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Thomas Wilson Steen

Photo courtesy of UNASP São Paulo Memory Center.

Steen, Thomas Wilson (1887-1978)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

First Published: January 29, 2020

Thomas Wilson Steen was an educator, administrator, minister, and psychologist.

Early Life, Early Education, and Marriage

Thomas Wilson Steen was born on April 12, 1887, in Washington County, Iowa, United States of America. He was the son of Samuel Britton Steen and Emma Cooper Steen,1 who gave him a religious upbringing.2 His parents learned of Adventism through his maternal grandmother, Mary Jane Cooper (1833-1919), who had joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1858.3

Thomas completed his elementary studies at Stuart Academy in Iowa, USA. He began working for the SDA Church before he obtained his college degree, teaching from 1906-1907 at a newly established church school in Iron River, Michigan, USA.4 In 1910, he graduated from Emmanuel Missionary College (now Andrews University). That same year, he married Margaret Mallory, who graduated one year earlier from the same college and remained as a piano and Latin teacher.5 Thomas and Margaret had two girls, Rebekah6 and Ramira.7 Margaret worked alongside her husband in the educational field8 as a language and music teacher at Fox River Academy from 1910-19129 and at Adelphian Academy until 1918, when she moved with her husband to Brazil,10 taught piano and organ, and directed the music department at Brazil College (now UNASP-SP).11

Academy Director and College Administrator

Thomas Steen served as dean, treasurer, and teacher at Fox River Academy from 1910-1912,12 where he taught English, science,13 and history.14 He then served as director of Adelphian Academy in Michigan, USA, from 1913-1918.15 In both places, he dedicated his efforts to the structural and physical growth of the institutions.16 In 1918, his ministry changed as he accepted to go beyond his homeland and become the director of the newly-founded Adventist Seminary in São Paulo, Brazil (now UNASP-SP).17 Steen was the second to occupy that position, replacing the pioneer, John Lipke.18

In 1919, under Steen’s administration, the theology program was reorganized. Up to that year, the program could not be recognized as a college degree because of the general nature of the curriculum’s courses. As part of the restructuring of the curriculum, the theology degree launched as an official college degree, resulting in the Seminary’s first graduation in 1922.19 At the same time, the college experienced an expansion and the construction of several new installations, such as the director’s house, houses for workers, a new wing in the girl’s dormitory,20 a laundry room, a bakery, a dairy farm,21 a woodworking shop, a dining room, and a kitchen.22 Additionally, Steen officiated the first Adventist Seminary Church baptism on December 27, 1919, with Pastor John Boehm.23

Ordination to the Ministry and Establishment of the James White Library

The time in which Steen was a director became essential to his future career. Having demonstrated his multiple managerial skills, he was entrusted with the management of two additional schools in the USA and three in South America.24 In 1928, the family returned to the USA. Steen directed Broadview College in Illinois, USA, from 1928-193425 and received his ordination to the ministry in January 1929.26

In addition, Steen completed his master’s degree at Northwestern University 27 with a dissertation titled, “Commercial Industries in Private Schools and Colleges.”28 Steen was the director of the Emmanuel Missionary College from 1934-1937.29 One of his main administrative achievements at the college was the building of the James White Library in 1936 as part of the institutional development plan.30

Higher Education, College President, and Psychologist

In 1939, he finished his doctorate degree at the University of Chicago31 with a thesis titled, “The Vocational Choices of Students Whose Religious Beliefs Limit Their Occupational Opportunities.”32 He also enrolled in post-doctorate studies at the following institutions: Western Reserve University, Duke University, University of Tennessee, George Peabody College for Teachers, and Claremont Graduate School. Steen also majored in psychology and school administration at Northwestern University and the University of Chicago. From 1939 on, he devoted a considerable amount of time to counseling and mental assessments.33

From 1939-1940, he worked as president of Washington Missionary College in Maryland, USA.34 He was then invited to serve in South America again, this time as president of River Plate College, Argentina, from 1940-1944. He also served as the director of Uruguay Adventist Academy from 1944-1945 and of Inca Union College in 1945, during which he taught several courses.35 In 1946, he returned to the USA to serve as president of Madison College in Tennessee until 1948. From then until 1955, he directed the departments of education and psychology at Southern Missionary College, Tennessee.

Steen devoted more time near the end of his career to the practice of psychology. In 1955, he joined Dr. Henry Adren, a psychiatrist at Washington D.C. Sanitarium, and worked as a clinical psychologist from 1955-1956. The following year, he transferred to Miller Medical Clinic in Pomona, California, while running his psychologist’s office near his home in Loma Linda, California.36

Retirement and Contribution

In 1967, Dr. Thomas Wilson Steen retired due to eyesight failure.37 Steen and his wife moved to Loma Linda, where they lived until 1974. He then spent the last four years of his life in Berrien Springs, Michigan, where he lived with his daughter, Rebekah.38

Thomas Wilson Steen died at age 91 on November 29, 1978, in Pawating Hospital in Niles, Michigan, U.S.A., and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery.39 In over 50 years of service to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he significantly contributed to the field of education by teaching at and directing important Adventist educational institutions in South America and the United States of America.

Sources

3º Presidente do Colégio Adventista Brasileiro. In: Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP. Shelf 2. Rack 14. Folder/Box: “Steen, Thomas Wilson.” Accessed May 24, 2016.

A educação adventista no Brasil. Uma história de Aventuras e milagres, edited by Alberto R. Timm, 129-131. Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Unaspress, 2004.

Apolinário, Pedro. “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado.” Revista Adventista. October 1970. Accessed May 24, 2016. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen. In: Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP. Shelf 2. Rack 14. Folder: “Steen, Thomas Wilson.” Accessed May 24, 2016.

Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira. Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Ellen G. White Research Center, 1994. s.v. “Academia Adventista de Arte (ACARTE).”

Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira. Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Ellen G. White Research Center, 1994. s.v. “Coral Carlos Gomes.”

Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira. Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Ellen G. White Research Center, 1994. s.v. “Steen, Thomas Wilson.”

“Former President of College Dies.” In: Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP. Shelf 2. Rack 14. Folder: “Steen, Thomas Wilson.” Accessed May 24, 2016.

“Igreja Adventista de Sao Paulo, SP (UNASP-SP).” In: National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (Online). May 25, 2016. Accessed May 25, 2016. http://www.memoriaadventista.com.br/wikiasd/index.php?title=Igreja_Adventista_de_S%C3%A3o_Paulo,_SP_(UNASP-SP).

“Mary Jane Cooper.” The Worker’s Bulletin. December 16, 1919. Accessed December 6, 2016. http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/WB/WB19191216-V31-49__C.pdf#view=fit.

“Ramira Steen Jobe.” Columbia Union Visitor. April 2010. Accessed January 27, 2017. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/CUV/CUV20100401-V115-04.pdf.

“Rebeca J. Steen Kuhlman.” Lake Union Herald. January 2006. Accessed January 27, 2017. http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/LUH/LUH20060101-V98-01.pdf.

Lessa, Rubens. “Passado e futuro.” Revista Adventista. October 2010. Accessed May 25, 2016. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Accessed December 7, 2016. http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/YB/YB1911__B.pdf#view=fit.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Accessed December 7, 2016. http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/YB/YB1913__B.pdf#view=fit.

Steen, Thomas Wilson. “As Necessidades do Collegio Adventista.” Revista Mensal. June 1924. Accessed December 8, 2016. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

Steen, Thomas Wilson. “Collegio Adventista.” Revista Mensal. August 1927. Accessed December 8, 2016. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

Steen, Thomas Wilson. “Commercial Industries in Private Schools and Colleges.” Diss., Northwestern University, 1932.

Steen, Thomas Wilson. “Seminário Adventista.” Revista Mensal. March 1919. Accessed December 8, 2016. http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

Steen, Thomas Wilson. “The Vocational Choices of Students Whose Religious Beliefs Limit Their Occupational Opportunities.” MA thesis, University of Chicago, 1939.

Notes

  1. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.

  2. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Thomas Wilson Steen.”

  3. “Mary Jane Cooper,” The Worker’s Bulletin, December 16, 1919, accessed December 6, 2016, http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/WB/WB19191216-V31-49__C.pdf#view=fit.

  4. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-2.

  5. Ibid., 1.; and 3º Presidente do Colégio Adventista Brasileiro, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.

  6. “Former President of College Dies,” Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.; and “Rebeca J. Steen Kuhlman,” Lake Union Herald, January 2006, accessed January 27, 2017, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/LUH/LUH20060101-V98-01.pdf.

  7. “Former President of College Dies,” Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.; and “Ramira Steen Jobe,” Columbia Union Visitor, April 2010, accessed January 27, 2017, http://documents.adventistarchives.org/Periodicals/CUV/CUV20100401-V115-04.pdf.

  8. Pedro Apolinário, “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado,” Revista Adventista, October 1970, accessed May 24, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  9. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, “Fox River Academy,” accessed December 7, 2016, http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/YB/YB1913__B.pdf#view=fit.

  10. Pedro Apolinário, “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado,” Revista Adventista, October 1970, accessed May 24, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  11. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Coral Carlos Gomes.”; and Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Academia Adventista de Arte (ACARTE).”

  12. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-2.

  13. Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook, “Fox River Academy,” accessed December 7, 2016, http://docs.adventistarchives.org/docs/YB/YB1911__B.pdf#view=fit.

  14. Ibid.

  15. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-2.; and Pedro Apolinário, “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado,” Revista Adventista, October 1970, accessed May 24, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  16. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  17. Ibid.; and Pedro Apolinário, “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado,” Revista Adventista, October 1970, accessed May 24, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  18. Rubens Lessa, “Passado e futuro,” Revista Adventista, October 2010, accessed May 25, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  19. A educação adventista no Brasil. Uma história de Aventuras e milagres ed. Alberto R. Timm (Engenheiro Coelho, SP: Unaspress, 2004), 129-131.

  20. Thomas Wilson Steen, “Seminário Adventista,” Revista Mensal, March 1919, accessed December 8, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  21. Thomas Wilson Steen, “As Necessidades do Collegio Adventista,” Revista Mensal, June 1924, accessed December 8, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  22. Thomas Wilson Steen, “Collegio Adventista,” Revista Mensal, August 1927, accessed December 8, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  23. “Igreja Adventista de Sao Paulo, SP (UNASP-SP),” National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (Online), May 25, 2016.

  24. Pedro Apolinário, “Ex-Diretor do IAE Comemora 60 Anos de Casado,” Revista Adventista, October 1970, accessed May 24, 2016, http://acervo.revistaadventista.com.br/.

  25. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  26. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Thomas Wilson Steen.”

  27. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  28. Thomas W. Steen, “Commercial Industries in Private Schools and Colleges” (diss., Northwestern University, 1932).

  29. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  30. “Former President of College Dies,” Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.

  31. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  32. Thomas W. Steen, “The Vocational Choices of Students Whose Religious Beliefs Limit Their Occupational Opportunities” (MA thesis, University of Chicago, 1939), 132.

  33. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  34. Ibid, 1-3.

  35. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Thomas Wilson Steen.”

  36. Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-3.

  37. “Former President of College Dies,” Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1.

  38. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Thomas Wilson Steen.”; and Biography of Thomas Wilson Steen, Collection of the National Center of Adventist History/Ellen G. White Research Center (UNASP-EC, Engenheiro Coelho, SP), 1-2.

  39. Enciclopédia Adventista Brasileira (1994), s.v. “Thomas Wilson Steen.”

×

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Steen, Thomas Wilson (1887-1978)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Accessed September 30, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GGPS.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Steen, Thomas Wilson (1887-1978)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 29, 2020. Date of access September 30, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GGPS.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2020, January 29). Steen, Thomas Wilson (1887-1978). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved September 30, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=GGPS.