Tag Archives: PUC Visual Arts

Flex Your Creativity at PUC

Finding balance in life is essential, particularly during your college years at PUC. Taking time from your rigorous studies to grab a bite to eat with friends in the Campus Center, take a walk through the PUC forest, play a round of basketball in the gym, or tap into the creative part of your brain is a crucial part of your success. Lucky for you, PUC offers incredible options for all your balancing needs, especially when it comes time to flex your creative muscles. 

Whether you plan on graduating with an art degree or it’s just a hobby, there are tons of options from classes to take, groups to join, and workspaces to become immersed in. 

Out of the many courses offered in the department of visual arts, Typography might not be at the top of your list, but you never know what might spark your interest! Check out academic dean Milbert Mariano’s impressive 30 Typeface project.

Get your hands dirty behind the pottery wheel. PUC offers a ceramics lecture/lab combo course where you create special hand-built and wheel-thrown pieces!

Drawing and painting are fantastic stress relieving activities and the fine arts program offers the perfect outlet. There are plenty of classes to choose from and if you just want to use some studio space, I bet that can be arranged.

Hone your craft in the Fisher Hall studio space. This refurbished warehouse is the perfect place to work on all your art projects collaboratively or solo!

Are you the next Spielberg? PUC’s film program has incredible opportunities for those who long to be in front of and behind the camera. With state of the art equipment, yearly trips to SONscreen, and their own film festival in town, PUC film students really encompass creativity.

Let the music soothe your soul. Art isn’t just drawing and painting! Join one of PUC’s many band and choral ensembles or you can sign up to take private lessons in guitar, voice, or violin, to name just a few.

There are literally countless ways to express your creativity and we think PUC is the pretty perfect place to do it. Once you’re a Pioneer, there’s no stopping you!

Professor Mariano’s 30 Typeface Project

Professor Mariano, center, with several other PUC visual arts faculty in front of his 30 Typeface Project works.

Milbert Mariano, professor of graphic design at PUC, undertook an ambitious project last summer: designing 30 fonts* in 30 days, which he dubbed “the 30 Typeface Project.”

Below, Professor Mariano shares a little bit about his project. You can also check out his Instagram account @Design_Professor to see the typefaces he created, or look at the hashtag #30daysoftype to see more of his work, along with fonts from other design-inspired artists from around the world.

What inspires you as an artist?

As a designer, for the past 20+ years, I’ve found inspiration in my students. They’ve always inspired me to be the best designer I could be for them, and have also found that they inspire me by some of their work and inspiration.

What made you decide to take up this ambitious project?

I was teaching Typography III and demonstrating how to create typefaces, since that was what their last assignment was. Something just clicked inside of me to make me think I could do this. So I decided that as a design professor, who loves type, it would be neat to create one typeface a day for 30 days. In June 2018, I had a little extra time since half of the month school was out and I liked to keep myself busy, so this also helped with that.

What was the process for creating a font like?

Working mainly in Adobe Illustrator, I would start with “OH.” Literally. There are two letters that I would start off with which could easily be repeated throughout the alphabet. If I were to begin an O and H, that would be the DNA for at least half of the other letters with repeated elements thought out the alphabet. O would help give me Q, D, C, G, U. H would give me I, T, F, E, L.

Before this project, what was your favorite font?

I’ll have to say Avenir. I overuse it.

What is your favorite Milbert-created font?

Probably my font from day 25, Serendipity. It used a typeface I created along with some perspective and gradients, which I think is kind of fun and unique.

Where can people view all of the fonts you created?

They can be viewed on my Instagram account @Design_Professor.

Interested in learning more about what visual arts faculty and students are up to at PUC? Follow the department’s Instagram account @pucart for a behind-the-scenes look at projects, field trips, and special events.   

*Note: In this post, we use the term “fonts,” as it is a more common and known term. However, for the design aficionados out there, we recognize the proper term is typeface.

Academic Spotlight: Visual Arts

As one of our most interactive departments, visual arts is known for producing student work of the highest quality. This artistic and collaborative community strives to provide real-world experiences, preparing students for their future careers. Learn more about PUC’s department of visual arts at puc.edu/visual-arts and discover the creative pathways available to you in a career in the arts.

Programs offered:

  • A.S., B.A. in Art, Photography Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Photography
  • A.S., B.A. in Design, Graphic Design Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Graphic Design
  • A.S., B.A., B.F.A. in Film
  • B.A. in Art, Fine Art Emphasis
    • B.F.A. in Fine Art

A Student’s Perspective

“I picked visual arts because it is something I have been passionate about since seventh grade. Originally, I thought photography was simply a hobby, but as time progressed, I realized it is something I want to gain a deeper education in. One thing I really appreciate about the department of visual arts at PUC is its flexibility. Everyone is open to new ideas and the overall mindset of the department fosters individual creativity. Someday, I definitely want to start a business and have my own studio. I think it is something I will be able to do after graduating from PUC.” — Keren Castro, freshman, photography

Fast Facts

  1. Career Preparation. Visual arts programs provide an intensive approach to studying and creating art in multiple mediums and prepares students for success. Students have interned at Obey, Disney, Airbnb, Buzzfeed, the Napa Valley Film Festival, and Francis Ford Coppola’s American Zoetrope.
  2. Artistic Excursions. The department of visual arts takes students on quarterly trips to museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as tours of companies like Apple, YouTube, and Pinterest; field trips to historic design spots such as the Eames Ranch and M&H Type; and longer trips to events such as the Sundance Film Festival.
  3. On-Campus Culture. The Rasmussen Art Gallery at PUC presents a variety of art exhibitions each year, where students, faculty, and guest artists showcase their latest work. Additionally, film students premiere their projects at the historic Cameo Cinema in St. Helena every year at the annual Diogenes Film Festival.
  4. Accomplished Graduates. Recent grads have gone on to work with many prestigious companies, such as Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Legendary Films, Facebook, Apple, Netflix, Lucasfilm, LinkedIn, RipCurl, Williams Sonoma, and Martha Stewart Living. There are also many alumni working for large ministries like 3ABN, Amazing Facts, and Maranatha Volunteers International.

What You Can Do With This Major

You’re only limited by your imagination for what you can do with a visual arts degree! Here are just a few ideas to help get you thinking about your options.

  • Art professor
  • Artist
  • Film editor
  • Filmmaker
  • Graphic designer
  • Illustrator
  • Photographer
  • Photojournalist
  • UX/UI designer

Our team of admissions counselors can answer any questions you have about the department of visual arts or any of PUC’s other programs. Call (800) 862-7080, option 2 or email admissions@puc.edu to get connected with a counselor now and start learning about all the options available to you!

Business, Communication, and Visual Arts Alumni Share Their Wisdom

From left to right: Will Yoshimura, Amanda Granados, and Jackson Boren.

By Becky St. Clair

On Thursday, April 19, the departments of business, communication, and visual arts at Pacific Union College held a joint colloquium. It was a panel discussion on the topic of “Successful Alumni,” and each department had alumni representing.

Panelists were: Jackson Boren, 2008 graduate of the department of communication, currently the alumni director for the Loma Linda University School of Nursing; Amanda Granados, 2010 graduate of the department of business, owner of Granados | Hillman, an accounting firm; and Will Yoshimura, 2015 graduate of the department of visual arts, currently employed as a graphic designer at Facebook.

Michelle Rai, chair of the department of communication, moderated the panel discussion.

What are the top three skills you utilize every day in your work?

Jackson Boren: People skills are extremely important, in both large and small groups. Public speaking is also something I do often.

Amanda Granados: As an accountant, I clearly use my numbers skills regularly, but critical thinking and people skills are right up there, too. Which is something a lot of people don’t realize about accountants—we do actually need to know how to interact well with others.

Will Yoshimura: Well, obviously graphic design. But also critical thinking.

Name a class in which you wish you would have paid more attention.

JB: I wish there had been the project management class PUC offers now when I was in school, because that would have been extremely helpful.

AG: Real estate. It’s something that affects everyone, and I wish I would have put more effort into that class.

WY: Statistics, for sure. Also, I wish I would have taken a philosophy class. I honestly think it would benefit anyone in any field.

What would you tell your freshman self?

WY: Actually try at college. I didn’t take it seriously until the end of my sophomore year. I would tell myself to take classes I was interested in and see what fits; see what I want to do with my life.

What’s your secret to success? What gets you up in the morning and keeps you going?

JB: Honestly, it’s about identifying an internal need and finding the path to fulfill it. In my current job, my personal philosophy is that the foundation of alumni identity is their experience as a student. If I can connect them with the best part of that experience and build on it now that they’re alumni, I’m succeeding at what I do. That’s what keeps me going.

AG: Helping people. When I can help my clients see something they hadn’t noticed before, or save them from having to pay thousands of dollars somewhere down the road, it makes me feel good. It’s definitely awesome motivation to get out of bed and go to work in the morning!

WY: Being obsessed with what I do. I mean, not to a harmful degree, but if you’re really interested in the work you do, you’re going to work harder and learn more about it than those who aren’t so obsessed, and it gives you a leg up on others. You’ll get better and better and what you do won’t feel like work.

There’s a lot of talk these days about how Millennials are changing the workplace. What advice can you give to the students here as they prepare to be those Millennials?

JB: People don’t stay in one job for 30-40 years anymore. We change jobs a lot more. So take the experience you get from all of those jobs and apply the lessons to your current work. It’s a different workplace scenario than it was in past generations.

AG: Communicate what you need and want to those you work for and with. If you want to come in later in the morning, talk to your boss about it. They will likely be understanding and work with you within reason. But they won’t if they don’t know what you want.

WY: It depends on what field you’re in, but honestly, as long as you show up, work hard, and get the stuff done, you’ll be fine.

What’s one of the biggest challenges you face in your work?

JB: Sometimes you have to say no. And that’s hard and it doesn’t make people happy. One of the hardest things to learn is how to say no without actually saying it, even if that’s really what you’re saying.

AG: Admitting when I’m wrong. And yes, I’ve been wrong on someone’s taxes before. It’s so hard to admit failure, but it’s so important. Then I pick myself up, learn from it, and get right back to work.

WY: Being a politician. When you work with a lot of people, you have to be really diplomatic.

When things get tough, what do you do to stay on track?

JB: Someone once told me, “Don’t let the details destroy you.” Keeping a big picture perspective at all times helps in those moments, because I can take a step back and see where I am and where I need to be.

AG: Take a break and call a friend. Talking about the problem aloud really helps me work through it and often helps me find a solution.

WY: Take a walk.

What’s important to keep in mind when negotiating a salary?

JB: Definitely research industry standards. If you can get an internship before you graduate, take it seriously because it can translate into a job when you graduate. Don’t just think about salary and benefits, but also consider your quality of life. I once had a job where I was commuting quite a ways every day, and I negotiated with my employer to cover all of my tolls for the commute and incorporate that cost into my salary.

AG: When you get to negotiate it’s your one opportunity to make a difference in your compensation. Don’t miss the chance! Ask for what you want and the worst that will happen is that they will say no. Always ask.

WY: Like Jackson said, do your research. Glassdoor can be really helpful in this area. Also keep in mind that your total compensation includes equity in the company—stock. So think that through and ask for more if you want it. Statistics say that 90% of employers won’t rescind their job offer because you asked for more money or benefits, so just ask.

What advice would you give the scared seniors who have no idea how to get started after graduation?

JB: Find an internship where you want to work. It may not be paid, but you get face time with the company, you get experience working there, and you make connections. Also don’t overlook the line in the job description that reads, “Other duties as assigned.” Do those things well. It will show your character and work ethic, and might reveal skills you didn’t know you had. Become familiar with the process at the company where you’re working, and the different players you work with. Become familiar with their roles so you can respect and appreciate them, and that respect and appreciation will be reciprocated.

AG: Look for ways you can apply everything you’ve experienced and learned in college to the jobs you want and are applying for. You may think you’re starting with nothing, but everything in college can be a benefit to you in your career. So keep a positive attitude and stay confident.

WY: Apply to a bunch of places. You won’t hear back from a lot, and you’ll be rejected a lot, and you may want to just finish your homework and go to a dark place to cry, and that’s okay! But in all seriousness, stay positive and know that eventually, your hard work will pay off. And use LinkedIn! It’s how you get recruited.

Amanda, tell us about transitioning from the traditional “work for someone else” situation into owning your own business.

AG: It was a hard decision to make, to be honest. There’s usually some loyalty involved between you and your boss, and you wonder if leaving is the right thing to do. The clincher for me was stepping back to look at the big picture: What would my life look like if I were to make this change? It would eliminate my commute, making me more flexible, able to spend more time with my family, and take my office anywhere I want to. I also keep more of the money I make working for myself, which is a big deal! It takes confidence to do something like this, and that was my biggest obstacle. I had to convince myself that enough people believed in me, and I believed in me, and I could do it.

How do you maintain your creative side while doing what someone else wants you to?

WY: I’m not going to lie—at some point you’re likely going to be doing work you don’t like and don’t want to do. It’s a fact. So I recommend you keep doing side projects. Also, keep in mind that working with what other people want involves compromise. Keeping the balance between introducing your own vision and also accepting theirs. You walk through problems together as a team.

How did your experience at PUC impact your career?

JB: I’m a better communicator because of PUC. I saw the power of good communication in a professional setting and learned the value of recognizing and learning from my mistakes. I learned not to be afraid of failure, but to learn from it and allow it to direct me toward progress.

AG: The best things I took away from PUC were positive relationships and solidified ethics.

WY: PUC gave me the thing I love most now—design.

Student Art Show Opens Thursday

By Becky St. Clair

On Thursday, April 19, the department of visual arts will host an opening reception for the 2018 student art show in the Rasmussen Art Gallery, right here on campus. The reception begins at 7 p.m. and the show will run until May 9. The event is free and open to the public.

We spoke with a few of the students exhibiting their art to learn more about them and their work. Be sure to come check out their various media during the show.

Celeste Wong, senior fine art major
Emphasis: Ceramics
Home: Hercules, California
Media on Display: Ceramics, oil painting, monotype, stone/clay sculpture

Celeste Wong, senior, creates using her favorite medium, clay.

Why did you select these particular pieces for the show?
I made a collaborative ceramic series outside of class with a friend. We spent nearly 80 hours on this piece. I decided to show my oil painting I made in class because I have never worked with that medium before and I feel proud of how I improved throughout the quarter. As a whole, the works that I put in the show, I feel, are the best that I have created in the past year.

What do you enjoy most about ceramics?
The process. I enjoy it far more than any other medium I have tried. Clay is a very versatile medium that can be manipulated in many ways. There are many components to the process between production and the end result I am constantly learning. I also like the feeling of putting my entire body to work, rather than sitting at a desk drawing, or standing in one place while painting. Making ceramics on the potter’s wheel involves the motion and strength of your entire body. It makes me feel alive and I have truly put my whole effort in the piece I create.

Why did you choose to become a fine arts major?
In high school, I always created small projects and kept up hobbies that involved creating. My only creative outlet during my freshman year here was drawing and copying diagrams from my biology textbook, which my friends said was a waste of time. But I had an itch to create rather than spend my time memorizing facts. During spring quarter, I decided to take a ceramics class because I wanted to do something fun for myself and working on the potter’s wheel was always on my bucket list. By the end of the year, I realized I wasn’t a scientist, I was an artist.

What has surprised you about the fine arts program?
I am surprised at how my department has become like a family to me. Students and professors alike have supported me and my work throughout these years even when I wasn’t an art major to begin with.

Samuel Delaware, junior fine art major
Emphasis: Photography
Home: Durham, Maine
Media on Display: Triptych & case-bound maquette

Tell us about the pieces you have in the show.
The triptych is from an ongoing series I’ve created, entitled “Horizon.” It’s something I’ve been working on for the past year, along with the first edition maquette.

Sam Delaware, junior, proofs some of his art for printing.

What do you enjoy most about photography?
In his book, “Art Can Help,” photographer Robert Adams suggests, “The job of the photographer, in my view, is not to catalogue indisputable fact, but to try to be coherent about intuition and hope.” Similarly, I think what excites me most is trying to find a sense of coherence in my own work concerning whatever subject matter I’ve delved into. It’s a continuous process of attempting to capture a sense of truth and reality best I can with only two dimensions, which is deceptively difficult.

What has surprised you about the program?
The dedication of the faculty who are drastically underpaid for the amount of passion and commitment they pour into their teaching and mentorship.

Drew Macomber, senior fine art major
Emphasis: Painting
Home: Ohio, California
Media on Display: Monotypes, paintings

Tell us about the pieces you’ve selected for the show.
I have some monotypes, which are a form of printmaking, in the show, but mainly paintings. Most of them are expressive. I always say I paint emotions rather than realistic subject matter. I have two self-portraits in as well, and two collaborative works on which I worked with Chanel Lee, another PUC artist in the show. Those turned out pretty cool. I selected work I thought represented me as an artist this year. I tend to not want to follow rules as much, and that is apparent in some of the works.

What do you like most about painting?
I worked in watercolor, oil, and acrylic, and then some with watercolor, acrylic, and charcoal. I love being able to see bright and bold color instantly. Usually my painting is reacting to how I am feeling, kind of turning off the mind and just letting it go. I relate most with watercolor because of the fluidity of the medium. In fact, I did my thesis in watercolor, although I do not have any straight watercolors in the show.

Why did you choose this major?
Being a fine art major just clicked for me. School has never been something that I find great success at; it has always felt like a struggle. When I took a drawing class I realized, “This is what I have to do.” My mom is an artist, so I’ve grown up my whole life immersed in creating art. I never thought of it as something that I would pursue in school, but when I opened up to that idea, it made perfect sense.

What has surprised you about the program?
How challenging it is. That is partly because I believe you get out what you put in, and I tend to put lots of myself into all my art. Because of that, it can quite emotionally draining at times, but also extremely rewarding.

Laurel Williams, senior fine art major
Emphasis: Painting & Illustration
Home: Disneyland (just kidding; I’m from Corona and Riverside, California, so it’s almost the same thing)
Media on Display: Glass, watercolor, oil, acrylic

Why did you choose the pieces you did for the show?
Out of all my projects this year they have turned out closest to how I planned them to be. My opaque paintings and watercolors I knew I would submit to the show some time ago, but the glass piece was a surprise to me. Unfortunately, most of my glass light fixtures still have some finishing touches they need, but my little yellow embossed pineapple slab came out of the kiln right around the time of submission for the show, so I figured, why not?

Work by Laurel Williams, senior, some of which will be displayed in the student art show opening Thursday at 7 p.m.

What do you like the most about your chosen media?
I like doing glass pieces because I get to create a new object that exists in three-dimensional space. Using the power tools in the department studio is also pretty fun. Generally, I’m more interested in painting, though, and I really enjoy oil and watercolor because they are opposites of one another. In oil painting, you paint from dark to light and in watercolor it’s light to dark. It’s very challenging and I like things to be difficult. I also like taking things that are 3D and flattening them out on a canvas with the illusion of perspective or light and shadow. Paintings are also usually more effective for me at communicating strong emotions or thoughts/ideas. Typically, my three-dimensional works are only either whimsical or decorative.

Why did you choose this major?
I actually didn’t. My dad decided that for me, and thank goodness he did! I totally thought I was going to do something “practical” like business and agriculture or some sort of science degree so that I could become an astrophysicist. During the summer between high school and college my dad convinced me to switch to fine art and so here I am. Not many people’s’ parents encourage them to do art so I’m really lucky that mine do.

What’s something that surprised you about the fine arts program?
First, its well-roundedness. The previous schools I attended didn’t have as many sculpture and 3D courses to complement the 2D ones, so I really appreciate that about this department. Second, how much I love my classmates and professors. I thought I’d like them before coming here, of course, but we get along so well! Everyone is so supportive of each other’s work and we collaborate quite a bit. Critiques are actually the most fun because I think my classmates give great advice and we really want to see each other succeed. No one is super competitive—that’s not always something I’ve experienced before in artistic communities and it’s really refreshing.

Join the student artists and their professors for an opening reception on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m. in the Rasmussen Art Gallery. The show will run until May 9. The gallery is open 1-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

#FacultyFriday: Meet Milbert Mariano

PUC’s department of visual arts has been led by the same very capable chair for a dozen years now. Milbert Mariano, native to SoCal, taught for four years at Andrews University in Michigan before moving back to the West Coast and joining the visual arts faculty at PUC. He’s an outdoor enthusiast like none other and enjoys pretty much any activity that involves being outside. Without further ado, let’s get to know Milbert Mariano.

Name: Milbert Mariano
Title: Professor of Graphic Design
Email: mmariano@puc.edu 
Faculty since: 1995

Classes taught: Typography, Publication Design, Interactive Design, Environmental Graphic Design, among others.

Education: MFA, San Francisco Academy of Art; BS, Pacific Union College

Highlighted professional activities:

Juror for the Napa Lighted Art Festival and the Napa Art Walk

What made you decide to be a teacher?
After getting my design degree at PUC, I had the opportunity to teach at Andrews University. I realized that teaching was my calling while I was teaching there. A few years later, PUC called me as they were expanding their design program. I knew it was something that I wanted to be a part of helping grow. I’ve been teaching ever since and chairing for the past 12 years.

What are some of your hobbies?
I love food, travel, running, and 80s trivia.

What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
I can solve a Rubik’s cube and do a New York Times crossword puzzle (Mondays only) in about 8-10 minutes.

What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
The community of faculty, staff, and their families. We work and go to church together, and live relatively close to each other. I think it’s important to find and build community wherever you are.

What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Anywhere in Fisher Hall/Visual Arts Department. It’s like my second home.

What’s your favorite book?
“Les Miserables”

What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
PUC’s a great place to put in your 10,000 hours. So work your rear off, and make yourself at home.

The Visual Arts Department: Inspiring Creative Community

By Professor Milbert Mariano, Chair Milbert Mariano
Visual Arts Department

During the holiday season, my home has a wall dedicated to Christmas cards my family has received from our family and friends. Over the years, the wall has begun to showcase an increasing number of cards from my former students. I love glancing at these cards and thinking of each of these students and the contribution they made in the Visual Arts program at PUC.

The best reward of being an educator for the past two decades is keeping in touch with my students and seeing where their studies in Visual Arts has taken them.  It’s been exciting to see our alumni of designers, photographers, fine artists, and filmmakers are making quite a name for themselves.

PUC’s Visual Arts students have gone on to work with many prestigious companies. Places like Disney, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Apple, Netflix, Lucasfilm, Airbnb, Tapiture, and Martha Stewart Living. We have many alumni working for large ministries, such as 3ABN, Amazing Facts, and Maranatha Volunteers International, and even some grads—including myself—work at Pacific Union College, our alma mater.

Students at last year's annual Diogenes Film Festival.

Students at last year’s annual Diogenes Film Festival.

But success isn’t defined just by working for a company with name recognition. We have alumni working for smaller companies, doing what they love—creating and being creative. We also have many graduates who have started their own businesses. One alumnus is a documentary filmmaker, one has his own design studio, and another is a successful sculpture artist. Some have even branched out to other industries—but still incorporating design. Recently, one of our graduates started an organic cosmetics line from her home in St. Helena, just a few miles from PUC. She makes the products from scratch and uses her graphic design skills to create the packaging and her photography skills photographing her products. Her products are gaining popularity in boutique shops around the Napa Valley and beyond! (Editor’s note: You can learn more about Jassy and her business by reading her alumni profile on our blog.)

These success stories from our graduates inspire me as I work with our current students. As a department, we are continually looking for ways we can open new windows of opportunity for our majors. With quarterly trips to museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, tours of companies such as YouTube and Pinterest, field trips to historic design spots such as the Eames Ranch and M&H Type, and quarterly pre-vespers gatherings in faculty homes, our students have abundant and amazing opportunities which enrich their day-to-day, active learning.

PUC Visual Arts students at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento.

PUC Visual Arts students at the Crocker Museum in Sacramento.

This winter quarter alone, we’ll be busy with a trip to Alcatraz Island to see the Ai Weiwei exhibit, a weekend retreat for our department at PUC’s Albion Retreat and Learning Center on California’s Mendocino coast, and travels to Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. PUC students and faculty are continually being exposed to unique learning opportunities in and out of the classroom, which create great memories and Instagram posts. These students are coming back to their classes and labs and are creating works that are inspired and informed.

Best of all, these events are all couched within the Christian experience. We examine, consider, and make art from a Christian perspective and an understanding that beauty and creativity are inspired, and bestowed upon us, by our Creator God.

Of course, career progress isn’t the only reason why I love keeping in touch with my students. While it’s interesting to hear about alumni work, my first priority is to know how they are doing in life. After all, the advantage of a small, liberal arts college is the luxury of getting to know your students beyond their classwork. Oftentimes, by the time the student has graduated, we’ve gotten to know them so well that we can sincerely call them a friend.

Visual Arts professors Cliff Rusch and Milbert Mariano with new PUC alumni.

Visual Arts professors Cliff Rusch and Milbert Mariano with new PUC alumni.

One of my favorite memories as teacher was having a graduate ask for my help in proposing to his longtime girlfriend, who was also an alumna of the department. I remember the day they met in my class; even I noticed there was something special brewing between the two talented students. Years later, he stood in my living room, telling my wife and me of his plans to propose. Days later, I had the honor of accompanying the young man to pick up the engagement ring and setting up the proposal site: the very classroom where I taught these two students and where they first met.

We emptied the room of desks and decorated it with Christmas lights. We set a table with china, flowers, candles, and a cake in the center of the room.

This summer, my wife and I will be attending their wedding.