For the 23rd consecutive year the Special Olympics Regional Athletics Meet returned to PLNU’s campus on Saturday, April 23rd to celebrate the joy of sport for all athletes.

Sponsored by Point Loma's Department Family & Consumer Sciences, the School of Education and the PLNU Athletics Department, nearly 300 PLNU students, faculty and staff and countless community members from across San Diego joined together to serve 250 athletes and their families.

In addition to PLNU’s leadership, this year’s event received large community support. As the Gold Medal sponsor, Geico Insurance provided invaluable support for the day’s activities. According to event director, PLNU’s Susan Rogers, “Their support wasn’t limited to a monetary donation; Geico employees joined with PLNU volunteers to serve athletes and their families to make this event memorable for each individual.” A regular presence at the annual event, police officers from the cities of Coronado and San Diego were on hand to encourage and congratulate each athlete. The Chula Vista Kiwanis Club provided a barbeque lunch and San Diego County Parks and Recreation were also on hand to support the event.

"Personally for me, one of the best Athletics Meets ever, once again our students are the key,” said longtime event organizer, and Special Olympics supporter, Jim Johnson Ph.D.. “Comments about their love and genuineness reflect why this event is indeed a premier banner for what PLNU represents to the community and who are students really are as servant leaders.”

This year’s event was especially significant to PLNU as it was dedicated to the life and memory of Beryl Pagan who passed away on April 18th. As an instructional services librarian at PLNU, Pagan was the heartbeat of Ryan Library. A Point Loma alumna, she was an advocate for persons with disabilities and a true friend to everyone she met. “It was a glorious day,” said Rogers. “Moreover, we were able to honor our dear friend, Beryl Pagan. She was honored in the opening ceremony with a tribute and bowls of candy in her memory.”

An encouraging and uplifting event for athletes, spectators and volunteers alike, this year’s Athletics Meet was yet another testament to PLNU’s commitment to the mission and vision of the Special Olympics. In addition to the annual track meet, this past summer, PLNU joined with one hundred other communities across Southern California as a part of the Special Olympics World Games Host Town program. In advance of the Opening Ceremonies in July 2015, more than 7,000 athletes from 177 countries were welcomed to Southern California. The San Diego Point Loma Host Town welcomed athletes from Albania, Burkina Faso, and Finland for three days to prepare for the games.

PLNU looks forward to the 24th Annual Athletics Meet in April of 2017 and you are invited to join us!

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

A team of top scientific researchers, including PLNU’s own Assistant Professor of Biology, Walter Cho Ph.D., discovered an unusual swarm of tuna crabs on a seamount off the coast of Panama. This is the same species spotted washed up in a massive stranding along Southern California beaches last year. Typically found only along the coast of California, Baja California, and the Gulf of California, this swarm of red crabs discovered at the Hannibal Seamount was quite startling; this discovery represents a new southernmost range for the species. The team’s findings were recently published in PeerJ, an online academic journal dedicated to biological and medical sciences. 


Formed by volcanic processes, underwater seamounts rise hundreds to thousands of feet underwater from the seafloor, and form ecological "hotspots” that provide a home to many communities of unique species. 


However, less than 1% of these seamounts have been studied. To discover more about the rich, productive ecosystem surrounding the Hannibal Seamount near Panama, Dr. Cho joined team of scientists on a month-long expedition aboard the M/V Alucia in April 2015. They utilized two manned submersibles and an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to collect biological samples, map the seafloor, and collect images of the seamount. "This study is an example of how we can effectively use the multiple tools now available to study the deep-sea habitat," said Cho. “The fact that we could combine the use of submersibles to explore, observe and sample, and then use an AUV to follow-up those observations of the crab aggregation and get quantitative data is really powerful."


As part of PLNU’s undergraduate summer research program, student researchers for PLNU also played a role in discovering more about the red crabs and the seamount: Led by Dr. Cho, a team of students helped analyze seafloor images of these crabs from the Hannibal Seamount. “The ocean is still a mysterious place,” said PLNU researcher and senior biology major, Kelsey Miller. “I’m thrilled to be a part of a constantly expanding field that discovers new things every day. Not many students get an opportunity to be this involved in research.” 


The researchers of the Hannibal seamount expedition hope to return to the “hotspot” to further learn why high levels of biodiversity exist in these types of areas.  Together with his team of students, Dr. Cho plans to continue his research on seafloor communities of marine organisms this summer. 

Biology, External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

On Monday, February 15, 2016 the Center for International Development (CID) at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) hosted the San Diego Global Poverty Forum on Point Loma’s campus.

The engaging half-day event brought leading speakers from around the world to discuss and debate cutting edge ideas and research in the field of global poverty alleviation. “The CID exists to mentor students, support faculty, and engage the external community in the study and application of holistic business practices to alleviate global poverty,” said CID director Rob Gailey, PhD. “Today’s dialogue between experts in the field, our PLNU community, non-profit leaders and other members of the San Diego community is a tangible example of that mission.”

Kicking off the afternoon’s speaker series, Bruce Wydick, PhD, professor of economics at the University of San Francisco and author of Games in Economic Development and The Taste of Many Mountains, provided an analysis of the top 10 most cost-effective poverty alleviation methods according to economists. Wydick went a step further to break down those 10 methods into two groups; those providing the most benefit and those with limited to no impact on the individuals intended to serve. The immeasurable benefits of simple mosquito nets and the negligible impact of fair trade coffee surprised many in the audience.

Building on Wydick’s introduction of effective giving mechanisms, University of California, San Diego professor of economics, Paul Niehaus, PhD, provided an in-depth analysis of direct person to person giving. As president and co-founder of GiveDirectly, Niehaus brought unique insight into the challenges of traditional giving and unique opportunities of direct transfers to poor people. “Traditional ways of giving internationally are complex,” explained Niehaus. “Advances in payments technology have drastically cut the costs of direct transfers and new research also supports the powerful impacts this has on recipients. At GiveDirectly we see these trends converging to make direct giving the benchmark against which the old, top-down models are evaluated.”

Dianne Calvi, president and CEO of Village Enterprise, wrapped up the individual speaker presentations with an evaluation of the data on micro-entrepreneurship and its impact on poverty and the role of hope in the individual experience. Village Enterprise, which was the inspiration for the founders of, has trained more than 130,000 micro-enterprise owners and helped start more than 30,000 small businesses in Kenya and Uganda. Following the presentations, the panelists convened for a robust conversation with the audience facilitated by Gailey.

The day's events concluded with a private dinner reception for friends and supporters of the CID. Guests were joined by Wydick, Niehaus, Calvi, PLNU's President Bob Brower, PhD, and recent PLNU alumni who remain active with the CID. “Our passion at the CID is to help young people who want to make a difference in the fight against global poverty, but may not be sure where to start,” explained Gailey. “Your support allows us to connect those students who want to make a difference in the world, with the latest innovation and ideas about business and entrepreneurship as a way of breaking the cycle of global poverty.”

# # #

The Center for International Development (CID) is a key initiative of the Fermanian School of Business at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California. We believe breaking the cycle of global poverty in a sustainable way requires more than just handouts and foreign aid, and that business and entrepreneurship can play a key role in this process. Our focus is to connect people concerned about global poverty with key organizations, resources and thought leaders in this field who share our passion.

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

County of San Diego documentary highlights months of work by Adey and PLNU students to complete project

Last year PLNU’s Art and Design faculty, David Adey got a surprise invitation from the County of San Diego to create a new landmark public art piece. 

As part of the final phase of construction for County’s Waterfront Park project, a new parking structure for employees at the nearby County Administration and the public was set to break ground in 2015. Without his knowledge, Adey was unanimously selected to create an art piece to adorn the concrete structure. Says Adey, “I guess you could say it sort of fell into my lap!” With commission in hand, Adey was tasked to come up with a vision for what would become his first-ever piece of public art. 

In March 2015 the work began with a celebratory kick off. Adey was joined by student volunteers from PLNU, members of the County Board of Supervisors and PLNU’s President Bob Brower Ph.D. to begin collecting individual tire treads to create the piece. “We collected about 800 tiles that first day, but would end up needing around 3,500, so we had a long way to go!” recalled Adey. 

Each individual impression collected would be fired, glazed and fired again for the very labor intensive piece. The County News Center followed Adey and his students throughout the process as more tiles were created, arranged, and finally glued together over the summer at Adey’s studio on campus. After a tense transport, the wall-mounted sculpture, titled “Inspiration Expiration,” went up on the building days before the October 30th dedication.

When asked about the meaning behind the piece, “The tire tread references the individual,” explains Adey. “There’s a diversity element to the piece, since each is a unique color and literally no two are alike, but there’s also this idea of the commute, that all of us get into our cars and go to this place of work and then go home and then get up and do it all over again. The daily commute is something that unites us but also shows our individuality.”

For more information on Adey’s project, check out the full documentary on the County News Center

External Relations, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU

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, Institute for Politics & Political Service, Office of Community & Government Relations, PLNU