"The Radicals" Brings Into Focus the Faith of the Anabaptists

By Laura Gang on December 27, 2022

The play, produced by Pacific Union College and PUC Prep, highlights a Reformation movement significant to Seventh-day Adventist heritage.“The Radicals” is a stage production about The Reformation—but not the one you’re probably thinking of. Written by Pacific Union College professor Laura Wibberding and produced in collaboration with the college’s History Department and Pacific Union College Preparatory School, the play tells the story of early Anabaptist leaders. Their role in the reformation was arguably more impactful to the heritage of the Seventh-day Adventist Church than even Martin Luther himself.In the early 1500s, two Protestant Christian movements were sweeping across Europe. The Magisterial Reformation, with leaders like Luther in Germany and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland, was supported by rulers—civil magistrates—who enforced conformity to the faith.At the same time, the Radical Reformation also opposed the Catholic Church but firmly eschewed state support. The most well-known group was the Anabaptists, who held that Christianity was a personal decision. That conviction was signified by the “believer’s baptism,” contrary to the christening ceremony of infants.The play features a conversation between Menno Simons, a former Catholic priest who became a prominent Anabaptist leader, and a young female character named Rachel. Their conversation frames each of the play’s...
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A New Sense of Identity

By Laura Gang on December 27, 2022

A drive-by shooting altered the life trajectory of two young PUC alumni. Now, Carla and Daniel Monnier are finding purpose amid a new set of challenges.Boy Scout Road is a rural stretch in Apopka, Florida.Groves of orange trees stand in contrast to their neighbors – unruly throngs of trees that push past property lines and creep over the road’s shoulder.Live oaks, tinseled with tufts of Spanish moss spread their wide limbs behind slim-trunked pines. A grizzled palm stands tall even while a coil of kudzu threatens to climb its way to the top.Every once in a while there’s a clearing, where driveways lead to tired single-story ranch houses.Carla Monnier took this road home from work every day.She didn’t live there. It was a shortcut between Orlando’s busy highways and southwest Apopka’s modern and serene neighborhoods where she and her husband Daniel lived.On a Thursday night in mid-October 2018, Carla had finally finished work at the rehab center. Dinner plans with her friend Mollie hadn’t worked out. So she got into her car and began the nearly 20-minute commute home.Shortly before Carla exited the highway to take her shortcut, Mollie called and they began discussing training plans for an upcoming Ironman...
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PUC Alum’s Life of Service: There has always been a place for me in missions

By Laura Gang on December 6, 2022

Mary Johnson’s first international mission trip to Mexico led her to change her major – and marked a turning point in her life. During spring break of her freshman year at Pacific Union College, Mary and the Korean Club partnered with Maranatha Volunteers International to help build a church in Guamúchil, Sinaloa, in Northwestern Mexico. She said she had several “real conversations” with local residents about how wonderful it is to work for God and decided to switch her major from liberal studies to Spanish. Another memory from the trip made an indelible impact. “I will never forget that last night, as we fellowshipped together in the newly built church, a young girl came up to me and said in Spanish, ‘There will always be a place for you in Guamúchil,’” Mary recalls. “While I have yet to return to that little church we built, there has always been a place for me in missions.” Indeed, since that trip nearly two decades ago, Mary has served on almost 70 mission trips locally and worldwide. She first graduated from PUC in 1999 with a degree in Spanish and later earned her master’s degree in education in 2001. After college, she spent...
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Pacific Union College Launches Online MBA Program

By Laura Gang on November 18, 2022

With concentrations in management and healthcare administration, the program is designed for working professionals with busy schedules. Online programs for Master of Business Administration degrees have surged in popularity in recent years and even surpassed campus-based ones. The pandemic — and the remote world it brought about — further underscored the effectiveness of these online MBA programs. Now, Pacific Union College is working to meet the growing demand. This fall, PUC began offering a new online MBA program with a choice of concentration in management or healthcare administration. Scott Perryman, chair of PUC’s Department of Business and director of the new program, said earning an MBA is “valuable business knowledge” for people in many different career fields. “For professionals who aspire to move up in their organizations or are already in leadership, it’s become the table stakes,” he said. “It almost replaces an undergraduate degree as a requirement for management roles.”PUC’s online WASC-approved MBA program is designed with the busy professional in mind. There are multiple start dates, for instance. Perryman described it as a six-quarter progression, meaning a student can begin at the start of any quarter (fall, winter, spring) and complete the program 18-24 months later. The exact...
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PUC Offers St. Helena High Students Groundbreaking Conservation Technology Course

By Laura Gang on November 8, 2022

Pacific Union College has launched a groundbreaking collaboration with St. Helena High School, giving students the opportunity to learn how technology is applied to the environmental challenges they face in their own local communities and beyond – including severe drought and wildfires.The 10-week class will meet in person on PUC’s campus and provides the students with the chance to earn college credit. “It is very cutting-edge and taps into multiple local interests, blending them together in a very modern way,” St. Helena High Principal Benjamin Scinto said. The new partnership with St. Helena High comes as PUC launches a first-of-its-kind conservation technology undergraduate program. Led by Dr. Scott Butterfield, the program prepares students for careers in environmental-based professions – including conservation technology. Students completing the four-year degree program will receive a Bachelor of Science degree in Conservation Technology. Butterfield serves as PUC’s Clark Professor of Conservation Technology. A local ecologist, he is the lead scientist for The Nature Conservancy’s land program and strategic restoration strategy in the San Joaquin Valley. Butterfield has more than 20 years of experience in the conservation field, with more than 40 published peer-reviewed articles and reports. The term “conservation technology” is relatively new, but the...
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PUC’s 2022-2023 School Year is in Session

By Ally Romanes on October 5, 2022

The 2022-2023 school year has officially started at PUC, and the first week was nothing short of eventful to welcome students back on campus. Welcome Day was on Wednesday, September 21, when new students arrived. Staff and student workers greeted new students and their families at the check-in station to register them for orientation and give them their name badges and welcome bags. Dorm workers, RA’s, faculty, staff, and the president greeted them at the residence halls to assist them in moving in, distributing water, and answering questions. Student life added a prayer station by the campus center for new students and their families to be prayed for by faculty and staff. Classes began on Monday, September 26. With students getting back into the swing of a class schedule, they were given a food truck dinner at the campus center to enjoy, socialize, and take a break from a first busy day of school. At 10 p.m. on Wednesday, students, staff, and faculty, gathered together at the pacific auditorium for Pioneer Madness- a pep rally that happens every year on the first week of school to support the student-athletes. Everyone on the bleachers bring out their pom-poms, signs, and school...
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Pacific Union College Appoints Joy Hirdler Vice President for Financial Administration

By Laura Gang on September 28, 2022

Pacific Union College is pleased to announce Joy Hirdler as its new vice president for financial administration.Hirdler, a PUC alum, has served in various finance roles for over 15 years at Seventh-day Adventist institutions across the nation, including nearly five years at PUC in a position that’s now known as associate vice president for financial administration. Most recently, she worked in financial administration for Union College."Joy is a wonderful choice to join our administration," President Dr. Ralph Trecartin said. "She has a high level of financial experience and is well-acquainted with our PUC community."Just as important, Trecartin said Hirdler has a "great heart for people.” He said her kindness and ability to relate to others make her an excellent addition to the PUC family.Hirdler will serve as PUC’s chief financial officer and lead the finance team and guide its strategic direction. Responsibilities also include overseeing the following offices:AccountingHuman Resources and PayrollEmployee HousingInformation Technology Systems and ServicesStudent Financial ServicesFacilities ManagementAngwin Airport and Flight CenterThe Albion Retreat and Learning Center.Additionally, Hirdler will serve as president of Howell Mountain Enterprises. Hirdler, who will assume her new role on October 30, said she is excited to work with familiar friends and new colleagues as...
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PUC Hosts The 32nd Annual Publication Workshop

By Ally Romanes on September 26, 2022

Pacific Union College hosted the Thirty-Second Annual Publication Workshop from September 11-13. This is the first time the workshop was in person since September 2019, and PUC was excited to welcome 12 academies from California and Oregon. The workshop offers training and valuable tips for jump-starting school’s yearbook, newspaper, or video yearbook. Participants get practical, hands-on information from college educators, student leaders, and industry professionals. Through workshops and worship, students can network with advisers, editors, designers, photographers, videographers, and editorial staff.Sponsors of Publication Workshop are the department of visual arts, communication, and English at PUC. Tim de la Torre, a PUC visual arts instructor, was this year’s Publication Workshop director. This was his first year as a director- however, de la Torre has been a workshop presenter since 2014 and started helping organize it in 2020. Having Publication Workshop back on campus was initially worrisome because of how overwhelming it might be trying to coordinate everything. “Online was a lot of work, but we didn’t have to house and feed students or pick them up from the airport.” says de la Torre. “This year, we had a conversation with Gene Edelbach to see if their department might be able to...
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PUC and Calistoga School Build Community Connection Through Gardening

By Laura Gang on September 26, 2022

Gardening alongside students from a nearby school is how a professor and her students are helping in the broader community and fulfilling Pacific Union College’s mission to serve with love.A biology class and an organic gardening class helped Calistoga Junior/Senior High School with their campus gardening projects. Aimee Wyrick, associate biology professor, taught two classes about natural history and gardening this past school year. She said students learned about wildlife conservation and practical skills. “In our modern age, being able to grow your own food and provide native habitat has never been more important,” she said. Wyrick is always looking for ways for her students to have real-life experiences, particularly in serving the local community. Making connections in the community is also one of the goals of The UpValley Blue Zone Project, an organization that aims to help communities improve their overall health and well-being and boost longevity. One of the efforts of the UpValley area organization – The Blue Zone Project has 17 branches nationwide – includes increasing the availability of local and healthy food.Fabio Maia, the former UpValley Blue Zone Project organizational lead, has close ties to PUC and many other schools and organizations in Napa Valley. Wyrick...
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U.S. News & World Report: PUC ‘Best Value School’ in California

By Laura Gang on September 12, 2022

Pacific Union College shines as one of the finest in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-2023 Best Colleges rankings released today. The college stands out as the state’s Best Value School, on top of high ranks for Social Mobility and Ethnic Diversity. In California, PUC ranks as the top Best Value School. This means it’s the best deal overall for students who want a college with high-quality programs while also relying on need-based financial aid. The college ranked No. 6 in the Best Value category out of 15 colleges in its broader western region.In the category of Social Mobility, which compares graduation rates of Pell grant recipients to non-recipients, PUC places No. 8 out of 46 regional western colleges.Gene Edelbach, vice president of enrollment, marketing, and communication, said the rankings are an important tool as students and parents make a huge commitment to a college. “Choosing a college is one of the most impactful decisions an individual will make,” Edelbach said. “The U.S. News rankings provide assurance that students will receive a high-quality, value-driven, Christian education. That’s invaluable.”Serhii Kalynovs’kyi, PUC’s director of institutional research, assessment, and planning, said the best value and social mobility rankings support each other, meaning the...
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