Alum named acting director of Oregon’s Department of Human Services by Governor

Warner Pacific Alum Jerry WaybrantWarner Pacific congratulates alumni Jerry Waybrant ‘80 on his recent appointment to head Oregon’s Department of Human Services. On Wednesday, September 2, Governor Kate Brown named Waybrant the Acting Director as the longtime director, Erinn Kelley-Siel, steps down on Friday, September 4.

“Jerry Waybrant has spent his career serving some of the Northwest’s most vulnerable citizens,” said Dr. Andrea Cook, Warner Pacific College President. “As an institution, we are honored to have been part of his story and we are grateful that the state of Oregon will benefit from his strong leadership, knowledgeable insight, and deep compassion.”

Prior to this appointment, Waybrant was the Chief Operating Officer for Child Welfare and Self Sufficiency, overseeing the care for thousands of foster children annually as well as cash assistance for needy families and SNAP (the food stamp program). Since 1985, he has been a caseworker, a supervisor, an acting program manager (in Lakeview and Douglas counties), and a district manager. Prior to working in Oregon, Waybrant was a Mental Health Therapist and caseworker in Washington.

Waybrant graduated from Warner Pacific in 1980 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Recently he has been providing valuable insight to the College about curriculum pertaining to human services.

Actively seeking to provide internships for Warner Pacific students, Waybrant says, “I am interested in partnering with local colleges around the issue of preparing students for careers at DHS. The jobs we offer can be life changing for the employee and the clients they serve while the employee earns a living wage with great benefits.”

Waybrant shares that his “passions include his family, cutting firewood, and playing handball. Interestingly enough, that is a game where you run around in a small room chasing a hard, little ball that hurts your hands every time you hit it or, get hit by it.” He does admit it is not a metaphor for work.

Master’s Degree in Human Services now offered at Warner Pacific College

Cohorts now forming across Portland

Warner Pacific offers a masters of arts in human sciences degree.Warner Pacific College introduces a new Masters of Arts in Human Services degree through the Adult Degree Program.

This program is designed for experienced professionals who are passionate about their communities and wish to make a positive impact. If you are already working in diverse settings such as group homes, corrections, mental health centers, children services, aging services, case work, advocacy, counselors, or other profession that assists individuals and communities to function effectively, this master’s program is for you.

The Masters of Arts in Human Services will be taught in a cohort format meeting one night a week for six weeks. The full program consists of 13 courses (total of 39 semester credits).

Advance in what you do best, caring for people, when you study and earn your graduate degree in Human Services. Make a greater impact with the skills you will need to be an effective leader in fostering change for your clients.

If you already have your bachelor’s degree and would like to pursue this master’s degree, visit for details about the courses, requirements, and application information.

For over 25 years, the Adult Degree Program at Warner Pacific College has provided busy adults the opportunity to pursue a college degree at an associate’s, bachelor’s, or master’s level. Warner Pacific has six campuses in the Portland metropolitan area, including Vancouver and Longview, and offers many degrees online.

College Application Fee Waived Through December 1

See yourself here.

Warner Pacific students sharing a laugh together on the steps of A.F. Gray.When you apply to attend Warner Pacific College, we’ll waive your application fee.

Hurry. While the benefits of a quality, Christ-centered education through Warner Pacific will last a lifetime, the application fee waiver period ends December 1.

This waiver applies to applications from incoming freshmen, transfer students, and international students for the traditional undergraduate program only.

Warner Pacific Freshmen applcation Warner Pacific Transfer student button International student application for Warner Pacific


The Start of the 79th Academic Year

After a summer of dry, hot, not-a-raindrop-in-sight weather, Warner Pacific’s new and returning students were greeted with the wettest and windiest weekend of the season when they returned to campus (August 29, 2015).

That did not dampen the excitement or fun of the new school year, which included a photo booth with crazy props; enthusiastic staff waiting to help each and every new Knight; games in the gym; time to meet new friends; movie screening of Jurassic World; giant slip-n-slid, volleyball, and touch football; food, food, and more food; Knighting of the new students; exploring Portland’s iconic landmarks; worship and prayer; and salsa dance lessons.

Dr. Cook opened the 79th Academic Year at Convocation on Tuesday, September 1. (Watch the Convocation video.)

With a message paralleling the story of Humpty Dumpty with the lives of those in attendance in a unique and creative way, Dr. Reginald Nichols, the College’s new Vice President for Academic Affairs, asked us to commit to being our very best through observation, exploration, and expansion and not sit on a wall doing nothing.

“He is the God of boundless resources. The only limit is in us. Our asking, our thinking, our praying are too small; our expectations are too limited,” reminded      Dr. Nichols during his Convocation address.

“A powerful educational environment calls us to stretch – to move beyond our zones of comfort and enter new spaces of grace within ourselves. Christopher Columbus is quoted as saying, ‘You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ A powerful educational environment is hard work that causes us to lose sight of the shore and step into a different type of living – one that understands fully that you walk by faith and not by sight.”

Dr. Nichol’s final words to the student body and others in the audience was a quote from a sermon by Dr. Martian Luther King that ended with “Be the best at whatever you are.”

After a weekend of fun, time to get to know fellow students, and the pomp and ceremony Convocation, students settled into their class routine of the fall semester.

We welcomed 200 new students to the Mt. Tabor campus, including 122 first year students; the second largest incoming freshmen class in the College’s history.

These new Knights hail from 17 states and 3 foreign countries (most are from Oregon). They are predominantly multi-cultural with non-Caucasian backgrounds. And range in age from 17 to 71!

View photos from Welcome Weekend and Convocation on Warner Pacific’s Facebook page or Instagram.

Warner Pacific Welcome Weekend 2015 famly goodbyesWarner Pacific welcome weekend 2015 activitiesWarner Pacific welcome weekend 2015 knighting of new studentsWarner Pacific welcome weekend 2015 exploring the cityWarner Pacific welcome weekend 2015 Convocation with Dr. Reggie Nichols

School districts are hiring more teachers

There is a shortage of certified teachers nationwide!

Math TeacherAfter years of cutbacks, there is hiring rebound in school districts across the country. Nationally, 200,000 teachers will be needed, and it is estimated that in Oregon almost 16,500 NEW teachers will be hired by 2020. Right now, however, districts are struggling to meet these high hiring demands, especially for teachers of special education, advanced math, bilingual education, and even language arts.

Now is a great time to pursue your passion and become a teacher.

Warner Pacific offers education degrees in early childhood education through high school level instruction.

Through our unique 4.5 MAT, you can specialize in a subject that interests you such as science, business, English, or music; then towards the end of your bachelor’s program, add education courses so you finish with a bachelor’s and your Master of Arts in Teaching. (Read more about our 4.5 MAT program.)

Dr. Robert Nava, Chair of the Warner Pacific Department of Education, is routinely contacted by local school districts and private schools throughout spring semester and during summer break looking for candidates for the coming school year. These districts are even coming directly to our campus to recruit prior to graduation. Students do need to complete their teaching certification prior to stepping into the classroom.

“All of our 2015 education graduates are working,” report Dr. Nava.

Instill the love of learning in others.

You won’t need to go far to find the perfect classroom for you. If you relish the challenge of rural teaching, Alaska has been plagued with teacher shortages for years. Sunny California leads the nation in its need for teachers. Staying in the Pacific Northwest is a viable option as well since both Oregon and Washington are in desperate need of qualified teachers at all levels. Schools right around the Warner Pacific Mt. Tabor campus have openings!

Substitute teachers are also in high demand. If you’d like to have the flexibility that comes with being a substitute, especially for elementary education, districts across eastern Oregon are looking for a qualified teacher like you.

Join us in empowering youth with knowledge that can transforms lives. Learn more about the Warner Pacific education program today.




Coach Frank Johnson named as Knights’ Interim Athletic Director

Frank Johnson Warner Pacific Wrestling Coach

Coach Frank Johnson

In late July, Jamie Joss, former Athletics Director, left Warner Pacific to assume the role of Athletics Director at Davis & Elkins College in West Virginia.

Wrestling Head Coach Frank Johnson has stepped in to head the College’s Knights Athletics Department on an interim basis. Johnson will be joined by Matt Gregg (Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletics Director) and Cody Harrod (Sports Information Director) who will each assume additional interim duties in providing leadership and administrative support for the athletics programs at Warner Pacific.

Coach Johnson joined the College in January 2014 to lead the new wrestling program, now entering its second year. He is committed to not only living out the College’s Christ-centered mission, but providing opportunities for our student-athletes to learn and grow with graduation as the ultimate goal.

Warner Pacific has 13 intercollegiate teams. Coach Johnson will continue in his duties as head wrestling coach while he provides administrative support and oversight for the other sports teams.

Knights Soccer and Volleyball teams began their seasons on August 21.

Stay up to date on the Knights’ athletic calendar or watch live stream and podcasts of matches (when available) through the Warner Pacific free phone app available on Android and IPhone.

Learn more about the teams and other Knights news at

Welcome Weekend for New Students: August 29-31

Exciting activities and time-honored traditions, enjoyed with a community of diverse, smart, interesting people who will make you glad you chose to become a Knight.

Welcome to Warner Pacific

Warner Pacific Welcome WeekendWhether you’re new or returning to campus, these events—which begin the Saturday, August 29—will help you prepare for a successful year and experience what it means to be a Warner Pacific student.

Welcome Weekend includes the New Student Knighting Ceremony on Saturday after the Aloha Dinner. The weekend is packed full of informative and fun events including time exploring Portland, a movie on the lawn, trying out Salsa Dancing, and ending with the College Convocation and the start of classes. (All Welcome Weekend activities are required for new students – freshmen or transfer.)

Welcome Weekend Schedule

Helpful Information

Congratulations to our Summer Graduating Class of 2015

The smokey haze that enveloped Portland on Saturday, August 15, 2015, did nothing to damp the excitement when 106 students of our Adult Degree Program achieved their dream of becoming a college graduate. Sixteen also earned their master’s degrees and were ceremoniously presented with their academic regalia (hood).

We congratulate each and every one of these new alumni on earning their degrees, sticking with the program, coming to class every week, and choosing Warner Pacific.

Often students find they suddenly have a lot of extra time on their hands. Time, for the last 18 months, spent studying and in class. Meg DuMez, Assistant Professor and Senior Academic Advisor for the Adult Degree Program,  offers this advice:

“I hope for you is that you  remember to be intentional about what you  want to do next with your time and resources.  Between class sessions, travel, learning team meetings, and homework, these you’ve sacrificed at least 10 hours a week for the past few years.  Now you are regaining that time back and life (work, television, chores, watching paint dry) will fill that void if you are not intentional what you want to do.  I want all our graduates to use this time well.  Volunteer.  Start a hobby.  Spend more time with family and friends.  Pursue a graduate degree.  Read for fun!  This is the perfect time to reclaim that time and choose to do something great!”

Wilma I. Perry Award: Rashida Renee Willard

Dr. Wilma I. Perry embodied many wonderful qualities that Warner Pacific College considers of high value for its graduates of the Adult Degree Program. In her lifetime, Dr. Perry served as pastor of the Friendly Street Church of God in Eugene, OR, following years of service as an itinerant preacher and evangelist. Furthermore, she earned a doctorate in psychology from the University of Oregon as an adult student and joined the faculty at Warner Pacific College, where she also directed the College’s Center for Human Services. She was known for her speaking and teaching abilities, and as a gifted, published scholar. Dr. Perry’s life was one of service, academic excellence, integrity, and transformation.

Awards Presented:
  • Excellence in Christ-Centered Leadership & Service – Teressa Jeffries
  • Excellence in Urban Leadership & Service – Antranette Renee Covington
  • Excellence in Liberal Arts Leadership & Service – Melissa Frache
  • Excellence in Diversity Leadership & Service – Candye Marie Parkin

We know they will do wonderful things with this knowledge and with God’s blessing.

Celebrating the life of Professor Christine Tokonitz

Christine TokonitzIt is times like these that we lean heavily on our faith.

Warner Pacific lost a dear and valued member of our community on Monday morning (August 17, 2015) with the passing of Christine Tokonitz, Assistant Professor of Health Care Administration.

On August 12, Chris was diagnosed with a very rare and aggressive form of cancer, Leiomyosarcoma – Stage IV and, unfortunately, succumbed to the disease quite rapidly.

Chris had two passions in her life, her family and the College’s Health Care Administration program.  “Chris put her heart and soul into the program and her students.  We will do our best to honor her well as we continue the work that she loved,” said Dr. Lori Jass, Associate Vice President for the Adult Degree Program. “She was an exceptional gift to all of us at the College, and I know that those in her program feel a special connection to her and grieve her passing.”

August 18 2015 memorial gathering for Prof Christine Tokonitz

Warner Pacific’s community came together on August 18 to remember and honor Chris.

She entered the WPC Adult Degree Program in the associate’s program, and completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees while working full time and being a mother to her three busy kids. In fact, Chris was pursuing her doctoral degree at the time of her passing.

“She’s been an integral part of our ADP community and truly beloved by our Health Care Administration students,” commented Meg DuMez, Assistant Professor, Senior Academic Advisor for the Adult Degree Program. In 2007, Chris joined the WPC staff as an ADP financial aid counselor, moving into the role of academic counselor in 2009. She then became an Assistant Professor of Health Care Administration (for both the traditional and ADP) helping others achieve their dreams of a degree and fulfilling career. Chris spent countless hours building online courses for the program.

“We are so deeply saddened by the loss of the friend and colleague we all had in Chris,” said Dr. Andrea Cook, President of Warner Pacific College. “She lived with such passion and excelled in serving our students on the traditional campus and through the Adult Degree Program. I ask that you keep her family and extended family in your prayers as we all cope with this loss.”

Chris leaves behind a loving husband (George) and three amazing children (Alex 17, Faythe 12, and Conor 10) as well as an extended family and friends.

The Warner Pacific community came together Tuesday afternoon to remember and honor Chris. Common threads in the stories and memories included her overwhelming enthusiasm for the Health Care Program and her students. Teaching at Warner Pacific was exactly where she belonged and she thrived in that awareness. She genuinely cared for people and had a warm inviting spirit and a welcoming smile. The biggest lesson we can take from Chris’s spirit-filled life is to live each day with gratitude and joy since it is a gift from God.

A Memorial Service will be held at Mt. Scott Church of God (10603 SE Henderson Street, Portland, Oregon  97266) on Sunday, August 23, at 3 pm. 

So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight. Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:6-8

WPC Senior and Alumnae Team Up Build Futsal Field in Rockwood

Rockwood Snake Court futsal project (Rockwood Initiative photo)Dreams can come true… when you combine vision, hard work, and support.

Community revitalization includes creating safe gathering places for children to play. For Warner Pacific Senior Ricki Ruiz ’16 that meant converting an ad hoc futsal court that was an old roller hockey rink into brand new futsal pitches appropriate for active youth to use.

“As a kid I remember seeing the field locked up. I’m excited to have the space open up to the community so the neighborhood can have a safe place to play,” said Ricki Ruiz, an intern for the City of Gresham. “This location at Vance Park will be for people to engage in a healthy lifestyle while showing off their soccer skills. As a resident of the Rockwood neighborhood, I’m so excited to get out there and play.”

WPC Senior Rick Ruiz and WPC Alum Yesenia Delgado at Snake Court Aug 2015

Ricki and Yesenia

Ricki reached out for help from a fellow Rockwood neighbor, life-long friend, and Warner Pacific Alumnae Yesenia Delgado ’14, program fellow at the nonprofit Active Children Portland (AC Portland).

To confirm they were on the right path with ideas, Ricki sent out a meeting notice over Facebook. Over 30 people showed up to discuss options for the site (known as Snake Court). This gave the duo confidence to take the next steps and Rockwood Initiative was born.

With assistance from the city of Gresham, Multnomah County, Rockwood CDC, and AC Portland, Ricki applied for a grant through the Portland Timbers to improve the site.

In March 2015, the Timbers, through a partnership with Operation Pitch Invasion, announced that Vance Park would be the first of their Fields For All projects.

Fields For All is an organization that identifies ‘recreation deserts,’ or communities under-served by recreational activities for kids, and fills them with safe, healthy, and high-quality playing surfaces.

The Fields Open!
WPC Student Ricki Ruiz at Snake Court opening 2015

Ricki cutting the ribbon to officially open Snake Court.

The Snake Court pitch project* is just one contemporary example of why is the College’s mission so important. WPC provides urban and diverse students an opportunity to grow in a Christ-centered, liberal arts environment, so they can return to their communities, ready to help them flourish!

Rockwood is flourishing with this safe environment for kids of all ages to enjoy. Even before the ceremonial opening on September 22, young futsal enthusiasts were giving the new fields a good shake down. Dignitaries from Gresham, Multnomah County, the Timbers, and sponsors took to the Court to officially open the fields. They were all there because of Ricki’s idea to provide the next generations with a pitch to play on rather than a slab of worn out asphalt.

“When kids don’t have easy access to activity, we believe soccer is the perfect solution,” commented Shawn Levy of Operation Pitch Invasion, one of the key sponsors to the fields.

Ricki Ruiz and Dr. Cook at Snake Court Opening 2015

Ricki and Dr. Cook

Gresham’s Mayor, Shane Bemis, had this to say of Ricki and the project: “This is a great amenity to be used by families and kids. It is all because of a young man who grew up in this community and is still invested in this community.”

Why is it called Snake Court? Ricki explains it is an acronym for “Sports, Neighborhood, Action, Knowledge and Empowerment.”

Read more about this project in an August 11, 2015, article.

View photos and video of the September 22, 2015, grand opening on Operation Pitch Invasion’s website.

*The project includes two futsal pitches (or fields) which are smaller than soccer fields where teams of five players compete. The name comes from the Portuguese Futebol de salão , which can be translated as “room football” because it is generally played indoors. Futsal was developed in Brazil in the 1930s and 1940s.