Meet the Alumni of the Year 2018, honored for service and achievement that embody the spirit of their alma mater.
Don Hall is the founder of Wellsource Inc., a health promotion company that helps corporations manage wellness programs for their employees. Wellsource has worked with more than 1,000 organizations around the world, including Nike, Intel, and Vanderbilt University. He is the author of four books and is founder of a second company, LifeLong Health. Hall has conducted health ministry workshops for many camp meetings and churches and in each union conference in the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists. With his wife, Patricia, he has developed health ministry programs, including Eight Weeks to Wellness, Weight Management for Life, and Fitness for Life. Hall has a bachelor’s degree in religion with a minor in chemistry from Walla Walla University and a doctor of public health degree from Loma Linda University. He and his first wife, Phyllis Miller ’68, graduated together from WWU and “spent 43 wonderful years of married life together.” She helped found Wellsource, and together they traveled around the world, biked through much of Europe and the states, and hiked hundreds of miles. Phyllis died tragically while hiking in California near Donner’s Pass. “Since then, the Lord helped me find another wonderful companion, Patricia, and we’ve enjoyed nine years together,” says Hall. He has two adult children and four grandchildren.
Beverly Buckles is dean of the School of Behavioral Health at Loma Linda University, vice president of Behavioral Health Education for LLU Adventist Health Sciences Center, a founding leader of the LLU Behavioral Health Institute, and founding chair of the LLU Department of Social Work and Social Ecology. She also founded the LLU International Behavioral Health Trauma Team, which has made more than 60 trips to respond to disasters in more than 40 countries. Buckles is actively involved in implementing psychological first aid and assists health systems and NGOs to prepare for and respond to disasters. She is an expert in behavioral health education, policies, and services in California and has been recognized throughout the state for dedication to international crisis preparation and response and for development of curricula and evaluation measures for mental health professionals. Buckles has a bachelor of social work degree with a second major in home economics from Walla Walla University, a master of social work degree from Eastern Washington University, and a doctor of social welfare degree in social policy from Adelphi University.
Hansel Fletcher is assistant dean for the office of Graduate Student Affairs for the Loma Linda University School of Medicine, where he is also professor, graduate program director, and vice chair for the Department of Basic Sciences, Division of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Fletcher’s research has attracted more than $14 million in research funding. He serves on several study panels for the National Institutes of Health and is an associate editor for the Molecular Oral Microbiology journal. Fletcher is involved in the development of Historically Black Colleges and Universities throughout the world. He helped to launch the Jamaica EXCEED (Excellence in STEM Experiential Education) program in collaboration with LLU, the Jamaican Diaspora, The Jamaica Teacher’s Association, and the Ministry of Education. Fletcher has an associate degree from Northern Caribbean University, a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in biology from Walla Walla University, and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology from Temple University School of Medicine. He completed postdoctoral training and was a research associate at the Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University before being recruited by LLUSM. He and his wife, Pauline, have two adult children.
Christian and Alexa Sharma are cross-cultural missionaries with Adventist Frontier Missions. They served for seven years in an area of the world unfriendly to evangelism. During that time, they learned the local language, compiled 365 pages of research about the culture, and bonded with the local people. When they left that country they “left behind several nurtured plants, a precious new seedling, and many gospel seeds, with the promise that God would continue to send the rain,” says Alexa. Christian has a bachelor’s degree in theology from WWU, and Alexa has a bachelor’s degree in speech communication. They are currently resting and refocusing in the United States, Alexa says, where they “have a renewed appreciation for our religious freedom and access to inspiring materials.” Christian is developing multimedia resources for sharing the gospel in the language of their mission culture, and Alexa is writing a book and composing songs about God’s miraculous guidance during their assignment. The Sharmas have two children.