Globe sculpture at the Andrews University entrance, photo credit Jeff Boyd

April 28, 2022

Andrews University announces spring graduation speakers

Andrews University’s spring graduation will take place May 6–8, 2022.

The weekend’s central events begin Friday evening with two Commencement services, continue into Saturday morning with the Baccalaureate services and conclude Sunday with three additional Commencement services. All Commencement services will take place at the Howard Performing Arts Center, while the Baccalaureate services will take place at Pioneer Memorial Church. Overflow seating for the Seminary Commencement on Friday at 5 p.m. is available in the Seminary Chapel. Please note that in order to provide more seating for families of graduates, Commencement is held in five separate services and is by reserved seating only. 

Additional academic and cultural programs are planned on Thursday, May 5, and throughout graduation weekend. Consult the online schedule for a complete listing at  

Thomas R. Shepherd, senior research professor of New Testament at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, will deliver the Commencement address for the Seminary on Friday, May 6, at 5 p.m. Shepherd received his master's and doctorate in public health in 1976, then later attended the Seminary where he earned an MA in religion and a PhD in religion in New Testament. In 2008, he began teaching in the Seminary, where he served for 12.5 years until his retirement. Shepherd considers it a privilege to work with some of the brightest Adventist theological minds in the world. 

On Friday at 7:30 p.m., the College of Health & Human Services Commencement address will be presented by David Village, professor emeritus of physical therapy. After receiving his master’s degree in physical therapy in 1988, Village worked at the Kettering Medical Center for seven years before returning to Andrews to begin teaching for the Department of Physical Therapy. He taught for 25 years and, throughout his career, viewed each day as a gift from God to try to improve the lives of others. 

Artur A. Stele, general vice president for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and chair of the Andrews University Board of Trustees, will offer the Baccalaureate address on Saturday, May 7, for both the 9 a.m. (graduate) and 11:45 a.m. (undergraduate) services. Stele's denominational service includes time as pastor, academic dean and president of Zaokski Theological Seminary and as president of the Euro-Asia Division. Stele earned a pharmacy degree in 1979 and a bachelor's degree in theology in 1986. Later, in 1993 and 1996, he received his master's degree and doctorate in theology from Andrews. 

On Sunday, May 8, Elvin S. Gabriel, professor emeritus of educational psychology and counselor education, will speak at the 9 a.m. Commencement service for graduates of the College of Education & International Services and College of Professions. Gabriel earned an MA in education from Andrews in 1975, then an EdS from Loma Linda University and an EdD from The George Washington University. In 1996, he began his almost 25-year teaching career at Andrews where he strived to provide a stimulating, caring and inclusive learning environment for his students. 

Honorary degree candidate Nina Atcheson, MRE, curriculum manager and senior editor in the Sabbath School Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, will be honored at this service. In her career, Atcheson has demonstrated a strong vision and desire to share God and Bible truth with the younger generation. In her three years as the associate director of education and curriculum for the North American Division, Atcheson authored the Adventist Encounter Bible Curriculum for grades 9–12, managing its production, training and rollout. Its implementation has shifted how the Bible is taught in Adventist schools in North America and countries around the world. 

Sunday’s 11:30 a.m. Commencement is for 2022 graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences (CAS) Divisions of Humanities and Social Sciences, and the 2 p.m. Commencement is for CAS 2022 STEM Division graduates as well as 2020 and 2021 CAS graduates who are returning for a full graduation celebration. Beverly J. Matiko, associate professor emerita of English and communication, will speak for both CAS services. 

Matiko earned undergraduate and graduate degrees at Andrews. She taught at Canadian Union College for seven years before pursuing a PhD in English at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. She then taught at Newbold College for two years before returning to Andrews in 1992. Matiko’s enthusiasm for the classroom, her students and crafting with words was evident over her 29 years as an associate professor, including in the J.N. Andrews Honors Program. 

Honorary degree candidate Roger H. Pak, PhD, Associate Research Fellow, Novel Delivery Technologies, Pfizer Inc., will be honored at the 2 p.m. Commencement. Throughout Pak’s career in academia and in the biopharmaceutical industry, he has explored innovative chemistry and biotechnology in order to deliver bioactive molecules in the search for breakthrough therapies. Recently, he worked on the COVID-19 vaccine (Comirnaty®) from Pfizer/BioNTech which utilized lipid nanoparticle technology to deliver mRNA. Pak was the team lead for the novel lipid technology and was responsible for the lipid chemistry, manufacturing and controls for all markets worldwide.

Select graduation services will be livestreamed. For details, visit


Compiled by Pearl Parker, University Communication student writer