Advancement Welcomes New VP

adsCarolyn Hamilton recently joined Southern Adventist University's administrative team as the vice president for Advancement. Hamilton began her new role at the beginning of November after serving as vice president for Philanthropy at Loma Linda University Health.

Hamilton, a certified fundraising executive (CFRE), was the founding partner of The Hamilton Company, a  fundraising consulting business for over 25 years. She has also served in the past as interim vice president at Pacific Union College and previously at Southern. In June 2014 she was the recipient of the prestigious Milton Murray Trailblazer in Philanthropy Award from Philanthropic Service for Institutions (PSI).

"I’ve admired Carolyn’s talents since working with her during my time as president of the Georgia-Cumberland Conference," stated university president Gordon Bietz. "While we seek to expand [relationships with stakeholders] who contribute their time, talents, and treasures to Southern, she will be a tremendous asset."

Carolyn is married to Marty Hamilton, associate vice president for Financial Administration at Southern. They have two daughters, Amanda, '13 intercultural communications graduate, and Olivia. 

 #GivingTuesday: 150 donors in 24 hours


Did you know there is a new tradition after Black Friday and Cyber Monday? It's called #GivingTuesday - a day where thousands around the world come to celebrate generosity. Southern is joining the national movement for a second year! 


 Southern's 2015 #GivingTuesday goal: 150 donors in 24 hours on December 1. 

- Give: Make your gifts
- Ask: Encourage 5 friends to make a gift to Southern.
- Share: Become a Southern ambassador on social media. Share why you supported Southern on #GivingTuesday. Use the hashtag #Give2SAU

Any gift made online, in person, or by phone on Tuesday, December 1, 2015 will count towards the goal. Help Southern reach that goal. 


Alumni Highlights Title

Welcome Home 
jhWelcome Home of Chattanooga was co-founded by Rachel Smith, a member of Southern Adventist University’s School of Social Work Advisory Board, and Sherry Campbell, ’11, (MSW). The two shared a dream of creating a home and community of care where individuals in need of hospice could have a good quality of life and die with dignity.

This dream was born from years of service as social workers at Hospice of Chattanooga where Smith and Campbell encountered many heartbreaking situations of people facing homelessness or isolation while nearing end of life. Whether living alone in extended-stay motels or in the hospital, many men and women lack the family, caregiver, or support system necessary to address their holistic needs when admitted to hospice. For them, the only options available were to remain in the hospital or go to a nursing home.

Smith and Campbell know that most people need the comfort of a home, especially at the end of life. Since early 2013, the pair has been spreading the word about this important mission and gleaning community support. In November 2013, Welcome Home of Chattanooga became a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization, and in 2014 it received generous financial support from the Memorial Health Foundation as well as a three-year grant from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Health Foundation.

After securing a location, many wonderful volunteers—from BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, as well as local churches and community members—have cleaned, painted, renovated, and decorated the house to transform it into a lovely home. Following an open house celebration in March 2015, the first guests were admitted to Welcome Home. Local hospice providers visit and oversee the medical care of each guest, while Welcome Home’s staff and volunteers offer them 24-hour shelter, family-style care, meals, and love.

This comfort care home is the first of its kind in Chattanooga. Smith and Campbell are excited that this innovative model is now available for vulnerable adults in need. They are making plans for future internships and field experience for social work and nursing students studying at Southern and other nearby colleges and universities.

Welcome Home is a place of compassion and belonging, where the sacred natural process of life and death is honored. For more information about how to donate or volunteer, visit or “like” Welcome Home of Chattanooga on Facebook.

Joseph Choi Makes Carnegie Hall Debut
Compiled from NAD Adventist and Herald Mail


Joseph Choi, '95, music director for Highland View Academy in Hagerstown, Maryland, made his professional conducting debut at the Carnegie Hall’s Isaac Stern Hall on October 4. The concert, titled "Beyond Boundaries," was organized by Altino Brothers, LLC and was a collaboration concert between Altino Brothers Chorale and Oakwood University Aeolians.

“It was an honor and it was overwhelming,” Choi said. “You have 130 voices plus a 70-member orchestra; that’s over 200 people onstage and my eyes have to be on those musicians, not on the score. It can be intimidating, but it was an amazing experience that I will be cherishing for a long time to come. To perform at Carnegie Hall is a big deal because it’s one of the world’s finest concert halls.”

Choi served as conductor of this concert along with Jason Ferdinand, director of Oakwood University Aeolians, who conducted combined choral pieces. Choi’s desire to become a conductor was formed from growing up around a choir.  

“There was nothing else to do other than just look at the choir rehearsal, so I started looking at the conductor,” Choi said. “And I thought, ‘Ha! How cool would that be? He waves his arms and everybody sings the way he wants it.’” 

Before living in Hagerstown, Maryland, Choi lived all around the world including Korea, Brazil, and New York State. He earned a bachelor’s degree in music from Southern Adventist University, a master’s degree in orchestral conducting at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, and worked for three years toward a doctorate in chorale conducting at University of Maryland, College Park. Afterwards, he worked in Arizona, Indiana, and Kentucky before returning to Maryland. 


Community Connections Title

Sharon Smith-Hensley Becomes Southeast Tennessee's Professional Advocate of the Year
By Derling Pizarro, senior non-profit management major


Southern Adventist University strives to make sure students graduate equipped with both the tools for effective leadership and a desire to change the world by impacting lives every day. Sharon Smith-Hensley, ’07, was recently selected as Southeast Tennessee’s Professional Advocate of the Year by the Tennessee Conference on Social Welfare and is one of many such success stories.

Smith-Hensley is the social services director at the Samaritan Center in Ooltewah, Tennessee, and her hard work for that organization has not gone unnoticed. Smith-Hensley regularly goes above and beyond the call of duty, and her employers appreciate the compassion and commitment she puts into this position.

"Sharon has faithfully served this community for more than eight years as social services director and is well deserving of this recognition," said Tony Dahlberg, '87, Samaritan Center executive director.

Southern’s School of Social Work is also proud of Smith-Hensley’s achievements and many of its 113 undergraduate and graduate-level students have been working on highlighting the importance of social workers to everyone on campus. Efforts include placing signage on the promenade listing a variety of work that can be done using this valuable degree.


Campus Life Title

PlantPure Nation Filmmakers Capture ThatcherFarm
By Danielle Allen, junior journalism and global policy and services students majors


Filmmakers visited Southern Adventist University’s Thatcher Farm on November 5 to film a segment for a series of Bible studies called “Biblical Prescriptions for Life.” The studies are based on research by Dr. James Marcum, a local cardiovascular physician, and T. Colin Campbell, bestselling author of The China Study, who worked together in the documentary “PlantPure Nation.”

Thatcher Farm is a student-led initiative, managed by Seth Shaffer through Southern's library and Global Polical Studies, that provides the Chattanooga community and Southern students with fresh produce and hands-on learning opportunities for those interested in agriculture and sustainability studies. The farm's produce is being purchased by local, Chattanooga restaurants downtown including, The Farmer's Daughter. Marcum learned about the farm and Southern’s agricultural class from a fellow healthcare professional and requested to film the segment in a greenhouse with growing plants as the setting.

A “Biblical Prescriptions for Life” kick-off program is scheduled for 2 p.m. on January 30 at the ICCM Theatre in Chattanooga. The program is designed to help improve health, serve the community, and offer resources to spread the Gospel through plant-based nutrition and balanced lifestyles. The event will feature a screening of the documentary “PlantPure Nation” which tells the story of three people–Dr. Campbell, his son Nelson, and Kentucky Rep. Tom Riner –working together to propose a pilot program documenting the benefits of a plant-based diet to the Kentucky Legislature. The film is currently showing in theaters and was released November 17 on DVD.

Campus Gallery Features Popular Adventist Illustrator
By Lucas Patterson, editorial manager


Works by Lars Justinen, one of the most featured illustrators in Seventh-day Adventist publications over the past two decades, were on display at Southern’s John C. Williams Gallery October 8 through November 6 for his retrospective show “An Unexpected Journey.”

The title describes surprises from Justinen’s own career path and the many changes all modern artists have encountered.

“It’s been unexpected to find God’s grace willing to bless my life in spite of myself, having almost died of a rare disease when I was young,” Justinen said. “And as I look back it’s also been unexpected that I would work for my church, that I could create a watercolor with a digital stylus, and that I could work anywhere in the world with a publishing company in my suitcase (my iMac) as long as Internet is available!”

Art selected for the show spans more than 35 years and represents finished pieces ranging from those created for private galleries to the illustrations he produced for Pacific Press Publishing while employed as an in-house illustrator.

“It’s a big deal for our community to come and enjoy a visual experience of such high quality that might bring back childhood memories or remind them of illustrations from stories they have read to their own children,” said Giselle Hasel, MFA, associate professor in the School of Visual Art and Design. 

Justinen’s company, GoodSalt, is the world's leading source of religious imagery—used in materials for a variety of denominations—and represents hundreds of artists from around the world. A core belief shared among its management team, as stated on the website, is that “Like our God, we find joyful satisfaction in the creative process, which can be, in many ways, a spiritual experience.” Encouraging and advising in that integration of faith and career is a critical component of how Southern instructs students, making this artist’s visit a natural fit.

Justinen has a passion for sharing the knowledge he has accrued over the years with students, so in addition to speaking about his pieces on opening night he also served as guest instructor for an illustration class in Southern’s School of Visual Art and Design. This show’s opening was especially engaging for art students and professional artists as Justinen walked through the gallery describing not only his creative techniques, but also the commission process and business transactions that lead up to a finished piece.

“This show could be an inspiration for many of our students who sometimes feel uncertain about their future in art,” Hasel said.


Recent Events Title

Southern’s Alumni Return During Homecoming Weekend
By Madison Johnston, junior music major, and Jen Harvey, sophomore mass communications major


Former Southern Adventist University students and employees returned to campus October 29 through November 1 for Homecoming Weekend, organized by Alumni Relations. This year’s theme, “Reflections Along the Path—Celebrating a Legacy of Service,” threaded various events together during the four days as attendees reunited and reconnected.

Homecoming Weekend began on Thursday with the Kick-off Banquet and alumni awards ceremony in the Dining Hall. The E.O. Grundset Lecture series, featuring Jonathan Colburn, ’02, was also held on Thursday in Ackerman Auditorium.

Alumni and current students alike had opportunity to attend the Psychology Symposium Friday morning, under the theme “Psychology at Southern: Today and Beyond,” featuring keynote speaker and Young Alumna of the Year Award recipient, Kahlilia (Morris) Blanco, ’08, and several other presenters. Throughout most of the day, alumni had the opportunity to connect with former classmates in different campus schools and departments.

One highlight was the Call Center 10-year Reunion, in which former phone bank workers and Advancement ambassadors had the chance to meet once more. Open houses were also held in places such as the studios of WSMC Classical 90.5 FM.

Friday evening featured a variety of events for alumni and students to attend. The Beyond the Columns Supper was held in the student center for seniors and alumni, and the Southern Scholars Reunion Supper, titled “Faithful Learning in a Secular Environment,” was open to Southern Scholars past and present in the library.

Dr. Norman Gulley, ’55, was the featured speaker at the special Alumni Vespers in the Collegedale Church that evening, which included special music by Southern’s Symphony Orchestra, Collegiate Chorale/Chamber Singers reunion groups. The Chorale/Chamber Singers reunion groups were especially popular and proved to be “the highlight of the weekend,” said Evonne Crook, Alumni Relations director. “About 70 participated in the choir, and the event was very moving for them.”

Each of Collegedale Church’s three services on Sabbath featured a different alumni speaker.
- Richard Coston, ’65, spoke for Adoration I
- Bob Cundiff, ’90, spoke for Adoration II  
- David Williams, ’05, spoke for Renewal

The sacred concert was open to the public on Saturday afternoon, performed by recording artist Jennifer LaMountain, ’90.

Reunion dinners for the classes of 1965 and 2005 were also held on Saturday night. Crook said the 1965 reunion had the highest turnout for a 50-year reunion. After the reunion dinners came Southern’s annual Southern Shuffle 5k race and 1 mile fun run/walk.

“I thought everyone liked the race,” said Brady Tull, freshman health, P.E., and recreation major, who ran in the 5k. “I will definitely do it again.”

Although it was unknown at press time the exact number of guests who participated in Homecoming, Crook said attendance is approximately 1,000 people each year. Southern’s alumni left campus once more on Sunday, but Alumni Relations is already busy planning next year’s big event.


 Upcoming Events

SOUTHERN Adventure in Europe Tour 2016


From May 29 to June 10, 2016, we will be visiting Belgium, France, Germany, and Switzerland. The cost is $4,600/person which includes air fare, lodging, ground transportation, sightseeing activities (20 estimated), and breakfasts/suppers.
A $700 deposit is due December 1, 2015. 

For more information and to reserve spaces, contact Alumni Relations by emailing alumni or by calling 423.236.2830.