BREAKING: Andreasen to Retire as Andrews University President in June 2016

At the end of his State of the University address today with university faculty and staff, and several members of his family present, Andrews University president Niels-Erik Andreasen announced that he would retire when his current term ends in June, 2016. Andrews University issued the following release on its website after the announcement was made:

Niels-Erik Andreasen, president of Andrews University, announced his retirement, effective June 2016, during his annual State of the University address on Thursday, August 13, 2015.

Andreasen, who will leave office when his contract ends June 30, 2016, has led the flagship educational institution of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1994, the longest-serving president in the history of Andrews University. The university, which was established in 1874 as Battle Creek College in Battle Creek, Michigan, moved to Berrien Springs, Michigan in 1901 as Emmanuel Missionary College, and became Andrews University in 1960.

Following Andreasen’s presentation, Benjamin Schoun, chair of the Andrews University Board of Trustees, described the search process to replace Andreasen, which will begin immediately.

That process, overseen by the Andrews University Board of Trustees, will be guided by University bylaws, working and board policies, and directed by a search committee made up of board members, university faculty, staff, alumni and students. Schoun will serve as the search committee chair.

The search committee will meet for the first time in September, and will seek to identify and interview candidates by early 2016, with two final candidates recommended to the Board of Trustees by its March 2016 meeting. During that board meeting, the new president of Andrews University will be selected. The same afternoon, a quinquennial constituency membership meeting of Andrews University will elect a new Board of Trustees for its next five-year term and that new board will meet for the first time in June.

At the June 2016 board meeting, the new president will be elected and the new board chair, Artur Stele, a general vice president of the Seventh-day Adventist world church, will assume chairmanship of the Andrews University Board of Trustees.

During Andreasen’s tenure, Andrews University grew to a global institution of more than 7,000 students studying around the world, with more than 3,400 studying on its Berrien Springs campus.

Major construction projects during those two decades included the Howard Performing Arts Center, a significant expansion of the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, a major new Undergraduate Learning Center and significant infrastructure improvements to the Dining Center, Dairy and a new University entrance. Fundraising is nearly complete for a major Health & Wellness Center, which is scheduled for completion within the next three years.

The restructuring of academic entities, including the School of Health Professions and School of Architecture, Art & Design during Andreasen’s presidency, reflects his ongoing interest in adding professional training opportunities to the core liberal arts education offered by Andrews University. The addition of the School of Distance Education four years ago has helped continue to transform Andrews University as it seeks to be an increasingly responsive and global presence that delivers quality Christian higher education to campuses and students—wherever they are in the world.

Andreasen’s tireless involvement in bolstering international education systems and institutions reflects his individual contributions to helping expand and strengthen higher education beyond Andrews University. He has helped establish Andrews University as a significant global force for higher education—now ranked as one of the top 200 national universities in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best College listings and consistently ranked in the top ten for both international and ethnic diversity.

Born in Fredensborg, Denmark, Andreasen lived in Denmark for his first 19 years. Andreasen graduated in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in religion and history from Newbold College. He holds two degrees from Andrews University: a Master of Arts in biblical studies, which he received in 1965; and a Bachelor of Divinity in 1966. In 1971, he received a doctorate degree in Hebrew Bible from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. His dissertation was titled “The Old Testament Sabbath.”

In 1970, Andreasen began what is nearing half a century of teaching and leadership posts for Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities. In 1990, Andreasen was named president of Walla Walla College, College Place, Washington. He served in that capacity until July 1994, when he became the fifth president of Andrews University. He also serves as professor of Old Testament studies at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary.

As an author, professor, Old Testament scholar, and leader, Andreasen has brought a wealth of experience and wisdom to many venues during his distinguished career. He has served on a number of hospital and institutional boards, as well as many committees at the highest level of the Seventh-day Adventist world church. He has also helped many affiliated institutions to acquire accreditation during his tenure as president of Andrews University.

Andreasen is married to Demetra Lougani of Athens, Greece, a retired medical social worker, who served as community relations coordinator at Andrews for many years and is known for her gracious, inclusive hospitality and support of scholarships for women students. Their family includes one son, Michael, who is vice president for advancement at the University of Oregon, his wife Marie, and two grandchildren, Caleb and Jordan.


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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

A man of vision, integrity and courage, he created a university out of a cow college. Tom Z

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Cows are still there, smell them every time I kayak by on the St. Joseph River. :wink:

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i think andrews would be a natural location for a new adventist law school that could be a legal counterweight to loma linda’s medical excellence…just because egw doesn’t explicitly enumerate a law school in our education system doesn’t mean the principle isn’t there…

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The office of president of Andrews University is the most important office in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Who is president of Andrews University is much more important than who is president of the GC. There is a superabundance of candidates capable of serving as president of the GC or one of the many divisions, unions, and conferences. In contrast, to find a successor to Dr. Andreasen who will not be a patent embarrassment to his legacy and the University community will be very difficult. He is one of the greatest leaders in the history of the Church.


Dr. Andreasen is a mighty oak. I agree with Philip that the importance of his 20-some years of leadership at Andrews University cannot be overstated and replacing him will be a difficult task, indeed. The foresight that Dr. Andreasen showed simply in arranging for the current board chair to remain past his retirement to oversee the transition (not a display of distrust in the incoming chair but a move that retains the much-needed trust built up by the current chair), shows the kind of administrative care that has marked his tenure. I have had the highest respect for Andreasen and his leadership and knowing that his retirement was nearing was always sad at the thought. Now that the announcement has come, I am saddened but also filled with praise for this kind, gracious, visionary and wise man. Thank you, Dr. Andreasen, for your many years of unparalleled service to Andrews and to the Church.


I served at Andrews under three presidents, Rittenhouse, Hammill, and Andreasen. I regard Hammill as the “father” of the institution–he, I think, is the one who had the idea for an Adventist institution that would be a “real” university–dedicated to the advancement of knowledge. He was full of ambition for Andrews–I remember when in 1964 when I was about to go off to Ann Arbor for my doctorate, he approached me one day in front of the James White Library and asked me if I was interested in returning to Andrews after I got my degree. I told him that if things kept going as they had been, sure, I’d like to come back. He said to me, “We’re going to take off like a shot!” and as if to illustrate what he meant, he bounded up the steps to the Library two at a time.

Unfortunately, things did not work out so well–a new GC president who was not so in love with learning put the cabosh on several of Hammill’s ambitions, and while he presided over much progress, there was also much turmoil, during which a number of the young theologians, (including our much lamented Roy Branson) left the campus. I think that under Andreasen, much of Hammill’s dream for Andrews University has now been realized. After leaving in 1972 (to go into business) I returned to the campus in 1998 and the level and competence of administration was definitely higher than in my previous incarnation.

I served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics for six years; during that period, my politician son would tell me that my job was “very political,” and I think he was right. If being a department head is political, I can only imagine the political tightropes a President of such an institution has to walk. I think Niels-Erik Andreasen has survived so long, a full ten years longer than Hammill, who himself set a record for longevity, largely because of his ability to “let go” when that is what is needed. I consider this a very admirable trait, contributing to the overall grace with which he has led Andrews University.


Dr. Andreasen is the best thing to have happened to Andrews in my (65-year) memory.

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I had the privilege of being taught by Dr Andreasen at Avondale College when he came out to Australia as an exchange lecturer. He was well organised, inspiring and challenging. I was privileged to be a student at Andrews while he was early in his presidency there. Again he was gracious, people focused and inspiring.

He will be missed in both his leadership at Andrews and his measured, perceptive guidance on our Adventist world stage. He had the capacity to make others the focus of his attention. It was not about himself, but about his God and his capacity to enhance others vision of how to express that in a balanced way.

His ministry was powerful, God centred and delivered with integrity. It was always a combined family ministry with his wife standing resolutely beside him. He deeply respected her and to me embodied the ideal that Eden portrayed - a partnership where both made a significant contribution to Andrews.


As a more recently alumnus of Andrews, I always had great admiration for Dr. Andreasen. He is a phenomenal leader and has certainly rolled with the punches throughout his tenure, as I discovered when reading up on the history of Andrews University. Andrews would be lucky to end up with a president even half as much like him in the future.

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Few, if any, have made the contribution to Adventist higher education that Andreasen has. He has been a voice for deliberate and rational thought on core issues and has done it with dignity and true grace.

It is my hope that the Board of Trustees will not expect the next president to perform his/her responsibilities and continue accepting the lowest compensation of any college/university president in the United States (as per the Chronicle of Higher Education). “A workman is worthy…” and the present one deserved much more, as does the next president of this “flagship” institution.