More Than 400 Students Awarded Diplomas at Spring Graduation
Southern celebrated spring graduation with Senior Consecration, Baccalaureate, and Commencement services May 5-7. Throughout the weekend, various departments and schools on campus held pinning and dedication programs for their students. Terry Shaw, ’84, president and CEO of Adventist Health System, was Southern’s featured speaker on Sunday at the Chattanooga Convention Center as more than 400 students earned diplomas, with degrees ranging from associate to doctoral.
President David Smith, PhD, encouraged the graduates to thank those who helped and encouraged them, saying, “This weekend, consider those, especially God, who have supported you during your Southern Adventist University experience.”
Seniors had the opportunity to make a donation of $20.17 or more to their class gift. The funds will go toward the purchase of a large touchscreen monitor in the new Bietz Center for Student Life to highlight Southern’s student missionaries and allow students, employees, and visitors to send them encouraging electronic messages. This effort has raised more than $4,200, with an end goal of $8,500. Alumni and friends of the university may financially support the project by visiting southern.edu/classgift.
During Commencement, Southern also honored professors Michael Cafferky, PhD, and Benjamin McArthur, PhD, (posthumously) with the Distinguished Service Medallion; Ronda (Westman) Christman, ’88, PhD, with the President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship; Tim Trott, PhD, with the President’s Award for Teaching Excellence; and Loren Barnhurst, PhD, with the President’s Award of Excellence for Commitment to Student Success. Individual articles highlighting each of these awards will appear in future editions of QuickNotes.
-by Gavin Finch, senior English major
Five-Day Evangelism Training Program Offered in July
Founded in 2011, the SALT program (Soul-winning And Leadership Training) is a collaboration between Southern and It Is Written designed to equip God's people to fulfill His great commission. The Summer SALT Intensive, July 12-16, is a one-week variation of SALT’s regular 16-week curriculum, which is offered each fall.
During the summer intensive, attendees may choose the evening and weekend meetings only, or join the optional day tracks. Experienced instructors teach how to awaken spiritual interest, prepare and give Bible studies, help people make decisions for Jesus, implement a vibrant evangelism cycle in local churches, and much more. Day tracks include health evangelism, advanced Bible worker training, biblical counseling, and how to relate to Hollywood and the media.
Registration is only $99 before June 30. To learn more, visit southern.edu/salt or call 423.236.2034.
Southern Union Hosts Denominational Employee Gathering
The Onward and Forward Convention, June 22-24, is a three-day Southern Union event held on Southern’s campus for those age 55+ who are currently employed by, or are retired from, the Seventh-day Adventist Church or an Adventist hospital.
Seminars will be available on topics such as financial planning, caring for elderly parents, ways to make your garden a community witness, last day events, and the role of Ellen White in the church today. Alumni on campus for the event are invited to stop by Lynn Wood Hall on June 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for a welcome reception that includes refreshments and a small gift.
For more information, visit southernunion.com/55convention.
Public Relations Students Provide Professional Help to Nonprofits
While some people envision a typical college class as being endless lectures and exams, many of Southern’s classes take a more hands-on approach to learning. One such class is Public Relations Campaigns, an upper-division course taught by School of Journalism and Communication Professor Pamela (Maize) Harris, ’75, PhD.
This spring, student teams followed a four-step process to create campaigns for local nonprofits, including the United Way of Chattanooga, Chattanooga Unite Veterans Resource Center, Welcome Home of Chattanooga, and Family Promise of Greater Chattanooga. Each team researched their nonprofit, set measurable goals, and then created packets of information and useful promotional materials catered to the nonprofit’s needs. If the local organizations choose to implement the student campaigns, the results can be measured against objectives provided by the teams.
Students appreciated how much learning was done outside of the classroom and the enthusiastic feedback given by their nonprofits. The Family Promise staff liked the proposed ideas so much that their director took the campaign ideas to his executive board the following week. It wasn’t the only nonprofit team to sing the praises of Southern students’ work. Mickey McCamish, chairman for Chattanooga Unite Veterans Resource Center, complimented Carin Bartlett, ’17, and senior Lindsey Conkle, for their “thorough understanding and attention to detail,” calling their presentations “outstanding.”
In Public Relations Strategies and Management, another course taught by Harris, students created crisis communication plans for local organizations including the Samaritan Center, TechTown, Court Appointed Special Advocates, and the Bessie Smith Cultural Center. Harris described the curriculum as a “high-end class that explores managing situations that happen in an organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit.”
Students began the class studying public relations theories and cases, especially ones related to social media activism. They then wrote three crisis plans for their nonprofit, covering an employee death, a natural disaster, and a human error. Additionally, each student considered and listed various worst-case scenarios that were unique to his or her client. Once again, nonprofit clients were pleased; the leaders of the Bessie Smith Cultural Center even took their crisis plan to their board.
Because these courses provide interactive learning opportunities for the students and serve smaller nonprofits that could not afford to hire a public relations firm, both Public Relations Campaigns and Public Relations Strategies and Management have been approved by Southern to count toward students’ service-learning requirements. This emphasis on helping others is just one more way the university works to fulfill its mission of nurturing Christlikeness and wholeness.
Professor’s Book Highlights Civil War Visions of Ellen White
After four years of research and writing, School of Religion Professor Jud Lake, ’82, ThD, recently had his commentary on Ellen White’s Civil War visions published through Pacific Press. Lake was inspired to pen A Nation in God’s Hands while watching a reenactment of the First Battle of Bull Run during the 150-year anniversary commemoration of the war.
An audio recording of Lake’s 2016 presentation on this topic during GYC Southeast is available online.
In a previous book, Ellen White Under Fire, Lake outlines several principles for understanding White’s statements and visions, one of which is historical analysis. He uses this principle in A Nation in God’s Hands by placing White’s visions about the Civil War in their context. Through this, Lake aims to broaden the understanding of people interested in the Civil War by showing them the views of a contemporary religious leader and deepen the understanding of Seventh-day Adventists by explaining the history surrounding Ellen White’s Civil War writings.
Lake’s book, although researched from “hundreds and hundreds” of books, is not only for academics or professional historians; it is enjoyable for any audience (read the entire first chapter for free online). While it allows for an immense knowledge of the Civil War, it does not assume it, providing an annotated bibliography at the end of the book.
The Civil War is the most researched and detailed piece of U.S. history, with more than 60,000 publications written about it, but Lake’s book is more than simply an addition to this number. In his foreword to A Nation in God’s Hands, Adventist historian George Knight writes, “Lake’s intention is not to rehash the understandings of others … we are looking at a new genre in the world of Ellen White studies.”
Lake, however, does not feel that his book is exclusively historical, saying that the book “has a contemporary ring by its very title,” because of the hardships and uncertainties in our country today. Even so, he believes we can have confidence that the U.S. is still a nation in God’s hands.
-by Gavin Finch, senior English major
Called to Southern: A God Who Wastes Nothing
-by Laurie Gauthier, director of Graduate Marketing and Enrollment Management
Dental hygiene is a great career, just not for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t discover this until well after my graduation from Loma Linda University with a bachelor’s degree in exactly that topic.
Through the years, filled with many twists and turns, I discovered an interest and ability in marketing and gained some wonderful on-the-job experience. Logic told me that if I wanted to advance in the field, I would need more relevant credentials to supplement my experience. After many prayers asking God for guidance, I enrolled in a local MBA program on not much more than a whim and a vague feeling that it was where He wanted me. In December 2005, I completed my degree, ready to make my mark on the world. It was a rude awakening when the path I thought God was directing me down didn’t lead to the multiple job offers I’d expected.
Initially, I began selling real estate, but early in 2008 it was clear that the market was slowing and I would need to make a change. Quickly. I didn’t want to go back into dental hygiene, but I told God that I would go where He led and do whatever He wanted me to do.
About that time, my daughter, a 2006 Southern graduate, received a newsletter from Southern’s School of Journalism and Communication that included employment opportunities. She told me about an opening for the director of Graduate Marketing and Enrollment Management and suggested I take a look. The job description was right up my alley. It was a new position, which meant I could create something from scratch (something I’ve always enjoyed). But since I wasn’t interested in moving from Maryland to Tennessee, I did nothing for several months.
I eventually decided that I’d better not ignore any opportunities that God might be providing and applied for the job. After many years of struggling to find the right career fit, God flung the doors open, and I suddenly had a job offer and a decision to make—would I leave everything that was familiar and comfortable to follow where God was leading?
It’s been amazing and humbling to look back and see how God arranged it all. Each of my previous jobs helped prepare me for my current one. And that master’s degree that hadn’t seemed to vocationally assist me in any meaningful way? It was one of the required credentials for my job. God didn’t waste anything. He was at work even when I didn’t understand His timing or methods. His promises are sure.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT).
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.
Band Director Honored with Tribute Concert
A group of approximately 30 alumni and current Southern employees organized a Silver Brass reunion concert on April 22 to honor former Southern band conductor Patricia Silver, who retired in 1997 after working at Southern since 1982. She spent 40 years teaching in the Adventist education system, with stops at Madison College, Shenandoah Valley Academy, Forest Lake Academy, Andrews University, and Southern.
The reunion concert, planned in secret by her former students via Facebook, was held at First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Chattanooga. Along with the music, the program included scripture readings and a tribute section. Silver also conducted three pieces in the program alongside Gerald Peel, ’90, Harold Greene (attended), and Russ Durham.
“It was a great honor,” Silver said. “The program was a real nice thank you.”
Musicians who played at the reunion concert came from as far away as Florida and Maryland. Three of Southern’s faculty and staff joined the concert as well, including School of Music Professor Ken Parsons, Mathematics Department Professor Ron Johnson, ’79, PhD, and Hulsey Wellness Center Office Manager Darin Bissell, ’03.
“Pat is an inspiring lady who has helped shape my love of playing music,” Bissell said. “I'm glad she gave me the opportunity to participate in her group.”
Silver originally wanted to study medicine but started conducting to help her father at Madison College. She was only supposed to assist for one year, but she ended up staying on for three, realizing, “Oh, this is fun.” Conducting and teaching music became more than just a job for her and was a “good opportunity for enjoyable association with students.”
“It’s knowing these people personally,” Silver said. “They feel like family.”
Silver truly loves the rapport she has built with students over the years, but finds an even deeper relationship that drives her love of music: God.
“Praising the Lord is one of the main reasons I believe we take part in something like this [group performances] and keep it going,” Silver said.
-by Gavin Finch, senior English major
Onward and Forward Convention. June 22-24. This three-day Southern Union event held on Southern’s campus is for those age 55+ who are currently employed by or are retired from the Seventh-day Adventist Church or an Adventist hospital. For more information, visit southernunion.com/55convention.
Southern Union Retiree Alumni Event. June 23 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall. Alumni on campus during the Onward and Forward Convention are invited to stop by for a welcome reception that includes refreshments and a small gift.
Michigan Camp Meeting Lunch. June 24 at 12:30 p.m. in the Cedar Lake Fellowship Hall. Tickets are not required, but RSVPs are requested. RSVP no later than June 21 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 423.236.2829.
WELLkids Day Camps. July 17-21, or July 24-28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Keep the kids moving and exploring the outdoors this summer. The week-long sessions for students age 10-16 offer outdoor adventures such as rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, ropes course, rafting, and caving. For more information visit southern.edu/wellkids.
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