Alum's Positive Experience Leads to a Legacy Gift

David Wytko ’65 and granddaughter, Maria Wytko ’12

For David Wytko ’65, it’s all about giving back and helping out, and in some of the same ways Pacific Lutheran University helped him in the 1960s.

“PLU opened up the world for me,” says the retired school teacher and counselor, who lives in Buckley, Wash. “Without PLU, I never would have been able to do the things I’ve done.”

David, 81, is a longtime QClub donor and also gives to PLU through his IRA. He recently funded a scholarship in honor of his wife, Shirley, who died in 2009. The scholarship supports returning students who have decided to pursue their college degree after spending time in the workplace.

David graduated in 1948 from Buckley High School, now renamed White River High School, and then spent a decade in the workplace before deciding to go back to college in 1958. His first stop was another college, but he couldn’t find a good counselor and struggled with classes, so he quit. A Lute friend suggested he check out PLU.

Once on campus, he easily found a professor to talk to: Rev. Milton Nesvig ’35. The athletic director also dropped by and tried to recruit him for the football team.

“They all made me feel so at home, and when I come back here, I feel at home again,” David said on a recent visit to campus.

He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education from PLU in 1965. He started his 25-year career as an elementary and middle school teacher, and later came back to earn a master’s degree in social science. He finished his career as a high school counselor for the White River School District in Buckley.

David’s legacy at PLU continues through his granddaughter, Maria Wytko ’12, who will graduate with a degree in biology this spring.

“When I look back at PLU, I’m sort of in awe at how many people helped me,” he says. “I couldn’t have done it without their support and the support of my wife. PLU is the best thing that could have happened to me.”

To learn more about how you can support the future of PLU, please contact PLU Gift Planning at 253-535-7177 or

By Barbara Clements