Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from PUC!

The Christmas season is one of our favorite times of year here at the college on the mountain. Coming together as a PUC family to celebrate the joy of Christ’s birth, enjoy beautiful music from our students, faculty, and staff, and pausing to reflect on God’s generosity to our campus.

We asked faculty and staff across campus to share with us what blessings they are thankful for this year, and what they’re looking forward to the most in 2019.

What are you most grateful for this past year?

“As I look at the amazing blessings in my life this year, I am deeply grateful for the time I get to spend with my father. My dad is age 86, and he is amazing. He is such a blessing with every story he tells, every memory he shares. He lives only 30 minutes from my home, and he spends each weekend and Sabbath with us, telling stories and memories, dispensing wisdom and sharing his sarcasm and delightful sense of humor. He is a U.S. Army veteran and was a non-combatant medical corpsman in the service. He was a building contractor and an Adventist academy boys’ dean and was always the family resident camping expert as he led us on expeditions in the wilds. He is an example to me of a life well-lived. Oh yes, and now, he flies drones as a hobby using heads-up display goggles and revels in the struggle to learn new technology. He inspires me with his quest to keep learning, no matter what.” — Craig Philpott, director of admissions

“I’ll be cliché and say my family and my friends who have become my family (most of them I met as a student here at PUC!).” — Dana Negro, communications specialist

“I’m most grateful that my sister is now recovered and cancer-free.” — Dr. Steve Waters, professor of mathematics

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to grow. Grow alongside friends who like me are recent graduates, grow alongside family members and new family dynamics, and to grow alongside coworkers who are passionate to serve God through working at PUC.” — Mayte Jimenez, admissions counselor

“I am grateful to belong to a community that values and respects books and the exploration of ideas. I love that we have a community that allows and expects its members to keep learning and growing.” — Dr. Maria Rankin-Brown, professor of English

“Health, family, and friends.” — J.R. Rogers, associate vice president for student life

“I took a ceramics class from the department of visual arts during fall quarter, and I’m so glad I did. I’m grateful for learning a new skill and finding an artistic outlet that is very therapeutic and creatively challenging.” — Katy Van Arsdale, special collections and reference librarian

“I don’t know what I’m MOST grateful for, but I am VERY grateful for the ability to walk out my back door into the beauty of the back 40 and rejuvenate my soul.” — Tammy McGuire, professor of communication

“All the accomplishments and goals that I completed in the past year. Things I have done and the memories that have been made.” — Chris Romero, admissions counselor

What are you most looking forward to in 2019?

“I am looking forward to some travel in 2019. My wife and I are not yet certain exactly where a summer trip might take us, but that is half the joy, the planning, the ideas, the budget, the timing. It will certainly be a driving trip, and it will involve mountains and National Parks and back roads and dirt roads and likely some 4×4 back-country roads, and it will be a chance to see new vistas, take new pictures and recharge our souls.” — Craig Philpott, director of admissions

“Short-term I’m excited to give my niece her birthday present in January (it’s really good)! Long-term I’m looking forward to taking my puppy on lots of beach trips.” — Dana Negro, communications specialist

“I’m most looking forward to my summer Honors course that I’m teaching in London!” — Dr. Peter Katz, assistant professor of English

“I’m looking forward to reaping the fruits of my labor. 2018 was full of unexpected changes, and I trust that God works all things for the good and with that comes His provision. I’m genuinely really excited!” — Mayte Jimenez, admissions counselor

“I hope we get more rain. I’m looking forward to seeing how fresh the back 40 looks after a solid rainy season.” — Dr. Maria Rankin-Brown, professor of English

“To see what God has planned for PUC.” — J.R. Rogers, associate vice president for student life

“Travel! In 2018 I visited eight National Parks I’d never seen before. I’d like to match that number this year.” — Katy Van Arsdale, special collections and reference librarian

Summer adventures in Colorado on foot and bike!” — Tammy McGuire, professor of communication

From the entire Pioneers family, may you have a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year!

PUC Now Offering New Online MBA Program

This year, PUC is proud to introduce the new Online Master of Business Administration program. The program can be completed in as little as one year (dependent upon the number of credits taken per term), and is tailored for working professionals. Three emphases are available: Accounting, Healthcare Administration, and Management.

Offered in collaboration with Southern Adventist University, PUC’s online MBA program is tailored to meet the demands of your professional and personal life. The program is 100 percent online and offers a flexible schedule with multiple start dates (residency requirements; open to California and Hawai’i residents only). Small class sizes offer personalized attention, and students can expect to learn and grow under the guidance of faculty with rich, real-world experience.

We talked with Victor Gaines, associate professor of business administration and the online MBA program coordinator, about why students studying business should consider obtaining their MBA, why professionals already in the workforce should consider going back to school, and what makes PUC’s program unique.

Why should someone be interested in getting an MBA?

The MBA is a post-baccalaureate degree that helps students and working professionals stand out among others in the marketplace and equip them with the necessary skills to succeed in the modern workforce and progress further in their professional career.

What are the benefits of an MBA in today’s society?

The MBA program takes what was taught in undergraduate courses and expands those concepts, allowing all types of students—from recent graduates to those who have worked in the field for some time—the opportunity to further develop the important business skills required for today’s job placement and to serve in positions of leadership.

Obviously, one of the advantages of PUC’s online MBA program is it will be taught from a Christian perspective. How will faith be integrated into the curriculum?

Faith is integrated into every part of this program. Students will be looking at business with a Christian perspective. This would include: ethics, human resources, marketing, and accounting, just to name a few. Each weekly assignment will ask students to look at business through the lens of their Christian faith.

PUC’s program is in conjunction with Southern Adventist University. Can you explain that relationship a bit?

Partnering with SAU offers students enrolled in the program a variety of positive opportunities with both their fellow students and program faculty. Working collaboratively in a diverse online setting allows students to continue to expand their knowledge and increase their career opportunities all while developing essential business skills of intercultural competence and global understanding, which are highly valued in today’s workplace. Paired with a Christian philosophy, graduates of the program will also benefit from studying and learning from other like-minded individuals.  

What are the requirements of PUC’s online program?

Students need the following:

  1. Admission to Pacific Union College (see admissions requirements)
  2. A baccalaureate degree (any major) from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education
  3. Submission of a graduate application that includes the following:
    1. online application form
    2. application fee of $40 (non-refundable)
    3. two recommendations (completed by work supervisors or undergraduate professors)
    4. official transcripts from all institutions attended
    5. a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0
    6. official scores from the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT), taken within the past five years.
  4. Completion of the following courses at the undergraduate level with a grade of “C-” or higher:
    1. Introduction to Statistics (STAT 222 or equivalent)
    2. Microeconomics (ECON 265 or equivalent)
    3. Introduction to Spreadsheets (INFS 148 or equivalent)

Note: With approval from the department of business, applicants may be admitted without the GMAT if they have a cumulative GPA of at least 3.25 or if they have at least five years of full-time business-related management experience. Students who lack one or more of these prerequisite courses should discuss their options with the chair of the department of business.

The first start term is January 7. What are the other terms for 2019?

Summer Session I:  May 6th – June 7th
Summer Session II:  June 10th – July 19
Summer Session III:  July 29th – August 22
Fall Session: TBA

For more information about PUC’s online MBA, including program cost and application details, visit puc.edu/mba or contact Gaines at vgaines@puc.edu or (707) 965-6525.

Get to Know Pastor Rufo, PUC’s New Chaplain

Joining Pastor Rufo in ministry to the PUC community is wife Anna, daughter Madison, and son Jadon.

By Becky St. Clair

Pastor Kent Rufo has accepted the call to be PUC’s new chaplain. He will be moving his family from Illinois over Christmas break and will begin serving the campus in January. During his 13 years of experience as a pastor, Rufo has served as lead, youth, and associate pastor, chaplain, Bible teacher, collegiate ministries director, and missionary. He received his bachelor’s degree in biology from Southern Adventist University in 2000 and then completed his MDiv at Andrews University in 2004. Rufo has experience leading prayer and Bible study groups, visitation, counseling, and outreach, among other ministry activities. He is currently serving as lead pastor at Downers Grove Adventist Church in Illinois, where he has been since January 2017.

We caught up with him as he begins figuring out the logistics of their cross-country move and says goodbye to his current church family, and now introduce to you: PUC chaplain Kent Rufo!

Tell us about your childhood. Where did you grow up, and what was life like there?

I grew up in northwest Ohio, in suburbs south of Toledo. My father is from the Philippines, yet the town we moved to was predominantly white. Originally the neighbors weren’t so sure about having an Asian next door, but as the years went by we made some really good friends in that neighborhood. So I’m excited to be moving to a place known for its friendly community and look forward to getting to know our new neighbors.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a kid I wanted to be an NBA player. Being that my father is 5’6” and my mother is 5’4” my odds of becoming a professional basketball player were small. Growing up it was assumed I would go into the medical field, preferably a doctor of medicine. I had thoughts of medicine until college.

When did you first feel the call to become a pastor?

I don’t know if I really “felt” the call to ministry at first. I knew I wasn’t going to medical school but wasn’t sure what was next. I prayed for a “fleece” and 3 people said I should go to the Seminary … all in the same day. I went. I never interviewed with a conference yet one person from Mountain View Conference called me to ask if I’d like to teach and preach. They were looking for a bi-vocational pastor who could teach full time and minister part-time in a college town. Until this day, I have no clue how he got my name. Since I accepted that call, the Lord has clearly opened up ministries for me and my family.

You served as a missionary in Korea for two years; what was something significant you learned during that experience?

Easy question: The importance of studying the Word! My Korean counterpart had just graduated from the Seminary and shared Bible study tools. I will forever be grateful. I also had the chance to read the Great Controversy and the Desire of Ages (twice). It transformed my life. I also learned about the power of prayer.

So how much Korean did you learn?

“Chogum.” That means ‘a little.’ Every day I remember less. I was never fluent but I could get around.

Your passion in ministry seems to be young people. What inspired that?

Actually, I feel the way God created me was with “strengths” in relationships. I’m not a big-show personality and I believe in authentic relationships. I think I’ve just felt I can be honest with young people and that seems to connect. This drives me. I also believe we have not challenged our young people enough. When I was growing up it was enough to just “keep our kids Adventist.” Obviously, that wasn’t enough. I have a passion to see a group of young people study the Word, pray with huge results, and change their worlds.

Speaking of keeping young people in the church, tell us how you plan to be a part of that effort by working with the young people at PUC.

Jesus was not about keeping people in the church. In John 6 he actually says something he knew would make many leave his side: He wants to challenge people, young and old, to commit to his cause. It means sacrifice, but it also means to expect God to do powerful things through them. I’d really love to see how students take hold of a vision and run with it. If the Spirit is leading, it CANNOT fail.

What made you decide to accept this position and come out here to California?

My wife is still asking me this question. She said she would NEVER move to California. Seriously, though, it is the calling to minister to collegiate-age students. Empowering students to start impacting their community now, rather than after graduation, is one of my main passions.

What are some methods you use to stay in tune with what young people need and want in their spiritual lives, even as times change?

Listening. That’s really it. I can’t keep up with everything new: methods, pop culture, media. The principles of scripture transcend time and changes. Most of what I can do is listen. Oh, I do like to read about ministry models, too, but they are not my “gospel.”

What is one of your favorite spiritual quotes and why is it meaningful to you?

One of my favorite Bible verses is John 16:33 which states, “I have told you these things so that in me you might have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” I love this verse because it reminds me that no matter what my world looks like he’s already won!

Outside of scripture, one of my favorite authors is Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel. He states, “God is either of no importance, or of supreme importance.” I think the world is looking for authentic Christians. The reason people are turned off by Christianity is that there is a lot of hypocrisy and mediocrity.

What are some books you recommend to young people?

Outside of the Bible, I’m a believer in “The Desire of Ages.” I love that view of Jesus. As for the power of prayer, I recommend “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson.

Tell us about an important spiritual mentor you had as a young person, and how their mentorship has influenced your own.

To be honest, when I first became a Christian, my biggest spiritual mentors were other college students: Chris Bullock and Teofilo Matos. They prayed for me. They showed me how to walk with Jesus. This all stemmed from our friendship and desire to change the world around us. I think that is why my heart is in Christian community and challenging the status quo.

How can the community you serve (that’s us!) support you and your family as you strive to support our students?

Gift certificates for a local massage therapist. Ha! Just kidding.

I think my family is just looking to be part of the community. Oh, both my wife and I worked as baristas at a coffee shop so we do like some good coffee every once in a while. (Hint, hint!)

Tell us more about your family!

My wife, Anna, is originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan. She graduated with an elementary education degree but doesn’t feel full-time teaching as her calling. She’s been a teacher, teacher’s aide, administrative assistant, assistant community service coordinator, and a rockin’ wife. It’s important to her to be involved, but only behind the scenes.

My daughter, Madison, is 10; she loves people and wants to be around them at all time. My son, Jadon, is seven; his shell is a little harder to crack, but once he opens up—especially about superheroes—he slowly warms up to people. My wife is like my son.

What are some of your hobbies and interests? What will we find on the walls of your new office on campus?

I’m not really the biggest decorator, but I love being Filipino so you might find a Filipino flag. I do like sports and to work out. I am a Cleveland Browns fan, too. Go Cleveland! (Hey, a Cleveland fan is a loyal one, though we don’t win too often.)

Meet PUC’s Transfer Student Counselor

Please join us in welcoming Kharolynn Pascual Smith to our admissions team! Kharolynn has many years of experience in Adventist education and has worked as a teacher, registrar, and academic advisor. Most recently, she worked at the Napa Christian Campus of Education and the Office of Education at the Northern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

To help introduce her to our PUC family, let’s get to know Kharolynn!

You have a lot of experience in the education field. How do you think that will translate into being a great transfer student counselor?

There are obvious parallels to the skillset I used as a teacher and registrar, such as knowing how to create and execute plans and analyze a transcript. Beyond that, I have a heart for students and believe cultivating relationships is key in helping them succeed. Taking the time to know about a student’s history and goals was critical for me to be able to facilitate learning opportunities and understand what resources were needed. I see this as a valuable component to working with transfer students. There’s a story behind why they’re not coming to PUC straight out of high school, and whatever it is, I want to be a helpful resource as they transition to this step in their educational journey.

You’ve lived in the Napa area for a while. What is your favorite place to eat in the area? Favorite place to shop? Favorite place to relax?

There is so much great food across the valley, it’s hard to pick only one! My go-to in Napa is Il Posto Trattoriatasty food, friendly and professional service, and I don’t have to save up for months to eat there.

I enjoy the adventure of discovering fun stuff I didn’t know I “needed” at HomeGoods, as well as the convenience of online shopping from home.

Getting a facial at Glow Skin & Body Care is quite lovely and relaxing.

What advice would you give to someone questioning whether a college education is worth it?

I would talk to them about their passion and purpose, then encourage them to pursue the education that would put them on the path to fulfilling those. I think education of any kind is an investment in yourself, so whatever type is necessary to cultivate the knowledge, skills, and experience to prepare you for whatever you are called to do is worth it.

What are you looking forward to the most working at PUC?

I find it both personally and professionally gratifying to contribute to a person’s success story, even in a small way. I have witnessed as many types of success as there are students, and I love seeing their satisfaction and pride when they accomplish what they set out to do. I’m excited to be part of the network of support that helps students live their dreams.

What inspires you to work in the field of Adventist education?

I’m biased, but I believe Adventist education is the most important and impactful ministry of the SDA Church. In her book Education, Ellen White wrote, “Love, the basis of creation and of redemption, is the basis of true education.” (16) I’m inspired by the Gospel of Grace and feel privileged to participate in a global learning community that values the importance of “true education.” Ideally, Adventist education fosters whole person development within the framework of redemptionthe restoration of humanity to what God created us to be: in a love relationship with Him that motivates us to share His love with others. That relationship informs every aspect of the life we choose to leadvalues, relationships, beliefs, career because of the way God calls us to live: to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. Adventist education at its best helps prepare students for this life of discipleship.

What was the last book you read?

I often have a few books going at the same time, but recently finished The Coddling of the American Mind by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, and End-Time Events and The Last Generation by George R. Knight. Both of them have ideas I’m still pondering.

What book would you recommend to a college student? It can be educational or just a good read.

The teacher in me wants to recommend something edifying, but for an escapist brain break, I like fiction that ranges from David Baldacci’s thrillers to Jodi Picoult’s novels exploring contemporary ethical issues. Perhaps the compromise is biographies and memoirs because I’ve usually gleaned something valuable from the life experiences of others, whether or not they are people I admire.   

What was your favorite class in college?

College was more than a few years ago for me, so I primarily remember favorite professors even though I wouldn’t count some of their classes among my favorites. Religion and Society from Charles Teel (a PUC alum!) made a lasting impression on me in terms of my understanding of what Christians are called to be and do in the world.

What’s something people may be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a procrastinator by nature, but I’ve learned the necessary disciplines of effective time management and organization. I used to tell my students those were among the most valuable life skills they could learn and I was living proof it is possible.

What are some of your hobbies?

I appreciate hobbies that involve creativity of some kind, like music, theatre, baking, and fiber crafts. It’s a bonus if they can be combined in some way. I also occasionally binge-watch Netflix.

If you’re interested in transferring to PUC, Kharolynn is ready to assist you! Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with her now, or to learn more about the transfer admissions process.

Tips for Surviving Winter Quarter

Even here in sunny California, the winter months can seem a little long. With shorter days and cooler temperatures, it’s important to take some time for self-care. From one PUCite to another, here are some pro-tips and products to help you make it to spring!

  • Surround yourself with photos of friends and family.
  • Use less harsh lighting. Swap out your light bulbs for these indoor sunshine bulbs from Amazon.
  • Decorate your dorm room with candles. Target has a great battery operated option.
  • Get yourself a desk plant. Succulents are very popular and don’t take a lot of upkeep.
  • Make your room comfortable with extra pillows and blankets. Grab a plush toy even!
  • Invest in blackout curtains or a sleep mask to make sure you get some real rest.
  • Hang some Christmas lights up. Don’t bother undecorating after the holidays either, just leave them up for a little ambiance!
  • Use a diffuser with different essential oils. My personal favorites are lavender and rose.
  • Make sure to have hot cocoa mix and throw in a festive mug or two. My personal favorite is this Star Wars porg mug.
  • Stock up on Airborne, Zicam, and Emergen-C to fight off any bugs.
  • Pick one show you can watch weekly (or nightly) for a much-needed break.
  • Pack your cupboard full of microwaveable popcorn for a healthy-ish late night snack.
  • Chamomile tea helps with sleep and improves cognitive functions during the day, so have some on hand.
  • For a little extra quiet, have earphones for your study music and earplugs to help you sleep. There are cheap versions of each at places like Target, but Flare Audio ones have some outstanding reviews.
  • Remember even in the most stressful times, there is always a friend, resident assistant, dean, chaplain, or a professor who would be happy to take a few minutes to talk and pray with and for you, so don’t hesitate to reach out to someone when you need some extra support.

These are just 15 simple ideas and products I personally find helpful. But don’t just take my word for it, ask friends and family and start your own list.

PUC in Pictures: Fall 2018 Edition

With the close of another amazing fall quarter here at PUC, we’re taking a moment to reflect back on some of the many great moments over the past few months that made this quarter unforgettable.

Remember—You can follow PUC on Instagram and browse through some of our hashtags for a closer look at student life at PUC. #PUCNow and #PUCAdventures are good places to start!

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We’re looking forward to 2019 and can’t wait to see what it has in store for all of us at PUC! Enjoy your holiday break and we’ll see you in January!

#FacultyFriday: Meet Jean Sheldon

Dr. L. Jean Sheldon has been with PUC for an impressive 23 years, a stalwart professor in the department of theology. Her area of doctoral study is the Old Testament and ancient Mesopotamia. Previously, she worked as an instructor of religion at Hong Kong Adventist College and as a graduation analyst for PUC. She is known for her writings, and gardening, music, and cat psychology.

For the last #FacultyFriday of the year, let’s spend some time getting to know Dr. Sheldon!

Name: Dr. Jean Sheldon
Title: Professor of Old Testament
Email: jsheldon@puc.edu
Faculty since: 1995

Classes taught: Honors: Engaging Scripture, Women & the Bible, Holistic Living, Christian Ethics in Society, Books of Moses, Babylon & the Bible, Intro to Christian Ethics, God & Human Suffering, Kings & Conquest, Psalms & Wisdom Literature, Biblical Ethics

Education: B.A. from Andrews University, 1982; M.A. from Loma Linda University, 1984; Ph.D. from Graduate Theological Union and University of California, Berkeley, 2002

What made you decide to be a teacher?

1) Impromptu leading my academy freshman class in discussion when the other members of my group refused to help with making the presentation. 2) God’s call and anointing to be a theologian. 3) God’s leading in that direction.

What are some of your hobbies?

Research, writing, gardening, singing, cats

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?

The natural setting—the back 40; and the freedom I have here to teach about God.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?

The prayer chapel

What’s your favorite song?

“Be Still My Soul”

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?

Take time for God and nature.

Professional activities (Note: Only presentations and works published most recently are listed)

June 16, 2018 – “Wrong Time but Move Forward!” Baccalaureate address, Pacific Union College.

October 13, 2017 – “Divine Anger in Ancient Mesopotamia and the Hebrew Bible.” Presentation for the Character of God Conference. Garden Grove SDA Church, Garden Grove, California.

October 13, 2017 – “Babylon and the New Jerusalem.” Presentation for the Character of God
Conference. Garden Grove SDA Church, Garden Grove, California.

August 5, 2017 – “God’s Violent Acts.” Presentation for a regional chapter of the Association of Adventist Forums, Orlando, Florida.

August 5, 2017 – “The Conquest of Canaan.” Presentation for a regional chapter of the Association for Adventist Forums, Orlando Florida (Sermon at the University Church).

August 4, 2017 – “Two Kinds of Relationships: A Canonical Critical Study of Old Testament Covenants.” Presentation for a regional chapter of the Association for Adventist Forums, Orlando, Florida.

General Publications

Over 20 articles for such publications as Spectrum, Signs of the TimesAdventist Review, and Insight since 1973.

“No Longer Naked and Ashamed: Discovering That God Is Not an Abuser.” Parker, CO:
Outskirts Press, 2009

“Chasing Heaven to Avoid Hell,” Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1984
Reprinted in Heritage Series, 2012.

“Ribbon of Lies, Knife of Truth,” Nampa, ID: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1982.
Reprinted in Heritage Series under new title: And God Cried Out, Why This Suffering?, 2017

“Sharing Jesus,” Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1980
Reprinted in Heritage Series, 2014

“Sabbath School Teacher’s Aids for Ephesians” (1st Quarter, 1986)