Takoma Park, MD (Feb. 18) — Washington Adventist University (WAU) lost a friend and supporter on February 12, when Stewart W. Bainum, Sr. died at age 94. In the late 1930s, Bainum was a student on the Takoma Park campus of WAU, attending what was then known as Columbia Junior College, part of Washington Missionary College.
Initially a plumber, Bainum became a developer and businessman who eventually launched two public companies, Manor Care, Inc. and Choice Hotels International. He was also a philanthropist. With his wife Jane, he founded The Commonweal Foundation in 1968 as a family philanthropic organization that continues to provide educational and social support to financially needy students.
“Stewart Bainum, Sr. was a strong advocate for Adventist education and for this university, and his loss will be deeply felt,” said WAU President Dr. Weymouth Spence. “His compassion and generosity changed countless lives, and helped make this community a better place in which to live.”
Bainum is survived by his wife of 72 years, along with four children, ten grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.