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Southern Adventist University Celebrates Grand Opening of Bietz Center for Student Life

Bietz Center ribbon cutting at Southern Adventist University

Student association officers join Southern Adventist University president Ken Shaw (center), student association president Josh Esten (left of center), and board chair Ron Smith (right of center) in cutting the ribbon to open Southern Adventist University’s newest building, the Bietz Center for Student Life. Photos provided by Southern Adventist University

On Oct. 1, 2021, Southern Adventist University held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the formal opening of the Bietz Center for Student Life. This long-awaited addition to campus, which was fully donor funded, brings together many student-focused services and resources under one roof, including chaplains, outreach coordinators, career and mental health counselors, and many more personnel who are eager to help students thrive and succeed in college and beyond.

At more than 40,000-square-feet, the Bietz Center also features lounge areas, game rooms, an eatery, study rooms, a store, a prayer room, and a chapel, plus offices for the Student Association and student publications.

Named in honor of Southern’s 25th president, Gordon Bietz, D.Min., and his family’s long-standing dedication to Seventh-day Adventist education, this new facility underscores the fact that students are the reason Southern exists.

“The Bietz Center is not just a building,” said Josh Esten, senior accounting major and student association president, during the ceremony. “It shows just how much we, the students, mean to our faculty and staff and the commitment they have to us.”

SAU Bietz Center slide

This slide is just one of many fun options available to students in the new Bietz Center facility on the campus of Southern Adventist University.

This $14 million project was part of the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning — a $54 million effort, considerably larger than anything previously undertaken at Southern. By the time the Bietz Center opened, more than 600 individuals had contributed to its construction.

Chris Mckee, co-chair for the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, expressed gratitude to the supporters who made the building possible.

“We appreciate every single donor who came together to support this,” Mckee said. “And we appreciate the students; they are the reason this building is here.”