Brendon is a hard-working accounting major who appreciates the opportunity to work grounds. During lunch in the cafeteria, you may find him reading the Sabbath School lesson. In the evenings, he likes to take a stroll around the pond singing.
Diego, a nursing major and son of a Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) alum, loves to fish. Even though he is busy with clinicals during the school year, he is also a volunteer coach at one of our local Seventh-day Adventist schools. During the summer, you may find him working at an Adventist summer camp.
Naomi, a kinesiology student, spent this past summer assisting the SWAU Office of Advancement making phone calls to pray with our friends and supporters.
In talking with them, I learned of several common threads: They are in search of God’s plan for their lives. They’re glad to be in a setting that feels like family. They understand that many help make their educational goals a reality. It is a privilege they don't take lightly.
We have a wonderful responsibility as an educational institution to be part of their journey.
SWAU, established in 1893, was created by fearless leaders wanting to prepare young minds who would go into the world to share the good news of the gospel. Acknowledging the growing Seventh-day Adventist movement in the southwest at the time, SWAU was established to fulfill three main objectives*:
1. To furnish the youth with an education which will fit them for the practical duties of life, and to do so under the influences favorable to the promotion of reverence for the Word of God and to the development of Christian character.
2. To train laborers for the ministry and for other branches of Christian work.
3. To provide daily employment for the students, not only for its influence upon their health and their character, but also to enable them to pay for their expenses.
These main objectives bring to mind the words of Ellen G. White, “True education means more than the pursual of a certain course of study. It means more than a preparation for the life that now is. It has to do with the whole being, and with the whole period of existence possible to man. It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come,” Education, p13.1.
The rich history and beginnings of SWAU feature the vision and generosity of pioneers like professor C.B. Hughes and his wife, Ellen Evans Hughes, the Woodall, Atwood and French families, and the efforts and sacrifices that led to establishing an educational institution.
Student stories remind us of God’s plan to advance His kingdom here on earth. It's God’s plan to prepare a generation to share His hope with others. The connection continues as a chain linked to the previous generations following the Bible's words: “Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation,” Joel 1:3.
Whether or not a student comes to SWAU knowing God's story of hope, we want to make sure the student leaves knowing His redemption story. It is even more rejoiceful when we learn of a student's desire to serve God and share His love with others.
That is why legacy is so important. As we extend and expand, in a chain-like manner, it requires a God-given vision and generosity from students, families and community alike.
Our greatest desire and prayer is for Brandon, Diego, Naomi and our many other current and prospective students to experience Christ-centered knowledge, to grow in their faith walk with God and then to experience the overflowing joy that comes from serving God and community. What a Legacy!