Michael J. Halvorson

Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History

Michael Halvorson

Office Location:Xavier Hall - Room 144

Office Hours: (On Campus) M W F: 1:30 pm - 2:30 pm

Curriculum Vitae: View my CV

Employed: 18 Years

  • Professional
  • Biography

Additional Titles/Roles

  • Professor of History
  • Innovation Studies Director


  • Ph.D., History, University of Washington, 2001
  • M.A., History, University of Washington, 1996
  • B.A., Computer Science, Pacific Lutheran University, 1985

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Business and Economic History
  • Innovation Studies
  • History of Computing (Personal Computers)
  • Software Development / Windows Programming
  • Early Modern Europe / Reformation Germany / Lutheranism
  • Tudor England (study abroad)


  • Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America (ACM Books / Morgan & Claypool 2020) : View Book
  • The Renaissance: All That Matters (McGraw-Hill 2015) : View Book
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step (Microsoft Press 2013) : View Book
  • Heinrich Heshusius and Confessional Polemic in Early Lutheran Orthodoxy (Ashgate 2010) : View Book
  • Microsoft Visual Basic 2010 Step by Step (Microsoft Press 2010) : View Book
  • Defining Community in Early Modern Europe (Ashgate 2008) : View Book
  • A Lutheran Vocation: Philip A. Nordquist and the Study of History at Pacific Lutheran University co-edited with Robert P. Ericksen (PLU Press 2005) : View Book
  • Lo-ha-ra-no (The Water Spring): Missionary Tales from Madagascar edited by Michael James Halvorson (Warren & Howe Press 2003) : View Book
  • Running Microsoft Office 2000 Professional, with Michael J. Young (Microsoft Press 2001) : View Book


Michael Halvorson teaches business and economic history courses in the Department of History at PLU, as well as classes on innovation and the history of technology. His most recent book isĀ Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America (2020). The project investigates programming culture, computer literacy debates, and the technical history of recent software companies, including Apple, Borland, DEC, IBM, and Microsoft.

Halvorson’s work on labor history, gender, and the culture of early personal computing can be sampled in the book chapter “The Help Desk: Changing Images of Product Support in Personal Computing, 1975-1990,” in Abstractions and Embodiments: New Histories of Computing and Society, edited by Janet Abbate and Stephanie Dick, Johns Hopkins University Press (2022).

The Innovation Studies program at PLU was co-founded by Professor Halvorson in 2016 to cultivate innovative thinking across campus and engage with community partners and organizations that hope to use academic resources and appropriate technology for the public good. Halvorson is also on the Council of Academic Advisors for Lutheran Quarterly, a journal of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.

Professor Halvorson’s research bibliography is available at: