Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy announce baccalaureate and commencement speakers
Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD
Commencement ceremonies for the Loma Linda University Schools of Dentistry, Medicine, and Pharmacy will take place on Sunday, May 27, on the central campus mall.
The School of Medicine commencement ceremony will begin at 8:30 a.m., followed by the School of Pharmacy commencement at 1:30 p.m. and School of Dentistry commencement beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Baccalaureate services will be held the previous day on Saturday, May 26. Services for the Schools of Dentistry and Pharmacy will take place during the first church service at Loma Linda University Church, beginning at 8:30 a.m. For the School of Medicine, baccalaureate services will begin at 11:15 a.m.
The commencement address for the School of Medicine will be given by Benjamin S. Carson Sr., MD, director of the division of pediatric neurosurgery and professor of neurological surgery, oncology, plastic surgery, and pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, as well as co-director of The Johns Hopkins Cleft and Craniofacial Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Presenting the commencement addresses for both Pharmacy and Dentistry will be Leslie N. Pollard, PhD, DMin, vice president for diversity, Loma Li
Leslie N. Pollard, DMin, PhD
nda University Adventist Health Sciences Center.
Both baccalaureate services will feature Karl Haffner, PhD, senior pastor of the College Church at Walla Walla College, College Place, Washington.
Dr. Benjamin S. Carson—one of the leading pediatric neurosurgeons in the world—credits the many accomplishments of his remarkable career in patient care and research to his mother’s determination in the face of factors identifying him as an at-risk youth, to the strength and inspiration he has gained through Bible study and prayer, and to his belief that “God gives us all gifts [and] special abilities that we have the privilege of developing to help us serve Him and humanity.”
Dr. Carson gained global recognition in 1987 as the primary neurosurgeon among the 70-member medical team that successfully separated 7-month-old conjoined twins from Germany. This was the first time that occipital craniopagus twins (joined at the back of the head) had been separated, with both surviving. A decade later, he led the team of South African and Zambian surgeons that successfully separated 11-month-old Zambian vertical craniopagus twins (joined at the top of the head) during
a grueling 28-hour operation. In conjunction with Johns Hopkins’s plastic surgery division, he has developed a craniofacial program in which children with congenital deformities undergo combined neurosurgical and plastic surgical reconstruction. He is part of a group studying the problems of achondroplastic children and has particular interest in cervico-medullary compression and its treatment. In addition, he is well-known for his refinement of techniques associated with hemispherectomy surgery, which removes part of the brain in order to stop intractable seizures.
Dr. Carson earned his BA degree in psychology from Yale University in 1973. He continued his education at the University of Michigan Medical School, where his interests shifted from psychiatry to neurosurgery. After receiving the MD degree in 1977, he completed neurosurgical residencies at Loch Raven Veterans Administration Hospital and the Baltimore City Hospitals, residencies and fellowships at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, and a year as a senior registrar in neurosurgery at Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia before returning to Johns Hopkins in 1984 to become, at just 33 years of age, the chief of pediatric neurosurgery. He is a diplomate of the National Board of Medical Examiners and is certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery and the American Board of Pediatric Neurological Surgery.
For a lifetime of distinguished achievements, Dr. Carson has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including: National NAACP Springarn Award (2006); Council of Christian Colleges and Universities’ Mark O. Hatfield Leadership Award (2004); Congressional Black Caucus’ Ralph Metcalf Award for Health, Medicine, and Human Services (2003); National Medical Association’s Healing Circle Award (2002); National Association of Elementary School Principals’ Distinguished Service to Children Award; recognition by Time Magazine and CNN as one of America’s top 20 physicians and scientists (2001); named one of 89 “Living Legends” by the Library of Congress on the occasion of its 200th anniversary (2000); 43 honorary degrees; keys to cities across the country; a middle school named in his honor; and a host of other professional excellence, civic, philanthropic, and leadership awards.
Dr. Carson holds membership in a number of professional societies and sits on many boards—including the board of directors of Kellogg Company, Costco Wholesale Corporation, Yale Corporation (the governing body of Yale University), and America’s Promise. He is also the president and co-founder of the Carson Scholars Fund, which recognizes the exceptional academic and humanitarian accomplishments of young people of all backgrounds and provides exposure of these young people to the wealth of opportunities and lifestyles that exist in intellectual pursuits—far beyond the worlds of sports and entertainment that are glorified in today’s popular culture.
In addition to more than 100 articles published in professional journals and chapters published in scientific textbooks, keynote addresses presented at professional conferences, and motivational speaking engagements fulfilled across the country, Dr. Carson has also found time in his incredibly busy schedule to write three books: his own remarkable story, told in Gifted Hands; Think Big, which inspires individuals of all ages to develop their intellectual potential; and The Big Picture, which not only offers an up-close look at the life of a professional surgeon, but also sets forth Dr. Carson’s perspective on priorities, race, society, success, and living a life of faith in a complex world.
Dr. Carson and his wife of 31 years, Candy, are the parents of three sons.
Dr. Leslie N. Pollard began his leadership career 28 years ago as a parish minister in the Southeastern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He has successfully pastored some of the smallest and largest congregations in the United States—including Delaware Avenue, Breath of Life, Kansas Avenue, and the Oakwood College churches. He has served as youth pastor, chaplain, college teacher, and education and health care administrator.
As a leadership trainer and teacher, Dr. Pollard’s cross-cultural ministry of preaching, teaching, and lay and professional training has been positively received internationally. He has conducted workshops and training around the globe—from Australia to Zimbabwe and numerous other places, including Brazil, Dominican Republic, England, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, Thailand, Turkey, and Zambia. As a servant-leader, his ministry has introduced thousands to the Christian faith.
Dr. Pollard currently serves as vice president for Loma Linda University Adventist Health Sciences Center. In this capacity he leads diversity education, promotion, recruitment, and retention for Loma Linda University, Loma Linda University Medical Center, and other corporations under the Loma Linda umbrella. During his 10-year tenure in this assignment, innovative diversity education and signficant representation from diverse publics have been added to the LLUAHSC organizations.
In addition to his many articles published in scholarly and popular journals, Dr. Pollard is also a regular guest columnist in the Adventist Review. He recently authored and edited the groundbreaking work on leadership and diversity published by Review and Herald titled Embracing Diversity: How to Reach People of All Cultures. Since its publication, the book has been translated into Spanish, French, and German.
Dr. Pollard earned his bachelor’s degree from Oakwood College, an MDiv degree from Andrews University Theological Seminary, and a DMin degree in homiletics and liturgy from Claremont School of Theology. Subsequent degrees completed include his MBA degree in management from La Sierra University and a PhD degree in New Testament studies from Andrews University Theological Seminary—with research focused on the book of Revelation, “The Function of Remnant in Revelation.” He serves as adjunct professor of religion for both Andrews and Loma Linda universities.
Dr. Pollard has been the recipient of a number of awards recognizing his professional contributions. In addition, he has been honored for his academic accomplishments and model of personal excellence.
For 28 years, Dr. Pollard has been happily married to his wife, Dr. Prudence Pollard, who currently serves as professor of management at La Sierra University’s School of Management. The Drs. Pollard have two adult daughters—Kristin, a third-year law student; and Karin, a college senior.
Dr. Karl Haffner currently serves as senior pastor of the College Church at Walla Walla College, College Place, Washington.
He is founding pastor of the North Creek Fellowship in Bothell, Washington, the Church of Acts, in Walla Walla, and the Improv Church, a collegiate alternative church on the campus of Walla Walla College.
Dr. Haffner earned his BA degree in theology and business from Walla Walla College; an MBA degree from Pacific Lutheran University, in Tacoma, Washington; and his MDiv and PhD degrees from Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
As an award-winning author, Dr. Haffner has written a number of books including Pilgrim’s Problems, I’d Rather Kiss a Catfish, The Cure for Soul Fatigue, Out of the Hot Tub, Diaper University, and Peace Like a Spider, as well as numerous articles in a variety of publications.
In addition, he hosts a weekly radio broadcast, “Positive Life Radio,” and is a featured speaker in the DVD/video series, “Adventist Preaching.”
Dr. Haffner and his wife, Cherié, have two children.
By Larry Kidder, MA, and Audrey Howard, EdD