Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

George R. Knight

Second Advisor

Richard W. Schwarz

Third Advisor

George H. Akers


Problem. Edward Alexander Sutherland, 1865-1955, was one of the most notable and successful educational reformers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. He served the church for sixty years, fifty-three of them as president of four Adventist colleges. This study has been delimited to his years of denominational employment, 1890 through 1904, but does not include his forty-one years as president of Madison College--a self-suporting Adventist institution that received no direct financial assistance from the denomination.

Method. This study, investigating Sutherland's life from the perspective of his work as an educational reformer, employed the historical method of research. Major sources included extensive correspondence housed in the archives of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Loma Linda University, Andrews University, and the Ellen G. White Estate. Official minutes of organizations and institutions, denominational periodicals, and miscellaneous archival materials were also valuable sources of information.

Conclusions. Sutherland led in the campaign to eradicate the classics from Seventh-day Adventist colleges and to place the Bible at the center of the curriculum. His philosophy of holistic education permanently altered the thrust of Adventist education from the elementary through the college levels. He was instrumental in the creation of the Adventist elementary and secondary-school system and a distinctive teacher-training program. Placing major emphasis on manual labor, Sutherland developed a viable work-study curriculum and sought to instill in Adventist youth a deep commitment to being missionaries regardless of their chosen career.

Attuned to the reforms of his era, Sutherland's work was reflective of the educational innovations attempted both in the Adventist church and in society at large around the turn of the century. His aggressive actions brought to fruition many of the reforms that his Adventist predecessors in the United States had not been able to consummate, as well as reforms not previously attempted by them. Sutherland's efforts to integrate faith and learning illuminate the most significant reform period in the early years of Adventist education. This study should be helpful in providing perspective for the educational challenges presently confronting the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventists--Education--History, Sutherland, E. A. (Edward Alexander), 1865-1955

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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