Distinguished Alumnus Award:

Through years of dedication and service, this alumnus has achieved professional or vocational distinction.

For his outstanding leadership as a pastor and bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, Paul Swanson ’66 receives the Distinguished Alumnus Award. Bishop Swanson, unlike any other current bishop, built the synod from the ground up, becoming a bishop at a very young age and staying longer than most. After attending the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, Bishop Swanson served as a parish pastor for 17 years before becoming the first bishop of the Oregon Synod. Considered by many of his colleagues to be a “pastor’s pastor,” Bishop Swanson will be retiring from the Oregon Synod this August after 20 years of service. Swanson and his wife, Mary (Green ’67), live in Portland.

For his groundbreaking work in the field of financial accounting software development, Charles Hoffman ’82 receives the Distinguished Alumnus Award. After graduating and working in the accounting industry for a few years, Hoffman saw a need for the exchange of information between accounting and business software. In 1998, he developed a solution in the basement of his house in Tacoma. The XBRL reporting system has become an almost instant success. It is already widely recognized as an innovative and important advance in the communication of financial data in standard format to the community of investors and regulators it serves. Hoffman lives in Tacoma.

Outstanding Alumnus Award:

Awarded to an alumnus, beyond 15 years of graduation, who has excelled in a special area of life.

For her skillful management of the initial public offering of Zumiez, Inc. as the company’s CFO, Brenda Morris ’91 receives the Outstanding Alumnus Award. Coupled with her recent transition to the position of CFO for iFloors, Inc., her success at Zumiez and her active involvement with the School of Business Executive Advisory Board at PLU, Morris is a fitting example of vocational accomplishment. She lives with her family in Sumner, Wash.

Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award:

Award to an alumnus, within 15 years of graduation, who has excelled in a special area of life.

For his outstanding achievement and success in theater both locally and nationally, Louis Hobson ’00 receives the Outstanding Recent Alumnus Award. As a leading young actor at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre, Hobson has held the lead in a number of professional musical productions throughout the Puget Sound and around the country including “HAIR,” “Miss Saigon,” “Wizard of Oz,” “Sound of Music,” “Pippen,” “Evita” and, just recently, “West Side Story”. Hobson lives in Tacoma with his wife, Noreen (McEntee ’00).

Heritage Award:

Awarded to an alumnus for years of distinguished service to the university.

For his outstanding leadership at PLU as a faculty member, administrator and vice president, and for her remarkable volunteer involvement at PLU, S. Erving ’55 and Nancy Severtson ’79 both receive the Heritage Award. Erv Severtson served PLU as a member of the faculty for more than 30 years and as vice president for student life for 14. He has come back to campus numerous times since retirement to fill interim positions and head major search committees. He is a counselor, mentor, father figure and friend to many people. For nearly 50 years, both Erving and Nancy have supported the growth and stability of the university with their time, financial gifts and talents. For the countless hours she has shared her husband with PLU and for her many hours as a volunteer, Nancy Servertson is also being honored. The Severtsons live in Gig Harbor, Wash.

Special Recognition Award:

Awarded to an alumnus or friend of the university who has served the university in a unique or special way.

For their unwavering loyalty as volunteers Tom and Mary Renne receive a Special Recognition Award. The Rennes have sent two children to PLU, served on the Parent Council for several years (including two years as co-chairs), continue to be strong financial donors and to donate their time and boundless energy to the university even though their children have graduated. Since leaving the Parent Council, Tom Renne volunteers his time with PLU Lute Club to raise money for athletic programs. Tom and Mary Renne live in West Linn, Ore.

Alumni Service Award:

Awarded to an alumnus who has demonstrated outstanding volunteer leadership and/or service to the community.

For her outstanding volunteer servant leadership to PLU and the broader community, Anita (Gregersen ’59) Christian receives the Alumni Service Award. Anita has spent countless hours on campus and in the community raising money for student scholarships. Most notably, she has chaired the annual Yule Boutique for eight of the last 12 years. She still serves as co-director of hospitality at Trinity Lutheran church, where she taught Sunday school and sponsored the Youth of Trinity group. She is currently the president of Women of the ELCA Southwest Washington Synod. Christian lives in Parkland with her husband, David.

The Brian Olson Award:

Presented to a student who has demonstrated commitment to the university and the alumni association. By recognizing the importance of connecting students and alumni, this student has shown a potential for lifelong service to the university.

For her outstanding achievement as a leader on campus and her countless hours of work for the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations, Kaarin Praxel ’07 receives the Brian C. Olson Leadership Award. Praxel was co-chair of PLU’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity and served as president of her residence hall. She served as executive director for the Student Alumni Association from 2006-2007 and has already agreed to be the 2007 co-class representative. She is from Spokane, Wash.

For her three years of work as a TelALute, raising almost $50,000 for student scholarships over the phone, Paige Sthen ’07 receives the Brian C. Olson Leadership Award. Sthen served as president of University Congregation and is a member of Q Club. Sthen is from Brookings, Ore.

Alumni News and Events

Alumni office hosts a summer full of events Dozens of events highlight the summer schedule of the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations.

“We would like to extend a special invitation to all alumni, parents and friends of PLU to come to campus to visit us weekdays this summer at the Nesvig Alumni Center for a cup of coffee and a campus tour,” said Lauralee Hagen, director of the office.

To register for these events or for more information, go to www.plualumni.org or call 800-258-6758 or 253-535-7203.

Lunch on Red Square

Monthly Fruit Festivals feature a berry dessert and entertainment during festive gatherings in Red Square this summer. The staff of the alumni office invites alumni for a picnic lunch in conjunction with the festivals. To order a gourmet box lunch for $10, please RSVP at www.plualumni.org. For those who register in advance, the berry dessert is free; without a reservation, dessert is an additional $2. All berry festivals start at 11:30 a.m.

  • June 20 – Strawberry Fruit Festival featuring Cowboy Buck and Elizabeth
  • July 18 – Raspberry Fruit Festival featuring the The Islanders Steel Drum Band
  • August 15 – Blueberry Fruit Festival featuring The Coats
PLU archives open to visitors

University archivist Kris Ringdahl ’82 has been a valuable resource to PLU for more than 40 years. She will host alumni for a tour of university history in the archive office at Mortvedt Library from 10-11:30 a.m. on July 18 and August 15. For information about the archives and its regular hours of operation, please visit www.plu.edu/archives or call 253-535-7586.

Behind-the-scenes campus tour

On July 18 and August 15, the alumni office will provide “behind-the-scenes” campus tours aimed at reorienting graduates with a transformed campus landscape. Featured locations include Garfield Book Company at PLU, the university’s new bookstore, due to open in early June; the building site and plans for the new KPLU studio; the Wang Center for International Programs; and the Morken Center for Learning and Technology.

Alumni book club series

Soon-to-open Garfield Book Company at PLU at the corner of Garfield Street and Pacific Avenue, will feature a series of free book club discussions hosted by the alumni office and featuring PLU faculty and alumni, plus a few local guests. The series begins this summer.

  • “A Prayer for Owen Meany,” by John Irving, facilitated by professor of religion Samuel Torvend ’73, Wednesday, July 18, 7 p.m.
  • “The Matador's Cape: America's Reckless Response to Terror” by Stephen Holmes, facilitated by Christian Lucky '89, Seattle attorney and special counsel to Bellevue Hospital in New York for catastrophic response. Tuesday, July 31, 7 p.m.
  • "The Pact" by Sampson Davis, George Jenkins and Rameck Hunt, facilitated by a panel to include: PLU faculty members Ron Byrnes and Joanna Gregson; Enumclaw School District Superintendent Mike Nelson '85 and others. Wednesday, August 15, 7 p.m.
Minor League Baseball

The alumni office is sponsoring a night at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma as the Tacoma Rainiers take on the Portland Beavers on Friday, August 24 at 7:05 p.m. Admission is $9.50 and includes a hot dog, chips, soda and a fireworks show.