September 7, 2022

Oakwoodites Participate in Mississippi Water Relief Effort

Oakwood University collaborated with DAP (Drug Alternative Program), Oakwood University Church, and Breath of Life Ministries, to help deliver 12-13 tons of water to the New Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church for distribution to the residents of Jackson, Mississippi.

Residents of North Alabama brought in cases while some churches and businesses donated entire pallets of water. Oakwood's Senior Chaplain Andrew Pileggi recruited Pastor Enoc Balbuena of the Oakwood Latino Adventist Church and OU students to assist in the effort. They donated their day off to help load and receive cases that continued coming in throughout the day. 


The organizers ran into a good problem…there was more water than trucks and drivers! Seeing the need, OU stepped in by renting a large UHAUL truck and providing one of the vans from the Office of Spiritual Life & Mission to load the remaining cases. After many hours and just as much sweat, every last case was loaded. 

Organizers Joe Dent, Joe Booth, Chaplain Pileggi and Al Frye arrived at the Oakwood University Church Family Life Center before 4:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning to begin the journey to Mississippi. They discovered that an additional 30 cases of water had been dropped off! They loaded the cases and hit the road, joining Cliff and Freddie Harris with their fleet of DAP vehicles along the way. 


A caravan of nine vehicles arrived at the New Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church just after 10:00 a.m. Around 20 volunteers from the church and community helped to unload over 1000 cases of water in preparation for distribution later that day. Joe Dent, who helped organize the drive, summed everything thing up nicely when he said, “this truly was a united effort.” Praise God for members of the Oakwood community and Huntsville area who came together to help the residents of Jackson. 


We’re stronger together, Family.

Report on

Report on

Oakwood University Awarded CROSS Grant

from U.S. Department Education

The Office of Grants is delighted announce that Oakwood University (OU) has received its third award for the CROSS grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The award totals $247,239 and will be led by Dr. Lisa James, Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. The project is titled: Creating Opportunities for Success in STEM (CROSS). The Office of Grants congratulates Dr. Lisa James and the entire team that will be working on this grant! 

Three goals of the Oakwood University Creating Opportunities for Success in STEM (CROSS): Increasing the representation of minorities and Women program are to:

  1. Increase the number of female students enrolling in STEM programs at OU, particularly in the areas of computer science and engineering;
  2. Improve student learning success in mathematics, engineering, physics, and computer science; and
  3. improve career placement of underrepresented ethnic minorities and women in STEM programs at OU.

Created in 1980, the Department of Education (ED)'s mission is to promote achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access.

The ED offers three kinds of grants:

  • Discretionary grants - awarded using a competitive process
  • Student loans or grants - to help students attend college
  • Formula grants - uses formulas determined by Congress and has no application process

The Minority Science and Engineering improvement Program is a discretionary grant that assists predominantly minority institutions in effecting long-range improvement in science and engineering education programs and increasing the flow of underrepresented ethnic minorities, particularly minority women, into science and engineering careers. 

School of Arts & Sciences Holds School-Wide Chapel

Once during each semester, "Departmental Chapel." is held in each academic department. On September 1, 2022, rather than eight separate events, the School of Arts and Sciences (SAS) held its first ever school-wide chapel program in the Carter Hall Chapel.

Aeolians Director, Jeremy Jordan, led a spirited song service, followed by a moving prayer by Biology major Nathanael McKenzie. Violinist Sarah Ruff, Assistant Professor of Music and Orchestral Director, offered an evocative rendition of “Amazing Grace.”

English major Makayla Mattocks (right) provided a soulful sermon-in-poem, “Searching for You.”

Starr Davis, 2020 OU alumna and Graduate and Professional School Program Manager in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at The Ohio State University, shared info about graduate and professional school opportunities at OSU. The SAS Senator, Mark Awoniyi, shared plans for the 2022-23 school year.

Each SAS department chair (Biological Sciences, Chemical and Biochemical Sciences, Communication, English and Foreign Languages, Mathematics and Computer Sciences, Music, and Psychological Sciences) spent a few minutes talking about important events and programs in their departments. 

Before closing, a long line of student club leaders provided overviews of clubs and events. The program closed with prayer in Spanish and English by Professor Sofia Wolhein-Nava and Spanish major Aerrin O’Quinn. 

The combined chapel program was well attended, with every seat filled and some students standing in the back and along the walls of the chapel. The program allowed students to put faces to the names of chairs, dean, and student leaders as well as learn about processes and protocols. Students and faculty appreciated the opportunity to participate in a collaborative chapel service. One student remarked that she felt less isolated knowing she’s part of a larger group. Faculty members exclaimed that it felt good being in the same space with so many students.

Oakwood University Invites You to Make an Impact --

Give to the Annual Fund

You may be familiar with the phrase, ‘You never know how far a good deed can go.’ The original saying was written by William Shakespeare in his book, The Merchant of Venice, which was published in 1600. William wrote, “How far that little candle throws his beams! So shines a good deed in a weary world.” Another phrase I’m sure you know, is Jesus’s admonition found in Matthew 5:14,16 NKJV – “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

My name is Esther Smith and I serve as your new Development Officer for Oakwood University’s Annual Fund. It is my honor to champion this fund because I know from experience the lengthiness of a good deed and the warmth of one bright light. As an alum of Oakwood, it has been my privilege to return to the institution that began my journey into higher education. In this time, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on my years at Oakwood and how I was impacted by them. I remember in my sophomore year being on the receiving end of initiatives just like the Annual Fund. I remember individuals whom I didn’t know stepping in to make a difference in my OU experience. There are countless stories like mine and I can’t help but be grateful. Grateful for the impact one person decided to make so that my experience would be full even with the things I could not supply.

It is my privilege today to ask you to consider creating the same kind of impact for the students that pass through our halls and dorm rooms today. It’s true that the world, as a whole, may never know the good deed you will have done, but each of us exists in a world all our own. So while you may not impact the 7.97 billion people on the earth, you have the power to impact at least one of the more than 1400 students currently striving for their education at Oakwood University. Your gift to the annual fund is an excellent way to maximize your support of the Oakwood family.

The fund was established to aid our mission of transforming students through biblically-based education for service to God and humanity. It upholds many areas including student aid, academic department support, greatest needs in infrastructure, curricular/co-curricular projects and programs, and student scholarships.

I encourage you today to be the light. See how far your good deed of giving can go.

Give today by visiting or call University Advancement at 256.726.7201.

...Depart to Serve: Alumni News

All of our Oakwood alumni are welcome to join us, virtually, for the the 5th annual Alumni Summit on Friday, September 16, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

We are asking our alumni to please register in advance for this meeting.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

In the meantime, Emile Parker, Director of Alumni Relations, is available to answer your questions -- | (256) 726-7039.

The UCSF School of Medicine recently announced that Heather Hervey-Jumper, MD, has been named the Director of the Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US), effective August 1, 2022.

Dr. Hervey-Jumper, an associate professor of anesthesia and perioperative care, is committed to medical education and believes in the potential of UCSF to produce impactful and dynamic physicians to care for the underserved in our communities.

Throughout her career, Dr. Hervey-Jumper has been dedicated to broadening the physician workforce pipeline to include more students from underrepresented in medicine backgrounds. Since joining UCSF, Dr. Hervey-Jumper has focused on the education and advancement of underrepresented in medicine students and faculty as a member of the Diversity Committee for the Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care. In 2020, she served as Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for the Department, during which time she implemented several diversity important initiatives and led a national search for the department’s next Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Hervey-Jumper earned a Bachelor of Science from Oakwood University, a Historically Black University in Huntsville, Alabama. She received her medical degree from The Ohio State University and completed her anesthesiology residency training at the University of Michigan. 

At the 29th quadrennial session of the Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists on July 17, 2022, the delegates of Lake Region Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Oakwood alumnus James Doggette, Jr., was appointed as the Associate Youth Director for the conference. There are more than 29,000 Adventists in the lake Region Conference who worship in 107 churches throughout Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

Since 1978, James P. Willis II has gathered diverse experience within the context of Adventist education, from the classroom, to leadership, to administration. As of July 1, 2022, Willis transitions into the role of vice president for education of the Southern California Conference, where he looks forward to continuing to serve schools and families in the conference. “The key thing that has always excited me about education is seeing young people, who have been my students, continue in their path of faithfulness to God, which I believe has launched them into achieving tremendous heights in their personal and professional pursuits,” Willis said.  MORE

Leave a Legacy at "the Oaks"
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 the 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.
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
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  • 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."
Show yOUr Pride in Alabama!
Purchasing an Alabama “Oakwood University License Plate” is a simple way to contribute to scholarships for Oakwood students who are Alabama residents.

Request your Oakwood University collegiate plate when you normally register your car in Alabama so you don’t have to double pay.  Contact Debbe Millet in IMPR if you have any questions.
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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.
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Editor: Debbe Millet | Graphic Designer: Ron J. Pride | (256) 726-7202