Amy Rosenthal, Southwestern’s new vice president for academic administration, doesn’t believe that there’s a perfect time to do anything. She uprooted her entire life in California and replanted it in Keene this summer. She’s excited to be at Southwestern Adventist University.
“Too often people feel that everything has to happen at the perfect time,” says Rosenthal. “They say they won’t do anything until the time is perfect, then they miss out on things.”
Life in California was comfortable for the Rosenthal family. “It was a big leap to leave something we were so used to, but at the same time I wanted to challenge myself,” she says. “I had wanted to try administration for a while before this job opportunity came to me.”
Rosenthal was formerly the head of the history department at Pacific Union College. She graduated from PUC with a B.S. in social studies, then received her master’s degree and Ph.D. in history at Indiana University in Bloomington, specializing in Modern British History, History of Medicine and Asylums as well as History of the Family. Rosenthal refers to her social history studies as “the history of everyday people and their interactions with society.”
The first question Rosenthal’s seven-year-old asked about the move was, “Do they speak English down there?” As soon as her kids discovered that they weren’t leaving the United States, excitement began to build. They packed their bags and drove from California to Texas.
Now that she’s here, she has come to discover that “everything really is bigger in Texas!”
“So many things would have had to fall into place for this job and move to work,” says Rosenthal. “And everything did fall into place. My family and friends gave me a lot of support and understanding. They told me that if I didn’t go, I might regret it. Now I feel so blessed to be here. My kids are loving school and I’m excited to work.”
Andrew Woolley, professor of English and director of the honors program at Southwestern, chaired the search committee, which recommended to the University Board that they hire Rosenthal. He said that they looked at three factors while searching for a new academic vice president. They were that the candidate needed to have an earned doctorate, that they have teaching experience, and that they be dedicated to Adventist education.
Several candidates were considered for the job. Rosenthal was chosen for several reasons, one being her desire to work in administration. She got her first taste of administration as the chair of the history department at Pacific Union College.
Another reason was that she gave a very powerful speech on the importance of Adventist education during her interview.
“Our institution exists because we believe the “Adventist” in our name means something important,” said Rosenthal. “There are many other schools who do things as well as we do at a much cheaper price. What these other institutions don’t have is a commitment to education based on the principles of our faith.
“Our faculty doesn’t just teach. They nurture; they guide; they inspire. But most of all they manifest the characteristics we value as Seventh-day Adventists in the classroom. If we lose our Adventist identity, we lose our purpose.”