Dr. Keith Swenson

Keith Swenson
Dr. Keith Swenson
  • Natural Sciences


Favorite Quote

“I wouldn’t have seen it if I hadn’t believed it.” –Unknown geologist

Natural history interest

Dr. Swenson has maintained a life-long passion for natural history activities. While growing up in the rural Midwest, he explored fields, woodlands, and wetlands in search of interesting plants, frogs, turtles, and other critters. Week-long canoe trips in northern Wisconsin were a highlight of those days. During college in Idaho, he worked building trails in the backcountry of Glacier National Park. More recently, Dr. Swenson has served as interpretive guide at Mount St. Helens and on Colorado River trips through the Grand Canyon. One memorable experience of those trips was waking up one morning finding he was sleeping next to a rattlesnake! Since starting at Multnomah, Keith has enjoyed escorting hundreds of students on field trips to several local natural history sites.

Medical career

After graduating from college with a degree in zoology, Dr. Swenson attended medical school and then completed specialty training in both dermatology and internal medicine. He practiced medicine for over 30 years in the U.S. Army Medical Corp, and in Rockford, Illinois and Portland, Oregon. He “retired” to work full-time teaching at Multnomah.


Dr. Swenson is married (Connie) and has four grown children. The Swensons enjoy traveling and over the years Dr. Swenson and Connie have visited China, Russia, Europe, and Latin America. Dr. Swenson’s favorite trip was a birding expedition in the rainforest of the Peruvian Amazon.

Spiritual journey

Dr. Swenson was raised in the Evangelical Covenant Church and became a believer in Jesus Christ at an early age. For many years, he struggled to reconcile his scientific interests with his biblical faith. Under the teaching of Dr. Donald Chittick at what was then called Multnomah School of the Bible, Dr. Swenson first realized that one can readily interpret data from the natural world based upon a straight-forward understanding of Scripture. In his classes, he recommends this approach to his students, but also provides balance by explaining the teachings of evolutionism and old-earth creationism.