Update (Feb. 4): La Sierra University has issued a press release regarding its decision to name its new center after Allred. Full text at bottom of post.
A prominent Seventh-day Adventist university in California is under fire for its decision to name its new economics center after Edward C. Allred, a well-known alumnus who was also a physician who supported and performed abortions.
Although the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists permits abortions "for the most serious reasons," ADvindicate–an organization that previously has accused La Sierra University of failing to remain true to Adventist teachings–is lambasting the school for collaborating with a "notorious abortionist."
According to ADvindicate, Allred "made a fortune owning a chain of abortion clinics, personally aborting hundreds of thousands of fetuses" (based on a 1980 interview Allred gave to the San Diego Union-Tribune). LifeSiteNews expanded on the story, reporting that "the center's abortionist namesake founded the Family Planning Associates Medical Group in 1969, a chain of abortion clinics that reportedly makes $70 million in revenue and $5 million in profit annually." The medical group describes itself as "pioneers in family planning."
Adventist Today, an independent magazine not affiliated with the denomination, countered with its own article, noting that Allred "had a practice in obstetrics and gynecology for many years and he started Family Planning Associates Medical Group," which always operated in accordance with state and federal law. It also questions critics' characterization of Allred's 1980 interview, noting "some statements that seem, on their face, to be unlikely. For example, that Dr. Allred 'personally' aborted 'hundreds of thousands of fetuses.' That would translate to at least 200,000 abortions and over 40 years that is 5,000 per year or 14 per day, assuming he operated 365 days a year."
The article has sparked a lengthy comments thread.
The university noted in a press release (full text at bottom) that "each proposal is considered on its own merits," as well as that Allred "remains active in the Seventh-day Adventist Church" and "La Sierra University is one of many Seventh-day Adventist institutions and church organizations throughout North America that have benefited from his philanthropic giving."
La Sierra named the center in Allred's honor after he donated funds to establish it in 2010. According to the school's website, the Edward C. Allred Center for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship "exists to promote free market economics." The website also states that Allred is both an alumnus of the school and "the owner, president, and CEO of Los Alamitos Race Course, Los Alamitos, California," but does not mention Allred's previous work as a physician.
La Sierra also is under fire from ADvindicate for hiring an evolutionary biologist as a member of its science faculty. The school briefly was put on probation in October 2012 for unfaithfulness to church doctrine of creation, but the Adventist Accreditation Association (AAA) granted the school an extension to realign itself.
CT has regularly reported on Seventh-day Adventism, including how 'Two and a Half Men' star Angus T. Jones became a 'paid hypocrite' after converting to Adventism, and how an Australian cereal company owned by the church recently lost its attempt to trademark granola.
Press release from Larry Becker, La Sierra University's executive director of university relations:
La Sierra University Financial Literacy Center's relationship with Dr. Edward Allred
Dr. Edward Allred has a longstanding belief that young people need better preparation to meet the world's economic challenges through development of personal financial management skills. This belief led him to provide financial support for a new Center for Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship at La Sierra University.
This gift reflects Dr. Allred's support for the quality of education offered through the School of Business. The donation has enabled School of Business faculty members to develop an online curriculum and host on-campus business camps and workshops for teachers and students. The Center was established in 2010.
Dr. Allred is an alumnus of La Sierra, and has continued to follow the University's activities through the years. He remains active in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. La Sierra University is one of many Seventh-day Adventist institutions and church organizations throughout North America that have benefited from his philanthropic giving.
The University's Naming Policy says, "Naming Opportunities provide a means to honor personal contributions, service, and achievement of the honoree as well as their contribution of resources to support the University." Each proposal is considered on its own merits. To respect each donor's right to privacy, the documentation and discussions relating to each proposal are confidential. Dr. Allred's gift establishing the Center is one of many contributions he has made to Adventist educational institutions and church organizations across North America.
La Sierra University benefits from the generosity of a wide variety of donors—Adventist and non-Adventist. The University values each gift as a donor's expression of support for its efforts to provide the best possible Adventist education to our students.