Oct 27, 2016
Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States
Andrea Luxton, new president of Andrews University, said at her inauguration ceremony that stopping to listen to God’s still, small voice would be key for the university as it embarks on a new chapter of its history.
Luxton spoke Tuesday at a pomp-filled ceremony themed around the story of Andrews and titled “1874: Our Story, Next Chapter: 2016.” The school was founded in 1874.
“We now need to share a commitment to this journey ahead, that we will also sometimes stop, take time, and make sure that we listen to the still, small voice of God,” Luxton said in brief remarks at the end of the ceremony. “I hope my commitment is in line with that of everyone part of the story of Andrews. Thank you for inviting me to be one of the authors.”
Johnsson, in his inaugural address titled, “The Andrews Six,” offered a colorful historical look at the six presidents who have led the educational institution since it became Andrews University in 1960.
Quoting Hebrews 12 in The Message paraphrase of the Bible, Johnsson said: “Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed … When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!”
Johnsson, a personal friend of Luxton, concluded with a message to the new president: “Our prayers and best wishes go with you as you run your race as president of Andrews University.”
The inauguration ceremony began at 10 a.m. in the Pioneer Memorial Church on the university campus in Berrien Springs, Michigan. A color guard from all world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist world church — representing the diversity of the student body — marched into the church, followed by student representatives from Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, Andrews Academy, Griggs International Academy, and undergraduate and graduate students from the university itself.
“No one does a big day like Andrews University,” said William Johnsson, former executive editor and publisher of the Adventist Reviewand Adventist World magazines, who gave the inaugural address.
Several official delegates also attended the ceremony, including Truong Quang Duoc of Vietnam National University and Robert P. Bartlett, president of Michigan Colleges Alliance, who delivered official greetings and congratulations to Luxton.
Former university president Niels-Erik Andreasen officially handed over to Luxton a symbolic mace that he received at his own inauguration on Oct. 30, 1994. He retired on June 30.
Dwight K. Nelson, lead pastor for Pioneer Memorial Church, delivered the prayer of dedication.
“What does the Lord require of you, Andrea?” he said. “To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly, and lead us to do the same.”
Attendees said the ceremony filled them with inspiration and hope.
“I really appreciated the variety of people involved in the ceremony,” said Jeff Boyd, research support specialist in the Office of Research and Creative Scholarship at Andrews University. “It really demonstrated the local and international position that Andrews holds.”
“I have great respect for President Luxton, and I believe that her vision and support of the creativity of her faculty and staff will lead the university in doing great things for the community at large,” said Heather Ferguson, chair of the department of speech-language pathology and audiology.
Jiří Moskala, dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary on the Andrews campus, described Luxton’s leadership as “personal, contagious, innovative, humble, and creative.”
“Dr. Luxton’s transformative leadership style was powerfully reflected in her response to the charge she received from the church by stressing her willingness to learn and make AU a warm welcoming place, even more than now,” he said.
Following the benediction by R. Clifford Jones, president of the Lake Region Conference, attendees recited the “J.N. Andrews Benediction,” quoted from a letter that Adventist pioneer J.N. Andrews wrote on Sept. 15, 1874: “And now, as we set forth, we commit ourselves to the merciful protection of God, and we especially ask the prayers of the people of God that his blessing may attend us in this sacred work.”