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

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

The surprising findings of a three year study on gang-involved sex trafficking, funded by the Department of Justice was released on Monday, 10/26/2015. The groundbreaking study, "Measuring the Nature and Extent of Gang Involvement in Sex Trafficking in San Diego," led by University of San Diego Kroc School of Peace Studies Professor Ami C. Carpenter, PhD in partnership with Point Loma Nazarene University Professor Jamie Gates, PhD, gathered and analyzed data from hundreds of current and former gang members, schools, law enforcement agencies, and victim service providers.  For the complete story and video clip click here

Sociology & Social Work

American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) 2015 Professional Award Winners Announced

Please join the Executive Director and I in congratulating Ms. Sarah Lauff, on her selection as 2015 AISES Award for Technical Excellence.

Ms. Lauff is being recognized for her role in providing new developments for execution of the Navy's Rapid Deployable Cargo Monitoring System (RDCMS).  RDCMS focuses on securing Naval munitions via a developed wireless monitoring system.  Additionally, Ms. Lauff is being recognized for her continued valuable STEM mentoring activities.

Ms. Lauff will be recognized at the Traditional Honors Banquet during the AISES Conference on Saturday, 21 Nov 15, in Phoenix, AZ.  Congratulations Ms. Lauff!

Thank you for your service to the Navy and Nation.

Sarah Lauff is an Alumni of PLNU in the Mathematics Major.
Mathematical, Information & Computer Sciences

Soprano Krista Wilford (B.A., Music, 2014) was lauded for her debut as Belinda, sister of Queen Dido, in San Diego City Opera's "Queen of Carthage" this month, performed in a grove of eucalyptus trees on a bluff overlooking the ocean at UCSD. "Queen of Carthage" is the new opera company's adaptation of Purcell's early masterpiece "Dido and Aeneas." The role of Belinda, sister of Queen Dido, is the second female lead.

Local press hailed Wilford for her "commitment" and "sparkling soprano voice." The San Diego Union-Tribune noted that Wilford "hit a home run...[she] was on stage much of the time and her absolute commitment to her role, the way she inhabited her character, and her singing, held the production together." It noted that "even more than through the title character, in Belinda we see the opera’s trajectory from the triumph of love to the agony of rejection. And her presence kept us involved through every step in that journey."


Dr. Kugler and a group of PLNU Kinesiology students attended the Annual UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Conference on October 10-11th. The students had options of attending over 350 dynamic pre-med and pre-health professions workshops and also had access to more than 400 physicians and representatives to directly answer questions during workshops and the Health Professions Fair. Dr. Kugler enjoyed time networking and sharing personal commitments, as well as fellowship and prayer.