September 21 Visionaries Gala to Honor Five for Their Leadership and Service to Others

TAKOMA PARK, MD (July 25, 2014)   The second annual Washington Adventist University (WAU) Visionaries Gala will be held on September 21 at Congressional Country Club, 8500 River Rd. in Bethesda. The reception starts at 6 p.m. and dinner at 7 p.m.  The emcee for the event will be award-winning journalist Suzanne Malveaux, CNN’s national correspondent and former anchor of the network’s international news program, Around the World.

In keeping with WAU’s commitment to excellence and moral leadership, the gala includes a recognition of five individuals who have provided exemplary leadership to the university, the community, the country and the world. 

This year’s Gateway award for “Excellence in Humanitarian Service” will be presented to Peggielene Bartels (King Peggy) for her global contributions as king of a fishing village in Ghana. Bartels is a Ghanaian-born American citizen who works at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C.  Six years ago, when she was chosen to succeed her uncle as king of Otuam, Bartels began to live an unusual dual life. From two continents, King Peggy is now leading 7,000 villagers to a more prosperous future.

As someone who has made considerable contributions to the world of healthcare, Bruce Boyer is being honored with the “Excellence in Health and Human Services” award this year.  He is president and chairman of Sloan Management, Inc. and Premier HealthCare, Inc. and is also a member of the Washington Adventist University Board of Trustees. In his more than 40-year career, Boyer has developed nursing and assisted living facilities across the mid-Atlantic region, and is founder of American Heritage Communities for active senior adults.

Dr. Gladstone Gurubatham is being honored this year with the “Excellence in Teaching Psychology and Social Sciences, and Excellence in Educational Leadership” award.  He is the longest-serving faculty member at Washington Adventist University, with a 50-year tenure.  As the founder and architect of the university’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies, Dr. Gurubatham has succeeded in creating a convenient and accessible adult evening program that provides educational opportunities for those seeking to better their lives and those of others.

Washington Adventist University alumni, Dr. Milton Morris and his wife, Merrillie, are being honored with the “Excellence in Entrepreneurial Leadership” award for building their Standard Office Supply Company on a foundation of service excellence and integrity.  Standard Office Supply is now one of the largest independent, full-service office products dealerships in the greater Washington-Baltimore region. 

The annual Gala serves as a fundraiser for the university’s Vision 2020 – Growing with Excellence plan, which is guiding the school’s metamorphosis into one of the premier small universities in the mid-Atlantic region.  The plan aims to enhance all facets of WAU operations, which includes exceeding accreditation standards; developing a strong curriculum in science, technology, engineering and mathematics; expanding service learning; conducting ongoing program review; making strategic reinvestments in the quality of programs; and promoting and strengthening support services that reflect 21st century best practices.

At the centerpiece of the Vision 2020 plan is a new Health Professions and Wellness Center, which will enable collaboration and provide vibrant opportunity for holistic development through education, health and wellness for the WAU community and beyond.  Also part of the plan is phase two of the Leroy & Lois Peters Music Center, which will help integrate performance and curriculum by adding a performance hall to facilitate practice, teaching and study of performing arts.

For more information about the Gala and to purchase tickets, go to

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Washington Adventist University is Montgomery County's only four-year private college. Part of the Seventh-day Adventist system of higher education, Washington Adventist University has been educating college students since 1904 on a 19-acre campus in suburban Takoma Park, close to the nation’s capital. A total of 1,185 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2014 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

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