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Pacific Lutheran University

Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) is a private university offering liberal arts and professional school programs located in Parkland,[3] a suburb of Tacoma, Washington, United States. Founded by Norwegian Lutheran pioneers in 1890, PLU is sponsored by the 580 congregations of Region I of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. PLU has approximately 3,500 students enrolled. As of 2012 the school employs 236 full-time professors on the 156-acre (630,000 m2) woodland campus.


1010 122nd St So

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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Lutheran Church
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
PLU seeks to educate students for lives of thoughtful inquiry, service, leadership and care - for other people, for their communities, and for the earth.
Black Gold
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College History


Pacific Lutheran University was founded in 1890 by Scandinavian immigrants. Classes first began in 1894 with the student body consisting of 30 students. Tuition at the time cost $1 per week. Bjug Harstad was the school�s first president. The entire university was housed in one building from 1894-1912. This building was formally known as Old Main but has since been renamed Harstad Hall in honor of the school�s founding president. In 1898 the university's name was changed to Pacific Lutheran Academy and Business College. Attempting to eliminate the debt plaguing the school, Bjug Harstad left for Alaska to search for gold. He spent one and one half years there but was unable to discover any gold. In 1902 the PLA athletic club celebrated its first victory in men's basketball with a 15-12 win over the University of Washington. Five years later women would be allowed to play basketball. In 1912 a second building, a gymnasium, was constructed on the university campus. It included a track, a stage, and a science laboratory in the basement. Two years later students built a tennis court in what is now Red Square. By 1914 PLA received full accreditation meaning students could transfer to universities and retain their credits. The school ran into severe financial troubles in 1918 as the result of a Norwegian Lutheran synod imposed merger of PLA with Columbia College. PLA was forced to close for two years.

College Specialty


The Humanities faculty at Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) are excellent teachers and scholars who model the possibilities of the life of the mind. The Humanities cultivates an intellectual and imaginative connection between a living past, embodied in the diverse array of cultural traditions, and the global challenges of our contemporary world.



Athletics Marv Harshman, 1942: Nation�s winningest college basketball coach at the time of his retirement. Don Poier, 1974: The radio and television voice for the Vancouver and Memphis Grizzlies from 1995�2005. Ken Flajole, 1977: National Football League coach, formerly the inside linebacker coach for the Cleveland Browns. John Zamberlin, 1979: Former National Football League linebacker and head football coach at Central Washington University and Idaho State University. Craig Kupp, 1990: Former National Football League quarterback. Megan Jendrick, 2008: American swimmer, record holder, and winner of two gold medals at the 2000 Summer Olympics and a silver medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Lisa Cole, 1997: Head coach of the Boston Breakers in the National Women's Soccer League Art and music Crystal Aikin, 1997: American gospel singer-songwriter and reality television personality. Angela Meade, 2001: Operatic soprano. Aaron Padilla, 1996, American artist and art educator. Michael Peterson, 1980: American country music artist. Connor Trinneer, 1991: Actor most notable for playing Commander 'Trip' Tucker in Star Trek: Enterprise. Politics Jack Metcalf, 1951: Former United States Representative, 2nd Congressional District, Washington. John Nilson, 1973: Canadian politician in Saskatchewan. Currently a member of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan. Lois Capps, 1959: United States Representative, 22nd Congressional District, California. Joyce A. Barr, 1976: American diplomat and former ambassador to Namibia. Sean Parnell, 1984: Governor of Alaska and lawyer. Rick Larsen, 1987: United States Representative, 2nd Congressional District, Washington. Calvin Goings, 1995: Served as the youngest ever elected Washington State Senator. Science and medicine Martin W. Johnson, 1918: Renowned marine biologist and author. Gene Strandness, 1950: Pioneer in the field of vascular surgery, and "founding father" of the University of Washington School of Medicine and Medical Center. William Foege, 1957: Worked with World Health Organization to eradicate smallpox, former director of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the Carter Center., a 2012 Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient. David B. Wake, 1958: Professor of integrative biology at Cal Berkeley and internationally respected expert on speciation.



Suburban 156 acres (630,000 m2)