Michael J. Halvorson

Innovation Studies Director

Michael J. 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
  • Benson Family Chair in Business and Economic History


  • 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)


  • 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 is Code Nation: Personal Computing and the Learn to Program Movement in America, published by ACM Books / Morgan & Claypool (2020). The project investigates programming culture, computer literacy debates, and the technical history of recent software companies, including Apple, Borland, DEC, IBM, and Microsoft.

Professor Halvorson graduated from Pacific Lutheran University in 1985 and was employed for nine years at Microsoft, where he worked as an editor, writer, and localization manager. Since 1989, he has written 40 books about computer software, history, and technology. His most recent book about Windows programming and smart phone development is Microsoft Visual Basic 2013 Step by Step (Microsoft Press).

Halvorson’s historical books include a recent title on Renaissance Europe entitled The Renaissance: All That Matters. The book was published by Hodder and Stoughton in the UK in 2014. An edition for North American audiences was published in 2015 in the McGraw-Hill series “Teach Yourself: History & Politics”.

Halvorson has published articles and book reviews in Sixteenth Century Journal, Archive for Reformation History, and Lutheran Quarterly. The most recent is “German Lutheran Centennial Dramas,” an essay about Lutheran memory and commemoration on the eve of the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, published by Lutheran Quarterly in Autumn 2016.

As a history professor with interests in business, teaching, and innovation, Halvorson’s professional experiences are diverse; they reveal a love for mentoring, writing, and publishing, and an abiding fascination with innovation and the dynamics of change in Western societies that come as a result of technology and socially transformative ideas.

Professor Halvorson’s comprehensive research bibliography is available at: