Campus Life Title 

Plans for Bietz Center for Student Life Announced 
by Marketing staff reporter


One of the most exciting moments in Southern’s history came on April 28 at the Legacy Celebration to honor retiring President Gordon Bietz.  During the announcement of the public launching of the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning at the event, it was revealed that the campaign’s first capital initiative was the building of the new Bietz Center for Student Life.

The announcement was met with a standing ovation and followed by an official groundbreaking. The Bietz Center for Student Life is a part of the campaign’s $50 million goal—nearly triple the amount of any previous campus campaign at Southern. The campaign also includes other facility improvements, increased endowments for scholarships and research, the continued greening of campus, and annual giving. Over $32 million in cash and pledges have already been raised during the campaign’s leadership phase, which quietly began in 2013.

After witnessing the support of initial lead donors, Southern’s Board of Trustees voted in February to finalize the campaign goal of $50 million and to fine-tune the ideas originally envisioned. University leadership is moving forward in confidence that this plan addresses Southern’s needs in a timely and cost-effective manner, allowing for the greatest benefit to students. “The Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning is mission-centered and therefore student-centered; our plans and needs flow from that,” said Chris McKee, ’88, trustee and campaign co-chair alongside Terry Shaw, ’84.

The legacy event and campaign’s public launch have been strongly connected since 2015 when Bietz announced his pending retirement and made known a strong desire to witness the student center’s groundbreaking before leaving office. Bietz was unaware plans were in the works to name the new facility after him. “I managed to hold my emotions in check fairly well until hearing the student center announcement and seeing a rendition of the building,” Bietz said.

The Bietz Center for Student Life, projected to open in fall 2018, will be located between McKee Library and Hickman Science Center. Herin Hall’s layout and age make the empty structure unsuitable for remodeling; its removal facilitates this new construction, estimated at more than 40,000 square feet and costing $13 million. Interior plans include areas of flex space for student organizations, Campus Ministries, and a place for students to gather, study, and worship together in small groups.

If the Bietz Center for Student Life is Southern’s brick-and-mortar centerpiece of this campaign, endowments are its less obvious but equally critical counterpart. In order to continue providing the Southern Experience, endowment funds for scholarships, faculty research, departmental lectureships, and mission endeavors must increase. Although the goal of this campaign component is already close to being reached, Southern hopes to exceed expectations and significantly impact students for years to come.

God has blessed this effort in amazing ways while touching hearts to give generously. To reach the remaining goal will require a deep and continuing commitment from alumni, employees, and friends. For more information or to make a gift toward the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, visit or call 423.236.2829.

Enactus Team Wins Regional Competition and Performs in National Competition
by Marselinny Mawuntu, senior biology research and pre-nutrition/dietetics majore

Southern Adventist University’s Enactus Team won the regional competition in Atlanta, Georgia on April 1.

“This year we came in with a lot of work to do,” said Rick Griggs, president of the 2016 student team. “After a few rough years, we were able to get back on track. I’m so proud of the way the whole team bought in to our mission and believed in our potential. Our hard work paid off.”

As a result of work by the sponsors, leadership team, project managers, and members, the team won in their league. There were six leagues with six teams per league. Although there were challenges throughout the projects, the team was able to push past the odds and keep moving forward—the main theme of their presentation.

“I think our efforts to make a change this year were largely successful,” said Griggs. “People really believe they can make a difference through Enactus, and they’ve gone out and done it.”

Through the team’s work with Veteran Empowerment Training, Launch, and the StopGo Movement, these projects have helped move individuals and communities in positive directions, both domestically and abroad.

This May, the team built on its success at regionals by placing third in its league during nationals in St. Louis, Missouri. That result is one of the best, if not the best, showing ever for a Southern team.

"I'm thankful for what God has accomplished through the students and all those who helped in some way-either physically helping a student or me, or prayer, or all of the above," said Stephanie Sheehan, Enactus faculty adviser. 

Alumni Highlights Title

Health Care Leadership
by Tess Morgan, senior marketing major

Ken Bradley, ’83, recently accepted the position of administrator of Florida Hospital Celebration Health. In addition, he will also serve as senior executive officer for Florida Hospital’s south/west market, which includes the campuses in Celebration, Kissimmee, Apopka, and Winter Garden. 

Bradley has been serving as campus administrator and CEO for Winter Park Memorial Hospital for 16 years. Under his leadership, the campus has been recognized by Modern Healthcare as one of the best places to work in 2015. It has also expanded to include the Dr. P. Phillips Baby Place, offering boutique birth experiences; the area’s first senior ER, designed to minimize the risks that accompany hospitalization with a growing senior population; and a 95-foot-tall north tower that will be under construction beginning in late spring.

Since joining Adventist Health System in 1985, Bradley has held various roles, including compensation manager and associate director of human resources at Florida Hospital Orlando. In 1993 he became chief operating officer for Florida Hospital Kissimmee. Two years later, he left to help build Florida Hospital Celebration Health. Following this, he returned to the Kissimmee campus to serve as its administrator.

The Alumni Association of Southern Adventist University is proud of the more than 37,500 graduates and attendees who positively impact their professions and serve in their communities world-wide.

Community Connections Title

Legacy Society Members Honored
by Carolyn Liers, director of Planned Giving

Legacy Society Members

More than 95 Legacy Society members, special guests, and students attended Southern’s sixth annual Legacy Society Recognition Breakfast on April 17 hosted at Garden Plaza of Greenbriar Cove.  This event acknowledges and thanks visionary donors who have pledged their commitment to higher education by including the university in their estate plans or through current planned gifts.

Dave Smith, Southern's president elect, shared an inspiring and thought provoking message about the positive impact your legacy can leave.

Special recognition was given to a Legacy Society couple who, through selfless generosity, honored the values passed from parent to child.  What began as a vision to help students through a future planned gift became a reality during life because an attorney friend asked them an important question.  Click here to read the full story.

Legacy Society members were recognized for their annual contributions totaling $7,590 to the Legacy Society Scholarship Fund. Student recipients, Maria Reyes, Kaitlin Waterstradt, and Rebecca Luchak, expressed gratitude for receiving tuition assistance from this fund that makes it possible for them to remain at Southern. They also shared personal testimonies about how attending Southern is impacting their lives. 

“Being at Southern has been a life-changing experience,” said Reyes, a senior theology major.

Sue Kaufman, Planned Giving coordinator, reported that 30 new members joined Southern’s Legacy Society this fiscal year, increasing the total membership to 463.

You, too, can help provide life-changing opportunities for students at Southern. To learn more, call Carolyn Liers, Planned Giving director, at 423.236.2818 or visit the Legacy Society's website.

Academic Summer Camps Offer Immersion Experiences for High School Students
by Marketing staff reporter

summer camps

This summer Southern is hosting seven academic camps that bring high school students to the university for an opportunity to explore or sharpen their vocational focus before even starting college. Each three-day camp includes a spiritual component as well, modeling for students how Adventist education facilitates the marriage of career and calling.

The School of Journalism and Communication has held Christian Media Camp for the past two years, and students from across the Southeast and beyond came to learn about photography, blogging, new media, and more. Other academic departments witnessed its success, and this year there will also be summer camps in chemistry, computing, English, filmmaking, modern languages, and math/physics/engineering.

“Our favorite part of the journalism camp every year is seeing high school students awaken to new ways they can use their gifts for God’s glory,” said assistant professor Kendra Stanton Lee.

Gone is the traditional image of high school students spending their summer lounging by the pool. Today’s youth—and the parents who often help pay for college—remain open to the idea of spending this coveted “time off” in more constructive ways. But all fun is not lost! During the hours between academic activities and curfew, staff will supervise a variety of recreation activities, both on and off campus.

Journalism camp was held May 23-25; all others run July 25-27. Registration is $100 for local students or out-of-town students staying with friends and family in the area, and $150 for those requiring overnight accommodations in one of Southern’s apartment buildings reserved exclusively for camp participants. All food, materials, and activity expenses are included in registration.

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 each camp’s topic, lodging details, and recreation activities may be found at For more information, call 423.236.2581.

Recent Events Title

Spring 2016 Graduation

Southern Adventist University welcomed 456 new graduates into the Alumni Association during the Commencement service held May 8 in the Chattanooga Convention Center. Click below to watch a video of the ceremony. 


Golden Anniversary Class Reunites during Graduation


On May 8, 12 members of the golden anniversary Class of 1966 marched with the Class of 2016 graduates during the Commencement service as special guests of the university. This annual event has become a much-anticipated tradition since debuting in 2000. Participants wearing commemorative caps and gowns are ushered into the auditorium with a standing ovation from the current graduates. Alumni have mentioned through the years that this event is a highlight of their lives, especially when circumstances prevented them from marching with their classmates 50 years ago. Following the graduation service, class members and their families enjoyed a reunion luncheon during which they shared fond memories of their college experiences. Southern looks forward to hosting the Class of 1966 for more reunion activities planned during Homecoming Weekend in October.

Upcoming Events

WELLkids in the Wild - Summer 2016


Keep your kids moving and exploring the great outdoors this summer with the WELLkids in the Wild program. These week-long sessions begin June 6 and June 27, meet from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. (9 a.m. -4 p.m. on Fridays for off-campus field trips), and offer outdoor adventures facilitated by graduate students in the Outdoor Leadership program at Southern. Activities are subject to weather, but may include rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, ropes course, rafting, and caving. Extended child care is available until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday with activities in the Hulsey Wellness Center pool. See for more information and to register. 

Alumni Regional Gatherings

camp meeting

Friday, June 3 – Lake Junaluska, NC – Carolina Camp Meeting, 12:00 p.m., annual picnic-by-the-lake lunch meeting – seating is limited to 200 guests with tickets. RSVP’s are required and can be made by emailing or by calling 423.236.2829. Tickets will be available for pick-up onsite at the Southern exhibit booth during the week prior to the event.

Sabbath, June 18 – Cedar Lake, MI – Michigan Camp Meeting, 12:30 p.m., annual haystack lunch meeting, Cedar Lake SDA Church fellowship hall. RSVP’s are required and can be made by emailing or by calling 423.236.2829.

Tuesday, June 21 – Berrien Springs, MI - Randall Student Lounge, Buller Hall, Andrews University campus, 6:00 p.m. - 7:30 p.m., come and go buffet reception. RSVP’s are required and can be made by emailing or by calling 423.236.2829.

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. Event information and registration will be available online soon. 

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 Southern's nursing program, as well as a reunion for former Student Services staff, residence hall deans, and resident assistants. Event information and registration will be available online soon. 


Fiscal Year End: There’s No Time Like the Present

fiscal year

As the end of May approaches and the fiscal year comes to a close, we are once again reminded of God’s constant presence and blessing on Southern’s campus.

So far over 4,000 alumni and friends have made a gift to Southern this fiscal year. Annual gifts provide more than 1,000 students with need-based scholarships, enable hundreds of students to serve as long and short-term missionaries, and make it possible for the student body to have the Southern Experience.

You have the opportunity to be a part of this group. We pray that you will be inspired to impact the lives of Southern students by visiting before May 31. We appreciate your continued loyalty and support!

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