Attendance was high for Southern Adventist University’s February 10 convocation, not only because of the speeches given by potential Student Association candidates for president, vice president, and social vice president, but also because of the hype around campus: the changing of President Gordon Bietz’s hair color.
Bietz agreed to dye his hair if the university raised $5,000 for “No More Thumbprints”—a campaign that exists to rid the use of thumbprints as signatures for those who are illiterate in El Salvador. In order to fight this country’s illiteracy rate—where less than 50 percent are able to read and write in many rural and poor communities—the campaign is supporting “Learning Circles” for elementary students to learn basic reading, writing, and math skills.
“Literacy is vital to any community and nation,” says Bietz. “In order to encourage fundraising for this great cause, I agreed to dye my hair.”
Through the support of donations and purchases of “No More Thumbprints” merchandise on the university’s campus as well as partnering with the Adventist Intercollegiate Association, Southern was able to raise more than $5,000 for the campaign. In addition, various clubs and organizations on campus competed in the fundraising process to determine Biez’s future hair color.
Thus, Bietz presented himself with spiked, purpleish-blue colored hair to a cheering crowd of students attending convocation. Following his makeover, Bietz spent time serving food in the cafeteria—a spectacle for everyone to see.
“It’s inspiring to see that President Bietz agreed to dye his perfectly smoothed head of white hair,” says Jacob Faulkner, a senior nursing student. “It shows his humbleness and willingness to serve.”