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.

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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

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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.

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Summer Commencement 2015

Summer Warner Pacific GraduationCelebrating our graduates’ achievements.

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Warner Pacific honored for distinctive educational excellence by national college guide

Warner Pacific is one of only seven colleges in Oregon on the 2015-16 Distinction list

Warner Pacific is a College of Distinction 2015-16Warner Pacific was honored as a College of Distinction for the upcoming 2015-16 school year. The College of Distinction designation is given to select schools to honor their excellence in student-focused higher education. As one of only seven Oregon colleges on the list and one of three Oregon Christian colleges on the list, WPC was found to excel in all four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant communities, and successful outcomes.

Providing an undergraduate education that is teaching-centered and combines innovative learning programs with experiential education opportunities was just one of the ways Warner Pacific excels.

Colleges of Distinction is a web-based guide for high school juniors and seniors seeking a school that is nationally recognized and highly recommended by professionals in the field of education. Colleges and universities are nominated for participation by high school counselors, and then evaluated using qualitative and quantitative research.

“We focus on colleges that are the best places to learn, grow, and succeed,” said Tyson Schritter, executive editor of Colleges of Distinction. “Schools designated as ‘Colleges of Distinction’ create well-rounded graduates and are among the very best in the country.”

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Welcome Dr. Reginald Nichols, Warner Pacific’s New Vice President for Academic Affairs

Dr. Reginald Nichols VPAA and Dean of Faculty for Warner Pacific College July 2015Warner Pacific College welcomes Rev. Dr. Reginald Nichols as our new Vice President for Academic Affairs/Dean of Faculty (VPAA) as of Monday, June 29. The College’s VPAA plays a critical role in the College’s academic direction by leading the faculty, developing partnerships with local high schools and community colleges, providing oversight of academic polices and curriculum as well as serving as the chief accreditation officer.

After a nation-wide search earlier this year, Dr. Nichols was selected to take on the role Warner Pacific’s new VPAA. Dr. Nichols brings a wealth of diverse experience in improving student learning, empowering urban communities, facilitating study abroad, serving first-generation students, and fundraising. For the past 30 years, he has served as a senior educational executive and international / global program initiator in the United States and around the world.

“The work of the Vice President for Academic Affairs has a substantial impact on the life of the College both internally and externally,” said Dr. Andrea Cook, President of Warner Pacific College. “I believe God called Dr. Nichols to Warner Pacific College for ‘such a time as this.’ His proven gifts in administration, educational program management, and fund development will support the College’s rich tradition of providing Christ-centered, liberal arts Dr. Nichols Warner Pacific VPAA with students July 2015education to our students.”

Dr. Nichols received his Bachelor of Arts from Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. He holds a Master of Divinity in Marriage and Family Counseling from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a Doctor of Education in Organization and Leadership – International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco. Dr. Nichols has written and presented extensively on topics related to student achievement and engaging urban families through education, community partnership, development, and strategic planning. He has a long-standing relationship with the Kellogg Foundation, and serves as President of the Board of the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance.

Dr. Nichols with Robin Gordon, Warner Pacific, 2015As an ordained minister committed to the liberal arts as a solid foundation for a student’s understanding of his/her purpose in life, Dr. Nichols will advance the College’s mission of cultivating a Christ-centered learning community for students from diverse backgrounds.

Dr. Nichols was selected as former Dean, Dr. Cole Dawson, shifts to full time teaching. Under Dr. Dawson’s 10 year service as the College’s VPAA, Warner Pacific enjoyed significant growth in the Adult Degree Program and other academic programs. Students will once again enjoy Dr. Dawson’s teaching as he returns to campus this fall as a full-time professor of history.

Warner Pacific students will official meet Dr. Nichols during the College’s Welcome Weekend at the end of August when classes resume.

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Governor Brown Proclaims August 3-7 as “Oregon Private College Week”

Oregon Governor Kate Brown 2015Governor Kate Brown declared August 3-7, 2015, to be Oregon Private College Week. The proclamation cites the indispensable contributions of the state’s private, nonprofit sector of higher education to Oregon’s communities and to the state’s 40-40-20 education attainment goal.

Eleven private, nonprofit colleges and universities across the state are opening their doors to prospective students and their families during Oregon Private College Week. Students who visit at least four institutions during the week will receive application fee waivers. Students may use these fee waivers to apply to any Alliance member college or university.

Together, Alliance colleges and universities enroll 19% of Oregon’s undergraduate students, award 23% of Oregon’s undergraduate degrees and confer 24% of the bachelor’s degrees awarded to minority students in the state, including high-need fields such as STEM (21%), health professions (35%), business (24%), and public administration and social service (27%).

Together, the private nonprofit sector offers degrees in more than 240 fields of study, such as engineering and computer science.

The majority of students enrolled in Alliance member institutions graduates within four years and begins to make an immediate contribution to Oregon’s economy. Also cited in Governor Brown’s proclamation is the economic contribution that Oregon’s private, nonprofit colleges and universities make to the state’s economy.

During Oregon Private College Week, prospective students and their families are invited to learn about academic programs and financial aid, meet experts in admission, and tour the campus. College officials will also address common myths about private higher education:

  • Thirty-two percent of Alliance undergraduates qualify for federal Pell Grants based on income.
  • The Alliance member institutions are cost effective. The average indebtedness of Alliance graduates is lower than the national average for private colleges and universities and similar to that of public institution graduates.
  • Ninety-two percent of first time, first year students receive financial aid, with an average grant and scholarship award of over $18,000.

Sessions will begin at 9 am and 2 pm, Monday through Friday. For more information about Oregon Private College Week, to view a list of participating colleges or to register, please visit

The Matched College Savings Program (MCSP) and SALT are sponsors of Oregon Private College Week.

About The Alliance
The Alliance represents 18 of Oregon’s regionally accredited, nonprofit private higher education institutions. Together, Alliance colleges and universities enroll more than 35,000 students and deliver approximately 30% of all baccalaureate degrees and higher awarded in Oregon. The Alliance intersects the needs of business and industry, private nonprofit colleges and universities, and the public good to create real solutions that build a more educated and skilled workforce for Oregon. For more information, visit

Press release courtesy of the Alliance

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Reducing barriers towards earning a degree

Warner Pacific helping achieve Oregon's 40-40-20 goalWarner Pacific and Mt. Hood Community College are partnering to help more students earn college degrees and close the state’s higher education gap.

In 2011, the Oregon legislature approved the “40-40-20” education-reform plan. By 2025, the state’s goal is to have 40 percent of students complete a bachelor’s degree, 40 percent complete an associate degree or a certificate in a skilled occupation, and 20 percent earn their high school diplomas.

The largest gap, however, is seen with Oregonians aged 25 to 34 in completing at least an associate degree or certification, the middle 40 of the state’s reform plan. A mere 18 percent hold a community college degree or post-secondary certification, according to Oregon Learns.

WPC and MHCC MOU signing

Dr. Andrea Cook (President of Warner Pacific) and Dr. Debra Derr (President of MHCC) at the June 19, 2015, MOU signing ceremony.

At the June 19, 2015, signing ceremony, Warner Pacific and Mount Hood Community College committed to reducing barriers for community college transfer students and provide greater access to degree attainment through two initiatives:

  1. Co-admission/co-enrollment: this program allows students to be admitted to both institutions and take courses at both institutions simultaneously, providing students with a breadth of course offerings and class scheduling flexibility.
  2. Reverse transfer program: students who start at MHCC and transfer to Warner Pacific prior to earning an associate degree will be able to have coursework they complete at Warner Pacific (that meets the associate degree requirements) transfer back to MHCC so they can earn the associate degree enroute to earning their bachelor degree from Warner Pacific.

“Our hope, through these partnerships, is that we are able to provide more students the opportunity to earn both their associate and bachelor degrees as we partner to share information, advising, and financial planning resources,” said Dale Seipp, Jr., Vice President for Enrollment and Marketing at Warner Pacific.

As further explained in the June 25 Oregonian article about the partnership, “Prior to the official partnership, if a student wanted to take, say, six credits at MHCC and six at Warner Pacific during the same semester, this created financial aid complications, because the student was considered a part-time student at both places, but not a full-time student overall.”

The benefits for students include:

  • ability to obtain transferable credits at the lower tuition costs of MHCC
  • financial aid counts enrollment at both schools for the same semester/term (for qualified students)
  • increased flexibility in class scheduling as students will have access to classes at MHCC and Warner Pacific
  • dual enrollment at both schools
  • maintain active enrollment status as both schools and are eligible to use campus libraries, labs, and other on-campus amenities (subject to any additional fees)
  • advising available through both schools
  • easier transition from community college to a four-year college

Read the Oregonian article about the partnership…

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Learning Online – a blessing for busy adults

Offering degrees on line via WPC ADPIn March 2014, the WPC Adult Degree Program began offering an online-learning option for our busy adult students. If you have access to the internet, you could earn a college degree from Warner Pacific College. Currently, we offer five degree options including an associates, three bachelors, and one masters.

While online-learning can be a blessing for busy adults who want to pursue or finish their degree, going back to school in any form can be daunting.

Recently, Jess Scherman, a higher education blogger who writes on behalf of The College of St. Scholastica, asked questions of education experts concerning online learning. She interviewed Dr. Lori Jass, Associate Vice President for the Adult Degree Program at Warner Pacific, as part of that experts panel. Below is an excerpt of Jess’s blog and a link to the entire article “Everything adult learners need to know to navigate the online classroom.”

Bachelor’s degrees are becoming the new norm in today’s job market, so you’re definitely not alone in considering going back to school to earn one. Not to mention, the number of working adults out there who are looking to change careers is increasing, and a college degree is a great way to put yourself on a new path.

But let’s put all of that aside for a moment. The reality is that going back to school—especially to pursue an online degree—after a lengthy absence from the classroom can be daunting, intimidating, and overwhelming.

The online classroom environment is simply one of several formats colleges and universities are offering to make higher education more accessible to students from all backgrounds. Institutions offer traditional on-campus programs, hybrid programs that mix on-campus and online classes, fully online programs, and even accelerated degree paths that offer night and weekend courses. The important part is determining what format is best for you.  

“Learning online is a great option for people who do not have a predictable schedule, who travel a lot or who simply love to learn!” says Lori K. Jass, associate vice president at Warner Pacific College. “Being successful in an online environment requires some ability to be a self-starter and the ability to communicate in writing.”

Read Jess’s entire blog…

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Sign up for New Student Registration Day: 2015

This one-day event in the summer is the first major event for new Warner Pacific students. Admitted students can begin the orientation process without the anxiety of waiting until the end of August.

To help you prepare for your exciting days ahead at Warner Pacific, we invite you to join us. It will be a valuable day of introductions, information, and preparation.

rsvp-button-orangeNew Student Registration Day:

    • Thursday, July 9

We have a full day of activities and information planned to prepare you for the start of your career as a WP student.

You will

Sessions are available for your parents, too, tailored to their questions and needs. We ask that parents not sit in on their student’s registration/advising session. If they have any questions or concerns at the end of the day, they can be addressed with the admissions or registrar’s office staff. (NOTE: there is a $10 fee for guests and all students must pay their tuition deposit.)

Warner Pacific new student registration day banner

Photos or video taken at our events or campus visits may be used in publications such as brochures, newsletters, and magazines, or video presentations. Such photos or videos may also be used electronically in online publications, our websites, e-mails, social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, (#warnerpacific) or in other electronic forms of media. If you are pictured and would like us to discontinue using the photo, please contact us.



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