PLNU is pleased to announce the award of a $576,750 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support undergraduate scholarships for PLNU students in the STEM disciplines – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – who also minor in Computational Science while undergraduates at PLNU.


The project, entitled "Scholarships to Support STEM majors Computational Sciences Minors," is under the direction of PLNU faculty from the various STEM departments. Associate Professor of Chemistry, Katherine Maloney, Ph.D. will serve as Principal Investigator for the project which was officially awarded in April 2015 and expected to conclude in 2020.


Maloney is joined by Maria Zack, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of Mathematical, Information and Computer Sciences; Dawne Page, Ph.D. Professor and Chair of Biology, Lorinda J. Carter, Ph.D. Professor of Computer Science; and Paul Schmelzenbach , Ph.D. Professor and Chair Physics and Engineering.             


PLNU has been the recipient of previous NSF awards, however this award is unique. The "Scholarships to Support STEM majors Computational Sciences Minors," proposal was the first application by PLNU to the Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S-STEM), in the Division of Undergraduate Education at the NSF.


“This is part of what makes it surprising that we got the funding,” says Maria Zack Ph.D.. “As a new applicant, we were told to expect multiple attempts before qualifying for a funding award.” Although surprising, Zack admits PLNU was well positioned for the award.


“PLNU’s size allows for excellent faculty/student mentoring and faculty collaboration. Our STEM departments have been working together in the areas of research, curriculum development and student development for more than 40 years,” continued Zack.  PLNU’s application proposed to build on the existing pattern of collaboration in PLNU’s STEM community by providing scholarships to academically talented and financially needy STEM students interested in careers and graduate education that combine a STEM discipline with computational science (STEM-CS).


The NSF grant will provide significant scholarships to talented STEM majors who have high financial need and would not otherwise be able to pursue STEM education at PLNU. According to Dawne Page Ph.D., the hope is that, “by meeting most or all of these students’ financial need and giving them academic and career service support, we hope to graduate them into the STEM workforce or into STEM graduate education.”


Key features of this proposal build on the robust student experience in PLNU’s STEM disciplines. All students will participate in undergraduate research, conference presentations and/or publications on the research, and a senior capstone interdisciplinary project in computational science.

Established in 20011, PLNU’s Computational Science minor allows Mathematics or Computer Science students to gain limited knowledge in Biology, Chemistry or Physics to be able to help scientists with their computational needs; and to expose Biology, Chemistry or Physics majors to computational techniques they can collaborate with mathematicians and computer scientists to solve complex problems in science and engineering. This popular minor provides a natural cohort of academically-talented STEM students that take classes together and share a common interest – a key element to the objectives of PLNU’s S-STEM project proposal.


Computational science is the use of computational techniques (e.g. statistics, computer programming, modeling, data management) to help solve problems in the natural sciences, and it is one of the fastest growing areas of employment. The premise of computational science is that much of the current scientific research (particularly in industrial settings involving biotechnology, nuclear power and national security) is conducted by interdisciplinary teams. Each member of the team is an expert in their field of study but is sufficiently conversant with the other disciplines of their team members to be able to function effectively in a team.


The NSF grant award marks an exciting time at PLNU. The STEM population at PLNU has grown steadily over the past several years and continued growth is anticipated. To meet the needs of current and future students, PLNU launched the largest capital campaign in the institution’s history with the Campaign for the Sciences. The capstone of the campaign, PLNU’s new science building, is on schedule for completion in the summer of 2015, set to serve students in the coming fall semester. 



Learn more about PLNU’s STEM opportunities and the Computational Science minor.

Academics, Biology, Chemistry, External Relations, Mathematical, Information & Computer Sciences, Office of Community & Government Relations, Physics & Engineering, PLNU

On Tuesday March 3, 2015, Point Loma Nazarene University business students Matt Herskowitz, Chad Krause, Blair Messner, Sam Sadler, and Trevor Shaw led their team in victory over SDSU, USD, and UCSD teams, winning the San Diego CFA Institute Research Challenge for 2015.  PLNU faculty advisor, Dan Bothe, Dean of the Fermanian School of Business, supported their countless hours of preparation and accompanied them to the competition, returning with an impressive team trophy, now on display at the Fermanian School of Business!

As a result of this victory, the PLNU student team will be traveling to Atlanta, Georgia on April 15, all expenses paid by the CFA Institute, to compete in the Americas Regional event against universities from across North America.  The winner from each regional competition - the Americas; the Asia Pacific; and the Europe, Middle East, and Africa regions - will advance to the Global Final, where one team will be declared global champion of the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

About the CFA Research Challenge:

As stated on their website, The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis.  Students work in teams to research and analyze a publicly traded company - sometimes even meeting face-to-face with company management.  Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and may be asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

About the Winning PLNU Team:

Matt Herskowitz is a senior majoring in Finance and he currently holds the position of Director of Finance for ASB.  He has accepted a position this summer at Stratford Partners Real Estate Investments.  Chad Krause is a senior majoring in Finance, having spent a summer internship at Lloyds of London in Great Britain.  Blair Messner is a senior with an Accounting and Finance double major in addition to being a Student Accounting Society officer.  She has accepted a full time position with Deloitte in their tax division.  Sam Sadler is a senior with an Accounting and Finance double major; he serves as president of PLNU's entrepreneur club in addition to playing baseball for the PLNU team.  Sam has accepted a full time position in public accounting with Ernst & Young.  Trevor Shaw is a senior majoring in Finance, while serving as PLNU's Finance & Investments Club president.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

On Wednesday, March 25th PLNU celebrated the completion of 76% of the school year.  More than a benchmark toward summer break, at PLNU tuition covers approximately 76% of a student's education costs.  In fact, never in the history of the university has tuition covered the entire cost of a student's education.

This “tuition freedom”, and that the remaining 24% of the school year, is covered by gifts from alumni and other donors, churches, foundations, corporations, and other revenue sources.  Established in 2008 by the Alumni Association, this year marked the 7th annual "Tuition Freedom Day."  In partnership with Student Senate, the ASB Board of Directors, Sodexo and Bartell Hotels, this celebration aims at increasing awareness of the generous gifts offered to PLNU students, and provides an opportunity for students to express their gratitude.

“Whether or not we realized it, each one of us who attended this university was helped by others who gave to subsidize the cost of our education” says Sheryl Smee, Executive Director of Alumni Relations at PLNU. “This has become an annual event to highlight the difference made in students' lives, through generous alumni support, and the impact we can make in the lives of countless future students through our faithful giving.”

Students came by the ARC after chapel to write a thank you note to our donors and receive the latest TFD t-shirt, designed by PLNU senior, Hannah Siu, and enjoy complimentary refreshments provided by Sodexo.  Visit PLNU’s Flickr to see pictures from Tuition Freedom Day 2014 and watch our 2015 video!

"Thank you so much for your contribution to my education.  I wouldn't be able to be here without you.  Because of you, I'm graduating in May with my BS in dietetics!  Thanks again!" - Emily Strannigan ('15)


For more information, visit PLNU’s website.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

On Monday, February 9th PLNU students and faculty kicked off the trans-disciplinary Hello Friends! campaign on the San Diego campus.  A real-world sustainable collaboration among PLNU students, faculty, and staff, Hello Friends! received second place in the Nazarene Compassionate Ministries national competition focused on water justice. The team from PLNU was awarded an implementation grant for the campaign, along with $7,500 which they selected to use for a Beauty for Ashes scholarship at PLNU to support survivors of human trafficking.

Monday’s campaign announcement launched a week of activities aimed at connecting the PLNU community and Pastor Celestin Chishibanji from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). “While listening and learning from the community in the DRC, our campaign also seeks to educate and inform the college community about global poverty, clean water obstacles, and hygiene/sanitation challenges experienced by our friends living in another part of the world,” says Dr. Rob Gailey, who directs PLNU’s Center for International Development and led the PLNU team in the project development.

Using web, social media, and daily programmed activities the campaign seeks to raise awareness about access to fresh water, hygiene and sanitation. The ultimate goal is to fund the completion of the first water well at Ep. Mutombo Primary School and Mutowa Institute in the DRC. According to Courtney Mayer, Assistant Professor, Graphic Design at PLNU, who guided her design students in design and branding, the campaign “will use a variety of technology and media: identity, print, web, built environmental space, and social media. We want to open hearts and minds and make a positive social impact in the lives of all who participate.”

During the course of the campaign, students hosted a variety of events focused on clean water access and hygiene; from soap making to a campus wide toothbrush drive. All items made and received will be delivered to the DRC this summer as a part of PLNU’s established LoveWorks program. Fundraising for the well is built into all programming and the week concludes with Friday’s community clean up at Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, which borders the campus along the Pacific.

Both Gailey and Mayer recognize that, Hello Friends! clearly integrates the values expressed in the PLNU Mission. “We aspire to put faith into action by using our God-given gifts and talents and hope to see this sustainable trans-disciplinary model developed at other university campuses (and perhaps among local churches), with their own chosen linked communities, educational programming and philanthropy,” said Gailey.


For more information on Hello Friends!, 

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

Starting next fall, graduates of the Grossmont College nursing program can seamlessly continue their education and receive their bachelor’s in nursing from Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) in just 15 months without ever leaving the community college campus.

The groundbreaking pact between the two institutions for the four-year nursing degree was announced this morning at a press conference at Grossmont College. Created to address growing workforce demand, the new agreement addresses the omission of nursing programs from recent legislation allowing select community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees.

Administrators hailed the partnership creating cohorts of 25 students each fall and spring as a major plus for Grossmont College’s nursing students, who will benefit from the instruction and student support resources from the university. Tuition for the accelerated degree program is $16,200 and includes the cost of books. PLNU will have a full time advisor at Grossmont College to provide scholarship information and enrollment assistance to interested students.

“PLNU is pleased to partner with Grossmont College to provide increased access to students across the San Diego region who wish to pursue their bachelor’s degree,” said PLNU President Bob Brower, who was joined at the press conference by Grossmont College President Sunita “Sunny” Cooke and nursing deans from both campuses.

The demand for nurses with bachelor’s degrees has grown in recent years. A national study by the Institute of Medicine recommended that by 2020, 80 percent of the nursing workforce should have a bachelor’s degree to meet the country’s healthcare needs. However, it has become a challenge for students to get into four-year university nursing programs. Further compounding the challenge, more hospitals continue to achieve magnet status, requiring them to hire a high percentage of nurses with the degrees.

For Grossmont students there is now a mechanism for students to seamlessly transfer and quickly obtain their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. “It is a wonderful opportunity for our graduates to benefit from Point Loma Nazarene University’s excellent nursing program," said Cooke. "Together we can better meet workforce demand and support student success.”

Highly respected across the San Diego region, PLNU’s nursing program recently celebrated its 40th anniversary. “Today’s announcement is certainly an appropriate way to mark 40 years of excellence in training and equipping individuals called to the sacred work of nursing,” said Brower. PLNU’s nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and licensed by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Today’s announcement is one of several new programs in development at PLNU that seek to serve new populations of students and allow PLNU to further meet workforce development needs in the San Diego region and beyond. New educational delivery systems and partnerships, like the relationship with Grossmont, continue to extend the educational resource of PLNU as a mission-driven, quality university for the broader San Diego region.

   For more information on the RN to BSN program, visit

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU, School of Nursing

(San Diego, Calif. – November 22, 2014) – Founded in 1902, PLNU has rich history on which to reminisce. Homecoming provides that special time each fall when alumni return to campus to celebrate and honor their PLNU heritage together with current students. This year’s homecoming week includes over fifty events for PLNU alumni, students and friends.


Homecoming Chapel on Friday celebrates the careers and testimonies of five outstanding alumni. Students, alumni and members of the PLNU Board of Trustees were on hand to celebrate. The Alumnus of Point Loma Award is given to recognize outstanding professional and/or academic accomplishments, a strong Christian testimony, and an impact on the lives of others. This year’s recipients included:  Dr. Brad Strawn (’88), Doug Bowman (’94), Beryl Pagan (’84), and Dr. Brent Strawn (’92).


Saturday kicks off a full day of activity across campus, including a special breakfast at the Liberty Station Conference Center celebrating the 40th anniversary of PLNU’s distinguished nursing program. This breakfast honors the inaugural class of 1974. Highlights of the morning also include recognition of School of Nursing chairs and deans along with a special message from founding chair, Laura Mae Douglass.


The Main Event will celebrate the lifetime achievements of two PLNU alums on Saturday afternoon in Brown Chapel. Dr. Mike McConnell and Rev. Ron Fay will be honored with the PLNU Distinguished Achievement award, recognizing their outstanding accomplishments, their impact on the lives of others and their strong faith. The Alumni Association of Point Loma Nazarene University presents the Distinguished Achievement Award annually to two graduates who have exhibited outstanding lifetime accomplishments in a profession, in an academic field, or in service to a nonprofit organization. These are alumni with a strong Christian testimony who have had an impact on the lives of many and Dr. Mike McConnell and Rev. Ron Fay are no exception.


Saturday’s events culminate in the Homecoming Men’s and Women’s Basketball Games in Golden Gymnasium. The 2014 Homecoming games commemorate PLNU’s first official year in the NCAA beginning with the Women’s game against the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs at 6p.m.. The Men’s Basketball team will take on University of Mary, North Dakota at 8:00 p.m.


Click here for the full Homecoming 2014 schedule!

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU