Homecoming: Get to know your distinguished alumni



Dr. Michael McConnell

Graduated in 1971

Degree: bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Pasadena College; Ph.D. in molecular biology from Tufts University (1976)

Postdoctoral research: McConnell studied Rous sarcoma virus (RSV, an oncovirus that causes cancer) at Harvard Medical School for two years with Dr. Peter Bloomberg

PLNU: McConnell accepted a joint faculty appointment in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry (1978)

Biology undergraduate summer program: A PLNU alumni auxiliary called Research Associates helped McConnell form the biology summer research program by providing stipends for several students to work with McConnell in the summer of 1979. Over the years, the program has reached nearly 400 students.

Other positions: McConnell was a member of the faculty council

National recognition: McConnell made PLNU a major player in the West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSURC) with the help of the biology department and administrative assistant LeAnne Elizondo

Science in the community: McConnell organized and administered PLNU’s Perspectives on Science lecture and dinner series, a community outreach program for San Diego County science teachers.

Teaching: He taught nearly 1,100 science majors, approximately half of whom have gone on to earn advanced degrees in science or medicine.

Home life: McConnell and his wife, Kathryn (70), recently celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary. They have a son, Jonathan, who lives in Encinitas, California.



Reverend Ron Fay

Graduated in 1971

Position: Director of church relations

Day-to-day: representative of the university to Nazarene churches, organizer of the annual Pastors and Leaders Conference, key developer of Vacation by the Sea, also know as Loma Ocean View Escapes (LOVE) for Pastors

Notable: originator of Nazarene Night at Disneyland

School: Fay attended Pasadena College

Church: Fay became a youth pastor at Long Beach Bixby Knolls Church of the Nazarene

Development: Fay created Project Y.E.S. (Youth Equipped to Serve) which lasted for 25 years and allowed youth to work alongside Native American men and women building and painting homes and churches in Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona.

Program: Fay gave 1,100 computers and other furniture to churches

Home life: Fay worked with his wife, Helyn (’72) at PLNU until her death in 2004 after battling cancer. Fay remarried Carol, “a remarkable person” who makes him feel twice blessed.

Retirement: Fay plans to retire to Arizona in January to be close to most of their 12 grandchildren.


Doug Bowman

Doug Bowman

Graduated in 1994

Degree: bachelor’s degree in graphic communications

Design experience: Wired, Google and Twitter

His start: Mentus, design firm in San Diego

Revamp: Bowman redesigned Wired.com during and after it was acquired by Lycos, the second largest web search engine behind Yahoo at the time which became Spanish media portal, Terra Networks and was the company’s international design liaison.

His consulting firm: Stopdesign (2002)

Clients: Google, Blogger, Capgemini and Cathay Pacific Airlines

Notable: Bowman joined Google full-time in 2006 as its visual design lead, left Google to become creative director at Twitter (before it was popular)

What he does now: Bowman left Twitter to spend time with family; he speaks at design conferences and events around the world

Activities: Bowman is on the board of directors for his daughter’s preschool, and continues to advise and serve organizations he believes in. He and his wife, Cam, and two daughters enjoy going to Disneyland and traveling as often as they can.


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Brad Strawn

Graduated in 1988

Degree: bachelor’s degree in psychology from PLNU; master’s degree in theology from Fuller Theological Seminary (1994); Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Graduate School of Psychology, Fuller Theological Seminary (1996)

Calling: Strawn returned to PLNU to teach for 10 years

The big move: Strawn took a job as dean of chapel at Southern Nazarene University for six years and vice president for spiritual development

Ordained: Church of the Nazarene; served as Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene Sunday school superintendent, as well as Sunday school teacher and small group leader.

Current teaching: Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California in the graduate school of psychology

Notable: Third year as the Evelyn and Frank Freed Professor of the Integration of Psychology and Theology, an endowed chair which allows Strawn to be in the center of the two disciplines he’s most passionate about.

Published: Strawn has co-authored one book and edited two others, and has written over 40 scholarly articles and book chapters. He has also edited a number of works in the psycho-therapeutic community in integrative journals within his specific discipline.

Practice: Strawn maintains a private practice where he works with individuals and couples.

Service: Strawn serves at Pasadena First Church of the Nazarene as a Sunday school teacher and occasionally in the pulpit.

Home life: Strawn and his wife, Suzanne (‘87), recently celebrated their 25th year anniversary. They have two sons: Evan, 16, and Keaton, 14.
0111401-11KH Brent Strawn, enviro portrait

Brent Strawn

Graduated in 1992

Degree: bachelor’s degree in religion from PLNU; masters in divinity (1995) and a Ph.D. in Old Testament (2001) from Princeton Theological Seminary

Church: Strawn grew up in the Church of the Nazarene

When he responded to his call to ministry: Fourth grade

His start: Strawn taught at Asbury Theological Seminary; Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia (current)

Ordained elder at: The United Methodist Church (North Georgia Conference) and in the Church of the Nazarene

Published: Strawn authored a book, and published over 150 articles and chapters, and edited 20 books to date. His second book will be published next year.

His take: CNN’s faith-based news segment “Faces of Faith” (2011)

Number of appearances: almost 20 times, reaching millions of viewers

His topics: 2011 end-of-the-world warnings, how religious texts can comfort in a tragedy like the Newtown, Connecticut shooting and Bishop Eddie Long’s Torah controversy

Home life: Strawn and his wife, Holly Verner Strawn (’92), have three children, Caleb, 18, Annie, 15, and Micah, 7.


Beryl (High Res!)

Beryl Pagan

Graduated in 1984

Degree: bachelor’s degree in music theory and a certificate in computer science from PLNU; masters in library and information science from UCLA

Position: Pagan has served 20 years at PLNU as an instructional services librarian, a vocation she didn’t expect early on.

Family: Pagan grew up in a family of musicians. Her father, Keith Pagan, served 37 years in PLNU’s music department (many of those years as chair), while her mother taught piano mostly out of their home.

Her start: Music publishing company

Other positions: Pagan teaches research sessions for PLNU freshman composition courses, serves as library liaison to the departments of Mathematical, Information & Computer Sciences, Music, and the School of Theology & Christian Ministry and develops web designs for the library.

Notables: Pagan has served on the WASC Educational Effectiveness Review Task Force II, Faculty Council, Faculty Retreat Committee, the steering committee for the San Diego/Imperial County Libraries Disaster Response Network and search committees for Ryan Library. She was also named the Association of Christian Librarians volunteer of the year in 2011 and is a member of the American Library Association. She has also been president of PLNU MUSICAlumni and has served on the San Diego First Church of the Nazarene’s church board.

Childhood: At 13, she had extensive back surgery and still continues to struggle with medical difficulties.

Home life: Pagan loves to be with friends, go to Padres games and recently bought an annual pass to Disneyland which she plans to use often.

Photos courtesy of ASB/PLNU Alumni Association