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On May 14, PLNU celebrated the accomplishments of 565 undergraduate and 259 graduate students at Commencement. During the convocation ceremonies, 23 seniors were recognized for completing honors projects. In addition, an honorary Doctor of Laws degree was awarded to David Latter. Latter became president of Morehouse Foods in 1969, and he has guided the company to its current position as a multi-million dollar international business, specializing in mustard and horseradish. Latter has an undergraduate degree from PLNU.

Watch Commencement 2011


On Apr. 28, the third annual San Diego Microfinance Summit was held at the University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice. 

The event was produced by the San Diego Microfinance Alliance (SDMFA), which Dr. Rob Gailey, PLNU professor of business and director of the Center for International Development, helped found. Gailey has helped plan the summit in previous years, and this year, PLNU alumnus Travis Vaughan (09) helped plan in his role as main facilitator for SDMFA. 

Gailey is also involved in planning SDMFA’s microfinancing courses. In fall 2010, PLNU hosted SDFMA’s course MF101. 

Keynote speakers of the summit included Gina Harman, CEO, ACCION Network, Giovanna Masci, Regional Director for the Americas, KIVA, and Claudia Viek, CEO, CA Association for Microenterprise Opportunity (CAMEO). 

Center for International Development

Luke Harmon, a 2010 business administration graduate from PLNU, was named the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year by the Fermanian School of Business (FSB) at Point Loma Nazarene University. Harmon was one of five finalists in the FSB’s Entrepreneur Enrichment Program (EEP).

Harmon’s project, EHipp, is developing medical records software for overlooked sectors of the health care industry.

“Thank you so much for providing a platform for me to work on this project,” said Harmon. “This experience has been incredibly challenging but at the same time amazing, and I have loved every second of it!” 

Following a nearly yearlong process that began with the annual EEP Exposition and “pitch” last September, five student entrepreneurial ventures received mentoring throughout the 2010-11 academic year while developing a detailed business plan. There were three experienced entrepreneurial mentors for each venture from a wide variety of business interests throughout the western U.S. The mentors also served as judges for the plans. The plans were completed and submitted by April 15, 2011. The judges then had two weeks to review the plans on a secure online site. 

“In the past year, I have dove fully into eHipp,” said Harmon. “I have read books and articles, interviewed physicians, nurses, and medical students, attended classes and conferences, job shadowed venture capitalists, and met with recognized leaders and thinkers of medical innovation. Through this process, I have felt like it was up to me to find a place where this software could work and succeed. You will see from the business plan that I believe I have done that.” 

Randy M. Ataide, the EEP advisor and PLNU professor of entrepreneurship said, “Each year presents a different variety of projects and entrepreneurial interests, and this year was no exception. What stands out in this year’s program was the dedication of most of the entrepreneurs to maximize the opportunity to be mentored.”  

The FSB announced Harmon’s award at a banquet attended by approximately 85 entrepreneurs, mentors, students, and supporters on Wednesday evening, April 27, 2011. 

Harmon earned a total of $3,000 in funding from the EEP Endowment towards supporting his entrepreneurial endeavors, and was mentored by Stephen Thesing, Robert Harp and Bart Grunau, all experienced EEP mentors.

Other honorees included brothers Derek Jackson, a senior double major at PLNU in business administration and music, joined by his brother Marcus Jackson, a PLNU business administration alumni from 2007, for their project Forte Gigs, a musician promotion and management company for student musicians, who earned an additional $1,500 from the EEP Endowment as well as winning the Dave and Dorothy Latter Free Enterprise Award. PLNU MBA John Cosby earned $1,500 from the endowment as well as nabbing the Social Entrepreneur Award of another $200 for his project,

The other completed projects were by Carl Gardner, a 2010 business administration graduate, who created Gardner BioFuels and Reid Sund, a 2010 accounting graduate, who developed Care Connection. All participating projects that completed the EEP received $500 each, and additional projects were announced for the 2011-12 EEP.

Craig Van Hulzen, CEO of Van Hulzen Asset Management in Jackson, Ca., and a co-founder of the EEP and the EEP Endowment, stated “ While not a year of large numbers in the EEP, the quality of the completed plans is the best by far in the history of the EEP. It reflects the evolving nature of the EEP and the rising expectations of quality among the participants.” 

Fermanian Business & Economic Institute, PLNU

Wednesday is the 2010-2011 Entrepreneur Enrichment Program Banquet. The Entrepreneur Enrichment Program (EEP) seeks to encourage, stimulate, and nourish the entrepreneurial process in any full or part-time student and in all academic disciplines at PLNU by providing specific personal, business, and professional counsel for student-entrepreneurs' business plans from recognized industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and financiers.  

This year's participants displayed their ideas at the expo on October 6 in the School of Business.  Following the expo they each gave a three-minute pitch to the business review team who judged their projects.  The finalists have been announced and have been paired with mentors to assist the students in developing a solid business plan for their specific project.  Winners will be announced at the EEP Banquet.


Entrepreneur Enrichment Program (EEP) Banquet
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 • 5:30 - 8 p.m.
Fermanian School of Business & Conference Center

Email Courtney Hamad to reserve your spot at   

Each year, PLNU seniors have the opportunity to go above and beyond and showcase research projects of their choice. The topics range from the sciences to the arts and professional studies, and are often created by the students themselves. With every project comes extensive, demanding and laborious research.

In the spring of their junior year, students who have maintained a cumulative 3.5 GPA and are able to resourcefully and seriously research may apply to do a senior honors project under the sponsorship of the Honors Program. With guidance from professors, students complete the honors projects during their senior year, meeting with fellow honors scholars and their advisers to discuss their projects and maintain progress.

By early May, students are expected to prepare two formal presentations: one to their committee and the second to the Honors Conference. Upon graduation, these scholars are each recognized for their extensive efforts and are given a special tassel.

Mark Mann, director of the Honors Program, said it allows students the opportunity to explore subjects they have a passion for more deeply.

“It demonstrates that a student can succeed at a higher level than is expected of the typical undergrad, that a student can take on and complete a large, and perhaps, multi-year, project and take self-initiative,” said Mann via email.

Here is a sample of some of the students who decided to take on a honors project this year:

Kalika Kastein

Kastein, a senior double majoring in graphic design and philosophy/theology, chose to do a project on something she enjoys, she said. “My project is about the social construct of gender as it relates to our bodies and how by looking critically at expectations within gender roles it begins to break down and reveal inerrancies in itself,” said Kastein via email.

Kastein explores how art “subversively creates an inversion of the realistic and the fanciful, thus providing space for a hybrid, multi-faceted understanding of gender.”

Although art can portray women and their gender roles through photoshopped magazine ads, Kastein emphasizes that “art has the potential to present gender issues in a neutral and thought-provoking way,” therefore initiating dialogue that can challenge us to think.

Kastein found that narrowing down what she wanted to say became very difficult due to the abundance of research but that this allowed her to challenge her own conceptions of gender. She hopes her project will bring about awareness and dialogue about gender.

Allyse Kramer

Kramer, an athletic training major, has spent the last eight months researching how the pressures of being a collegiate athlete may affect the development of disordered eating. Kramer conducted her research using two pre-created surveys.

One survey identifies “at risk” athletes for developing an eating disorder. The other identifies where possible sources of pressure that an athlete might feel are coming from. Though her research is still in progress, Kramer has compared results from the surveys and found several correlations.

Kramer’s interest in nutrition and experience with athletes has shown her how important it is for athletes to eat correctly, she said.

“I have had many friends that have struggled with this issue and have also been able to see a lack of information reaching our athletes in this area,” said Kramer.

Kramer hopes to identify pressures that lead to the development of eating disorders with collegiate-level athletes and use that information to prevent further disorders from occurring.

Caleb Bryce

Bryce, an environmental science major, spent a summer researching and analyzing data in Costa Rica last summer. When he returned, he knew he had ample material for a honor’s project.

Bryce’s project used photo traps to monitor rainforest carnivores. He analyzed the presence of large predators such as jaguars and puma’s in neo-tropical forests and how they indicate a stable ecosystem due to the fact that these animals require “intact populations of prey lower on the food chain for survival,” he said.

“My honors project focuses not only on the results we attained last summer but also methods for improving the protocol we use for camera placement and data analysis with the hope of refining the process and improving the success of subsequent summers,” said Bryce.

Bryce, who will be the only returning member of the research group to Costa Rica this summer, has recently accepted an offer to UC Santa Cruz to earn his Ph.D. in comparative physiology.

Written by Kalyn McMackin

This story originally was published by The Point Weekly, the student newspaper for PLNU.

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