Every year, Southern Adventist University honors successful graduates during its Alumni Homecoming Weekend. The 2011 honorees represent the diverse educational opportunities Southern offers, and demonstrate the desire to serve that faculty and staff work to instill in students.
Mindi Rahn attended Southern like her parents and sister did before her. During her senior year, Rahn signed up for an archaeology study tour of the Seven Churches of Revelation in Turkey. She credits this very trip for solidifying her belief in the Bible.
After graduating with a history degree, Rahn worked as a United Nations liaison officer for the Seventh-day Adventist Church. The experience opened her eyes to the needs of people around the world.
Wanting to serve them to the best of her ability, Rahn obtained a Master of Arts degree in International Studies/Relations from Claremon Graduate University and then received Bible work training from the ARISE Institute. A great opportunity to serve became available soon after when Malamulo Seventh-day Adventist Hospital in Malawi needed help improving the hospital water system and assisting the chaplain. Rahn worked in Malawi for half a year before returning to Southern in 2009 to teach in the History Department.
While studying nursing at Southern, Wayne Smith earned a private pilot license at the Collegedale Airport. He learned how to combine nursing and flying when he attended GO ’97, a young adult mission conference held at Andrews University.
Smith soon enrolled at Andrews for aviation. He completed his studies there, acquired a commercial pilot license, and travelled to Guyana for his first mission aviation trip. During the time in South America, Smith realized his desire for more medical skills and returned to the U.S. determined to become a doctor.
While Smith attended medical school at East Tennessee State University, he volunteered on dozens of medical expeditions with Remote Area Medical, a non-profit organization that combines aviation and healthcare volunteers.
Smith completed his residency in anesthesiology at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville and later accepted a position in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Smith continues to use his aviation skills to assist in disaster relief with his wife, Kristy, including a trip to Haiti last December where they worked on a clinic and airstrip-building expedition.
In his third year at Southern, James Tucker received some advice from K.M. Kennedy, chair of the education department, to switch majors from theology to biology (with a minor in education) and consider teaching as a form of ministry. The change was just what Tucker needed; he desired to work with children and youth.
Along with his passion to work with youth, Tucker also developed an avocational interest in birds. While in graduate school at the University of Texas, he came up with the idea for a newsletter on bird watching. His idea led to the foundation of the American Birding Association and its journal, Birding. Since then, Birding has become the primary bird watching journal in the world.
Just as Tucker’s hobby led him places, so did his professional career. From 1973 to 1993, he worked with educational systems in 40 states and in foreign countries on three continents. After completing his work in the public school system, Tucker helped develop a leadership program at Andrews University. In 2001 he accepted the McKee Chair of Excellence in Learning position at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he worked with other faculty to create the first doctoral program of the university.
Tucker and his wife, Priscilla, have written several family devotional books like Glimpses of God’s Love, Nature Quest, and In His Hands.
From participating in humanitarian efforts around the world to bringing reform to the educational systems both in the U.S. and overseas, Southern’s graduates become leaders of change after experiencing our culture of service.