By Becky St. Clair on September 23, 2019
As a kid, Rick Harter watched Top Gun for the first time and decided then and there he wanted to fly.
“Without hesitation, my dad told me I absolutely could become a pilot someday,” Harter recalls. “He told me if I worked hard, I could fly around in jets when I grew up and I thought that was so awesome!”
Over the next several years, Harter attended all the air shows he could find, and never lost his love for aviation. He decided being a missionary pilot was the path he wanted to follow, so he headed to Pacific Union College to study.
“I really enjoyed the challenge of flying into that little airport,” Harter says. “That field is a bit more challenging than other airports where some students learn to fly. PUC aviation grads have a bit of an edge when they get their license, because they have experience landing on a short airstrip surrounded by hills.”
He also says he appreciated the mentorship of Nathan Tasker, flight director during Harter’s time as a student.
“He was so positive all the time,” Harter recalls. “He taught me a lot about character, and about being a safe pilot. Lessons I will continue to use throughout...
By Becky St. Clair on September 20, 2019
Pacific Union College has once again found itself ranked in the top ten schools in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges list. Furthermore, the college’s name appears four times in the 2020 rankings, all within the top 15. PUC has been ranked for the following:
#10 in Regional Colleges West
#7 in Best Colleges for Veterans
#4 in Best Value Schools
#14 inTop Performers on Social Mobility
"Our students are well prepared for success,” says Milbert Mariano, academic dean at PUC. “PUC’s high rankings in U.S. News & World Report affirm our quality and excellence as an institution.”
Regional Colleges are split into four regions and are placed in this category based on the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s Basic Classification system, the accepted standard in U.S. education. A few of the factors and weights included in the methodology are graduation and retention rates, graduation rate performance, social mobility, faculty and financial resources, student excellence, and alumni giving. PUC is the only Adventist school in the top ten.
Best Colleges for Veterans are selected based on meeting the following criteria: certified for the GI Bill, participates in the Yellow Ribbon Program, for the third consecutive year enrolled a minimum of 20 veterans and active...
By Becky St. Clair on September 20, 2019
Pacific Union College has been ranked by Washington Monthly in the 2019 top ten for Best Colleges for adult learners in the 2-year degree category. Washington Monthly rates schools based on what they do for the country.
Rolling in at #7, PUC is one of only two colleges in the state of California to rank in the top ten.
“PUC’s high rankings in Washington Monthly affirm our quality and excellence as an institution,” says Milbert Mariano, academic dean for PUC. “I am proud of our campus family for all their achievements, and they deserve to be praised and appreciated for their efforts.”
The criteria used by Washington Monthly for determining its Best Colleges are:
- Ease of transfer/enrollment
- Flexibility of programs - Services available for adult students
- The percent of adult students (age 25+) at the college
- Graduation rates of part-time students
- Mean earnings of adult students ten years after entering college
- Loan repayment rates of adult students five years after entering repayment
- Tuition and fees for in-district students
PUC has also been ranked in the top ten by U.S. News & World Report in their 2020 Best Colleges list; for details, read the article....
By Becky St. Clair on September 17, 2019
Education is most effective when taken from the traditional classroom setting into experiential learning situations. PUC offers many opportunities for study tours around the world, and this summer, Honors students took their learning to the literal streets as they toured London for a class called “London Streets.”
The course took them throughout the city, personalizing literature they’d studied in previous courses and bringing history to life. Together, professor and students considered the ethics and obligations of seeing poverty both in Victorian times and now, interrogated the intersection between scientific regulation of health and governmental power, and traced the geographic and cultural impact of industrialization.
By Peter Lecourt & Becky St. Clair on August 30, 2019
For years, the trails of Pacific Union College’s forested lands have been known mostly by word of mouth; even locals are sometimes unaware of the college’s 35 miles of recreational trails through more than 850 acres of rich biodiversity and striking beauty.
Now, thanks to a new trail license agreement between PUC and the Napa County Regional Parks and Open Spaces District, PUC’s forest is now open for those who wish to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding through PUC’s coastal redwoods, Douglas firs, ponderosa pines, oaks, bay laurels, and Madrones. They may even see a rare Napa False Indigo or hear the calls of the threatened Northern Spotted Owl.
This agreement means PUC’s forest will be incorporated into the district’s set of open spaces parks in Napa County.
“Growing into the future, PUC is excited to partner with the Parks and Open Spaces District to the mutual benefit of our organizations,” says Peter Lecourt, forest manager for PUC, “and to the local community who cherish the PUC forest.”
While this license will not change the essential character and unequalled ecological value of PUC’s forest, it does represent a major milestone in both the history and future of the PUC forest.
Last year PUC...
By Lauren VandenHoven on August 28, 2019
Sandy Sargent, PUC’s director of Health Services, has spent her summer engaging with community members by starting conversations about health at farmer’s markets in Napa and St. Helena. Twice each week, she and her team tackle different seasonal concerns, some of which include stress, sun protection and water safety, allergic reactions, hydration, and diabetes awareness. They presented the issues through evidence-based visual aids from well-known sources like the Center for Disease Control (CDC), along with hands-on teaching tools: a pool with rubber ducks for the kids and using a mannequin to teach learners of all ages how to practice CPR.
“The most important thing for me is to dialogue with people and educate them about basic health concerns that are surprisingly overlooked,” Sargent says. “We have something to offer—a way to be a part of the community, an opportunity that would not only bring exposure to PUC, but also give something back.”
The work isn’t just about raising awareness on a variety of health issues; it’s about connecting with a wide array of people and ages.
“It’s a chance to be visible,” says Sargent. “It’s rewarding, and it creates relationships at a community level.”
She shares stories about teaching a little boy how to...
By Staff Writer on August 26, 2019
Pacific Union College announced today that they rank second on PayScale’s 2019-20 ranking of associate degree schools which provide the best return on investment after graduation.
“The majority of the highest earning two-year programs are schools with strong reputations and a specific focus in nursing and healthcare professions,” PayScale stated in its release of this year’s rankings. This includes PUC, which trails the #1 school by a mere $200 in average mid-career annual pay.
“Our A.S. graduates are receiving a well-deserved return on their investment with an excellent Adventist education at Pacific Union College,” says Milbert Mariano, academic dean at PUC. “We are proud of our them as well as our professors who are clearly preparing them for meaningful and rewarding service.”
PayScale, Inc., is the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software. Their 2019 annual College Salary Report included alumni salary data of 3.5 million respondents, representing more than 4,000 colleges and universities across the U.S.
“Higher education is a major financial decision, both in terms of the cost of attending the institution as well as the potential for future earnings,” notes Sudarshan Sampath, PayScale’s director of research, in the company’s release of the rankings. “Our College Salary Report can be...
By Sarah Tanner on August 13, 2019
PUC alum Justin Smith graduated in 2006 with a degree in business and a passion for sportscasting. The voice of the Pioneers during his college years, Smith developed a love of announcing that recently helped land him a position with the Sacramento River Cats as a regular announcer for their minor league baseball games.
“I’ve been interested in announcing since my senior year of high school,” Smith explains. “My experiences at PUC taught me the basics of speaking loud and clear to a large crowd, and having an Adventist education is something that helps you wherever you go.”
Each River Cats game requires five or six hours of intense focus, including time before and after the game to run through scripts, become familiar with the batting line-ups, and prepare for the first pitches, national anthem, and interactions with other announcers.
When asked what his favorite aspect of announcing is, Smith said it was the fact that he could share his skills with his local high school, and contribute to their basketball and volleyball games.
“I get the most joy from announcing at Sacramento Adventist Academy’s games. My primary focus is on that school. The River Cats position is a great opportunity, but I find...
By Becky St. Clair on August 8, 2019
For 24 years, PUC has hosted PacificQuest annually during the summer, inviting high-achieving middle school students to campus to participate in various STEM activities to enhance their knowledge and interest. The program was an instant success with both participating teachers and students, and has remained hugely popular over the years. The only downside? Once a student graduates 8th grade, they can no longer attend PacificQuest.
“The PacificQuest students and parents have been asking for years for a similar program for academy and high school students,” says Aimee Wyrick, chair of the department of biology and event coordinator. “With the support of PacificQuest alumni and union schools, we finally had the resources to make it happen this year.”
And so, in July, for the first time ever, PUC hosted PQ Rise, a similar program to PacificQuest, but for high school students.
“I loved the three years of Pacific Quest I did so much, that when I saw an opportunity to do it for another summer, I was ecstatic,” enthuses Sofia Rasi, sophomore at Monterey Bay Academy.
Though she wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, Rasi suspected the classes would be slightly more challenging and the curriculum enriched. She wasn’t disappointed.
“I must say, our activities felt...
By Becky St. Clair on August 6, 2019
David Ruckle was born into a family of physicians: his dad, his mom, five uncles, and three aunts are all medical professionals. Needless to say, it was a path he found to be a natural one when he enrolled at PUC as a pre-med student. He chose business as his major.
“Business taught me how to manage a team and my time, helped me improve my collaboration skills, and gave me the tools to successfully handle my personal and business finances,” he says.
Ruckle recalls one experience stemming from a group project in a class taught by former business professor John Nunes. When Ruckle approached Nunes with frustrations about the project, Nunes talked him through the situation.
“He coached me through how to work better with other people, and how to motivate a group,” says Ruckle. “He helped me find ways to inspire success and to encourage others to be contributing members of a team. This was helpful because medicine is a very team-based career, with several people all working from their specific areas to achieve the best patient care you can get. I won’t forget the lessons Nunes taught me.”
After graduating from PUC in 2015, Ruckle went on to Loma Linda University....