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Denis Fortin

"'I Have Had to Adjust My View of Things'--

Lessons from the 1919 Bible Conference"

Thursday, 7:00 p.m.

Denis Fortin is professor of historical theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary, Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Since joining the Seminary faculty in 1994, Fortin has served also as director of the Master of Divinity program (1999-2001), associate dean (2000-2004), chair of the Department of Theology and Christian Philosophy (2006), and dean (2006-2013).


Born in Quebec City, Canada, Fortin received a Bachelor of Arts degree in pastoral ministry from Canadian Union College (now Burman University), Alberta, in 1982. He earned a Master of Divinity from the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary of Andrews University in 1986 and a Doctor of Theology (PhD) from the Université Laval, Quebec, in 1995. His dissertation studied the developments of three Adventist denominations in Canada in the nineteenth century. Prior to coming to Andrews University, he served as a pastor in the Quebec Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. He currently also serves as teaching pastor of the One Place Fellowship on the campus of Andrews University.

He is involved in a number of scholarly societies, among them the American Academy of Religion, the Adventist Society for Religious Studies (president, 2019), the Adventist Theological Society, and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.  He has served on numerous committees for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and on the Commission on Faith and Order of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. (1999-2013).  He has received the Daniel A. Augsburger Excellence in Teaching Award (Andrews University, 2006), the Siegfried H. Horn Award for Excellence in Research and Creative Scholarship (Andrews University, 2017), and the Don F. Neufeld Medallion of Excellence (Burman University, 2017).


Fortin has authored many publications on Adventist history and theology. His latest publications include a Bible study guide, Oneness in Christ, on unity in the Church (2018) and a companion volume One in Christ: Biblical Concepts for a Doctrine of Church Unity (Pacific Press, 2018). His annotated 125th anniversary edition of the Ellen G. White classic, Steps to Christ (Andrews University Press, 2017), received widespread support and praise.  He is also co-editor of The Ellen G. White Encyclopedia (Review and Herald, 2013) and in 2004 published Adventism in Quebec: The Dynamics of Rural Church Growth, 1830-1910 (Andrews University Press). Forthcoming publications include a biography of Adventist church leader George I. Butler (Pacific Press).

Profile on the Andrews University Digital Commons.


Fortin is married to Kristine Knutson (MA in Educational Psychology). They have three children: Kimberly in Port Byron, New York; Mark in Buchanan, Michigan; and Erika, who floats around the world on a cruise ship.  In the spring 2019, Denis and Kris walked the French pilgrimage road, the Way of St. James (800 km/500 miles), to Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

Ella Smith Simmons

"Unless Some Should Guide Us"

Saturday, 11:00 a.m

Ella Smith Simmons, EdD, is serving her third term as a general vice president of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Silver Spring, Maryland. She holds an earned Doctor of Education Degree from the University of Louisville (Kentucky) with concentrations in administration and the sociology and politics of education and holds the Honoris Causa Doctor of Pedagogy Degree from Andrews University (Michigan).


She serves as chairperson of the Seventh-day Adventist International Board of Education, First Vice Chairperson of the International Board of Ministerial and Theological Education, Vice Chairperson of the Adventist Accrediting Association, Vice Chairperson of the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), and professional and spiritual advisor to the General Conference Education Department, Women’s Ministries Department, and Children’s Ministries Department.  In addition, she serves as chairperson of the University Council (Board) of the Adventist University of Africa and chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies. She serves many other boards and committees.


Previously, she served as Provost and Vice President for Academic Administration at La Sierra University in Riverside, California; Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oakwood College (now University) in Huntsville, Alabama; Associate Dean of the University of Louisville School of Education; and Chairperson of the Department of Education at Kentucky State University.  She has held tenured graduate faculty rank in the foundations (sociology and politics) of education.


Dr. Simmons provides professional leadership education, administrative consultation, training, coaching and evaluation, along with spiritual guidance to Church leaders, particularly division level administration world-wide.  Her fondness for institutional evaluation and development has involved her in accreditation work throughout the world for nearly thirty years.  During her years in academic settings her grant-funded research and development endeavors that focused on education for underrepresented groups yielded an array of successful programs and projects, publications in refereed professional journals and periodicals over the years.  She has continued these interests through remaining active as mentor to doctoral/dissertation level researchers.


She is married to Nord Simmons, a retired teacher and business owner. They have two sons, Darryl and Christopher who are also educators, a daughter-in-law, Stephanie (married to Christopher) a human resources administrator/executive, one granddaughter, Jannette (married to DaShaun), two grandsons, Evan and Connor, a great-grandson, Jordan, and great-grand-daughter, London.

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