Napa Valley Community Foundation Grant Supports First Scholarly Conference at PUC’s Walter C. Utt Center

By Laura Gang on October 25, 2023

Pacific Union College recently received a generous grant from the Johnson Family Fund of the Napa Valley Community Foundation. The donation, awarded on Sept. 23, goes toward the Utt Endowment.Students of PUC’s late, beloved history professor, Dr. Walter Utt, established an endowment to honor their former teacher. Officially recognized by PUC’s Board in 1988, the Utt Endowment raised money to complete the professor’s unfinished book, support a series of visiting professors, and build the recently opened Walter C. Utt Center for Adventist History on the PUC campus.Part of the grant from NVCF will be used to publish the results from the first scholarly conference held early this week at the Utt Center. The conference, titled “Ellen White for Today,” was enormously successful and attended by 21 scholars and administrators, including four former university presidents.Eric Anderson, a professor emeritus and former PUC president, said the conference focused on the historical context of White—Adventism’s “founding mother.” White’s home is a state historical site in Napa County. Conference participants discussed the significance of the Adventist experience in American history.Anderson expressed deep gratitude for the grant. “It highlights the potential of the Utt Center to promote research of value to Pacific Union College and...

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PUC Theology Relocates to PUC Church to Foster Collaboration & Relationships

By Ally Romanes on October 24, 2023

After over 40 years, the theology department at Pacific Union College moved this summer from the basement of Graf Hall to the church offices. The change intends to highlight the central role of PUC’s faith, be more present with the students, and collaborate better with the pastors and chaplain. In 1982, the department moved to the basement of the oldest dorm on campus as “a temporary measure” when the front half of Irwin Hall was torn down. Irwin Hall had been the center of campus, so a basement hallway was quite a demotion. Over the years, PUC has explored ways to put the department back at the center of campus life for practical and symbolic reasons, but nothing panned out. Theology faculty recognized that a larger building project could be years away, and in the meantime, they wanted to seize every moment to serve students. When Lead Pastor Nate Furness invited them to share the church office complex with the pastoral team, the move made sense. “We are excited to have the college theology department sharing office space with the church pastoral team,” said Furness. “We believe that working in close proximity will enhance collaboration, church ministries, and student involvement. The Holy Spirit...

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PUC’s 33rd Annual Publication Workshop Gives Academy Students Valuable Hands-On Experience

By Laura Gang on October 5, 2023

Pacific Union College hosted 80 students from 10 Seventh-day Adventist academies in September at the 33rd Annual Publication Workshop. It’s a yearly opportunity for student newspaper, yearbook, and video yearbook staff and sponsors to network, learn, and hone their skills.“PUC's legendary Publication Workshop represents a unique chance for high school and academy students to learn skills in photography, design, and journalism from world-class professionals,” communications professor Eric Graham said. “The ability to work hands-on with experts and develop skills that will make their school publications come alive is a special opportunity.”Professor of Visual Arts Tim de la Torre served as director of the workshop, held Sept. 10-12, for the third time, though he has taught at the event for many years. His goal this year was to find ways to fine-tune the workshop based on feedback from years past. “We feel like it’s getting to its final form,” he said.Along with de la Torre and Graham, other professors from PUC who presented included Chair of the Visual Arts Department Rajeev Sigamoney, Professor of Photography Brian Kyle, and Professor of Graphic Design Clifford Rusch—all people with extensive experience in their respective fields. On Monday morning, students attended lectures and training. Rusch...

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PUC is “All In” for The 2023-2024 School Year

By Ally Romanes on October 3, 2023

Another school year has started at Pacific Union College. “All In” is the theme for this year that the Student Association has chosen. The theme reminds everyone that there is support in this PUC community and that working together can accomplish anything. New students were given a warm welcome on Wednesday, September 20, with coffee and pastries as they moved into their residence halls and family sessions to know what resources are available to them and their students. Pastors, faculty, staff, and the Student Association dedicated students and prayed for families at the PUC Church in the afternoon, followed by the president's welcome dinner to end an eventful day. Niq Ruud, director of student involvement, was in charge of running Fusion. Everything went smoothly as this was his first year running the program with the help of the Fusion leaders, who spoke highly of the incoming class. The Student Association organized events, such as facilitating an Olympics-style tournament between the 16 Fusion groups. Events included a tower building with uncooked spaghetti and marshmallows, a dodgeball, and a fruit-balancing race.Fusion orientation week continued with a Pioneers pancake breakfast thrown by Director of Athletics Hernan Granados, athletic coaches, and student-athletes before new students had a filled...

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Payscale Ranks PUC Among Top Three in 2023 College Salary Report

By Laura Gang on October 2, 2023

Pacific Union College is again among the top three colleges with the best return on investment for graduates with an associate degree, according to Payscale’s 2023 College Salary Report.Payscale’s annual salary potential rankings, released Sept. 27, are based on the surveys of millions of graduates nationwide from over 2,500 colleges and universities.Most of the highest-ranking colleges have strong nursing and healthcare degree programs. PUC ranked third on the list, just behind Helene Fuld College of Nursing in New York and Labouré College in Massachusetts. The median salary for a PUC graduate with an associate degree is $97,000.“This result demonstrates how valuable associate degrees from PUC can be long term,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, vice president for academic administration and academic dean. “They also open opportunities: moving into a bachelor program or heading into the workforce--where students know they will get an excellent return—are both attractive options.”A two-year degree program is often a more affordable option for students making decisions about a college education and financial aid. Payscale notes that choosing a college with a high salary potential could reduce student loan payback by nearly half.“While the perceived value of a college degree may be up for debate, this year’s College Salary...

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Vivian Geow's Mission Trip

By Ally Romanes on September 27, 2023

Transformative, gratifying, and sweaty.That’s how Vivian Geow, PUC accreditation specialist & MBA program advisor, described the mission trip with ShareHim ministries to Columbia from July 26 to August 8. Geow's group consisted of 12 people- five from Yountville SDA church and seven from North Carolina. Within the two subgroups were about five young adults led by their respective home church pastors. Mission trips by ShareHim have participants speak at a church– something Geow said she would never do. Yet, she was to deliver 11 sermons to a Spanish-speaking audience in Neiva, a bustling city of 365,000 people, 200 miles south of the capital city of Bogota.ShareHim prepared sermons for participants with an average of 65 slides in Spanish. The decision to go on this mission trip was easy for Geow. She’d never been before, and since she lives in rural South Dakota, she was excited about traveling to a new country. Once they arrived in Neiva, they were paired with interpreters and assigned to churches at the South Andean Mission of the Seventh-day Adventist church. They settled into a routine of sermon preparation, gathering for mealtimes, and preaching in the evenings. As each day passed, Geow understood what it meant to trust God....

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PUC Climbs U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges List

By Laura Gang on September 18, 2023

Pacific Union College was again lauded for its excellence in higher education, ranking high among the region’s top institutions in the U.S. News & World Report 2023-24 Best College list released today.U.S. News & World Report heralded PUC as the No. 2 Best Value School among colleges in the larger Western region, a jump from No. 6 last year. In California alone, PUC is first.A Best Value School, according to the publication, is an institution credited with excellent academic programs and affordability due to low tuition costs and financial aid assistance. “I believe the best value that comes with a PUC degree is that our students are connected to a community of faith and well-prepared for a lifetime of service,” said Lindsay Hayasaka, PUC’s vice president of academic administration and academic dean. “Being equipped to create positive change in the world and live out kingdom values is truly invaluable—and this is what we are most proud of at PUC.” PUC President Ralph Trecartin agrees.“These rankings have once again confirmed that Pacific Union College is a leader in higher education, not just for its quality academics but for its affordability,” Trecartin said. “We have consciously provided merit scholarships for students who...

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PUC Forest Helps Sustain Habitat for California’s Rare and Threatened State Butterfly

By Laura Gang on September 5, 2023

Biology professor Aimee Wyrick always knew the PUC Forest was a special place.But until recently, she didn’t know just how special it was.Wyrick, a longtime Pacific Union College educator and dean of the school of sciences, was walking with her father through the forest this past spring, where she has spent countless hours studying plants and wildlife. They spotted something she’d never seen before—a black and yellow butterfly with a peach silhouette on both wings. It was a California dogface butterfly. Not only is it rare, but in 1972, it was officially named the California state insect. The butterfly wasn’t alone. Several other bright females and males quickly flitted about the wooded area, only pausing briefly to alight on dark purple blossoms with orange-tipped stamens. Wyrick had been surveying the PUC Forest, documenting rare native plants as part of a state-funded grant program. Last year, the state awarded a $5 million Cal Fire Forest Health Grant to the Napa Communities Firewise Foundation with PUC as a primary partner. Nearly $3 million was given to PUC Forest for wildfire mitigation — namely fuel reduction.In the process of forest thinning, it’s important to preserve certain trees and plants that may be threatened. One of these...

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Chris Vance Named PUC’s 2022-23 Staff Member of the Year

By Ally Romanes on August 2, 2023

In May, Pacific Union College announced that Chris Vance, information technology support services operations manager, was named Staff Member of the Year. Vance was honored during an award ceremony for his tremendous work overseeing and handling the campus’ information technology systems. One of Vance’s strengths is his amazing communication skills– all while juggling responsibilities with different departments and offices. There is no doubt this award is well-deserved.This past school year was the first time human resources recognized a staff member of the year. They planned to start this award in 2020 but got off track when COVID hit. “Chris is the perfect person to be recognized for our inaugural staff member of the year award,” says Stacy Nelson, chief human resources officer. “He has made such an impact at the College. He’s a true PUC Pioneer!” "The IT team at PUC is small but mighty. We’re deeply blessed to have Chris on our team,” Nelson continues. “Whether it was COVID challenges in years past or the cyber-attacks that took place this year, Chris really stepped up and made an impact. Jim Collins, author of several leadership books says, ‘Great vision without great people is irrelevant.’ Chris embodies this; he’s one of...

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PUC Receives Federal Grant to Assist Master’s Students Aspiring to Become Nurse Educators

By Laura Gang on July 21, 2023

It’s no secret that hospitals, doctor’s offices, schools, and more in the United States are facing a nursing staff shortage. More nurses are needed to replace those retiring. The good news is that college nursing programs are seeing a rise in students. However, more qualified nurse faculty are in demand to teach these new nurses.To help fill this need, on July 3, 2023, Pacific Union College received a grant of more than $203,000 from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA) for a Nursing Loan Faculty Program (NFLP). This grant will provide PUC with the resources to assist prospective MSN students financially. The loan program was created to help alleviate financial concerns for graduate nursing students interested in becoming educators.“As a former recipient of this grant during my doctoral program, I was determined to obtain this funding to support the nurse educator students enrolled in our new PUC MSN program,” said Kimberly Dunker, dean of the PUC School of Nursing and Health Sciences. “This is the perfect opportunity for nurses who want to teach in academia or the practice setting to obtain funding through this loan forgiveness program.”Funds from the loan program are available to accredited nursing schools to help...

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