Presidential inaugurations are a joyous time, a time for a university to reflect on the success of the past, to celebrate the delegation of new leadership, and to define its purpose to a wider audience. On October 25, 2016, Dr. Andrea Luxton was officially inaugurated as President of Andrews University. Luxton’s inauguration went down in Andrews University history, marking the first female president of Andrews University. Andrews University students, staff, faculty and friends filled Pioneer Memorial Church from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to witness this momentous occasion.
The inauguration of the Andrews University’s sixth president began with a procession of a Color Guard from the 15 Divisions of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists; student delegates from Ruth Murdoch Elementary School, Andrews Academy, Griggs International Academy, Andrews University Student Association, and Andrews University Graduate School Association; Andrews University Faculty; Official Delegates; University Administrators, Andrews University Board of Trustees; and The President’s Party.
Students stated that as the flagship Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) university, Andrews University is setting the pace for other SDA universities worldwide.
Joshua Paulos (sophomore, computer science) commented that, “Luxton’s inauguration is a groundbreaking experience for Andrews.”
For the Inaugural Address, William Johnsson, former Editor of Adventist Review, started off stating, “We meet on the cusp of history, opening a new chapter of Andrews University as President Luxton is inaugurated.” He continued affirming President Luxton’s presidency, remarking that “Luxton is superbly qualified to assume the presidency of this university. And let me remind you, she has established this on a playing field that is not level.”
The inauguration continued with a performance from University Singers, who sang “O Clap Your Hands” under the direction of Stephen Zork. Luxton also presented her own self-written short film, titled “Our Story”. In this film, President Andrea Luxton emphasized that “Andrews has always had a story to tell and will continue forging that story” as the photos and music delineated all the endless possibilities and future chapters to be “written” at Andrews University.
Thembi Ndebele (sophomore, biotechnology, pre-dentistry) recounted, “Luxton’s film was very inspiring. I felt as if I was important, and all my hard work would pay off in the end.”
The inauguration ended with a benediction from R. Clifford Jones, President of the Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, who recited the J.N. Andrews Benediction, which emphasizes that “we commit ourselves to the merciful protection of God.”
Dr. Luxton stated her intention to lead Andrews University as, in her own words, an “unapologetically Seventh-day Adventist” institution. Luxton states in her response that, “We need to be creative and innovative and understand that culture will trump strategy every time.” Luxton ended her response thanking Andrews University for “inviting her to be one of the authors” of their story.
The impacts of the Luxton’s Inauguration are apparent among the student body.
Clemence Uwimana (junior, biology) exclaimed after the inauguration, “I feel empowered and inspired to be a woman who can change the world. Now more than ever, I believe that women can be acknowledged because of what they know and what they are capable of doing and their gender won’t prevent them from reaching their goals.”