La Jolla News Nuggets: National University merger, Menehune surf contest, ‘Flicks on the Bricks,’ more

National University students participate in the Class of 2022 commencement at San Diego's Petco Park on May 13.
National University students participate in the Class of 2022 commencement at San Diego’s Petco Park on May 13.
(Adriana Heldiz / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

National University plans merger, will become second-largest private college in California

La Jolla-based National University announced that it plans to merge with another local online college, expanding the institution’s sizable footprint amid pandemic-heightened demand for remote learning.

Starting this fall, Northcentral University, an adult-education college also based in San Diego, will shed its moniker and join National — boosting the university’s projected enrollment to more than 42,000 students from about 32,000.

USC is the only larger private college in the state, serving about 49,500 students in the past academic year.

National University, founded in 1971, has offered undergraduate courses and credential programs for adult learners with an increasing focus on online classes over the past decade. The merger will enable the institution to expand its curriculum to include Northcentral’s master’s and doctoral programs, such as for nursing, health administration and family therapy.

About 70 percent of National’s students take most of their classes online, according to a statement. The average age for a student is 33, and about one in four are veterans or active-duty military. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

Menehune surf contest coming Oct. 1

Applications are being accepted for the Menehune surf contest to be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at La Jolla Shores for surfers 16 and younger.

Longboard and shortboard divisions for all age groups are offered for boys and girls, including the popular Super Menehunes for 7-year-olds and under.

Historically, the event has attracted young competitive surfers and their families from throughout the Western states, Hawaii and Baja California.

The Windansea Surf Club will award $250 educational scholarships in the top two age-group divisions for boys and girls. For more information or to register, visit

Bishop’s water polo players win gold at national tournament

Two standouts from the recent CIF title-winning Bishop’s School water polo team recently won gold medals as part of the 2022 Pan American Junior Water Polo Championships in Indiana: senior Julia Bonaguidi and 2022 graduate Maggie Johnson.

The two participated in the championships as part of the USA Women’s Youth National Team. From there, they will compete in the Youth World championships in Serbia in early August.

LJ Institute for Immunology studying viruses and future treatments

Researchers from the La Jolla Institute for Immunology have published the first look at a key stage in the life cycle of a family of viruses known as paramyxoviruses, which includes measles and Nipah viruses. The new study, published as an upcoming cover story in Science Advances, reveals how future therapies might stop the viruses in their tracks.

The study shows the potential for a pan-paramyxovirus therapy that targets viral assembly. Michael Norris, a former postdoctoral associate at LJI and currently an assistant professor at the University of Toronto, said that while the genomes of measles and Nipah viruses are very different, the measles and Nipah matrix proteins look almost identical.

“Because these matrix protein structures are highly conserved, we could potentially target one virus and have an inhibitor that could target all the rest of the viruses in this family,” Norris said.

Norris was able to start looking for matrix protein inhibitors thanks to funding from LJI’s Tullie and Rickey Families SPARK Award for Innovation in Immunology, according to LJI. He was able to rapidly narrow a list of more than 7.4 million drug candidates to around 100 that will go into further testing.

Film series ‘Flicks on the Bricks’ returning to Athenaeum

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library in La Jolla will present its 16th “Flicks on the Bricks” outdoor film series at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning Aug. 11 at 1008 Wall St. The three-week series of films is curated and presented by KPBS film critic Beth Accomando.

Tickets are $15 per film for Athenaeum members and $20 for non-members, or $39 for the series for members and $54 for non-members. Guests must be at least 21.

For more information, visit

La Jollan joins International Cultural Exchange Services

La Jollan Christina Whalen has joined International Cultural Exchange Services as local coordinator.
La Jollan Christina Whalen has joined International Cultural Exchange Services as local coordinator.
(Courtesy of International Cultural Exchange Services)

La Jolla resident Christina Whalen has joined nonprofit youth exchange organization International Cultural Exchange Services as local coordinator.

Whalen will work to promote cultural exchange to further the organization’s goal to increase relations and better cultural understanding between the United States and other countries.

Whalen, a psychologist and research director for an education company, will work with families and schools in La Jolla and in the surrounding area and is currently looking for families who would like to host an exchange student for the upcoming school year.

For more information, email Whalen at

La Jolla restaurateur signs contract with La Jolla Music Society

Chef Giuseppe Ciuffa of GRNFC Hospitality has signed an exclusive five-year contract with the La Jolla Music Society to provide onsite food and beverage and catering services at the Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center in La Jolla.

The Conrad includes the Baker-Baum Concert Hall and The JAI cabaret space, which offers table service from a full bar and catering kitchen.

GRNFC Hospitality, founded by Ciuffa more than 20 years ago, has grown into a culinary group with six operating entities, including flagship restaurant Candor at 1030 Torrey Pines Road in La Jolla.

The La Jolla Music Society presents more than 80 concerts and events each year as well as its annual month-long SummerFest at The Conrad. In addition, renters choose The Conrad for dozens of performances, lectures, weddings, receptions and other events year-round.

For more information, visit

La Jolla Youth Baseball looks back on successful season

La Jolla Youth Baseball teams have had a lot of success recently.
(Courtesy of Scott Blumenthal)

La Jolla Youth Baseball is celebrating its successes while hoping for more.

President Scott Blumenthal said the league’s “notable achievements” include the 7U team finishing as region and World Series runners-up and the 11U and 13U teams finishing as runners-up.

The 14U team is currently playing at the regionals at Tecolote and looks to advance to the Super Region at the end of the month.

For more information, visit

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff