Niels-Erik Andreasen

Since its founding in Battle Creek 131 years ago, Andrews University has embraced its institutional mission to educate students for generous service to the church and society in keeping with a faithful witness to Christ and to the worldwide mission of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These are lofty and challenging words on the page, but they can be found in action, in the people and on the campus of Andrews University.

Educating for Generous Service
Andrews University honors the opportunity to educate bright, committed students who share our interest in impacting the world. Today, more than 3,000 students from nearly 100 countries study at our Berrien Springs campus, in five schools and in 180 undergraduate and graduate programs. The university's educational strength extends worldwide through affiliate and extension programs, in which another 1,700 students are currently working toward Andrews undergraduate and graduate degrees at 16 affiliated institutions on five continents. Andrews alumni number more than 28,000. They work across the globe, and literally thousands of them serve in the world church or in other Adventist leadership positions.

Andrews University boasts a diverse teaching faculty, dedicated to academic excellence. Like our student body, our faculty members come from around the world. In addition to teaching, Andrews faculty are challenged and committed to scholarly research and publishing. Their work not only serves the campus but provides vital scholarship for the church, the community, and the world. We are proud of our faculty, who have made the commitment to our students, understanding that during the few years our students are with us the interactions in and out of the classroom will mold their decisions about career, friends, and service to God and society.

Some of the educational success of our students is demonstrated through national standards. Our undergraduate students are entering college with scores consistently higher than national averages on standardized tests. Our retention rates are nearly 15 percentage points higher than those of similar private universities, reflecting a six-point increase since 1999, and demonstrating our students' success and commitment to Adventist education at Andrews University.

The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, which recently commemorated its seventieth year of training for ministry, had a record enrollment in the fall of 2004 of 678 students. Andrews University Seminary students come from all inhabited continents of the world to join one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse seminary campuses in North America.

Creating a physical environment that fosters learning and builds community among students, faculty, and staff is an ongoing challenge in a time of stretched financial resources. Thanks to the generosity of university friends, who are also committed to education for generous service, we have completed two major building projects during the past quinquennium. The facility that houses the Theological Seminary underwent a much-needed renovation and expansion. This project doubled the square footage to better accommodate the record enrollment, and now provides fitting spaces that foster intellectual, spiritual, and social community among the students, staff, and faculty of the seminary.

The second building project had remained a dream for more than a quarter century--a dream that one day Andrews would have a first-class performance hall on campus. To some, this may seem an extravagant dream for a small university located in a very small village. But at Andrews there is nothing small about the work we do or the people we serve. This dream became reality in large part because of the generosity of a couple from the local area, who were not members of the Adventist Church, but who had been blessed by the high standard of music that Andrews has offered over the years to our local community. In October 2003 Andrews dedicated the Howard Performing Arts Center to the Giver who dreams of a world filled with His song, healed by His music.

A global community of eager students, keen-minded faculty, and improving facilities that foster a learning climate--these elements combine to create a vibrant environment that lets the minds of our students soar--but to what end? While we are confident that at the culmination of their degree programs Andrews graduates are prepared for excellent service in their field, we recognize that their desire to be of service cannot be met through theoretical discussion in the classroom.

So "educated for service" is demonstrated creatively and practically in various disciplines. For example, our music students and faculty offer free lessons in their spare time to disadvantaged children; music performance organizations spend their vacations bringing beautiful music to inspire the hearts of those stricken with AIDS in developing countries; architecture students serve the building needs of small communities in South America; biology students tutor disadvantaged children in the local community; a potpourri of students volunteer their time each Sabbath for street ministries in nearby Benton Harbor; and hundreds more dedicate their varied talents and time for the annual Easter weekend Passion Play, which ministers to more than 8,000 guests to our campus.

Witness to Christ and to the Worldwide Mission of the Church
Where do Andrews students get the energy and inspiration to serve? It is through the freshness and energy of youthful enthusiasm--an element that brings great joy to the educational work on campus. Students thrive in the Christ-centered classroom and in the daily worship services expected on a Christian campus, but Andrews students also take hold of their faith experience and live it out in bold new ways.

While the secularism and materialism of the postmodern world portend dismal projections for church attendance in North America, Andrews University is defying the trend and experiencing a vibrant spiritual community. Every Sabbath there are nearly 30 worship opportunities in our community, including eight options right in Berrien Springs. Bible study in the tradition of Sabbath school has enjoyed a revitalized interest through the grassroots initiative and leadership of Andrews students with the support of their families in the community. Andrews students are feeding on God's Word together, inviting the Holy Spirit into their lives through creative expressive worship, and sharing their experience with others.

Legacy of Leadership
For nearly a century and a half Andrews University has provided higher education to the Adventist Church. In 1960 that commitment was redoubled by the General Conference, which established Andrews University as a comprehensive university charged with serving the needs of a growing and changing denomination. Andrews has faithfully nurtured Adventist higher education around the globe through our affiliate relationships to sister institutions, and we have watched with satisfaction as many of these colleges have outgrown the need for our name on their charters.

However, there remains a tremendous need for educated leaders to support the church's expansion, to bring Adventist influence to various fields in the public sector, and to provide faith-based education for the world Adventist family. Andrews University stands on the cusp of a new era in Adventist education and is uniquely prepared to serve the global needs of our worldwide church.

While we still count the years of the new century and the millennium in single digits, Andrews is distinctly situated to draw on our legacy, our leadership, and our substantial resources in developing future leaders during this challenging time of earth's history. And we will strengthen our efforts to inspire our students, graduate and undergraduate, to seize the opportunities to fully participate in the culturally, socially, spiritually, and intellectually rich campus community.

Andrews University looks to the future with confidence. With God's guidance and grace we will strengthen the signature programs of the university to make them responsive and adaptable to the needs of church and society. We will nurture our outstanding faculty, who embody the academic excellence and spiritual maturity that inspire students and prepare them for distinctive leadership roles. And we will remain faithful stewards of the physical spaces of our campus, and continue to develop and provide a physical plant that builds community and supports educational values.

At Andrews we are stewards of a legacy of leadership that inspires us to take seriously what Adventist education sets out to do. We are stewards of resources measured in the lives of people and the walls of buildings. And we are stewards of a mission, inspired by our namesake, John Nevins Andrews.

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