B. Lyn Behrens
President and CEO

This year marks the one-hundredth anniversary of Loma Linda University (LLU) and Loma Linda University Medical Center (LLUMC). From humble beginnings in 1905, the institutions have grown to be leaders in health professional education, research, science, and patient care, and pioneers of lifesaving medicine.

From its very beginning we have seen God's providence leading in the establishment and growth of this institution. The property where Loma Linda now stands was first developed as the plush Mound City Hotel during the 1887-1888 boom days. Following the depression of the 1890s, the hotel complex failed. The property then came to the attention of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and in particular, Ellen G. White and John Burden.

Loma Linda was the kind of place that aroused enthusiasm. When Mrs. White first visited Loma Linda, she was enchanted by its charms, describing it as "the most desirable place I have ever seen for a sanitarium."

When John Burden first visited the property, the owners were asking $110,000 for its purchase. This asking price was entirely too much for the young denomination. However, the price dropped until it finally reached $40,000. With his own signature, and with the blessing of Mrs. White, Pastor Burden placed $1,000 down--trusting in the Lord that future payments could be met.

Funds were not available for the second payment, due on July 26, 1905. The conference committee of the Southern California Conference met in emergency session in Los Angeles. The installment of $5,000 was due at 2:00 p.m. They didn't have the first dollar of it. Some members were again openly critical of the plan to purchase the property. Burden later reported that "the intensity of feelings was running high," and that they were "in deep perplexity."

Someone suggested that the troubled group wait for the morning mail. Soon they heard the mail carrier walking up the stairs. The mail included a letter from a woman in Atlantic City, New Jersey. The sender was unknown to anyone on the committee, and is unknown to this day. The letter had traveled, possibly for weeks, completely across the North American continent. Inside was a note saying, "I do not know just what your immediate need is, but if this will help, use it." With it was a bank draft for $5,000, the exact amount needed four hours later on that deadline day.

Suddenly there wasn't a dry eye in the place. Burden later reported, "It was as solemn as the judgment day. . . . We then took new courage, as we felt that our Lord was going before us." Future payments were met on time. The Lord has continued to bless Loma Linda throughout the years.

Since the General Conference session in 2000, LLU and LLUMC and their various entities have continued with growth, innovation, and globalization.

Growth. During the past five years enrollment at LLU has continued to increase. This year more than 4,000 students from 89 countries are enrolled in Loma Linda's eight schools and in the Faculty of Religion. Two new schools have joined the Schools of Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Public Health, and the Graduate School.

The School of Pharmacy was added in 2002. The specific objective of this new school is to educate pharmacists in a Seventh-day Adventist Christian setting that trains graduates to provide high-quality pharmacy care as fully participating members of health-care teams committed to whole-person care. The first students from our new school will receive the Pharm.D. degree in the spring of 2006.

In 2003 LLU added the School of Science and Technology. This new entity houses the behavioral sciences and natural sciences programs of the university. The faculty will also develop new programs in the technological sciences that advance the mission of LLU.

Groundbreaking ceremonies were held earlier this year for LLUMC's East Campus expansion. This new 23-acre campus, located three blocks from LLUMC, features professionals, staff, and facilities focused on patients needing rehabilitation and orthopedic and neurosurgical care in an indoor and outdoor healing environment.

The Proton Treatment Center continues to grow. Opened in 1990, Loma Linda's proton treatment delivers more precise doses of radiation than does conventional radiation. Recently the United States Department of Energy awarded a $3 million grant to further develop beam-scanning capability to improve accuracy and permit the beam to target large-field tumors such as those found in breast and lung cancer. When the facility first opened, an average of 12 patients were treated each day. Now 150 patients are treated daily.

The infant heart transplant program at Loma Linda continues to grow. Our first patient, who received a human heart in 1985 when he was 4 days old, turns 20 in November. Loma Linda University Children's Hospital (LLUCH) surgeons continue to perform approximately half of the heart transplants in newborns under 6 months of age in the United States.

LLUCH continues to serve the inland area of southern California. LLUCH and LLUMC are the tertiary care facilities for 25 percent of California. LLUCH is the only facility dedicated specifically to the specialized care of the 1.2 million children in our service area.

During the past five years approximately 25,000 stories about LLU and LLUMC have appeared in print or been seen on television. A film crew from the British Broadcasting Company spent six months at Loma Linda filming footage for the popular television channel Animal Planet. The result is a 10-part television program, Venom ER, now being shown worldwide.

We at Loma Linda are committed to the principles of wholeness, regardless of ethnicity, culture, gender, and physical states.

Our Faculty of Religion, working with the Center for Spiritual Life and Wholeness, continues its work of research, education, and service by developing models for spiritual care, and leading out in the spiritual life of our entire campus in the classroom and elsewhere.

Innovation. Loma Linda is now offering a number of classes via distance learning. The School of Public Health has launched a new distance learning master's level program. Students are required to come to the Loma Linda campus once each year in the summer for on-campus education; additional classes are taken over the Internet. Students from as far away as Ukraine have enrolled in this innovative program. In addition, approximately 60 students received LLU master's degrees from the School of Public Health during graduation ceremonies at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton.

Researchers at Loma Linda are exploring new ways to treat diseases. The Adventist Health Study-2 continues to look at the Seventh-day Adventist lifestyle and how this lifestyle contributes to longevity and better health than the general population experiences.

Globalization. Since its inception in 1905, LLU has trained individuals for local and international service. The first missionary from Loma Linda, a new School of Nursing graduate, accepted a position in Buenos Aires, Argentina, only months after her graduation in 1907. Her tradition of service to the local and global community continues.

LLU and LLUMC continue to provide consultative services for the 800-bed Sir Run Run Shaw Hospital in Hangzhou, People's Republic of China. Sir Run Run Shaw, a Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist, asked Loma Linda to partner with him in this new hospital because of the care his mother received at an Adventist hospital in the Far East.

Each year LLU offers students opportunities to participate in short-term mission service in countries outside the United States. Each year hundreds of students take the opportunity to work with other institutions through this unique program. Monthly trips are made to Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico, where the students participate in the local church and conduct health clinics on Sunday.

Just this year Loma Linda received a $3 million grant from the United States government to operate the Wazir Akbar Khan Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan. Afghanistan's Ministry of Health asked Loma Linda to operate this facility as a Western-style community hospital for the people of Afghanistan. This hospital, which has been completely refurbished by the International Red Cross, will be in operation by midyear. Faculty from Loma Linda have worked with the medical school in Kabul for several decades. Based on relationships developed over the years, the Ministry of Health has entrusted its premier teaching hospital to Loma Linda to develop and enhance.

Loma Linda continues to work with other sister institutions around the world. Faculty and staff from our various schools and medical facilities participate in continuing education classes around the globe. Health-care workers from many countries travel to Loma Linda to receive specialized training. In turn, they enrich the lives of our community.

We continue to solicit your prayers and support as we join with the world church in spreading the healing and teaching ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ.



 
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