Saturday, May 5, 2012

PLU celebrates Loren and MaryAnn Anderson

A celebration was held by The Board of Regents Friday May 4 in celebration of the 20 years of service to Pacific Lutheran University from President Loren Anderson and his wife MaryAnn Anderson outside the University Center building.

Approximately 250 students, professors, alumni, board members, staff, and community members were in attendance as an invocation and prayer was offered by University Reverend Nancy Connor, followed by a performance by the Choir of the West lead by Professor Richard Nance, and the Trumpet Ensemble lead by Zachary Lyman.

Bruce Bjerke ’72, Chair of the Board of Regents, honored the Anderson’s by announcing to the community that the University Center will be renamed the Loren and MaryAnn Anderson Center of Pacific Lutheran University, effective immediately. The new sign and metal statue of President Anderson were unveiled to the crowd, which loudly clapped and cheered.

“This is a place that has to do with the very core of the university and for it to be named after them strikes me as not only appropriate but remarkably fitting” Bjereke said. “In 20 years this place has been transformed, and in 20 years from now this will still be the Anderson Center and this is the right recognition for them.”

In response to the dedication, MaryAnn Anderson thanked the community at the podium, “you are everything to us, we are lutes for life, thank you.” Anderson said that the one word that described all of her emotions at the moment was “umbuntu” an African philosophy meaning ‘I am because we are.’

After his wife finished speaking, Loren Anderson smiled at the new, shiny, bronze bust of him and said “there’s a closet over in my office I think it will fit in.” Anderson’s humor was unrelenting as his comments on the statue continued. “At last someone who will agree with me,” Anderson said. “Put him on the board compensation committee.”

President Anderson continued his response to the PLU community saying that he felt a “profound sense of humility, not just because you’re born to sad Norwegians.”

“I think that the Anderson’s have left such a wonderful legacy to PLU and I am thrilled that we can honor them in this way” said first year Catherine Graham.

The bust of President Anderson took four months to create said Assistant Professor of Art and Design Spencer Ebbinga, who teaches sculptor and ceramics class and was the artist responsible for the sculptor unveiled at the ceremony. “I was looking to capture the joy in his face,” Ebbinga said. “I am generally very happy with the way it turned out.”

Senior Andrew Deem said that has watched the process of creating the sculptor unfold because he is an art student and Ebbinga is his advisor, “to see it sitting up there all done and everything is just wonderful.”

“We get a chance to honor them on a daily basis in all elements of hospitality that we engage in the center, and that is really huge” said Melannie Cunningham, Director of Multicultural Recruitment. “I think that renaming the University Center after the Anderson’s is probably the most incredibly honor that could be bestowed upon them.”

In addition to the significant turn out from the PLU community, there were also special guests in attendance such as MaryAnn Anderson’s parent’s from Wis., Loren Anderson’s sister from Virg., niece from N.D., and Nephew from N.C. in addition to their daughter Marin Anderson ’09 and her husband Elliot Johnson.