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Week of Prayer Pastor Addresses Difficult Topics with Empathy and Encouragement

By Laura Gang on May 4, 2023

When pastors address a difficult subject in their messages, they must do so with great care and preparation, especially if there are no easy answers. It’s not often that a pastor addresses five complex topics in a week. But Pastor Josie Ascencio did precisely that. Pacific Union College held its annual spring Week of Prayer from April 17-21. Students led out in praise and worship songs and icebreaker activities each day. Ascencio, head pastor of the Antioch Seventh-day Adventist Church, spoke on the year’s theme of “Revival.” Her topics included brokenness, isolation, and despair—and the importance of building community and connection by reaching out. Each message centered on a biblical story of physical and emotional healing. Ascencio began with the story of Jacob, who was far from perfect and so concerned with himself that he even swindled his father out of his brother’s birthright. But then, Ascencio said, came the struggle in the desert and the dream revealing angels descending and ascending a ladder from heaven to earth. God showed Jacob he was still with him. “You’re a stealer? I’ll make you a giver! All the world will be blessed,” Ascencio said. In Jacob, she continued, we learn that God continues...
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Homecoming: PUC Alumni Gather Together to Reconnect, Reminisce, and Reflect

By Laura Gang on April 27, 2023

Pacific Union College welcomed alumni back to the mountain for a beautiful Homecoming Weekend on April 21-22.Vice President for Alumni and Advancement Kellie Lind said it was wonderful to be together again. Now that people are traveling more, it made for a much better reunion this year.“It was fun for the alumni to interact and meet future PUC alumni and our current students during the weekend,” said Lind. “Our students were very involved in programming, which made the weekend even more special!”The celebratory weekend began Friday afternoon with PUC Forest guided tours. On the drive, alumni shared memories from their days at the college while enjoying scenic woods and the view of the mountains from Inspiration Point.After the Pioneer Dinner in the fireside room, alums gathered for vespers in the PUC Church in the evening. President Ralph Trecartin warmly greeted attendees and spoke on the evening’s mission theme. “From the beginning,” Trecartin said, “service has been at the center of PUC education.”Throughout the history of the college, many PUC graduates have made sacrifices to make service the mission of their life and work, Trecartin continued. And that spirit of mission hasn’t left. “It’s still here after 14 decades.”A PUC Praise...
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Jericho Road: PUC Students Shine in U.S. Premier of an Original Musical

By Laura Gang, Becky St. Clair, and Lauren VandenHoven on April 12, 2023

What does it mean to be faithful to a spouse who is unfaithful to you? How can we be faithful to a God who seems absent? These are the driving questions of Jericho Road: A Musical Event, which made its U.S. debut in February and April at Pacific Union College.“It’s a difficult topic,” said Lindsay Morton, associate academic dean, who wrote and produced the musical. “But it’s one that’s so important to talk about on a college campus where some young adults are starting to think about life partners.” Morton was inspired to write Jericho Road after watching the musical The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown. She wondered how the storyline might have been different if the characters had been Christian. “Jericho Road is an attempt to answer to that question,” Morton said.The musical’s main characters, Jake and Leila Carver, are a young Seventh-day Adventist couple who meet, fall in love, marry, and have a child, Amalia. But when life doesn’t turn out as he expected, Jacob leaves his wife and daughter to pursue his dream of a successful musical career. This decision shatters Leila and Amalia.Musicals are one of Morton’s passions—so much so that she wrote her first...
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Pacific Union College Announces Deans For New Three-School Model

By Laura Gang on April 4, 2023

Pacific Union College is embarking on a new three-school model for the upcoming year and announced Tuesday the appointments of the deans who will help lead the efforts to maintain and grow the college’s academic excellence.PUC is committed to high-quality academic programs while maintaining the cultural, spiritual, and lifestyle base that gives students a rich, full Seventh-day Adventist campus experience.As part of this new plan, PUC is launching the three-school model, a recommendation initiated and developed by the college’s academic leadership. The three schools are Nursing & Health Sciences; Arts, Humanities, & Professions; and Sciences. To lead each school, the PUC administration announced the following leadership appointments:Kimberly Dunker, current chair of the Nursing and Health Sciences Department and a professor of nursing, will serve as dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences.Milbert Mariano, PUC’s vice president for academic administration and academic dean, will transition to dean of the School of Arts, Humanities & Professions.Aimee Wyrick, an associate professor of biology, will become the dean of the School of Sciences. “Each of these leaders is committed to PUC and its Christ-centered mission and will help us better serve our students and build a bright future,” President Ralph Trecartin said....
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PUC Appoints Lindsay Morton as New Academic Dean

By Laura Gang on April 4, 2023

Lindsay Morton, an experienced educator with a heart for Christ and the college’s mission and vision, will become vice president for academic administration and academic dean in July, Pacific Union College announced Tuesday.Prior to her current role as associate academic dean, Morton served two years as an English professor at PUC. Before coming to the United States, she taught in Australia at Avondale College of Higher Education for seven years. She was also the assistant dean for the Faculty of Arts, Nursing, and Theology. “Lindsay is a strong leader with insight and wisdom,” President Ralph Trecartin said. “She is innovative, pragmatic, and a consensus builder.”Trecartin said he admires Morton’s leadership skills and her ability to be idealistic but realistic when making critical administrative decisions. Among her duties, Morton will serve on the president's cabinet, drive accreditation, oversee academic support areas, and create additional pathways for students through new strategic partnerships. She will continue to evaluate and reinvigorate the student experience, manage student requests and issues, and work to deepen the integration of faith and learning. All this fits into PUC's vision of offering students a modernized, simplified, Christ-centered college experience on campus and beyond.“In the future, I want PUC to...
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PUC Awarded Half Million Dollar Grant to Expand Nursing Training

By Laura Gang on March 28, 2023

Pacific Union College’s School of Nursing has received a $540,000 grant from California’s Department of Healthcare Access and Information (HCAI), funding that will help address the statewide nursing shortage by expanding training opportunities. Chair of Nursing and Health Sciences Kimberly Dunker said PUC will use the grant to ensure nursing student success by funding scholarships and providing support through tutoring. It will also be used to purchase high-fidelity simulation technology along with faculty support, development, and simulation training.“Expanding our simulation program allows us to meet mandatory clinical requirements while still meeting student outcomes. This ensures compliance with minimum clinical hours in the case of a pandemic, fire evacuation or other disaster,” Dunker said. “It also may allow us to expand our RN enrollment in the future.”On March 7, HCAI awarded $16.9 million in grants to 32 registered nurse training programs, including PUC, to help expand programs and improve access to high-quality health care in California. The funding supports 565 new student slots across the state, an increase of more than 150 since the previous application cycle. The awards were made possible through the Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Act, which helps organizations establish and expand primary care training programs. One of...
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Together in Christ: Student-led Worships Support Thriving Spiritual Life at PUC

By Laura Gang on March 21, 2023

He started with just 10 minutes. Midway through his junior year, Beven Delos Reyes found himself the sole RA on the fourth floor of Newton Hall. It kept him busier than usual six days a week, particularly during late-night room checks.But Reyes took his role seriously. For him, it was more than a job—he wanted to spiritually connect more closely with the people in his hallway. He began a nightly open-invitation dorm worship time called “10@10.” A small group of young men would gather for music, a devotional, discussion, and prayer.The “10@10” was short. But it was a success, and that spark ignited something even more significant—completely revitalizing Newton Hall’s entire dorm worship. First, they met in the residence hall lobby, but soon there was such a large gathering they moved into the Newton Hall chapel, where it became an even greater success.Reyes said the atmosphere of dorm worship is meaningful to him. “I love the intimate setting where you can hear everyone singing and engaging through worship,” he said. “As a result, the room fills with life, and you can really see, hear and feel a sense of community.”After the isolation of the pandemic, so many were in dire...
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Better Together: Adventist Colleges and Universities See Rise in Enrollment Through Joint Efforts

By Laura Gang on February 28, 2023

Seventh-day Adventist higher education is facing many challenges. Lack of affordability. Mounting student debt. Emerging college alternatives. These are just some of the unprecedented difficulties colleges and universities nationwide—not just Adventist ones—have been grappling with in the last few years.“Then the pandemic hit,” said Tony Yang, vice president for strategy, marketing, and enrollment and chief communication officer at Andrews University. But leaders at Adventist colleges and universities are working to change that, setting aside their competitive differences to further the mission of Seventh-day Adventist education.The Adventist Enrollment Association (AEA) is a group of enrollment administration officers and representatives from all 13 Adventist colleges and universities in North America. It was created to centrally brand and position institutions together, create awareness and visibility of college options, and expand access to Adventist young people.Yang, also the president of the AEA, said he sees hope for the future of Adventist higher education because of its shared mission. “Now, perhaps more than ever, we have an opportunity to share the love of Jesus with a world that’s facing increasingly challenging times.”Recently, on Jan. 24-25, the AEA met at Southwestern Adventist University in Keene, Texas, to discuss, evaluate and plan joint marketing and enrollment efforts...
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Historic Snowfall Shuts Down PUC—and Brings Winter Delight

By Laura Gang on February 27, 2023

A massive winter storm that barreled into California brought nearly a foot of snow to Pacific Union College, shutting down the campus, closing roads, and felling large branches and trees. But the rare snowfall late last week in Angwin also brought delight to students, faculty, and staff. Students made snow angels and snowmen while others brought out their skis and snowboards.Meanwhile, PUC staff and faculty—including President Ralph Trecartin—did their part to help the community dig out from the storm.The storm closed down many of the roads on Howell Mountain. Much of PUC’s campus had only a single lane of access around it. PG&E reported widespread power outages, leaving many without heat.Tim De La Torre, PUC instructor of film and television production, took drone footage of the snow-covered campus, which has been shared more than 100 times on Facebook. Director of Admissions Craig Philpott took to his vehicle and drove through the snowy roads to document the storm on video. It showed all the PUC buildings, residence halls, and student cars blanketed in a thick layer of white. Trees, boughs heavy with snow, leaned forward precariously on either side of the roads. In many areas, the lanes were obstructed by felled...
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Speakers Share Personal Stories of Revival during Student Week of Prayer

By Laura Gang on February 5, 2023

At the beginning of the message to her fellow students, Lily Chaffee said that when she was asked “point blank” to define the word “revival,” she struggled a bit to come up with a definite answer. Chaffee contended it was difficult because revival seems to be offered everywhere in the world. She described how pop-up phone ads constantly sell products, vacations, or gym memberships to gain renewal in life. All these things that advertisements promise will bring happiness are temporary and don’t meet the deep revival that “our hearts are searching for,” Chaffee said.“I only know of one revival that is eternal,” Chaffee said. “A revival that is rooted in Jesus is never-ending and unbroken and life-changing.” Chaffee, a first-year religion and biblical studies major, was one of seven speakers at Student Week of Prayer at Pacific Union College, which was held Jan. 23-28 in the church sanctuary. Other speakers included Karen Baez-Castro, Misael Bernard, Beven Delos Reyes, and Santiago Hernandez. Kaitlin Nakanishi spoke at Friday night vespers, and Ashley Castro Rodriguez gave the final message during the church service on Sabbath morning. Though Student Week of Prayer is an annual tradition at PUC, there was a notable difference this...
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