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Washington Adventist University Graduates one of its Largest Classes

Story by Grace Virtue; photo by Eduardo Grant
Published 5/1/12


Just under 300 students graduated from Washington Adventist University on Sunday.

Slightly under 300 students passed through Washington Adventist University’s (WAU) Gateway to service, Sunday, April 29 in Takoma Park, Md. Relatives and friends packed Potomac Conference’s nearby Sligo church to witness one of the largest graduating classes in the university’s history. University officials say the numbers are symbolic of a growth spurt that the they have been experiencing in recent years.

The Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Science degrees were conferred on 237 students while graduates degrees in business administration, counseling psychology, professional counseling psychology, healthcare administration, public administration, nursing education and nursing and business leader leadership were conferred on 45 students. Nineteen students received associate of applied science and associate of science degrees.

Keynote speaker, Washington attorney Scott McClure, urged graduates to remain true to the university’s commitment to a life of service and to social justice. A WAU education, he said, is about engaging mind and transforming lives which means grasping the information necessary to be competent in one’s field or the pursuit of further studies, as well as an action plan that incorporates the values of kindness, respect, honesty, candor, ethics and following the Lord.

Nirupama Rao, WAU’s distinguished Gateway Service honoree and ambassador of India to the United States, was recognized for her contribution to liberal arts education, according to WAU’s president, Weymouth Spence, EdD. Rao holds undergraduate and graduate degrees in English Literature and is a published poet. She joined the diplomatic service in 1973 and, in addition to her Washington posting, has served her country in Sri Lanka, Moscow and Beijing.

In a presentation liberally sprinkled with the wisdom of compatriot, Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian civil Rights leader, Rao commended WAU’s emphasis on character education, which she said, was critical for preparing young minds to face the challenges of the contemporary world. Graduates would do well, she said, to be mindful of the even blunders of life as articulated by Gandhi: wealth without work; pleasure without conscience; knowledge without morality; commerce without character; science without humanity; worship without sacrifice and politics without principles.

Graduation weekend activities began on April 27th with a Consecration Service at Sligo Church. Chair of the Psychology Department, Grant Leitma, PhD, gave the consecration address. On Sabbath, April 28, Rear Admiral Barry Black, the 62nd Chaplain of the United States Senate, served as keynote speaker.


Nirupama Rao, WAU’s distinguished Gateway Service honoree and ambassador of India to the United States, was recognized for her contribution to liberal arts education.