The Student Movement


AU Founder’s Day Celebrates 150th with Students

Andrew Francis

Photo by Zorislav Plantak

As Andrews University celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, several different events and pioneers are being celebrated for their part in the university’s history. Amongst the various memorials that have and will happen this year, the significance of Founder’s Day stands out. It is celebrated on March 11, the day that the Seventh-day Adventist Educational Society (SDAES) was formed to establish a college. According to Andrews University Communications’ press release, “on March 16, 1874, the SDAES Articles of Association were filed with the State of Michigan,”  officially entering the Seventh-day Adventist church into the world of higher education. 

To celebrate the occasion, volunteering staff members handed out free vanilla cake with white, yellow, and blue frosting and commemorative 150th Andrews University reusable water bottles to students. Paulette McLean Johnson, the Dean of Libraries for the university, helped to lead the event and directed students to enter a trivia raffle competition. The questions included topics regarding the origin of Andrews and fun facts about various buildings, people, and food dishes on campus. Those who got more than 50% of the questions correct were entered into the raffle to win a large bag containing more Andrews memorabilia. 

University President John Wesley Taylor V attended the event, conversing with students and participating in the trivia raffle. He expressed great elation for the small community-building event. When asked for comment, he said there are future events that will occur this year that will continue the celebration of 150 years of Andrews’ existence. “We’re going to have an event coming up before long that gives an opportunity for our alumni and friends of the university to contribute to various projects.” Taylor went on to share that there will be “an event that comes up shortly, which is for our alumni to come to campus in October. We’re going to have some events like scholarly presentations of the history of Adventist universities and the mission of the Adventist church.” 

President Taylor also shared that John Nevins Andrews, the university’s current namesake, embarked on one of his many missionary trips from the United States to Europe in 1874. His lifelong service and ministry are detailed in a previous article from The Student Movement, which also helped to commemorate many of the university’s and church’s pioneers. 

Two students who attended the event, Avery Handy (sophomore, architecture) and Matthew Bourne (sophomore, music), reflected on what Andrews has been and what it can become in the future. Serving as a perfect example of how Andrews is a global institution, both Handy and Bourne are sophomore international students. Although they shared that they knew nothing about the founding of Andrews, Handy shared that she’s grateful that the university has her architecture program, and Bourne shared that he was glad that “the people here are pretty chill.” 

When asked about what improvements they wanted to see before the next 150 years, they both were passionate that students should be allowed to visit the opposite sex dorms during the day and that there was no need for a dormitory curfew for undergraduate students. Handy also mentioned that the food needs to continue to improve, and Bourne requested that the dorm chapels be kept open. As a music major, Bourne likes to practice with his instruments in the usually quiet Meier Hall chapel, but the doors are often locked for unexplained reasons. 

Ultimately, while Andrews has accomplished and progressed a lot, the hope is that the celebrations do not cause us to forget the need for further progress to occur. 


sources (in order of underlined sections)

The Student Movement is the official student newspaper of Andrews University. Opinions expressed in the Student Movement are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors, Andrews University or the Seventh-day Adventist church.