TAKOMA PARK, Md. (May 7) - Commencement 2013, held at the DAR Constitution Hall, Sunday, May 5, marked a fitting end to the 2012-2013 academic year. Consistent with the trend at Washington Adventist University (WAU) , it was bigger than ever as large numbers of graduates, their friends and families attended a weekend of activities, including Consecration on Friday and the Baccalaureate Ceremony on Saturday at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Commencement ceremony on Sunday at the historic Washington, D.C, facility.
Distinguished scientist and scholar and Vice President for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, E. Albert Reece, MD, Ph.D., MBA, delivered the keynote address on Sunday, urging students to relentlessly pursue excellence in all that they do.
Reece cited a number of influential figures who attained great success after first experiencing hardship in some ways. His list included Apple’s former CEO, the late Steve Jobs, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and renowned author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rollins, now one of the wealthiest women in the United Kingdom.
“Live your life in the relentless pursuit of excellence if you are to make a positive impact,” Reece said. “You cannot accomplish anything without being committed and focused on your goals and on Jesus.”
Further, Reece said graduates may have to discard some “maps and charts that have been made for them and urge them to take advantage of their place “on the precipice of a special time in history when science, art and technology are converging to change the world.”
President of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventist Daniel R. Jackson, at the Baccalaureate service, urged graduates to live purposefully less they become among “the vague, the thoughtless and the foolish.”
“Do not lose your lives because you lack creativity—because you lack a plan,” he said. “Live with purpose! Live with Passion! Live proactively!”
And, at Consecration Service on Friday, Pastor Gary Wimbish, noted a changing world in which wrong and right are increasingly indistinguishable. He urged the graduates to heed the Biblical admonition and enter into the ‘narrow gate.”
“The essence of true happiness is to be an earnest seeker of truth and virtue,” he said. “This is beyond the development of the mind; one must have a passion for true virtue.”
Commencement 2013 marked the first year that WAU is celebrating this rite of passage as a single event. Historically, the school has held two ceremonies—one in April and a second in July.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (May 1) –
Spiritual activities at Washington Adventist University ended on a high note this year with the baptism of 24 students Saturday, April 27. The baptisms were the outcome of Revival Week, March 31 to April 6, hosted on campus by the Office of Ministry.
“This Baptism was the crowning of our spiritual activities this year,” said Baraka Muganda, Vice President for Ministry. “Washington Adventist University is not only impacting the academic lives of our students; it is transforming their spiritual lives as well.”
Freshman Biology major Jibrill Morris, one of the new converts, said baptism was the most important commitment of his life.
"I have never fully committed myself to anyone or anything and I felt like I was living my life on a half way mark, I wanted to change that and be all I can for Jesus” he said.
Junior Psychology major Whitney Syriaque said she made the commitment in order to leave the past behind and focus on what is ahead.
“I am cleansed by the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and that will be the only past that I will remember.”
Sophomore communication major Jordhon Horelien made the decision “because I wanted my relationship with God to be stronger. I believe that God has a calling on my life and I shouldn't waste time chasing worldly things.”
Chaplain for Ministry Regina Johnson could not be happier.
“April 27th was one of the best days of my life! I had the opportunity to witness the Gods hand move on 24 students. This baptism was the beginning of what God wants to do with Washington Adventist University.”
The baptism, which took place at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, was followed by a fellowship picnic on the WAU Commons.
“The next Week of Revival will be held again during spring of 2014. For more information about campus ministries on Washington Adventist University visit us on www.wau.edu.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Apr. 30) – Academic Awards chapel, usually reserved for standout students at Washington Adventist University (WAU), departed from the norm this year to recognize two faculty members—Bruce Wilson, associate director of music, and Deria Gadsen, assistant registrar—whose distinguished service to the institution will end this year. Professor Zdravko Plantak, who is also stepping down as chair of the religion department, was also honored for his contributions to the university.
The event, which was held April 24 in Sligo Seventh-Day Adventist Church, recognized all students with grade point average of 3.0 and above. Students also received special departmental honors.
Ralph Johnson, Ph.D., dean for students success and faculty development, and Fitzroy Thomas, assistant dean, presented certificates of recognition to junior education major Rebekah Brauner, who had the highest GPA; freshman English major Constance Greene; Senior English major Melinda Hamerly; senior education major Gabrielle Morrison; junior biology major Christine Rosette; and senior physical education major, Erin Wright.
From the English Department, junior English major Ashley Butler received the Joseph Shin Award, and senior English major Konstantin Kulakov, the Edith O. Stone Award. The History and Political Studies department recognized Senior Courtney Taylor, and the Psychology Department recognized juniors Mariah Crews, Adam Buttrick, Melissa Boyd, and Veronica Rojas and sophomore Beatrice Portillo.
The Music Department recognized several students, including: Performer of the Year, senior Jonathan Keplinger, and Senior of the Year, David Byass. Additional scholarships and recognition were given to seniors Emelie Pla, Atecia Edwards, Lauren Simms and Aaron Tucker; freshman Jidong Zhong, and sophomore Sonali Singh.
The Department of Religion recognized several students, including student of the year, seniors Robert Machado, and Dudley Francois, who received the department’s leadership award; seniors Cedric Parker, Ramone Griffith and Brandon White, who received the service award, and Konstantin Kulakov, who was named Philosopher of Year.
Finally, the Social Work department named Nearlyne Noisette their outstanding senior, Alexandra Coleman as outstanding junior, while junior Nikole Donovan and senior Sarai Wright received a certificate of merit for academic achievement and certificate of commendation respectively.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Apr. 30) – Assistant registrar Deria Gale Anderson Gadsden will retire this summer after 16 years at Washington Adventist University (WAU) and 30 years in Adventist Christian Education. Her service to the University was recognized during alumni weekend, April 12-14, when she was named an honorary alumnus of WAU.
“It has been an honor to work in this vineyard for the Lord. I have learned a deep trust in His plan and purpose for my life,” Mrs. G said. “CUC/WAU has fond memories for me.”
Mrs. G. joined WAU in 1997. Since then, she has impacted the lives of hundreds of students. Tough as nails and loving as a mother, she encourages the values of hard work and pride.
An alumnus of Atlantic Union College and the University of Nebraska, she began her career in education as a teacher’s assistant at Vestal Hills Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) School, Binghamton, New York. She later became school board chair, sat on the board of Union Springs Academy, and served on the K-12 Board of Education for New York Conference. She later moved to Poughkeepsie, and worked at Poughkeepsie SDA School as a teacher assistant. The next stop was Garden State Academy where she worked as assistant registrar, class sponsor and yearbook sponsor.
“The Alumni Association honors one individual every year who, although they never attended WAU, have demonstrated commitment to and love of Washington Adventist University and its students. It was our pleasure to recognize Mrs. G’s many years of service and to officially accept her as an Honorary Alumna,” said Ellie Barker, director of alumni relations.
The Zella Holbert Service Award was present to alumnus Glen Milam (’82) and student Bryan Jones.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Apr. 17) – Charles McMillan, Ph.D., director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and president of Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), the company that operates the lab for the National Nuclear Security Administration, was named alumnus of the year by his alma mater, Washington Adventist University during alumni homecoming weekend, April 12-14.
McMillan was the guest of honor at the annual alumni awards banquet held in Bethesda, Md., April 13.
In a brief address to the gathering, McMillan paid tribute to WAU’s emphasis on service as a valuable part of the learning experience. He said he was pleased to note that the Gateway, the University’s iconic emblem of service, remains on the campus. His graduating class, the class of 1977, replaced it after it was destroyed by fire in 1970.
“Service of the highest level requires education of the best quality,” McMillan said. “Education is not just about the acquisition of knowledge; it is about asking the right questions and how to know if the answers make sense.”
Integrity, quality and a strong STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education are increasingly critical to students’ success in the world today, he said.
McMillan graduated from Washington Adventist University, then Columbia Union College, in 1977, with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Physics. Upon graduation, he taught for a year at Rusangu Secondary School in Zambia after which, he earned his doctoral degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
He began his career in 1983 as an experimental physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in California. He later moved into computational science and management at LLNL before joining Los Alamos in 2006 as associate director for weapons physics. In that capacity, he oversaw the safety, reliability and performance of the US nuclear deterrent, which is the lab's main mission.
McMillan has earned two Department of Energy Awards of Excellence; one of them for developing an innovative holographic tool that enhances the ability of scientists to predict nuclear performance.
Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are the two physics laboratories in the United States where classified work toward the design of nuclear weapons is undertaken. According to its website, the mission of Los Alamos is to “develop and apply science and technology to ensure the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent; reduce global threats; and solve emerging national and security challenges.”
Washington Adventist University (WAU) 60 new inductees into two national honors societies were challenged to exhibit three highly important qualities, necessary to succeed in the world today: excellence, humility and integrity.
The new inductees became members of Phi Eta Sigma and Alpha Chi, the highest college academic honors available to students.
More than 400 Washington Adventist University Students blanketed the greater Silver Spring area, Wednesday, April 3, to perform acts of service to the community. Community clean-up, health clinics, and service to the sick or marginalized, were the focus of the day’s event.
“Service day is a time when students put feet and hand to their faith,” said Vice President of Ministry, Baraka Muganda. “Faith in action is seen all over the University during our two annual service days.”
The week of March 31 to April 6 saw a small white tent occupying pride of place on the Washington Adventist University Commons. By day, it was something different to look at—a plastic structure constructed to look like a cozy country cottage. By night, it was a meeting place for dozens of students hungry to explore topics of addiction and liberation, under the theme: “Can I Live?”
Washington Adventist University will mark its annual alumni homecoming celebration, April 12-14. Under the theme, “Empowered to Serve,” the University will celebrate its alumni’s commitment to a life of service.
Pastor Damon Hendrickson, class of 2002, is the featured speaker for the weekend. His life of service includes pastoral positions in his native Bermuda, as well as serving as associate director and director of youth ministries. He is currently serving as Associate Media Director for the Bermuda Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.