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Clark Hall Project Impacts Biology Department

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Successfully adjusting to their year-long exile from Clark Hall, PUC's biology professors have settled into temporary quarters while they await the completion of the Clark Hall remodelling and expansion project."We're kind of camping. We just have to make do with what we have," said Gilbert Muth, professor of biology, of the department's current lodgings. But in general, the transition period is proceeding with few snags. Only one class, an elective, has been canceled for the next school year. The chemistry department is making a couple of laboratories available, and the physics department is making storage and prep space available. "The other science departments are being very helpful and nurturing for us, helping us over this little rough spot here," said Terry Trivett, professor of biology and department chair.Pacific Union College's biology students will have to make a few adjustments as they figure out where classes and labs will meet. Some additional biology classes will be relocated to Irwin Hall, Davidian Hall, and Chan Shun Hall; and the biology department's venerable trailers, which have long hosted ornithology, vertebrate natural history, and natural history of California labs, will now serve as the location for biological foundations labs. "Students will learn new places,...

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Pacific Union College Teachers Perform in Offbeat Comedy

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Eight of PUC's educators are rehearsing for roles in You Can't Take It With You, a humorous and insightful comedy about a crazily offbeat family's collision with the "real world" of respectability and decorum."Many of the characters who need to satisfy our need to be hams are back," said Greg Schneider, who plays an anarchic grandfather. Schneider is joined by Steve Waters, Richard Webb, Todd Peterson, Keith Neergaard, Lary Taylor, Bruce Ivey, and Ginger Ketting, as well as students and community members.The play's 20-character cast is directed by associate professor of biology Bryan Ness. According to Ness, "the main message of the play is that there is more to life than making money and getting ahead. The family that this play focuses on is the opposite of that. They enjoy their life."Do they ever. The Sycamores have decided that life is best lived by letting each member of their family do whatever he or she wants, without regard to success (financial or otherwise) or the standards of the outside world. For example, Paul Sycamore (the father, played by Professor of Mathematics Steve Waters) spends all of his time making and playing with fireworks. He is assisted by Mr. De Pinna...

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Mike Mennard-A Charitable Minstrel

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Mike Mennard, a writer and editor at the public relations office, is at home in many environments. When he's not typing insightful feature articles and dreaming up goofy advertisements in his cell-sized cubical at the rear of the public relations office, Mike is on the road with his guitar, cheering up senior citizens, performing in churches, and raising money for needy people around the world.Working half-time at the public relations office gives Mike time for his music, and he uses every moment he can get. On weekends, Mike (backed up by his band) performs in churches and coffeehouses around California and beyond. He did 120 concerts in six states and Canada in the last year and a half. And during the week, he takes his brightly painted "happy guitar" to perform at a round of convelescent homes, including the Yountville Veterans' Home and the Crestwood Geriatric Treatment Center.Mike is a Christian songwriter as well as a singer, and his weekend concerts generally feature songs which he has written himself. (The audiences at the convelescent homes are treated to a variety of oldies and goodies.) Mike describes his personal musical style as acoustic rock."I always try to write songs about people,"...

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Service Learning Gains Ground at Pacific Union College

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Billed as a combination of outreach ministry and alternative learning technique, service learning is quietly gathering steam in Pacific Union College's classrooms. While some professors have long included a community service component in their classes, a growing number of their colleagues from a wide range of disciplines are finding ways to encourage their students to learn by serving others. More students are reinforcing their classroom learning with hands-on experience, helping their community as they master their material."Service learning caters to other types of learning styles," said Linda Thorman, associate academic dean, who points out that for some people, listing to lectures is not the best way to learn. "It also helps you come to a different understanding of who you are as a person and a citizen."The service learning committee, headed by Linda Thorman, gives service learning workshops to teachers who want to include service learning as a course component. "We try to make sure that service learx is matched very closely with the content of the class," said committee member Marilyn Glaim, professor of English. Glaim is incorporating service learning into her English 102 class, which is built around the theme of the American family. Glaim's students will have...

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The Conversion Story of PUC's Senior Class President

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

When Michael Wong first came to Pacific Union College in 1993, he had no idea what an Adventist was. Today, the president of PUC's Class of '97 is also a newly baptized Seventh-day Adventist Christian. Here is his story:Wong was born in the United States and raised in Singapore, where his father is a university professor. He grew up believing in a distant God. "We knew there was a God, kind of, but how He interacted with us or what He did in our lives really had no effect on the way we lived," he said. Wong knew next to nothing about the Adventist church. "All I knew about Adventists was from my ex-girlfriend's mom, who said, 'I've heard about these Adventists; they go to church on Saturday, and I've heard they're a cult,'" he said.When Wong was ready to go to college, his parents decided to send him back to the U.S., debating between St. Mary's College (a Catholic institution near Lafayette, Calif.) and Pacific Union College. Wong visited both campuses and liked St. Mary's very well. "It was a really nice campus, great tennis courts, cable TV hooked up, meat; you know, it just sounded like a great...

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Pacific Union College Celebrates Cultural Diversity Week

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

The community is invited to join Pacific Union College as it celebrates Cultural Diversity Week from May 5-9. This year's celebration features three events: the Spring Festival, a lecture by Judge Don Chairez, and a bilingual musical play by Teatro Milagro.The college's Spring Festival, which takes place from 4-8 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, features the multicultural food and entertainment of Pacific Union College's campus clubs. It takes place in the college's Pacific Auditorium, and admission is free. Food can be purchased at the booths set up by the clubs. For more information, call Rita Hoshino at (707) 965-7121.On Thursday, May 8, Judge Don Chairez of the Eighth Judicial District Court will speak in the college's Dauphinee Chapel. The program begins at 9 a.m., and admission is free.The final event of Cultural Diversity Week is a dramatic performance on Friday, May 9, by Teatro Milagro, the Northwest's largest Latino arts and culture organization. Teatro Milagro will perform the bilingual musical play Corazón Gitano at Pacific Union College's Paulin Hall. Corazón Gitano, which means "Gypsy Heart" in English, dramatizes the marginalization of the Spanish gypsies....

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Greg Schneider, Rituals, and Baking

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Greg Schneider, professor of behavioral science, enjoys celebrating rituals with good food. Every Friday, he prepares braided Jewish challah (pronounced "hala") bread for consumption that evening, when he and his family celebrate the coming of the Sabbath. Their Friday night meal also includes a special grape juice, like Navarro or Sparkling Catawba.Schneider appropriated the Friday night celebration from the orthodox Jewish tradition, where the challah bread is a standard remembrance of the temple service and table of shewbread. "I believe in the importance of ritual and tradition, and I wanted to make this part of a family ritual," he said.Schneider makes two varieties of challah bread: a milk and honey version, favored by his teenage sons, and an orange juice-cranberry version which his wife Candy prefers."The milk and honey bread is easier to make, so things often go the boys' way," said Schneider.Preparing challah bread every week involves a certain dedication, although Schneider is aided in his task by an automatic breadmaker which kneads the dough and lets it rise. "If can use a mechanical toy, men tend to get involved in things," he said. But it's up to Schneider to manually shape and braid the bread, glaze it with...

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U.C. Davis Researcher Lectures About Hydrogen Powered Vehicles

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

Timothy Lipman will lecture about hydrogen-fueled vehicles at Pacific Union College at 9 a.m. Tuesday, May 6. Lipman is a doctoral candidate in the Environmental Policy area of emphasis in the Graduate Group in Ecology, and a post-graduate researcher at the Institute of Transportation Studies - Davis. His talk is entitled "Hydrogen-Fueled Vehicles: The Future or a Fantasy?"Lipman's lecture is part of Pacific Union College's Joint Sciences Seminar and is the second of a series of seminars on alternative energy vehicles....

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Students Build Kindergarten Classrooms on Spring Break

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

A group from Pacific Union College spent their spring break building kindergarten classrooms for the Adventist school in Guamuchil, Mexico. Participants included nine students from Pacific Union College: Katty Fernandez, Leslie Giang, Vonnie Lee, Bryan Loh, Arnold Magbanua, David Self, Joni Self, Debra Teo, and Michael Wong. They were joined by four other young people: Cherish Erickson from Park Rapids, Minnesota, Stephen Kim from Sacramento, Michael Lowe from Ventura County, and Noelle Smith from Kona, Hawaii. With the students were sponsor Beverly Helmer, associate dean of women at Pacific Union College, and contractor Charles Goodwin from Middletown, California.The purpose of the mission trip was to build two large kindergarten classrooms for the Adventist school in Guamuchil, which had expanded so much since it was built in 1994 that the kindergarten classes had been forced to meet in the Adventist church across the street. During their 10-day trip, which lasted from March 20-30, the group built the cinder block walls for the classrooms and installed steel trusses for the roof. The roofing, plastering, and painting will be completed by Maranatha workers in Mexico.The mission trip was sponsored by Short-Term Missions, one of Pacific Union College's student-run outreach programs. This is the...

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The Irish Geneticist Behind the Mixing Board

By Jonathan Watts on September 17, 2007

When you meet Media Services Director Trevor Murtagh, you can probably guess a few things about him. One is that he is skilled with electronic equipment: wherever there's a microphone, a video camera, a distance-learning television link, or a sound mixing board, Trevor is there. Another is that he's Irish: the huge red beard, blue eyes, freckles, slight accent, and interest in soccer all speak of the Emerald Isle. But unknown to many of his colleagues, Trevor Murtagh is a geneticist.It's all part of the interesting story of Trevor's upbringing in Dublin, Ireland. Growing up as one of about 30 Adventists in a country that is 98% Roman Catholic, Trevor gained an unusual perspective on the world around him and on what it means to be an Adventist. "Even though we were a small church, we never felt outside of the church," he said. "Church officials and missionary types often stopped over in Dublin on their travels, so we felt like part of the world church." But usually, if the subject of religion came up, Trevor had to be able to explain doctrinal differences to people who did not know their Bibles. "You can't just take it for granted," he...

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