President Thomas W. Krise shared his first day at Pacific Lutheran University with 640 incoming students Tuesday.
PLU’s annual convocation ceremony welcomed first-year and transfer students, but for the first time in twenty years the back-to-school kick-off also included the inauguration of a new president.
Krise, the former dean of the College of the Pacific at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., described convocation as “a great launch” to PLU’s 123rd academic year and his first year as president, in part because of the blue sky and tremendous audience turnout, Krise said.
As faculty, clergy and new students walked from Red Square to Olson Auditorium for the ceremony, the PLU Symphony Orchestra played the Processional of Joy under the instruction of associate professor of music Jeffrey Bell-Hanson. Once inside, the procession and other attendees, including alumni, delegates from various national universities, returning students, faculty and staff, as well as guests, were greeted with prayers and well wishes from members of campus organizations.
Vice president for admission and enrollment services Karl Stumo and Provost and dean of graduate studies Steven Starkovich recognized students receiving Regents’, Act Six, Harstad Founder’s or President’s Scholarships, as well as those receiving Provost’s Merit, Faculty Merit or Rieke Leadership Awards. Research fellows and grant recipients, in addition to faculty achieving promotions and awards, were also honored.
Members of the Choir of the West and University Chorale, instructed by professor of music Richard Nance, sang A Mighty Fortress is Our God.
Afterward, Krise’s predecessor, Loren Anderson, who served as PLU president since 1992, gave his presidential succession speech. Anderson remarked a “great university must be about change” and called serving PLU the “honor and privilege of a lifetime.”
“He did a really good job of passing over the responsibility. He was very upfront,” first-year Emma Palumbo said about Anderson.
Krise was presented to the audience as the elected president and then inducted into office, after refrains of “Yes, I will, with God’s help” solidified commitment from students, faculty, regents, staff, constituents, alumni and delegates to support the new president. Krise was then outfitted in a black presidential robe, a gold hood and a medallion displaying the PLU rose window on one side and the names and dates of all 12 former presidents on the other.
Krise is the first PLU president to receive a medallion at inauguration.
“This robe and this seal feel very heavy to me, and they remind me of the weight of responsibility that they symbolize,” Krise said. “I promise I won’t forget.”
As Krise addressed the audience, he said he was both nervous and excited, two emotions he said he shared with the students in the Class of 2016 on the first day of school.
Krise was selected for the position in February and took over office June 1.
“One day you wake up and you really feel it: ‘I’m a Lute!’ I think that day came for me this morning,” Krise said. “Looking at you, I know that feeling lasts a lifetime.”
Through descriptions of alumni achievements, Krise illustrated the kind of student PLU attracts, those with wild hope and an attitude of service and care, before asserting “the world needs more PLU.” By referencing PLU’s liberal arts foundation and Lutheran values, Krise asserted again, “the world needs more PLU—it needs you and what you can bring to the world.”
“I thought the repetition was kind of fun,” Palumbo said. “It got a good message across.”
Presidential inaugural events continue throughout September, including women’s soccer on the new artificial athletic field at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday’s PLU football game against Concordia Lutheran University. Both events are part of PLU’s annual spirit weekend.