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Tag: PLU


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

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

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PLU, community owe Anderson a debt of gratitude

PLU president Loren Anderson

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

In 1898, Pacific Lutheran University was in such dire financial straits that its first president – Bjug Harstad –  headed off to Alaska for a year and a half hoping to find enough gold to bail out the school. He found none.

Current president Loren Anderson, who is leaving at the end of May and getting a big all-campus farewell Saturday at PLU, also faced a deep financial challenge when he took the reins 20 years ago. But instead of panning for gold in Alaska, he set out an ambitious strategic plan for righting the PLU ship.

Today, he’s leaving the Parkland liberal arts and professional school in a far better place than he found it two decades ago. In fact, campus historian and retired professor Philip Nordquist says Anderson has been the most successful president in PLU’s 122-year history.

It’s easy to see why Nordquist thinks so.

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Grading Washington’s four-year schools: An F for UW?

In today’s column, Kathleen Parker writes about a new study, What Will They Learn, conducted by the nonprofit American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA). It grades about 700 of the nation’s four-year colleges and universities, focusing on their “requirements as a measure of what an institution actually delivers.” Institutions typically were downgraded for not requiring students to take courses in economics, government and history.

Only 16 schools received A grades, and none were in Washington. The highest grade earned in this state was Seattle University’s B. Cougars have some bragging rights over the University of Washington, earning a C compared to the F for UW. (That grade has me wondering about the quality of this study, frankly.)

One very notable oversight was the study’s failure to include Pacific Lutheran University – even though the ACTA saw fit to rate City University. Spokesman David Azerrad said that the organization had limited resources and only this year expanded its rating pool from 100 to 700 schools. PLU’s absence, he said, “has been duly noted” and it will probably be included next year. PLU’s challenge: Beat the D earned by the University of Puget Sound.

Here’s how the state schools rated. Also included are graduation rates and in-school tuition and fees for a year. Read more »