Pastor Luis Rivera (second left), president of the Puerto Rican Union and board chair of Antillean Adventist University in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, presents an award to Dr. Myrna Colón (center), president of AAU who will end her tenure as president on June 30, 2024.  Jorge Ramos (fourth from right), interim mayor of Mayaguez Municipal district and Yolanda Pérez (right), vice president of Academic Affairs, take join in during a special ceremony segment on stage on May 26, as Dr. Arenice Contreras (left) daughter of Dr. Colón looks on. [Photo: Antillean Media Center]

Event combined words by outgoing president Myrna Colón and incoming president Edwin Hernández.

May 28, 2024 | Mayagüez, Puerto Rico | Lorell Varela and Inter-American Division News

Antillean Adventist University (AAU), a Seventh-day Adventist educational institution in Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, held its 62nd graduation ceremony at the Germán “Wilkins” Vélez Recreation and Sports Center on May 26, 2024. One hundred and seventy-four students received their university degrees.

The 2024 class included students from most districts in Puerto Rico, as well as from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, and the United States. Students received associate’s, baccalaureate, post-baccalaureate, or master’s degree diplomas in the fields of business management, office administration, biology, computer science, physical education, secondary education, special education, psychology, cardiopulmonary sciences, nursing, and religion.

Jarissa Collado, a nursing degree graduate from the Dominican Republic expresses her joy during graduation program on campus, May 26, 2024, in Mayaguez, Puerto Rico [Photo: Antillean Media Center]

“To all of you we want to say, thank you for entrusting your academic and professional preparation to this institution and for giving us the opportunity to shape your lives wholistically, in the image and likeness of our Creator,” said AAU president Dr. Myrna Colón, who is concluding her tenure as school president on June 30. “It is our sincere wish that this ceremony will continue to inspire their lives to be highly competent professionals, committed to serving God and humanity.”

Dr. Colón made history in 1996 by becoming the first woman to preside over a university institution in Puerto Rico. Her first period as president took place from 1996 to 2001, and her second one was from 2022 to 2024. Dr. Colón has served in the field of education for almost 50 years, both at K-12 and at higher education level in Puerto Rico, the United States, Central America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

As part of his message as chair of the AAU Board of Trustees, Pastor Luis A. Rivera highlighted the university’s commitment to form upright leaders, with a solid formation in values. Rivera also gave a well-deserved recognition to the outgoing president.

Dr. Edwin Hernández, who will serve as president of Antillean Adventist University starting on July 1, applauds during his address to the graduation class of 2024 on campus, May 26, 2024. [Photo: Antillean Media Center]

The main message to the class of graduates was given by Dr. Edwin Hernández, who will assume the presidency of AAU on July 1. Dr. Hernández returns to serve in Puerto Rico after working for nearly three decades in the United States, where he served as executive director of the Louisville Institute, an organization funded by the Lilly Endowment, and as president of AdventHealth University in Orlando, Florida.

“Students, as you move into your future,” Hernández told the graduating class, “allow the guiding principles of trust in God, service to others, a positive attitude, gratitude, persistence, and kindness be your compass, helping you overcome life’s challenges and achieve fulfillment and success.”

Among the special guests were Engineer Jorge Ramos, Mayagüez interim mayor, and the Honorable Migdalia González, senator of the Mayagüez-Aguadilla district, as well as other leaders of various institutions and organizations.

Graduating Class of 2024 show their expressions as they rejoice during the end of the ceremony on campus of the Antillean Adventist University, May 26, 2024. [Photo: Antillean Media Center]

Since 1961, Antillean Adventist University has served the Puerto Rican community and students from five continents, standing out for its commitment to academic excellence, wholistic education, and selfless service.

To learn more about Antillean Adventist University, visit

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