Atlantic Union College has named Dr. Avis Hendrickson the next president of Atlantic Union College, according to a press release issued by the institution’s Board of Trustees. The historic appointment makes Dr. Hendrickson only the second black woman to be named president of an Adventist institution of higher education in the United States. Pacific Union College president Dr. Heather Knight was the first, starting her tenure at Pacific Union College in 2009.
Hendrickson succeeds Dr. Duane M. Cady, M.D., a general surgeon, who served as interim president starting in 2012 after Norman L. Wendth led the institution through rocky times, including a loss of accreditation.
Upon the recommendation of the AUC Strategic Planning Committee, the AUC Board of Trustees voted on May 5 to authorize the offering of three certificate programs (non-higher education) starting after approval from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is granted. They are as follows: Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Culinary Arts, and English as a Second Language (ESL).
The Board of Trustees’ press release states that Dr. Hendrickson holds a doctorate in Developmental Education: Student Development and Personnel Services from Grambling State University. She earned a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Hunter College of The City University of New York, a bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Sciences from John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a senior college of The City University of New York, and a professional degree in Administration and Supervision from Bank Street College of Education.
“We’re very pleased to welcome Dr. Hendrickson to join the long history of service at Atlantic Union College as president,” says Donald G. King, chairman of the Atlantic Union College Board of Trustees. “She brings with her many years of experience as an educator and administrator. The board of trustees looks forward to working with her as she seeks to provide leadership, vision, and strategic planning for the operation of Atlantic Union College, poised for transition into the future.” Hendrickson will assist in guiding AUC in its quest for re-accreditation and to build on creating more certificate programs in addition to the one it currently operates on campus known as NETS (Northeast Evangelism Training School). Last year, AUC received State approval from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education to offer two four-year degree programs in Theology/Religion and Biology/Health Science.
Hendrickson comes to Atlantic Union College with extensive experience in student affairs, having worked in community colleges, senior colleges, and universities in urban, suburban, and metropolitan communities, the release noted. The institutions were public, private, city, and state organizations. Hendrickson has also been recently invited to serve as an evaluation team member with NEASC (The New England Association of Schools and Colleges). Her additional experiences include serving as a higher education administrator at the executive level and overseeing operations and procedures to identify strategies to make the enrollment process more efficient.
Hendrickson has been involved in a number of additional professional activities and has given presentations on various topics to entities in and outside of the Adventist Church. She is the recipient of several honors and awards and has published articles in a number of publications.
Hendrickson is a member of the Hunts Point Seventh-day Adventist Church in the Northeastern Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and has served the church in many capacities.