Atlantic Union College (AUC), founded in 1882, is one of the oldest Seventh-day Adventist institutions of higher learning. For more than 100 years, AUC has produced graduates who have made a significant impact on the work of the church at every level. We can only pray that it is within God’s plan that this institution will continue to prepare young people for service here on earth and higher service in the world to come.
As a professional institution, AUC produces diverse graduates in service-centered professions and with the skills needed to lead others to embody God’s ideal for healthy communities. The college currently offers two bachelor’s degree programs—B.A. in Theology/Religion and B.S. in Health Science/Biology. Both of these typically require at least four years to complete.
AUC also offers six professional certificate programs consistent with the college’s mission to provide professional education and its commitment to the concept that work is the active expression of knowledge. These programs, which are designed to take two or three semesters to complete, are based upon recognized professional standards and offer certification recognized by authoritative third parties. The current professional certificate programs include: Evangelism Training, Medical Billing and Coding, Medical Office Assistant, Certified Bookkeeping, Cisco Networking and Security, and Pharmacy Technician.
AUC lost its accreditation in 2011, which led to the closure of its academic program. The college reopened in 2015 and has been seeking accreditation from national and regional accreditation bodies ever since. Unfortunately, for various reasons, the college had to withdraw its application.
Atlantic Union College currently has an application before the General Conference accreditation body, Adventist Accrediting Association. The approval of this request will be determined by the North American Division (NAD) administration. They have asked the Atlantic Union Conference to conduct an independent feasibility study of the college to assist in determining the way forward. The Atlantic Union Conference and the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees are committed to cooperate and collaborate with the NAD in finding the best path for AUC to move forward.
With more than 120,000 members in the Atlantic Union, of which tens of thousands are young adults, youth, or children, AUC should be able to tap into these resources to populate its campus. Among the universities and colleges within NAD there is strong competition for students. We believe that with an accredited institution, AUC will be able to attract and provide an excellent education for our youth. We need to make AUC current with the expectations of an institution of higher learning, diversify our curriculum offerings to meet the needs of the prospective student population, and satisfy the requirements of the workplace.
For these things to be achieved, we will need the support of our six conferences and their constituents. We have come this far by faith leaning on the Lord. We know the Lord will never fail us. Ellen White wrote in the book Education, p. 30, “The work of education and the work of redemption are one.” The task before us is awesome, the challenge is great, but if we would stand shoulder to shoulder, hand in hand, we can overcome these obstacles. Reopening a college is by no means an easy task, but with God’s grace, as long as we are within His will, I deeply believe that God will guide us through.
Let’s keep courage, let’s march forward together, never giving up hope, because “if God is for us, who can be against us?” AUC needs our support if it is going to succeed. Let’s allow the results of the independent feasibility study to guide us in these decisions going forward.
G. Earl Knight is president of the Atlantic Union Conference and chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees.