Alumni of the YearCategory:
By: Rosa Jimenez
Hintz, de Romanett, Fearing, and Irwin Honored
Walla Walla University honored four graduates recently, naming them the university's Alumni of the Year. The honorees were chosen for their professional achievements, as well as their record of service to their church and/or WWU. They were formally honored at the banquet program during WWU's Alumni Homecoming Weekend in April.
Class of 1964 and 1972
The world needs more people like Roman Hintz. As a teacher, missionary, volunteer, administrator, and world traveler, Roman has dedicated his life to serving others.
For most of his forty-one-year career Hintz worked in Adventist education as a teacher or principal. Hintz distinguished himself as a math and science teacher at Walla Walla Valley Academy for 19 years. Roman’s earlier education career included teaching at Upper Columbia Academy grade school, Rogers Adventist School, and Emerald Junior Academy. In all his classrooms, Hintz not only made learning fun, but did so with a measure of responsibility and fairness to all students.
In 1976, Hintz accepted his most challenging and rewarding post. He served as principal and business manager of Maxwell Adventist Academy in Nairobi, Kenya. When Hintz and his family arrived in Africa, the school was a seven-grade day school based on the British educational system. Church leaders asked Hintz to expand and convert the school to a twelve-grade boarding academy based on the American system of education to serve the needs of missionaries in that part of the world. This goal was accomplished in two years due to Hintz’s hard work and dedication.
Although officially retired since 2005, Hintz is involved in Gospel Outreach, a ministry based in Walla Walla. As a television broadcast volunteer, Hintz works on both sides of the camera, helping to produce fifty to sixty programs each year. The programs are aired on 3ABN, Hope Channel, Blue Mountain Television, Loma Linda Television, and other networks. He also employs his broadcast production skills at Walla Walla University Church, where he started the church’s television ministries ten years ago.
Hintz’s interest in mission work, before and after retirement, has taken him to more than fifty different countries.
Class of 1969
“Transformation. One Kid at a Time.” It’s the phrase on Bernadine Irwin’s business card. And it’s the essence of her mission to transform the lives of kids at the crossroads.
Helping at-risk kids has always been important to Irwin, even during her professional career as a nurse educator. In addition to her master’s degree in psychiatric and mental health nursing, she also holds a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. However, for many years while teaching nursing at Loma Linda University, she also counseled teens who were on probation.
In 2000, Irwin says she had a wake-up call when Jessica Salzar, a teen she knew through her counseling work, was murdered. Impressed to build awareness of the desperate needs of kids like Jessie, she wrote a book about the young girl. She also founded “Operation Jessica,” a program offering teens spiritual and personal transformation primarily through experiences in nature. When Irwin retired in 2009, she started a foundation called “Freedom to Be: The George Irwin Foundation,” to continue this work. Named after her father, Bernadine has seen the foundation serve 400 teens.
During her career, Irwin’s sense of compassion for teens has also extended to her fellow nurses. For eighteen years, Irwin worked part-time for the California Board of Nursing in counseling nurses with addictions.
Irwin established her 38-year teaching career at Walla Walla University, after Wilma Leazer, the dean of the School of Nursing, convinced her to become a teacher. She also taught at Southern Adventist University before settling in at Loma Linda.
In addition to nursing and counseling, Irwin is also a published author. One of her books, titled “Ellen White: We Never Knew You,” is based on her doctoral dissertation about the role of Ellen White.
Linda de Romanett
Class of 1974
Although Linda de Romanett spent most of her professional career as an internal medicine physician, she is now blazing trails in media evangelism. De Romanett saw a great need for evangelism in large cities and founded the nonprofit corporation Family First Radio Network. Since the 1990s, de Romanett has worked independently or with churches to launch radio stations. She began in the Southeast, and has now expanded to other areas of the country.
Family First uses talk radio programming to reach listeners. The first station began broadcasting in Columbia, S.C., in the late 1990s. More than 500 people have been baptized from their connection to the network’s broadcasts.
De Romanett first stepped into the field of media evangelism when she volunteered for a year in a New York City van ministry as the anchor for the Good News Network, a television satellite network. She volunteered for several other ministries, including Quiet Hour, Amazing Facts, and Global Mission. She also traveled to India, Russia, Ethiopia, and other countries, working with churches and schools to conduct health clinics, health expos, and evangelistic meetings.
De Romanett’s evangelistic work eventually inspired her aunt, the late Mary Harris, to establish a nonprofit foundation to support the ministries De Romanett was involved with. With support from her aunt’s foundation and her parents, as well as her own funds, de Romanett says she followed God’s leading and started applying for radio station licenses with the Federal Communications Commission.
With grit and determination, de Romanett has learned about the media field on her own. She has become an expert in establishing nonprofit charities and has helped many Adventists establish charitable organizations. Linda’s infectious enthusiasm has also inspired many volunteers to work at the network’s radio stations.
Class of 1979
As the son of a minister and a nurse, George Fearing says the spirit of public service was instilled at an early age. His parents, as well as the grandfather for who he is named, also instilled in George a love of reading and learning. Today, Fearing draws upon his vast knowledge and spirit of service serving as judge on the State Court of Appeals Division III. Based in Spokane, Wash., Fearing’s role is to hear appeals from county superior courts throughout Eastern Washington. He was appointed to this post in May 2013 by Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Fearing brings to the judicial bench more than 30 years of experience as an attorney based in Kennewick, Washington, where he is known as a professional of impeccable integrity, wisdom, skill, and thoughtfulness. Fearing has distinguished himself as a trial lawyer, specializing in representing municipalities and law enforcement officers in civil litigation.
Fearing joined the law firm in 1982 after graduating from law school at University of Washington.
Fearing’s foray into law and politics began during his college years. During his summer vacation, he worked for U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson and the rest of the summers he worked for congressman Tom Foley.
Beyond his professional work, Fearing has been an active volunteer for his home church in Pasco, Wash., and has long championed the cause of religious liberty for the Adventist church. Fearing’s spirit of public service has led to his involvement with the Washington state Democratic Party, and membership in Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the NAACP. Fearing has served his alma mater as president of the Walla Walla University Alumni Association.