Largest capital campaign in university history, science center is at the heart of scientific mission, fusing faith with service and scientific inquiry. 


More than twenty years in the making, vision became reality on Friday, November 20th, at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) with the dedication of Sator Hall and Latter Hall on the San Diego campus.


University President, Dr. Bob Brower, was joined by members of the PLNU Board of Trustees, faculty, students, alumni, donors and community leaders to celebrate the significance of this addition to the university.  With participation from a number of individuals across the PLNU community, the ceremony recognized the success of the sciences at PLNU and celebrated the many individuals who worked tirelessly to see the fruition of the project, including the Sator and Latter families and pioneering faculty members in the STEM disciplines.  


The new complex accommodates the increasing number of students who want to study science at PLNU. “Excellent teaching, careful mentoring, and hands-on learning have been a hallmark of the PLNU Science Program” said Brower. “These inimitable characteristics, coupled with this new, innovative facility, will enable the science program to reach new heights and support the continued success of our PLNU science faculty and students”


Designed by San Diego-based architectural firm, Carrier Johnson + CULTURE, and constructed by Rudolph and Sletten General Contractors, the 36,000-square-foot complex sits at the heart of the San Diego campus. The innovative design, marked by a curved stainless-steel environmental screen and its prominent coastal site, becomes a memorable home for the university’s rapidly growing and acclaimed interdisciplinary science program, unifying Christian values with a broad curriculum and state-of-the-art technology, laboratories, and classrooms. 


The building project is an important addition, both academically and architecturally, according to Ray Varela, architect in charge for Carrier Johnson + CULTURE. “Through the long arc of a perforated stainless-steel wall, the building subtly consecrates its Christian foundations in a salient design feature,” Varela adds. “This unique screen filters sun and shade into the common area in a subtle echo of the qualities one finds in a cathedral space,” 


With nearly forty percent of PLNU’s undergraduate students majoring in one of the science-related disciplines, and all undergraduate students required to complete a laboratory science course during their time at PLNU, the new building is a desirable addition to campus. “Every student at PLNU will benefit from this investment” said Dr. Sara Choung, chair of the chemistry department. “This much-needed facility better reflects the quality of the faculty, students and alumni who have stretched PLNU’s science program in remarkable directions.”


Friday’s celebration marks PLNU’s commitment to both current and future students, faculty and the San Diego region an institution known for excellence in academic preparation, wholeness in personal development, and faithfulness to mission.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

Ronald Kirkemo, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus at PLNU, passed away on Wednesday, November 4th. He was 71.

Born in Eureka California in 1944, Ronald Kirkemo Ph.D., or “Dr. K” as he is remembered by students, graduated from Pasadena College in 1965 with a degree in history and later from American University in Washington D.C. in 1969 with a Ph.D. in international politics. That same year, in 1969, Ron returned to Pasadena College as a faculty member for a career with Pasadena/Point Loma that would span more than four decades and impact countless lives.

On campus, throughout San Diego, and in the broader Nazarene Church, Dr. Kirkemo was known for his commitment to students, academic excellence and public service. He consistently pushed individual students and the broader university to think higher and be more ambitious about serving God and to be engaged in the world through service.

Dr. Kirkemo's influence extended beyond the Department of History and Political Science to the broader university and the community beyond. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Wesleyan Center 21 years ago with the chief goal that the center would support and inspire scholarship within the Wesleyan tradition. Similarly he launched the Institute for Politics and Public Service at PLNU with the intent to nurture and inspire public service in the minds of students and support engagement in the San Diego region, the nation and the world.

He is author of several books on foreign policy, including Between the Eagle and the Dove about diplomats caught in difficult choices. He has also written three histories of the university, For Zion’s Sake, Promise and Destiny and Moving Stories, as well as a daily devotional called Soulcraft. “His writings on the university’s history shaped our understanding of God’s blessings, grace and protection over the generations,” said PLNU’s President, Dr. Bob Brower. “A friend to all of us, Dr. K will be deeply missed.”

The memorial service for Dr. Kirkemo is scheduled for: Sunday, November 22, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. in Brown Chapel at Point Loma Nazarene University 3900 Lomaland Drive San Diego, California.

In lieu of flowers, the friends and family wish to direct donations to the "Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund," created to benefit students with an interest in political science at Point Loma Nazarene University.

- Gifts by Mail: Please make checks payable to PLNU and reference “Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund” in the memo PLNU, Office of University Advancement, 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego, California 92106

- Online Giving: Visit select “Other Designation” and reference “Dr. Ron Kirkemo Student Scholarship Fund” with your contribution.  

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family: c/o: Patti Kirkemo, Office of the President Point Loma Nazarene University 3900 Lomaland Drive San Diego, CA 92106

Prayers for his wife of 48 years, Patti Kirkemo, their children and grandchildren are greatly appreciated.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

SAN DIEGO, CA – The surprising findings of a three-year study on gang-involved sex trafficking, funded by the Department of Justice, was released at 11 a.m., Monday, October 26 at a press conference at the University of San Diego in the Institute for Peace & Justice Theatre.  The groundbreaking study, “Measuring the Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego,” lead by University of San Diego (USD) Kroc School of Peace Studies Professor Ami C. Carpenter, PhD, in partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) Professor Jamie Gates, PhD, gathered and analyzed data from hundreds of current and former gang members, schools, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers.  Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Generate Hope Founder Susan Munsey, and San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten also participated in Monday’s press conference. 


“This study is the first long-term, comprehensive collection of data on the Commercially Sexually Exploited People (CSEP) industry ever conducted in San Diego County,” said Carpenter.  “Our research combines the intelligence we gathered through hundreds of interviews with gang members, law enforcement representatives, school administrators and other community members with critical information we collected by reviewing incident, arrest and contact data provided by law enforcement agencies. The result is a report that accurately measures the various facets of San Diego’s growing human trafficking problem.” 


Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gates designed the study in collaboration with survivor service providers, law enforcement, prosecutors, County schools, and other researchers. In addition to the comprehensive collaboration with the broader community, the partnership between both universities was no accident.  


“Our universities each have deep roots in the Christian traditions,” said Gates when discussing the motivation behind their work. “Both USD and PLNU have a deep concern for the poor and oppressed and a deep faith that societies are judged best by how they take care of the most vulnerable in their midst.” 


According to the study, in San Diego County, the underground sex economy represents an estimated $810 million in annual revenue and involves more than 100 area gangs. The study estimates the minimum number of CSEP at 1,766 per year with an average age of entry between 14 to 15 years old. 


Other key findings included:


Number of “prostitution” arrests which are actually cases of sex-trafficking;

Proportion of CSEP victims who are U.S. citizens versus those trafficked from other countries;

Cities & neighborhoods most at risk for commercial sexual exploitation

The number of gangs in San Diego involved in sex-trafficking, and their characteristics;

Demographics of traffickers and trafficked individuals (age, ethnicity, etc.);

Key “hotspots” where sex-trafficking occurs;

Recruitment tactics; and

Recruitment activity within local public schools.


This collaborative research is a landmark study that is already shaping public action and policy. In response to the study’s comprehensive quantitative and qualitative data, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore praised the authors, “The inter-agency collaborative nature of Dr. Carpenter and Dr. Gates’ work will be invaluable to San Diego’s law enforcement community.” All participants echoed the importance of the study’s data which will further inform their work across multiple platforms and jurisdictions. 


Looking forward, the study highlights future trends, which include the need for cross-sector approaches to community problems and sustainable capital for nonprofits. In addition, the study provides victim service providers with the data needed to justify substantial improvements in the size and scope of support services. 


This latest study builds upon years of work by Dr. Gates at PLNU through the Center for Justice and Reconciliation (CJR) at PLNU. The CJR’s mission is to “study poverty and oppression and teach Christian means of social engagement.” The contemporary global abolition movement is one specific arena where faculty and staff of PLNU have taken responsibility for getting involved.


“In the last year we have seen great strides in this effort against human trafficking at PLNU and in the broader San Diego region,” said Gates. “From the establishment of the Beauty for Ashes scholarship fund established to support the education of survivors of human trafficking at PLNU, to the communitywide resource, inertia continues to build around these efforts.”  


A product of the CJR, the Abolish Human Trafficking site is a contribution to the growing need to understand and engage locally, nationally and internationally around the issues related to human trafficking. Monday’s presentation, key facts and resources in San Diego’s fight against human trafficking can all be found on this site


This project was supported by Award No. 2012-R2-CX-0028, awarded by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this study are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice. In addition, members of the San Diego County Human Trafficking and Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children Advisory Council supported the study. 

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

August 28th through 30th, PLNU will host New Student Orientation (NSO) on the Point Loma campus and officially kick off the Fall semester on Tuesday, September, 1st. NSO is a weekend experience designed to help students and parents/guests become acclimated to university life. Recognized as one of the premier orientation events for new students, PLNU has spent the past seventeen years refining and enhancing their campus welcome for students and parents alike. “The purpose of NSO is really about student success,” says PLNU President, Bob Brower Ph.D.. “We've found that when new students and their families experience an informative, helpful, and engaging welcome by hundreds of students and staff, the transition into the university creates a strong start for students and erases many unknowns in their adjustment to college.” Following a weekend of festivities for both new and returning students, classes begin on Tuesday, September 1st. The new semester not only welcomes nearly 800 incoming students to main campus, but also represents an exciting time of growth in the broader university system as a result of new programs in PLNU’s Graduate and Professional Education Programs through the College of Extended Learning. Over the past several months PLNU has entered into partnership with a number of San Diego County’s community colleges to offer bachelor’s degree completion programs across the region. These partnerships seek to serve new populations of students and allow PLNU to further meet workforce development needs in the San Diego region and beyond. “PLNU is a proud partner with our robust community college network in San Diego County to provide increased access to students across the region who wish to pursue their bachelor’s degree,” said Brower. “These partnerships speak to the collaborative relationships that exist among San Diego’s robust and diverse higher education community and affirms our respective institutions’ commitment to educational quality for the benefit of all students.” The flagship program offered through the innovative partnerships is the RN to BSN program which enables community college students who earn an associate degree in Registered Nursing to earn their Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from PLNU within 15 months – all on their local community college campus. The RN to BSN program is available to students at the following community colleges in the region; San Diego City, Grossmont, Mira Costa, Palomar and Southwestern Colleges. The partnership at Southwestern College in San Diego’s South Bay is the largest partnership to date, with multiple degree options for students. Students who are accepted into PLNU partnership programs at Southwestern can earn bachelor degrees in Nursing, Criminal Justice, Organizational Management, and Child and Adolescent Development without having to leave the district. Continued growth in PLNU’s Graduate and Professional Education Programs is anticipated during the coming academic year, both at community college campuses and PLNU’s Mission Valley satellite campus. For more information on PLNU’s Graduate and Professional Education Programs, please visit

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

For the third time in the last four years, Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) ranked among the top three California universities for the Certified Public Accounting (CPA) examination results as reported by the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA).

“These results are particularly satisfying because PLNU has consistently placed among the top three universities in California,” explained Dan Bothe, Dean of the Fermanian School of Business. “Results like this speak to exceptional caliber of PLNU’s accounting students who are sought after by the most prestigious national, statewide and local accounting firms.”

PLNU graduates ranked 3rd in both pass rate and average score among sixty colleges in California for 2014. PLNU candidates had a 61.9% pass rate and 75.6 average score, finishing behind Claremont McKenna College and Pepperdine University respectively.

In addition to success statewide, nationally, PLNU ranked in the top 5% among Medium Programs for candidates taking the exam for the first time. NASBA classifies universities by size of program based on number of candidates. There were 265 institutions in the Medium Program category (21 to 60 candidates).

“Such consistent results are a testament to the dedication and hard work our alumni take into the business community. The PLNU accounting program does not “teach to the test”, rather we emphasize a rock-solid accounting foundation enhanced by personal values articulated throughout the PLNU liberal arts-based curriculum” commented Associate Accounting Professor Carl Hammond. “Our goal is to prepare our students to “add value” where ever the accounting profession may lead them.”

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

After a brief illness, PLNU professor, colleague and friend, G.L. Forward passed away on Tuesday, August 4th in San Diego.

Dr. Forward was known for his love of old Humphrey Bogart movies, murder mysteries, and trips to the mountains – especially Big Bear. A self-described "hopeful cynic," he is remembered by the PLNU community for his love of teaching and care for his students.

The memorial service for Dr. Forward is scheduled for: Saturday, August 15, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. Crill Performance Hall, Cooper Music Center Point Loma Nazarene University 3900 Lomaland Drive San Diego, California A reception will immediately follow the service on the Cooper Portico.

In lieu of flowers, the friends and family wish to direct donations to the "Dr. G.L. Forward Memorial Fund," created to directly benefit his Management and Organizational Communication (MOCM) students at Point Loma Nazarene University.

 - Gifts by Mail: Please make checks payable to PLNU and reference “Dr. G.L. Forward Memorial Fund” in the memo PLNU, Office of University Advancement, 3900 Lomaland Drive, San Diego, California 92106

- Online Giving: Visit Simply select “Other Designation” and reference “Dr. G.L. Forward Memorial Fund” with your contribution

For assistance, please contact Dan DeSaegher – PLNU Development Director at 619-849-2992

Expressions of sympathy may be sent to the family:

c/o: Kathleen Czech Communication & Theatre Point Loma Nazarene University 3900 Lomaland Drive San Diego, CA 92106

Thank you for your prayers and concern.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU