A graduating PLU student looks off into the distance

Three years ago we began a discernment process to select a set of attributes that are widely shared by PLU students, alumni, staff and faculty. We spent countless hours listening to folks from every corner of the PLU community. The result is a set of five attributes that embody what it means to be a Lute. This issue of ResoLute explores those qualities and tells stories that embody each one of them.


The challenges of our lifetime are complicated — and so are the people surrounding them. We bring our whole, imperfect selves to the table every day, dedicating our passions and skills to finding innovative ways to meet the moment.

Sergia Hay wearing a blazer speakng from a podium with a PLU logo on it

“In philosophy classes, we get the unique opportunity to think slowly together so that surprising complexities can emerge. When thinking slowly together, we can listen to the different views of others, question our assumptions, attend to overlooked and relevant details, and revise our perspective.” – Sergia Hay, Associate Professor of Philosophy

Professor of Mathematics Daniel Heath holds up a glass biodome in the middle of a classroom

Saving the World With a Starship

Mathematics professor Daniel Heath’s Starship Design class uses interstellar travel as a lens to focus on issues here on Earth.

Mycal Ford ’12 smiles into the camera. He's standing outside the Tacoma convention center and wearing a white turtle-neck sweater.

International Complexities

International affairs and economics analyst Mycal Ford ’12 discusses how he thinks about global policy.


We foster belonging by engaging in meaningful dialogue, seeking authenticity, building connections, and opening minds to see community in new, expansive ways.

Lisa Woods '92 stands in front of a window in an office in Tacoma, Wa

Centering the City

Lisa Woods ’92 discusses her work as Tacoma’s chief equity officer.

Elizabeth Larios photographed in a biology lab as a field by Morken and Rieke with a jacket she had made in Namibia where she has a Fulbright scholarship starting in January 2023, Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022, at PLU. (PLU Photo/John Froschauer)

Music and Medicine

Fulbright-recipient Elizabeth Larios ’21 will soon return to Namibia to research infections and teach marimba.

Rooted and Open

Rev. Jen Rude talks about centering community, spiritual diversity, and Campus Ministry.


We know that nothing worth doing is done alone. When we build something new, we open the door for others to join us. And when we flourish, we hold the door open for those who come after us.

Andrew Austin smiles while standing over his bike in Tacoma's Wright Park

“In urban planning we’re always contemplating how we build our cities. Do we want to build inclusionary communities that open their doors to everyone —  regardless of their income, race and creed — into the fabric of our cities? Or do we want to continue to intentionally exclude people? I think we’ll all be a lot better off living together, mixing, and learning from everyone around us.” Andrew Austin ’06, Government and Community Relations Manager at Sound Transit

Opening Doors to Opportunity

“We connect students with early- and mid-career professionals to get a sense of what a given job is like day-to-day, and an understanding that the path from college to career is anything but a straight line.” — Andrew Whitney ’12

Kaila Harris ’24 (left), Zyreal Oliver-Chandler ’25 (middle) and Madison Ely ’23 (right) give an enthusiastic thumbs up during AMP Camp.

Camp Songs

PLU music majors Kaila Harris ’24, Zyreal Oliver-Chandler ’25 and Madison Ely ’23 produce a free music camp for Parkland students.


We seek opportunities in the present to improve the future, asking “why are things the way they are — could they be better?” We then listen hard for unexpected answers that turn into just and sustainable solutions.

Marnie Ritchie poses with arms crossed in front of an artwork resembling a collage in the back ground.

Watch This

Communication professor Marnie Ritchie discusses surveillance, rhetoric and media.

Angela Pierce-Ngo ’12, a director with Northwest Education Access, photographed in a Pierce Country Library, a typical spot to meet clients along with coffee shops, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in University Place. (Photo/John Froschauer)

Questioning Barriers

Angela Pierce-Ngo ’12 understands post-secondary success requires questions.

Beth Griech-Polelle wearing a pink dress giving a lecture in front of a classroom

Asking Historic Questions

“If we want a different outcome, then we must decide to take actions that differ from what was done in the past.”— Beth Griech-Polelle, Kurt Mayer Chair of Holocaust Studies


From the classroom to the workforce, we’re doers who investigate, teach, create, serve, and play — with and for our neighbors down the street and those around the globe.

Colleen Hacker waves to the crowd while being honored on the field at a Tacoma Stars soccer game.

“PLU faculty strive to engage, inspire, motivate and prepare our students for a world that truly needs their care, compassion and competence. We meet students where they are in their lives, their careers and their academic and co-curricular passions. Often, PLU faculty see in our students qualities, capabilities and opportunities that many times, students do not yet see in themselves.”
— Colleen Hacker, Professor of Kinesiology

Adrian Ronquillo is sitting on a couch with a big smile on his face, wearing a white t-shirt with a red Netflix logo and pointing a remote at us as if we were the television. A box of popcorn can be seen partially covering a Netflix backpack that is placed on the couch next to Adrian in the foreground to the left of the image. A sign on the background wall reads, "Live, Love, and Lutes."

Adrian Arrives

A student from Alaska discovers his love for computer science and lands his dream job at Netflix.

Mark Mariani standing outside of his office building - a big glass building with more than a dozen stories - in downtown tacoma.

Lute Powered: MultiCare Health Systems

PLU alumni serve at the Washington-based health care organization.