WAU Professor Presents at International Disaster Management Conference


TAKOMA PARK, MD (May 13)—Washington Adventist University associate professor and director of its Homeland Security program, presented at the international conference on "Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Sustainable Reconstruction" on May 8-9, 2014, hosted by the Center for Rebuilding Sustainable Communities after Disasters at University of Massachusetts Boston. Her presentation entitled, "Developing Faith-Based Partnerships: A Model for Building Disaster-Resilient Communities," was attended by more than 200 conference participants from five continents including academics, FEMA, American Red Cross, architects, planners, engineers, and policymakers.

"The horrific Boston marathon bombing and the resulting manhunt that shut down the cities of Boston and Watertown demonstrate that building disaster resilient communities is an integral part of emergency management," said Dr. Herma Percy. "Yet public and private emergency management partnerships designed to help communities rebound after attacks and disasters often are missing essential components to make efforts more effective. A key to efficiently assist communities in disaster recovery is to build a more effective partnership with the local faith community," said Percy.

The two day conference brought together some of the world's top experts in disaster planning and response to examine best practices and share lessons learned to reduce the socio-economic impact of various forms of disasters on communities.

"Unfortunately, natural disasters will be more frequent with climate change and increasing urbanization. We need to consider the solutions necessary to avoid, mitigate, and recover from these disasters that disproportionally affect vulnerable populations," said Dr. Herma Percy in her challenge to practitioners. "All of this speaks to our core mission and academic program at WAU and the leadership role we play in faith-based partnerships to address the most daunting challenges of our times."

Percy represented Washington Adventist University amongst scholars from Harvard University, Northeastern University, Roger Williams University, University of Maryland University College, University of Illinois at Chicago, Columbia Southern University, Auburn University, Arizona State University, California Polytechnic State University, Drury University, Howard University and other universities in the United States. International panelists from around the world, including China, Haiti, Iraq, India, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Taiwan, Canada, Chile, England, and Thailand, discussed risk reduction and response to natural disasters from floods to earthquakes and health-related disasters like malaria outbreaks.
The conference included 11 sessions with more than 90 panelists. Keynote speakers included leaders from the United Nations Office of Disaster Risk Reduction, and the British Consulate in New England and American Institute of Architects who spoke on "Disaster Risk Reduction."

Dr. Percy has been invited to speak at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute in June 2014.


Media Contacts:

Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu

Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu

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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 1,050 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.


New Respiratory Care Therapists Pinned During Dedication Ceremony on Commencement Weekend

Takoma Park, MD (May 5, 2014) - Washington Adventist University (WAU) pinned nine new graduates of its respiratory care program over the weekend, in one of many commencement weekend events. The traditional pinning and dedication ceremony, held on May 3, recognizes that the students are prepared to embark on their professional careers.

Each graduate was presented with a customized lapel pin that signifies that the wearer is educated, trained and experienced in the field of respiratory care therapy. The circular gold pins have Washington Adventist University Respiratory Care printed on the front, and the graduation date engraved on the back.  The students were also inducted into the Lambda Beta Society, the national honor society for respiratory care, and presented with framed certificates.

Graduates of the two-year program gained their clinical experience at several area hospitals, including Children’s National Medical Center, Washington Hospital Center and Anne Arundel Medical Center.

As a profession, respiratory care offers good job stability and opportunities for advancement. Candidates who excel in the field are those who enjoy helping others; like working with technology, math and science; and are seeking a profession that offers a variety of work environments and patients.

The WAU program recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary. Starting in the fall, the current program will begin to transition to an online format. Interested individuals are encouraged to continue to visit the WAU home page at http://www.wau.edu for updates. 

Press Release - New Respiratory Care Therapists Pinned

Media Contacts:

Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu

Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu

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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 1,050 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.


Washington Adventist University Kicks Off Local Graduation Season with May 4 Commencement

Takoma Park, MD (April 30) - 

Washington Adventist University (WAU) kicks off the local graduation season on May 4, with a commencement ceremony from 10 a.m. to noon at The Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro.  A total of 359 students will be receiving their diplomas at commencement. The degrees that will be awarded include 106 master’s degrees, 244 bachelor’s degrees, and 11 associate’s degrees.  Two students will receive dual degrees.

The graduation procession will include students from 35 different nations, carrying the flags of their countries. They include Barbados, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Columbia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kenya, Lebanon, Liberia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Peru, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago, the United States, U.S. Virgin Islands, Vietnam, and Zambia.

The commencement speaker will be His Excellency the Most Honourable Sir Patrick Linton Allen, ON, GCMG, CD, Governor-General of Jamaica, who will be presented with the university’s prestigious Adrian T. Westney Award for Excellence in Community Service. The award is named for former pastor, educator, and 1962 WAU graduate Adrian T. Westney (1927-2009), who demonstrated “unparalleled dedication, unmatched performance, and inspirational service.”

Senior Class President Kaiya Kretschmar, who is scheduled to provide words of encouragement to her fellow graduates, is a nursing program student who was recently “pinned” at the university’s traditional “pinning” ceremony for the 53 students who are about to embark on professional nursing careers.

The diverse graduating class includes Shawn Fordham, a federal worker who will be receiving his master’s degree in public administration. He has been an assistant district manager for the Social Security Administration in the Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia, Pa. area for the past seven years; but previously worked for Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street, serving as his campaign manager and senior advisor. Fordham also served on the Board of Directors of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority. 

Samr Binsaif will be awarded her master’s degree in psychology counseling, which she plans to use as a counselor for women when she returns to her native Saudi Arabia this summer. Binsaif traveled to the U.S. with her husband and children in 2005, learned English as a second language at Columbia University in New York City, and earned her bachelor’s degree at Columbia College in Columbia, Mo. Upon graduation, she was attracted to the Washington Adventist University master’s program in psychology counseling because the one-year program and one-year practical enabled her to complete her degree in a shorter time frame. 

Also included in the graduating class is Timothy Hatfield, a lieutenant with the Prince George’s County Police Department who will receive his bachelor’s degree in organizational management. He plans to remain in public service, with a goal of possibly becoming a federal prosecutor, and has already been accepted to the George Washington University Law School fall class.

The breakdown of the 106 master’s degrees awarded at this commencement is: 23 in counseling psychology; 20 in health care administration; 17 in nursing education; 15 in business administration; 12 in professional counseling psychology; nine in nursing and business leadership; eight in public administration; and two in religion.

The 244 baccalaureate degrees that will be awarded include: 207 Bachelor of Science degrees; 36 Bachelor of Arts degrees and 1 Bachelor of Music degree.  In addition, nine Associate of Applied Science and two Associate of Science degrees will also be awarded.

Prior to the commencement ceremony, WAU will host two events at the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, located at 7700 Carroll Ave., Takoma Park, adjacent to campus. A Consecration Service will be held on Friday, May 2 at 8 p.m.; and a Baccalaureate Service will be held on Saturday, May 3 at 11:15 a.m.

The commencement ceremony can be viewed via live streaming video at http://www.youtube.com/embed/h91OTsWIXig?rel=0. For more information about Washington Adventist University and its academic programs, go to http://www.wau.edu.

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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 1,050 students of all faiths participate in the university’s eight graduate and 32 undergraduate programs. The 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington Adventist University among the best regional colleges in the north.

Commencement 2014 - Press Release


Media Contacts:

Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu    

Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169, dbigler@wau.edu


WAU Pins New Nurses at Ceremony

Takoma Park, MD (April 28) - With commencement scheduled for Sunday, May 4, Washington Adventist University (WAU) recently hosted a pinning ceremony for 53 students who will soon graduate from its nursing program.

Pinning ceremonies traditionally recognize that nursing students are prepared to embark on their professional careers. Each student is presented with a customized lapel pin that signifies that the wearer is educated, trained and experienced in the field of nursing. These are pins that nursing professionals wear proudly. The WAU pinning ceremony was held April 23 at the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, located on Flower Avenue adjacent to the university’s campus.

“Nursing is one of the most challenging careers a person can embark upon,” said Nursing Department Chair Dr. Jo Ann Mackey. “The process of earning a nursing degree can be difficult, but there are few more deserving professions to celebrate, reward, and recognize than nursing.”

The soon-to-be graduates of the WAU nursing program include 28 pre-licensure students who will receive their BSN degree; 12 already-licensed registered nurses with associate degrees who will receive their BSN degree; and 13 students who will receive their MSN degree in either nursing education or business leadership.

Although jobs in nursing are often in acute care settings such as hospitals, a variety of other opportunities exist in community health agencies, health maintenance organizations, private industries, nursing homes, educational institutions, missions and foreign services. Nurses with graduate degrees often find additional employment opportunities in research, practice, and education.

“Nursing is a good field for individuals who have an aptitude for caring and an interest in helping others,” said Mackey, who encourages prospective students to consider the WAU nursing program and become part of the school’s “gateway to service.”

In addition to a convenient campus location on 19 acres in suburban Takoma Park, WAU offers small classes with a student to faculty ratio of 10 to 1, along with a supportive environment for students. The next deadline for admission is October 1 for the 2015 spring semester. For more information, go to www.wau.edu

Media Contacts:

Angie Crews, 301-891-4134, acrews@wau.edu or

Donna Bigler, 240-286-1169

For Immediate Release: April 28, 2014

Press Release - Nursing Pinning 


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Two Students are Honored by WAU as the University’s First Sullivan Award Winners

Takoma Park, MD (April 24) - This year, for the first time, Washington Adventist University (WAU) presented the prestigious Sullivan awards to two students in recognition of their demonstrated passion for community service. Nikole Donovan, an undergraduate who is majoring in social work, received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at the Academic Awards Chapel on April 23 at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church. Louise Griffin -- a student in the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS) who is earning her master’s degree in healthcare administration -- received the Mary Mildred Sullivan Award at the SGPS Academic Awards Program that same afternoon in the Morrison Hall Chapel on campus.

“The WAU community is excited to pause and recognize outstanding members of our community,” said Dr. Ralph Johnson, Dean of the WAU Betty Howard Center for Student Success.

Since 1890, the highly-prized Sullivan awards have been presented on the campuses of colleges and universities across the American South. These institutions all reflect the interest of prominent lawyer, businessman and philanthropist Algernon Sydney Sullivan and his wife, Mary Mildred Sullivan, to educate and honor deserving students. The awards are named for the Sullivans to honor their lives of service.

There are currently 61 colleges and universities presenting Sullivan awards, facilitated by the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation, based in Oxford, Miss. The Sullivan Foundation Board of Directors reviews applications from eligible institutions interested in participating in the awards presentations, visits the campuses, and approves participation in the awards program based on merit. Participating institutions may present the awards to graduating seniors, alumni, or community members who meet the award criteria. Notable past award recipients include Eleanor Roosevelt and Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell.

Attending WAU’s first Sullivan awards presentations this year was Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation President Stephan L. McDavid, Esq. The awards themselves are bronze medallions, each accompanied by a framed certificate and a biography of either Algernon Sydney Sullivan or Mary Mildred Sullivan.

WAU Sullivan Awards - Press Release

WAU Joins NAIA, Effective August 1

Takoma Park, MD (April 17) - Washington Adventist University’s application for active membership in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has been approved, effective August 1.

“We are extremely pleased with our move to the NAIA, as it will help enhance support for our athletic program and better align the university with other schools that have similar character initiatives,” said WAU Director of Athletics Patrick E. Crarey II, who is also head coach of the men’s basketball team, which won the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) Division I National Championship this year.

Institutions applying to the NAIA must meet membership criteria that include financial stability, sports sponsorship, accreditation and a commitment to character-driven athletics. The Membership Committee also reviews enrollment numbers, graduation percentages, retention rates and overall athletics budgets.

WAU is one of five new members in the NAIA, including Lincoln Christian University (Ill.), Middle Georgia State College, Texas A&M University – Texarkana, and the University of Winnipeg (Can.). Trinity Lutheran College (Wash.) was approved as an associate member, and will be evaluated for active membership at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.

“We are always pleased to welcome new members to the Association,” said Les Purce, chair of the NAIA Council of Presidents and President of Evergreen State College (Wash.). “These are quality institutions that have been through a rigorous review process and meet the high standards the NAIA Membership Committee has set.”

Competitive sports teams are part of the vision for excellence that WAU President Dr. Weymouth Spence has for the university. This year, the men’s soccer team earned the No. 7 seed in the 2013 USCAA National Championships in Charleston, W.Va. The women’s basketball team recorded the most wins in 20 years by finishing the 2013-14 season with an overall record of 9-18, and the cross country team had one of its strongest years in recent history.

WAU Joins NAIA - Press Release

Revival Results in 53 Baptisms

Takoma Park, MD (April 5) - The 2nd Annual Campus Revival at Washington Adventist University (WAU) featured a week of worship and culminated with the baptism of 53 young adults. The event started on Sunday, March 30, and culminated with the call to baptism on Friday, April 4.

Each evening at 7 p.m., hundreds of students, faculty and staff, and visitors from nearby churches filled the outdoor tent on campus to worship and to hear guest speaker Pastor Myron Edmonds, senior pastor from Glenville Seventh-day Adventist Church in Cleveland, Ohio. He spoke to the revival theme, “I’m Weak,” based on 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

The revival concluded with a Sabbath worship service on Saturday, April 5 that featured Minister Ronnie Vanderhorst from Emmanuel-Brinklow Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ashton, Md. as the speaker.

“We had about fourteen people who planned to participate in the baptism, and then the Holy Spirit fell upon the campus and touched hearts in ways only God can do,” said WAU Chaplain Regina Johnson. “Saying God is good would be an understatement. He never fails to exceed my expectations. Another baptism will be happening April 26, and I'm beyond excited that the students are making their decisions together as a campus family!"

“To me, the revival confirmed everything about my spiritual life that I was afraid to acknowledge,” said graduating senior Shaniel Francis, who was among those baptized at the revival. “I realized the importance of starting over spiritually.”

Tyrus Fleetwood, a freshman who was baptized, said, “The revival gave me a chance to sit back and take the word of God, and look at what I was doing wrong in my life. It led me to surrender my life to him. It also showed me how God can really work, and how strong the Holy Spirit moves throughout people.”

Participants seemed to agree that the revival came at the perfect time. Vincent Wilson, a junior religion student, said, “I saw the baptism of the Holy Spirit, literally!”

WAU Alumni Awards

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.

WAU Alumni Awards - Press Release


WAU Enactus Team Wins First Round

EnactusTeam1 webTakoma Park, MD (April 3) - The WAU Enactus team competed and won the first round this week in a national competition that was part of the Enactus United States National Exposition 2014 at Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The team presented and was judged on a community service project that they developed by applying business concepts.

National Enactus competitions showcase team projects that demonstrate how students are improving the quality of life for people in need through entrepreneurial actions that transform lives. After winning the opening round of the competition on April 1, the WAU team lost the quarter final round on April 2 to Belmont University.

Nationwide, there are 518 active Enactus teams with more than 17,000 students working on more than 2,000 community service projects. Last year, U.S. Enactus team participants volunteered more than 541,000 hours of their time. The team that wins the national championship will represent the U.S. at the Enactus World Cup this fall in Beijing, China.

For more information about the WAU Enactus team, contact Professor Kimberly Pichot at kspichot@wau.edu.

WAU Enactus Team Press Release