After 6 years of planning and 15 months of construction, the University Center is completed on the site of the razed Student Union Building.
It offers student lounges, a new Commons, recreation room, bowling alley, and offices for ASPLU. Ingram Hall is remodeled the following year to house the school of nursing since it no longer needs the cafeteria or bookstore.
The office of Provost is created.
Richard Jungkuntz becomes the first person to fill the role.
Restrictions on student life loosen dramatically:
Two dormitories become coed, girls’ dormitories’ restrictive hours are replaced with a card-key system, and opposite-sex visitation is allowed 3 times a week instead of 2 times a year.
Still, restrictions apply: visitation hours are limited, the host must escort the visitor to the room, the door must remain open, and a flag is put up indicating that a visitor is on the floor.
PLU students participate in the nationally televised program College Bowl, a knowledge-testing game show for college teams.
In May, finals week is canceled and replaced by the week-long National Crisis Forum in response to student protests.
Students have become more concerned with national crises, such as the Vietnam War, and feel that national problems are much more important and pressing than academic issues.
It is an exciting year in entertainment as the Artists’ Series and ASPLU bring B.B. King, Ike and Tina Turner, the Steve Miller Band, the Righteous Brothers, and Neil Diamond to campus.
Bruce Bjerke, a history major and Walla Walla resident, becomes PLU’s first (and, so far, only) Rhodes Scholar. Bjerke is involved in theatre, student government, and the Choir of the West.
Forrest “Frosty” Westering, “the winningest football coach ever,” comes to PLU. His coaching style is reflected in a later quote: “I don’t really think you play to beat the other guy. . . . You play to play at the highest level you can. . . .”
Bill Cosby entertains students as a guest performer at Homecoming.
Another wing is added to Ingram Hall to accommodate a new large lecture classroom.
Richard Jungkuntz is the acting president for a year.
Bob Hope performs at PLU on 10 March, and the Beach Boys give a concert on 16 March.
Through PLU’s outreach program to the McNeil Island prison, inmate Sam Bowers, formerly a grand imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Mississippi, receives a BA in religion.
Professor Ken Christopherson, Bowers’ advisor and teacher, later says Bowers is “far and away the best writer I ever had as a student.” Christopherson is one of several professors who travel out to McNeil Island to give classes at the prison. Professor David Knutson, pictured here, is another.
Ann Mehlum, an economics and Norwegian major from Florence, Oregon, becomes PLU’s first Fulbright scholar. After graduation she travels to Bergen, Norway, and studies the impact of North Sea oil on the Norwegian economy.
On September 12th, William O. Rieke is inaugurated as PLU’s eleventh president. Rieke, a 1953 PLU alumnus, is the second alumnus and first Washington native to be named PLU president.
His inauguration is held in September in conjunction with convocation.
In fall, the rose window is chosen for PLU’s new logo. The logo is designed by Paul Porter, director of graphics and publications, and modeled after the 8-foot diameter Rose Window in the tower of Eastvold Chapel.
King Olav V of Norway visits in October. President Rieke confers upon him a silver medal designed by sculptor Tom Torrens. ASPLU President Martha Miller ’77 names him an “honorary student” and gives him a “12th Man” t-shirt.
In April, PLU is the first school in Washington to get a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant totals $60,000 and is used to launch the Integrated Studies Program, PLU’s alternative core curriculum.
The rune stones (designed by Tom Torrens) are erected and dedicated on 8 September to commemorate King Olav V’s visit and the beginning of Norwegian emigration to the United States.
Design and placement of the runes recreates the design on the medal Torrens made for King Olav V.
The National Endowment for the Humanities continues their support of the Integrated Studies program by granting PLU another $200,000 to continue it.
In the summer, the Choir of the West tours Europe for the third time in 13 years. Reviews describe it as “one of the finest University choirs in America.”
6 September sees the visit of 14 members of Stortinget, the Norwegian Parliament. The visit is recorded on the rune stones.
Georgia State Legislator Julian Bond speaks at the Black History Month observance.