COLLEGE PLACE, Wash. --- In a move that Walla Walla University administrators described as "a membership transfer and not a sale," operational control of the school is being transferred to Sisters of Providence health system.
This marks the first foray of Catholic Providence into traditionally Adventist higher education.
Walla Walla and Providence issued a joint press release saying that "while the landscape of higher education is being reshaped, it is important to continually meet the needs of the local community.”
Providence will take over operational control of the school this summer.
The Catholic organization promised to keep in place elements of Adventist heritage.
The school will continue to serve Stripples, the bacon substitute popular with Adventists.
However, Providence insisted that they would also start serving "the real deal as a substitute for a substitute."
In a special concession, Saturday worship services can still take place on campus as long as Providence approves sermons ahead of time.
"We want to always honor both heritages,” stated Providence spokesperson, Dom Ingo.
“We do have great respect for each other’s mission. This is not about Adventist or Catholic, but about the realities of having to balance the budgets of sheep that have strayed from the fold."