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Dr. Sandra Roberts is Spectrum Magazine’s 2016 Adventist Person of the Year


Southeastern California Conference President Dr. Sandra E. Roberts has been named Spectrum Magazine's 2016 Adventist Person of the Year. Roberts bested a field of ten candidates selected by Spectrum editors. In online voting spanning seven days, she received 23% of the vote ahead of North American Division President Daniel Jackson (20% of the vote) and WWII noncombatant Desmond Doss, whose story is featured in the award-nominated biopic "Hacksaw Ridge."

Roberts, who is the first woman to serve as a president of a conference in the Seventh-day Adventist denomination, has had an eventful year. During the North American Division Year-end Meeting where Roberts was a delegate, the Executive Committee overwhelmingly approved a motion asking the General Conference to officially recognize Roberts as a duly-elected leader of the largest conference in the North American Division. The statement, proposed by La Sierra University President Dr. Randal Wisbey said, 

The attendees of the North American Division Year-end Meeting respectfully request that the General Conference provide Elder Sandra Roberts, President of Southeastern California Conference, the same respect, rights, and privileges of office as any other conference president within the North America Division who has been duly elected by an official and legal constituency meeting of that conference.  This will include inclusion in the Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook as president of Southeastern California Conference, and being provided with regular and official credentials at General Conference meetings, such as Annual Council, etc., the same as any other North American Division conference president.

Sandra Roberts was also one of three 2016 honorees of the Weniger Society. Recipients of the Weniger Award represent the best in Adventism and reflect the values of Charles E. Weniger, who during his life was the Dean of the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary where he inspired his students by example and expectation to strive for excellence. The Society began its awards program in 1974, and has now honored 166 individuals. 

Spectrum Magazine staff are deeply honored to present Dr. Sandra Roberts the inaugural Adventist Person of the Year award in recognition for her many contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church. We also thank all who participated in our reader poll to help determine this year's recipient.

Here is a breakdown of the vote:

Of the ten nominees, the chart above breaks down the percentages for the candidates that received more than 5% of the vote total (including votes for "other" nominees – more on that below). The remaining nominees, Niels-Erik Andreasen, Shesell Busby, Lowell Cooper and Ricardo Graham received less than 5% each.

Those who preferred a person not named in the polling could select "other" and write in a person of their choosing. There were several write-in nominees, though none of them passed the 5% threshold in polling. In alphabetical order, the write-in nominees were Daneen Akers, Doug Batchelor, Colleen M. Bond, Reinder Bruinsma, Jeffrey Dale, Raoul Dederen, Desmond Ford, Larry Geraty, Tanner Martin, Randy Roberts, Dennis Stirewalt, David Trim, Gayle Tucker, Ted Wilson and Jared Wright.

Respondents came from 311 cities and towns in 38 countries:

41 states and the District of Columbia in the United States
7 states in Germany
6 provinces in Canada
6 states / territories in Australia
4 states in Mexico
2 states in Brazil
2 regions of Denmark
2 regions of Iceland
2 provinces in the Netherlands
2 regions of New Zealand
2 provinces in South Africa
2 counties of Sweden
2 countries of the United Kingdom
1 locale each from the following: Argentina, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Botswana, Bulgaria, Chile, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Kenya, Lebanon, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Slovenia, Spain, Thailand and Zimbabwe

Congratulations to all 2016 Adventist Person of the Year nominees and especial congratulations to Dr. Sandra Roberts, an outstanding leader and the 2016 Spectrum Magazine Adventist Person of the Year!


Jared Wright is Managing Editor of

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