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PLTS alumna Bloomquist appointed as seminary's Dean following CLU merger approval

California Lutheran University (CLU) has appointed a former director for the Lutheran World Federation to oversee Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary (PLTS) after it becomes part of the university on Jan. 1.

The Rev. Karen L. Bloomquist of Bellingham, Wash., will start Jan. 6 as the dean and chief administrative officer of PLTS. She will replace Phyllis Anderson, who is retiring as the seminary’s president.

Bloomquist is an alumna of PLTS, having earned a master’s in divinity from the seminary, and the recipient of the 1992 Distinguished Alumna Award. She has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and religion from St. Olaf College in Minnesota and a doctorate in theology from Union Theological Seminary in New York.

She has taught at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Wartburg Theological Seminary in Iowa and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She is an ordained minister who has served as pastor of congregations in Oakland, Brooklyn and Ferndale, Wash. She has been active in global interfaith, social justice and humanitarian efforts.

“I am delighted that Karen will be guiding PLTS as it begins its next chapter,” said CLU President Chris Kimball. “I look forward to new creative energy coming out of the seminary, building upon the foundation that Phyllis established.”

The Western Association of Schools & Colleges approved the merger, the final step in the process, on Nov. 13. CLU’s faculty endorsed the seminary’s academic program, and the university’s Convocation voted to support the merger in October.

CLU and PLTS are both schools of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and have complementary missions. The merger will allow them to share resources and enhance the educational programs of both institutions. PLTS and CLU faculty will collaborate to support each other’s programs, develop new approaches to teaching, and deliver shared programs for the ELCA. PLTS will continue to be a full seminary.

PLTS, the only ELCA seminary in the western United States, offers master’s degrees in divinity and theological studies and is a member of the Graduate Theological Union, a consortium of seminaries and research centers that offers combined programs. It has about 80 degree students.

PLTS will be the northernmost campus of CLU, which is based in Thousand Oaks. The university’s current centers for graduate courses and the Bachelor’s Degree for Professionals program are located in Oxnard, Woodland Hills and Santa Maria. With an enrollment of 4,300 students, CLU offers undergraduate and graduate programs within the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Management, Graduate School of Education and Graduate School of Psychology.

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