Envisioning the future of Adventist Higher Education in North America and planning strategically to ensure strong, faith-based education in a financially challenging, increasingly secular environment.


Who Should Attend?

This summit on the future of SDA higher education is designed for decision makers and influencers in the North American Division as they wrestle with the challenges being faced by colleges and universities today.

The invitees include:

  • College and University Board chairs
  • NAD leadership (Administrative and Educational)
  • NAD Union presidents and treasurers
  • NAD Conference presidents
  • NAD Conference Educational Superintendents
  • Department or school chairs of each NAD institution
  • The Cabinet members of each NAD College and University
  • College and University Senate chair persons
  • College and University Alumni Presidents
  • General Conference Education Department Leadership
  • Health care leadership


Dick Hart

Keynote address

George Knight

An Adventist Education: What Matters Most?

Brook Hempell

Higher Education Research as it Pertains to Christian Colleges and Universities

Tim Fuller

Higher Ed Trends: Demanding a New Model

Joretta Nelson

Coming to a Conclusion

Vinita Sauder

Adventist Education Alliance

Andrea Luxton

Collaboration – Successes and Failures

Dick Osborn

How a System Works (with Michael Horowitz and John Reynolds)

Dan Jackson

Panel: Higher Education Collaboration, What Is Possible?

Robert Benne

Can the Adventist Center Hold?

Cheryl Kisunzu

Preparing SDA HE for Influx of Non-SDAs & Non-Christians

Michael Thomas

Between Collaboration and Merger

Monte Sahlin

Current Demographics


Why should you attend?


The challenge of providing a strong faith-based education for Seventh-day Adventist young people is different than it was 50 years ago. It is time to think of new approaches to providing a college/university education for young people who want an environment that strengthens their faith. This will be a groundbreaking event that will chart the course for the future of SDA higher education.


Speaker Bios

Dick Hart

Prior to becoming President, Richard H. Hart, MD, DrPH, was named chancellor and chief executive officer of Loma Linda University in February 2001. He was born in 1945 at the Loma Linda Sanitarium and Hospital, and received his early education in Washington at Upper Columbia Academy in Spangle, and Walla Walla College in College Place. While at Walla Walla, he became the first student missionary from the Seventh-day Adventist Church to serve outside of North America.

Dr. Hart's vision extends to the farthest reaches of the globe. His early involvement in student missionary work was key in the development of Students for International Mission Service and Social Action Community Health System—a local low-cost health care system for the medically underserved. He is also president of Adventist Health International, an organization created to manage health services in developing countries.

Monte Sahlin

Monte Sahlin has worked to understand contemporary trends in our society and to help congregations and faith-based organizations make innovations since he organized ACT while in college at La Sierra University, Riverside, California, in the 1960s. ACT was a student volunteer organization that served in inner city neighborhoods and with suburban teenagers.

He is currently chairman of the board for the Center for Creative Ministry, a research organization and resource center helping pastors, congregations and other organizations understand new generations and how to engage with them. He is also a senior fellow at the Center for Metropolitan Ministry, a "think tank" and training organization based on the campus of Washington Adventist University in Washington, DC, as well as an adjunct faculty member at the Campolo Graduate School at Eastern University in Philadelphia and in the Doctor of Ministry program at Andrews University. In addition, he serves as executive secretary of the Cooperative Congregational Studies Partnership, a coalition of researchers from more than 40 denominations and faiths who produce the Faith Community Today (FACT) research.

He is the author of 21 books, more than 100 research monographs, and hundreds of magazine articles. Sahlin has worked as director, board chairman or strategic consultant with more than 100 innovative, community-based ministries, church plants and nonprofit organizations over the last four decades.

Tim Fuller

Tim brings subject-area expertise to enrollment, research, and strategic planning as a member of Credo’s Executive Leadership team. In his role, Tim is a primary collaborator within the higher education marketplace leading strategic planning projects and consulting with independent colleges and universities in the areas of enrollment, research, and comprehensive projects. Tim is a frequent conference speaker with a variety of higher education organizations on topics of strategic planning, enrollment, the future of higher education and research. Tim has been in higher education and consulting since 1980. Prior to joining Credo, he served at Houghton College for 27 years, the last 15 on the senior cabinet, supervising admission and student financial services, in addition to coordinating student persistence efforts. Tim earned a B.A. from Houghton College and an M.B.A. at State University of New York at Buffalo.

Brooke Hempell

Barna Groups senior vice president, research, Brooke Hempell, has been a market research advisor for nearly 15 years, designing both qualitative and quantitative research to guide clients in new product development and positioning, brand portfolio strategy, communications planning, and sales and marketing effectiveness.

Prior to joining Barna in 2015, Brooke worked with Boston-based MaPS (Marketing and Planning Systems), HawkPartners, and London-based i-to-i research, a subsidiary of Publicis Groupe. She has served Fortune 100 clients in a range of industries, primarily pharmaceuticals, financial services, nonprofit, and retail, in the U.S. and globally.

George Knight

He is a leading Seventh-day Adventist historian, author, and educator. He is emeritus professor of church history at Andrews University. As of 2014 he is considered to be the best-selling and influential voice for the past three decades within the denomination.

A few of his books:
  • Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus
  • A. T. Jones: Point Man on Adventism's Charismatic Frontier
  • Exploring Thessalonians
  • William Miller and the Rise of Adventism
  • Exploring Romans
  • Sin and Salvation: God’s Work for Us and In Us
  • Exploring the Letters of John and Jude
  • Lest We Forget.

Robert Benne

Robert Benne was Jordan-Trexler Professor of Religion and Chair of the Religion and Philosophy Department at Roanoke College for eighteen years before he left full-time teaching in 2000. He founded the Roanoke College Center for Religion & Society in 1982 and directed it until 2012. He continues at Roanoke College as a Research Associate in its Religion and Philosophy Department. Before going to Roanoke College in 1982, he was Professor of Church and Society at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago for seventeen years

The most recent of his twelve books are:
  • Good and Bad Ways to Think About Religion and Politics
  • Quality with Soul: How Six Premier Colleges and Universities Keep Faith with their Religious Traditions
  • Reasonable Ethics
  • A Christian Approach to Social, Economic, and Political Concerns

Dan Jackson

President of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North American Division since 2010. Before that he was president of the church in Canada for 8 years.

Richard Osborn

He was the 20th President of Pacific Union College. He took office in 2001, serving until he resigned in 2009. Previously, he also served as President of the Council for American Private Education, a coalition representing 80% of private schools in the United States. Currently, he is employed as Vice-President of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. He has served as a board member or consultant for over fifteen colleges and universities. He is also a recent Chair of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities, a voice for private higher education in California.

Dr. Michael Horowitz

With a 30-year career as an innovator in higher education, Dr. Horowitz is a nationally recognized strategic leader. Having served numerous roles as faculty member, administrator and entrepreneur, he was inspired in 2009 to forge a new path in higher education that leads to improved student outcomes and better communities around the world. As a result, he founded TCS Education System—a nonprofit system advancing student success and community impact. He currently serves as President for TCS.

John Reynolds, Chancellor/CEO of LA Pacific University

Experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry. Skilled in Nonprofit Organizations, E-Learning, Nonprofit Management, Higher Education Administration, and Strategic Planning. Strong business development professional with a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) focused in Higher Education/Higher Education Administration from Azusa Pacific University.

Vinita Sauder

Vinita Sauder was appointed as Union College’s 29th president in 2014. She has extensive experience as an educator, researcher, and administrator, beginning her career in education as a professor in business and management. Prior to accepting the position at Union College, she served for 17 years in vice presidential roles at Southern Adventist University in Tennessee, a sister institution to Union College. These roles included strategic initiatives, academic administration, marketing, enrollment, and financial aid.

Dr. Sauder earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism, an MBA from the University of Tennessee in Chattanooga, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She is a graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University’s School of Education.

Andrea Luxton

Andrea Luxton is the sixth president of Andrews University located in Berrien Springs, Michigan. She joined the faculty in 2010 and served as provost until July 1, 2016, when she assumed her current role. She also holds the rank of professor of English in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Luxton was born in Watford, Hertfordshire, the daughter of educators, and early developed a passion for teaching. For her undergraduate studies, Luxton attended Newbold College, Bracknell, Berkshire, England, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in theology and English in 1977. She continued her studies at Andrews University and completed a Master of Arts in English the following year.

Cheryl Kisunzu

Kisunzu holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Andrews University Berrien Springs, MI; M.S. in Nursing from Rush University, Chicago, IL and B.S.in Nursing, also from Andrews University/Berrien Springs. She has held senior level positions in academic and administrative leadership, including grant administrator at Eastfield College, Mesquite, TX, and at different times, had responsibility for nursing, the life sciences, and human resources at William Rainey Harper College, Palatine, IL. She has also taught at the community college and university levels for 14 years.

Michael Thomas

Michael K. Thomas is the President and CEO of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE) in Boston, Massachusetts, a regional organization working with the 260 colleges and universities in the six New England states.

Dr. Thomas directs NEBHE's policy, research, publishing, programmatic and fund raising activities. These focus on promoting innovative K–12, post secondary and life-long learning policies and on expanding collaboration among leaders of business, government and education.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Brigham Young University and master’s degrees in higher education from Teachers College, Columbia University and Harvard University. He earned a doctorate in education and social policy from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Boston University.

Dr. Thomas frequently lectures and speaks on issues related to K-12 and post secondary education policy, regional and global competitiveness, the internationalization of higher education, college readiness and the economic impact of higher education.

He, with Kent Chabotar, wrote Between Collaboration and Merger: Expanding Alliance Strategies in Higher Education.

Joretta Nelson, PH.D.

A frequent speaker and guest lecturer at higher education conferences and campuses across the country, Joretta enjoys connecting with her audiences, and empowering independent college and university campuses to succeed by putting students first. She has an uncanny ability to relate and communicate, ensuring each client and colleague feels heard and supported. Joretta previously served positions as a member of senior leadership teams at Brevard College and Union College, and as a faculty member in music departments on various campuses. Joretta earned her Ph.D. in Higher Education from Azusa Pacific University, where her dissertation focused on student motivation, exertion of effort, and institutional impact. An accomplished musician, particularly as a choral conductor, Joretta received her B.A. in music from the University of California at Los Angeles and completed choral conducting master’s studies at California State University at Fullerton.



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