WASC Renews PUC Accreditation

By Larry Peña on August 24, 2011

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges, the organization that accredits educational institutions in California and Hawaii, concluded a six-year review of Pacific Union College last month, awarding PUC uninterrupted accreditation through spring of 2018. “This process, while long, was very helpful as we continue to improve student learning at PUC,” said academic dean Nancy Lecourt. “We learned a lot and consider it a growing process.” That process included two visits by WASC evaluation teams, as well as three rigorous reports on the college’s progress in several areas recommended at the beginning of the review, including strategic planning, financial stability, and student enrollment and retention. In a letter to the college administration, WASC applauded PUC’s “effective and committed engagement with issues of continuous improvement.” More specifically, the organization praised PUC’s faculty for maintaining a strong system of self-review, and to the college in general for its “commitment to a culture of evidence” in evaluating best courses of action....
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A New Year for Pioneers Athletics

By Katelynn Christensen on August 18, 2011

This fall is an exciting time for the Pacific Union College athletic program. The college welcomes new coaches for its men’s basketball, men’s soccer, and co-ed cross country teams, and introduces its first athletics-based scholarships. PUC graduate Kirt Brower returns to coach the Pioneers basketball team for which he played as an undergraduate. In recent years, Brower has taught physical education in the Colton Unified School District and at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School. He has also coached basketball, baseball, and track and field at St. Helena High School. Additionally, he assisted the University of Redlands’ men’s and women’s basketball teams while completing a master’s degree in education. Bertin Loyola comes to PUC with eight years of coaching experience, having shared his expertise with the men’s soccer club at the University of California at Davis, the girls’ team at Vacaville Christian High School, and the North Bay Elite Futbal Club in Fairfield, Calif. In his time as a competitive player, Loyola won numerous awards as a student athlete at Vintage High School in Napa, Calif. and received distinction as “Freshman of the Year” at UC Davis, where he played from 2003-2006. Philip Toohey brings deep enthusiasm and a faith-oriented approach...
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Young Students Experience College at PacificQuest

By Larry Peña on August 8, 2011

Twenty-four outstanding students in grades seven, eight, and nine earned advance college credits and had a preview of college life at Pacific Union College’s annual PacificQuest, July 24-29. The program recruits high-performance students from schools across the Adventist system for a well rounded and challenging academic and social experience. Students came from as close as the Bay Area and as far away as Colorado. “All of the kids are exceptional—they are academically gifted but also many are artistic,” says PacificQuest academic director Aimee Wyrick, a PUC biology professor. “Our students are very athletic as well. Altogether, a well-rounded bunch.” This year’s program included a core class and two electives. Every student took a class on biology emphasizing exotic animals, taught by PUC biology professor Bryan Ness. He guided the students through interactions with a variety of unconventional pets, including monitors, tarantulas, and snakes, learning about the science of how they live and what makes them unusual. PUC business professor Wally Lighthouse introduced the students to the study of business in one of the elective options. In “Business as Usual,” students explored the impact of trade and economics on history and culture, researched the value of unexpected commodities, and practiced business...
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PUC Offers Unique Film and Theater Studies A.S.

By Katelynn Christensen on June 28, 2011

Pacific Union College students are now able to combine two creative fields, the stage and the screen, into one degree with the associate’s in film and theater studies.* The range of interdisciplinary coursework now available to PUC students through this program is sufficient to stand alone as the foundation of a career or to supplement any four-year degree. The new joint degree is the only one of its kind within the Seventh-day Adventist system and is a rare find in higher education at large. “We’re very, very excited about this new A.S. degree,” says Rodney Vance, director of the film and television program. “It provides an opportunity for students who have a strong interest in [the areas of film and theater] to get strong training that will benefit them no matter what career they choose.” In addition to a core curriculum that offers exposure to film production, theater, and writing, the degree features three emphases to suit diverse student goals. “We felt there was much to be gained by combining our two programs since our film students need experience working with actors, and our drama students need more experience with the technical side of production,” says English department chair Cynthia...
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REVO Breaks $10,000 Goal

By Larry Peña on June 7, 2011

PUC’s student-led philanthropy organization REVO officially reached its dollar goal last week, just in time to conclude its campaign with the close of the school year. This year’s goal was $10,000 to fund a self-sustaining community kitchen in Argentina’s impoverished province of Salta. The final donation that put the fundraising over the top was a gift from a group of 15 students led by Julov’ Pierre. The group took second place at the SA talent show in April with an elaborate multimedia performance built around the theme “Heal the World.” As the REVO campaign came to a close, the group collectively decided to donate their cash prize. “We decided to make something that people could remember,” says Pierre, a native of Haiti who feels a deep connection to the cause of international humanitarian responsibility. “REVO[’s…] project corresponded with our vision and theme. It was a great pleasure.” Immediately after receiving the full $10,000, REVO officers performed the next step of the campaign—getting the money into the hands of Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). The agency will take the lead on implementing the kitchen—building the facility, developing the attached garden and livestock supply, and training locals to run the facility...
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Rennacker Named Cal Pac Scholar Athlete of the Year

By Staff Writer on June 6, 2011

Aren Rennacker, a graduating member of the Pacific Union College men's varsity basketball program, was named the 2011 California Pacific Conference (Cal Pac) Male Scholar Athlete of the Year on Wednesday, June 1. The Cal Pac Conference executive committee, made up of the athletic directors of the member institutions, selected Rennacker from an impressive list of nominees. Cal Pac Commissioner Don Ott said, "To say that I am impressed with all the nominees is a tremendous understatement. Moreover, the two individuals we are honoring have accomplished the incredible academically, athletically, and personally. They all represent the finest traits of Champions of Character, and we look forward to seeing how they continue to impact our society." The honor is given to a student athlete who has completed their four years of athletic eligibility, displayed excellence in the classroom, exhibited the five core values of the Champions of Character initiative, been a significant contributor to his or her team, and has been involved in the community and on campus. Rennacker will graduate from PUC summa cum laude, with a degree in public relations/journalism. The Sacramento native and four-year starter was named First Team All Cal Pac this past season, finishing ranked third...
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Chung Receives First Jimmy Ha Endowment Scholarship

By Eirene-Gin Nakamura on May 27, 2011

The first ever recipient of the Jimmy J. Ha Endowment Scholarship was honored at the Awards Colloquy on Thursday, May 26. Danny Chung, a junior religion major, received the award for his demonstration of the love of Christ, commitment to the Adventist church, and passion for knowledge. To present the award, scholarship founder Sonia Ha gave an inspirational message in honor of her late husband, a beloved religion professor at PUC who passed away last year after battling cancer. “In the face of suffering we are here together, experiencing and encountering someone; today, particularly Danny Chung,” she said. “We do this deed being confidence of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Vice president for alumni and advancement Pam Sadler introduced the award, recalling the phone call she received in 2009 from the couple saying that they wanted to begin a scholarship at Pacific Union College. “That phone call will forever remain in my mind as a poignant reminder that no matter what is happening today, we must always have the foresight to be hopeful for the future,” Sadler said. Chung was one of a...
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Congressman Thompson Commends PUC and Comcast Partnership in Angwin

By Staff Writer on May 23, 2011

During a special presentation at Angwin’s 2011 Flea Market and Car Show on Sunday, Congressman Mike Thompson (D-St. Helena) congratulated Angwin on the expansion of broadband technology to the community, thanks to a partnership between Pacific Union College and Comcast. Last fall, the college worked with Comcast to update the campus telecommunications network with a fiber-optic infrastructure. The move increased PUC’s bandwidth by 1,000 percent and also allowed Comcast to expand its services into Angwin, where communication and entertainment services have been limited. “This is a partnership that is going to pay dividends for the entire community,” said Thompson, listing the number of educational online programs that can benefit school-age children, businesses, and families. “The amount of information that is at our fingertips is truly awesome, and so much is available because of the expansion of broadband.” The program also welcomed Napa County Supervisor Diane Dillon, who commended Comcast and PUC and called it a “step forward” for PUC and the community. Heather Knight, president of PUC, also spoke at the event along with Tom Bartee, district director for 7th District Assemblyman Michael Allen; and Paul Gibson, East Bay area vice president for Comcast. Two years ago, PUC was urgently...
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Religion Department Consecration

By Eirene-Gin Nakamura on May 19, 2011

The professors of the Pacific Union College religion department consecrated their graduating seniors in an intimate ceremony at Scales Chapel on Friday, May 6. Family and friends joined the department in celebrating the accomplishments of these two theology majors and five religion majors as they prepare to enter into a life dedicated to ministry and service to the Lord. Each year, the religion department holds this service for its graduating seniors as a way of dedicating them to the gospel ministry. This year, they consecrated seven seniors, whose future plans range from entering global missionary work to ministry within the medical field. In the service, students had the opportunity to reminisce about their favorite moments at PUC, to display their talents in worship, and to thank their professors, families, and friends for the support they received throughout their undergraduate careers. The department compiled a slideshow of memories from mission trips, baptisms, and other works of ministry and classes as a gift for the students. Featured speaker Pastor Tim Mitchell, senior pastor at the PUC Seventh-day Adventist Church, encouraged the students with anecdotes from his experience as a minister of the Gospel. To close the service, senior pre-med/religion major Alicia Teferi...
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Art Seniors Show Thesis Projects

By Staff Writer on May 16, 2011

Fifteen PUC visual art seniors displayed their thesis projects at Rasmussen Art Gallery Saturday evening as the venue swelled with an overflow crowd. The Thesis Exhibition is an annual show that serves as the highlight of the capstone year for fine art, photography, and graphic design students. The show featured a diverse collection of student work, including photography series, paintings, digital installations, and collections of business promotional materials. “It was a very strong exhibition that showcased the talent and hard work of our students,” said Milbert Mariano, chair of the visual arts department. “They have been planning, conceptualizing, and implementing their projects all year long. They should be very proud.” See a photo gallery from this year’s senior thesis show....
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