Oakwood Hosts Diversity Educational Exchange Program (DEEP) Leadership Retreat

On January 24-26, leaders from Southern Adventist University joined leaders from Oakwood University for the annual DEEP Retreat Weekend. The retreat, conceptualized in 1997 by Delbert Baker, former Oakwood president, and Gordon Bietz, current Southern president, was developed to allow leaders and students from both campuses to fellowship and learn from one another.

This year's retreat, held on the campus of Oakwood University, was themed "Higher than the Heavens." Highlights of the weekend included Mervyn Warren, dean for the School of Religion, delivering the Sabbath morning message, a historical tour of Oakwood, music by the Aeolians, and an evening outing at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center.

Kari Shultz, director of Student Life and Activities at Southern, has been involved with the DEEP retreats for the past 15 years. According to Shultz, DEEP allows her to "learn from and connect with her counterparts."

On February 1, Oakwood hosted a DEEP Sabbath for the students of Southern and Oakwood with the same synergistic goals in mind.  

Adventist Institutions Show Support During Southern’s Lockdown

On Thursday, January 23, Chattanooga State Community College officials alerted Southern Adventist University to a perceived threat by a former Southern student that prompted our campus lockdown. This individual was located off campus and taken in for questioning by officers from the Collegedale Police Department. No one was injured and, contrary to reports, no shots were fired during the event. After police determined the campus was not in danger, the lockdown was lifted.

Southern places a high priority on the safety of our students, employees, and campus guests and responds appropriately to perceived threats. The university would like to express gratitude to Southern’s Campus Safety personnel and local emergency service teams for their work during this difficult time.

While Southern was under lockdown, several Seventh-day Adventist institutions responded by praying for the safety of our students, faculty and staff. Concerned individuals at Adventist summer camps, bookstores, churches, conferences, unions, and universities stopped and prayed for Southern and then posted their support on social media.

Pacific Union College was in the midst of their morning assembly when they heard about the lockdown. 

“The youth pastor walked out and gave a brief overview of what he understood of the situation,” said Elise Williams, senior business marketing major at Pacific Union. “For the next few hours we just prayed.”

After the incident, Southern posted a “thank you” on the its Twitter and Facebook accounts to all who supported the university through prayer. In addition, some Southern students made a video voicing their appreciation.




New Mentoring Program Encourages Multi-Generational Dialogue 

~by Evonne Crook, Alumni Relations Director

At Southern Adventist University, we believe that education does not stop when you leave campus. We have been taught as students and alumni to lead lives of service and to continue lifelong learning. One of the most rewarding ways to extend your educational journey is by helping a student find their path to becoming the person God has called them to be. To that end, a new alumni-student mentoring program is being launched this semester.

LEAP (Leadership Education through Alumni Partnerships) is an effort by the Alumni Relations office—in cooperation with many academic and student service departments across campus—to develop dynamic, reciprocal, and personal relationships between mentors and students. Alumni will offer business knowledge, personal advice, networking opportunities, and spiritual encouragement.

We invite you to “pass the mantle” in this way as students transition from university life and move toward becoming successful alumni engaged in their own churches and communities.

Click here to learn more about this new program and about how you can become involved. If additional information is needed or you have recommendations for the program, contact Alumni Relations by emailing or by calling 423.236.2830.



Southern Students Converge on Chattanooga for Community Service Day

~by Elizabeth Camps
On January 20, close to 1,000 students, faculty, and staff ventured off campus to work with area nonprofits as part of Southern Adventist University's 21st annual Community Service Day initiative. The event was organized this year by the Student Association (SA) and Southern’s Christian Service Program.

Student leaders chose “True Beauty” as a theme for the day. Simon Ionashku, senior mathematics major and SA community service director, was inspired by Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign and decided to rally volunteers around a similar concept.

"True beauty is not based on external appearances, but rather an inner quality that is built on moral and biblical truths that are shown through compassion and service," Simon said. "Jesus is the ultimate model for this as He sacrificed Himself to serve others."

All Southern students participate in a certain amount of community service and service-learning projects as a requirement for graduation, but organizers pray that students will recognize deeper, eternal benefits of helping others.

"I hope they see volunteering not as an obligation, but as the highest honor," Simon said. "That's the message we're trying to send. Be beautiful in the heavenly sense."

Helping streamline this year’s event was the Christian Service Program’s new website,, which allows students to keep track of their service hours. It also provides community partners with the opportunity to post projects in which volunteers are needed. In addition to that site, SA led out in many campaigning projects to get students signed up for volunteer projects, including a short campaign video (which can be seen HEREshown at vespers and convocations. But not every student needed multimedia prompting. Brooke Firestone, senior nursing major, has participated in each service day opportunity while at Southern and testifies to the joy that comes from helping others. This year, she and many others volunteered at the Chattanooga Zoo.

"There is nothing like the reward of bettering your community through some humble, hard work."

View a segment from local news station, News Channel 9: CLICK HERE


WSMC Instrument Drive to Assist Inner City Students

WSMC Classical 90.5, Southern Adventist University’s 100,000-watt FM radio station, recently kicked off a used instrument drive for arts-poor area schools. A $25,000 grant from the McKenzie Foundation will fund repair costs for all the donations. Launched in January, the campaign runs through the end of March.


Seeds for this campaign were planted in April 2012 as WSMC partnered with NPR’s “From the Top” radio program on a Chattanooga concert and arts education community outreach effort. Many of the schools visited that week had students hungry to learn, but without the musical tools to move forward. In January 2014, WSMC once again brought “From the Top” to Chattanooga, but this time they had a bold vision two years in the making. By using the impressive geographic footprint of the station’s radio signal (nearly 90 miles in all directions), WSMC would spread the word about this need and collect 200-300 used instruments to be repaired and redistributed.

WSMC announced the instrument drive, and the impressive grant, during the “From the Top” performance in front of 1,500 classical music lovers. The response was immediate. In the lobby after the performance, audience members exchanged phone numbers and email addresses with WSMC staff to facilitate the drop off of their used instruments.

All donations will be put to good use, but according to Scott Kornblum, WSMC’s general manager, the items in highest demand are conventional wind and string instruments such as violins, violas, cellos, flutes, bassoons, and tubas.

WSMC is also accepting monetary gifts to assist with the cost of repairs.
All donations are tax deductible. For more information, email or call (423)-236-2426.



Student Week of Prayer 

~by Helen Boram, student

Southern Adventist University held its annual Student Week of Prayer January 27-31. In contrast to the InTents meetings—a similar weeklong series held outdoors at Southern during the fall semester—the presenters at this event were not guest speakers, but Southern students with a burden to share a message with their peers. Evening meetings were held each day, with additional morning meetings on Tuesday and Thursday.

Southern experienced snowfall and dangerous driving conditions midweek, and while classes were cancelled on Wednesday, the Student Week of Prayer meetings were held as scheduled.

Many Southern students spoke positively about the presentations, with some even sharing their praise on Twitter using the hashtag #SAUswop. Students seemed to enjoy the fact that they could easily relate to the testimonies of their peers.

“In my opinion, the Student Week of Prayer was a great success and acted as a great refresh point in my spiritual life,” said Tony Jamgochian, freshman theology major. “I look forward to the next one.”

Read more student reactions to the Week of Prayer by clicking HERE



Cries of joy were heard all around campus at 10:37 p.m. on a recent Tuesday night when students learned that they would have the next day off to play in the snow and relax. Classes scheduled for Wednesday, January 29, had been canceled. [Read more from the Southern Accent]




Exactly two weeks later, on Wednesday, February 12, another snow day was gifted to the faculty, staff, and students of Southern. The skies dumped around eight inches of beautiful powder on campus. The potential for dangerous driving conditions led to a delayed start to Thursday's work and school schedule as well. The winter scenes didn't last too long, however, as the sun came out and melted nearly all of the evidence by Friday afternoon.  


United For Mission


The General Conference’s 150th Anniversary Exhibit is on display at McKee Library through March 13, 2014, in the Knowledge Commons located on the main floor, and is available for viewing during regular operating hours. The exhibit, created by the General Conference Office of Archives, Statistics, and Research, highlights the history of the church from the Millerite Movement to the growth of the denomination and global ministry on twelve distinct banners.

To read more about the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination and this unique display, read “United for Mission: One Hundred and Fifty Years, From Great Disappointment to General Conference”.