Seattle collector adds to noteworthy art collection

A wooden statue and two masks are the newest additions to the Lehmann African Art Collection housed in Mordvedt Library.

A bongo wood male funerary effigy from Sudan.

Donated by Seattle collector Oliver Cobb and his wife, Pamela, the pieces are the first given to the collection by someone other than the collection’s namesake, J. Hans and Thelma Lehmann.

Cobb is well known among African art specialists as being one of the premier collectors in the Northwest. After a visit to PLU to view the collection of masks and sculptures, Cobb said he was impressed with the display.

“Here, they can be enjoyed by students all the time,” he said.

Cobb donated a bongo wood male funerary effigy from Sudan, a bete wood face mask from the Ivory Coast and a makonde wood male helmet mask from Mozambique. He also donated two other pieces.

The Lehmann African Art Collection was established in 1972 and is now one of the most important and valuable collections of African art in the Pacific Northwest.

Quigg awards honor creativity and innovation

The first recipients of the Carol Sheffels Quigg Award for Excellence and Innovation were recognized at the annual Christmas luncheon.

Professors Joanne Lisosky and Rob Wels (foreground, far right), and key MediaLab students received an inaugural Quigg Award for the program's real-world approach to journalism.

The new award honors faculty, staff and students who demonstrate unusually inventive, original and creative approaches to advance the mission of the university. Established through an endowment gift by Quigg ’58, a regent of PLU, each award includes a grant.

The awards honored MediaLab and communication faculty members Joanne Lisosky and Rob Wells; the theater program Vpstart Crow; Auxiliary Services director Mark Mulder; and Dining and Catering Services director Erin McGinnis and her staff.

Conceived by Lisosky and implemented by Wells, MediaLab provides students with the opportunity to engage in hands-on, collaborative, real-world approaches to professional journalism. The program was honored for its creative approach to student-faculty research.

Founded by theater students Tristan Morris and Julie Wolfson this fall, Vpstart Crow (pronounced Upstart Crow) supports low-cost, intimate, high-quality alternative theater on campus. It provides financial support, technical aid and peer assistance.

Mulder was recognized for his dedication and leadership in the transformation of the Garfield Street business district. His collaborative work strengthened university and community relations, helped shape a Garfield Street enhancement plan and led to the construction and opening of Garfield Book Company at PLU.

The final award honored McGinnis and the Dining and Catering Services staff. During the University Center’s renovation, kitchen and dining operations were moved to Columbia Center and temporary satellite operations. Once construction was completed, the staff successfully staffed and supplied the new space in less than two days. It now features fresh food, new recipes and a focus on health, wellness and sustainability.

RHA wins regional Program of the Year

In November, the Residence Hall Association’s Welcome Weekend Competition received the Program of the Year award from the Pacific Affiliate of College and University Residence Halls.

Given annually, the award recognizes outstanding student-implemented programs in the residence halls of member schools located in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and British Columbia.

The Welcome Weekend Competition takes place during orientation. The friendly contest between residence halls promotes community building by awarding halls points for their decorations, T-shirts and Sound-Off performances, as well as attendance at various orientation events.

“I thought we had a good shot at winning,” said Tim Chalberg, RHA’s national communication coordinator who also wrote the award submission. “It’s a unique enough program that I thought it would get good consideration.”
PLU beat out San Diego State University, Sonoma State University, the University of Nevada-Reno and the University of San Francisco for the award.

Act Six targets inner-city students

Seven high school seniors have been selected as the first cadre of Act Six scholars to attend PLU this fall.

The Act Six Leadership and Scholarship Initiative is a new program at the university. It identifies promising student leaders from urban Tacoma and Seattle, and gives them the opportunity to earn a four-year degree. PLU and Whitworth University in Spokane are the only Northwest schools participating in the program.

Though PLU originally planned to admit six students, seven of the 20 finalists were selected, said admission counselor Bobby Walston. Walston was a member of the first Act Six cadre to graduate from Whitworth last spring, and he recruited the first crew of students to PLU.

“They really stood out,” he said. “We felt like they can really impact the campus and be successful as students.”
The high schoolers endured a rigorous application process. In addition to written applications, finalists visited campus to interview with faculty and staff and write essays on-site.

Created by former Lincoln High School teacher Tim Herron, Act Six is an initiative of the Northwest Leadership Foundation based in Tacoma. The program is designed to recruit and assist promising students from urban environments, and created a nine-month training program that helps ensure students find success in school.

Faculty and staff receive honors at luncheon

Faculty, staff and administrators were honored for their service to the university at the annual Christmas Luncheon on Dec. 13.

David Allen, Doreen Beard-Simpkins and Doreen Splinter receive Distinguished Staff and Administrator awards from President Loren J. Anderson at PLU's annual Christmas luncheon.

David Allen, Doreen Beard-Simpkins and Doreen Splinter received Distinguished Staff and Administrator awards. The university also honored six faculty members for outstanding accomplishments in five areas: teaching, service, research, mentoring and advising. Nominated by their peers, the recipients of this year’s Faculty Excellence Awards were Celine Dorner, mathematics; R. Michael Brown, psychology; Douglas Oakman, religion; Roberta Brown, French; Paloma Martinez-Carbajo, Spanish; and Jill Whitman, geosciences. For more on each individual, go to

T-shirts make a splash in Brazil

With a white “Sojourner” printed across the chest of a T-shirt, students who studied in Brazil and Argentina chose to deliberately define themselves as temporary guests in another country.

Brenden Hogan, foreground, with students who investigate globalization in South America.

On the back, the phrase “global citizen,” was screened in Portuguese, English and Spanish to represent the countries they visited.

Auxiliary Services director Mark Mulder and assistant philosophy professor Brendan Hogan, leaders of the group, made the T-shirts as a way to achieve a group identity among the students taking part in their J-Term study away program, which investigated the impact of globalization on South America. They were one of 27 groups that studied away during J-Term, once again on all seven continents. In the group’s few short weeks on the South American continent, it proved to be much more than a simple T-shirt, Mulder said.

“It is a chance for students to identify with their role as Sojourners, as ambassadors of global citizenship, and to showcase their connection with the countries which this class will visit,” Mulder explained.

The shirts also acted as conversation starters.

When the group wore their shirts on a visit to the University of Sao Paolo, a Brazilian student became their informal tour guide. As he showed them around the campus, he explained the Brazilian higher education system.

“There is so much opportunity in this world – particularly when we open ourselves up to talk about our differences, our similarities, and our hope for the future,” Mulder said. “Dialogue is a powerful thing.”

UC, Morken powered by wind turbines

As of Jan. 1, nearly 20 percent of the university’s energy is being purchased from renewable sources.

The commitment to purchase “green” energy stems from the culture of the university, said Dave Kohler, director of facilities. Renewable energy is energy generated from natural sources that cannot be depleted, like wind and solar power.
Kohler points to the university’s mission to “care for the earth.”

“It’s been a focus of PLU even before we wrote it down,” he added. “That’s the culture. It’s the best thing about PLU.”
The construction of the Morken Center for Learning and Technology essentially launched the idea to purchase renewable energy, Kohler explained.

PLU designed the environmentally friendly building based on the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. The program certifies green buildings, in part by evaluating the commitment to purchase energy from renewable sources. The university will purchase renewable energy in the form of wind power.
The University Center renovation provided another opportunity to incorporate LEED principles into the project. Among other sustainable features, the decision was made to also purchase renewable energy for the building.

Construction officially commenced as officials broke ground on KPLU’s 12,000 square-foot facility Martin J. Neeb Broadcast Center on January 25. Those participating, left to right, are: Bruce McKean, architect, Helix Design Group; John Korsmo, president, Korsmo Construction; Rebecca Keys, KPLU student staff member; Paul Stankavich, KPLU general manager; Larry Neeb, PLU Regent; Martin J. Neeb, former KPLU general manager; and Loren J. Anderson, PLU president.

A bongo wood male funerary effigy from Sudan.

Professors Joanne Lisosky and Rob Wells (foreground, far right), and key MediaLab students received an inaugural Quigg Award for the program's real-world approach to journalism.



Sven Tuzovic

Sven Tuzovic, assistant professor of business, won the best paper award at the 21st Service Workshop of the Academy of Marketing at the University of Westminster, Harrow Business School, London. The paper, presented at the November 2007 conference, is titled “Are Renters Different than Buyers? An Exploratory Study of Technical and Functional Quality in the Real Estate Industry.”

Myriam Cotton, assistant professor of chemistry, received the Career Award from the Organic and Macromolecular Chemistry Program at the National Science Foundation, resulting in a five-year, $525,000 grant. Cotten’s winning abstract is titled “Molecular Recognition and Biological Function at Water-Bilayer Interfaces: Bridging Structure, Dynamics, and Function in Antimicrobial Peptides.”

Vidya Thirumurthy, assistant professor of education, co-wrote “Special Education in India at the Crossroads,” published in the 2007 journal Childhood Education. She also published “Honoring Teachers: A World of Perspectives” in the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

Kent Gerlach, professor of education, co-wrote the book, “Paraeducators in Schools, Strengthening the Educational Team.” Published in 2007, Gerlach wrote the section titled “Teamwork, Communication and Problem Solving.”

Sven Tuzovic

Doug Oakman, dean of humanities, published “Jesus and the Peasants.” The book focuses on the systemic issues of individual Gospel passages. Published by Cascade Books, the academic division of Wipf and Stock, it is part of the Matrix Series.

Chuck Bergman, professor of English, published the article “A Rose is [not] a Rose,” in the January-February 2008 edition of Audubon magazine. The article focuses on the environmental changes in the rose industry.

Sven Tuzovic

Paul Ingram, professor emeritus of religion, published “Buddhist-Christian Dialogue in an Age of Science.” He also published the essay “On Being Lutheran in a Religiously Plural World,” in Dialog, a journal published in Berkeley through Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary. 

A second essay, “Constrained by Boundaries” will be published in March in a book titled “The Limits of Knowledge in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity,” published by the Templeton Foundation.

Elizabeth Brusco, professor of anthropology, gave a keynote lecture at the international conference of the European Research Network on Global Pentecostalism at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, held Feb. 1-2, 2008. The lecture was titled “Theory and Method in the Study of Global Pentecostalism.”

Sven Tuzovic

Melannie Cunningham, associate director of admission, was honored by the City of Tacoma’s Human Rights and Human Services Department with a community service award at the city’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration in January. Cunningham was recognized for founding the annual celebration in 1989.