Hundreds of members of the Andrews University (AU) community in Berrien Springs, Michigan, United States, gathered in front of the new Andreasen Center for Wellness for the ribbon-cutting celebration on Thursday, September 26, 2019.
AU vice-president for advancement David Faehner welcomed those in attendance, as he recalled the ground-breaking ceremony of the Andreasen Center for Wellness 18 months earlier. Faehner noted that 1,400 gifts from many people had added up to provide the building. He also recognized Niels-Erik Andreasen, the center’s namesake, who served AU for 22 years.
Purpose of the Center
Dominique Gummelt, director of University Wellness at AU and executive director of the Andreasen Center, reflected on the purpose of the center.
“It is the mission of the University Wellness initiative to help every person live their life to the fullest potential, and as we have started on this journey, the new Andreasen Center for Wellness will provide a new massive pathway to make our desires for wellness become a reality.”
Gummelt expressed gratitude to all those who contributed in one way or another.
“Thank you to each and every one of you that has made it possible to create a successful wellness initiative at Andrews University,” Gummelt said. “I kindly ask you today to pray for us, our team, our campus, as we move forward to becoming world changers through the power of wellbeing.”
Benefits for Students, Faculty, and Staff
Andrews University Graduate Student Association president Kenneth Choi shared a student perspective on the building, noting how it will better connect students on campus.
“Now we have a reason to get up in the morning and take a short walk,” Choi said. “This is a place for us to hang out and get healthy at the same time. To socialize and get fit. This is an opportunity for us to bring together all the different students, all the different people on our campus as well.”
Counseling and Testing Center director Judith Fisher noted that faculty and staff are also looking forward to a healthier campus.
“Our Andrews University world-premiere-changing institution has partnered once more with a community of friends, and today celebrates yet another investment destined to yield life-transforming results,” Fisher said. “This is an electrifying moment for each one of us, faculty, staff, members of this community of faith, who have watched with anticipation as this edifice emerged. The state-of-the-art wellness center is a symbol of our pledge to prioritizing the nurturing of our minds, our bodies, and our souls as faithful stewards created in the image of a healthy God.”
Connecting Wellness to the Creator
Michael Hildebrand, president of Oronoko Township, brought his congratulations to Andrews University and posed the question, “What if the community joined together with the university and chose to be the healthiest community in the world?” He added, “I don’t even know if that’s an achievable moniker, but it might be a conversation worth having.”
Next, Paul Stokstad, co-chair of the President’s Council, shared his reflections. He said, "This is the high day for Andrews, and hopefully it will be a high day that continues for year and year and year thereafter. So, Lord, we thank You for this wonderful gift, and we use it to Your glory!"
Dan Carrick, district director for Michigan state senator Kim LaSata, shared a tribute on behalf of LaSata, state representative Brad Paquette, and congressman Fred Upton. The message noted, “The determination exhibited by the university is an effort to provide and establish the importance of wellness to all individuals, both on campus and throughout the entire community.” It also stated, “Perhaps the most important characteristic of [the] Andreasen Center for Wellness is that the center will focus on connecting wellness to the Creator.”
A Place to Connect
President Andrea Luxton reiterated the hope that the Andreasen Center for Wellness will be a place for both members of the campus and the wider community to connect. She encouraged those in attendance to take the gift of the book Rest and Redemption by Niels-Erik Andreasen, published as a special edition by the Andrews University Press.
Artur Stele, a vice-president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and chair of the Andrews University Board of Trustees, then offered a prayer asking for God’s blessing on the Andreasen Center for Wellness and on the lives of those who enter. Following prayer, 20 individuals participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, before all present were invited into the center for refreshments and tours.
AU president emeritus Niels-Erik Andreasen noted, "This center is attractive and inviting, bright inside and out, spacious and filled with exciting opportunities designed to keep us well and in good health. It is making the university a good place for students, faculty, staff, friends, and neighbors to meet, a second ‘hello building’ on our campus, and I am pleased and honored to provide it with its name.”
The Andrews University Andreasen Center for Wellness officially opens for business on Monday, October 6, 2019.