Weimar University, a Seventh-day Adventist-supporting institution in Weimar, California, United States, focuses on providing high-quality Adventist education. That focus fosters a special relationship between the school and its students. Learning more about its students tells the real story of Weimar.
Emily Bouit is a junior studying in the Interdisciplinary program at Weimar University, also known as the psychology program. This is an area in which, she believes, the Lord has blessed her with skills. She transferred from another faith-based school because she felt religion, the Bible, and the Spirit of Prophecy were being kept separate from her education. She found Weimar after praying to the Lord for guidance. She felt “the door was opened for Weimar, and I’ve felt very blessed and very privileged to be here.”
Bouit spoke about the most important thing she is learning at Weimar University.
“Weimar helped me to reorder my priorities, because putting God first has allowed me to reap so many blessings. Religion was always important to me before. But it was never number one, and through my experience there, it has now become number one. I feel that it has brought great satisfaction to my life. I've also rediscovered and learned even more about the power of prayer. I have really enjoyed the special speakers Weimar brings in for colloquiums, special weekends, and week of prayer. They really helped me in terms of understanding what I believe more and the best way to pray.”
Weimar has also provided Bouit with practical experience. “I am receiving great training,” she said. “For example, in the psychology program, we go through the Depression Recovery rotation, assisting in Neil Nedley’s residential Depression and Anxiety Recovery program. We do TCI, which is Total Community Involvement. We volunteer in the community every Wednesday afternoon for about four hours or so. We do yard work or Bible studies, or a Mini Health Expo, and so much more.
“Weimar provides so many different experiences that I could not find at another university that have been helping me grow my skills in so many different ways. Having a solid foundation in not just book knowledge, but connecting that to why I believe what I believe is so valuable.”
The future looks bright for Bouit as she shares her goals.
“I want to obtain a career that allows me to serve the Lord in the best way. I’m still praying because I do not know exactly what I will be doing yet, but I want whatever career I choose to be winning souls for the Kingdom and serving others — by really loving them as Christ does. I have a very close relationship with my family. And so, I would like to maintain that — I do not want college or my career to steal that away. Should I have a family of my own someday, I would also like to lead and guide them in these principles.”
Lilienne Stafford was interested in a career in health care and chose Weimar University. While learning about modern medicine to treat patients, she also wanted to study natural remedies. She said that at Weimar, she “will learn how to treat the whole person by bringing in the spiritual aspect of showing how God is the true Healer. It is not necessarily that modern medicine alone is effective in treating disease, but nutrition and lifestyle are integral in providing full recovery. And that drew me to Weimar. I had wanted to come to Weimar for several years, but a few obstacles made it impossible. However, in March of 2021, I traveled from Washington with some friends to the Weimar area for a separate event and met some Weimar students.
“One student told me about the HEALTH certificate, a four-month program that is less costly than a regular college semester,” Stafford says. “It teaches about medical missionary work and instructs in the science and practical use of natural remedies. And as soon as I heard that, I jumped on the idea. I thought, what an opportunity — I would love to experience Weimar University for one semester.
“My perspective changed and deepened and widened in many ways during that semester. I realized firsthand that Weimar’s education was unique and very special. Medical missionary work was much deeper and more exciting than I had first imagined. It deals with more than simple basic remedies: it treats the whole person, dealing with common issues such as rejection and hope at the same time as actual medical problems like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease with a lifestyle change, such as exercise and a healthy diet, all using Bible and evidence-based methods.
“Medical missionary work at its foundation is simply helping people in whatever physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual way they need, beginning with medical or lifestyle help and then introducing them to the Great Physician, Jesus. That attracted me. After the HEALTH program, I realized I wanted to become a physician.”
Weimar provided a different educational experience for Stafford. She noticed that “the classes are more challenging and their content goes deeper than at the university I had attended previously. That was really attractive to me — I wanted to be challenged academically. I enjoyed Neil Nedley’s Principles of Health class so much because I felt challenged to learn more than I had been asked to before, and in my favorite area —nutrition, lifestyle, and disease. The classes at Weimar have given me an opportunity to reach deeper into subjects and understand them better in a smaller class setting than at the large public university I had been attending previously.”
Looking to her future, Stafford said, “I am now taking Pre-Med at Weimar University and afterwards plan to attend medical school. Someday, I would like to work in a setting similar to a lifestyle center or other medical ministry. At Weimar, I have seen firsthand how much lifestyle change and encouragement impacts people. I would love to be somewhere spreading what I have learned about lifestyle principles and bringing hope and healing through sharing God’s word, bringing people to Christ, who is the ultimate Medical Missionary.”
Elisabeth Vincent, from New Zealand, is in her final semester, studying education and minoring in health ministry and biology. She reflects on why she chose Weimar.
“My parents came to Weimar back in the nineties. They met here, got married, and went to New Zealand, where my dad is from. My parents and I visited some family friends on the Weimer campus back in 2009. I never thought I would come here. On my academy’s California music tours, we would come to Weimar, and I went on a campus tour. In my senior year, I was looking at options for colleges I could go to.
“One of the big factors was that I did not want to go straight into a potentially more challenging spiritual environment with no one checking in on how I’m doing. My academy was very structured, and I appreciate that. I had a fantastic time at academy. But I knew of academy friends who had gone to more secular universities where spirituality and morality is a bit looser. Some of them had lost their way or changed drastically, and I didn't want that to be me.”
Weimar has prepared Vincent well for the future. She shared, “The education is intensely practical. You will get thrown into the deep end in so many different ways, whether through essay responsibilities or work education, especially in the Education Department. I’ll never forget my first day of school. Yes, teaching first grade. I’m a freshman. This is my second week at Weimar in the education program, and it’s Monday morning. I walk into the classroom. OK, we had already debriefed about what I supposed to do. ‘Here are your kids; I’ve got to run,’ was the introduction my teacher gave me. And my two first-graders, yes, my two first-graders, took one look at me and said, ‘You're not our teacher. We don't have to listen to you.’ And then followed some very interesting conversations between me and peers who had been in the Education Department for a couple of years and had taught those students, and I said, ‘OK, what do I do? How do you deal with them? What is going on?’
“After that day, I was mentored by another one of our master teachers in teaching Language Arts. Within five or six weeks, there were days she could not come in. That was where I started learning about procedures and classroom management; it was a lot of trial and sometimes a trial by fire. I would often walk out of my education classes thinking that the tools I’d just learned about could help me solve the problem that arose yesterday and tomorrow.”
Apparently, that is what was needed for Vincent to become the great teacher she is now known to be.
The spiritual experience was essential to her. She shared, “I feel my classes have taught me the most about studying the Bible. [The teacher] takes the approach of literature. So, he teaches Bible stories as you would teach Shakespeare, and you’re digging and have only got a certain passage to find your evidence in. And you are asking questions, and you have to write essays about those questions.”
The educational and spiritual journey taken by these three young people are samples of the benefits and gifts of Weimar University. This Adventist-focused institution is preparing young people to address the challenges of the future firmly rooted in faith.