USA: Hundreds celebrate La Sierra Adventist University’s 100th anniversary

November 30, 2022 | California, United States | Darla Martin Tucker | Sierra University | Adventist World

As soon as the doors of the Riverside Convention Center opened on October 3, 2022, nearly 600 guests began to arrive with an air of excitement. They were there to attend the La Sierra University Centennial Gala, a celebration of La Sierra University’s 100th anniversary. stories of the past, recognitions, music and companionship.

The Centennial Gala capped off a year of celebration as the university celebrated 100 years in Riverside, California (USA). The festivities began on February 15 with the unveiling of the new campus sculpture, “The Lost Sheep.” During Alumni Weekend, April 29-30, special “Celebrating a Century” events include a banquet, Centennial Campus Walk and fireworks.

The October gala featured the recognition of 100 President’s Award recipients, the launch of a recently published book on La Sierra’s history, and a historical overview of the university’s life. Acclaimed classical pianist and artist Alpin Hong and operatic tenor and former La Sierra student Anthony Leon also wowed the audience.

“There are so many people who have been responsible for La Sierra’s success over the decades,” La Sierra University President Joy Fehr said as she introduced the President’s award winners. “Simply put, there are countless people who deserve public recognition and honor. Those of us who have seen this institution change our lives truly owe it to them. Throughout the history of the university, the names of dozens of people, including historical figures known after their death, have been mentioned.

Among those inducted are scholarship donor and Adventist education advocate Elsie Chan; Del Delker, class of 1958 alumnus and celebrated contralto; Charles Teel, former member of the Faculty of Religion; Latin Grammy and Gospel Music A Dove Award nominee Patty Cabrera, School of Religion graduate and singer; Brian Wright, graduate of the Zapara School of Business and general manager of the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association; Thaine B. Price and Tom and Vi Zapara, Seventh-day Adventist philanthropists; Larry Geraty, President Emeritus of La Sierra University; Frank Jobe, former student and renowned sports orthopedic surgeon; Lawrence Steven Dorsey III, student body president 2021-22; and Price and Tom and Vi Zapara; La Sierra University President Emeritus Larry Geraty; Frank Jobe, former student and renowned sports orthopedic surgeon; 2021-22 Student Association President Lawrence Steven Dorsey III; and Leon performing before the castle audience.

Former 1992 student and President’s Award recipient George Bryson said his grandfather, Elmer Bryson, also attended La Sierra and worked on the college’s dairy farm in the 1930s. I had heard many of his stories,” commented Mr. Bryson. “I feel very connected to the community, so it was nice to be recognized.”

“The Gala is really awesome,” said retired La Sierra University physical education instructor Vernon Scheffel after the centennial celebration. At the gala ceremony, he received a copy of the university’s centennial history book. “I’m a little hard of hearing, so I didn’t understand everything. But it is in this book. I am a good reader,” he said.

Scheffel’s father attended La Sierra Academy between 1932 and 1934. Beginning in 1945, Vernon also entered La Sierra Academy when he was in the fifth grade and continued at La Sierra until college. He then taught at La Sierra for 20 years from 1980 to 2008. He was the first graduate of La Sierra’s physical education program.

Vernon’s wife, Coral Scheffel, expressed her opinion about the castle: “I liked it very much, it was beautiful. The music was out of this world,” he said.

Many La Sierra University employees, including financial education specialist Andrea Schroer, also attended the centennial event. “Like an educated person [à La Sierra] and now being a cast member is amazing to be a part of this momentous moment,” she said, noting the impact of the night’s musical entertainment. “It really is a once-in-a-lifetime moment.”

Leon, an award-winning tenor and graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music, performed two pieces accompanied by Hong, who headlined the evening. Leon performed “Angelo casto e bel” by Gaetano Donizetti and “He’s Got the Whole World In His Hands” arranged by Margaret Bonds. They are Hong Frederic Chopin’s Tarantelle Op. 43”, Claude Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and Franz Liszt’s remarkable “Sonata in B minor” followed by charming piano performances.

Leon was among 100 honored at the centennial gala. He is one of the last members of his family to attend university.

“For me, this is a big deal because I grew up in the La Sierra community,” he said. “I attended La Sierra Academy from kindergarten through high school and attended La Sierra University for four years. My mother and father graduated from La Sierra University, as did my uncles and cousins; the whole family was involved. It was kind of my grandfather’s dream to go to the community of La Sierra and live in California. So to be here and to be able to share what I do is very special to me alma mater and hopefully keep the torch burning for generations to come. It is truly an honor for me. »

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