually watch.” Gore says she’s seen the spot on FX and the food network in the evenings.

The public service announcement seeks to highlight the key role handwashing plays in preventing the spread of disease. The narrative follows a gentleman through a restaurant, highlighting the many times he makes contact with others and potentially spreads disease. It finishes with the central message, “Wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds.”

Quigg Award rewards campus innovation and excellence

A new award has been established to honor faculty, staff and students who demonstrate unusually inventive, original and creative approaches to advance the mission of the university. The recognition, named the Carol Sheffels Quigg Award for Excellence and Innovation, is currently accepting nominations.

The award was established through an endowment gift by Quigg ’58, a regent of PLU. It seeks to honor those whose achievements have resulted in advances in knowledge, more effective teaching and learning, a stronger, more vibrant university culture, improved administrative practice, and/or exceptional service to the community. The award may recognize individuals or organizations such as academic departments, staff groups or student clubs.

Administered through the Office of the President, nominations for the Quigg award will be solicited at the beginning of each fall term. Award recipients will be announced at the annual Christmas luncheon in December.

For more information, or to submit a nomination, contact the Office of the President at

Father serving in Iraq participates in daughter’s graduation

Sara Shover ’07 was set to receive her degree in elementary education on Sunday, May 27, and her family was in attendance to support her – everyone except her father, who was serving in the U.S. Army in Iraq.
Sara Shover '07

After commencement, Sara Shover ’07 talks online with her father, who was serving in Iraq.

But thanks to some clever, last-minute work by Layne Nordgren ’76, director of instructional technologies and library systems, and Aaron Gerow, open source implementation specialist, Command Sergeant Major Brian Shover was able to watch his daughter graduate via a video link.

The link was originally to be hosted by Freedom Calls, a foundation that coordinates video links between troops serving abroad and their families back home. Nordgren and Gerow spent significant time in the weeks prior to graduation identifying the equipment and software needed to make the two-way video conference possible. On the morning of commencement, they went to the Tacoma Dome at 9 a.m. to begin setting-up and working out the kinks. “I had something like 30 calls on my cell phone [from Freedom Calls] as we began testing the connection,” Nordgren said.

Just 30 minutes before commencement was to begin, Nordgren and Gerow realized the set up wasn’t going to work. The two jury-rigged a solution through the Webstream that Nordgren and his team routinely establish for important PLU events.

Shover’s father was able to watch the entire ceremony online.  After the ceremony, Nordgren and Gerow used Skype, an Internet-based telephone service provider, to orchestrate a live video connection between the family members.

Nordgren says the solution wasn’t perfect – sandstorms in Iraq caused the picture and audio to drop out occasionally. “I wish it could have been better,” said Nordgren, “but to see the look on their faces, it was worth it.”

Kathy Shover, Sara’s mother, agreed. “It was a little bit in-and-out,” she said, speaking of the technical difficulties caused by the weather in Iraq. “But that really didn’t matter. It was really a nice experience to have the family together.”

To view this, and other PLU events online, visit


President Loren J. Anderson has been named to the national board of directors of the premier study-abroad provider for U.S. college students. The Institute for the International Education of Students, IES, offers academics, internships and cultural immersion opportunities. The Chicago-based non-profit enrolls 5,000 students annually in more than 70 programs in 17 countries in Europe, Asia and South America, and in Australia and New Zealand.

Sheri Tonn, vice president for finance and operations, spent a week last summer participating in a National Security Seminar sponsored by the U.S. Army War College, the Army’s senior educational institution. Tonn was one of 165 business, government, academic and community leaders who took part in the program. Participants met and exchanged views with the nation’s future military leaders on national security issues.

Benson Family Chair and Professor of History E. Wayne Carp will spend the spring 2008 semester as a Fulbright Distinguished Lecturer to Korea. Carp will teach courses on the history of American business and the history of the American family at the Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, Korea.