Pacific Lutheran College becomes Pacific Lutheran University, and the athletic name changes from Gladiators to Knights.
The Philip Hauge Administration Building, originally called Tacoma-Pierce Administration, is built. Administrative offices are moved to this building, and classrooms are upstairs.
An east wing, housing the Chris Knutzen Fellowship Hall, is added to the College Union Building.
Robert A.L. Mortvedt becomes the PLU president.
Relieving some of the president’s duties, A. Dean Buchanan becomes the first business manager.
In May, alumnus Luther Jerstad becomes 1 of the first 3 Americans to climb Mt. Everest. He is honored by PLU in October and in 1964 receives the Distinguished Alumnus Award.
In the summer, the Choir of the West tours Europe for the first time.
This is Malmin’s last major tour with the choir; afterward, Maurice Skones becomes the choir director and music department chair.
A hopeful phone call from President Mortvedt to Senator Henry M. Jackson brings John F. Kennedy, President of the United States, to a combined convocation address for PLU and UPS at Cheney Stadium on 27 September. Four thousand students, as well as local and state dignitaries, attend.
When school starts, dancing is allowed for the first time on campus. The first dance, the Freshman Ball, is held in September and is well attended.
Philip A. Nordquist joins the history faculty.
Construction of Pflueger Hall, the first dormitory on lower campus, and the Columbia Center, housing a café, golf shop, and other various things, is also finished. Construction of these two buildings kicks off a decade-long building streak, ending with ten new buildings by 1970, almost as many as had been built in the previous 70 years.
Workers start building he second lower campus dormitory, Foss Hall (named for Board of Regents member Dr. Halfdan L. Foss).
The new swimming pool is finished with the help of student pledges.
On 2 November, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl gives a public lecture at PLU and receives a Distinguished Service Award.
Walter Schnackenberg publishes The Lamp and the Cross, a 75-year history of PLU.
PLU goes on the air as a 10-watt station by installing a 5-foot-tall FM radio tower on the roof of Eastvold Chapel, and is able to transmit signals for 10 miles.
A panel of six students fire questions at Vice President of the United States Hubert H. Humphrey on 29 September when he visits PLU and gives a speech in Memorial Gymnasium to an overflowing and mostly student crowd. Floyd B. Hicks, a representative from Washington’s Sixth Congressional District, sponsors the event.
Louis Armstrong plays for the Homecoming concert.
New dormitory Stuen Hall is built and dedicated on the site of the old family homes of Ole J Stuen and J.U. Xavier, which were burned down both to clear the space and as practice for the fire department.
Tingelstad and Ordal Halls, 2 more dormitories, are finished.
Also completed, after years of planning, is the new Robert A.L. Mortvedt Library.
To move the books to the new library from Xavier Hall, the library closes at noon on 2 December (a Friday). Student shelvers spend the weekend rubber-banding bundles of books together and labeling them. On Monday, morning classes are canceled. Despite the rain, students and faculty carry bundles of books across and put them on the correct shelves. Head librarian Frank Haley provides candy for all. The vice presidents and administrators later that day remove the rubber bands. Student Jim Ross ’68 plans the majority of the event.
On 22 Sept the Rev. Dr. Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury, visits and receives an honorary Doctorate of Divinity degree. He tells his audience that even though he is not Lutheran, he feels completely at home at PLU.
Homecoming takes place on 2 November with a concert by Ray Charles.
During this summer and the next, the Robert Joffrey Ballet of New York stays in residence at PLU, bringing many people to campus who formerly knew little about the university.
The 4-1-4 school year is approved on 25 October; courses instead of credits become the basic curriculum units. The following April, the core curriculum is revised.
On 14 March the Choir of the West is chosen to present the premiere performance of William Bergsma’s new choral work to the American Choral Directors meeting in Seattle. They receive a standing ovation.
Chapel is no longer mandatory, due to the size of the student body and to student wishes.
The University Students’ Social Action Committee (USSAC) is founded; this group goes on to start many programs, including a program to teach mentally and physically disabled children how to swim.
Clifford Olson is in attendance at the groundbreaking of the new Olson Auditorium.
Construction of the auditorium is completed later in the year.
Eugene Wiegman is elected president after Mortvedt’s unexpected early retirement, and is inaugurated on 16 March 1970.
In November, Food Services honors students’ requests to support the California grape boycott. The cafeteria stops serving grapes.