April 21, 2011

11 CN: WAU to Establish Massachusetts Campus

Washington Adventist University to Establish Massachusetts Campus
School will use property of Atlantic Union College, whose accreditation ends July 31


A memorandum signed March 10 between administrators of Washington Adventist University (WAU), in Takoma Park, Maryland, and Atlantic Union College (AUC), in Massachusetts, positions the two Seventh-day Adventist-owned institutions to work toward an “open-ended” agreement to establish a satellite location of Maryland-based WAU on the New England campus.

The “Memorandum of Understanding” is expected to result in WAU’s becoming the “sole provider of higher education” at AUC, a statement posted on WAU’s Web site said. WAU would lease the facilities of AUC in the arrangement, the statement added.

“All provisions are dependent upon approval from the required accrediting and regulatory agencies,” the statement continued. The move follows a recent decision by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges to suspend AUC’s accreditation effective July 31, 2011. The regional accrediting agency cited financial reasons in its decision.

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UNDERSTANDING REACHED: Top administrators from Washington Adventist University and Atlantic Union College sign a memorandum expected to shape the future of their respective institutions. From left: Weymouth Spence, president of Washington Adventist University; Dave Weigley, chair of the WAU board of trustees; Don King, chair of the Atlantic Union College board of trustees; and Norman Wendth, president of AUC. [PHOTO: Kevin Manuel]

AUC is the Adventist Church’s oldest college still located on its original site.

AUC president Norman Wendth called the March 11 response to AUC’s accreditation challenge “historically significant,” saying, “I have believed for many years that to unite Atlantic Union College with Washington Adventist University would create a truly impressive educational institution.”

WAU’s recent enrollment growth and financial position “enables us to continue to provide accredited higher education to the community and constituents that Atlantic Union College serves,” said WAU president Weymouth Spence.

In a separate telephone interview, Spence said the buildings and land of the AUC campus would continue to be owned by the Atlantic Union Conference, and that WAU would lease the property. He also indicated additional hiring may be needed at AUC if enrollment increases.