2012 Graduating Class one of the Largest Ever

Nearly 300 graduates symbolic of New Growth Spurt

audienceIMG_1834_2_rTAKOMA PARK, MD (April 30)—Slightly under 300 students passed through WAU’s Gateway to service, Sunday, April 29, on their way to demonstrate a special brand of competence and moral leadership to communities across the United States and the world.

Relatives and friends packed Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church to witness one of the largest graduating classes in the University's history. The numbers are symbolic of a growth spurt that WAU has been experiencing in recent years.  The Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music, and Bachelor of Science degrees were conferred on 237 students while graduates degrees in business administration, counseling psychology, professional counseling psychology, health care administration, public administration, nursing education and nursing and business leadership were conferred on 45 students.  Nineteen students received associate of applied science and associate of science degrees.

IMG_1911_3_rKeynote speaker, Washington attorney Scott McClure, urged  graduates to remain true to the University’s commitment to a life of service and to social justice.  A WAU education, he said, is about engaging mind and transforming lives which means grasping the information necessary to be competent in one’s field or the pursuit of further studies, as well as an action plan that incorporates the values of kindness, respect, honesty, candor, ethics and following the Lord.

A graduate of Southern College and Duke University School of Law, McClure is a partner at Hogan Lovells, focusing on corporate transactions and state tax matters.  He is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia and the Maryland.

IMG_1888_2_rAmbassador of India to the United States Nirupama Rao, WAU’s distinguished Gateway Service honoree, was recognized for her contribution to liberal arts education, according to WAU’s president, Weymouth Spence, Ed.D.  Rao holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature and is a published poet. She joined the diplomatic service in 1973 and, in addition to her Washington posting, has served her country in Sri Lanka, Moscow and Beijing.

In a presentation liberally sprinkled with the wisdom of compatriot, Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian Civil Rights leaders, Rao commended WAU’s emphasis on character education, which she said, was critical for preparing young minds to face the challenges of the contemporary world.  This kind of education is the greatest wealth of all; it is about empowerment and enlightenment and about training good, honest and committed citizens.  Graduates would do well, she said, to be mindful of the even blunders of life as articulated by Gandhi:   wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without morality; commerce without character; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice; and politics without principles.

Graduation weekend activities began on April 27th with a Consecration Service at Sligo Church.  Chair of the psychology department, Grant Leitma, Ph.D., gave the consecration address. On Saturday, April 28, Rear Admiral Barry Black, the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate, served as keynote speaker.

Photos by E. Grant Photography.

About Washington Adventist University

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 institutions of higher learning in the US.