4th of july



President Dave Smith Interviewed During First Day in Office


Southern's Family of Donors Sets Giving Record

thank you

Alumni and friends came together in a most significant and visible way during 2015-2016, contributing the largest amount ever to the university during a single fiscal year - more than $12 million.

"With the response this year, we are truly touched to see the commitment and loyalty toward the future of Southern and our students," said Carolyn Hamilton, vice president for Advancement. "We are excited about the possibilities for the coming year!"

You can make a difference in Southern students' lives. To join this loyal family, visit southern.edu/give.


Campus Life Title 

Forging Relationships with Fire and Hammers
by Evonne Crook, Alumni Relations director

blacksmith club
You may not be old enough to remember hearing the metal clank of the village smithy’s hammer on an anvil or the whoosh of the bellows as fires were stoked while horse shoes, nails, and tools were shaped on a sooty forge.  In the early history of Southern Adventist University, having a blacksmith shop on campus was an integral part of life at an agricultural school.  Current Southern students certainly did not grow up in a time when this trade was a vital part of rural life in America, but now they have the opportunity to go back in time to hone their blacksmithing skills through the Southern Smiths Blacksmithing Club.

The organization began in 2006 and involves approximately 12-20 students each year.  University staff members, Dusty Miller and Trenton Schwarzer, enjoy blacksmithing as a hobby and have volunteered as instructors and mentors for interested students since the group’s inception.  A small shed at the base of White Oak Mountain off Industrial Drive was outfitted as a blacksmithing workshop with a donated forge and other necessary tools.  Alumni and community volunteers knowledgeable in blacksmithing skills also invest their time and talents to assist with instruction.

Alumni returning to campus for Homecoming Weekends during the past three years have also enjoyed participating in hands-on workshops hosted by the Southern Smiths.  Working alongside the students, they learn about the blacksmithing process and create small art pieces to keep as reminders of their campus visit. 

The Southern Smiths Blacksmithing Club participates in the annual Antique and Classic Car Show event during homecomings so attendees can see demonstrations of a working forge.  The organization also made 2,300 pocket swords for attendees at this year’s SonRise Resurrection Pageant, a community outreach ministry hosted annually on campus the day before Easter.

Future goals of this group include the reintroduction of blacksmithing classes for academic credit; obtaining a power hammer, treadle hammer and a 2”x72” belt sander; and melting soft metals.

“I get so much relaxation out of it,” stated a student member of the club. “I get to pound out any frustrations that build up during the day. It’s constructive and I get to take home projects that really demonstrate craftsmanship. I thoroughly enjoy this.”

The Southern Smiths Blacksmithing Club is one example of how meaningful, lasting relationships are formed on campus when students, instructors, volunteers, and alumni connect outside the traditional classroom setting.

Watch this video produced by David Bunzey, current group member, to learn more about the Southern Smiths Blacksmithing Club and connect with the organization on Facebook.

Student Accounting Team Selected as Finalist in National Competition

IMA competition
A team of students from Southern Adventist University was recently selected as one of four finalists from among 28 video entries in the Institute of Management Accountants’ (IMA) national student case competition. 

Students Olivia Bragg Donesky, Karina Hernandez, Katherine Pohle, and Tiffany Whitney were part of the first team from Southern to become a finalist in the annual competition.  Past winners include nationally ranked accounting programs from Brigham Young University and the University of Georgia.

The students won $3,000 and presented, along with three other finalist teams, during the IMA annual conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 19. This year’s winning team was from American University of the Middle East. Southern’s team performed well and learned much about the competition process through this experience.

As a finalist, Southern received a plaque with the names of the participating students that is displayed in the School of Business and Management. Accounting professor, Julie Hyde, Ph.D., is already enthusiastic about the potential for Southern’s entry next year.

Southern Hosting Global Missions Forum in July
by Sharon Pittman, Global Community Development professor

global missions
The missionary work of yesteryear was significant in seeding a global Adventist church but, as times changed, Christians have rightly needed to evolve new strategies for end-time outreach. This topic is paramount for students enrolled in the Global Community Development graduate program at Southern Adventist University. A TEAMS Forum (Transforming and Educating Ambassadors for Missions and Service) is being hosted on campus July 14-17, which will open the door for others to join this critical conversation.

Nothing accomplished in short-term mission work is simple, but each year churches are getting better and more strategic in their approaches. Southern is eager to support congregations in capacity-building mission work by training future leaders through the Global Community Development master’s degree, a two-year program consisting of both online and community-based instruction. Administrators are excited that the TEAMS Forum will provide another avenue for the university to use its resources in service to the world church.

Churches and nonprofits interested in global missions must address certain challenges and opportunities before outlining strategies for partnering with local communities to make transformational and restorative differences. Key values need to be identified to ensure the motivation for serving these communities aligns with Christ’s mission while on Earth. Important items for personal reflection and discussion at the forum in July include mutual brokenness, serving locally first, using a holistic model, appreciative approaches, and developing strategic partnerships.

Additional topics covered during Forum will include best practices in engineering and infrastructure, agriculture and food security, enterprise and sustainability, emergency response, human rights and social justice, health and wellness, urban ministries, and logistics.

You are invited to come and see what a 21st-century missionary looks like. Connect with people from across the North American Division and become equipped to make a greater difference in local communities and abroad. To register for the conference, visit facebook.com/mgcdsouthern.

Community Connections Title

Academic Summer Camps to Offer Immersion Experiences for High School Students

Southern is hosting five academic camps July 25-27 that will bring high school students to the university and provide opportunities for them to explore or sharpen their vocational focus before starting college.  Topics include chemistry, computing, creative writing, filmmaking, and math/physics/engineering. Each three-day camp includes a spiritual component as well, modeling for students how Adventist education facilitates the marriage of career and calling.

For students coming from beyond the greater Chattanooga area, vans will provide free transportation both to and from Southern at centralized pick-up locations in Atlanta, Knoxville, and Nashville. Specific details about lodging, recreation activities, and more may be found at southern.edu/camps.

School of Religion Launches Summer Ministry Internships
by Sheann Brandon, junior journalism major

summer ministry
Theology students at Southern have the opportunity to work full time under the mentorship of a church pastor this summer while earning scholarship money toward tuition. The School of Religion’s new Summer in Ministry internship program was pilot tested in the Gulf States Conference last year with great success, and now 14 students will spend eight to 12 weeks working for churches throughout the Southern Union.

Junior and senior theology students were eligible to apply, and five were accepted to work with the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, two with the Florida Conference, one with the Kentucky-Tennessee Conference, four with the Gulf States Conference, and one with the South Central Conference. Intern responsibilities include conducting Bible studies, preaching, and helping plan outreach activities for the church and community.

According to Greg King, ’81, PhD, dean for the School of Religion, there are numerous widespread benefits from this internship, including three in particular: students gain excellent experience in ministry, have the opportunity to confirm their calling, and get a real-world preview of what they’ll be doing for a career.

But it’s not just students who benefit from the program. Local churches thrive from the enthusiasm, energy, and spiritual commitment of these young ministers in training. Plus, Southern Union funding helps facilitate Summer in Ministry internships, and the program offers ministerial directors a chance to evaluate students and see how they might fit into full-time ministry openings down the road. 

“This program is a blessing for everyone involved,” King said. “I’m excited for the opportunities for our students!”

Alumni Highlights Title

Creators of Reversing Diabetes Seminars Receive Merit Award 
by Debra (Clark) Hicks, ’91

diabetes seminar
Stephen (attended) and Karen (Walls) Wickham, ’75, continue to live the mission of Southern Adventist University by ministering to and serving in their local community and beyond.  The couple recently received special recognition for their volunteer work improving community health during a Grundy County Health Council special awards dinner.

Representatives from the Rural Health Association of Tennessee (RHAT) presented the Merit Award to the two health educators, who developed the Reversing Diabetes Seminars program and have been using it successfully for the past three years in Grundy County and in many other communities. The couple also received the 2014 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award for Grundy County, in recognition of the hundreds of volunteer hours they invest in their community each year.

A version of this article was originally published in the January/February issue of Georgia-Cumberland Conference’s news magazine, Communique.

Upcoming Events

Alumni Golf Tournament 2016

Mark your calendar for Sunday, September 11, and plan to join Southern Adventist University 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.  More information and registration will soon be available online.

Homecoming Weekend 2016

October 27-30 – 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. 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.

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