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TODAY news for Thursday, November 16, 2006

Loma Linda University news

HALL names alumni of the year during 10th anniversary

Mirta L�pez Hern�ndez, RN, recipient of the HALL Alumni of the Year Award, poses for a picture with Drs. Pollard (left) and Castro.
Mirta López Hernández, RN, recipient of the HALL Alumni of the Year Award, poses for a picture with Drs. Pollard (left) and Castro.
The Hispanic Alumni of Loma Linda University (HALL) hosted its 10th annual alumni scholarship banquet on October 22. The theme for the banquet, held in Wong Kerlee International Conference Center, was Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors). Randy Roberts, DMin, senior pastor of Loma Linda University Church, served as master of ceremonies for the banquet. Dr. Roberts was born in the South American city of Bogatá, Colombia.

As part of the theme of Abriendo Puertas, several individuals were recognized for the work that they were doing with the Hispanic community. Programs that were highlighted included Si Se Puede, the Center for Health Disparities & Molecular Medicine, the School of Nursing’s Pipeline to Registered Nursing program, Cita Con Su Medico radio show, and the Health Communities program.

Also during the evening, the officers of HALL announced the recipient of the Alumni of the Year Award, Mirta López Hernández, RN.

Mirta López Hernández was born in 1923 in La Havana, Cuba. She was the youngest of six children born to Amador and María Luisa López. In 1928, her mother died in an epidemic, and her father took over the task of raising his family single-handedly until he died in 1940. Very early Mirta learned the power of pathogens and disease to disrupt life and health.

After her father died, it was decided that she should attend school at Colegio Adventista de las Antillas in Santa Clara, Cuba. She studied there from 1
Daniel Castro, MD, presents Leslie Pollard, DMin, MDiv, MBA, with the Special Recognition Award during the banquet.
Daniel Castro, MD, presents Leslie Pollard, DMin, MDiv, MBA, with the Special Recognition Award during the banquet.
941 to 1943, and that was where she met Armando Hernández. They shared the dream of higher education and decided to pursue that dream together. They were married in January 1944 and made plans to come to the United States to pursue their studies. Armando’s dream was to study medicine and Mirta’s dream was to study nursing.

They were given permission to enter the Unites States and in May 1944, they arrived in Tennessee, where they spent the summer working in Madison. At the advice of a friend from Cuba, they came to California at the end of that summer to attend La Sierra College (now La Sierra University, Riverside) where the school was accredited and their courses would be acceptable toward entrance to Loma Linda.

They studied at La Sierra from 1944 to 1947. Armando stitched brooms at the Lorenz Broom Factory and Mirta helped a local family, caring for their children and doing household chores. Most Saturday nights they studied so that they could put in eight hours of work on Sundays. Both of them felt it was a huge joy to learn that they had been accepted into their programs. The summer of 1947 Armando spent selling books and sold enough to pay for the entire tuition for both him and Mirta.

Their first daughter, Sonia, was born in August of 1948, during the summer recess. Dania was born in January of 1950 during the semester break. Mirta finished on time with her class in 1950 in spite of the cumulative difficulties of language, family responsibilities,
Eleven of the 12 Loma Linda University students who received scholarships pose for a picture following the banquet.
Eleven of the 12 Loma Linda University students who received scholarships pose for a picture following the banquet.
and financial challenges. She says that classmates applauded when she received her diploma for her perseverance in completing the course with them.

Armando finished his course with the School of Medicine class of 1952. A longed-for son, David, was born in December of 1951 during his father’s internship year. It became a family joke in later years that the three years at La Sierra and the four years of medicine were the “seven lean years” as in Pharaoh’s dream. Later, the last of the clan, named Max for his grandfather, was born in 1955. Now the family was complete.

Between helping Armando establish a practice and raising the family, Mirta volunteered as a private duty nurse for friends and church members. One of those she helped nurse was the mother of a daughter, Judith, who later married Max and became Mirta’s daughter-in-law.

At the end of the Korean conflict in 1954, Armando was drafted into the Navy and served three years. After his discharge in 1958, Mirta helped him establish a private practice in Santa Ana. Beginning in 1960, Mirta was pivotal in helping family members and others who came from Cuba to establish themselves in jobs, housing, and school. During the next 30 years, 100 different members of the family received direct help in getting established.

Together with Armando, Mirta supported the alumni associations of the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, and the establishment of scholarships, especially for Hispanic students. Although Armando died in 2004, Mirta continues to support the alumni association in its functions. Their children, the children’s spouses, and the grandchildren have continued the legacy of service to the University and Medical Center through a collective 30 years as students and 80 years of working or teaching for LLUAHSC.

The officers of HALL also announced the recipient of the Special Recognition Award, Leslie N. Pollard, DMin, MDiv, MBA.

Leslie N. Pollard serves as vice president for Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. He began his leadership career more than 27 years ago as a minister in the Southern California Conference. He has served as a radio speaker, youth pastor, college chaplain, and parish pastor. Dr. Pollard has successfully led both small and large congregations in America.

Dr. Pollard is blessed with an extensive education. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Oakwood College, Hunstville, Alabama, in 1978, and a master of divinity degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary, Berrien Springs, Michigan, in 1983. He earned a doctor of ministry degree in preaching and worship from Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, California, in 1992. In June of 2004, he graduated with an MBA from La Sierra University, Riverside. He has completed the dissertation for the PhD degree in New Testament studies.

Dr. Pollard has served as an evangelist, pastor, trainer, and teacher around the world. His ministry of preaching, teaching, and lay and professional training has been internationally received. Dr. Pollard has conducted preaching, teaching, or evangelistic series and training in countries as diverse as Australia, Brazil, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, England, Jamaica, Nigeria, Trinidad, Norway, India, South Africa, Turkey, South Korea, and many other places. In 2000, he served as satellite speaker for Pentecost 2000 based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. This series was downlinked to 800 sites in five countries. At the end of this series, more than 14 new churches were planted and more than 1 million people have been baptized into Christ.

Dr. Pollard has also served as a homiletics professor at Oakwood College and for the Andrews University seminary doctor of ministry program. He has published numerous articles on the subjects of leadership, diversity, preaching, and ministry. He is author-editor of the groundbreaking work on leadership and diversity, Embracing Diversity: How to Reach People of all Cultures. This book has been translated into Spanish, German, and French. He often shares insights from this research at his leadership and diversity workshop.

Dr. Pollard has been married for 27 years to Prudence Pollard, PhD, MPH. The Pollards have two daughters: Kristin, a law student, and Karin, a college junior.

The following Loma Linda University students received scholarships from HALL this year:

Adriana Arzeta
School of Public Health
Claudine Brito
School of Medicine

Sandy Caballero
School of Medicine

Ana De La Cruz
School of Nursing

Gerson De León
School of Allied Health Professions

Jorge Díaz
School of Nursing

Ricardo Escobar
School of Science and Technology

Ana Gómez
School of Medicine

Karla Hernández
School of Allied Health Professions

Brian Hutchins
School of Medicine

Wendalee Rivera
School of Medicine

Jhesinet Santiago
School of Dentistry

International recipients
School of Public Health extension
program in Peru

Miguel Bernui Contreras
Jorge Alvarado Guevara
Lisette Judith Berdugo Palma
David Vallejos Naval
Elías Rosales Vásquez

By Dustin R. Jones, MA

TODAY news for Thursday, November 16, 2006