More Than 200 Invest in Scholarships at Annual Gala

December 15, 2022

KEENE, TEX. – Southwestern Adventist University held its Annual Scholarship Gala this year at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History. The unique venue highlighted the university’s science departments. More than 200 friends, supporters, faculty, staff and students gathered to invest in the education of Southwestern Adventist University’s students. Donations given during the evening totaled $115,000. The university also made a special presentation at the event to former Professor and Department Chair of Biology and now Professor Emeritus Arthur Chadwick.

During the Gala program, Southwestern Adventist University President Ana Patterson welcomed to the stage three students, recipients of scholarships. As she interviewed them, each shared their academic story and gave their sincerest thanks to donors. Following the interviews Patterson expressed, “It was a scholarship applied to my bill that helped me to finish college. That helps me put into perspective what these students are going through to try to finish their education.” She continued, “We all know that debt is real, and there are struggles, but we want our students not to worry about that. We want them to be able to focus on their studies and what they want to do with their lives in the future. That is why we are here tonight, to try to support them,” she said.

Later in the program, Patterson and Jared Wood, Ph.D., asked Vern Johnson and Carolyn Hanson Johnson to join them on stage to thank them. For more than 25 years the Johnsons have exclusively partnered with Southwestern Adventist University and allowed faculty and students to dig for dinosaur bones on their Wyoming ranch. 

Patterson then recognized Chadwick, the one who forged this partnership with the Johnsons by offering a faith-based research approach to studying their fossil collection and for sharing their contribution to the field of paleontology at large. She presented him with the first annual Arthur Chadwick Scientific Impact Award for excellence in paleontology, research and education. A large dinosaur on exhibit at the museum set the backdrop as guests stood and applauded Chadwick and all his accomplishments on behalf of the university.

“I had no clue the school intended to honor me tonight, which they certainly did,” Chadwick humbly stated afterward. When asked why he thought the Dino Dig is so important to the university, he answered, “It gives us the opportunity to acquaint our students with our belief in creation. It also enables them to answer questions about dinosaurs, which all of us get when we are talking about creation or evolution.” He concluded, “I feel like we have enabled our students to stand strong when they are confronted with these kinds of questions.”

Southwestern Adventist University is grateful to sponsors and individuals who helped make this year’s annual scholarship gala a success, in turn making graduation a reality for many students, as it continues inspiring knowledge, faith and service.

By Michelle Bergmann
Freelance Writer