Sabbath Trail Dedication Scheduled for September 10

Sabbath TrailAn alumni family recently gifted Southern 250 acres adjoining campus on Bauxite Ridge, opposite of White Oak Mountain. More than 12 miles of new paths have been created and are available for both student and community use. One of the most exciting new aspects of this project is the Sabbath Trail, a two-mile loop in the larger trail system that contains dozens of plaques set in stone which share the history of Sabbath from Creation to the New Earth.

Southern invites you to join employees and students for the Sabbath Trail dedication on September 10 at 5:30 p.m. Parking is available at the end of Sunkist Terrace (short road near Collegedale Academy) and signs will direct you to the event, which is being held at the trail head. After a short program, participants are welcome to walk the trail and explore this newly opened area of Southern’s campus.

Southern has 800 forested acres on campus and several park-like settings for students to enjoy. The university’s commitment to providing unique, natural spaces for reflection is further evidence by this and other ongoing projects.

New Archaeology Exhibit Opens September 13

ArchSealsThe newest exhibit at Southern’s Lynn H. Wood Archaeological Museum, “A World in Miniature: Creation, Cosmos, and Ecology on Seals from Biblical Times,” brings together approximately 65 ancient seals and artifacts from the Yale Babylonian Collection at Yale University, the Siegfried H. Horn Archaeological Museum at Andrews University, and the Badè Museum at Pacific School of Religion. Objects reflect how ancient cultures during biblical times understood the existential questions of origins, worldview, and their relationship with the natural environment. Visit the museum’s website for hours of operation.

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Campus Life Title
Southern Ranks First in National Collegiate Fitness Index
By Eloise Ravell, ’16

FitnessRankingSouthern ranked as the top private university in a recent study by the National Collegiate Fitness Index (NCFI) which ranks campuses for their programs and facilities that promote healthy lifestyles and active living. They judged schools for transportation, recreation infrastructure, and recreation and educational policies and services.

“From its Adventist roots to the university’s mission statement, Southern has shown that it values physical well-being for its students, employees, and community,” said Leslie Evenson, '04, Wellness Institute director. “The school has invested in programs, facilities, and curriculum that show our focus. I am excited that we have been recognized for these efforts!”

A total of 107 schools responded to the NCFI survey, which inquired about 28 items, including the number of cardio and weight rooms, tanning rooms, group fitness classes per week, courts, pools, sports fields, and rock climbing walls. Southern scored highest in physical education class sections per semester, group classes per week, and outdoor recreation trips per year.

Part of what contributed to Southern’s high ranking is its Quality Enhancement Program (QEP), which aims to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on issues that improve student learning. QEPs are not unique—they’re required for re-accreditation every five years—but the fact that Southern chose to shape its most recent QEP around physical wellness does set it apart from almost all other colleges and universities in the country. The results impacted students directly.

“As a result of Southern choosing ‘Living in Balance: Physical Activity’ as our QEP there was an increase in required activity course hours for all students and a specific plan for them to begin their college career,” Evenson said. “Over a four-year period they start with the Fitness for Collegiate Life class, followed by two activity courses, and then Fit for Hire, a capstone course where students reflect on past exercise plans and begin developing lifetime fitness goals.”

Holistic health is a priority at Southern. By requiring that both a religion course and a physical education course be mixed in with the other academic studies each year, the university is promoting wellness for the whole student: mind, body, and soul.

Regional Bank Continues Scholarship Support with $28,000 Gift
SouthEast Bank executives from the Ooltewah branch visited with Southern’s new president, David C. Smith, PhD, and three of the four students directly impacted by this scholarship gift.

SouthEastScholarshipsDuring the lunch award meeting senior Caitlyn Bartlett was asked by Carolyn Hamilton, vice president for Advancement at Southern, what it meant to have received this scholarship for four years.

“It means I’ll be graduating this coming May without any loan debt, which means the world to me,” Bartlett said.

In 2007, SouthEast Bank established a four-year renewable student scholarship at Southern benefiting one new Tennessee freshman on the Collegedale campus annually. The scholarship is of $7,000 per year for a potential $28,000 total scholarship award to the student. The student must maintain 3.0 GPA to receive the funds. Current students receiving the scholarship are: Caitlyn Bartlett, senior marketing major; Joelle Kanyana, junior financial management major; Jesse Darwin, sophomore biology major; and Laurence Chaij, freshman long-term health care administration major.

President Smith Leads Student Dedication
On August 25, Southern held a student dedication service during convocation. Faculty, staff, and other guests joined them in the campus church as the group gathered to prayerfully commit the year to God, seeking His will for their lives. The program was streamed live and recorded; you can watch it online.

Southern Adds Summer Commencement
By Eloise Ravell, ’16

Southern celebrated the graduation of 115 students during its recently reinstated summer commencement ceremony on July 28 in Iles P.E. Center. Participants included 65 undergraduate students, 49 master’s students, and one doctoral student.

SummerGraduationThe addition of a summer commencement ceremony was due, in part, to an increasing number of graduate students—many of whom study on campus primarily during the summer—and the new nursing summer cohort. This meant many students completed their studies in a nontraditional timeline and were ready to graduate in July instead of December or May.

“Our December commencement in the Iles P.E. Center is nearing capacity,” said Robert Young, PhD, senior vice president for Academic Administration. “It seemed most prudent to add a third ceremony to the academic calendar.”

A third commencement is not without precedent. In fact, Southern held a summer graduation as recently as 2007. But as how and when students choose to take their courses has changed, the demand for such a program recently arose again and plans are already in place to have the July graduation in 2017 as well.

Alumni Highlights Title
Southern Graduate Hired at U.S. Olympic Committee
By Eloise Ravell, ’16

The Summer Olympics in Rio may be over, but for one Southern alum, the spirit of those games remains a daily passion. Jace Coston, ’13, was recently hired as business intelligence consultant at the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

CostonVCoston graduated with a degree in business administration (international business emphasis) and is currently studying for his master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in sports management through the University of Massachusetts. He intended on going on to law school and was even accepted into two programs. Unsure if this was the right path, Coston put his educational plans on hold to pursue work experience instead. An avid swimmer, Coston decided to seek out careers that would utilize both his business and athletic background.

“It was quite a process to get this position,” Coston said. “Every single day, I would go to the USOC website and check the job openings. I didn't have a specific position I was hoping to get, so I pretty much applied for anything relevant, even if I wasn't completely qualified for it.”

The position for business intelligence consultant required Coston to not only submit a resume and cover letter, but also prepare a presentation on software called Tableau based on data from the London 2012 Olympic games. He spent two days learning how to use Tableau and decided to analyze the difference in athletes’ performance from their practice times to their final times. Coston used swimming and track and field data to demonstrate the importance of saving your best effort for the final race, while still being able to qualify for the race itself.

After encouraging phone and video interviews, Coston was told by the USOC recruiter that he had potential, but they were going to hire a candidate with more experience. Coston decided to fly to USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to meet with several of the people with whom he had interviewed in order to make connections that would hopefully lead to future employment. Impressed by Coston’s passion, the director of business intelligence offered Coston a position.

As a business intelligence consultant at the USOC, Coston collects data that assists in bridging together inter-organizational departments and helps these departments do their jobs more effectively.

“I am confident that Southern helped me get the leg up I needed to acquire this position,” Coston said. “With my education, I had the confidence to shoot for anything I knew I wanted!”

Although his work is quite serious—some of it even confidential—there are lighter moments when Coston, much like any of us probably would be, is a little star struck. He interacts with athletes who live at the Olympic Training Center and gets to use the facilities alongside them for free. Besides sitting a table away from Michael Phelps, Allison Schmitt, and Nathan Adrian in the cafeteria, Coston was able to connect with Olympic swimmer and gold medalist Missy Franklin when he was using the center’s pool.

Alum’s App Makes Evangelism Easier
By Andrew McChesney (originally published in Adventist Review)

AlumAppThomas Beihl, ’11, didn’t get the desired response when he went door to door at the men’s residence hall at Southern Adventist University, asking fellow students whether they had conducted Bible studies. About 150 students had signed up to conduct Bible studies during a 2006 evangelistic series. Beihl, a freshman at the time, had agreed to track their progress on an Excel spreadsheet.

“I didn’t even have a cell phone back then,” Beihl said. “So I would go knocking on doors in the dorm and saying, ‘Hey, how’d your Bible study go?’ As you can imagine, that flopped tremendously.”

Beihl never forgot the experience. Two years later, he began to write the software for Disciples, an organizational tool that allows local churches to track mailings, Bible studies, and attendance at meetings.

“It’s basically a digital interest list for the local church,” said Beihl, now 28 and the founder and chief executive of Disciples. He also owns a web design company in Chattanooga.

Disciples, available as a desktop app at GetDisciples.com, was used by Adventist churches across North America and beyond to track more than 100,000 Bible studies last year. Disciples is to debut as a mobile app on the iTunes store on September 1 and on Google Play later. Church management software is available from other companies. But Beihl said his was the only one geared toward the Adventist cycle of evangelism, with specialized features such as the ability to track those who have made a decision to keep the Sabbath. Disciples is free if used on only one computer but has a $10 fee if connected to multiple devices.

Royce Snyman, Ministerial Department director for the Michigan Conference, said he had looked for an interest-tracking program for 20 years and even tried to develop his own.

“Finally someone has gotten the job done with a quality, feature-rich product at a very fair price,” he said.

Disciples, like software used by many marketing companies, not only follows contacts but also detects a recipient’s possible level of interest. Beihl spoke of a man in his 20s who received the book Steps to Christ during a church mailing in 2012. The man did not respond, and church included him in an e-mailing ahead of an evangelistic series a year and a half later.

“He opened the e-mail like 15 times,” Beihl said. “He was either opening it or forwarding it to his friends. You cannot tell the difference, but it was clearly exciting to him.”

Beihl acknowledged that some people might feel uncomfortable that software offers that amount of information. "But," he said, "just about any e-mail these days lets you know that it has been opened. That’s what marketers do."

Such information could be useful for a local church wondering how to best direct its resources, he said.

The young man who opened his e-mail 15 times ended up becoming the first person to make a decision for Jesus during that evangelistic series, Beihl said. He is now training to become a Bible worker—and will use Disciples in his work.

This article was edited for QuickNotes. To read the full version, please visit Adventist Review’s website.  

Upcoming Events
Alumni Golf Tournament
Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 11, and plan to join Southern alumni, employees, students, and friends to play in the annual alumni tournament. This year’s event is being hosted at the Bear Trace Golf Course at Harrison Bay, a Jack Nicklaus Signature Design course. Cash and pro shop gift certificates are among the prizes that will be awarded to winners.

The cost is $65 per player. Proceeds assist students through the Dave Cress Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund. For more information and to register, visit southern.edu/golf or call 423.236.2829.

Ice Cream Social
Alumni and friends of Southern attending the Southern Union Medical, Dental, and Health Professionals Convention (or those who live in the Stone Mountain, Georgia, area) are invited to join us for a free ice cream social on October 8. The 7:30 p.m. event immediately follows an I Cantori concert at 5:30 p.m. and vespers presentation by David Smith, PhD, president of Southern. Space is limited to the first 75 who RSVP by no later than September 27. Tickets are available for pick up on site at Southern’s exhibit table. To RSVP or for more information, email Alumni Relations or call 423.236.2830.

Homecoming Weekend
Honor Classes: 1936, ’46, ’56, ’66, ’71, ’76, ’86, ’91, ’96, and ’06. Early highlights include the 60th anniversary celebration of the nursing program at Southern; a reunion for former Student Services staff, residence hall deans, and resident assistants; as well as music by the Wedgwood Trio. Activities take place October 27-30. Click here to register. 

School of Nursing 60th Anniversary Reunion
Alumni are invited to celebrate this special milestone for Southern's nursing program. A 7 p.m. reception will be hosted at the Embassy Suites Hotel on October 29 during Homecoming Weekend 2016. The evening also includes alumni awards presentations. This event is limited to 300 guests and an RSVP is required. Click here to register.

WSMC Goes to Chicago, London
Explore Chicago (October 25-28, 2016) or enjoy a week in London (May 18-25, 2017) with WSMC. Float down the river with the Chicago Architecture Foundation, discover the Art Institute of Chicago, or see the city skyline from SkyDeck Chicago. Visit the quintessential sights of London with a local guide, including Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. Visit wsmc.org for more information.

Europe Trip 2017
Martin Luther and the Reformation: Celebrating 500 Years

University alumni and employees are invited to join the “Martin Luther and the Reformation-Celebrating 500 Years” tour scheduled for June 13-25, 2017, hosted by the Alumni Association. Visit major sites of the Protestant Reformation in Germany and Switzerland during this historic, milestone anniversary. Immerse yourself in European culture and breathtaking scenery with experienced tour leader, Bill Wohlers. The cost is $3,950 per person and includes air fare, ground transportation by motor coach, lodging, breakfasts and dinners, as well as an estimated 20 sightseeing activities.

Email Alumni Relations or call 423.236.2830 to learn more and to reserve your space before January 1.


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