September 16, 2021
Legendary Administrator, Leader and Preacher
Passes to His Rest
The global family of Oakwood University’s Administrators, Faculty, Staff, Students, Alumni, and friends are saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Charles Bradford.

Elder Bradford's connection to Oakwood began before he was born. His mother, Mrs. Etta Littlejohn Bradford, was one of the original 16 students at the Oakwood Industrial School when it opened in 1896. His mother and father Robert demonstrated the role that ministry and service played in their family when they together opened an orphanage to help needy children.

As a young man, Charles was encouraged to pursue a career in medicine. While attending Oakwood College, he eventually became convinced that God wanted him to enter the ministry.

Elder Bradford graduated from Oakwood in 1946, and served the Seventh-day Adventist Church in pastoral ministry as a thought leader, and a pioneer of excellence and leadership throughout North America for over 40 years. Elder Bradford is known for his high view of the church and its potential.

In a July 26, 2018, interview by Spectrum Magazine regarding his book, “The King is in Residence” he said, “My conviction is that the journey is not solo. Every member is a part of the team and must be recognized. The situation calls for leaders ‘who understand the times and know what Israel should do.’ Jesus recognizes every disciple as His witnesses, ‘Well done, good and faithful servants.’ We are watchmen on the walls.”  

As the first African-American President of the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Elder Bradford served as the chairman of the Oakwood College Board of Trustees. He retired in 1990 after 40 years of service as a pastor, evangelist, department director, conference president and General Conference officer. The focus of his leadership, scholarship and passion was persistently to empower the local church. He was also consulted whenever race relations became an issue in church and educational institutions.
At the 2017 North American Division Year-End Meeting, Charles and Ethel Bradford pose for a photo with their family during a special moment recognizing Bradford's years of dedicated service to the church. [Photo by Pieter Damsteegt]

Over the years, we in the Oakwood community, have been blessed every time Elder Bradford came to the pulpit, either for a speaking engagement or to give remarks. His deep love for the church was always evident, as well as the wisdom of one who had a role during the civil rights movement, the urban crisis, major doctrinal and institutional challenges, new technologies and emerging, postmodern generations.
Above, Elders Bradford, Cleveland and Brooks at the 2007 opening of the Leadership Center named in their honor.

Left, Elder Bradford sharing words of wisdom at the 2018 Commencement Ceremony.
Not surprisingly, Bradford was a champion of women in ministry. His approach to ministry was dictated by the gifts given by the Holy Spirit to Christ's followers. "God's mission belongs to all of us," he says. The Bradford-Cleveland-Brooks Leadership Center at Oakwood University is named in his honor.

Over the years, we in the Oakwood community, have been blessed every time Elder Bradford came to the pulpit, either for a speaking engagement or to give remarks. His deep love for the church was always evident, as well as the wisdom of one who had a role during the civil rights movement, the urban crisis, major doctrinal and institutional challenges, new technologies and emerging, postmodern generations.
In 2018, Oakwood University presented an honorary doctoral degree to Elder Bradford in honor of his stellar record of service in advancing the mission of Oakwood university. While he is gone, he will never be forgotten.

The funeral service for Elder Bradford will be held on Sunday, October 3, 2021, at 12:00 noon, at the Oakwood University Church. We invite the Oakwood Family to pray for his wife and family during this difficult time. 

Leslie N. Pollard, Ph.D., D.Min., MBA
President, Oakwood University
Every Fall, Oakwood University hosts Oakwood Live!, where high school seniors and prospective students come to campus from all over the United States and Canada, excited to learn everything they can about life at Oakwood. Some groups are able to travel by air to Huntsville, but the majority travel in cars, vans, and buses with their chaperones.
From October 6 to 9, 2021, our guests will be immersed in the academic culture and day-to-day life of the Oakwood student. Activities include visiting academic departments, participating in social activities such as Western night and basketball games, and a highly anticipated Oakwood Live! concert.
Prospective students and their chaperones will get a glimpse, if only for a moment, the coveted "Oakwood Experience." This year, due to Covid-19 precautions, rather than sharing rooms on campus with current students, our guests will be staying at local hotels at no charge to attendees, paired as roommates with individuals from their respective groups.
A full day of spiritual enrichment is planned for Sabbath, October 9, including the Sabbath School and Divine Worship Services at the Von Braun Center. Saturday night will feature a block party and carnival-type activities.
University Advancement: Special 30-day Challenge
We Regret to Announce the Passing of
Mrs. Carol Wright
Carol Yvonne Wright, who served for 39 years in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. She passed away September 9, 2021, after an extended battle with dementia and Parkinson's disease.
Wright retired as undertreasurer at the Columbia Union Conference, where she worked in the Treasury Department from 1989 until 2017. While her husband was a faculty member in the Department of Religion & Theology at Oakwood, from 1978 to 1983, she served as the administrative secretary in the business manager’s office /Division of Finance at Oakwood College.
“Carol was one of those unforgettable people who just brightened your day whenever you would meet her,” says Dave Weigley, president of the Columbia Union of Seventh-day Adventists. “She was a professional, full of poise and wisdom. She helped create an incredible culture of support and care in the Columbia Union office team. Her friendship was very meaningful to me and many others. She will be deeply missed.”
She is survived by her husband of 55 years, Pastor Henry Wright, and sons Henry Monroe Wright, II, and Herbert Marcel Wright. Their son Harold Michael Wright preceded her in death in 1997.
A memorial service is scheduled for Sunday, September 26, 2021 at 12:00 noon, at the Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church, in Takoma Park, Maryland.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Laurie Center for Children’s Social and Emotional Wellness, are appreciated.
Condolences (cards and correspondence only, please) may be sent to:

Elder Henry Wright and Family
4904 Pleasant View Court
Bowie, Maryland 20720
We also regret to announce the unexpected passing of Raúl G. Ortiz Rodriguez on September 6, 2021. He graduated from Oakwood in 2016 (Master of Arts in Pastoral Studies), and was one of the big supporters of the Hispanic/Latino students in the Oakwood Latino Association. “Raul’s legacy will continue to live on! His love for Jesus and for humanity will be missed. His smile and sincere hugs will be a part of our lives forever,” said Isaac Ibarra, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusion. “Maranatha!” 
A memorial service was held at the Moseley Complex at 4:00 p.m. on September 11, 2021.

“Our hearts are saddened at the passing of Pastor Ortiz. He was a bright and generous spirit, and a wonderful colleague in the service of God. We will miss him and we extend our condolences to his wife and children,” said President Leslie Pollard,

Please remember the Wright and Rodriguez families in your prayers during this time of bereavement.
...Depart to Serve
Oakwood University Office of Alumni Relations and the Alumni Council and its NETWORK of alums are calling ALL Oakwood Alumni to plan to join us for our 4th Annual Alumni Summit, which starts VIRTUALLY this Friday, September 17, 2021.
Our registration data indicates that a completely virtual experience would be best for this meeting. Register TODAY and ENGAGE with us on Friday, September 17, 2021, beginning at 8:30 a.m., through 12:30 p.m. 
The purpose for these alumni gatherings is simply to help our alma mater to continue to thrive and find ways to promote alumni engagement through creating value for them to engage more. 
Here are a few insights on what you will experience:

  • Our devotional message will be given by charismatic Oakwood alumnus Dr. Abraham Jules.

  • You will be inspired to hear our University's current highlights directly from the President and all of our Vice Presidents, including the University's new strategic plans, and how Oakwood alumni can help fulfill those plans for a stronger Oakwood. 
Dr. Abraham Jules, Devotional Speaker
  • Be motivated to get ENGAGED by also hearing from the Alumni Council Officers and Committee Chairs about how Oakwood alumni can make an impact to the students' Oakwood experience
Space is limited so get registered TODAY by clicking here to reserve your seat now because YOUR ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT MATTERS! You can watch it on the Oakwood University Facebook channel. 
If you any have questions, please contact us in the Office of Alumni Relations by email:, or call 256-726-7039.
We look forward to seeing you there. 
Alva James-Johnson, assistant professor in the School of Journalism and Communication at Southern Adventist University, is scheduled as one of the speakers for the 2021 Society of Adventist Communicators convention in October. Her topic will be: "Writing in the Age of Fake News: 7 Steps to Building Trust with Your Audience." Prior to joining the faculty at Southern Adventist University in the Fall of 2018, Alva worked as a Social Issues Reporter at the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, Georgia, and Caribbean American Affairs Reporter at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Over the years, she also worked for the Syracuse Post-Standard in New York and the Omaha World-Herald in Nebraska, where she covered a variety of beats. As a full-time journalist, Alva documented healthcare atrocities in the New York state prison system, political upheaval in Haiti, and the plight of new immigrants replanting their lives in a new land. In 1993, Alva was a co-finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, along with three of her colleagues at the Syracuse Post-Standard. She has received many other prestigious awards from journalistic organizations.
Professor Christopher Mathis is a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law. His scholarship explores critical race theory, access and equity within higher education, and the philosophical assumptions within legal education. More pointedly, he studies the framework and incentive structures within higher education’s environments to identify factors contributing to inequality in our nation’s colleges and universities. His research on these topics spans several legal topics, including constitutional and tort law, education law and policy, and ethics. He primarily uses an empirical design that incorporates critical lenses, statistical analysis, and qualitative methodologies. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia School of Education with a focus on higher education. He also received his B.S. in Mathematics from Oakwood University and his J.D. from the University of South Carolina. He is a doctoral Researcher at the American Bar Foundation in Chicago, Illinois, and can be sometimes seen as a commentator on CNN and other media outlets. Mathis is the Vice Chairman of the Oakwood University Alumni Council.
Often seen as a symbol of authority and professionalism, the white coat frequently is conferred on new students during a ceremony held at the very beginning of medical or dental school. Along with their Oakwood Legacy families, we want to congratulate these young alumnae for receiving their white coats from their respective institutions. #OUoneofOurVeryOwn #OakwoodLegacy #OUsuccess
Lauren Davis receiving her white coat from Meharry School of Dentistry, joining the path of her mother Dr. Laura Davis and her big brother Dr. DeMont Davis. 
Mia Saunders receives her white coat from Des Moines University, daughter of two of our alumni
Simone Moore, a 3rd generation Oakwood Legacy daughter of Kevin A. Moore, received her white coat from Meharry Medical College, and continues her family's generational legacy of excellence. 
It’s the 125th year celebration of Oakwood’s existence and our Reunion Honor Classes of the 2s and 7s are next up to celebrate!

These 13 AMAZING & MEMORABLE CLASSES will help us celebrate in a BIG way in the engagement of their time to organize their giving financially to their alma mater during their reunion year up to Homecoming 2022. Last year, our Reunion Honor Classes of the 1s and 6s gave over $140,000 by Homecoming. Will our Reunion Honor Classes of 2s and 7s outdo the last year’s Honor Classes? We will see. The Reunion Year GIVING CLOCK started April 5, 2021, the day after Homecoming 2021. Exciting!!!

If you are a member of these NEXT UP Reunion Honor Classes, information is on the way. We especially want to hear from the class presidents of these honor classes. If you have questions, please contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 256-726-7039 today.
Reminders & Opportunities
Thursday @ 8:30 a.m. CDT

Join us at 8:30 a.m. (Central Daylight Time) Thursdays on Morning Joy with Dawna Baker, for a special edition of "Inside Oakwood with Dr. Leslie Pollard." Programs are broadcast on Facebook Live, and you can also listen via our live stream at Click the links below to listen to previous episodes:

Grab your running shoes and get moving with the Team WJOU for the virtual Liz Hurley Ribbon Run! Our goal is to raise $2500 to help the fight against breast cancer and benefit the Liz Hurley Breast Cancer Fund at Huntsville Hospital Foundation. It's easy to do!
  • Go to and register today. Registration ends on Monday, October 4.
  • Pick up your running packet from WJOU on October 13 and 14.
  • Pick your run or walk route, clock your time and log your results on any day before October 16.
  • Take a selfie or video and tag us at #wjourunwithliz!   
Power Packed Weekend 2021 is here!!! Are you Rooted in your relationship with Jesus? Pastor Jon Henderson is a powerful speaker with a word from the Lord FOR YOU. You don't want to miss any of these messages! He will also be joining us for Chapel, AYM and will conclude on Sabbath Morning for Divine Hour. 
Call for Submissions: Young Women's Devotional
The Anna Knight Women's Leadership Center & Museum is excited to announce the upcoming production of the 2022 Young Women’s Devotional. Sharing your story is important and we have compiled templates and guidelines to help you put your story in motion, to help, motivate, and encourage other young women. We encourage you to submit as many entries as you wish!

We want to encourage you to submit as many entries as you wish. We cannot do this without you!

Submit your story or your artistic expression today! If you have any questions, please contact Adrienne Reid at, or (256) 726-7245.
Leave a Legacy at OU
Pave the way into the next 125 years of success by purchasing a personalized brick on the Legacy Walkway, that leads from Ford Hall and Peters Media Center to the rest of the campus.

The Legacy Walkway Brick Campaign provides an opportunity to leave a legacy and support campus improvement at the same time. Our Legacy Walkway features names of donors, loved ones, special remembrances, and favorite sayings. Bricks are a great opportunity to congratulate a graduate, celebrate an advanced degree or accomplishment, or honor your loved ones.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to leave more than a memory at Oakwood University. You can leave your own legacy as we continue our mission – to transform the lives of our students.
Show yOUr Pride in Alabama!
When an Oakwood license plate is purchased from the Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles, the additional annual fee is donated to student scholarships at OU. This can be claimed as a charitable contribution to scholarships for students from Alabama (Section 32-6-156, Code of Alabama 1975).

There is the option of keeping the same expiration date as the plate being replaced, or beginning the Oakwood plate with a full year’s registration. Currently, this initiative is available only in Alabama.

Contact your local Alabama Department of Motor Vehicles office for more information.
Give back year-round to Oakwood University
while shopping online with AmazonSmile.
The AmazonSmile Foundation will send OU .5% of eligible purchases when you choose Oakwood University.
It's simple:

  • You can use your current Amazon account.
  • Just click
  • When prompted, select Oakwood University as your charitable organization, and then
  • Shop as you normally do.

Donations are made by the AmazonSmile Foundation and are not tax deductible by you.

Your Oakwood University family thanks you for all you continue to do for our dear Oakwood.  
The mission of Oakwood University, a historically black, Seventh-day Adventist institution, is to transform students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity.

InsideOakwood is published by the Office of Integrated Marketing & Public Relations.
Editor: Debbe Millet
Photographer: Teymi Townsend | (256) 726-7202