quickbits
$50 Million Campaign Addresses College Affordability
For decades, most people in the United States have agreed that the primary purpose of college is to prepare students for a specific type of job. Understandably, parents would like their children to earn a college degree leading to gainful employment in the least amount of time and in the most affordable way. Employers, however, believe that students need better acquisition of soft skills coupled with practical training and an ability to apply knowledge for the multiple career paths ahead of them. Research bears this out, showing that today’s college graduates will hold between eight and 14 different jobs between graduation from college and their 40th birthday.

We BelieveSouthern is dedicated to helping prepare students for this kind of fluid job market, and we are committed to doing so as affordably as possible. The single largest component of Southern’s $50 million Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, which you will read more about in the months ahead, is focused on how we can increase our endowment and student scholarships to help students access the tools that will unlock their future. I encourage you to support this campaign and assist in providing the best possible education for our students.

-by David Smith, PhD, Southern Adventist University president


Business Students Help Community Prepare Tax Returns
The School of Business has completed its yearly free tax preparation service for the community of Collegedale and the greater Chattanooga area. Students provided Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) services to 220 people January 29 through March 2 at Fleming Plaza.

According to the IRS, VITA was created in an effort to “offer free tax help to people who generally make $53,000 or less, persons with disabilities, the elderly, and limited English-speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns.”

VITA is a collaboration between the IRS, Urban League of Greater Chattanooga, United Way of Chattanooga, and Southern Adventist University. With sites throughout the city of Chattanooga, VITA offers many opportunities for students in training and service.

-by Clementson Supriyadi, junior mass communications major 



Community Connections
Bonhoeffer Movie Screening to Highlight Work by Film Program Alumni
Several alumni from Southern’s School of Visual Art and Design took on key roles in Come Before Winter, a new docudrama about German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Nazi resistance. The film’s director, Kevin Ekvall, ’07, will be on campus April 22 for a 7 p.m. screening in Lynn Wood Chapel followed by a Q&A session with the audience. This event is free and open to the public.

"Come Before Winter" FilmWorking alongside Ekvall were assistant director Theo Brown, ’10, cinematographer Tanya Musgrave, ’11, and story consultant/co-production designer Melody George, ’06. The film premiered in the United States at the Loma Linda University Church on January 21, 2017.

“I’m grateful for David George and other professors in the School of Visual Art and Design,” Ekvall said. “During this endeavor we had a very small crew, but Southern prepared my colleagues and me to take on a project like this where each of us had multiple roles.”

Over the course of three years, the team worked together writing, filming, and editing this docudrama. To enhance the project’s authenticity, many scenes were filmed in the United Kingdom and Germany, where the events originally took place. Throughout the process, the team was introduced to Bonhoeffer’s various writings, which include practical books about Christian spirituality. According to Ekvall, learning more about Bonhoeffer’s impact during World War II had a powerful impact on crew members.

“The fact that someone was willing to risk his life to stand up for injustice and cruelty pushed me to do my best to tell this part of his story,” Ekvall said.

-by Abigail King, sophomore marketing major


$15,000 Grant Helps School of Social Work Train Police Officers
Southern’s School of Social Work is on the front end of a national push to create models for collaborative training between social workers and law enforcement officers, especially those who serve disadvantaged populations, while addressing both the perception and reality of bias.

A new $15,000 grant from Versacare makes it possible for Southern to train 200 local police officers in the practice, values, and ethics of social work—a critical addition to the current system in which recruits spend 58 hours learning to shoot firearms and only eight hours learning to de-escalate situations. A cooperative spirit and learning posture demonstrated by law enforcement personnel lessens tension between the community and officers. The aim of the training is to increase officers’ ability to protect and serve as they study implicit racial bias, relationship-based policing, crisis intervention, mediation, how to minimize the use of force, and appropriate engagement with youth, LGBTQ, and English-language learners.

Police Officer TrainingBeginning this year, eight two-day training sessions will take place at the Chattanooga Family Justice Center, where the School of Social Work has an office. Through the training, officers will earn seven national certifications. Additionally, for any participant continuing his or her education beyond this free training, Southern will offer one free social work graduate course per semester, valued at $1,800.

Research conducted during this program will measure the training’s impact. Methodology and resulting data will be published online, presented at national conferences, and shared in the classrooms of 10 regional faith-based colleges that have undergraduate programs in criminal justice, family studies, psychology, and sociology.

An audio interview with Kristie (Young) Wilder, ’03, JD, dean for the School of Social Work, provides additional insight into this grant and related training.


Campus Life Title
Employees and Students Work to Create Arboretum
In celebration of Southern’s 125th anniversary, faculty, staff, and students are working to plant 125 new trees throughout campus, as well as identifying and tagging existing ones, with the goal of creating a flourishing arboretum in the next three years. This project was made possible by a $30,000 gift from an anonymous Southern alumnus, and it falls squarely in line with Southern’s Vision 20/20 strategic plan and the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, both of which include an emphasis on the greening of campus.

Simply stated, an arboretum is a botanical garden dedicated to trees. Arboretum status is granted by the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council and achieved by identifying and labeling the trees, a daunting task when considering Southern’s 1,300 acres. Faculty organizers simplified the process by deciding to only tag trees located on the central part of campus, which is easily accessible to the public.

Arboretum“An arboretum will be good for campus because it increases people’s appreciation for nature, the natural habitats they provide, and increases awareness about the diversity of trees we have here,” said Ben Thornton, PhD, professor of biology.

It will take one year to establish the arboretum, but it will take two more years to calculate the diversity index, label the trees in a specific display, and make a map available online to view all the trees. Each tree label will include a QR code that users scan with a phone app, leading to information about the tree, pictures of it in different seasons, and where on campus more trees like it are located. In addition, 30 memorial trees, those planted to honor someone significant to the university, will include information about that person on the labels.

Thornton has hired four student workers to help with the task. And while there is the risk of poison ivy and a few cuts and scratches along the way, the process is rewarding.

“When I heard about this project, I really felt drawn to join,” said McKenzie Martin, a freshman biology research major. “I simply love learning about nature!”

-by Erica King, senior public relations and international studies double major


Called to Southern: Arguing with God
-by Stephen Bauer, PhD, School of Religion Professor

I have a penchant for arguing over God’s calling in my life. From around sixth grade until college, I argued with Him about why I shouldn't be a pastor. It didn’t work. While finishing my undergraduate theology program at Atlantic Union College, I began arguing with God again, this time about why I should not be a professor. I found myself saving class notes and syllabi “just in case” I did teach someday, even though I had no desires for professorship. 

I was hired by the Greater New York Conference in 1982—first as a Bible worker, then as a pastor—and reinforced my resistance to academia’s call by actively pushing against the idea of attending seminary for a Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree. I instinctively felt the MDiv was God’s gateway to doctoral studies, and I tried to hide, hoping that we would “finish the work,” Jesus would come, and I could avoid the whole issue. I hid for nearly six years. God had other plans, however.

BauerWhen I finally started my MDiv at Andrews University in 1989, the further I progressed through the program, the stronger the conviction rose that I was to stay on for a PhD. In January 1992, I began my doctoral work. While working on my dissertation proposal research in 1996, I heard that a fellow classmate in my discipline (a professor at Southern) was preparing to take a call to Africa at the end of the school year. My heart raced! I was confident God was leading me to Collegedale, but something odd happened.

The Southern New England Conference made aggressive overtures for a pastoral opening in Connecticut, my childhood state. I stalled them for several months hoping the position at Southern would officially open. In the meantime, the Holy Spirit laid extreme conviction on me that I was to go to New England, not Southern. My wife and I flew to Connecticut, interviewed with the churches, and were issued a call on the spot. We accepted.  It was June, 1997.  A week later I received an email from Jack Blanco, dean of the School of Religion at the time, announcing that the pending position at Southern was now open. I found myself replying that while I was interested, the Holy Spirit had called me elsewhere and I was unavailable. I thought I had kissed goodbye to all possibility of ever being a professor. 

I soon discovered I had entered the most challenging church conflict situation imaginable; it tested everyone involved to our limits. With God working miracle after miracle, the church was finding healing 18 months into the saga, and that church transformed into the best group I’ve ever pastored.

In the first few days of 1999, I received an email forwarded from my old Andrews student account. Jack Blanco was informing me that a new position was now available  at Southern because Norman Gulley was about to retire. He intimated that my name had surfaced as a potential replacement. Would I be interested in interviewing? Thinking I had the Lord defeated yet again, I informed Blanco that I had not started my dissertation work due to the intense church conflict, which had consumed all my time and energy. I was nowhere near finishing my degree. In my heart, that left no hope of going to Southern.

Blanco replied that I needed to get tickets for my wife and I to come down right away. We arrived in late January; I guest-taught several classes and ran the gauntlet of interviews. Ten weeks later, I received the invitation to come teach at Southern. With a strong sense of divine leading, my wife and I accepted the call. 

As if to add icing on the cake, two weeks after accepting the call to Southern, I came home to find a voicemail from the General Conference informing me that they were looking for a professor to teach at our seminary in the Philippines. While I didn’t pursue that offer, it was as if God was confirming that if the Southern position had not opened, He had other means to get me transitioned! It was indeed the time to move to academia.

I’ve been teaching at Southern since 1999 and I continue to marvel at how God can take me, the man who likes to argue with God’s calling, and still move me to where HE wants me to be! 

Called to Southern” is a series for QuickNotes that highlights the path our faculty and staff have taken to end up on campus. There is a definite pattern that shows God’s leading, and we look forward to sharing these stories with you.


Alumni Highlights Title
Cardiac Nurse and Friends Save Life While Cycling
When a stranger suffered a heart attack while hiking, God placed James Delong, ’06, and his friends in the right place at the right time. The group’s quick actions saved the man’s life.

Delong, a cardiac nurse, was cycling on Fort Mountain, Georgia, with four of his friends. They had been riding hard for more than 40 minutes when they witnessed the man stumble and fall about 25 yards from the road.

“I was the first to arrive on the scene and assumed that he had just tripped,” DeLong said. “He had fallen forward, and I could hear him wheezing, so I carefully turned him over on his back.”

Nursing Alum Saves LifeDeLong quickly saw that the man was turning blue in the face and appeared to be dead. In an effort to resuscitate the victim, DeLong and one friend, Brad DeLay, a family practice doctor, immediately began administering CPR while another friend called 911. Since the ambulance was more than 30 minutes away, DeLong knew that they would need a defibrillator in order to have any chance of saving the man. Upon hearing this, fellow cyclist Douglas Kerns headed down the mountain toward the ranger’s station in search of an automatic external defibrillator (AED).

As Kerns rode down, he passed a Forestry Service truck already responding to the call with an AED. DeLong and DeLay administered CPR for 10-12 minutes before the truck arrived on the scene.

“As the ranger got out, he mentioned that he had never used the defibrillator before,” DeLong said. “I began to worry that the batteries would not be good and that we would be unable to help this man.”

Fortunately the AED worked, and after receiving a single shock, the victim’s heart began to beat again on its own. He soon regained consciousness and was able to talk to his rescuers until the ambulance arrived.

“I am just so thankful that we were there at the right time,” DeLong said. “If we had ridden by just a few moments earlier, that man might have passed away without our knowledge.”

Once the ambulance arrived, the victim was transported to Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, Georgia, and doctors expect a full recovery. Before the patient’s release, DeLong and his friends visited him in the hospital.

“It was really neat to meet his wife and children,” DeLong shared, “and to know that we had made an incredible impact on them and had helped this man continue his life.”

-by Abigail King, sophomore marketing major


What's the Latest News?
Keep your Southern family informed by contributing a paragraph or two in the alumni update section of Columns, our university magazine. Please email us any family or professional news you'd like to share.

Upcoming Events
Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

E.A. Anderson Business Lecture. April 3 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall Room 3205. Monique Prado Berke, vice president of business transformation for CBL & Associates, will present “Keys to Successful Change Management.” An archive of past E.A. Anderson series presentations is available online.

Mexican Brass Concert. April 4 at 7:30 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center. M5 Mexican Brass have established themselves as Mexico’s leading brass quintet, earning international recognition. The concert is free for current Southern students and staff. The public is invited for $5 per person or $12 per family.

E.O. Grundset Biology Lecture. April 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Auditorium. Michael Behe, PhD, professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, will present "The Edge of Evolution."

Art Exhibit Opening. April 6 at 6:30 p.m. in John C. Williams Gallery (Brock Hall). Senior fine arts major Nayeli Cabrera shares work from her “Time Frames” exhibit.

Gym-Masters Home Show. April 8 at 9 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center.

Loma Linda Alumni Brunch. April 9 at 10:30 a.m. in Collins Auditorium (Drayson Center, Loma Linda University). Alumni and friends of Southern are invited to meet with President David Smith, PhD. Learn what's happening on campus in Collegedale and get acquainted with other alumni in your area. RSVP by emailing alumni@southern.edu or calling 423.236.2830.

Choral Ensembles Concert. April 9 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium.

E.A. Anderson Business Lecture. April 10 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall Room 3205. Rick Richert, CFA, a portfolio manager for SoundPoint Capital, will present “Credit Analysis.” An archive of past E.A. Anderson series presentations is available online.

Percussion Ensemble Concert. April 13 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Film Screening. April 22 at 7 p.m. in Lynn Wood Chapel. Join director Kevin Ekvall, ’07, for a showing of the film Come Before Winter and Q&A session afterward.

Dusk ‘til Dawn Adventure Race. April 22 from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. Co-ed teams of three or four compete in this annual race hosted by Southern’s Outdoor Leadership program that combines physical obstacles and mental challenges. All technical gear is provided. Register at active.com ($120 per team for alumni and community members).

5K Color Run. April 23 at 10 a.m. with shirt pickup at 9 a.m. Event begins at the Duck Pond located next to Wood Hall. Register at active.com ($8) or on site the day of the race ($10). All proceeds go toward helping a student missionary build a school in Kyrgyzstan.

Southern Symphony Orchestra Concert. April 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Laurie Redmer Minner will conduct Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 6 in B minor. The performance may be viewed live online as well.

Southern Jazz Ensemble Concert. April 29 at 9 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium.

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 for the student-led Renewal church service on Sabbath at 11:35 a.m. (Eastern Time).

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