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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.

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.

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.

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.