$5M Cal Fire Grant Awarded to Napa Firewise for Forest Restoration in Angwin

By Laura Gang on September 9, 2022

Coastal redwoods, ponderosa pines, and Douglas firs reign over the majesty of Pacific Union College Forest. Its lush woods are home to native plants and an abundance of wildlife. PUC Forest boasts more than 1,100 acres and features more than 35 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails. Its beauty is treasured and enjoyed by both the college and the larger community. But like other areas of California, the forest is vulnerable to wildfires due to dense overgrowth and drought. The devastating fires to hit the state in recent years, including the Glass Fire, underscore the perpetual threat.“When there’s not a mechanism controlling the density of vegetation, as natural wildfire used to in the past, the packed-in trees face overabundant competition for water,” said Peter Lecourt, PUC Forest manager. “Trees essentially die of thirst and become fuel.” Now, significant new funding will help the college reduce that danger. A $5 million Cal Fire Forest Health Grant was recently awarded to the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation with PUC as a primary partner. Nearly $3 million will go to PUC Forest for wildfire mitigation -- namely fuel reduction.In the fall of 2020, the Glass Fire burned nearly 70,000 acres of land...
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Local Community Donation Supports PUC’s Growing Nursing Program

By Laura Gang on August 26, 2022

The exceptional nursing program at Pacific Union College is being rewarded with an increase in student enrollment. PUC recently received high praise and an additional 5-year approval on its accreditation from the Board of Registered Nursing. That recognition has also allowed the college to welcome more nursing students.Following this exciting news PUC’s nursing program then received a sizable donation of $200,000. Angwin Community Ambulance, a former local nonprofit organization, made the contribution, in large part because of its heartfelt connection with the college. Because of this funding, the nursing department is able to support this growth of students by upgrading Davidian Hall.According to the Chair of Nursing Health and Science Kimberly Dunker, Davidian Hall will receive a major refresh on three of its classrooms – including one that’s brand new. Renovations will include new carpet, paint, flooring, sound projectors, and screens or smart boards.“A renovation like this has not been done for Davidian Hall for many years,” Dunker said. She is amazed by all the administrative support for the nursing program and building project.Existing Nursing Simulation (SIM) Laboratories, which immerse students in hands-on clinical experience, will be recreated with new audio/visual equipment. Davidian Hall’s main SIM lab will have new...
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‘God Provided Everything’: PUC Professor, Students, and Grads Serve in Medical Mission Trip to Indonesia

By Laura Gang on August 4, 2022

Mission trips were one of the casualties of the pandemic. Due to worldwide travel restrictions, many remote areas desperate for aid were cut off from receiving medical care, needed supplies, and equipment. As travel restrictions began to lift, a group of medical professionals from the United States, Australia, Malaysia, and South Korea along with 21 students and volunteers began planning a mission trip to Indonesia. Many were Pacific Union College students, staff, and alumni.Dr. Backsil Sung, professor of biology at Pacific Union College, has been on many medical mission trips. Planning for this one presented new challenges, but also providential surprises. “God provided everything for this trip,” Sung said. “He opened the country step-by-step.” When the group initially began planning, Indonesia had only recently opened specific areas to foreign tourists. One month later, Sung said, the country opened remote regions. Within the next month, they lifted the PCR test requirement, and then one for travel insurance. Finally, Indonesia accepted visas on arrival without any other major requirements.Dr. Sung said God also helped provide $50,000 from friends and other supporters which, except for airfare, covered all the necessary expenses for patient transportation, medicine, equipment, supplies, and materials. The large donation also...
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PUC’s Education Department Receives Reapproval for Full Accreditation

By Ally Romanes on July 28, 2022

Pacific Union College is proud to announce that the education department received full accreditation, which allows the department to recommend candidates for a California state teaching credential and SDA certificates in elementary, middle, and secondary teaching. With receiving full accreditation, the education department requires one report due each year.The education department was given six months to address the accreditation body’s concerns. Dr. Jean Buller, chair of the education department, appeared before the state committee, and shortly after her meeting, full accreditation was granted. “The process is very rigorous, and we are proud of our approval status,” Buller said. The accreditation was conducted online for three days in April, and the accreditation team interviewed current students, graduates, and graduate employers. The education department initially received a few stipulations, including an increase in faculty training for student diversity, equity, and inclusion, meeting more often with the field advisory schools where teaching candidates are placed, and improving procedures for placement of students in lab schools. PUC has been fully accredited since the 1950’s. In May, the department also completed the process to renew our SDA North American Division Certification. ...
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“Mission: Ukraine” Helps Bring 10 New Students to Pacific Union College

By Laura Gang on July 21, 2022

Jennifer Klingbeil read and watched the news about the war in Ukraine in February with both shock and compassion. Like many of us here in the United States, she felt moved to action, wanting to help the Ukrainian people but not sure how.That changed after Klingbeil received a call from Kellie Lind. Lind, Pacific Union College’s vice president of advancement, was reaching out as a friend to offer her home as a place to stay for any of Klingbeil’s relatives who might have fled Ukraine.Klingbeil felt like it was “a sign” since she had been thinking about PUC. She talked with Lind about her fervent desire to help Ukrainians. Perhaps they could work together. Their idea blossomed into an initiative -- Mission: Ukraine. Through the program, 10 Ukrainian students displaced by war will travel to the United States to attend Pacific Union College. Over 70 students have already applied to this program and have gone through a rigorous selection process. The chosen group will start school here in Napa Valley this fall.Both Ukraine and PUC are close to Klingbeil’s heart. Jennifer’s mother, Adventina Shiwotenko, was Ukrainian. Remarkably, she started the country’s first Seventh-day Adventist school in Kyiv. “Christian education was...
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Paulin Hall Auditorium to Become 'Treasure' of the Napa Valley

By Laura Gang on July 21, 2022

Since arriving at Pacific Union College in 2006, Asher Raboy has worked to build connections between the college’s music program and the Napa Valley community.Raboy, the chair of the music department and PUC’s resident artist in music has composed original works for students and brought diverse musicians to perform on campus. Now Raboy said a generous donation will help PUC further in building these community relationships.A $150,000 donation from the former local nonprofit, Angwin Community Ambulance, will help PUC renovate the main auditorium in Paulin Hall, home to the college’s music department.The renovation work, conducted in two phases, will include new seats and paint along with needed wall repairs. New carpet with thick padding and vinyl hardwood flooring for the stage will help improve the auditorium’s acoustics. The hope is for the project to be completed by early 2023, just in time for PUC to debut a student-led theatrical production -- an original musical written and scored by Assistant Academic Dean Lindsay Hayasaka. To many, the work might seem simply cosmetic. But not for Raboy.Raboy, who directed the Napa Valley Symphony for nearly two decades, talks of the project with the same passion you might find him talking about Brahms...
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Swift Water Rescue Equipment Donated to PUC

By Ashley Eisele on July 11, 2022

PUC recently received a valuable donation of equipment for the school’s swift water rescue course from Angwin Community Ambulance (ACA), a local ambulance service that was recently dissolved.The organization donated swift water gear, including wetsuits, helmets, gear bags, life jackets, and more, as well as technical rope rescue gear and rescue-specific personal protective equipment.Before being dissolved, ACA served the Angwin community for more than 40 years. During that time, many of PUC’s emergency services and emergency management students volunteered with the organization, providing emergency medical services throughout Angwin.The ambulance service donated the equipment to PUC in addition to sharing assets with other local groups that serve the community of Angwin.“Though ACA has dissolved, they still wanted to further their mission and serve the community,” said Matthew Russell, assistant professor of nursing and emergency services. “The donation of swift water equipment and technical rope rescue equipment will allow the emergency management program to continue to provide excellent training opportunities to our majors who in turn will use these skill sets to serve the Angwin community.” The new equipment was put to use in early July when students attended a swift water rescue course on the south fork of the American River...
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PUC 2022 Class Gift Supports Angwin Food Pantry

By Ashley Eisele on July 7, 2022

Every graduating class has the opportunity to leave a legacy and make an impact through their senior class gift. PUC’s Class of 2022 decided they wanted the impact of their gift to be felt by the local community through a generous donation to the Angwin Food Pantry.“The class decided to give back to the community for all that they do in support of the college,” said Professor Tuwan Ussery, associate professor of social work and 2022 class sponsor. “Additionally, many of the class officers saw firsthand the need in the community through the Angwin Food Pantry and they wanted to serve community residents.”The pantry serves anyone in the area who is facing food insecurity, and the class’s donation comes at a critical time as rising food costs are causing more people to look for support. The pantry has seen a recent increase in the number of individuals and families picking up fresh produce, canned food, and other household staples at the pantry’s regular distributions at the PUC Church. “While we can’t quantify the depth and breadth that this gift will have on the community,” said Milbert Mariano, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “It’s the right thing...
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Escape from Home: PUC alum and family flee Ukraine

By Laura Gang on June 30, 2022

The night before his country was invaded, Andrey Gulko went to bed early.He and his family had returned from a business trip to the Netherlands. Back to their house with their own dishes, towels, and comfortable beds. Back to the daily routine. Back to their normal life.With three children under 10, normal life for the Gulkos was busy. They barely had time to recoup after their trip. Two days went by. It was a Wednesday and they still hadn’t unpacked.The first time he awoke was to the phone ringing. It was his neighbor, anxious and worried about the tense situation with Russia.Still groggy, Andrey put his neighbor off until the morning. There had been rumors for months, but nothing had happened yet. Andrey hung up. He closed his eyes and once again let the waves of weariness pull him back into sleep.The second time he was jolted awake by the sound of loud blasts and rattling windows. It was 4 AM. Andrey and his wife looked at each other. It was actually happening.It was happening now.In the Midst of an International CrisisAndrey and his family, along with millions of other Ukrainians, suddenly found themselves at the center of a crisis...
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2022 PUC Commencement: Graduates celebrate their achievements and prepare to ‘leave their mark’ in the world

By Laura Gang on June 23, 2022

Students in this year’s graduating class didn’t just successfully triumph through several years of study sessions, papers, and exams. They also have the distinction of making it through a global pandemic and the threat of last year’s wildfire. The uncertainty of these events posed challenges. But they also stimulated creativity, shaped priorities, and above all fostered perseverance. Those experiences and the lessons learned from them are as indelible in the minds of the students as all of their teachers, classes, friendships, and social events. Pacific Union College’s 2022 graduates are ready now to go out and make a positive and lasting impact on the world. On Sunday, June 19, 2022, PUC celebrated its 120th graduating class at a joyous commencement ceremony. The college conferred associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees upon nearly 200 students. Diverse in its make-up, the class represents students from 13 states and five countries. Three honors students and three Maxwell Scholars were also recognized among the graduates. “Choose to live boldly and take risks,” PUC Board of Trustees chair Sandra Roberts said in her Commencement address. “Choose to be resilient. Choose to allow love to emerge. Hope to emerge.”Unique to the Class of 2022 is that it...
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