Takoma Park, MD (April 16) - Washington Adventist University (WAU) recently honored five individuals for their contributions to the community, and for their personal and professional accomplishments. The annual WAU Alumni Awards Banquet was held on Saturday, April 12 at the Sheraton in downtown Silver Spring, and approximately 100 people attended.
“The Alumni Awards Banquet highlights what Washington Adventist University is all about – service,” said Vice President for Advancement and University Relations Roo McKenzie, Ph.D. “Washington Adventist University is the Gateway to Service, and it is nice to be able to recognize the individuals who embody that in their personal and professional lives.”
This year’s recipient of the Alumnus of the Year award was Farid Srour, Class of 1949. A real estate professional and long-time philanthropist, Srour was recognized for his significant contributions over the years to the university, the Adventist Church, and to the community.
The Young Alumnus of the Year award was presented to Collin Haynes, Class of 2009. He was recognized for his humanitarian service and public health efforts in his home country of Guyana, where he has promoted HIV awareness and treatment campaigns for youth. Even as a student at WAU, Haynes already had plans to return to his country to make a difference.
The Zella Holbert Service Award, named after a former WAU librarian, was presented to both an alumnus and a current student. Alumnus Charles Shyab, Class of 1970, received the award in recognition of his more than 40 years of service as a teacher and principal in Adventist schools, where he demonstrated passion for helping students learn. Shyab is also a Bronze Star recipient, recognized for his heroism as an Army medic during the Vietnam War.
WAU student Nikole Donovan, a graduating senior with a major in social work, was also presented with a Zella Holbert Service Award for her community service accomplishments. She developed the annual three-day “Blossom Like a Flower” conference for girls in grades 6-12 to help them with character development, health and wellness, and spirituality. Her volunteer service also includes the Hero-to Hero mentoring project, the WAU Service Day Planning Committee, Petals for a Cure, Cure for Aids, and the “Alex Brown” campaign to collect pledges from students to stop texting while driving.
The Honorary Alumnus Award is presented each year to an individual who did not graduate from WAU, but who had a significant impact on the university and made a difference in the community. James Hammond, Ph.D., a former professor and chair of the Department of Psychology was this year’s recipient. He taught on campus for nearly 30 years, and also served as an Adventist missionary in Ghana and Sierra Leone.
The Alumni Awards Banquet was part of the university’s annual Alumni Weekend, which was held from April 10-13 this year.