Over the course of fall semester 2022, Caimin Boland applied to the Navy’s Nuclear Propulsion Officer Candidate program and was accepted in December. In late June, he will go to Navy Officer Candidate School in Rhode Island to start his career. The program will utilize his PLU physics education and build leadership skills.
The PLU Symphony Orchestra Reunion was held on May 20-21, 2023, bringing together alumni who played in the PLU Symphony Orchestra as well as current orchestra students. This celebratory event included a gala concert in which alumni and current students could play together, and a festive dinner in the Scan Center. Professor Jeffrey Bell-Hanson conducted part of the gala concert, closing his tenure with the orchestra as he prepared for retirement, and shared the podium with Jerry Kracht, conductor emeritus.
Becky Nelson received a master of science in taxation from Gonzaga University in May. She will begin working for Grant Thornton as a tax associate starting in October.
Originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, Thomas Morisada graduated from PLU with a bachelor’s in music in voice performance and a minor in theater. He is a faculty member at Live Music Academy in Federal Way. He also teaches private lessons in his own studio in Tacoma, and at Music 1st, a music school in Olympia. He aims to provide a range of repertoire to his students while challenging them with new music — and wants them to have fun. Thomas is also a recurring musical director with the Lakewood Institute of Theater and has taught master classes at Tacoma Musical Playhouse.
Paulo Chikoti-Bandua ’21 and Jordan Bandua welcomed Jordan Cinosole ‘Sole’ Adam Chikoti Bandua born June 21 at a healthy 6.14lbs, 20”, with a head of full hair!
Hanna McCauley loves her job at Brandner Communications, and works with a team which happens to include quite a few fellow PLU alumni. The Brandner team works with clients in the building and construction industry to provide marketing services. Hanna is grateful for PLU’s dedicated professors and career-building opportunities that helped her achieve her current role. She says the real life experience through MediaLab and guidance from her advisors has been essential for her work.
Emily (Madsen) Girton and Eric Girton were married in Kaneohe, Hawaii on May 2, 2023. Emily and Eric met on the first day of their freshman year at PLU. In attendance were numerous PLU friends; Maid of Honor, Elissa Cadena ’20, and Best Man, Austin Smith ’20.
Samuel Garcia ’20 and Christiana (Slater) Garcia ’20 tied the knot on Feb. 25, 2023 in Fresno, California. Lutes in attendance included Lukas Aberle ’19, Dana Baughman ’22, Carson Bergstrom ’20, Danielle Botts ’20, Mark Burch ’19, bridesmaid Gretchen Johnson Burch ’20, Chris Caudill ’20, Holden Gjuka ’20, Audry (Hart) Hanson ’59, Benjamin Johnson ’20, Molly Petersen ’20, groomsman Connor Peterson ’20, Ian Rice ’20, and Jennafer Schweyen ’21.
After two years in the Oregon Department of Education, Haedon Brunelle was recently promoted from an executive support position relating to COVID-19, to becoming the rules coordinator for the state agency.
The family of Camille La Rocca-Carrillo welcomed a baby boy, Théo Julián, on May 15, 2023.
Olivia Egejuru would like you to meet her daughter, Uche. She was born on Aug. 18, 2022 and has been a big blessing in Olivia’s life.
Matthew Kusche ’19 is a current member of the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas. PHOTO – credit to Las Vegas Desert Dogs
Quenessa Long is very excited to announce her graduation from Howard University School of Law and her acceptance of a new position at KPM Law in the DMV area. She is filled with gratitude and appreciation for her family, community, God, and her ancestors – whom she says all have guided and protected her in her journey.
Matthew Salzano married Aaron Zeiler at Hope Lutheran Church in College Park, Maryland, in November 2022. The couple now lives in Sound Beach, New York, on the north shore of Long Island. Matthew completed his Ph.D. in communication at the University of Maryland, College Park, in April 2023 and joined the faculty of Stony Brook University in September 2023.
Gabrielle Kamm married Calvin Quilty on Fire Island, New York on Sept. 1, 2022. Ciara Flanery ’18 was in attendance.
Chris and Megan VanDomelen ’18 welcomed daughter and future Lute, Grace Michaela VanDomelen, on Aug. 30, 2022.
The life of Margot Fresquez has changed since graduating with her bachelor’s degree at PLU. She has traveled, worked, lost family members, got married, and has now graduated with a master’s degree from PLU. She says that while so many things have changed, she is glad for the “ups and downs” that brought her here.
Misty Lang graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine and matched in general surgery residency at SIU in Springfield, Illinois.
Alexander Vo is the new Communications Manager at the Foundation for Tacoma Students. Alexander is responsible for creating and executing the digital communications strategy and maintains the organization’s digital platforms, including website, social media accounts, and email marketing campaigns. Raised by Tacoma Public Schools all throughout K-12, Alexander is a proud Tacoma local committed to furthering the critical consciousness surrounding equitable education systems and promoting the future well-being of Tacoma’s diverse youth.
Kingston Lee recently moved back to Washington from Australia, where he has been living for three years to work as a travel nurse for Healthcare Australia. He currently works for Kaiser Permanente at the Tacoma Medical Center.
Shannon Reynolds and Corbin Edwards ’21 welcomed Theseus Briar Edwards on Aug. 17, 2022. Shannon, Corbin, and big brother Haddon are overjoyed at his healthy arrival.
Kelsey Hilmes married Tyler Holland ’15 in Snoqualmie, Washington on Sept. 17, 2022 in an intimate ceremony with their closest family and friends. Lutes in attendance included mother of the groom Sheryl Bennet-Holland ’86, brother of the groom Justin Holland ’15, and friends Ann (Miller) Mhoon ’15, Elainea Kesler, Helene Beck ’15, Kaitlyn Gervais ’15, and Kelsey Johnson ’15. The couple lives in Edgewood, Washington with their cat, Nami.
Laurie Reddy earned her master’s degree in multicultural education from the University of Washington in 2018. This year, she completed her principal certificate from Eastern Washington University. Next year, she will teach middle school for the first time, at Robert Eagle Staff in Seattle. She will teach social studies, which was her focus at PLU where she earned a bachelor’s degree in history, sociology, and cultural anthropology.
Haley (Harshaw) Knowles and Kyle Knowles welcomed baby Mason Shaw Knowles on Nov. 9, 2022.
Kirk Swanson ’12 and Marta (Geldaker) Swanson ’14 welcomed their first child, Annika Mae Swanson, on June 14, 2022. Annika Mae was baptized at Anacortes Lutheran Church on Aug. 14, 2022. Sponsors are Kristoffer Dahle ’14 and his wife Julie, and Bethany & Casey Johnson.
Tove (Tupper) Lewis and husband Tim Lewis welcomed their second child and future Lute, Silje June, on Aug. 14, 2022. She is named after her great-grandmother and 1957 PLU alumna Rozella “Sally” June.
Catherine (Tryon) Budinger recently moved into a principal/owner position at FBCPA Group PS, Inc. in Auburn, Washington. She leads the tax practice area of the firm, specializing in tax planning, tax research, and other areas. Catherine is excited to be the firm’s fifth owner since the company began in 1972.
Melissa Huggins accepted a new position as the deputy director of Whipsmart, a statewide organization whose mission is to empower creative entrepreneurs and creative businesses. She spent the past seven years as the executive director of Spokane Arts, a local arts agency serving the Spokane, Washington region through grantmaking, arts programming, professional development and advocacy.
Kelly (Besett) Hardwick and Josh Hardwick welcomed their daughter, Hailey Alaina Jayne, on Aug. 13, 2022 in Tacoma. She joins her big brothers Kai, 11, Kellen, 9, and Lucas, 2.
Erika Lynn Hayden was born to Kayla (Pendrak) Hayden and Kirk Hayden at 4:50 p.m. on April 7, 2022 at Santiam Memorial Hospital in Stayton, Oregon. She was 7 pounds, 12 ounces and 20 inches long at birth.
Stacey Stone was named to the Alaska Journal of Commerce Top 40 Under 40 list. The honor recognized her professional accomplishments, as well as her extensive community involvement throughout the state. More details can be found in the April Top 40 Under 40 special edition of the Alaska Journal of Commerce.
Andy Callender and Maureen Craig ’06 were married on Sept. 25, 2021 in Olympia, Washington. Phil Betz ’04 and Megan (Gerke) Drever ’06 were among many Lutes in attendance. Maureen and Andy welcomed a son, Jack William Callender, on Dec. 13, 2022. Maureen is a dentist and partner at Small to Tall Pediatric Dentistry and Andy teaches Media Arts in the Olympia School District.
Christina (April) Hester-Derito is so glad to share that her daughter has chosen to attend PLU for the 2023-2024 school year. She says it has been so touching to see her on campus getting ready to be a Lute.
Dr. Kristen R. Rolf earned her Ph.D. in special education from Utah State University in 2022. She is now a tenure-track assistant professor and director of the Online Practical Teacher Training Program in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at Utah State University. She and her husband, Jeremy Rolf ’02, live in Nibley, Utah with their two kids. Jeremy is an outside sales representative with Fastenal.
Matt Daniels, along with his partners, started TrueNorth Medical Physics. He and his team travel around the country and commission Lynacs (machines that deliver radiation treatments.) Matt and his team also offer remote physics services and vacation coverage to clinics in need. Matt is married to Amy (Anklam) Daniels ’02 and they have two kids who are both active in hockey and figure skating. Amy produces the “Kitten & Clucky” podcast and has recently become active in the school theater community. The family recently relocated to Washington from Florida and have enjoyed being back in the Pacific Northwest.
After more than 20 years in the California Bay Area and Denver, Colorado, Gina Hansen returns to the Northwest and has accepted a position teaching digital sound recording at Puget Sound Skills Center in Burien, Washington. Gina encourages music recording artists, media makers and future teachers to reach out to share their stories and give back to future generations through the school’s new Teaching Academy. (Hansen (L), Kelly Harr, 2000 (R))
Tim Erickson was promoted to commander in the Navy, and just completed his executive officer sea tour on the USS Michigan submarine in Washington state. He is now completing his second master’s in Washington, D.C.
In May 2022, Cornelius Pope graduated with a juris doctor degree from The University of the District of Columbia David A. Clarke School of Law. Cornelius was admitted to the Maryland State Bar. He serves as an assistant state’s attorney in the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City in Baltimore, Maryland. He welcomed first grandchild — granddaughter Honor Moody — born in August 2022 to daughter Wisdom (née Pope) Moody and her husband Michael.
Jennifur Newhouse started a new position as senior consultant and executive coach with K2OHSolutions, LLC. She also joined the board of directors for Second City Chamber Series. Currently, she serves the SCCS board as marketing chairperson.
Ed Hrivnak retired from Central Pierce Fire and Rescue, having served the PLU community and Pierce County for 20 years. He worked as a firefighter, engine company officer, and assistant chief of prevention and education. Ed now works part-time in Southern California as an aerial firefighter piloting a Chinook helicopter for Coulson Aviation.
Lisa (Langsdorf) Rybloom was promoted to Deputy Director for Administration in the nonpartisan Legislative Policy and Research Office of the Oregon State Legislature in September 2022. Following 16 years as a tour guide with Rick Steves’ Europe, she started with LPRO as a committee assistant in 2017 and earned a Certificate of Public Management from Willamette University in 2021. She recently traveled to New Zealand with her partner, Renee.
Eric Cultum was elected to a four-year term with the Agua Fria Union High School District Board on Nov. 8, 2022. He will serve as a School Board Director in the Maricopa County area of Arizona. The AFUHSD, a 9-12 grade high school district with five high schools, is located in one of the fastest growing areas of the country. His professional experience includes more than 28 years in public education.
Del Lofton was promoted to the rank of Colonel in the United States Air Force in December 2021. He and Kristy (Jerke) Lofton ’90 recently moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he took command of the 21st Medical Group at Peterson Space Force Base in July 2022.
Rita Lee Swanson passed away in Bellingham, Washington, on Jan. 25, 2023. She was a registered nurse who received her bachelor of science and master of science in nursing from PLU. With her master’s, she was able to teach in the English-language nursing program at Mikkeli Polytechnical College in Mikkeli, Finland, when she lived there with her husband, Dr. David A. Swanson, a former PLU faculty member, who served as Dean of the Mikkeli Campus of the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (now part of Aalto University).
Jennifer (Johnstad) Ringler Leonard passed away on May 7, 2023, in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her family, including former husband John Ringler ’89, gathered in Tacoma a few weeks later to celebrate son Evan Ringler’s ’23 graduation from PLU.
In June of last year, David Schaut received a certificate from Guinness World Records as the Oldest person to grind a ski rail (male). He completed the record on Jan. 28, 2022. In freestyle skiing, there are rails that skiers jump on and proceed sideways. He says it is mainly a sport for young people, but he was 65 when he set
After serving in the Marines, Raymond C. Bartholomew graduated from PLU, and went on to study Eastern ways and medicine. Ray was an accomplished photographer, and built websites with online sales, and raised his adopted son, Rafael. After many years in Ashland, Oregon, Ray moved to Florida to be with his sister and her family while fighting Stage 4 Melanoma. He succumbed on Oct. 21, 2022 at age 70. Ray enjoyed his pup, his son, photography, the ocean, and the Florida sunshine.
Maurene “Mo” (Hansen) Aakre ran her first half marathon Oct. 9, 2022 (Humboldt Marathon Run). Mo is the Business Services Representative for South Coast Business, where she has served for 40 years. She is the current Governor and past chair of the Coos County Democratic Party.
Kristine (Baldwin) Moulds passed away Aug. 3, 2021. With a degree in elementary education, she taught at Santa Clara Valley Lutheran School in California. Kriss married her husband, Russell Moulds, in 1973. They raised three daughters, Sarah, Dorothy, and Katherine. Kriss and Russ moved to Seward, Nebraska in 1975 to continue their education and then to Baltimore, Maryland. The family moved back to Seward in 1988. Kriss was an award-winning author with the Lutheran Historical Society and author of the centennial history book for Concordia Teachers College in Seward. Kriss was also a certified teacher for the National Quilting Association.
Paul Ferguson (Frank Paul) passed away on June 17, 2022. Paul graduated from the University of Washington School of Dentistry and had a practice in Auburn, Washington with his father for 30-plus years, retiring in 2013. Paul played PLU football and attended his 50th PLU reunion. He is survived by his wife, Judy ’74, sons Matt ’04, and Andy, two granddaughters and brother Bob Ferguson. His mother, Carrie M. Person Ferguson ’44 passed away Dec. 20, 2019 at the age of 97.
David Soderlund retired in 2018 after 39 years as a member of the faculty of the Department of Entomology at Cornell University and moved in 2022 to Ferndale, Washington. He and his wife Carol (Mieger) Soderlund celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in September 2022. In retirement, David enjoys traveling, pursuing his interest in fine art landscape photography, and playing trombone in local community wind ensembles.
William (Bill) Coffman died October 2, 2022. He was Senior Class President of his class. He served several congregations over his ministry, and his 50th Ordination Anniversary was celebrated on November 14, 2021. His retirement years were spent with his wife Cathie (Strong) ‘68, sailing, traveling and volunteering in Portland’s Peninsula Park Rose Garden. He is survived by his wife, his children Jason and Karise and 6 grandchildren.
Cindi (Weaver) Bennett married David Jones March 12, 2022 and they currently live in Bellingham, Washington. Cindi’s four sons and two of Dave’s daughters participated in the wedding.
Sandra (Bowdish) Kreis passed away at age 80 on All Saints Day, Nov. 1, 2022. Sandra served several churches in the Northwest including Concrete, Puyallup, Aberdeen, and Olympia in Washington. Sandra was one of the very first to accomplish a woman’s ordination with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. She taught Philosophy of Religion at Skagit Valley College, and initiated a ministry to dropout and runaway youths in Seattle that was funded by seven Lutheran churches, and the city of Seattle.
Gary A. Westgard passed away on Nov. 12, 2022. After graduating from PLU, Gary attended Luther Theological Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota and spent the subsequent 35 years as a pastor of four ELCA parishes, in Laurel, Nebraska (1969-1973), in Gayville and Meckling, South Dakota (1973-1980), in Vermillion, South Dakota (1980-1994), and in Watertown, South Dakota (1995-2004). In retirement, he wrote three books of poetry and prose, “The Journey and the Grace,” “At Break of Day,” and a third book, “Why Old Men Weep in the Morning,” which his family hopes to publish soon. He is survived by his wife, Vivian Westgard of Yankton, South Dakota, and two children, Christin and Joshua.
Roger Carl Gustafson, age 81, passed away on July 15, 2020 in Olympia, Washington. Roger was born in Oravais, Finland.
Roger graduated from Olympia High School in 1958 and was awarded a scholarship to PLU, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He was a member of Alpha Kappa Psi, a national business honorary. Roger enjoyed football, lettering at both schools. He is survived by his three children, Carla Morin, Jan-Erik Gustafson, Annika Gustafson-Michael; and grandson, Alec Morin.
Sandra Gail (Heieren) Gustafson, age 82, passed away Jan. 16, 2023 in Olympia, Washington. Sandra was born in Montevideo, Minnesota. Sandra graduated from Renton High School in 1958 and from PLU in 1962, earning her bachelor’s degree in education. She attended classes at the University of Washington towards her fifth-year teaching certification. She loved poetry; acting; and was elected to national theatre honor society Alpha Psi Omega. Sandra is survived by her children, Carla Morin, Jan-Erik Gustafson and Annika Gustafson-Michael.
Matthew Loy Ernst, proud son of Spokane, Washington, and gifted Lutheran parish pastor across four states and six decades, passed away on April 21, 2023. After high school, Matt graduated from PLU and Wartburg Theological Seminary. While on a summer internship in 1964, he met Karen Gerhard, and they married in July 1965. Service and justice were part of Matt’s essence, from marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama in 1965 to resettling Vietnam War–era refugees, to serving unhoused and disenfranchised people. Matt is survived by Karen and their three children, Heidi Jones, Ruby Wolfe, and Jonathan Ernst; daughter-in-law, Emily Sollie; four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Charlotte (Mykland) Randolph passed away in Issaquah, Washington on March 31, 2023. Charlotte was the daughter of Albert and Marie Mykland, born five years after her sister Agnes ’46. After graduation, she taught in both Olympia and Shoreline School Districts. In 1953 Charlotte married Ernest Randolph ’51. For 20 years, she ran the business side of Ernie’s medical practice in Parkland, Washington as office manager, receptionist and bookkeeper until they both retired in 1994. Charlotte is survived by her three children Paula ’78, Philip ’80 (wife Sandy ’81), and Timothy.
Harry Carlson passed away in Roseville, California at the age of 95. He was a member of Choir of the West while a student at PLU. He graduated from Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa in 1953 and went on to serve as Pastor at Lutheran Church of the Master (La Habra, California) 1953-1962; Faith Lutheran Church (Arcata, California) 1962-1968; and Calvary Lutheran Church (Rio Linda, California) 1968-1993. He is survived by his son Michael (Rhonda) Carlson ’83, seven grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.