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Yamileth "Yami" Bazan Named Next Union College President

Bazan's term will begin on July 1, 2024, soon after the official transition to the new name of Union Adventist University.

Headshot of a smiling Hispanic woman

Yamileth Bazan has been named the next president for Union College, starting in the summer of 2024. Photo: Union College

The Union College board of trustees has invited Yamileth Bazan to take the reins as Union’s 30th president. Her term will begin on July 1, 2024, soon after the official transition to the new name of Union Adventist University. “Yami,” as she prefers to be called, brings with her a passion for education and ministry combined with a long legacy of supporting and mentoring students, university leaders, and local church constituents.

“I am confident God led in the search process,” said Gary Thurber, chair of Union’s board of trustees and president of the Mid-America Union Conference. “The experience she brings in serving young people, mentoring them spiritually, and building leaders is a perfect fit for Union. She lives and breathes the mission and values of the Adventist church and this university.”

Union’s students first met Bazan in November before she interviewed for the presidential role. The week she was scheduled to speak for worship services turned out to be a very difficult one; a student had just died in a tragic accident. “Dr. Bazan has already supported us through a hard time, and we know we can trust her to lead with compassion, empathy and love,” said Annelise Jacobs, Student Association president. “She will be a great president because she is both a strategic thinker and a great listener who cares deeply about the students and employees.”

Bazan has served in Adventist higher education for more than 17 years. As associate dean for Student Affairs at Loma Linda University School of Medicine, she oversees all student services and support offices, including student clubs and events, the Records Office, tutoring and other academic support, and health and wellness services. As vice president of Student Life at La Sierra University from 2007 to 2021, she led 10 departments ranging from athletics and counseling to campus security and spiritual life. Before entering higher education, Bazan served in youth ministry for the Southeastern California Conference and began her career teaching in Adventist elementary schools.

“During my visits to the campus this year, I was blessed to experience the caring learning community that makes Union special,” said Bazan. “The values and mission are lived beautifully by the faculty, students, staff, and administration. It has been a sweet surprise to see God connect our paths. I am honored to be part of the next exciting chapter for this campus family.”

Bazan holds a Ph.D. in leadership from Andrews University, a master’s in administration and leadership, a bachelor’s from La Sierra University, and an associate degree from Loma Linda University. She has also taught graduate-level courses in educational leadership at La Sierra and led a seminar class on college success for first-year students for many years.

She is married to Daniel, an IT professional and entrepreneur, and the couple has one son. The Bazans plan to transition to Lincoln this summer.

“Yami is an answer to so many prayers!” said Vinita Sauder, Union’s current president. “I can retire happily knowing that I am leaving Union in the hands of someone so caring and competent. I know God has called her to Union for a purpose.”