A Statement of Support from the Regional Conference Presidents for the Leadership of Oakwood University President, Dr. Leslie N. Pollard



WHEREAS, we have been entrusted to oversee the stability, progress and growth of the Black work in the North American Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church; and

WHEREAS, we are called to provide individual leadership to our respective fields and collective oversight to the ministries and institutions that benefit our constituents; and

WHEAREAS, Oakwood University, in its role as the denomination’s only historically black institution of higher learning, has educated generations of youth to serve the Seventh-day Adventist Church and society at large; and

WHEREAS, we are committed to ensuring that Oakwood University thrives and succeeds in its mission to educate bright minds, to glorify God and elevate our people; and

WHEREAS, We as trustees of the University have voted that all entities using the proprietary name of “Oakwood University” must come under the supervision of the University’s Board of Trustee’s; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Leslie Pollard, President of Oakwood University, seeks to execute this directive as mandated by the Oakwood University Board of Trustees; and

WHEREAS, over the past few years, we have witnessed unprecedented development and growth in infrastructure, fundraising and faculty development (See list of accomplishments affixed to this document); and

We as, presidents and leaders of the Regional Work in North America reiterate our unqualified support for Dr. Leslie Pollard as President of Oakwood University,

We categorically denounce the denigration and defamation campaign waged, online and over social media, personally against Dr. Pollard for following our directive. We believe that the politics of personal destruction and character assassination have no place in the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

We call on all individuals who profess love and loyalty to Oakwood University to engage in meaningful and creative dialogue to advance the mission of the institution.

We further call on all entities who disagree with the decisions of the Oakwood University Board of Trustees to address those issues directly and cease and desist from personal attacks on any individual.

Respectfully issued on October 9, 2019 by


Roger Bernard, President
Central States Conference
William Cox, President
Allegheny West Conference
Virgil Childs, Director
Regional Ministries
Pacific Union Conference
Byron Dulan, Vice President
Regional Ministries
North Pacific Union Conference
Dana Edmond, Director
Office for Regional Conference
Henry Fordham, President
Allegheny East Conference
Daniel Honore, President
Northeastern Conference
Ben Jones, President
South Central Conference
Clifford Jones, President
Lake Region Conference
Gregory Mack, President
Southeastern Conference
Kenneth Manders, President
Bermuda Conference
William Winston, President
South Atlantic Conference
Calvin Watkins, President
Southwest Region Conference



  • Accreditation–earned a quantified score of 98.9 on its last institutional SACSCOC accreditation visit,
  • Successfully accredited 6 academic programs, including nursing, social work, education, and nutrition and dietetics
  • Earned full accreditation by the Adventist Accrediting Association
  • Produced 7 years of positive fiscal-year bottom lines ranging from 1.5 million to 5.7 million dollars;
  • Produced the 3rd best Composite Financial Index score among the 13 SDA institutions in North America
  • Fundraised the largest individual personal donation of $1.2 million dollars in the history of Oakwood
  • Fundraised the largest corporate donation of $2 million dollars in the history of OU
  • Won the largest grant award in the history of OU–Career Pathways for $6,000,000 written by Oakwood with the largest share of $2.75 million dollars to Oakwood for 5 years
  • Won $100,000 planning grant from UNCF for Career-Pathways grant
  • Purchased 2 nationally-chained Edible Arrangements stores allowing Oakwood to own all of the fruit bouquet business in North Alabama,
  • Fundraised $2,000,000 for the building of the Community Health Action Clinic which will expand the mission footprint of the University beyond the campus borders
  • Industry recovery in the launch of Oakwood Farms,
  • Invested $25 million dollars in new construction including Cunningham Hall and Carter Hall;
  • Facilitated the build of the Blake Center TreeHouse project,
  • Improved the student-satisfaction ratings with University Dining Hall
  • Constructed a 21st century state-of-the-art Media Center,
  • Created and launched Oakwood Online University
  • Created and launched a nationally-awarded Healthy Campus 2020 Campus wellness initiative;
  • Created and launched the Anna Knight Center for Women’s Leadership;
  • Created and launched a landmark study of young adult spirituality called LifeCore, placing Oakwood in the expert position on Millennial spirituality—issued in 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017
  • Established the TOT Administrative Center for the management of CP-GEM grant—paying multiple FTEs out of grant funds
  • Successfully restructured the organization in 2015 and 2017—creating a Provost Structure to grow the academic offerings of the University
  • Created and launched Oakwood University Leadership Academy—the first ever inhouse, competency-based training for middle-managers
  • Facilitated 4 consecutive years of 0% tuition increase, remaining the most affordable institution in NAD,
  • Produced 2 USCAA basketball national championships;
  • Produced 2 Honda Campus all-star Academic Championships;
  • Sponsored the Aeolians to the Wales Eisteddfod—Aeolians named 2017 Choir of the World
  • Sponsored the Aeolians to South Africa in 2018—Aeolians win 3 Gold medals for the Aeolians at the World Choir Games
  • President elected chairman of the UNCF Nominating committee
  • President named to the Executive Committee of the UNCF
  • Founded staff recognition Awards in 2017
  • Founded the Career Connections Center in July, 2018
  • Approval by SACSCOC to launch a Master’s of Public Health in January, 2019
  • Approval by SACSCOC to launch a Masters of Business Administration in August, 2019