Antillean Adventist University Graduation Highlights Leadership Change

The event combined words from outgoing president Myrna Colón and incoming Edwin Hernández.

Lorell Varela and Inter-American Division News
Antillean Adventist University Graduation Highlights Leadership Change
Luis Rivera (second left), president of the Puerto Rican Union Conference and board chair of Antillean Adventist University in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, presents an award to Myrna Colón (center), president of AAU until June 30. [Photo: Antillean Media Center]

Antillean Adventist University (AAU), a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, held its 62nd graduation ceremony at the Palacio de Recreación y Deportes German Wilkins Vélez Ramírez on May 26. One hundred and seventy-four students received their university degrees.

The 2024 class included students from most districts in Puerto Rico, as well as from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Students received associate’s, baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate, or master’s degree diplomas in the fields of business management, office administration, biology, computer science, physical education, secondary education, special education, psychology, cardiopulmonary sciences, nursing, and religion.

“To all of you we want to say, thank you for entrusting your academic and professional preparation to this institution and for giving us the opportunity to shape your lives wholistically, in the image and likeness of our Creator,” said AAU president Myrna Colón, who is concluding her tenure as school president on June 30. “It is our sincere wish that this ceremony will continue to inspire their lives to be highly competent professionals, committed to serving God and humanity.”

Colón made history in 1996 by becoming the first woman to preside over a university institution in Puerto Rico. Her first term as president took place from 1996 to 2001, and her second one was from 2022 to 2024. Colón has served in the field of education for almost 50 years, both at K-12 and at higher education level in Puerto Rico, the United States, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

As part of his message as chair of the AAU Board of Trustees, Luis A. Rivera highlighted the university’s commitment to form upright leaders, with a solid formation in values. Rivera also gave a well-deserved recognition to the outgoing president.

The main message to the class of graduates was given by Edwin Hernández, who will assume the presidency of AAU on July 1. Hernández returns to serve in Puerto Rico after working for nearly three decades in the United States, where he was executive director of the Louisville Institute, an organization funded by the Lilly Endowment, and president of AdventHealth University in Orlando, Florida.

“Students, as you move into your future,” Hernández told the graduating class, “allow the guiding principles of trust in God, service to others, a positive attitude, gratitude, persistence, and kindness to be your compass, helping you overcome life’s challenges and achieve fulfillment and success.”

Among the special guests were Mayagüez interim mayor Jorge Ramos and the Honorable Migdalia González, senator of the Mayagüez-Aguadilla district, as well as other leaders of various institutions and organizations.

Since 1961, Antillean Adventist University has served the Puerto Rican community and students from five continents, standing out for its commitment to academic excellence, wholistic education, and selfless service.

The original version of this story was posted on the Inter-American Division news site.

Lorell Varela and Inter-American Division News