A NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT
Do you have a Christmas memory from your time as a university student? I clearly remember a student Christmas party that was held in the lobby of the business department on campus. I had returned to Southwestern Adventist University for graduate studies and had three young children at home. The chair of the department had invited me to the party. I remember he had prepared snacks, set up a karaoke machine and gave out gift cards to the students. To my complete surprise, he had also purchased gifts for each of my children. I was incredibly touched by this gesture.
This memory demonstrates what makes SWAU so special. Today, I see similar examples of care continue across departments. Our professors and staff are available to our students, meet needs in and out of the classroom, and share the love of Christ on campus. What a blessing!
The Christmas season provides an opportunity to reflect on the blessings that have been poured out onto Southwestern Adventist University. Among them is a network of supportive alumni who understand the value of the SWAU experience. Many of you give of your talents, time, and resources so that the mission of inspiring Knowledge, Faith and Service through Christ-centered education can continue. Thank you!
As you consider a year end gift to the Southwestern Fund, please remember that your generosity helps make the SWAU experience possible. Thank you for continuing to remember Southwestern Adventist University with your gifts and in your prayers.
Ana Patterson, President
ALUMKNIGHT FEATURE: Liliana Gil Valetta
By Brandon J. Call
Liliana Gil Valetta arrived on the campus of Southwestern Adventist University at 17, carrying a suitcase and a dream. She had wanted to study at Harvard University, but her parents, both engineers in the oil and gas industry in her home of Barrancabermeja, Columbia, had scrimped and saved just enough for her to attend the one-year English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Southwestern Adventist University.
Liliana learned English through the ESL program, and she went on to graduate suma cum laude from Southwestern Adventist University. She earned a master's degree in business administration from the University of Colorado. From there she worked her way up the corporate ladder to lead global marketing services at Johnson & Johnson (J&J). To help the healthcare giant gain even more market share and grow revenue, she developed the company’s first multicultural marketing plan for the pharmaceutical sector.
The business-savvy leader seized an opportunity and founded inclusive marketing agency CIEN+ in 2010. Today, the woman- and minority-owned company provides business consulting and marketing services to “Fortune 500” companies such as CVA/Aetna, Google, and PepsiCo. Liliana founded her second business venture, CulturIntel, in 2016. CulturIntel uses artificial intelligence to provide data-driven market research to tap into diverse and high-growth markets that focus on consumer products, technology, and healthcare.
Read more on our website at https://swau.edu/news/journey-success/.
New Alumni Director
This November, I assumed the privilege of becoming your Alumni Association Director. Being a member of the SWAU family comes with an overwhelming sense of pride for our beloved alma mater. I could not be prouder of the university’s accomplishments. SWAU has successfully provided 129 years of high-quality educational opportunities to students.
It is my pleasure, along with our alumni board, to represent you. This year, we hope to bring you new and revitalized opportunities that allow you to express and grow your pride for the university. We know it has been quiet on our end. We are making it our focus to reconnect and elevate the alumni's experience, to serve and support our SWAU family alongside university staff and volunteers.
I want to thank Susan Grady for all the wonderful work she has done in her tenure as our Alumni Director. I am personally honored to be following in Susan’s footsteps.
I invite you to come along with us for the exciting year we have ahead. Whether you attend an alumni event, give generously, or volunteer your time, we hope to connect with each one of you. May you and your family remain in good health and keep the SWAU spirit with you in your hearts until we may walk the paths of our beloved campus together again.
Rosy Arizaga, M.Ed. ’97
December 2023 Graduation
ALUMNI ASSOCIATION BOARD
Jimmy Aiken '73
Jackie Bowyer '86
Ian Curnow '92 & '02
Tiffany (Falcon) Pagdilao '16
Shelley (Gillan) Peterson '90
Chris Rhodes '12
Josh Samaniego '97
Larry Schneider '69
Tony Seery '15
Buster Swoopes '06
Leo Warner '15
Nellie Youngberg '02 & '06