[Photo courtesy to SSD Communication]
One hundred fifty-one students of Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS) celebrated the conferral of their degrees on Sunday, March 8, 2020, at the Siew Huy Auditorium, AIIAS Campus. There are 96 graduates from the Seminary and 55 from the Graduate school, all representing 37 countries and 13 world divisions of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The graduation weekend began on Friday, March 6, with Consecration speakers Drs. Alina and Cristian Dumitrescu. The couple shared stories about courageous missionaries from many parts of the world who overcame their difficulties by allowing God to adjust their vision.
The Dumitrescus are both faculty members in AIIAS and were chosen by the graduating class to be their sponsors.
“The world needs revolutionaries,” says Dumitrescu. “You are called to change the world by changing people. Follow in the master’s footsteps, as you build hospitals, open churches, and organize schools.”
Following the address, the class divided themselves into groups for a skit. Taking turns, they express their commitment to serve the Lord followed by a visualization of laying their distinctive professions ‘at the foot’ of the cross.
On Saturday, March 7, Dr. Francisco Gayoba, president of Adventist University of the Philippines presented the baccalaureate address. He talked about the Biblical meaning of “purposed”, “excellence”, and “service”.
“Christian service is to be at the time and place where God wanted us to be,” says Gayoba. “Excellence is to serve under the direction of the Master. The Master decides where to place us. His work of salvation of the world has us in it.”
Gayoba is an alumnus and former faculty member of AIIAS.
The same day various programs were organized, including the Tribute to Parents, Spouses, and Sponsors. Later in the evening, Dr. Ginger Ketting-Weller hosted a presidential reception for the graduates, parents, and spouses. Faculty members were introduced to the attendees.
During the Commencement on Sunday, President Ketting-Weller highlighted how the graduates of AIIAS for the past 34 years and those graduates from the predecessor seminary in Baesa have joined an ‘impressive list of notable people’ in the Seventh-day Adventist communities around the world.
“I am certain that many of this year’s graduates will also fulfill the mission by taking up leadership in service for God in their part of the world,” said Ketting-Weller.
Commencement speaker, Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, the Education Department Director of the Seventh-day Adventist World Church and an alumna of AIIAS, talked about being courageous in the strength of God.
In her address, she recalled the days when she was studying in the previous campus of the Seminary inside the then Philippine Union College in Baesa, Manila, where she rediscovered her calling to serve a perfect, strong, and eternally loving God.
“I challenge you to commit what you have to God. If you do, you will see how He multiplies it to meet the needs of others and your needs will be satisfied as well,” says Beardsley-Hardy to the graduates. “When God multiplies it won't be barely enough it will be more than enough.”
AIIAS has offered programs of study in different modalities. This year, 76 graduated from the central campus program, 68 from the distance learning center, and seven from the AIIAS Online learning.
AIIAS is a graduate-level institution operated by the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventists. It offers master’s and doctorate degrees in the areas of business, education, public health, and religion.
Bruce Sumendap, Public Relations Director, AIIAS