Leif Lastine, a Union College theology major, will be honored with a Weniger Fellows Student Scholarship during an online ceremony on February 20 highlighting the 2021 laureates and fellows recognized by the Charles E. Weniger Society for Excellence.
The event will be broadcast on Loma Linda Broadcasting Network at 6:30 p.m. CST. Each year the Charles E. Weniger Society for Excellence honors Seventh-day Adventist higher education leaders and is the only organization to award a scholarship to an outstanding student at every Adventist college in the U.S. and Canada.
As a Weniger Fellow for 2021, Lastine will receive a $750 scholarship from the Weniger Society and a $750 match from Union College. “Being selected for this scholarship both humbles and thrills me,” he said. “This scholarship affirms that God is in control of my education and He will continue to supply all my needs.”
Lastine arrived in Lincoln in January 2020 after nearly 15 years doing a variety of jobs—including teaching wilderness skills to young people in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. He enjoyed working with young people but felt God calling him to prepare for full-time ministry.
When he made the decision to return to school, Union College wasn’t on his mind. But after trying another school, he remembered Union after stopping to visit his sister in Omaha. “I drove over to Lincoln and the enrollment counselor was very helpful,” he said. “Everything was providential. I was able to get enrolled on the last day to add classes for the semester.”
He quickly discovered he enjoyed studying at Union. He found kindred spirits in the “joyful people.” He liked “getting lost” in the stacks of books in the library. He loved the many dietary options he found in the Union Market dining hall.
In fact, the next semester Lastine decided to apply for a job at Union Market. “I love the place and work there now as an expression of my gratitude,” he explained.
“The Union College Scholarship Committee chose Leif based on his character, work ethic, academics and leadership potential,” said Stephanie Meyer, director of scholarships and special events at Union. “He is highly respected in Union Market by the directors and his coworkers.”
Lastine knows he ended up in the right place. “I really appreciate the overall effort, attitude and perspective of the faculty and staff,” he said. They are very spiritually-minded in all my classes and the campus spiritual programs.”
He also sees God’s hand continue to guide him. He admitted that in the past, formal education had not been his strong suit. “The spiritual emphasis in my studies has helped my brain and learning process stay focused,” he explained.
“I have a missionary spirit,” he said as he contemplated his future after graduation. “I would like to do some overseas mission work before returning to the U.S. to lead a local church.” He also likes the idea of working with young people again.
In the end though, he wants “to go where God leads.”
More about the Weniger Fellows Student Scholarship
The Charles E. Weniger Society for Excellence exists to sustain the memory of the legacy of Dr. Charles Weniger, a man committed to excellence in conviction and deportment. As a highly respected professor of rhetoric, preaching, and public speaking whose life matched his words, he was an exemplary role model dedicated to service to his students, his church, and society at large.
The Weniger Fellows Students Scholarship Fund is established to apprise undergraduate students attending accredited North American Seventh-day Adventist colleges and universities of the historical Weniger legacy, and to challenge them to emulate these qualities of excellence in all aspects of their life. Recipients of the scholarship will have demonstrated excellence in all of the following areas: spirituality, academics, civic service and leadership.