Inauguration Gala Raises $350,000 for Student Scholarships
Southern’s October 12 Inauguration Gala for President David Smith, PhD, raised $350,000 for endowed student scholarships. Legislative officials, area businesses, alumni, employees, and friends of the university were among the more than 225 guests whose ticket purchases, silent auction bids, and other significant contributions made the evening a success. Southern’s endowment, a critical component of the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, is the primary pool from which scholarship funds are drawn to assist students in financial need. Visit southern.edu/webelieve to learn more about the campaign and to make a gift in support of students searching for a transformative Adventist education.
Giving Day Reaches Record Total with Help from Matching Gift
Giving Day is an opportunity each year for alumni and friends of the university to be intentional about their gifts. Many have already made contributions in previous months, but chose to do so again during this 24-hour window as a sign of solidarity and community.
This year’s Giving Day was November 1-2, from 7 p.m. to 7 p.m. and raised $97,460 for the Southern Fund. An anonymous alumni couple offered a historic $50,000 matching gift, giving those with a heart for Southern the chance to see contributions doubled, and allowing their monies to impact students in the biggest way possible.
“It was exciting to watch the Southern community come together and make a difference in students’ lives during this record-breaking Giving Day," said Ashley Fox, ’15, Annual Giving officer. "These gifts will support student research projects, grow student scholarships, and help make the Southern Experience stronger. Thank you to all who spread the word on social media and made a gift during Giving Day!"
Bonus challenges—such as Facebook video sharing and the 50-state challenge, among
others—helped engage the giving community and incentivized participation. To view
results from each of those challenges, visit southern.edu/givingday.
Departments Utilize Grant to Help Students Integrate Service into Careers
Sometimes it takes years to realize how to combine your passion with God’s purpose. Southern is working hard to make sure students have a head start down the path toward that critical understanding. A $48,000 grant for 2015-2017 from Lilly Endowment, Inc. is helping the Christian Service program at Southern achieve this goal.
One way Southern is accomplishing this is by adding relevant content to the Summer Institute. This established two-week professional development program for faculty members provides training on how to integrate biblical foundations and a Christian worldview within their teaching. Organizers have modified the content to emphasize the connection between calling, career, and vocation. So far, approximately 30 educators have worked collaboratively on designing or redesigning their courses, emphasizing active learning techniques to meet millennial students’ needs.
As another step to achieving its big-picture goal, the Christian Service program—in partnership with Southern’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Biblical Foundations of Faith and Learning—formed the Calling, Career, and Vocation Committee with faculty representation to create, review, publish, and lead their individual departments in a concrete action plan for advising students about how to integrate vocational calling into a life of service. The committee meets once per month and recently studied the book Make Your Job a Calling: How the Psychology of Vocation Can Change Your Life at Work.
Grant funding has also been applied to training and instruction for the class A Life of Service Within Your Vocation, a required course for all freshmen since 2015. Braxton Young, sophomore computer systems administration major, found the instruction particularly useful.
“As I’ve learned more about Christian service while studying here at Southern, I realize that what I’m studying now, and my future career, can make a significant impact on the lives of others,” Young said.
The first year of the grant was used to start an intentional, campus-wide connection between vocation and a life of service. Southern is committed to this mission, equipping students to develop a sense of God’s call in their lives and work through service. This recent video provides a glimpse of just how excited and eager students and faculty are to demonstrate God’s love by putting their education and skills to use in the community.
Our oldest daughter, Sarah, was planning to attend Southern in the fall because she heard it was a spiritual campus. She asked me to send a curricula vitae (CV) there, as well.
We were living at Weimar Institute, where I was the president. I wasn’t looking to teach. Besides that, the Iowa-Missouri Conference had expressed interest in me pastoring two churches, and pastoring seemed like a marvelous opportunity to be involved in frontline work. But Sarah gently insisted that I consider submitting a CV to the School of Business; she was planning to be a CPA, and if we moved to Southern, I would be one of her professors! So I sent it.
Don Van Ornam, dean of the school, called me as soon as he received it.
“This is a divine appointment,” he said. “Our healthcare professor left unexpectedly, and I just got your CV as I was headed to a committee to talk about who should replace him.”
I wasn’t sure. After all, pastoring must be more direct work than teaching. Nevertheless, my wife, Kari, and I agreed to visit Southern to see if the Lord was leading us to this special school in the South.
There were problems with the plane leaving Sacramento, so we spent a number of hours on the tarmac. By the time everything was settled, we arrived in Collegedale just a couple of hours before my first appointment. Kari stayed in a room on campus while I went to the interviews.
In the room, which was our temporary home, a shelf held the nine volumes of Testimonies to the Church. Kari pulled down one of them at random. The book fell open to a specific page where she read that the Lord needs young men in the South. When I arrived back at the room, Kari shared with me what she had seen, and expressed her opinion that this meant the Lord wanted me in the South. I reminded her that sometimes things happen coincidentally.
“Maybe,” she said.
I came back from my next set of interviews with some interesting news: I had been offered the position. Kari had something just as exciting to share. She had opened another volume of the Testimonies at random, and her eyes had fallen on exactly the same sentiment. I agreed that that appeared to be more than coincidence, but I wanted to study this out.
So I went to an Ellen White index of writings and read alternately about pastors and teachers. The second reference I read under “teachers” said teachers need to understand that they are in the most important mission field in the world. The most important. I closed the index and the book and called Van Ornam with my answer.
During the past 16 years, I have had many wonderful experiences with bright young people who want to serve Jesus with all their heart. I feel certain that God led me here to help them seek out His leading in their lives.
“Called to Southern” is a new series for QuickNotes that highlights the path our faculty and staff have taken to end up on campus. There is a definite pattern that show’s God’s leading, and we look forward to sharing these stories with you.
President’s Five-Year Report Highlights Growth
The Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists held its 19th Quinquennial Constituency Session September 18-19. The meetings are an opportunity for both churches and institutional organizations to provide updates to union leadership. Though new to his position, President David Smith, PhD, gave a presentation highlighting academic, financial, social, spiritual, and structural changes on campus that have taken place since the last such gathering in 2011. Southern has flourished in its endeavors during that time, exemplifying the university’s commitment to providing a quality education in a holistic atmosphere. The tagline “Power for Mind and Soul” remains a powerful and inspiring reality on campus in Collegedale! You can view Southern’s Five-Year Report online.
Evangelism Students Train Church Leaders at General Conference
This year’s Fall Annual Council at the General Conference office in Silver Spring, Maryland, involved a lot of action. Students from the Soul-winning And Leadership Training (SALT) program, sponsored by It Is Written and Southern, were leading the charge.
General Conference President Ted Wilson has been calling for Total Member Involvement (TMI), and the North American Division (NAD) answered that call by initiating something at the Fall Annual Council this year that has never been done before: placing church administrators out in the streets sharing their faith, door-to-door.
Evangelism schools from across the NAD were invited to the General Conference to organize, instruct, and mentor a massive community outreach in the Silver Spring metro area. SALT coordinators Greg Wilson and Janelle Dietrich, along with a team of SALT students, led the efforts. They partnered division and union presidents from all over the world with students and alumni from NAD evangelism training schools to reach the Silver Spring community for Jesus. Students assisted church leaders who were not comfortable with their English speaking skills and mentored those who wanted to grow in their ability to do door-to-door work.
As Division and Union presidents knocked on doors alongside evangelism students-turned mentors, something beautiful took place: a passion for reaching hearts one-on-one was rekindled and a respect for those leaders willing to learn and grow was reignited. Those who were skeptical—or who had simply forgotten the effectiveness of door-to-door work—were quickly reminded of its joy and blessings. Leaders who were already doing the work in their home countries were inspired to see that it is also effective here in the United States. And those who were looking for ideas on how to accomplish TMI were reminded of how beautiful and simple getting others involved could be.
Everyone was inspired by the fact that across the NAD there is a movement of young people on fire to share the gospel with the world!
It Is Written and Southern were honored to have SALT students at the forefront of this General Conference initiative. Since it began in 2013, SALT has trained and equipped hundreds of people to win souls for Christ. God is using this school of evangelism to make a difference for His kingdom. SALT has fall, summer, and online training programs that fit every budget and lifestyle. For more information, visit saltevangelism.com.
Article originally published on ItIsWritten.com.
Homecoming Concludes with Centennial Celebration in Veteran’s Park
Homecoming Weekend was extended by half a day to include a festival celebrating the 100th anniversary of Southern’s move to Collegedale from nearby Graysville, Tennessee. Thousands of students, alumni, and community members attended the special event on October 30, which also celebrated the city’s growth since Southern’s arrival. The area was called Thatcher Switch prior to the school’s relocating here and was little more than a farm.
Although fun was the primary order of business for Southern’s Centennial Celebration, history came in a close second. Students dressed in early 20th-century period clothing walked around Veteran’s Memorial Park carrying signs about women’s suffrage and touting presidential candidate Woodrow Wilson’s ability to keep the United States out of war. More than a dozen classic cars—everything from a Model T to a Mustang—provided a stroll down memory lane for many who lived through the different generations being celebrated by the festival. Banners with pictures and interesting milestones from each of the 10 decades Southern has been in Collegedale lined the walkways between booths, and professor Ben McArthur, PhD, took the stage between musical acts to offer additional facts and figures related to both university and community history.
Southern’s Jazz Ensemble and Gym-Master’s provided the bulk of the afternoon’s entertainment, while individual student acts filled in the gaps with a variety of musical styles. Miniature donkeys and puppies at student club booths added to the afternoon’s playful feel, and food vendors on the park’s perimeter made sure nobody went away hungry. For snapshots of the day’s events, please visit the photo album on Southern’s Alumni Association Facebook page.
While Southern is celebrating 100 years in Collegedale, another even greater milestone is just around the corner. 2017 will mark the 125th anniversary of Southern’s founding and the university plans several events and communications to highlight this important anniversary. QuickNotes will include those details as the events draw nearer.
Tiny Homes Business Born from Graduate School Project
Jeremy Weaver, ’10 and ’15, is living (a small version of) the American Dream! While pursuing his graduate degree in global community development at Southern, he took the opportunity to turn his internship into a business model that soon became Wind River Tiny Homes.
The company, which includes other Southern alumni in its leadership team as well, set up shop just minutes from the university and is poised to grow with the industry as Weaver works locally, nationally, and internationally to ensure building codes and regulatory language don’t discriminate against this new housing trend.
Weaver’s story, and beautiful examples of Wind River’s craftsmanship, are included in this short video.
On October 15, more than 200 people gathered for the Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) award banquet in Denver, Colorado. This was the last night of our four-day meeting, and Daniel Weber, communications director for the North American Division, presented awards. The first trophy he was giving out was for the 2016 Student of the Year. As he was reading, I realized he was talking about me.
Everything he was saying were accomplishments that my professors helped me achieve. Most of them were because of class assignments that I decided to apply to real-life situations. During my last year at Southern, I realized that I could turn almost every major class assignment into resume material. This was the key to landing freelance jobs and earning work experience. I even used my homework to go on “field trips,” such as presenting my communication research paper at SAC in 2015. While there, I applied for a few jobs.
It took three months after graduating to get my first full-time job. One day I got a call from the communications director of the Southeastern California Conference asking me if I wanted to work as their communication specialist. He had been at SAC and remembered me. I accepted!
This year, as Weber called my name to come up and accept the trophy, it dawned on me that my life really flip-flopped in one year. Exactly one year ago I was at SAC applying for jobs. And now my job was paying me to be there. I walked up to accept my trophy and then thanked my teachers at the School of Journalism and Communication, because they are the real reason I am where I am today.
In addition to Anzai’s award, the university was also well represented in other categories. Last year’s Southern Accent staff won “Best Student Newspaper” and multiple students took home individual honors for photography and marketing work.
Tell Us What's Happening!
Southern would love to feature you in our Beyond the Columns alumni update section of the university magazine! Please email us any family or professional news you'd like to share with classmates!
WSMC Goes to London. Join the staff from Southern's classical music radio station May 18-25, 2017 and tour quintessential British sights with a local guide, including Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. Visit wsmc.org for more information.
Reformation Tour to Europe. University alumni and employees are invited to join the tour “Martin Luther and the Reformation: Celebrating 500 Years” scheduled for June 13-25, 2017, hosted by the Alumni Association. Visit major sites of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and Switzerland during this historic, milestone anniversary. Immerse yourself in European culture and breathtaking scenery with experienced tour leader, Bill Wohlers. The cost is $3,950 per person and includes air fare, ground transportation by motor coach, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, as well as an estimated 20 sightseeing activities. Email Alumni Relations or call 423.236.2830 to learn more and to reserve your space before January 1.
Join Us On Campus. Southern’s event calendar is loaded with listings for concerts, lectures, and other campus events. We would love to see you here!
Join Us Online. Each week during the school year we invite you to join us online for Vespers on Friday at 8 p.m. and the student-led Renewal church service on Sabbath
at 11:35 a.m. (Eastern Time).
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