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PLU’s first president was resourceful, too (but not lucky)

Post by Cheryl Tucker on May 4, 2012 at 5:03 am with No Comments »
May 3, 2012 5:06 pm
PLU's first president, Bjug Harstad (PLU archives)

When writing an editorial, we often go online to see what information is available beyond what’s appeared in the newspaper or provided by contacts. In researching today’s editorial on outgoing Pacific Lutheran University President Loren Anderson, I came across a fascinating tidbit about PLU’s first president: Bjug Harstad. (Apparently his name was pronounced something like bee-yoog.) The anecdote ended up providing the lead for my editorial.

According to the PLU Timeline from university archives, Harstad was hands-on in 1898 when it came to providing funding for the budding institution, founded in 1890:

Attempting to eliminate the debt plaguing the university, Bjug Harstad and Otis Larson leave for Alaska to search for gold. They spend one and one half years living in tents in subzero weather, dragging 3,000 pounds of gear by sleigh, pack and handmade boat through lakes and passes looking for gold. However, none is found.

The only legacy of the Alaska trip is a rack of moose horns given by a Dr. Lee of La Crosse, Wisconsin, who shot the moose by the Klondike River. The moose horns have a spread of over 5 feet with 14 points and are still housed at PLU.

Any Lutes know where those horns can be found? If so, post a comment.




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