- UA 126.96.36.199
- Corporate body
Addresses: 901 Commerce, Rust Building, Townsend Building, Rust Building
Addresses: 901 Commerce, Rust Building, Townsend Building, Rust Building
Nils J. Hong was born 7 February 1866 in Westby, Wisconsin, and the family moved to Minnesota shortly thereafter. He attended the Willmar Seminary in Minnesota off and on from 1881 to 1892, and taught public school when he was not attending classes. Hong graduated from Luther College in 1895 and returned to Willmar Seminary as an instructor.
In 1897 Hong came to Pacific Lutheran Academy as a professor, where he taught at least a dozen subjects over his many years at the institution. He took over from Bjug Harstad as president in 1898, oversaw the official accreditation of the school, and helped to start Parkland Light and Water (now the oldest operating nonprofit public utility in the US), as well as many other advancements until PLA briefly closed in 1918. During the closure, Hong took a position as an English teacher at Lincoln High School in Tacoma.
After PLA merged with Columbia College and reopened as Pacific Lutheran College, Hong returned and taught languages and literature there until his retirement in 1938. He died the following year.
Addresses: 1516 Pacific, 1535 Commerce, California Building, Washington Building
Addresses: 1017 Pacific , 919 C, California Block, 903 Tacoma Ave S
Address: 407 Garfield
The Olsen family relocated from Detroit, Michigan to Tacoma, Washington in 1947. Dr. Robert Olsen joined the faculty of Pacific Lutheran College that year as a Professor of Chemistry and would continue in this role until 1976. He and wife Josephine ("Jo") Olsen and sons Richard ("Dick"), Robert Jr. ("Bob"), James ("Jim"), and Paul moved into a College-owned house located at 502 S. 124th Street. In Tacoma, the family expanded to include Ruth in 1951 and Timothy in 1953. Four members of the Olsen family are Pacific Lutheran University alumni: Dick Olsen (Class of 1959), Bob Jr. (Class of 1963), Jim Olsen (Class of 1963), and Paul Olsen (Class of 1967).
Janet Rasmussen was born in Paxton, Illinois on April 21, 1949. After attending University of Illinois for her undergraduate degree, she went on to Harvard University for her Ph.D. in Germanic Languages and Literatures in 1975. She stayed at Harvard from 1975-1977 when she became the Assistant to the Dean of Harvard College. Then she moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1977 where she was a founder of the Scandinavian Area Studies Program and became the first woman to hold the position of Dean of Humanities at Pacific Lutheran University. 1991-1996 Janet was the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She then became the President of Hollins College in Roanoke, Virginia before returning to PLU to be the Director of the Wang Center for International Programs. Janet has written several books, articles, and other publications. She also established the immigrant oral history archive during her time at PLU.
Names: Richards Film Service (1919), Richards Commercial Photo Service (1949)
Address: C of C Building
Walter C. Schnackenberg was born in Spokane, Washington on July 3, 1917. He entered Pacific Lutheran College as a freshman in 1935. After completing the junior college division in 1937, he studied at St. Olaf College in Minnesota where he received an A. B. degree (1939). As an undergraduate, he participated in a variety of student activities including varsity sports, music, dramatic organizations, and student government. After spending two years in business with his father, he returned to Pacific Lutheran in 1942 with his new wife, Doris Strom. During their two year stay, Schnackenberg worked as the Dean of Men and Secretary of the Development Association. He also taught classes. In 1944, he was commissioned an Ensign in the U.S. Navy.
After two years of service, he returned to the Northwest and entered graduate school at Gonzaga University in Spokane. He received his master’s degree in history the following year. In the fall of 1947, he began to work towards his Ph.D. at Washington State College in Pullman. For his thesis Schnackenberg studied the history of Lutheran educational institutions founded in Washington and Idaho from 1890 to 1920. With the majority of the primary sources located at Pacific Lutheran University, he visited the campus often. The thesis became the basis for his history of PLU, “The Lamp and the Cross,” which was published in 1964.
After completing his doctorate, he taught at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, S.D. for two years. In the fall of 1952, he returned to Pacific Lutheran University where he served as a Professor of History until his death in 1973. During his tenure at the university, Dr. Schnackenberg played an active role in many facets of the community. He served on nearly every faculty committee. He spoke 72 times at chapel services. He advised the Lutheran Student Association of America, both the PLU branch and the national body. He was influential in nearly every major decision made at the university during his tenure. He spearheaded the faculty constitution which was adopted in 1972. He also served as Chairman of the Department of History from 1963 until his death.
Throughout his career, Dr. Schnackenberg was involved with numerous outside organizations. He served as a board member and as president of Trinity Lutheran Church. He assisted in the revision of the church’s constitution and supported the decision to build the current sanctuary. He participated in a variety of church-related programs from 1942-1973. During his 1962-1963 sabbatical, he was a visiting scholar and lecturer for the Evangelische Akademie in Germany. He organized the Enumclaw Library Oral History Project. As the President of the Board of Directors for Franklin Pierce School District (on which he had served for many years), he traveled to Laos to facilitate the School-to-School program. He was a member of the American Historical Association, the American Association of University Professors, the American Society of Church History, the Hudson’s Bay Record Society, and the Norwegian-American Historical Association.
Dr. Schnackenberg was often recognized for his efforts. He received the Distinguished Service Award from the ELCA (1960), the Medina Foundation Award (1962), the Distinguished Service Award from Parkland Businessmen (1968), and the Distinguished Professor Award (1971). Dr. Schnackenberg authored several articles and books. In 1953, Schnackenberg delivered a speech entitled To Whom the Future Belongs which was later published by the Board of Christian Education for the Evangelical Lutheran Church. Now or Never: Some Reflections on the Meaning and Fullness of Time was published in 1957 and met with controversy. The Lamp and the Cross appeared in 1965 to coincide with the 75th anniversary of the university. His history primer On Studying History was completed in 1972 and printed for university use, but was never fully published.
Walter Schnackenberg and Doris Strom married in 1941 and had four daughters: Ann Louise, Mary Helen, Dikka Marie, and Gjertud Cecelia. Dr. Schnackenberg died in 1973 from a massive heart attack at the Faculty House. All of his accomplishments and commitments numbered too many to include in this brief biographical sketch. A more detailed listing of his activities can be found in specifically in Series 1, File 3 or can be compiled from the following collection.
Spokane College was incorporated in Spokane, Washington in August 1905, by representatives from various localities in Washington and the surrounding states. Until that time, there were no Prostestant affiliated colleges in the immediate area. In 1929, Spokane College closed and the records sent to Pacific Lutheran College.