On Aug. 8, 2018, Larry Blackmer, vice president of Education for the North American Division (NAD) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, received two awards during a general session at the NAD Teachers’ Convention in Chicago, Illinois. He also accepted an additional award given to the North American Division from the Alumni Awards Foundation for “supporting and encouraging Dr. Larry Blackmer who has demonstrated outstanding professionalism creativity and dedication in the classroom.”
As Blackmer was presented the Alumni Awards Foundation 2018 Excellence in Teaching Award, a foundation representative acknowledged that, through 40 years of service, “Dr. Blackmer has earned the admiration of his students and colleagues. He has been recognized as a model educator who integrated professional excellence with Christian education.” Support for the award came from both the NAD Board of Education and General Conference Board of Education.
During the brief ceremony, Daniel R. Jackson, NAD president, thanked Blackmer, who will retire later this year, for his dedication and service. He presented Blackmer with the President’s Award of Excellence, sharing that Blackmer was often involved in many major decisions at the North American Division — in Education and beyond. “The level of excellence that Larry spawns is incredible,” said Jackson. “One can look at the Adventist Learning Community as just one example of innovative success.”
Blackmer, upon acknowledging the award, recognized his wife Sandra’s support during 40 years of work in — and extensive travel for—Adventist Education. He also declared that “Adventist education is not just an appendage of the church. Adventist Education is the Adventist church.”
Said Blackmer, “It’s been my privilege for the past 10 years to lead the North American Division Education department. … In my first week in the office I said to Dan [Jackson]: ‘If there is a week that goes by that I don’t do something that changes the life of a teacher in a classroom, or the students in the classroom, then I ought to be fired.’”
Blackmer concluded his remarks by saying, “You are the heroes of the church. … You are the ones who stand in front of those children and make a difference in their lives. You’re the ones who pray with them, care about them and their parents. They come to know Jesus because of you. You ought to be the ones who receive all the accolades. So please give yourselves a round of applause.”