TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Sept. 25) - Washington Adventist University (WAU) Inaugural Visionaries Gala, held at the Congressional Country Club, Bethesda, Md., September 22, is being hailed as a resounding success by Vice President for Advancement and University Relations, L. Roo McKenzie, Ed.D.
“I am extremely pleased,” McKenzie said. “We worked hard over the last few months and I prayed that it would be a resounding success—and it was.”
An enthusiastic Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and chair of the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees, echoed McKenzie’s sentiments.
“WAU is just taking off,” Weigley said. “Two years ago, we had the highest enrollment in the history of the university, and we built our first new building in over 40 years. … This was an outstanding event to celebrate WAU's exceptional progress in recent years and to recast a renewed vision called "Vision 20/20”.
He added that he was deeply appreciative of “the dedication of President Weymouth Spence; Provost Cheryl Kisunzu; Vice President for Finance and Administration Patrick Farley; and the board, faculty and staff who are moving our mission forward there.”
For President Weymouth Spence, the Gala represents “a watershed moment in the history of Washington Adventist University.”
“We are signaling our intention to grow this university and to deepen our footprints as a higher education institution in the Washington, D.C. area and the country in general,” Spence said.
Highlight of the gala included presentation of the WAU Visionary Award to four individuals of extraordinary accomplishment and service: NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, for excellence in humanitarian service; educator, businesswoman, activist and philanthropist, Evelyn Bata, Ph.D., for excellence in service to Washington Adventist University; head of the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Rory Pullens for excellence in community transformation; and chair of the WAU music department, James Bingham, Ph.D., for excellence in the Musical Arts and Humanities.
The gala is envisioned as an annual event to support Vision 2020, a blueprint for campus development over the next seven years. Guided by the motto, Vision 2020–Growing with Excellence, WAU aims to improve all facets of its operations to become a thriving university in the competitive higher education market. In academics, the University aims to exceed accreditation standards; develop a strong curriculum in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; expand service learning; conduct ongoing program review; make strategic reinvestment in the quality of programs; and promote and strengthen support services that reflect 21st century best practices.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Aug. 28)- Printing of the first North American edition of the Russian New Testament and the Psalms, produced by the Washington Adventist University (WAU) Bible Translation Institute in partnership with Zaoksky Theological Seminary in Russia, has been completed by Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho.
A dedication service was held, August 26, at the Press’ headquarters, and on September 5, 3ABN taped a special program to mark the new development.
“This summer has been immensely profitable and both our inter-denominational teams in Zaoksky, Russia, and here at WAU, are working around the clock to stay on target,” said Michael Kulakov, professor of theology, history and philosophy at WAU; chief editor for the translation project and director of the Russian Bible Translation Institute. “By God’s grace, we have completed work on the poetic books of the Bible and are currently working on the books of Joshua and Judges. The books of the Major and Minor prophets have also been completed.”
“We appreciate continued prayers from the WAU family for the work of our teams during this most decisive year,” he added.
Kulakov is currently in the fourth year of a five year sabbatical to complete the translation of the entire Bible into Russian by 2015. Seeing the first North American edition of the New Testament and the Psalms in print, was particularly moving for him, Kulakov said, since it was his late father, Dr. Mikhail P. Kulakov Sr. who founded the Institute at Zaoksky and worked tirelessly for over a decade to produce the translation of the New Testament and the Psalms.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Aug. 20) - Professor of Religion Olive Hemmings, Ph.D., is the author of a newly release work, Sacred Texts and Social Conflict, exploring the debate over women’s ordination within the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
“Here stands a dynamic faith community whose founding prophet and major source of authority outside the Bible is a woman,” a description on Amazon.com reads. “Thirteen decades after a resolution to ordain women, it continues to search the Bible for reasons to ordain or not. And yet, throughout its history, women have always functioned as ministers of the gospel. There must be some supra-biblical force driving the resistance. Hemmings goes behind the scenes of the debate to examine the profound and age old drama—the human struggle to find its best self.
The review calls the book “a surgical work of removing a tight, well fitted mask to reveal the real social fears and inhibitions driving the hermeneutics.”
It is described further as helpful for students of sacred texts wishing to observe the social dynamics driving interpretation, and even formation of sacred texts. Hemmings describes it as “a great starting point for any research on the issue of women’s ordination.”
Hemmings has been teaching in Seventh-day Adventist higher education since 1983. In the teaching of New Testament Bible, Ethics, and World Religions, she tends to call attention to the essential co-relation between religious ideologies/convictions and human civilization.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (Aug. 8) - Washington Adventist University is enjoying its best credit rating ever, thanks to its improved working capital position. An August 5 report from Dun & Bradstreet upgraded the University’s Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating has been improved from a 2 to a 1. T
The current scale is from nine to one with nine being the lowest—high risk—and one being a low risk. Moving from a 2 to a 1 is the best possible rating.
The rating is based on past payment history and the ability to pay or availability of working capital.
“To achieve the most favorable risk rating is further evidence that the financial position of Washington Adventist University has been remarkably improved over the past five years and, at this moment, our vendors view us with a great deal of confidence,” said Patrick Farley, vice president for finance and administration.
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TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 26) - Vice President for Ministry at Washington Adventist University and former General Conference Youth Ministries Director, Baraka Muganda, Ed.D., was honored by the General Conference Youth Department at the third World Conference on Youth and Community Service in Pretoria, South Africa July 8 - 13, for outstanding contribution to the Seventh Day Adventist Church worldwide.
Youth, Children, and Chaplaincy Director of Uganda Union, Israel M. Kafeero, Ph.D, CFLE, in a citation, described Muganda as “a man of all season, whose service record spanned several generations.”
“He started college in the late ‘60s, with worldview miles apart from the post-modern world but he refused to be left behind,” the citation said. “His ideas, words, and behaviors always marched with the generation. Like the Apostle Paul, he mastered the art of speaking the language of the people before him, of whatever generation.”
Kafeero said Muganda was righteous, obedient and humble even when it meant sleeping in a thatched tent in the bushes of Uganda during a youth camp in 1986 “where the nights were filled with the music of a lion scare.”
“I was humbled and grateful to God for using me to impact the lives of so many youth around the world and leading them to the cross of Calvary, “Muganda said.
Muganda served as world youth director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church from 1995 to 2010. During that time, he gave leadership to activities for eight million young people around the world, developed programs and strategies for (Adventure Club, Pathfinders, Ambassadors Club and Senior Youth. Under his leadership the World Conference on Youth and Community Service, an event held every five years, was introduced.
“The work of leading young people in this fast paced world is enormous,” Kafeero said. “With a lot of options being offered by the world to the youth, we still have a lot to do, but he has done his part.”
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 23) - Retired NBA Legend, Dikembe Mutombo, will headline a group of distinguished honorees at the Washington Adventist University (WAU) Inaugural Visionaries Gala, scheduled for Congressional Country Club, Sunday, September 22. The gala is envisioned as an annual event to support Vision 2020, a blueprint for campus development over the next seven years.
“This will be a watershed moment in the history of Washington Adventist University,” said President Weymouth Spence, Ph.D. “We are signaling our intention to grow this university and to deepen our footprints as a higher education institution in the Washington, D.C. area and the country in general.”
Mutombo will receive the Gateway Award for excellence in humanitarian service, recognizing his work in healthcare in The Democratic Republic of the Congo, his homeland. Originally intending to study medicine, Mutombo’s 7’2” frame caught the eye of the basketball coach at Georgetown University. He was soon drafted into the NBA where he spent 18 years as one of the league’s most celebrated players. He retired from the Houston Rockets in 2009.
Mutombo never forgot his intention to take medical care to his people, however. He created the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation in Atlanta, GA in 1997 and after 10 years of intense work, numerous challenges and $23 million of his own money, he completed the Biamba Marie Mutombo Hospital in Kinshasa, July 2007. The hospital, which is named in honor of his mother, opened its doors to patients in December 2007. The total cost was $29 million.
Other honorees on this year’s program, are: educator, businesswoman, activist and philanthropist, Evelyn Bata, Ph.D., for excellence in service to Washington Adventist University; head of the Duke Ellington School for the Arts, Rory Pullens, for excellence in community transformation; and chair of the WAU music department, James Bingham, Ph.D., for excellence in the arts and humanities.
Guided by the motto, Vision 2020–Growing with Excellence, WAU aims to improve all facets of its operations to become a thriving university in the competitive higher education market. In academics, the University aims to exceed accreditation standards; develop a strong curriculum in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; expand service learning; conduct ongoing program review; make strategic reinvestment in the quality of programs; and promote and strengthen support services that reflect 21st century best practices.
At the centerpiece of the plans, is the Health Professions and Wellness Center, conceived as a collaboration with like-minded organizations, the center will provide vibrant opportunities for holistic development through education, health, and wellness for the WAU community and beyond.
Also, on the drawing board is Phase Two of the Leroy & Lois Peters Music Center. The performance hall would connect to the Music Center to facilitate the practice, teaching, and study of the performing arts, integrating performance and curriculum for students.
“When the plans and actions are implemented, every person, program, and building associated with the school will be transformed,” Spence said.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 16)- Weymouth Spence, Ed.D. President of Washington Adventist University has been elected secretary/treasurer by The Board of Trustees of the Maryland Independent College and University Association elected, effective July 1, 2013.
He will serve alongside Chairman Kevin Manning, President of Stevenson University; Vice Chair Roger Casey, President of McDaniel College; and Capital Projects Committee Chair, Michael Wood, President of Capitol College.
MICUA is a member-driven organization devoted to serving the interests of independent higher education and supporting the work of campus leaders throughout the State. Established in 1971, the Association provides services to foster cooperative efforts among its member institutions and all segments of higher education. As the voice of independent higher education in Maryland, MICUA seeks to inform the broader public about its member institutions and the vital importance of independent colleges and universities to the future of our State and nation.
Washington Adventist University is a private liberal arts institution located in scenic Takoma Park, Md. Founded in 1904, it is owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers a Christian education to nearly 1,500 students of all faiths, through eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. Its vision is to produce graduates who bring competence and moral leadership to their communities. The 2011 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked the University among the best regional colleges in the northern region and as one of the most diverse.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 19) - Students from Washington Adventist University continue to take the institutions passion for excellence and service abroad, this time with a three-week trip to Pune, a bustling metropolis in Maharashtra, India’s second largest state.
Fifteen students made the trip, led by Vice President of Ministry Baraka Muganda, Ed.D. and Chaplain for Ministry, Regina Johnson. The students left the University June 7 and returned June 23.
“Washington Adventist University is preparing students not only academically but also spiritually, to impact the local and global world through service,” said Muganda.
Students participated in a health fair, under the theme NEWSTART (nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest, and trust in divine power) and visited the Good Shepherd School and the Roger School, both secondary institutions , and Spicer Memorial College, a Seventh-day Adventist Institution of higher learning in Pune.
Students also preached at the locations and conducted Vacation Bible School, attended mostly by children from Buddhist, Hindu, and Muslim homes.
“It was awesome to hear these children sing with joy and excitement and not only at the schools but also in their own homes. What these young missionaries from Washington Adventist University have done in Pune will go a long way to plant seeds of faith among the people of Pune,” said Thomson Parackal, pastor of the Good Shepherd Church in Pune and coordinator for the group’s evangelistic activities. “This mission trip planted the seeds of Jesus in many Indian homes in the city of Pune. The children in those homes are now singing songs like, “Jesus Loves Me” and “He is Able.”
The trip ended June 22 with the baptism of 30 new converts.
“Under the heat of a beautiful Indian day, we watched as our brothers and sisters in Christ gave their lives to Him, rebirth. A distinct visual I will forever cherish,” said Sola Campbell, recent graduate of Oakwood University who accompanied the WAU students on this trip.
TAKOMA PARK, Md. (July 12) –Former president of the East Allegheny Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees, Charles Cheatham, is the newest recipient of the Gateway Distinguished Service Award.
President Weymouth Spence, Ed.D, presented the award to Cheatham at an East Allegheny camp meeting, June 28.
“Charles Cheatham served WAU with great distinction for 12 years. He was a valuable member of the board and the University was enriched by his presence. We wish him well in retirement; it is very well earned,” Spence said.
Cheatham served as a member of the WAU board of from 2000 to 2012. He was a member of the marketing and enrollment and executive committees.
Cheatham, who holds a master’s degree in theology from Andrews University, has done extensive missionary work in Africa, Russia, Europe, India, and the Caribbean. His numerous roles in the church include those of pastor, director, and executive Secretary.