PUC Again Earns Gold Status from NAIA

By NAIA National Office & PUC Staff on October 22, 2018

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has released its Champions of Character Scorecard for the 2017-18 season, and Pacific Union College has again received Gold Status.Every year, each NAIA institution and conference demonstrate their progress in pursuing character-driven athletics. The Champions of Character Scorecard measures growth in training, promotion, conduct in competition and commitment in five key areas with a possibility of earning 100 points. Institutions can be recognized as Champions of Character Five-Star Institutions at three different levels: Gold (90-100 points), Silver (75-89 points) and Bronze (60-74 points).This year 171 NAIA institutions earned the Five-Star Institution Award, including 74 at the gold distinction level, one of which was Pacific Union College.“All of the credit for achieving NAIA gold level status goes to the athletes, coaches, and athletic director from last year,” acknowledges Ralph Perrin, PUC’s new athletics director since September of this year. “The NAIA and the CalPac Conference have put a lot of emphasis on the development of a lifestyle in athletes that helps them live at a higher level of moral discernment and engagement. This is a natural fit for the ethos of PUC and the cultural change that President Cushman is leading on our campus.”NAIA...

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Brazilian Doctor Adventurer Karina Oliani to Speak at PUC

By Staff Writer on October 18, 2018

Due to an unexpected weather situation, Oliani will be unable to make it to her scheduled speaking event at PUC on Saturday evening. Her presentation will be rescheduled and announced as soon as possible.On Saturday, Oct. 27, Brazilian physician and adventurer Karina Oliani will speak at Pacific Union College. This event is free and open to the public.Born with a thirst for adrenaline-pumping adventure, Oliani completed both her first parachute jump and her scuba diving training at age 12. By 17, she was a two-time Brazilian wakeboard champion, a three-time snowboard champion, a record-holding free diver.Oliani has mastered many sports, including rock climbing, motocross, canoeing, paddle boarding, abseiling, horseback riding, surfing, orienteering, kitesurfing, sandboarding, water and alpine skiing, snowboarding, mountaineering, and bungee jumping. She also has her private helicopter pilot license.Throughout this sporting, however, Oliani has also fed her passion for service. Combining it with her love of adventure, she acquired her medical degree and now travels the world in search of both caring for others and exploring her own physical limits. She recently accompanied a group of students from PUC to Fiji, where they provided medical care for many local residents through a free health clinic. While there, Oliani...

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PUC Introduces New Athletics Director

By Becky St. Clair on October 18, 2018

It’s impossible not to smile at Ralph Perrin, new athletics director at Pacific Union College. It doesn’t matter if you’re only just meeting him or have known him for decades, the grey-haired gentleman’s face lights up as soon as he sees you. His office, hidden between exit doors at the side of the basketball courts in the PUC gym, boasts awards given not to Perrin himself, but to his daughters.The lack of presence of awards with his name speaks not to his ability, but rather to his focus and his humility. Perrin played varsity basketball in high school, while also enjoying on the side racquetball and football.“I played it all,” he says with a laugh. “The bouncing ball is like a siren call to me. If I hear of a sport going on, it draws all my attention.”Perrin says he finds joy in virtually all sports, but some of his favorites include volleyball, baseball, snow sports, and water sports, and he raised his kids playing them as well.Despite—or perhaps as a result of—his interest in athleticism and sports, Perrin found himself more interested in the biochemical part of nutrition. This led to his undergraduate degrees in biology and chemistry, his...

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PUC President Addresses Campus at Opening Convocation

By Sarah Tanner on October 11, 2018

Clad in academic regalia, PUC president Bob Cushman addressed students and faculty alike on October 4 during the first convocation of the school year. The opening ceremony featured a processional of representatives from each of PUC’s academic departments, and they took to the stage with banners depicting the fields of study available on campus. Following the departmental display, Jennifer Tyner, vice president for student life, enrollment, and marketing, gave a short welcome address, mentioning that the day’s colloquy, “symbolizes the start of an amazing journey we are about to start together.” The convocation continued with a congregational singing of the hymn, “All creatures of our God and King,” led by Lila Cervantes of financial services, and her powerful rendition was followed by a scripture reading of Ephesians 3:14-21 by student association president Kenzie Hardy. The church was then treated to special music by facilities management staff member James Ball, who sang the classic, “How Deep the Father’s Love.” A brief presentation by PUC’s forest manager, Peter Lecourt, preceded President Cushman’s service. Lecourt informed students of the fantastic opportunities for recreation in the PUC forest, affectionately known as the Back 40. With new trail maps available and an improved trail marking...

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A Conversation with Fall Revival Speaker Josue Hernandez

By Becky St. Clair on October 4, 2018

Josue Hernandez is in the middle of his third year of ministry as associate pastor at the Modesto Central Seventh-day Adventist Church. He graduated from Pacific Union College in 2015 with a degree in theology, and will begin MDiv classes in January. “I wanted to be a pastor to ensure the voices of young people are heard in the life of the church,” Josue says. Beginning Oct. 8, Pastor Josue will be sharing some spiritual insights and food for thought during Fall Revival at PUC. Join us every evening Oct. 8-12 at 8:00 in Dauphinee Chapel in Winning Hall, and at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 11, in the PUC sanctuary for Colloquy, to hear him speak on PUC’s Student Association’s theme of “Beyond.” Pastor Josue adds, “This theme really resonates with what I believe to be part of life’s most rewarding elements: Our ability to grow, step out of our comfort zone, and embrace the stress and tension that growth thrives on.” We chatted a bit with Josue to get an idea of the kind of guy he is, and the verdict is he’s pretty great. We look forward to hearing what he has to say for Fall Revival.You’re...

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Social Work Study Tour to Estonia

By Becky St. Clair on October 2, 2018

In 2012, Helo Oidjärv, associate professor of social work, went home to Estonia to visit her parents. While there, she had a few preliminary meetings with social workers at the Tartu city government, and worked with them to develop a 3-4-week program to learn about the social welfare system in Estonia, based on that in Tartu. “Estonia has a totally different kind of social welfare system than the U.S.,” Oidjärv points out. “I thought it could be helpful for my students to experience and learn about the various agencies there, to get a broad overview of what different aspects of social policy look like in Estonia and compare it to what they’re used to experiencing in the U.S.”At the time, Oidjärv was teaching social work at Walla Walla University (College Place, Washington), and implemented the program as part of the university’s graduate social work field practicum. Now that she is teaching social work at Pacific Union College, the program has been slightly adapted and has become part of PUC’s social work program as their Global Social Work study tour.The previous teacher of Global Social Work at PUC had taken students to visit an organization in India that helped women transition...

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PUC Ranked #2 for Salary Potential

By Becky St. Clair on September 27, 2018

Pacific Union College announced today that they rank second on PayScale’s 2018-19 ranking of associate degree schools which provide the best return on investment after graduation."We are proud of our A.S. students, who are attaining a well-deserved return on their investment with Pacific Union College,” says Nancy Lecourt, academic dean at PUC. “Our professors are clearly preparing them well for meaningful and rewarding service.”PayScale, Inc., is the world’s leading provider of on-demand compensation data and software. This year’s annual College Salary Report included over 200 additional schools from previous years. PayScale’s 2018 report provides estimates of early and mid-career pay for nearly 2,700 associate and bachelor’s degree-granting institutions throughout the U.S., including 1,655 schools providing only bachelor’s degrees—the category in which PUC falls.“For associate degrees, nursing and healthcare provide the biggest payoff for graduates at half the cost of a four-year institution,” PayScale indicates in their release of the report. “For four-year institutions, it pays to attend a private school, as seven out of ten of the top ten schools are private institutions.”For more information about PayScale’s rankings, or to view the complete list, visit their website. For more information about two-year programs at PUC, visit

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Languages & Cultures professor consults for ACA in Brazil

By Becky St. Clair on September 26, 2018

Adventist Colleges Abroad (ACA) currently maintains 11 campuses around the world, in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Last spring, Sylvia Rasi Gregorutti, chair of the department of world languages and cultures, ACA board member and ACA representative at PUC, received an invitation from the organization to serve as a consultant for their new campus in Brazil.“In an effort to provide a better environment for students in the ACA-Brazil program,” explains Gregorutti, “the organization voted to transfer the campus from the large Universidade Adventista de São Paolo (UNASP) in Southern Brazil to the Faculdade Adventista de Bahia (FADBA), a smaller school in northern Brazil, about two hours from Salvador in the state of Bahia. That’s like moving it from Chicago to New Orleans. Culturally and weather-wise, it’s a major change.” The shift to Bahia will offer ACA students greater engagement with not only their classmates and professors, but also with the local culture and people.In order to fill her consultant role, Gregorutti was told she would need to complete the full six-week ACA -Brazil student program on the new Bahia campus. She agreed with the condition that her 13-year-old daughter come along. “I was student and consultant at...

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BIOneers: PUC’s Department of Biology Establishes Unique Mentorship Program

By Becky St. Clair on August 14, 2018

It started as a conversation between senior biology majors one day during class. Aimee Wyrick, chair of the department of biology and the class’ professor, put down her lecture notes and looked each student in the eye. “Forget today’s lecture,” Wyrick told the class. “Today I want to hear from you and learn from your experiences. What can we do to make the biology program better?”As the laptops closed and notebooks dropped into backpacks, the students began to share. It became clear after a few students spoke that a common thread was the struggle as freshmen to navigate classes and post-college plans.“College can be complicated, even for the smartest student,” says Sabrina Mostoufi, 2018 biology graduate, who was part of the brainstorming class. “We all realized we’d had similar struggles navigating classes and post-college plans, even into our second and third years. This led us to the idea that it would be helpful if older students could act as mentors to freshmen to help point them in the right direction as they’re starting out in college.”The hour-long brainstorm session was eye-opening, revelatory, and productive. At the end of the day, Wyrick was convinced a biology major mentorship program was both...

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PUC Announces Another Eight Years of Accreditation from WASC

By Staff Writer on August 10, 2018

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) has reaffirmed another eight years of accreditation for Pacific Union College, affirming that PUC has met the Commission’s high standards of quality and effectiveness.“We are very pleased at the outcome of the reaffirmation of our accreditation,” President Robert Cushman said. “Maintaining accreditation is incredibly important, as it validates that we are creatingthe bestpossiblelearning environmentforourstudentstoachievetheireducationalgoals.”The announcement comes after the Commission evaluated the College’s institutional report and conducted a three-day on-site review in April 2018.“Our long relationship with WASC—we were first accredited in 1951—continues to strengthen the academic program and reaffirm our commitment to student success,” adds Vice President for Academic Administration, Nancy Lecourt. In its official action letter, the Commission noted it was particularly impressed with the College’s commitment to its mission and purpose. Commissioners acknowledged the collaborative process in the development of the College’s new strategic plan, which will be launched this Fall."We are quite pleased with the affirmation of our mission and ongoing support for the future of PUC,” said Cushman. “The reaccreditation honors the hard work and exceptional efforts of our PUC faculty and staff.” “We have more work to do in in the...

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