David Faehner at his retirement celebration
During Faehner’s leadership in University Advancement, approximately $200 million was raised for Andrews, including pledges and estate plans. The University’s contributed endowment total grew from $2.1 million to $27.2 million, with an accrued growth of over $70 million and with the commensurate increase of endowments from 92 to 460. He also has participated in more than 800 Andrews alumni gatherings around the world.
In his work, Faehner prioritized students and dedicated much of his time to building projects that would benefit them. These included Chan Shun Hall, Harrigan Hall, the Seminary addition, the Howard Performing Arts Center, the remodeling of the cafeteria, the Dairy, the new Entrance, Buller Hall, the remodeling of Nethery Hall, Damazo Hall and the Andreasen Center for Wellness. His team also was instrumental in coordinating the donation for innovation on campus.
Faehner found unique ways to engage with students, too. At each University Convocation, he presented “The Top 10 Reasons Students Choose Andrews University.” The Top 10 was always developed with student leaders’ input and generated positive responses from the student body. At this year’s Convocation, he was presented a replica of the J.N. Andrews sculpture in recognition of his years of service.
Faehner and his wife, Frances, who began work at Andrews as dean of women for Lamson Hall and is now vice president for Campus & Student Life, have opened their home to over 10,000 students through the years. These students have included new international students, first-year students and various student leader groups.
Faehner is also known for starting the popular Almost Anything Goes (AAG), which has brought more than 30,000 students to Johnson Gymnasium for friendly games of class competition.
During this September's Almost Anything Goes, he was honored with the surprise renaming of AAG to “The David Faehner Almost Anything Goes.” The classes of 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026 celebrated his legacy with a video tribute, and alumni still in the local Berrien Springs area greeted him during a special procession.
On Wednesday, Sept. 21, the Andrews campus community was invited to a retirement celebration for Faehner in the Howard Performing Arts Center lobby. The program included a welcome by Donald Bedney, who succeeded him as vice president for University Advancement in August; tributes by Ronald Knott, Danielle Pilgrim, Charles Randall, president emeritus Niels-Erik Andreasen and president Andrea Luxton; musical selections by Laura Whidden-Wetterlin as well as Charles and Julie Reid accompanied by Rose Eide-Altman; and a prayer of dedication by Dwight Nelson. Faehner shared his own reflections, and his family gifted him a painting by Dan Tilstra—a collage with imagery representing important locations and moments throughout his life.
“It’s been a great privilege to work at Andrews University,” says Faehner. “I have grown personally and spiritually during my time here, and I pray for God’s continued blessings on this institution.”
Gillian Panigot, Communication manager & FOCUS editor, University Communication