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Dean Receives Lifetime Achievement Award
By Liz Anderson
Washington Adventist University’s dean of the School of Arts and Social Sciences, Gaspar Colón, PhD, and his wife, May-Ellen Colón, PhD, recently received the highest award for excellence in family life work in the North American Division (NAD). The division’s Department of Family Ministries presented them with the 2009 Distinguished Service Award during the recent annual Family Life Celebration weekend at Andrews University (Mich.).
The Colón’s active involvement in family ministries began nearly 30 years ago in Hartford, Conn. One of Gaspar’s Catholic Bible study students insisted he and May-Ellen attend a Marriage Encounter weekend seminar. A short time later, the couple attended an intense training seminar, which prepared them to conduct marriage enrichment weekends throughout their church district.
“We’ve had a lot of fun with it,” Gaspar says. “And actually we’re into it more because we work on our own marriage. Everything we do in marriage seminars is for us primarily. Then we share.”
Their years of service also include work in pastoral ministry and public health. While stationed in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa, they co-directed the Africa-Indian Ocean Division Department of Family Ministries. They also founded and led the Euro-Asian Family Life Department during their time in Moscow.
In addition to his duties as dean, Gaspar is a theology professor and directs of the university’s Center for Metropolitan Ministries. May-Ellen is assistant director of Sabbath School and Personal Ministries and directs Adventist Community Services International for the worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
The Colóns still hold marriage enrichment seminars when both opportunity and time allow. Recently, they helped form an interdenominational partnership between their home church and other community churches to promote healthy family relationships and family life.