The Avondale experience

"[My son] Travis met Jesus at Avondale."—Glenn Townend

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Our son’s decision to go to Avondale College of Higher Education shocked us. Travis had finished Year 12 and every time we asked about his future plans he would say “I don’t know” or avoid the topic as only a teenager can do. At least he was working part-time in the Weet-Bix line at Sanitarium. However, early in the new year of 2013 he made his announcement out of the blue—he was going to Avondale. We had spent Christmas together and, unbeknown to his parents, Travis’s older sisters, both Avondale graduates, had painted the college in a good light—basketball, dorm life, Adventist friends . . . so the decision was made.

The girls had gone to Avondale as baptised and committed Seventh-day Adventist Christians. However, Travis was not—he was somewhat passive aggressive in regard to the Church and his father’s work. But recent mission trips had seen a change in his spiritual journey.

Travis met Jesus at Avondale: in a Gospels class taught by Dr Kayle de Waal, the head of Avondale Seminary; in informal Bible discussions with friends in the dorm; and in the exceptional speakers in the weeks of the Festival of Faith.

He started studying basketball (not really, international development) and graduated with a degree in chaplaincy and counselling. I baptised him at the beginning of his second year as a full-time student. Pam and I thank God for Avondale. 

When my parents, and later I, graduated from Avondale (1960 and 1985) we had degrees from Pacific Union College and Andrews University (US). When my daughters graduated (2011 and 2012) they had degrees from Avondale College, and when Travis graduated (2015) his degree was from Avondale College and Charles Sturt University.

Avondale is growing academically and functions much like a university. As chair of the Avondale College Council I know it is not perfect. However, the greater vision of Avondale is still to prepare graduates for a life of service in the world.

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