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Columns Magazine

Columns is the official magazine of Southern Adventist University, produced by Marketing and University Relations to provide information to alumni and other friends. Your feedback is always welcome: columns@southern.eduClick here to update your contact information and submit a personal update to be included in the next Columns.

Current Issue

Fall 2021
PDF or Issuu

Featured in This Issue

Welcome Home!
This summer, 45 years after becoming a student at Southern, Ken Shaw, ’80, EdD, returned to campus as president—the first alum to serve in this role. He is accompanied by his wife and fellow alum, Ann, ’79. Together, they fondly reminisce about the past and look ahead as God continues to lead them into the future.
We Give Thanks
The popular phrase “It takes a village” encapsulates campus life well. Through the roller coaster of good times and challenges, students, faculty, and staff form a tight community, providing support, prayer, and encouragement to each other. The notes included in this feature demonstrate that frequently it is the seemingly small gestures that leave a lasting impression. Use the form below to share what you are grateful for!
Student Center(ed)
After more than two years of construction, the Bietz Center for Student Life opened to great fanfare this fall. Click here to view photos from the Grand Opening on October 1. Named in honor of Southern’s 25th president, Gordon Bietz, DMin, and his family’s long-standing dedication to Seventh-day Adventist education, the Bietz Center underscores the fact that students are the reason Southern exists. This new facility brings together many student-focused services and activities under one roof:
  • CK2 eatery – fast food
  • Farrow Family Lodge – living room and fireplace
  • Game rooms – table tennis, pool, arcade, foosball, interactive climbing wall, PlayStation, and more
  • The Grid – multipurpose space
  • Jack Blanco Chapel – worship space
  • Jimenez Family Hangout – hanging pod chairs
  • McKinney Family Slide – quick descent
  • Office of Ministry and Missions – spiritual support
    • Chaplain
    • Humanitarian Engagement (local service and short-term missions)
    • Student Missions (year-long missions)
  • Prayer room – quiet space
  • The Southern Shoppe – college gear, school supplies, and textbooks
  • Student Association – student leadership
    • Southern Accent (newspaper)
    • Southern Memories (yearbook)
    • Strawberry Festival (year-end show)
  • Student Development – programming, events, and club support
  • Student Support Services – all-around support
    • Counseling Services
    • Disability Support Services
    • First Year Experience
    • Life Calling and Career Services
    • Testing Services
  • Study rooms – focus space
Homecoming: Celebrating His Blessings
The Southern family came together in person and virtually for Homecoming Weekend 2021. Click here to view photos from the weekend. Photos from the golf tournament are available here.


Ken Shaw: A Gift for Making Connections
Carroll Wheeler, ’80, and Ken Shaw, ’80, were friends long before they arrived as students at Southern, having roomed together at Little Creek Academy. Carroll’s parents lived in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), so frequently Ken would invite Carroll home for holidays. In 1975, Carroll had the opportunity to reciprocate, inviting Ken and another friend, Greg Scott (attended), to accompany him to visit his parents in Rhodesia.

En route, the young men spent a month touring Europe together, including France, Germany, Switzerland, and Italy. Carroll recalls trying to find the College of the Barbs in the Waldensian Valley in northern Italy. In their search, Ken happened upon an Italian who shared his interest in ham radio, and instantly they had something in common. A friendship was formed, and this new friend proceeded to show the group all of the historic spots in Torre Pellice. 

While in Rhodesia, Ken met an elderly local man named Chebangu, who had been a young oxcart driver when Walter E. Straw first arrived as a Seventh-day Adventist missionary in the area. Chebangu had been a playmate of Straw’s son, Leland, who later helped found Little Creek Academy and served as principal. 

Ken knew Leland Straw as principal of the academy and thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if Principal and Mrs. Straw could visit Africa?”
After the young men returned to the United States, Ken and Greg got busy writing letters to raise money so that the Straws could take the trip. 

“I believe Ken has a gift in this area of raising funds,” Carroll says, “because, in short order, the tickets were paid for and presented to the Straws at our graduation, allowing Principal Straw to visit with Chebangu again after 60 years.”