PUC Climbs U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges List

By Laura Gang on September 18, 2023

Pacific Union College was again lauded for its excellence in higher education, ranking high among the region’s top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best College list released today.U.S. News & World Report heralded PUC as the No. 2 Best Value School among colleges in the larger Western region, a jump from No. 6 last year. In California alone, PUC is first.A Best Value School, according to the publication, is an institution credited with excellent academic programs and affordability due to low tuition costs and financial aid assistance. “I believe the best value that comes with a PUC degree is that our students are connected to a community of faith and well-prepared for a lifetime of service,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “Being equipped to create positive change in the world and live out kingdom values is truly invaluable—and this is what we are most proud of at PUC.” PUC President Ralph Trecartin agrees.“These rankings have once again confirmed that Pacific Union College is a leader in higher education, not just for its quality academics but for its affordability,” Trecartin said. “We have consciously provided merit scholarships for students who...

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PUC Forest Helps Sustain Habitat for California’s Rare and Threatened State Butterfly

By Laura Gang on September 5, 2023

Biology professor Aimee Wyrick always knew the PUC Forest was a special place.But until recently, she didn’t know just how special it was.Wyrick, a longtime Pacific Union College educator and dean of the school of sciences, was walking with her father through the forest this past spring, where she has spent countless hours studying plants and wildlife. They spotted something she’d never seen before—a black and yellow butterfly with a peach silhouette on both wings. It was a California dogface butterfly. Not only is it rare, but in 1972, it was officially named the California state insect. The butterfly wasn’t alone. Several other bright females and males quickly flitted about the wooded area, only pausing briefly to alight on dark purple blossoms with orange-tipped stamens. Wyrick had been surveying the PUC Forest, documenting rare native plants as part of a state-funded grant program. Last year, the state awarded a $5 million Cal Fire Forest Health Grant to the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation with PUC as a primary partner. Nearly $3 million was given to PUC Forest for wildfire mitigation — namely fuel reduction.In the process of forest thinning, it’s important to preserve certain trees and plants that may be threatened. One of these...

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Chris Vance Named PUC’s 2022-23 Staff Member of the Year

By Ally Romanes on August 2, 2023

In May, Pacific Union College announced that Chris Vance, information technology support services operations manager, was named Staff Member of the Year. Vance was honored during an award ceremony for his tremendous work overseeing and handling the campus’ information technology systems. One of Vance’s strengths is his amazing communication skills– all while juggling responsibilities with different departments and offices. There is no doubt this award is well-deserved.This past school year was the first time human resources recognized a staff member of the year. They planned to start this award in 2020 but got off track when COVID hit. “Chris is the perfect person to be recognized for our inaugural staff member of the year award,” says Stacy Nelson, chief human resources officer. “He has made such an impact at the College. He’s a true PUC Pioneer!” "The IT team at PUC is small but mighty. We’re deeply blessed to have Chris on our team,” Nelson continues. “Whether it was COVID challenges in years past or the cyber-attacks that took place this year, Chris really stepped up and made an impact. Jim Collins, author of several leadership books says, ‘Great vision without great people is irrelevant.’ Chris embodies this; he’s one of...

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PUC Receives Federal Grant to Assist Master’s Students Aspiring to Become Nurse Educators

By Laura Gang on July 21, 2023

It’s no secret that hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, and more in the United States are facing a nursing staff shortage. More nurses are needed to replace those retiring. The good news is that college nursing programs are seeing a rise in students. However, more qualified nurse faculty are in demand to teach these new nurses.To help fill this need, on July 3, 2023, Pacific Union College received a grant of more than $203,000 from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) for a Nursing Loan Faculty Program (NFLP). This grant will provide PUC with the resources to assist prospective MSN students financially. The loan program was created to help alleviate financial concerns for graduate nursing students interested in becoming educators.“As a former recipient of this grant during my doctoral program, I was determined to obtain this funding to support the nurse educator students enrolled in our new PUC MSN program,” said Kimberly Dunker, dean of the PUC School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “This is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to teach in academia or the practice setting to obtain funding through this loan forgiveness program.”Funds from the loan program are available to accredited nursing schools to help...

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PUC Welcomes Arturo Lopez As Campus Chaplain

By Ally Romanes on July 11, 2023

Pacific Union College is happy to announce that Arturo Lopez will be the new campus chaplain. Pastor Lopez is a young and seasoned pastor with amazing experience. He is energetic, enthusiastic, and thrives on making friends. You won’t find a more outgoing person.He received his B.A. in Theology from PUC in 2014 and went on to La Sierra University for his master of theology studies. From Andrews University, he obtained his M.A. in pastoral ministry and is currently earning his Doctor of Ministry.Over the past nine years, Pastor Lopez has served within the Seventh-day Adventist Central California Conference. He began as the associate/youth Pastor in Fresno and San Jose. Later, he transitioned into the role of district pastor, serving communities in Bakersfield, Taft, Salinas, and Seaside. Most recently, he was the pastor at the Monterey Bay Academy Church while also serving as the school chaplain.“During our evaluation process, it became evident to the committee that Pastor Arturo possesses the ideal combination of academic achievements and practical experience,” said Ryan Smith, PUC’s vice president of student life. “His deep-rooted passion for engaging with and mentoring youth and young adults is palpable and aligns perfectly with the role of an outstanding chaplain....

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Mariano Looks Ahead To Leading Honors Program for a New Generation

By Laura Gang on July 9, 2023

For Milbert Mariano, starting a new role at Pacific Union College in July is like a homecoming.Mariano is set to become the dean of the new School of Arts, Humanities, and Professions at PUC. As part of those new duties, he is also taking over leadership of the Honors Program, which he was closely involved in early in his PUC career.Earlier this year, PUC announced a new three-school model. As leadership discussed the path ahead, Mariano became intrigued by the idea of transitioning from vice president of academic administration and academic dean to lead one of the new schools—especially because of the Honors Program. “I knew the Honors director was part of that,” he said. “It’s one of the things that really excited me since I had been a part of the Honors Program years ago.”PUC’s Honors Program is for high-achieving students who seek a more robust understanding of a complex world. Courses are based on primary text and discussion—an alternative to the traditional general education format. Students are encouraged to develop critical thinking skills, aesthetic appreciation, and spiritual growth. As he looks forward to the new role, Mariano said he wants to build upon the successes of his predecessors—Allison...

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PUC Sees Strong Gains in New Students for Spring

By Laura Gang on June 19, 2023

Editor’s Note: We are reposting this story with an updated headline that more clearly reflects its content.This year’s theme at Pacific Union College is “Revival”; certainly, there’s no better metaphor for renewal than spring. It’s a time when we witness the glorious rebirth of nature all around us. The sun finally casts its warm light after a long cold winter. Spring brings a revitalized sense of optimism.Likewise, there’s optimism on the horizon for PUC. This spring has seen the highest number of new students enrolling in the last ten years. Additionally, Economic Full-Time Equivalent (EFTE) enrollment has increased each quarter this year—something which has never happened before in the modern history of the college. Many factors have contributed to these successes. Kharolynn Pascual Smith, director of orientation, transitions, and retention, said the return to pre-pandemic conditions has made it possible for many students to move forward with their college plans. Pascual Smith, who focuses primarily on re-enrollment, regularly checks in with her students and helps them through difficult obstacles. That kind of personal care is another reason students are more likely to stay. Pascual Smith also cited the enrollment team’s “intentional approach in seeking out and cultivating potential students for...

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Pacific Union College Graduation Weekend Events 2023

By Laura Gang on June 14, 2023

Pacific Union College will host its 2023 commencement ceremonies from Friday, June 16, through Sunday, June 18.The college is proud to recognize the accomplishments of 219 students and will award 241 associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. The largest group is comprised of 145 nursing and health science students, followed by biology (21), visual arts (15), business administration (14), and psychology and social work (12).“We are proud of our high-achieving senior students, who give warmth and add friendliness to our campus, which builds a friend network for life,” President Ralph Trecartin said. “This diverse class is exceptionally dedicated to strengthening spiritual life throughout the community and being leaders to others in all services through worship, Bible study, and outreach. It is a joyous sight to see them learn with purpose, rise in faith, and serve with love.”In the class of 2023, 15 students will graduate summa cum laude, 17 magna cum laude, 45 cum laude, and 8 with honors. Four graduates are Maxwell Scholars, who were recognized as incoming freshmen for their outstanding academics and awarded full tuition scholarships based on their exemplary academic achievements and test scores. This year’s Maxwell Scholars are Melody Chana Park, fine arts major; Brenna Fillmore,...

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Winners Announced in PUC’s First High School Essay Contest

By Ally Romanes on June 9, 2023

The department of English at Pacific Union College held its first annual Emerging Voices of the Pacific Union essay contest. The contest began on March 12 to high school students from Seventh-day Adventist academies or junior academies in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.Students had until April 21 to submit a personal essay about a time they found beauty in an everyday or unexpected place. Approximately 80 entries were received and judged by PUC English professors to choose three winners.PUC is happy to congratulate and share the winners of the Emerging Voices essay contest: 1st place is Joshua Nielson, a senior from Rio Linda Academy, who wrote an essay titled Whispers of a Ghost Town about a town called Bodie and finding true beauty within the legacy of towns. Judges were greatly impressed with Nielson’s strong sense of description and place and the unusual approach he took to thinking about beauty and discovery. His work is a fantastic representation of the beauty of California, and his voice as a writer shines through. Nielsen will receive a $1000 scholarship and a $500 prize. 2nd place is Yieby Shade, a junior from San Gabriel Academy, whose essay Layered In Between is about...

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Remembering the Life of Allison Fox

By Laura Gang, Ally Romanes, and Herbert Ford on June 8, 2023

Pacific Union College and the Angwin community are deeply saddened by the loss of Allison Fox, PUC alum, access services librarian, and Honors program director, who passed away surrounded by her family on May 9 in Angwin, California.“Allison did a fantastic job taking care of our Honors students and making sure they had a great academic experience at PUC,” said Milbert Mariano, PUC vice president for academic administration and academic dean. “She did an excellent job preparing each of our students for the life of a Christian scholar. I am proud of the work she did and know many will miss her zest for life greatly.” Fox was born at St. Helena Hospital to Cheryl and Chuck Fox. She grew up in Angwin, along with sisters Heidi and Lizzie. She attended both PUC Elementary and PUC Preparatory Academy and was a lifelong member of the PUC Church. When she started college at PUC, Fox was a student worker for two years in the campus bookstore. She then worked for two more years at the Nelson Memorial Library, often in the archives with the Walter Utt collection. In 2001, she graduated from PUC with a B.A. in English. Fox moved away from her...

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