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Authority record
University Archives

Xavier, Johan Ulrik

  • UA 1.2.5
  • Person
  • 1870-1963

Johan Ulrik Xavier was born to Nils Paul and Amanda Magdalane Xavier on June 26, 1870 in Lyngen, Norway. The second son of a family of ten, he and his family immigrated to the United States three years after his birth in 1873. They became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1878.

Johan Ulrick was first educated in a rural elementary school for seven years but then moved on to Luther College Preparatory, where he studied from 1885 to 1888. He took his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1893 from Luther College, Iowa. He earned his Theological Degree from the Luther Seminary in Saint Paul in 1898. He completed his graduate work during the summer at both the University of Minnesota and the University of Washington, which ended when he achieved his Master of Arts Degree from the University of Washington on 1929. In 1953, Professor Xavier received his honorary Doctorate in Divinity from Pacific Lutheran College.

Dr. Xavier began teaching at the Lutheran Ladies Seminary in Red Wing Minnesota between 1900 and 1902. He quit when they would not give him the raise he asked for and he accepted the call from Pacific Lutheran Academy. He taught there until 1906, when he again quit because the school would not give him the raise he asked for. He spent the year teaching in a one room school house in Oak Knoll or Muck Creek. In 1908 he returned to Pacific Lutheran Academy and continued working until the school shut down for a few years in 1917. He earned his living at a number of odd jobs and eventually settled down to work at a wholesale grocers’ named Younglove. When the school re-opened in 1920, Dr. Xavier returned and because he was now the most senior member of the staff, he acted as president for the first year that Pacific Lutheran College was open. From 1921 to when he retired in 1942, Dr. Xavier taught a wide variety of classes as well as serving as the school’s librarian. He was an assistant pastor to his father in 1901 and to a number of other Lutheran pastors throughout his life. It is also reported that Dr. Xavier and his father worked together in publishing the Pacific Lutheran University Heralds for many years.

It was at Pacific Lutheran Academy that Dr. Xavier met his future wife, Signe Skattebol, who was a teacher and the women’s basketball coach. He proposed to her in 1910 and they married on December 27, 1912. They adopted their first child, Olaf Paul Xavier on July 24, 1919 and their second child, Barbara Ruth Xavier on May 17, 1922. Dr. Xavier died in 1963 in a Stanwood Retirement Home at the age of 93.

Wiegman, Eugene

  • UA 1.2.9
  • Person
  • 1929-2020

Eugene "Gene" Wiegman was born October 27, 1929 in Fort Wayne, Indiana His primary and secondary school education was in schools run by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod After serving in the Marine Corps, Wiegman attended Concordia College in River Forest, Illinois, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in social science and teacher education in 1953 In 1956, he earned a Master of Science Degree in school administration and in 1962 he eared a Doctor of Education from the University of Kansas

From 1954-1961 Wiegman was a teacher, coach and principal in Missouri Lutheran schools From 1961-65, He taught social science education and political science at Concordia Teacher's College in Seward, Nebraska From 1965-66, Wiegman worked as the administrative assistant to a Nebraska Congressman In 1966-67, he worked with land grant colleges in extension education programs for the U.S. Department of Agriculture In 1967, Weigman was appointed the dean of community education ad Federal City College, Washington, D.C.

Wiegman served as PLU's president from 1969-1974. After leaving PLU, he ran for office, served from 1977-1981 as the Washington State Commissioner of Employment Security, served as a lay pastor and was ordained as a Lutheran Pastor in 1987

Wiegman married Kathleen Wyatt on April 26, 1952 and together they have six children, Kathryn, Rose Marie, Mark, Jeanine, Gretchen and Matthew.

Wiegman died in July 2020.

Spokane College

  • UA 14.1.2
  • Corporate body
  • 1905-1929

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.

Schnackenberg, Walter C.

  • UA 5.3.3
  • Person
  • 1917-1973

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.

Richards Photo Service

  • UA 8.7.1.9
  • Corporate body

Names: Richards Film Service (1919), Richards Commercial Photo Service (1949)
Address: C of C Building

Rasmussen, Janet E.

  • UA 3.5.2
  • Person
  • 1949-

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.

Olsen Family

  • UA 8.6.3
  • Family

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).

McKewen Studio

  • UA 8.7.1.8
  • Corporate body

Address: 407 Garfield

Lindahl, John Conrad

  • UA 8.7.1.7
  • Person

Addresses: 1017 Pacific , 919 C, California Block, 903 Tacoma Ave S

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