Columbia Union College Names Interim President

By Scott Steward, Marketing and Communications Director

Dave Weigley, chair of the Columbia Union College (CUC) Board of Trustees, has announced the appointment of Gaspar Colón, Ph.D., as interim president of Columbia Union College, and Joan Francis, Ph.D., as interim vice president of academic administration.

“Both Dr. Colón and Dr. Francis bring tremendous skill to these positions, and they are highly respected by their colleagues at the college. I am grateful that they have graciously accepted my invitation to serve while we continue the search to fill these two significant positions on a permanent basis,” Weigley.

Colón, director of CUC’s Center for Metropolitan Ministries and a professor of Religion at the college, previously worked as director of the Office of International Relations and director of Disaster Preparedness and Response for the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International. Colón was the convening founder of the VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster) for the Northeastern United States and subsequently served as president of the umbrella organization that brought together 45 organizations including ADRA, the Red Cross, and the Salvation Army.

He is a graduate of Atlantic Union College (AUC) where he received bachelor’s degrees in Theology and German. He earned a master’s degree in Divinity from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, a master’s in Public Health from Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and a doctor of philosophy degree in Religious Education from New York University.

“I am pleased to serve a college whose origins are in mission work, and whose graduates have distinguished themselves in the mission of the Adventist church as moral leaders in communities and institutions around the world,” said Colón, who was recently voted “Professor of the Year” by CUC’s student body. "We will maintain the community ethos, stability, momentum, and the positive direction achieved by Dr. [Randal] Wisbey’s administration toward the future God has planned for our school. We will follow His lead from one stage of development of the college to the next.”

Francis, chair of CUC’s Department of History and Political Studies, is a former chair of the history department and associate academic dean at Atlantic Union College. She served as head of their continuing education and adult evening programs, similar to CUC’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies. Francis was also chair of the division of humanities at Northern Caribbean University, and has taught in Russia.

“I look forward to working in this capacity with our excellent and dedicated faculty,” she says. “We will continue the forward momentum that has made CUC the great learning community it is today.”

Francis earned all her degrees in History; a bachelor’s from AUC, a master’s from Andrews, and her doctorate of arts from Carnegie Mellon University.

The vacancies were created this spring when Wisbey accepted the invitation of La Sierra University in Riverside, Calif., to become its new president, and when Robert Young, Ph.D., the college’s vice president of academic administration, accepted the position of senior vice president of academic administration at Southern Adventist University in Collegedale, Tenn.