Delegates of the Atlantic Union College Corporation Constituency Session voted on February 14 to approve a recommendation to negotiate with Seventh-day Adventist higher education institutions to create a “Hub of Education,” where higher education courses and degrees will be offered on the campus, located in South Lancaster, Massachusetts, United States.
The vote comes exactly six months after delegates at the 31st Atlantic Union Conference Constituency Session voted on August 14, 2022, to recommend that the Atlantic Union College Corporation Board establish a committee to study the mission possibilities for the college property.
Pierre E. Omeler, Atlantic Union Conference president, chaired the meeting at the union headquarters in Lancaster. After a brief introduction and recap of the vote in 2022, Omeler provided the members with an outline of the plan. Barbara Fuller, Atlantic Union College campus administrator, also provided additional research into the viability of trade schools and Atlantic Union College’s history in workforce training programs.
The delegates voted unanimously to authorize the board to begin implementing steps to create a “Hub of Education” on the college campus. The “hub” components include opening a trade school to offer in-demand trade courses and certificates, partnering with the Adventist Church in North America to offer profit-sharing workforce development certification programs, leasing space to the Southern New England Conference Corporation to be used for community services and ministry purposes, and partnering with a suitable developer to redevelop assets not used for the Hub of Education initiative. The voted recommendation will stop the sale of the property as the recommendations are implemented.
“This is an exciting time for the Atlantic Union Conference and for Adventist education within our territory,” Omeler said. “We look forward to collaborating with some of the best Adventist institutions to bring Adventist higher education offerings back to our region.”
According to a survey of young adults (ages 18+) within the Atlantic Union territory conducted by the Atlantic Union Adventist Youth Ministries department, 93 percent of the youth sampled stated that they “desire and would support the return of tertiary education to the Atlantic Union territory.”
“The community, along with the young adults throughout our union, has been asking for this,” Omeler said. “We have already initiated the necessary steps to establish a trade school and workforce development certification programs. The next step is to negotiate agreements with potential partners. We have a lot more work to do, but God is with us. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.”
The original version of this story was posted on the Atlantic Union Gleaner news site.