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Eastvold, Seth Clarence

  • UA 1.2.7
  • Person
  • 1895 - 1963

Reverend Dr. Seth Clarence Eastvold was born in Chicago, Illinois on December 19, 1895 to Reverend Dr. Carl Johan and Ellen Sophia Eastvold. He graduated from Jewell Lutheran College and Academy (Iowa) in 1913 and St. Olaf College (Minnesota) in 1916. In 1920, Eastvold received the degree Candidate of Theology from Luther Theological Seminary (Minnesota). He received from Augustana College and Theological Seminary (Illinois) the following degrees: Bachelor of Divinity (1924), Master of Sacred Theology (1926), and Doctor of Sacred Theology (1931).

Eastvold enlisted in the United States Army (1918) and served as a non-commissioned officer with the American Expeditionary forces in Europe (1918 – 1919). He was appointed chaplain in the Officers Reserve Corps and served until the expiration of his appointment (1928).

Before coming to Pacific Lutheran College (PLC), he served Lutheran parishes in Parshall, North Dakota (1920 – 1923), Jackson, Minnesota (1923 – 1927), Madison, South Dakota (1923 – 1933), and Eau Claire, Wisconsin (1933 – 1943).

In 1943, Dr. Eastvold was offered the presidency of PLC and $40,000 to settle the college’s debt. During his presidency, the institution paid off its debts, 41 buildings were added, the institutions assets increased from $250,000 to $9 million, enrollment soared from 144 students to 2,409 students, and the college was accredited as a university. Eastvold was a strong proponent of such policies as mandatory chapel attendance and the prohibition of dancing and enforced them strictly. While president he traveled extensively and chronicled these experiences for publication in newspaper and book form. During his time the school attained university status in 1960 and became Pacific Lutheran University. In 1962, Eastvold left the presidency of PLU after a continuing conflict with the Board of Regents on the role of the president following the Ocean Shores scandal. The university granted him a handsome retirement package and stipulated that the Chapel-Music-Speech Building would be rededicated Eastvold Chapel. He became acting president of California Lutheran College on January 1, 1963.

Dr. Eastvold held many other church-related offices before and during his presidency at PLC/PLU. He was a Vice Pesident of the South Dakota District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church for four years, Vice President of the Eastern District for seven years, and first Vice President of the Evangelical Lutheran Church for twelve years. Eastvold served on the Board of Trustees of St. Olaf College for seven years and on the Board of Education of the ELC for eleven years. He was a delegate to the Lutheran World Federation conventions in Germany (1952) and Minneapolis (1957). He was a member of the executive council of the National Lutheran Council, and he represented the ELC at the North American Study Conference of the World Council of Churches (1957).

Dr. Eastvold was president of Independent Colleges of Washington, Inc. for seven terms, and he was a member of the higher commission of the Northwest Association of Secondary & Higher Schools. He was a participant in the White House Conference on Education (1955). In Tacoma, he served as President of the Tacoma Health Council and Vice President of the World Affairs Council. Throughout his many years of public life, Eastvold was honored by numerous community organizations and educational institutions. He was a recipient of the Lutheran Brotherhood award (1958). Luther College (Iowa) conferred an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree on Dr. Eastvold in 1959 and Gonzaga University gave him an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1962.

He was the author of several books and numerous pamphlets. His pamphlets included “Let Us Go to Chapel,” “The Pastor and His Spiritual Life,” and “Why Attend a Christian College?” He authored the books Paul and Luther , Beyond the Grave, and Around the World in 180 Days, along with several others. Transcripts of some of his addresses were distributed throughout the Lutheran church and his chapel speeches were often broadcast over local radio.

Seth Eastvold married Enga Eastvold on June 20, 1918. They had two children. Their son Donald Wallace Eastvold was Attorney General of the State of Washington from 1952 – 1956 following which he went into real estate and development and was involved in the Ocean Shores development. Their daughter Eleanor Melva married Sr. D.K. Holian, a surgeon. Dr. Eastvold died from a massive cerebral hemorrhage on February 25, 1963 in Minneapolis, Minnesota while attending the annual meeting of the college presidents of the American Lutheran Church.

Harstad, Bjug Aanondson

  • UA 1.2.3
  • Person
  • 1848-1933

The founder of Pacific Lutheran University, Bjug Aanondson was born on December 17, 1848 on a farm named Harstad in Valle, Setesdal, Norway. His father was Aanond Tellefson AAkre and his mother was Torbjør Kittilsdatter Harstad He was one of ten children and they lived on a farm called Gangshei above Harstad. his family was very poor. Young Bjug took care of the cattle at the family farm during the winter months and in the mountains during the summer months. Bjug and his family emigrated to America in 1861 and settled in Illinois and Minnesota. He continued his education in the US and was accepted as a student at Luther College in 1865. It was there that he changed his last name to Harstad upon a suggestion of the president of the college. He studied theology at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis from 1871 to 1874 and it was his experiences there that became the model for the rest of Bjug's scholarly and religious life. After seminary, he traveled as a pastor to remote places in Minnesota where he built schools and churches. Bjug Harstad was married February 14, 1877 to Guro Omlid in Minnesota. She was a native of Valle and ws born September 29, 1858. In 1889, the church sent Bjug Harstad to the Pacific Coast. He visited Portland, Seattle and Tacoma and when he returned to Minnesota, it was decided that Brookdale, as Parkland was called then, should be the important Lutheran education center of the Northwest. The Pacific Lutheran University Association was incorporated December 11, 1890 with Bjug Harstad as president. The cornerstone for the first building, Old Main, was laid October 4, 1891. The occasion of the cornerstone was a grand event. Several Lutheran pastors spoke both in Norwegian and in English and the president of the Norwegian Synod sent greetings with his hope that the undertaking would succeed. Old Main was renamed Harstad Hall in 1960 in honor of Bjug Harstad. In 1917 the Norwegian Synod that Pacific Lutheran University was founded under, merged with the United Church, and the Hauge Synod to celebrate the four hundredth anniversary of the Reformation. Harstad refused to join the new Norwegian Lutheran Church, thus formally separating himself from the school he had founded. Bjug Aanondson Harstad died on 20 June 1933 at age 84. His wife Guro, eight of his children, and eleven grandchildren survived him.

Hong, Nils Joseph

  • UA 1.2.4
  • Person
  • 1866-1939

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.

Mortvedt, Robert A.L.

  • UA 1.2.8
  • Person
  • 1902-1991

On November 30, 1902, Robert Adolf Luther Mortvedt was born to Reverend Ariel O. and Helen Eggen Mortvedt in Newark, Illinois. In 1924, he received his undergraduate degree from St. Olaf College. He received his Master’s degree (1929) and Ph.D. (1934) in English from Harvard University. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. During his years at Harvard, Dr. Mortvedt was granted three scholarships for the purposes of studying abroad and spent several months in England doing research.

After completing his graduate studies, he served as a faculty member for Wartburg College, St. Olaf College, and Stephens College. In 1943, he became Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas City (UKC). He served as Vice President of the college from 1948-53.

In 1952, the president of UKC, Dr. Clarence Decker, was granted a leave of absence to accept a position as Assistant Director for the Far East in the Mutual Security Agency. Dr. Mortvedt was named acting President. Through his position as acting President, Dr. Mortvedt learned that the glowing reports regarding the state and future of the University presented to the Board by Dr. Decker had been very misleading. Enrollment, faculty salaries, and the quality of education were declining. In the months following Dr. Decker’s return (fall 1952), the University underwent a major upheaval that culminated in the resignation of three top administrators, including Dr. Mortvedt, and votes of “no confidence” in the presidency of Dr. Decker by both the students and faculty. Dr. Decker resigned in February 1953.

Dr. Mortvedt was offered the presidency of Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas that spring and served there until 1958. In June 1958, he began his work as Executive Director of the Board of Higher Education of Augustana Lutheran Church and then assumed a similar position with the United Lutheran Church in America in November 1959. He maintained this position until the two organizations merged. The combined program encompassed one university, sixteen senior colleges, two junior colleges, and eleven seminaries.

In 1962, Dr. Mortvedt accepted the presidency of Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). As president, he emphasized the development of academic programs. During the seven years he served at PLU, the School of Nursing was accredited by the National League of Nursing, a $198,567 grant was given by the Research Foundation to strengthen the science program, a Teacher Corps program was established, and a new curriculum was adopted. Dr. Mortvedt also spearheaded a $16.5 million long-range development program (PLUS) to be enacted over a period of ten years. This program resulted in the building of Foss Hall, Ordal Hall, Stuen Hall, Tingelstad Hall, Clifford O. Olson Physical Education Auditorium Building, and Robert A. L. Mortvedt Library. Although plans for the University Center were drawn up as part of the PLUS program, the building itself was not completed until after Dr. Mortvedt’s

In 1969, he requested that the Board of Regents grant him retirement two years before his term was completed. He and his wife Gladys, whom he married in 1926, moved to Gig Harbor, Washington. He then served as the Chairman of the Financial Campaign for the Lutheran Home and Retirement Community of Tacoma, which resulted in the construction of a nursing home with 210 beds and 100 retirement apartments. Dr. Mortvedt retired from the Board in 1979. He maintained an active role in the congregation of his church and was the chairman of the committee that raised funds for the seminaries of the American Lutheran Church.

Dr. Mortvedt served on many national and regional Church and educational boards and commissions, including the Division of College and University Work of the NLC; the NLEC, where he served as a board member and president; and LCUSA, associated with the Commission on Educational Services. Over the years, he served on two commissions of the Association of American Colleges. From 1948 to 1958, he was a member (and secretary) of the Board of Directors of Augustana Theological Seminary and at the time of the final organization of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago; he was the Chairman of the committee that recommended its establishment. He was a member of the Steering Committee on Inter-Church Relations of the North Pacific District and he was Co-Chairman of the Planning Committee for the Lutheran-Catholic Dialogues Program. He was president of the Independent Colleges of Washington. He represented the American Lutheran Church on the pan-Lutheran Commission dealing with Lutheran student work on non- Lutheran campuses around the nation. Dr. Mortvedt was also a member of the Commission on Religion of the Association of American Colleges. Other civic and church activities include: membership in the Tacoma Goodwill Industries Board, the Washington State Historical Society, Washington State Higher Education Facilities Commission, the Tacoma Kiwanis Club, the Urban League, the Design for Progress, and Trinity Lutheran Church.

Dr. Mortvedt is the author of one book, Let’s Talk About Literature, and many published articles. He is listed in Who’s Who in America and he has received numerous honorary doctorates, including Doctor of Laws (Augustana College), Doctor of Letters (Wagner College), and Doctor of Laws (Pacific Lutheran University). Dr. Mortvedt received the Distinguished Alumnus award from St. Olaf College and the Centennial Medal from Augustana College in South Dakota. The Lutheran Brotherhood presented him with its Distinguished Service Medallion and PLU granted him president emeritus status after his retirement. In 1977, he received the Community Service Award from the Rotary Club of Tacoma. He was recognized in 1978 by the Tacoma Chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews for “highly significant and enduring contributions” in many areas of service to the citizens of Tacoma.

Dr. Mortvedt died on September 15, 1991 at age 88. He was survived by his only child, Patricia Arnesen, six grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. His wife preceded him in death.

Rieke, William O.

  • UA 1.2.10
  • Person
  • 1931-2006

William O. Rieke was born on April 26, 1931 in Odessa, Washington, and raised in Cashmere, Washington. He graduated summa cum laude from Pacific Lutheran College in 1953 and completed his MD from the University of Washington’s School of Medicine.

Prior to coming to PLU, Rieke worked at UW’s Medical School as an instructor and researcher, focusing on the emerging field of cancer research and eventually becoming Dean of the School of Medicine. He also helped establish a new medical school in Wichita, Kansas, to help service the state’s rural western regions.

In 1975, Dr. Rieke became the eleventh president of Pacific Lutheran University. While serving as President, Rieke worked to strengthen the international ties of the university, which eventually led to being named a Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit by King Olav V in 1989. He reinforced PLU’s reputation as an institution with a strong liberal arts program and five professional schools, and in 1985 the Board of Regents honored Rieke by naming the university’s new science building after him. After retiring from PLU, Rieke accepted a position as Executive Director with the Ben B. Cheney Foundation, where he served for ten years.

Rieke died in 2006 after a battle with cancer.

Tingelstad, Oscar A.

  • UA 1.2.6
  • Person
  • 1870-1963

Oscar Adolf Tingelstad, son of Bent and Beret (Livdalen) Tingelstad, was born on a homestead near Eiokson, Cass County, North Dakota (Dakota Territory), September 20, 1882. In 1892 the family pioneered again, this time near Silverton, Oregon. He passed the eighth grade public school examination in Marion County, Oregon, in 1898 and completed the commercial course at Pacific Lutheran Academy in Parkland, Washington on June 1, 1900. He attended the high school in Silverton, Oregon during the first year of its operation (1900-01) and completed the Luther College preparatory course at Pacific Lutheran Academy in 1902. He entered the sophomore class at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa during September 1902 and graduated in June 1905.

He gave up a position in the Farmers State Bank in Maddock, N. Dakota, to enter Luther Seminary in Minnesota on December 9, 1905 and then taught summer parochial school in Nelson County, North Dakota during 1906. In June 1907, Tingelstad was granted the “testimenium pro candidatura” from Luther Seminary because of the shortage of pastors in the Norwegian Lutheran Synod, and was ordained a Lutheran Pastor in Ballard, Washington on July 14, 1907 on call from the Crillia (Wash.) congregation and the Home Mission Committee of the Pacific District of the Norwegian Synod. He served Zion Lutheran Church at Ballard from July 14, 1907 to August 8, 1909 and also the Crillia, Port Madison, and Tracyton congregations. He also taught parochial school at Ballard throughout the summer of 1908. On August 4, 1909, he married Alfield Sophie Tvete at Arlington, Washington.

Having been called to be the first incumbent of the chair of psychology and education at Luther College, he attended the University of Chicago the in 1909 and began teaching at Luther College in January of 1910. There he served as acting principal of the Preparatory Department from 1911-12 and 1917-19, as Registrar (first incumbent of the office) from 1914-27, and as secretary of the Board of Trustees from 1923-1928. He also served as a Professor of psychology and education until 1919, as a Professor of Education from 1919-1928.

In 1912 he was elected to membership in Phi Delta Kappa—an honorary education fraternity—at the University of Chicago, where he received an A.M. degree in 1915, served as a fellow in education from 1913-1914, taught general high school methods in the School of Education in the spring quarter of 1925, and was awarded the Ph. D. degree (magna cum laude) in psychology and education at the end of the summer in 1925. Meanwhile, in the spring and summer of 1914, he served as assistant business manager of the Luther College Concert Band on its first Norway Tour and as the first secretary of the Young People’s Luther League from 1917-1922. He also served as a corporal in the Luther College Cadet Corps from 1918-1919.

During his academic career, Tingelstad published the following works: “Norgefärden” (“The Norway Tour”) jointly with Dr. O. M. Norlie in 1922 and edited “Luther College through Sixty Years again with Dr. O.M. Norlie and Dr. Karl T. Jacobsen in 1922. The subject of his doctoral dissertation in 1925 was “The Religious Element in American School Readers up to 1930: A Bibliographical and Statistical Study.” With Dr. O.M. Norlie and Rev. Rasmus Malmin, he completed “Who’s who in All the Norwegian Lutheran Synods in America” in 1928. In the summer of 1926 he served as the first manager of the Luther-St. Olaf Endowment Fund, after having been an alumni field agent throughout the endowment appeal. In the summer of 1927 he was Chairman of the Alumni Division of the Pacific Lutheran College endowment appeal. In 1928 he became a member of the A.A.A.S., and in 1934 was elected a fellow.

On August 1, 1928, he became the President of Pacific Lutheran College in Parkland, Washington and served in the capacity till July 1, 1945, during which period this institution advanced from junior college to senior college status. He also edited the quarterly “Pacific Lutheran College Bulletin” from August 1928 to May 1943 and served as Vice-President of the Washington Junior College Association from 1933-1934, and as president from 1934-1935. During World War II Tingelstad served as indoctrination instructor in the Trainee School for civilian employees at the Puget Sound Navy Yard in Bremerton, Washington, from August 2, 1944 to Sept. 16, 1945 prior to rejoining the staff of Luther College as professor of Philosophy and Bible from 1944-50.

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.

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.