The Gurubatham family contributed a combined 100 years of service to Washington Adventist University alone.

, with Washington Adventist University staff

Joseph Gurubatham, a former president of Griggs University and vice president of academic affairs for Washington Adventist University, has died at the age of 74.

Gurubatham, who came from a dedicated Seventh-day Adventist family of five siblings, had retired as senior vice president of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools in Washington just weeks before his death on Aug. 9, Washington Adventist University said.

“This is a tremendous loss for Washington Adventist University and for all of the educational institutions that Dr. Joseph Gurubatham enhanced with his strong spirit and management skills,” university president Weymouth Spence said in a statement. “The Gurubatham family has contributed a combined 100 years of service to this university alone, and for that we are grateful.”

The cause of death was not given.

Gurubatham’s wife, Juanita, also worked at Washington Adventist University in Takoma Park, Maryland, for more than 25 years, from 1981 and 2007, the university said. She was initially a faculty member and later served as associate vice president of academic administration and institutional research.

Gladstone, Joseph Gurubatham’s brother, founded the university’s adult evening program more than 30 years ago and was, at the time of his death last December, a psychology professor and the university’s longest-serving faculty member with 50 years of service.

His sister, Hepsi Singh, was vice president for finance at the Review and Herald Publishing Association.

Adventist Church president Ted N.C. Wilson described Joseph Gurubatham was a respected Adventist administrator and educator and a good friend.

“There are some educators who make a lifelong impression on you as a student and then become good friends. Such an individual was Dr. Joseph Gurubatham,” Wilson said on his Facebook page.

He said Gurubatham served as the registrar at Columbia Union College, now Washington Adventist University, when he studied there.

“He helped me greatly as I arranged various class schedules,” Wilson said, adding that he was “always such a positive and cheerful Christian.”

Gurubatham earned his doctorate in education (administration and management) from Catholic University of America, and his master’s degree in business administration from Pennsylvania State University. He was an alumnus of Washington Adventist University, having earned his bachelor’s degree in office administration and business education.

Gurubatham used his presidency at Griggs University, an Adventist long-distance educational institution, to specialize in areas of personnel management; salary and wage administration; program planning and evaluation; systems theory; leadership theory; and behavior and communication. He also served in a variety of leadership positions in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Plans are pending for a memorial service at Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church in Tacoma Park.

Gurubatham is survived by his wife, Juanita, and their sons Eric and Kevin.

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