Washington Adventist University to Hold Memorial Service for Gladstone Gurubatham

Washington Adventist University to Hold Memorial Service for Gladstone Gurubatham

Longest serving Washington Adventist University faculty with 50-year tenure was architect of the adult evening program

Story by Donna Bigler

Washington Adventist University (WAU) is mourning the death of its longest-serving faculty member, Gladstone Gurubatham, PhD.  He was a professor of psychology in the university’s School of Arts and Sciences for more than 50 years, and was honored at the Washington Adventist University Visionaries Gala in 2014 with an award for his “Excellence in Teaching Psychology and Social Sciences, and Excellence in Educational Leadership.”

Gurubatham served the university in a number of additional capacities over the years, including as a professor of sociology and history, and even as director of library sciences.

More than 30 years ago, when Washington Adventist University was known as Columbia Union College, Gurubatham proposed that empty classrooms in the evenings could be used to provide educational opportunities to working adults in an effort to improve the school’s financial situation. He was architect of one of the first evening degree programs of its kind in the nation and he persevered to help expand it to become the current School of Graduate and Professional Studies (SGPS), which now offers nine graduate and nine undergraduate programs in an accelerated format that enables busy, working adults to earn a degree in as little as 18 months.

“Gladstone Gurubatham was an energetic and inspirational professor who always gave his best,” says Weymouth Spence, WAU president.  “He truly was a visionary, and an outstanding individual who made significant contributions to this university for half a century. He will be profoundly missed on this campus and beyond.”

“He was a compassionate professor who cared about everyone, and passionate about WAU and helping to guide students to graduate,” says Grant Leitma, chair of the Psychology Department.  “He was an immensely versatile and extremely knowledgeable professor who has contributed so much to the educational and spiritual welfare of WAU. I will personally miss working with him on a daily basis for a long time to come. He was a source of continual encouragement to me. We conversed often about students and how we can do things better. The burden he carried continually was how to make WAU a better place for students to come and complete their dreams of a college education. The SGPS program, Elderhostel program, Director of External Degree, Chair of Library Science (long time ago), teaching sociology, geography, history, anthropology, psychology, and counseling courses are examples of his commitment to WAU. He will be difficult to replace.”

Plans are in the works for a memorial service. The Office of Alumni Relations will be collecting student and community memories in preparation for the memorial service. You can submit your favorite memories or stories to alumni@wau.edu. Please include your name, your graduation year or connection to WAU, and limit your submission to no more than 200 words.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, gifts be made to Washington Adventist University for the creation of a memorial scholarship fund. Click here for more information.

Washington Adventist University is holding a memorial service for Gurubatham January 30, 2016 at 4 pm at Sligo church in Takoma Park, Md.