Dorothea E. Robinson. [PC: Clé Holly]

April 3, 2024

Honorary Doctorate to be Awarded to Dorothea Eileen Robinson

In recognition of a life dedicated to mentoring young people and preparing them for lives of service in their communities and around the world, Andrews University is pleased to award Dorothea Eileen Robinson with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.  

Born in San Nicolas, Aruba, Robinson dreamed of being a nurse from a young age. She attended West Indies College (now Northern Caribbean University) throughout high school and went on to Union College for her undergraduate education. Later, she attended Loma Linda University, where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1962, and in 1973, she received a Master of Arts in Education from New York University. 

Robinson went on to work in the nursing field, serving in various capacities. She was later invited to teach at the Boston University Graduate School of Nursing, where she served as a professor of medical surgical nursing. Robinson also contributed to a developmental training program sponsored by the Great Society Programs. As an instructor, she provided training to future licensed professional nurses and surgical technicians.  

“[Dorothea Robinson] gave me the heart to care for others,” affirms a former student. “Music and the scripture readings, or you can say, the memory texts she bestowed to us, have been internally within my heart and soul.” 

Beyond her exemplary service to her patients and students, Robinson also dedicated many of her talents to the Adventist church. She contributed as an elder, Health Ministries director and Sabbath School superintendent at multiple churches throughout Massachusetts and Florida. Robinson has additionally been involved in many forms of community outreach, volunteering in nursing homes, food pantries, community kitchens and other departments.  

As a talented musician, Robinson was also the founder and director of children’s choirs, to which she was especially dedicated. She offered her skills as a pianist to various churches, as well. Throughout her life, Robinson has given special support to many youth ministries, serving as Children’s Ministries leader, Vacation Bible School director and a local Pathfinder leader.  

“I don’t do things for people to notice me,” Robinson says. “I came from a background where my mother was the same way, she always ministered to people and helped them out where needed. I grew up in that kind of culture. It’s a natural thing for me to do.” 

In 1967, she married Dr. Byron Robinson, an oral surgeon and founder of the Byron Robinson Educational Foundation, Inc. Together, they have two children and two grandchildren. Today, the Robinsons both work for their educational foundation, a nonprofit that advances thousands of students’ academic dreams through scholarships and financial support.  

For her many contributions to her community, Robinson was recognized in 2006 by the City of Boston. In 2007, she received an honorary Doctor of Letters from Northern Caribbean University for her advancement of educational initiatives that have benefited students in Jamaica since 1976. Robinson was also a co-recipient, along with her husband, of the 100-Year Inter-American Division Award for Education and Youth Development. Her dedication to mentoring young people is further recognized by Andrews University through the conferral of this honorary degree. 

“I am grateful that someone has recognized the service that I have done, mentoring young people, helping them aspire to higher goals … I will endeavor to continue to live up to [the recognition’s] standards.” Robinson shares. “When you help others, not only they benefit from it, you benefit from it also. And from the Christian standpoint, you are also fulfilling Jesus’ command: It is more blessed to give than to receive.” 

Founded in 1874, Andrews University is a premier institution of higher education for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and offers more than 150 areas of study, including advanced degrees. Its main campus is in Berrien Springs, Michigan, but the University also provides instruction at colleges and universities in more than 25 countries around the world. 

Isabella Koh, communication coordinator