Volker Henning, vice president for academic administration at Walla Walla University, has announced plans to retire after completing 43 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
In 2017, Henning joined the leadership team at Walla Walla University as vice president for academic administration, where he is responsible for overseeing WWU’s faculty and academic programs. His many accomplishments at WWU include leading the search for and hiring of several important faculty and staff members who have provided strong leadership for the institution. He also facilitated the development of the institution’s Academic Master Plan, which has helped guide academic planning and resource allocation. He and his team have also led an extensive program review process which has come to be a cornerstone for continuing data-informed development of the university’s academic programs.
“Dr. Henning’s depth of missional commitment, broad knowledge of higher education, and love for WWU and its people have proved a successful formula. We are honored to be the capstone assignment in his distinguished career,” said John McVay, WWU president.
Henning began his professional career as a pastor for the Florida Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Orlando, and then served as the conference’s communication director. In 1989, he joined the faculty at Southern Adventist University, serving as a professor of journalism and communication for 17 years, six of those years as dean of the department. In 2006, Henning was named associate vice president for academic administration at Southern, and for 11 years was responsible for undergraduate academic student issues, working with university accreditors, supervising institutional research and planning, and overseeing the university’s online campus.
He holds bachelor’s degrees in theology and communication from Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.), a master of divinity degree from Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.), a master of arts degree in communication from the University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.), and a doctorate in mass communication with a concentration in advertising from the University of Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn.).
As one of WWU’s senior officers, Henning has served on leadership groups that have contributed to the overall improvement of the university, including the President’s Cabinet, University Senate, Curriculum Committee, Rank and Tenure Committee, Faculty Development Committee, Chairs and Deans Council, and the Positive Life Radio Executive Board.
He has lived on four continents, and over the years his professional work has extended into countries around the world. He has facilitated continuous improvement work at universities in the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Lebanon. He served as group leader for service trips to Kenya, Egypt, Guyana, and Tanzania. In addition, he has led informative tours to Israel and Germany.
“I retire with a touch of sadness but also a sense of accomplishment. It has been my distinct privilege to work for Walla Walla University for five of my 43 years of denominational service,” Henning said. “I remain a firm believer in the high-quality, mission-focused university education that is central to WWU, and I will continue to pray for the continued success of the university even after my departure.”
As he looks toward his retirement in June, Henning is thankful for the many colleagues that have mentored and supported his service-focused professional ministry. Citing Ephesians 4:8-12 as the guiding principle in his life, Henning says, “My greatest joy over the years has come from utilizing my gifts to help students, especially those who were struggling, succeed in earning their degrees and finding a meaningful career.
“My hope is that I have used my gifts to build up the body of Christ.”
Posted Jan. 14, 2022.