January 26, 2017

Groundbreaking held for Inter-American seminary, online university building

LIBNA STEVENS, Inter-American Division

The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Inter-America recently held a groundbreaking ceremony for two of its higher education institutions stationed in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. Top Inter-American Division (IAD) administrators and leaders took part in breaking ground on Jan. 19, for a new three-story facility that will house the offices of the Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary (IATS) and Herbert Fletcher University (HFU).

“We dedicate the plans of this new building in remembrance of God’s commands and statues”

“We dedicate the plans of this new building in remembrance of God’s commands and statues,” said Pastor Israel Leito, president of the church in Inter-America.

“This will not just be another academic building, but one that will remind us each day to follow God’s command as we prepare people to save souls and serve others,” said Pastor Leito.

Dr. Obed Jimenez, president of Antillean Adventist University, welcomed those gathered and expressed joy that they would soon have the new building located on the campus of the university, an institution operated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Puerto Rico.

The first and third floor will include the IATS reception area, classrooms, conference rooms, a library and administrative offices, said Dr. Efrain Velázquez, IATS president. Since 2009, administrative offices have been housed on the campus of Antillean Adventist University in Puerto Rico. Once the new facility is completed it will provide 3,000 square feet on each floor.

“For accreditation purposes, it was important to have IATS on a university campus, complete with library, faculty, dorms and the like,” said Velazquez. The two floors will provide more space to manage the growing post-graduate programs, explained Velazquez.

Seventh-day Adventist leaders form Inter-America and the Adventist World Church break ground for the new facility that will house two of church’s higher education institutions, on the campus of Antillean Adventist University in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico. The ceremony brought dozens of church leaders and educators on Jan. 19, 2017. (Image courtesy of IATS)

IATS has graduated hundreds of ministers from the IAD territory with master’s and doctoral degrees from its various programs during the past 13 years.

Accredited by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada, IATS functions as a multi-site institution with a unique structure that serves thirty-four countries.

IATS provides affordable professional and academic programs to ministers in Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and the northern part of South America. Programs include the MA in Pastoral Theology, MA in Biblical Studies, and the Doctor of Ministry. These programs are offered at various affiliated sites: Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Venezuela.

During the ceremony, Dr. Jaime Castrejon, IATS President Emeritus spoke on the growth of IATs from its early organization plans, to blue prints to breaking ground for the new building.

The second floor will feature the administrative offices, conference rooms and registrar/admission offices of Herbert Fletcher University (HFU)—an online institution operated by the Inter-American Division.

HFU is authorized to function as an online institution and is currently offering a master’s degree in Church Administration and Leadership as well as a master’s degree in Online Instructional Design.

“HFU has been established to provide educational solutions based on the philosophical principles and values of the Seventh-day Adventist education system and we are delighted that we shall soon have our very own offices to operate from,” said Dr. David Siguelnitzky, president of HFU.

The new HFU offices will be occupied by the seven employees that run the institution, along with 20 additional employees working from other countries, Siguelnitzky added.

A congratulatory message from Adventist World Church President Ted N.C. Wilson was read by Dr. John W. Taylor V, associate education director for the Adventist World Church, during the ground breaking ceremony.

A prayer of dedication by IAD Executive Secretary Elie Henry brought leaders and educators together in dedication of the coming new building.

The three-story facility is expected to be completed by May 2018, leaders said.

To learn more about Inter-America’s Herbert Fletcher University, go to hfuniversity.org.

To learn about Inter-American Adventist Theological Seminary, visit interamerica.org.