Two weekends of commencement ceremonies add more than 1,500 new alumni and recognize honorees

The second weekend of commencements on Sunday, June 12, took place in Loma Linda University Drayson Center’s Opsahl Gymnasium. Family and friends pack the transformed gym during one of two School of Allied Health Professions ceremonies.

Thousands of family and friends were on hand to witness 1,506 of Loma Linda University’s newest alumni receiving their diplomas and certificates for 1,528 degrees. The graduates represented 78 countries, including the United States.

Commencement ceremonies for the University’s eight schools were held on the Sundays of May 29 and June 12.

LLU School of Medicine, the University’s second oldest school, led off the commencement season on May 29, graduating 168 with their MD degrees (these statistics are based on the printed graduation program). The school also granted 25 degrees in basic sciences, ranging from bachelor’s to PhD.

LLU School of Pharmacy, the newest school, followed with 77 receiving their PharmD degrees.

LLU School of Dentistry rounded out the first day of ceremonies, graduating 209 individuals with degrees ranging from associate’s and bachelor’s to DDS and post-graduate specialties.

The first three commencements were held on the lawn between the School of Dentistry’s Prince Hall and Loma Linda University Church. A system of awnings, donated some years ago by immediate past School of Medicine dean Brian Bull, MD, provided family, friends, and participants with shade.

For the second week, ceremonies for the remaining schools were held at Loma Linda University Drayson Center’s Opsahl Gymnasium on Sunday, June 12.

LLU School of Allied Health Professions, largest of the University’s eight schools, began the day with two back-to-back ceremonies. The school graduated 175 with professional certificates and 336 degrees ranging from bachelor’s to post-graduate.

Three commencement ceremonies in the afternoon began with LLU School of Public Health, which granted 142 degrees ranging from MBA and MPH to DrPH and PhD.

LLU School of Behavioral Health and LLU School of Religion followed, with the latter graduating 15 with MS and MA degrees. The School of Behavioral Health bestowed 139 degrees ranging from MSW and MS degrees to DMFT, PsyD, and PhD.

LLU School of Nursing, the first school established at Loma Linda, finished out the commencement season, conferring 216 degrees ranging from BSN and MSN to DNP and PhD.
Additional graduates in off-campus degree programs also received diplomas in various ceremonies. Some of them were able to travel to the Loma Linda campus to march.

For information on commencement speakers, please see the May 2016 Today story, titled “Loma Linda University Health prepares for commencements.”

Commencement 2016 honorees
A number of individuals were honored by Loma Linda University Health as well as by individuals schools.

Lowell Cooper, right, is congratulated by Roger Hadley, left, and Richard Hart, center, upon receiving his Doctor of Humane Letters.

Lowell Cooper, MDiv, MPH, chair of the Loma Linda University Health Board of Trustees, was honored with the Lifetime Service Award. In 2011, he was granted the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by Loma Linda University and is an alumnus of LLU School of Public Health. Cooper received his award during the School of Medicine commencement. He currently serves as special assistant to the president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, located in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Hart, left, congratulates Brian Bull as one of two recipients of the Distinguished Investigator Award.

Brian Bull, MD, professor of pathology and human anatomy, LLU School of Medicine, received the Distinguished Investigator Award during the school’s commencement on May 29. A graduate of the College of Medical Evangelists—which became Loma Linda University—in 1961, Bull went on to distinguish himself as a professor, researcher, inventor, and administrator. As a researcher and inventor, Bull has received 13 patents for ground-breaking advancements that have influenced the way medicine is practiced today. As an administrator, he has served as chair of the department of pathology and human anatomy (1973-1994 and 1995-2014), associate dean of the School of Medicine (1993-1994), and dean of the school (1994-2002). As an author, he has been published in more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific journals, editorial commentaries, monographs, and book chapters in the areas of hematopathology, mathematics, and blood analysis instrumentation. Two frequently cited writings of his are currently deemed “citation classics.”

Gordon Power, right, is congratulated by Hadley, left, and Hart, center, upon receiving the Distinguished Investigator Award.

Gordon Power, MD, professor of basic sciences as well as obstetrics and gynecology, LLU School of Medicine, was also granted the Distinguished Investigator Award during the school’s commencement ceremony. In 1969, Power joined Larry Longo, MD, as a founding member of the LLU Center for Perinatal Biology, which has been named a center for excellence and funded for many years by the National Institutes of Health. Power enjoys a global reputation, has been extensively published, and has presented his research findings at international conferences. As a professor, he has taught more than 4,000 medical students and mentored approximately 40 residents and postdoctoral fellows.

Anne, center, and Hervey Gimbel, right, are congratulated by Hart, left, upon receiving the Global Service Award.

Anne and Hervey Gimbel have dedicated their lives to sharing the message of disease prevention and healthful living. In recognition of their efforts, they were presented with the Global Service Award during the LLU School of Public Health commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 12. Ann Matterand Gimbel, MPH, wanted to serve as a missioinary nurse to China since a young age. While attending Walla Walla University, in College Place, Washington, she met senior pre-medicine student Hervey Gimbel. The two married in 1951 while he was attending the College of Medical Evangelists. After raising a family, the Gimbels came to Loma Linda University, where he joined the LLU School of Medicine faculty. Hervey Gimbel, MD, MPH, became board-certified in preventive medicine. Anne Gimbel added an MPH to her nursing degree, and then accepted a job as a nurse clinician in the preventive medicine department at Kaiser-Permanente. While at LLU, the Gimbels were introduced to Ben Tian, MD, from the Chinese Ministry of Health. Tian visited in the Gimbel home and, after returning to China, invited Anne Gimbel and several others to travel to his country to conduct health education workshops. Since speaking at the annual meetings of the Chinese Association of Smoking and Health, Hervey Gimbel has repeatedly been invited to return to China to visit educational and medical institutions to train trainers for smoking cessation and other health issues. In one medical university, smoking among male medical students was reduced from 30 to 5 percent.

Donald Pursley, right, retired CFO of Loma Linda University Health, is congratulated by Hart upon receiving the Global Service Award.

Donald Pursley, DBA, MS, first joined Loma Linda University Health in 1990 as the organization’s vice president for finance. During the LLU School of Public Health commencement ceremony, he received the Global Service Award in recognition of his 14 years of service to this organization, as well as continued support of global organizations such as Adventist Health International.
Pursley spent much of his early career in the United States Air Force—23 years to be exact—as an aircraft pilot and as a member of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He was a colonel when he retired. While at Loma Linda University Health, he also served on the faculty as an associate professor of health administration in the School of Public Health. Since retiring from Loma Linda University Health, Pursley continues to chair of the boards of trustees for Antillean Adventist Hospital in Curacao, Davis Memorial Hospital in Guyana, The Community Hospital in Trinidad, and Adventist Health International, an organization centered at Loma Linda University Health that helps mission hospitals develop fiscal and operational self-sufficiency.

Richard Hart, left, listens while LLU Provost Ronald Carter reads the citation granting him the Community Engagement Award for 2016.

Richard Hart, MD, DrPH, president of Loma Linda University Health, was granted the Community Engagement Award during the LLU School of Public Health commencement. Hart is an alumnus of LLU School of Medicine. Hart has served the organization as a member of the faculty for both the School of Public Health and School of Medicine. For a number of years, he led as dean of the School of Public Health before accepting the role of chancellor of Loma Linda University. When Lyn Behrens, MBBS, retired as president of Loma Linda University Health, Hart was appointed to that position, where he continues. Hart’s leadership has not only impacted the organization’s global outreach efforts but the local community as well. Organizations where he has served a pivotal role in their creation and development include the Social Action Community Health System, Adventist Health International, and the Students for International Mission Service. Hart has also led—and continues to lead—in the planning and construction of major campus additions, including the Centennial Complex and the new adult and children’s towers that are part of Vision 2020.

Former U.S. Ambassador Reed, unable to attend the commencement in person, recorded an acceptance message with Hart.

Joseph Verner Reed Jr., former U.S. ambassador and United Nations diplomat, received the Distinguished Service Award during the LLU School of Medicine commencement. Ambassador Reed was unable to attend the service, due to health issues, and spoke to the audience from his home in Greenwich, Connecticut, via a taped video message. A graduate of Yale University, Reed served as vice president and assistant chair of The Chase Manhattan Bank under David Rockefeller from 1963 to 1981. President Ronald Reagan appointed Reed as U.S. ambassador to the Kingdom of Morrocco in 1981. In 1985, President Reagan appointed Reed to represent the U.S. at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations. In 1987, Reed became U.N. under-secretary general for political and General Assembly affairs. In 1989, President George H.W. Bush asked him to serve as White House chief of protocol. In 1992, then U.N. secretary-general Boutros-Ghali appointed Reed under-secretary-general as special representative for public affairs. Kofi A. Annan reappointed Reed when he took office and added the responsibilities of president of the Staff-Management Coordination Committee, the highest internal body of the world organization, where Reed remained until his retirment in 2004.

Lamont Murdoch, right, receives congratulations from Hadley, left, and Hart, center, after being named Alumnus of the Year.

Lamont Murdoch, MD, has spent much of his medical career at Loma Linda University teaching medical students—a major passion of his. For his service to the organization, he was awarded Alumnus of the Year for 2016 during the LLU School of Medicine commencement. Following his graduation from the School of Medicine in 1963, Murdoch spent a residency year at White Memorial Medical Center before returning to Loma Linda University Medical Center to become one of the first of two residents in the new internal medicine program, as well as the first chief resident in the newly opened clover-leaf towers of the Medical Center. He returned from an 18-month fellowship in endocrinology at Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital to join the LLU School of Medicine’s division of endocrinology. Having studied in-depth a number of genetic disorders in Baltimore, he continued his research and publication of findings at Loma Linda. For more than four decades, Murdoch served as faculty and mentor to hundreds of medical students and residents. In addition, he coordinated internal medicine clerkships at Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona and the University of California in Riverside.

William Hughes receives the Distinguished University Service Award to William Hughes from Hart during the School of Pharmacy ceremony.

William “Billy” Hughes, PhD, immediate past dean of the LLU School of Pharmacy, received the Distinguished University Service Award during that school’s commencement. In addition to his administrative skills, Hughes was integral to the introduction of innovative technologies on the Loma Linda University campus, including smart classrooms and teleheath. Through his efforts, Loma Linda University was able to link in real-time to other sites, providing an opportunity for experts on campus to share their knowledge and skills with colleagues and students at remote locations. Hughes has also played important roles in the accreditation process for Loma Linda University, serving on numerous committees. Under his leadership, the School of Pharmacy grew from 34 to 598 alumni, from 209 to 331 student pharmacists, and from 2 to 17 pharmacy residents.

Mark Hubbard, right, listens with Hart, center, and Ronald Dailey, PhD, dean of the School of Dentistry, as the citation for the University Distinguished Service Award is read.

Mark Hubbard, MBA, senior vice president for risk management and human resource management, Loma Linda University Health, received the Distinguished University Service Award during the LLU School of Dentistry commencement on May 29. For more than a quarter of a century, Hubbard has served Loma Linda University Health as a corporate officer, overseeing a number of organizational functions including risk management, payroll, employee and student assistance programs, and human resources. Hubbard is founding president and CEO of The University Insurance Company of Vermont, Loma Linda University Health’s self-funded mechanism for employee health insurance. Leadership in organizations outside Loma Linda has also been important to Hubbard. He is a member and past president of the Southern California Association of Healthcare Risk Managers. He has served on boards for Medmarc Insurance Group, Automated Health System Laundry, and EPIC Health Plan. In the local community, he has been a member of the board for Redlands Adventist Academy, Loma Linda Children’s Center, and East Valley United Way. Recently, he was invited to serve on the board of the Redlands Symphony.

William Johnsson, center, receives the Doctor of Humane Letters. Assisting him in the hooding are Hart, right, and Carter, left.

William Johnsson, PhD, BD, MA, past executive publisher of Adventist Review, was granted the Doctor of Humane Letters during the LLU School of Behavioral Health and School of Religion commencement. Johnsson began his career in the field of chemistry, later enrolling at Avondale College, located in Cooranbong, New South Wales, Australia, to study theology. Following his graduation, he accepted a position as Bible teacher and dean of boys at Spicer University, located in Pune, India, where he spent 15 years. After earning his doctorate in biblical studies from Vanderbilt University, Johnsson was appointed professor of New Testament studies and dean of the School of Theology at Spicer. In 1975, Johnsson relocated to Andrews University, where he served as professor of New Testament theology and exegesis, and associate dean of the seminary. In 1980, Johnsson joined the staff of the Adventist Review. After two years as associate editor, he became editor-in-chief and then executive publisher. In 2005, he became founding editor of Adventist World. Two years later, he retired from the Adventist Review and accepted the role of assistant to the president for interfaith relations under Jan Paulsen. He currently resides in Loma Linda, California.

Steve and Cathy Kienle received the Distinguished Humanitarian Award in recognition of their support for LLU Children’s Hospital.

Steve and Cathy Kienle, owners of Walter’s Automotive Group, headquartered in Riverside, California, were presented with the Distinguished Humanitarian Award during the LLU School of Medicine ceremony. In addition to their support for Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital, the Kienles volunteer for non-profit organizations including the American Heart Association, Parkview Hospital, the Sharon Roberts Cancer Foundation, and Riverside Community Hospital. During the past two decades, the Kienles have held an annual golf tournament, the Walter’s Children’s Charity Classic, which has raised nearly $4 million for a broad spectrum of needs at LLU Children’s Hospital. The classic served as an inspiration for the Kienles to create the Champions for Children program, recognizing individuals in the region who have a passion for helping children. The Kienles were the first champions named. The program has grown over the years and resulted in more than $12 million raised for LLU Children’s Hospital.

Nancy Negrette, executive director of Stater Bros. Charities, accepts the Distinguished Humanitarian Award from Hart on behalf of Stater Bros. Charities and Stater Bros. Markets.

Stater Bros. Charities and Stater Bros. Markets have raised nearly $4.6 million over the past decade to support Loma Linda University Health. Nancy Negrette, executive director of Stater Bros. Charities, was on hand to accept the Distinguished Humanitarian Award on behalf of Stater Bros. during the LLU School of Medicine commencement. Stater Bros. support includes: Specialty Team Center lobby renovation; a movie-themed activity center for hospital-bound children; a mobile fun center with gaming systems; LLU Cancer Center funding of more than $1.5 million through the annual Stater Bros. Charities and Inland Women Fighting Cancer Believe Walk, which began in 2008; LLU Children’s Hospital annual gala sponsorship; project partnerships with Big Hearts for Little Hearts Guild since 2003; a partnership with KFRG in the K-Froggers for Kids Radiothon, which has raised more than $5.3 million since 2003; presenting sponsor for KOLA Cares for Kids Radiothon, helping to raise more than $160,000 for LLU Children’s Hospital transport team; and 50 sleeper chairs for the pediatric hematology and oncology unit.