ust over 50 years ago, the General Conference Executive Committee decided to develop a comprehensive university to serve the needs of a growing world church, a place firmly committed to the denomination to guide the development of Adventist higher education throughout the world.
The church turned to Emmanuel Missionary College in Berrien Springs, Michigan (United States), to fulfill this responsibility. The graduate programs in education and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, then situated in Takoma Park, D.C., were organized under one charter in October 1959. The name Andrews University was chosen in 1960 to reflect early church leader J. N. Andrews’ commitment to scholarship, service, and leadership. Andrews University was now a General Conference institution.
During this past school year Andrews University has marked this golden anniversary, thankful for God’s guidance and the commitment of our best Adventist scholars, combined with ongoing strong support from the General Conference. As it looks forward, Andrews University continues in its commitment to serve the world church by providing an outstanding Adventist education for students that they might Seek Knowledge, Affirm Faith, and Change the World.
This quinquennium has been a pivotal time in God’s plan for the sacred work of education on our campus. Amid a time of demographic and economic shift and global challenges, Andrews has been given many good gifts from God.
Andrews has exhibited academic strength this quinquennium, receiving institutional accreditation from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities. In addition, the School of Business Administration, the School of Education, and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, as well as a number of other departments and programs, have all undergone recent successful accreditation or reaccreditation.
The new entrance to the Andrews University campus opened in 2009
The Andrews campus has been blessed with noticeable and needed improvements, thanks to the financial generosity of our friends. In 2007 the single largest gift ever given to Andrews University was designated to accomplish three major building
projects: a new campus entrance, a major renovation of Dining Services, and a state-of-the-art milking parlor at the college dairy. The gift also provided three endowed chairs, two in the School of Business Administration and one in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Endowed chairs help the university recruit, attract, and support a strong faculty.
Andrews has been blessed with a 40 percent increase in student population over the past eight years. The fall 2009 enrollment on the Berrien Springs campus again broke a record with 3,589 students—and nearly 4,000 study toward Andrews University degrees on affiliation and extension campuses worldwide, deepening and widening Andrews University’s role as educational servant to the world church.
The graduate programs, especially in the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and School of Education, have grown steadily in global leadership and enrollment.
Our distinctive rankings in U.S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges have continued this year. Andrews University is ranked as the eighth most racially diverse and seventh most internationally diverse national university in the 2010 report. Of more than 4,500 institutions of higher education in the United States, only 262 are recognized as national universities, with Andrews as the only Seventh-day Adventist institution included in that list.
These gifts are also reflected in our vibrant, student-led faith community. There has been intentionality and renewed vigor for our spiritual community following the 2005 appointment of an assistant to the president for spiritual life.
The experiences within that community offer worship options to fit every culture and demographic represented, including our monthly Fusion vespers, one of the most powerful and student-led worship experiences at Andrews. Additionally, students get involved in more than 75 ministries each year, commit to student missionary opportunities, take part in scholarly dialogue such as the H.M.S. Richards Lectureship, and have access to conferences designed to train Adventist leaders, including the annual Ellen White and Current Issues Symposium and the Music and Worship Conference.
Students worship each Sabbath in more than 30 area churches, including the 1,500 who worship in Pioneer Memorial Church and New Life Fellowship on our campus. Additionally, our undergraduates benefit from a full array of cocurricular worship experiences, ranging from residence hall worships to weekly chapels.
Faith is also powerfully reinforced and affirmed in our classrooms, and the connection between faith and academics is manifest from the freshman experience through the graduate program.
Research is given high priority at Andrews University
A provost position was created in 2006 to handle the day-to-day administration to best complement President Niels-Erik Andreasen’s international consulting work in support of Adventist education and his significant role in major fund-raising. In addition, the university’s board of trustees has crafted new governance processes and structures to strengthen and connect the work of its lay and church-appointed members.
Plans for the immediate future at Andrews include strengthening the undergraduate experience as the campus seeks to understand and implement new ways to best teach our students by focusing on innovative learning communities, unparalleled opportunities for undergraduate research, and the continued integration of faith and learning.
This bold step to improve undergraduate learning was initiated by President’s Council members in 1995. In turn, this group took the lead as additional key donors for a new Undergraduate Learning Center. The new center will create a vibrant place where ideas, minds, and experiences intersect to provide an exceptional undergraduate education. When the center is completed in 2011, a bridge will connect the new Buller Hall and a renovated Nethery Hall, creating a philosophical, symbolic, and practical link.
We must help our most able and dedicated young people to choose an Adventist education. To best do that, Andrews must challenge these students with superior learning opportunities while making it more affordable for them to attend. These young people are the talent pool from which our church will be led in the twenty-first century.
The world church has consistently looked to Andrews to find new educational solutions responsive to a growing and changing church, and a global community. That work will continue as we strengthen the undergraduate experience at Andrews University, helping the university better respond to the needs of Adventist education, our church, and our world.
With gratitude for God’s ongoing guidance and the continuing support of our world church, we look forward to an even stronger future for Andrews University.
This article was published June 24, 2010.