Loren and MaryAnn Anderson celebrate 15 years at PLU

By: Greg Brewis
The campus community recently celebrated what would be a rare and remarkable milestone in the life of any contemporary university.

At the annual Christmas luncheon in December and again in January at a meeting of the Board of Regents, President Loren J. Anderson and MaryAnn were congratulated on their
15 years of service to PLU.

That’s almost twice the national average for a university presidential term.

Robert W. Gomulkiewicz ’83, chairman of the Board of Regents, praised the Andersons, both for the length of their tenure and for the success the university has enjoyed under their leadership.

“There are some leaders who are good at articulating vision and formulating vision, and there are other leaders who are good at running operations and development,” Gomulkiewicz said.

“But Loren is one of those remarkable leaders who really excels at both, and we are blessed to have him as our president. We are just delighted with his dedication and his commitment in these 15 years,” he said.

Gomulkiewicz also praised MaryAnn Anderson for having served for 15 years as an ambassador for PLU and an active volunteer in the broader community.

“MaryAnn has been a mentor to students, has worked in the development of the university and has led in thousands of ways. I think of MaryAnn as a great ambassador for PLU who can articulate our vision just as well as Loren,” he said.

When President Anderson arrived in 1992, the Board of Regents assigned him the task of assembling the community to engage in a conversation about the university’s future.

That dialogue resulted in the comprehensive long-range plan “PLU 2000: Embracing the 21st Century.”

Beginning in 2001, two years of collaborative work resulted in a reaffirmation and elaboration of plans in “PLU 2010: The Next Level of Distinction.” These two long-range plans have been important to the university’s progress over the past decade and a half. They have helped clarify its identity and mission as a Lutheran university in the Pacific Northwest.

In fact, it was from PLU 2000 that the current mission statement came: “Educating students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care – for other people, for their communities, and for the earth.”

Together PLU 2000 and PLU 2010 charted a course for strengthening the university’s academic program, in particular its commitment to global education, student-faculty research and creative projects, and purposeful learning.

The two long-range plans also called on the community to undertake an aggressive and continuing program to complete and upgrade campus facilities and infrastructure, and an aggressive effort to build the university’s fiscal structure – including the development of the endowment for faculty and student support.

Two major fund-raising campaigns were the result of that planning, one in the mid-1990s and the second concluding in 2004. Together they yielded over $200 million in current gifts and future resources – a truly remarkable development story.

It was remarkable as well to see the breadth of support generated by the campaigns. In the $128 million campaign alone, 22,000 individuals made gifts ranging from $12 million to $5.

The university’s endowment has grown significantly in recent years from $8 million in the early 1990s to more than $68.5 million today. Deferred gifts and pledges received during the campaigns total nearly $100 million and help set the stage for a future endowment of over $150 million.

These gifts enable the university to provide scholarships and recruit and retain the best students, to provide faculty support for teaching and research and to provide enhancements to the university’s technology infrastructure.

The university has enhanced its facilities during this time, including completion of the Mary Baker Russell Music Center; South Hall, a new residence hall; and the Morken Center for Learning and Technology, the new home for business, math, and computer science and computer engineering.

Xavier Hall, the home of the social sciences, was completely renovated, as were Tingelstad, Foss and Pflueger residence halls.

Just last year, the new Garfield Book Company at PLU became the anchor tenant of a commercial center on Garfield Street, in which the university is a partner. The University Center was refurbished with a new dining commons, meeting rooms and offices.

The last words go to Loren Anderson, who shared his views on the past 15 years, views that are both characteristically modest and capture the true essence of PLU’s accomplishments.

“PLU’s successful 15-year journey is a testament not to my leadership but to the remarkable talents and dedication of the entire campus community,” Anderson said.

“The past decade-and-a-half has shown the community that embracing the future requires that we plan together and that we regularly invite the PLU constituency to help.

“When we do, we can realize our dreams to fulfill our mission, to cultivate academic excellence, to build an engaged community, to enhance our global perspective, to seek fiscal strength, to ensure broad access to our programs and to nurture life as vocation in the fullest sense.”