2007 Alumni of the Year
To countless Seventh-day Adventist Church members in the Far East, Ottis Edwards embodies the life of a disciple of Christ.
From 1960 to 1993 Ottis served as a respected and prominent church leader in the Far Eastern Division. With his beloved wife, Dottie (att.), at his side, Ottis advanced the work of education through his incisive leadership and ability to connect with all people.
It is a life Ottis had not imagined possible as a young college student. Graduating in 1952 with a major in theology, Ottis anticipated serving as a pastor of a little church, but God had other plans.
Ottis started his career as a teacher at a small Oregon school. He and Dottie taught all eight grades until the Korean War interrupted their lives and Ottis was called into service.
After the war, the couple taught in Eugene, where they adopted a baby girl they named Londa. Ottis completed his master’s in education degree from Walla Walla University in 1960. Soon after, the couple was invited to Philippine Union College where Ottis headed the English Department and Dottie taught grade school.
Ottis was then called to Mt. View College on the island of Mindanao.
On furlough, Ottis earned his doctorate in education and then returned to Philippine Union College. By 1967 he was named college president and spearheaded the expansion to university status. Ninety-five property sites later they found the ideal place to relocate the college, except for one obstacle: the Philippines was under martial law, and the president declared that property of a certain size be reverted to the tenets. Miraculously, a government official negotiated a deal with the tenants, landowners, and the college. Today, the Adventist University of the Philippines serves 5,000 students.
In 1973, the family moved to Singapore where Ottis was Director of Education and later President of the Far Eastern Division. Twenty years later, he and Dottie returned to the U.S. for “retirement,” which included stints with ADRA and International Children’s Care.
Ottis and Dottie were married nearly 56 years when she passed away in 2006. Dottie was “courageous and always had a terrific spirit,” Ottis says. The couple worked and traveled together for a lifetime—ever willing to follow God’s plan for their lives.
From the days of punch cards to today’s wired world, Lois Hellie has served more than 40 years in technology and administrative leadership. A field often characterized by intense pressure and challenge, Lois led with resolve, patience, and a willingness to go the extra mile.
Lois’ relationship with technology began in the Walla Walla University accounting office in the 1950s. As a student she worked for the legendary Mrs. Applington. Applington purchased a giant $1,500 calculator, and Lois has reveled in “being on the cutting edge” ever since.
In 1957, Lois graduated with a major in office administration and began her career as a hospital accountant. She returned to WWU’s accounting office eight years later to serve as chief accountant and office manager.
Deciding it was time for a change, Lois and her husband, Paul, moved to Southern California in 1978 where Lois became director of payroll at Loma Linda University and Medical Center. Lois added director of personnel to her resume before transitioning to Glendale Adventist Medical Center where she worked from 1982 to 1990. She served as financial planning manger, controller, and budget manager.
Forever loyal to her alma mater, Lois and Paul returned to College Place where Lois once again joined WWU, this time serving as administrative computing manager and director of the campus computer center.
Soon after her formal retirement, she started a volunteer program at WWU, directing it for three years. Lois confesses that she hasn’t sold anything on eBay yet, but she may find time between volunteering, sewing, scrapbooking, and spending quality time with her seven grand-children. Whatever Lois is doing, her infectious laugh is sure to bring joy to those around her. She currently volunteers for Gospel Outreach as an associate treasurer. For many years she served as treasurer of the Alumni Association, a position now held by her son, Richard, a WWU graduate. The Hellie’s other two children, Lorinda and Michael, also graduated from WWU.
In a world where ethical dilemmas such as euthanasia and human genetics make front page news, Gerald Winslow serves as a teacher and author of bioethics, answering its toughest questions from a Christian perspective.
Gerald serves as professor of ethics at Loma Linda University and as vice president for spiritual life of LLU Adventist Health Sciences Center.
Gerald’s articles have appeared in academic journals such as General Dentistry and The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy. His first book, Triage and Justice, was published in 1982—establishing his prominence in the field of biomedical ethics. He has presented lectures at universities and for professional groups throughout North America and in Australia and Europe, and has served as an ethics consultant to a number of health care organizations including Roche Pharmaceuticals. He also serves on panels monitoring medical research studies.
Gerald’s first love, however, is teaching. “Teaching is what I’ve lived for,” he says. Gerald, a 1967 theology graduate, began his teaching career at Walla Walla University. Gerald served 19 years as a professor in the School of Theology where students remember him as an excellent and thought-provoking teacher.
During his tenure at WWU, Gerald earned a doctoral degree from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, Calif. He also holds a master’s degree from Andrew’s University.
Despite his busy schedule and scholarly pursuits, Gerald still finds time to delve into carpentry, a skill he learned from his father growing up in his hometown of Jefferson, Ore. With his professional-level ability, Gerald built a home for his family while in Walla Walla.
Gerald and his wife, Betty, are dedicated Scrabble players and world travelers.They have two daughters, Lisa and Angela.
As he reflects on his life, Gerald sums it up this way: “I have been uncommonly blessed.”
When Paul Rasmussen started his Walla Walla auto body shop in 1986, he had no idea how his business and community relationships would one day help him realize his dream of establishing a community center ministry.
What began as Paul’s small idea has grown into SonBridge, a community service center supported by Walla Walla Valley Adventist churches.
The story began when Paul, a 1972 industrial education graduate, and his cousin talked about acquiring a vacated nursing home located between College Place and Walla Walla. They felt impressed to present the idea to their church, the College Place Seventh-day Adventist Church, which adopted the idea immediately.
As the project began, Paul was in charge of contacting individuals from various churches.He recalls, “I hadn’t gotten around to contacting anyone, but a week later the first name on my list came into the shop. Then the next person dropped by until all six people came in within a week’s time. I didn’t call a single one! I knew God was in charge, and miracles keep happening.”
While remodeling at SonBridge continues, 8,000 square feet now house a thriving thrift store and medical clinic. Blue Mt. Television and LifeTalk Radio will operate from the center.Future plans include expanding the medical clinic, adding dental services, and offering a variety of classes on topics ranging from health issues to financial planning.
As acting director of the center, Paul focuses on partnering with community organizations such as the YWCA, veterans groups, and HelpLine. Proceeds from the thrift store, area Adventist churches, and private donations support the community center.
Paul’s experiences as a business owner and teacher are invaluable as he guides SonBridge’s growth. “God puts you into places for a reason, later you discover it.”
The Center has become an integral part of Paul’s commitment to involving church in the community. Paul’s family joins him in his dedication. Paul and his wife, Judy, have three children, Jeff, Kim, and Kandee.
“I can do nothing, but God can do something through me. If I can get others excited, it can make a difference with many more souls,” he says.