David & Marilyn Knutson Lecture

Supporting Education and Providing Hospitality at PLU

The annual David and Marilyn Knutson Lecture has taken place on the Pacific Lutheran University campus since 2006. The lectureship brings to campus nationally recognized scholars in theology to ask the tough questions about contemporary challenges.

David Knutson ’58, a longtime member of the religion faculty, taught at Pacific Lutheran University for more than 20 years. David and Marilyn met at PLU in the 1950s, married, and when David left for New York City as a Rockefeller Fellow, Marilyn followed. She completed her teaching degree from the University of Minnesota in 1960. For the next 32 years, Marilyn taught the K-6 set while David focused on college students.

The couple has given to Q Club Scholarships through the PLU Annual Fund, but the giving continued past the checkbook. For decades, the Knutson apartment, just off Wheeler Street near campus, has acted as a way station for visiting lecturers, professors, organists, students and parents. A guestbook shows signatures from travelers all over the world, in all languages, thanking the Knutsons for their hospitality.

After David died in 2004, Marilyn contemplated setting up a scholarship in his honor. But former provost and friend, Patricia O’Connell Killen, suggested that Marilyn sponsor a lectureship instead. After consulting with her financial advisor, John Aakre, she realized a lectureship was a possibility. Marilyn has provided for the lectureship in perpetuity with a gift in her will.

“David loved lectures,” Marilyn says. “So this makes sense.”

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