Photo by Darren Heslop, University Communication staff photographer 

May 4, 2023

Andrews University Spring Graduation Details Announced

Andrews University’s spring graduation will take place May 5–7, 2023. The weekend’s events will include a Friday evening Commencement service, Baccalaureate services on Sabbath morning and two additional Commencement services on Sunday morning. 

All Commencement services will take place at the Howard Performing Arts Center, and the Baccalaureate services will take place at Pioneer Memorial Church. Please note that in order to provide more seating for families and friends of graduates, Commencement is held in three separate services and is by reserved seating only. Overflow seating for the Commencement services is available in the Seminary Chapel.  

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

On Friday, May 5, at 5:30 p.m., John V.G. Matthews, emeritus professor of educational foundations and religious education, will deliver the Commencement address for the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary and the College of Education & International Services. His talk is titled “Broken, We Conquer.” Matthews received his MA and PhD from Andrews University and has experience working for the Seventh-day Adventist Church in South Africa, England, Denmark, Pakistan, Thailand and the United States. At Andrews University, he has taught in the School of Education and the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary. Topic areas have centered on religious education, educational foundations, ideological diversity and dissertation proposal development. 

Two honorary degree candidates will be recognized at this service. Daniel Richard Jackson fulfilled a 49-year career as a pastor, higher education teacher, and administrator. He was known for his wise leadership and ability to successfully navigate even the most challenging circumstances. From 2010–2020, Jackson served as president of the North American Division within the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, during which time he continued to find great joy in empowering lay members, administrators and boards to embrace their mission. Jackson was originally scheduled to receive his honorary degree from Andrews University in 2020, but it was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As rescheduling attempts were unsuccessful before his death on July 23, 2022, Jackson’s honorary degree will be awarded posthumously to his family.  

Juan R. Prestol-Puesán will also receive recognition for his service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Prestol-Puesán was the first person of color to assume top financial leadership roles in Adventist church entities worldwide, including as CFO/treasurer of the General Conference. He has managed financial assignments that impacted a wide spectrum of church organizational issues. Now retired, Prestol-Puesán works in the development and implementation of Leadership Laboratory (LeadLab), a joint initiative between the General Conference and Andrews University Global Leadership Institute. He is also a special assistant to the GC treasurer and an adjunct professor of leadership at Andrews.  

On Saturday, May 6, Garth Gabriel, president of the Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, will offer the address “Created for Greatness” and focus on Genesis 1:1 for both the 9 a.m. (graduate) and 11:45 a.m. (undergraduate) Baccalaureate services. After graduating from Atlantic Union College, Gabriel pursued a successful career as a businessman and entrepreneur but eventually felt compelled by God to enter pastoral ministry. He has since served as an ordained minister and conference administrator for the Lake Region Conference for over 25 years. One of his most cherished ministries has been his participation with the Heritage Singers over the past 40 years—he was privileged to serve as one of the group’s musical directors and spiritual leaders. 

Two Commencement services will take place on Sunday, May 7. Karen Allen, dean and professor of nursing at Valparaiso University College of Nursing and Health Professions, will speak at the 8:30 a.m. Commencement service for graduates of the College of Health & Human Services and College of Professions. Her talk is titled, “Are you the one, or should HE look for another?” Allen earned her BS in nursing and MS in nursing administration and adult health from Andrews University and her PhD in nursing sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Among numerous roles throughout her career, she was selected for the 2022 “Doctor-to-Doctor World’s Top 100” by Global Health Summits, is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN) and currently serves as chairperson of the Board of Trustees for the Northwest Health Porter health care system. 

Shandelle Henson, professor of mathematics and professor of ecology, will deliver the address, “Shema,” for the 11:30 a.m. Commencement service for graduates of the College of Arts & Sciences. Henson received her MA in mathematics from Duke University and PhD in mathematics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She pursued post-doctoral studies in dynamical systems and bifurcation theory at the University of Arizona in Tucson before being appointed to the faculty of the College of William and Mary. She joined the faculty at Andrews University in 2001, where she has been recognized for her dedication to research and excellence in teaching. 

Honorary degree candidate Monte C. Sahlin will be honored at this service for his leadership in the church and community. Sahlin began his career in the communication field before eventually taking on various directorial and administrative roles in the Church, including Church Ministries director and ADRA director for the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and executive director of Adventist Community Services. He has served as a pastor and educator and also has dedicated much of his life to social action projects, disaster aid and interfaith research. As a prolific writer and researcher, Sahlin has authored over 25 books and numerous journal articles. 

Select graduation services will be livestreamed. For details, visit

Isabella Koh, University Communication student writer