Presidential Candidate Update


Southern’s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce that candidate David C. Smith, PhD, participated in interviews and met with key stakeholders of the university January 28-29. Smith is senior pastor of the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists and previously served as president of Union College.  

In April 2015, the board appointed a search committee to lead the process of finding a new president who will take office when Gordon Bietz retires at the end of this school year. The committee has already met with and interviewed candidates. After an active, prayerful and robust process, they have recommended Smith spend these two days on campus in further conversations. These meetings are an important step in the process of selecting the next president. 

After Smith’s visit, the committee will gather and assess feedback from Southern’s stakeholders prior to making a final recommendation to the board in February 2016.   



With a new year upon us, we’d like to take a moment to say thank you. Because of the many generous donors who support Southern, students experience a top-notch Christian education with a strong emphasis on spiritual growth. Your gifts enable students to go on mission trips, learn from top-notch faculty, hear powerful speakers, play in intramural, and enjoy the full Southern experience. We appreciate your support.

To continue to support Southern, go to our website


Go Beyond the Columns


Southern has already begin putting together the next issue of its magazine and would love to feature you in our Beyond the Columns section! Send updates about additions to your family, educational accomplishments, marriage, professional recognition, or other news you'd like to share with your classmates!

Email alumni@southern.edu or mail to Alumni Relations
P.O. Box 370, Collegedale, TN 37315-0370


Get Involved


We applaud the achievements of all graduates and attendees who’ve experienced Southern through the years. We welcome and encourage you to stay involved ‘beyond the columns.’

“We all have the opportunity to build bridges for those who come behind us,” said Jay Dedeker, ’88, Alumni Association president. “I invite you to consider how you can help build a bridge for students at Southern as they become alumni who continue this legacy of benefitting others along the path.”

Here are just a few of the many ways you can stay actively involved in our university:

- Pray for God's continued guidance for students, faculty, and staff
- Encourage family and friends to attend
- Spread the word to potential students about the strong academic programs
- Recruit college-aged prospective students
- Mentor students and other alumni through the Leadership Education through Alumni Partnerships (LEAP) program
- Volunteer to help with special events and projects both on and off campus
- Provide internships through your business
- Hire Southern graduates
- Impact future generations by making a gift

Continued support of your alma mater though contributions of time, talent, and treasure is most appreciated. You are Southern's greatest ambassador!  

For more information, email alumni@southern.edu or call 423.236.2830. 


Alumni Highlights Title

From Student Council to City Mayor
By Melissa Guth, Alumni Relations assistant


36 years after serving on student council as vice president during her senior year at Southern Missionary College, Cheryl Stephens, '80, was sworn in as city mayor of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, on January 4, 2016.

After graduating from Southern in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in communications, Stephens took a year off to explore the world around her. She spent six months in Athens, Greece, backpacked through Spain, and frequently moved around the states before deciding to get her master’s in public administration from the University of Dalton. While there she fell in love with economic development, which ended up being the core of her career.

In 1984, Stephens became the planning and developing director for the city of Cleveland Heights and spent the next several years settling in to the community. In 2008, she realized things were not being managed well, in her eyes. She ran for office in 2009 and was sworn in in 2010. Since then, her focus has been on economic development. As finance chair, she was encouraged to step up and run for mayor. Initially, she did not want to be in office, but felt called to do more. As mayor she hopes to develop the community and inspire people to move to Cleveland Heights.

Being in charge of a city with 50,000 people is a heavy responsibility. When the magnitude of this role becomes stressful, Stephens relies on some core beliefs that were discovered and nurtured during her time at Southern.

“Faith is not worn on your sleeves, it is what carries you through,” she said.

To contact Stephens, email mayor@clevelandheights.com.


A New Year – 2016 Goals
By Ashley Fox, Annual Giving Officer


In March 2015, Sam Nadarajan, ’13, set a cycling goal to bike 1,000 miles. Only his commute to and from work would count toward the goal. On his last day in the office in 2015, Nadarajan completed 1,062 miles.

“It was super hard, but not having to finance a second car and reducing my carbon footprint was totally worth it,” Nadarajan posted on Facebook. “Here's to good health, and an environment-friendly future.”

While the start of a new year is a great time to set new goals, good ideas can begin being implemented the moment they come to mind. Wishing you a happy and goal-focused 2016!


Campus Life Title

Thatcher Farm Continues to Grow
By Seth Shaffer,Thatcher Farm Manager  

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Thatcher Farm was started in 2012 by faculty member Mindi Wiygul as a hands-on component of the Sustainable Agriculture class offered in the Global Policy and Service Studies major. Since then, the farm has grown from one small garden area to having three small field growing areas and one high tunnel.  With the high tunnel, our farm is able to produce fresh produce year round, which is sold to six area restaurants. Produce is also sold at the Chattanooga Market and to individuals both at Southern and the local community. 

To continue expanding the farm we welcome additional volunteers who can help us plant seeds, take care of the farm, and harvest crops. We brought in 175 pounds of summer squash per week this past summer, and more than 300 pounds of sweet potatoes in the fall. We also welcome new customers, school groups, families and others who would like a tour of the farm or spend some time learning more about agriculture. If you are interested in starting your own garden stop by and stock up on tomato plants, different varieties of peppers, and okra.  

We can also use monetary support. Southern is currently looking for more land so Thatcher Farm can expand past the less than quarter of an acre we currently use. If you know of land close to the university that can be farmed, please let us know. A larger storage shed to house the farm tools and other equipment would also be a blessing.

To find out more information about the Thatcher Farm, the agriculture class, or to purchase produce, email sshaffer@southern.edu or call 423.236.2792. You can also find us on Facebook.


Students Enjoy New Tutoring Courses in Chemistry
By Jan Cathey, Associate Professor


Southern’s mission is to “nurture Christ-likeness and encourage the pursuit of truth, wholeness, and a life of service.”

The Christian Service program was established to help students become aware of their talents and ability to provide service to others in the community. Our students are required to complete service learning goals to obtain their degree. Three experiences in community service and two experiences in service-learning are required. The community service requirements can be achieved by several means. Students can participate in the many campus-wide community service days, weekly outreach ministries, or other approved student organization activities. The service-learning requirements can be fulfilled by a uQuest mission trip, student-initiated project, or by taking service-learning courses. To meet the service learning requirements, some of our chemistry majors elect to travel to foreign countries where they spend two semesters teaching and helping others to meet the service learning requirements. For students who prefer to not take time off from their studies, the Chemistry Department decided to provide other ways to meet their service learning requirements by creating two chemistry-related service-learning courses.

Tutoring Chemistry 205 and 305 were created to help students develop their tutoring skills and give them the opportunity to provide service to the community. Each course requires 15 hours of tutoring throughout the semester. 

In Chemistry 205, students tutor fellow students in General Chemistry. Students taking the tutoring course learn research-based teaching methods that have been proven successful in the chemical education community. Students are taught the basic learning theories and learning styles. They are trained to use effective teaching strategies such as Socratic dialogue, concept modeling, and scaffolding. Common chemistry misconceptions are addressed and students are taught proven approaches. As a final project, students are required to work in groups and make a five-minute tutoring video using education strategies to aid others with some of the most difficult topics of introductory chemistry.

In Chemistry 305, students offer tutoring in Survey of Health Chemistry and Organic Chemistry. These students learn concepts that build on the previous knowledge gained in Chemistry 205 and are required to tutor in large groups of five or more students. They design and present a lesson that will prepare students for an upcoming exam.

At the end of every tutoring session, the tutors journal their reflection thoughts. They are asked to focus on the educational strategy they decided to implement and to describe the successes and failures they experienced. 



Community Connections Title

CSO Partnership with Southern
By Geovanny Ragsdale, Associate Vice President for Advancement


The Chattanooga Symphony and Opera (CSO) has had a special partnership with Southern for many years. President Gordon Bietz has served on its board and WSMC Classical 90.5 has re-broadcasted CSO concerts. Over the past six years, Southern has leveraged our mutual love for music as a way to build stronger donor relationships with alumni and friends. 

For each concert during orchestra season the university takes four guests, along with a representative from Southern, to dinner and the performance as means to thank our donors. These events allow us to deepen relationships while impacting the arts in Chattanooga. Many guests are profoundly thankful for the intimate gathering with Bietz or university faculty and staff. It affords them the opportunity to ask questions, dialogue on current issues, and learn more about how their gifts impact the lives of students seeking a Christian Seventh-day Adventist higher education.

This past fall my husband and I had the privilege of hosting Dr. and Mrs. Dunn, parents of former Southern students, along with the Foxes, recent graduates, for one such outing. During the evening the Dunns were able to reminisce about experiences their children had while at Southern and share how the invaluable education they received here afforded them wonderful job prospects and opportunities. Our young alumni, the Foxes, offered fresh memories about their time on campus. As the evening progressed this group connected over a number of shared interactions and interests that brought us all closer together in a common thread of love and care for Southern.

Over the years Southern has hosted 168 guests through this unique outreach initiative. It has been our pleasure to see these events take place. If you are invited to be our guest at an upcoming CSO concert, please join us! It will afford you the opportunity to learn more about Southern and even discover new friendships in the process.  


Recent Events Title

Meet-up with Gordon Bietz


Last Tuesday, around 45 people attended a pop-up event in the Loma Linda area. Local alumni spent the morning having breakfast with Gordon Bietz, Southern’s president. Advancement staff and Bietz enjoyed meeting and catching up with alumni. Bietz signed numerous Fenton Forest books. Several Southern Alumni expressed on social media their excitement to see Gordon Bietz and other Southern Alumni. 


Like the Alumni Facebook page and look for similar events throughout the country in the near future! 


Upcoming Events

Southern 6 Tail Race


The Southern 6 Trail Race will take place Sunday, February 21, on the campus of Southern Adventist University. The annual event takes runners down the campus’ Biology Trails.

Race proceeds fund experiential education programs for under-served and at-risk students in our area; this includes inner city as well as Adventist schools. With the help of a grant from the Versacare foundation, and Southern’s commitment to this effort, these programs have impacted hundreds of children over the past three years. 

Click here to register and to donate


Regional Alumni Meetings

Keep an eye out for your invitation to the following events:


- Orlando, Florida – Friday, February 26, from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. Location unknown at the moment.
- Avon Park, Florida – Sunday, February 28, 9:30 am. Avon Park SDA Church – Fellowship Hall.


Homecoming Weekend 2016


October 27-30, 2016 – Honor Classes: 1936, ’46, ’56, ’66, ’71, ’76, ’86, ’91, ’96 and ’06.

Early highlights include: 60th anniversary celebration of the nursing program at Southern and a reunion for former Student Services staff, residence hall deans, and residence assistants.


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