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PLU names new president - and he's not Lutheran
News Tribune ^ | 3/1/12 | Matt Misterek; Staff writer

Posted on 03/01/2012 3:33:19 PM PST by SmithL

Pacific Lutheran University has its next president – the 13th in the history of the Parkland campus founded in 1890.

Thomas W. Krise, the dean of the arts and sciences college at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif., was chosen as PLU’s top leader in a unanimous vote of the Board of Regents Wednesday, according to PLU officials.

Krise, 50, will start work at the 3,500-student campus in June. The retired Air Force officer and former English professor replaces Loren Anderson, who moves on this year after 20 years as president.

What Krise brings to the job are solid academic credentials, clear administrative experience and a strong commitment to helping young people find their vocation – “a focus on the purposeful life,” said Bruce Bjerke, chairman of the board.

What he lacks is something every other PLU president has had: a Lutheran background.

Two years ago, the board changed university bylaws to allow presidents who follow other faith traditions. With Krise, they put it into practice for the first time.

“It is remarkable, I give you that,” Bjerke said Wednesday.

He said PLU changed the requirement in order to deepen the pool of qualified candidates and out of a recognition of “less denominational consciousness in America, certainly in the Northwest.”

PLU is a private university with offical ties to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). But only about 20 percent of PLU students today are Lutheran, Bjerke said.

“We knew it was a question that would be raised,” he said of Krise’s religious affiliation. “It was raised at the search committee level, during interviews with staff, alumni, clergy. He was asked repeatedly about it. At the end of the day, it was not necessary that you have a membership card. What really matters is a deep and fundamental understanding of what this university is trying to accomplish.”

For his part, Krise said he respects PLU’s religious roots but also its commitment to academic principles he sometimes had to fight for on other campuses – all of them secular – where’s he’s taught and led.

“I was attracted by the spirited sense of mission here and really strong commitment to the liberal arts ideal,” Krise said in an interview Wednesday. “The Lutheran founding and Lutheran engagement are all part of the recipe that make it a strong mission.”

His own church tradition is Episcopalian, which he said will be a good fit at PLU. The ELCA and the Episcopal Church have been in full communion since 2001. The two denominations recognize each other’s ministries, exchange clergy members when needed and cooperate in missionary and social-service work.

Krise is married to Patricia Love Krise, an executive with the Ford Motor Company who telecommutes from their home in northern California.

As with other PLU presidents’ spouses, Krise said his wife will be visible at the university and in the Tacoma area. “She’s been quite active and engaged everywhere we’ve been.”

Krise said they’ve traveled to Washington state several times for vacations and on business.

After a nine-month search process, Krise emerged from a field of 57 applicants for the PLU presidency. A trio of finalists visited campus last month and met with administrators, faculty, students and alumni. Bjerke Thursday wouldn’t name the other two finalists or say anything about them, including whether they are Lutheran.

Krise was quick to praise his predecessor, saying he intends to continue what Anderson started “and figure out what comes next at PLU. I think it’s in really good shape.”

Anderson’s legacy includes campus facility improvements, long-range planning and building up the school endowment, fueled by a recent five-year fundraising campaign that surpassed $100 million.

Because Anderson leaves PLU on a good footing, Bjerke said Krise will have the luxury to find his own way.

“We’re not asking for someone to do the same things,” Bjerke said.

Krise, he said, will “focus on getting the story out to a broader public about what a PLU education is, and continue to burnish its academic reputation.”

TOPICS: Current Events; Mainline Protestant; Religion & Culture
KEYWORDS: elca; plu

1 posted on 03/01/2012 3:33:23 PM PST by SmithL
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To: lightman

PLU is an ELCA institution. It’s not like they’re Lutheran, either.

2 posted on 03/01/2012 3:34:52 PM PST by SmithL (If you reward certain behavior, don't be surprised when you see more of that behavior)
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To: SmithL

Good one! LOL!

3 posted on 03/01/2012 4:48:00 PM PST by Charlemagne on the Fox
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To: aberaussie; Aeronaut; aliquando; AlternateViewpoint; AnalogReigns; Archie Bunker on steroids; ...

Lutheran (EL C S*A) Ping!

* as of August 19, AD 2009, a liberal protestant SECT, not part of the holy, catholic and apostolic CHURCH.

Keep a Good Lent!

4 posted on 03/01/2012 5:49:09 PM PST by lightman (Adjutorium nostrum (+) in nomine Domini--nevertheless, Vote Santorum!)
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To: SmithL
His own church tradition is Episcopalian, which he said will be a good fit at PLU. The ELCA and the Episcopal Church have been in full communion since 2001.

No worries for the Egregiously Laodicean Church in America. He's a member of a denomination that backpedals from the Bible as furiously as the ELCA is doing.

5 posted on 03/02/2012 2:59:35 PM PST by rhema ("Break the conventions; keep the commandments." -- G. K. Chesterton)
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