John Oliver Ruud ’64
John died on Feb. 5, after a seven-month battle with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia). He was an artist, teacher, singer (bass in the Choir of the West), photographer, gardener, poet, deep-thinker, soul-searcher and music-lover. He will be missed by his friends and family: sisters Ann Kolzing ’65, Carol Snyder ’67, Janet Ruud ’70, Kristine Ruud ’80 and his brother Philip Ruud.
Professor Emeritus Larry Edison, Ph.D.
Larry died Jan. 24 at the age of 81. He was hired as an associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Mathematics at PLU in 1982, before being promoted to professor in 1986. He completed phased retirement, which began in 1998, in 2003. He treated his colleagues with respect and exhibited genuine interest in their lives. He also was an advocate for educating the whole student and praised the small classroom setting, which helped him get to know his students on a more personal level.
Laurence Huestis, Ph.D.
It is with great sadness that PLU announces the death of Laurence Huestis, Ph.D., a retired chemistry professor who had a significant impact on students and campus programs throughout the 38 years he served the Lute community (1961-99). Perhaps the most notable mark he left at PLU — even after his retirement — was his commitment to students’ professional and academic development. He mentored many students in undergraduate research, training them for entry to graduate school and employment. His efforts also served as a catalyst for many future medical school students. Additionally, in 2014, Laurence and his wife, Bonny, established the Laurence and Bonny Huestis Endowment for Chemistry Undergraduate Summer Research.
Professor Emeritus Rodney Swenson, Ph.D.
It’s with deep sadness that I announce the death of Professor Emeritus Rodney Swenson, Ph.D., who served Pacific Lutheran University for 32 years. Rodney taught German in the Department of Languages and Literatures, both as an associate professor and professor, starting in 1968.
“The years at PLU were certainly the best years of my life,” he wrote in remarks for his high school reunion in 2008, “and although I never imagined that I would ever leave Minnesota, the transplant has been very successful.”
Successful is an understatement. Just before retiring in 2000, Rodney had taught some 40 sections of German 101, as well as every German course in the university catalog. He served as department chair from 1968 to 1975, and held a spot on virtually every campus committee; the latter involved a three-year term as faculty secretary. During his entire tenure, Rodney occupied the same office: “somewhat of a record,” he said in his retirement letter.
But perhaps Rodney’s proudest accomplishment at PLU was his informal role as “Father of Fulbright” at the university. He advised countless recipients of the prestigious fellowship, enabling Lutes to expand their global education, as he did in Germany in the months before coming to PLU for the long haul. He returned to Germany in 1980 after earning yet another Fulbright award, as one of 20 educators nationwide to be selected that year. “It is important for a teacher of German to stay current on educational, cultural and political developments in Germany,” he said at the time. “Ultimately it is the students who will benefit.”
After his retirement, Rodney continued to give his time, to the university and beyond. Among his activities, he remained involved with the Boy Scouts of America — an organization for which he served more than two decades, including 10 years as Scoutmaster. He also stayed connected to his church choir and made time to hike and travel with his wife, Evelyn.
Rodney is survived by Evelyn, his wife of 60 years, and his sons Paul ’90 (Vashon Island WA) and Karl ’91 (Seattle WA). A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on May 19 at Peace Lutheran Church, 2014 East Pioneer, Puyallup.