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The Andersons are leaving PLU

May 31, 2011

The Andersons are leaving PLU

Tuesday May 31, 2011

Loren and MaryAnn Anderson have announced their intent to leave Pacific Lutheran University in the spring of 2012, at the end of the academic year.

“The time is right for the university,” Loren Anderson, 65, said. “It’s a perfect time for new leadership as another era of progress and development is about to open for PLU.”

Loren and MaryAnn AndersonLoren and MaryAnn Anderson have announced they plan to leave PLU in the Spring of 2012. “The time is right for the university,” Loren Anderson, 65, said. “It’s a perfect time for new leadership as another era of progress and development is about to open for PLU.” (Photo by John Froschauer)

In the coming year the university’s 2020 long-range plan will be completed. A highly successful fundraising campaign will conclude. Well-established core pathways to academic distinction will continue. A number of new graduate program offerings will be ready for review and implementation by the faculty. And several capital projects will be fully funded, including the Karen Hille Phillips Center for Performing Arts and lower-campus athletic fields.


The Andersons, who came to PLU in 1992, say they are not retiring but are completing 20 years of service to the university and then moving on to new areas of professional focus and service.

MaryAnn Anderson, 52, calls their decision, “a Wild Hope moment.”

“We are living true to Mary Oliver’s line of poetry: ‘Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?’” she said.

“It’s been PLU’s Wild Hope Project theme and it’s now our theme – describing Lutheran vocation and living lives of service.”

“We look forward to building our very own array of new ventures that will include a variety of professional assignments and volunteer projects as well as more time on the farm in North Dakota and at our northern Minnesota lake home,” Loren Anderson said.

“Our years at PLU have been both a great gift and high honor,” he said. “We give thanks each day for our faculty and staff colleagues, as well as countless PLU students, donors, regents and friends who have blessed and enriched our lives.”

Bruce Bjerke ’72, chair of the PLU Board of Regents, praised the Andersons for their years of service to the university.

“The Andersons’ tenure has been one of unparalleled accomplishment. We owe Loren and MaryAnn our deepest gratitude as the university enters into the search for our next president from a position of great strength and stability,” Bjerke said.

The Board of Regents will form a committee to begin a national search to identify candidates and make a recommendation to the board. The regents will select the next president. The process is expected to take nine to 12 months.

PLU’s almost 20 year journey under the leadership of President Anderson has been guided by a series of community-based, long-range plans and major fundraising campaigns.

“Working together the campus community has realized so many important dreams,” Anderson said. “All of us together have sharpened and focused our mission as a Lutheran university. Together we have achieved our goals to cultivate academic excellence, to enhance our global perspective, to build an engaged community and to nurture life as vocation in the fullest sense.

“Our community has turned these dreams into the reality of fiscal strength, balanced budgets, and enrollment stability while ensuring broad access to our programs for all,” he said.

“These real and lasting accomplishments belong to the entire PLU community and all who support and care for this special place. It’s a shared legacy and will serve the university for years to come.”

Throughout it all, MaryAnn Anderson has been a vital part of the PLU presidency. She has served the university as external relations coordinator working on development strategies and managing the Gonyea Fellows Leadership Program. The Gonyea fellows is the group of students who assist in hosting over 100 events that bring over 3,000 guests each year to the president’s residence.

According to Bjerke, MaryAnn Anderson also has been the university’s ambassador extraordinaire. “MaryAnn has brought a sophistication, grace and purpose to everything from campus events and activities, to individual donor cultivation, to our university signature community events,” he said.

In many ways it will be business as usual for the university during the coming year, as teaching and learning continue and administrative routines remain unchanged with Loren Anderson in the lead. The work of the search committee will be ongoing, but separate from the university administration, as the committee will report directly to the Board of Regents.

The coming academic year will include a series of events to celebrate and honor the Andersons and their many contributions to the university.