Series Adoption Stories

Adoption Stories: Dumb Questions About Adoption

Kids ask a lot of questions. If you don’t believe me, just talk to my little brother for five minutes.

Adoption Stories: A Birth Mother’s Story

It must have been terrifying—being a 19-year-old sophomore at a conservative college in Oklahoma, a state away from family, and pregnant.

Adoption Stories: Adoption, Identity, and Race

Anne-Elizabeth Powell, associate professor of library science, has had to deal with a lot of assumptions over the years.

Distinguished Achievement Award Winners

Rev. David Rodes (70) Rev. David Rodes experienced a call to the ministry at age 14. His passion for his call was bolstered by observing the examples set by his father and grandfather, who were both pastors. “They were love-filled, joyful servants of God,” Rodes said. His time at Pasadena College was also formative. “I gained so much knowledge and faith from my university experience,” he said. “I was profoundly influenced by [Drs.] Frank Carver and Reuben Welch. The grounding in biblical understanding and the heart and head aspects of faith came together beautifully in both of them.” After graduating from Pasadena College, Rodes went on to earn his Master of Divinity from Nazarene Theological Seminary. He pastored churches in Burley, Idaho; Rupert, Idaho; Ventura, Calif.; and Grandview, Wash., before accepting his current position as senior pastor at Puyallup Nazarene Church (PNC) in Washington, where he has been since 2000. In 2010, he was elected district superintendent of the Church of the Nazarene Washington Pacific District, but he knew his calling was still to his church. He graciously declined the position. For his congregants, Rodes has been a continual source of inspiration. “The strength of Dave’s Ventura ministry, to me, was his Bible teaching that was made so practical for us,” said Carroll Holly (61). “He placed a strong emphasis on discipleship, which was another foundation of his ministry.” Rodes’ commitment to investing in people extends beyond his church members. He is known for connecting with both civic leaders and […]

Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch

by Liz Green Dr. Jill Hamilton-Bunch graduated from PLNU in 1990 with the desire to be a teacher, and that’s exactly what she’s done for the past 22 years—plus much more. Hamilton-Bunch lives in Bakersfield with her husband, Darin (90), and their 8-year-old Queensland shepherd, Franklin, who they rescued from the pound. Also a graduate of PLNU’s Department of Literature, Journalism, and Modern Languages (LJML), Darin pursued a career in journalism under the guidance of Dr. Dean Nelson. Jill, through the impact of her professors and mentors, specifically Drs. Phil Bowles, Larry Finger, and Dana Walling, found a passion for teaching students at underprivileged schools. Through a campus job fair, Hamilton-Bunch applied and was hired as a junior high English teacher in Delano, Calif., where she was able to put her calling into practice. Going into the job, Hamilton-Bunch didn’t know a soul. She was a first-time teacher in a new area. But her heart and her passion kept her going whenever she felt discouraged. “I wanted to ‘save the world,’ and even though my parents developed that fire inside me, PLNU gave me a way to actually do what I had only thought about. PLNU taught me how to live intentionally in my faith and work and how to combine the two,” she said. Hamilton-Bunch served the Delano School District for 12 years before transitioning to a full-time position at PLNU’s Bakersfield Regional Center in 2002. With her strong commitment to her students and their families, she admitted it […]

Adoption Stories: Surprise of Love

The moment finally arrived.

The Student Experience: Home Sweet Res Hall

Daniel Kwon talks about the blessings and challenges of being a resident assistant.

Alumni in Focus: Leading with No Excuses: Damen and Dan Lopez

by Sharon Ayala When Dan (B.A. 92, M.A. 96) and Damen (B.A. 94, M.A. 98) Lopez were young, their family moved from Los Angeles to the rural, small town of Julian, Calif., “for a better life.” They had grown up in “situational poverty,” said Dan, living over the town’s market in the only apartment in Julian at the time. Each night, after closing, the family would migrate downstairs to clean the store for extra money. Each night, before the boys would go to bed, their mother would read them a story, tuck them in, and tell them the same thing, “After high school comes college.” You would never guess it from his current success, but in high school, Damen struggled academically and was bullied (at 4’10” and 95 pounds, he says he was an easy target). As a freshman, he would walk to the local elementary school at the end of his day to work yard duty. He found solace working with the second and third graders and discovered he worked well with kids. He decided that working with elementary-aged kids was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. He earned his bachelor’s in liberal studies, master’s in education, and teaching credentials from PLNU. Dan started out with an interest in business and earned his business administration degree from PLNU. As a baseball player; senior class vice president; and a charter member of Phi Chi Theta, PLNU’s business fraternity at the time, leadership had always been […]

Adoption Stories: The Korean Express

As I write this, it is almost Daniel’s homecoming day.

Talking Point: Q&A with Steve Rodecker

About Perspectives on Science Perspectives on Science (POS) is a monthly seminar series for science teachers. The seminar typically focuses on recent developments in the guest scientist’s area of expertise with particular emphasis on aspects relevant to science teachers. The 2012-13 line-up includes five members of the National Academy of Sciences: Terrence Sejnowski, David Sandwell, J. William Schopf, Don Cleveland, and Andrew Viterbi. About Steve Rodecker Steve Rodecker has been a regular attendee at POS since its inception and has recently become a POS financial supporter. Rodecker began his 33rd year of teaching this fall with the last 27 years spent at Chula Vista High School (CVHS) in the Sweetwater Union High School District in San Diego. Since 2000, Rodecker has worked half time at CVHS and half time at the district as a science specialist helping with science resources: producing Common Formative Assessments, leading science meetings in the district, coordinating the district science fair, and providing science education information to the district’s 206 science teachers. Q: How did you first hear about Perspectives on Science? A: As a science resource person, I received information about the first PLNU Perspectives on Science when it originated. I not only sent the information to all of our teachers, I recognized this program as a unique opportunity to stay abreast of current research in science as told by the researchers themselves. I attended the first year and every year thereafter. Q: What does POS mean to you as an educator? A: Discoveries and […]

Athletics: Individual Athletic Achievements in PLNU’s History

by Michael Dean Clark As we begin our first year in the NCAA Division II, we want to look back at some remarkable achievements by athletes who competed for PLNU in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). You may notice that our top-10 list is composed of only nine individuals. That’s because we want you to nominate the 10th honoree. You might also notice that we haven’t ranked the achievements—that’s also your job! Please send your suggestions for the 10th individual and for the top three rankings on the list to We’ll weigh your submissions and announce the results in our next issue. Sam Cyr Shoots a Round of 60 For two years, Sam Cyr sat atop the NAIA golf rankings, winning the 2008 and 2009 national championships. But his best round came in 2008 at the Grand Canyon University Fall Invitational when Cyr blew up the field with a ridiculous 60-shot second round that tied an all-college level record low round and earned a nod in Sports Illustrated. Cyr ended his PLNU career a four-time All-American and two-time winner of both the Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus Awards. Most recently, he has played tournaments on the Asian Tour. “To take a look at what Sam Cyr accomplished … as an individual player, may be unprecedented in the history of this school in any sport,” said former head golf coach Ben Foster, who also served as head men’s basketball coach for 17 years. “The level of respect he […]

Viewfinder: Our Olympic Reunion

by Jim Crakes with Liz Green The connection retired PLNU track and field coach Jim Crakes has with British Olympians spans nearly three decades and two continents. First, Crakes brought British athletes to PLNU. More recently, he took a group from PLNU to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Point Loma Nazarene University’s all-weather track In 1983, Frank Dick, the head British athletic coach for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, contacted me after he had traveled up and down the California coast looking for a suitable training track for his team. He said PLNU had the best training site, but there was one caveat: we had a dirt track, and he needed an all-weather track. So I told him if he would guarantee me that he would train here at the college, I would guarantee a new track for his athletes. Then I got to work convincing PLNU to install a synthetic track. By the spring of 1984, the new track was in place, and on July 26, we hosted the “Point Loma Invitational Pre-Olympic Track and Field Meet.” Many from the British Olympic team participated and a large number of athletes from teams all over the world competed in the meet also.   The Olympic Games had taken over London Given my history with British Olympians, it was a delight when I recently had the opportunity to reunite with former student athletes and their families, as I took a group of 20 across the Pond to attend […]

Adoption Stories: From Tragedy to Inspiration

They sit side-by-side, a palpable warmth between them.

Adoption Stories: Grace and Healing: Our Story of Open Adoption

Humor me, for a moment. Let’s imagine we have run into each other at, say, a PLNU Homecoming event.