Hayrides and History
On January 25, in celebration of Southern’s 125th anniversary, students were offered Cracker Jacks (these famous treats were created in 1893, so we almost share an anniversary) and transported to classes along the promenade via vintage tractor hayrides. An Instagram challenge and prizes added to the festivities. Visit our online photo album for a snapshot of all the day’s fun!

Homecoming Weekend Date Change
After much consideration and with input from campus leaders, the dates for Homecoming Weekend have been changed from October 26-29 to November 2-5, 2017. This modification will help the alumni planning committee move forward in accomplishing many of the goals for Homecoming Weekend, including finding opportunities to be more efficient with campus resources and to involve many more students in the various activities. Thank you for your continued support!

Community Connections
Students Fundraise for Spring Break Mission Trips
On March 2, the first group of Southern students will leave campus to begin serving others during Spring Break. In total, there are seven mission trips—six international and one domestic—departing for service locations all over the world, from Southeast Asia to Navajo Nation in Northwest New Mexico. Each excursion has faculty or staff chaperones, but the trips are student-initiated and student-led through Southern’s uQuest program.

MissionsTo help students raise funds, Southern equips each participant with their own fundraising page on purechairty.com, fundraising letter templates, and the option to solicit funds directly through Southern’s website. Trips vary from $750 to more than $2,500 depending on airfare and other travel logistics. Although these expenses exceed most students’ disposable income, they go to great lengths to serve.

“One student has been fundraising for their mission trip for over a year,” said Melissa (Tortal) Moore, ’09 and ’13, uQuest Director. “We also have two students going on the Southeast Asia trip who just got married, and instead of a wedding shower they’ve asked friends and family to contribute toward their mission trip.”

One unique aspect of the uQuest trips is how organizers try their best to match a student’s major with the service destination project. For example, while in Indonesia, members of the Computer Club will teach technology skills and fix hardware; social work and education students serving at a Bolivian orphanage will train the staff on how to help children that have undergone trauma; and nursing, pre-medical, and pre-dental students will be running medical clinics in multiple locations. Some skills are broad enough to assist in multiple capacities. For example, students with marketing, film, and public relations majors are tasked with documenting and publicizing as many trips as possible.

So far, there are 125 people committed to going on these trips, and the number is growing. Southern solicits the gift of your prayers for Spirit-driven, transformative moments in the students’ lives as they work as the hands and feet of Jesus. Financial gifts in support of uQuest mission trips may be made online or by calling 423.236.2829.

-by Erica King, senior public relations and international studies double major

Professor Completes Final Volume in “Systematic Theology” Series
Andrews University Press recently published Systematic Theology: The Church and the Last Things by Norman Gulley, PhD, research professor in Southern’s School of Religion. This is the fourth and final volume in Gulley’s biblical research series. In this 800-page book, Gulley expounds on last-day events from a scriptural and historic perspective.

Gulley graduated from Southern in 1955 and received his doctorate in systematic theology from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

The idea for Gulley’s research series came while he was studying in Scotland. He became convicted that the Seventh-day Adventist Church needed a theological system unlike other systems—based on Scripture alone. He sensed that God was calling him to write a systematic theology for Adventists and promised God he would try. However, Gulley had no idea what this would involve and that it would take more than 30 years to complete. 

GulleySystematic theology is the idea of studying about God in an orderly way. The first volume of the series explains how to study and interpret biblical truths about God, followed by volumes covering the Trinity, creation, Christ, salvation, and last-day events. These four volumes are intended for students of the Bible and theology but also are available as a biblical resource for anyone.

“This is a groundbreaking work,” said Greg King, dean for Southern’s School of Religion. “It is the first multivolume systematic theology from an Adventist perspective.”

Ronald Knott, director of Andrews University Press, agreed.

“It is the largest theological work ever written by an Adventist author,” Knott said. “These volumes will have a lasting impact on general understanding of Adventist theology for years to come.”

Gulley’s work has received broad engagement from scholars outside the Adventist world. David Dockery, president of Trinity International University, commended Gulley’s work in Volume 4 as “thoughtful in its approach, balanced in its engagement with others, wide-ranging in its research and interaction, and clearly presented.”

Gulley is currently working on his next book, Christ Our Assurance: How to Have Fitness for Last-day Events and Heaven; A Christ-Centered Book of Hope. This will be a companion source for the Adult Sabbath School Bible Study Guides for the second quarter of 2018.

-by Abigail King, sophomore marketing major

Campus Life Title
Students Research the Creation of New Molecules
When scientists go job hunting, it never hurts to have “Helped develop cancer drug” on their resumé. That certainly played a role as Professor Herman Odens, PhD, found his way to Southern’s Chemistry Department in 2012 after working for biotech companies and Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine. Under Odens’ guidance, several Southern students currently working on new molecule research may one day be able to say the same.

During the past four years, Odens, along with 10-12 undergraduate students, has conducted research concentrating on heterocyclic molecules, compounds with atoms of at least two different elements as members of their primary structure. This kind of research is unique, especially in academia.

“Most universities in the U.S. work in many areas of chemistry—total synthesis, methodology, organometallics, and nanoparticles—but only a few teach how to synthesize heterocyclic compounds,” Odens said. “Here at Southern, I am using that process to show my students how to make molecules that could be medically relevant and potentially cure a deadly disease.”

The biggest results so far have been the completion of two projects that yielded 26 compounds. Odens and his students are preparing to collaborate with other research universities where they will submit these synthesized compounds to be tested for biological activities.

OdensWhile the work is not easy, it is highly rewarding and fits well with Southern’s mission of nurturing students toward a life of service. The projects also benefit students in multiple ways. The research stimulates their thinking, provides invaluable experience and confidence, and prepares them well for graduate school or careers in a laboratory setting.

“Working on synthetic chemistry projects under the guidance of Dr. Odens allowed me to develop a strong grasp of the fundamentals of organic chemistry,” said Preston Palm, ’15, a medical student at the University of Tennessee. “These experiences provided me with a robust foundation in the science of molecular interactions that has prepared me for everything I’ve encountered thus far.”

-by Brittany Swart, senior English major

Call Center Students Embrace Philanthropy, Create Scholarship
Students employed in Southern’s Call Center spend a lot of time talking on the phone with alumni and, when appropriate, asking for financial support to assist with the amazing things taking place on campus. The stories they hear of how God continues to lead in graduates’ lives, along with the generosity that donors often display, has proven inspirational. Student workers recently created the Advancement Family Call Center Scholarship Fund, supplying $500 in tuition assistance for one of their peers.

Though contributing to the fund was optional, Call Center workers were eager to help another student and contribute to a cause beyond their own needs. Victor DeRose, a junior marketing major and Call Center shift leader, is one of the students who made a gift.

“It always feels good to give when you have the right reasons,” DeRose said, “Plus, we wanted to create an opportunity for our student callers to understand the process and importance of giving.”

Call Center ScholarshipAlthough students were able to raise sufficient funds for setting up this scholarship, they are quick to point out that philanthropy doesn’t necessarily involve money. As ambassadors for the Advancement office, they have quickly learned that every student can get involved and embrace a giving spirit because donations of time and talents can powerfully impact people in need all around the world.

Financial gifts to support efforts with the Advancement Family Call Center Scholarship Fund can be made by calling 423.236.2829 or visiting southern.edu/give and adding “Call Center Scholarship” in a notes section after choosing “Other” under the “Gift” pulldown menu.

-by Brittany Swart, senior English major

Called to Southern: One Phone, Thousands of Miles, Multiple Miracles
-by Keith Snyder, PhD, Biology Department chair

Back in 1995 on a sunny February day in Bandung, Indonesia, a letter arrived from my wife’s parents. We really enjoyed mail from the United States, because calls back home were too expensive on the single phone at West Indonesia Union College, a campus of 1,000 students. The letter said there was an opening in the Biology Department at Southern, and included a clipping from the union magazine’s classified ads. I thought, “Those are the classes I like to teach!” 

My wife and I prayed about it before deciding to apply. I sent in my CV and waited. And waited.

It was more than a month later when I heard a friend call out “Good morning, Pak Snyder! I have a letter for you.” He had picked the mail up several days before and forgotten to deliver it. Southern was requesting a phone interview. We prayed again. Phone calls to the U.S. cost more than $2 per minute and our monthly salary was $106. We decided to call and leave the cost to God.

I went to the phone and made the call. A very pleasant person answered and started talking about nothing in particular as 15 minutes passed, then 30. At 45 minutes, I gave up worrying. After 65 minutes, Professor Nyirady, chair for the Biology Department, invited me to come for an interview—in five days or sooner! No way. 

A few years earlier, I had tried getting an Exit Permit to see my dying father. It took five days, and my dad passed away before I could get there. But when I went to the immigration office this time, an amazing sight greeted me—a smiling agent. It only took two days for the paperwork to clear. In the meantime, I tried to contact my boss in Singapore. Back to the phone. 

“No, he is not here. Call back in a couple of hours,” the secretary said. About 90 minutes after that call, the electricity went out on campus, which meant there was no phone. It took about 45 minutes before I could find another public phone. 

Snyder“Please,” I said. “I really need to talk to my boss. Is he there?” 

“No, he left for home already” was the disappointing reply. 

“Wait,” the secretary returned, “I heard him walking down the hall. Here’s your boss.”

I got permission to travel, but more challenges followed in getting the tickets. Finally I was on my way to Southern, where, in a blur, I gave a talk and interviewed with at least 10 different people before getting back on the plane three days later. 

Shortly thereafter, I received another telegram inviting me to join the faculty at Southern. It was tough sharing the news with our campus family, but explaining parental responsibilities helped. 

Farewell parties and packing commenced. Two days later, I awoke sick and nearly unable to move. I had typhoid and spent the last two-and-a-half weeks teaching from my chair in our living room, which slowed things down during a hectic time. My family and I arrived in Collegedale one week before school started.

That was more than 20 years ago, but I still feel a strong connection between my former and current countries. Thankfully, I have the distinct pleasure of taking biology students to experience the amazing flora and fauna of Indonesia during a summer class. I’m grateful that God led me to this fine institution.

"Called to Southern” is a series for QuickNotes that highlights the path our faculty and staff have taken to end up on campus. There is a definite pattern that shows God’s leading, and we look forward to sharing these stories with you.

Alumni Highlights Title
Counseling Program Graduate Works Amid Tragedy
Tamekia Bush, a 2015 alum from the master’s program in counseling at Southern, is only in her second year on the job at Woodmore Elementary. It didn’t take long to put theory into practice. In November 2016, a school bus full of students from Woodmore crashed, killing six children and injuring others. Bush continues to work with grieving students and families affected by the tragedy.

“I do a check-in with them every other day, if not more frequently,” Bush said. “We’re constantly in contact, and I give support where it’s needed.”

In addition to individual and group counseling sessions, Bush helps make sure students receive clothing, food, and other basic physical needs. As the school’s representative, she also assists with grief support sessions in the community so students and families feel comfortable seeing someone familiar engaged alongside them in the healing process.

Tamekia BusgAlong with fulfilling the official duties of a school counselor, Bush has been able to share Christ with the students, their families, and community members by praying with them and “sharing the message of God’s unconditional love, grace, and mercy.” Sometimes those she is serving are the ones who initiate a conversation about God, but she’s willing to bring this special subject up on her own, as well.

While Bush is not the only administrator students can talk with, she is often the go-to person for help. The work can be challenging when there are 10 people needing assistance from her at the same time, Bush said, but she would not have it any other way.

“I earn my pillow every night, but I’m right back at it the next day,” Bush said. “I really love working with children and feel like this is what I should be doing.”

-by Brittany Swart, senior English major

Nursing Alum Leads Human Rights Center at UC Berkeley
Audrey (Taylor) Whiting, ’10, has left her stethoscope behind and is using a different approach to help people than most other Southern nursing graduates. She felt pulled to a related calling and completed her Master of Development Practice degree at the University of California, Berkeley, where she was recently hired as coordinator of the school’s Fellowship Program for The Human Rights Center.

“My time at Southern laid the foundation for my current career in a number of ways, but among the most impactful was the student missions program,” Whiting said. “That helped me see the incredible need for health and human rights advocacy in several different parts of the world and understand how I could use my skills, knowledge, and experience to contribute to that need in a meaningful way.”

Along with missions, Whiting sees nursing education as a critical component of her current work in human rights. At Southern, she learned that health is inseparably linked to social determinants–the conditions in which we are born, grow, live, work, and age. Understanding this means trying to give every person the opportunity to live their fullest, healthiest life—including Southern students! This global perspective will lead Whiting (virtually) back to Southern’s campus, where she will participate via videoconference interviews and presentations during Policies in Global Health and Human Rights courses.

History and Political Studies Professor Lisa (Clark) Diller, ’96, PhD, strongly believes young alumni are an important asset to current students and is excited to welcome Whiting’s influence.

Whiting“We appreciate the way young alumni cast vision for our students and serve as inspirational models for how education can by parlayed into a wide range of jobs,” Diller said. “Audrey has always used her social capital and intelligence to think beyond a single definition of healthcare, and we are thrilled she has pursued a world-class education, which empowers her to do so. Her continued interest in Southern is a blessing and will build bridges for professionalization to our current students.”

Before accepting her new position, Whiting served as a graduate researcher and intern for the Human Rights Center’s Sexual Violence Program and co-coordinated the 2015 Missing Peace Practitioners’ Workshop on Accountability for Sexual Violence, held in Kampala, Uganda. She was also the program manager for a Global Adolescent Health Colloquium at UC Berkeley’s Center for Global Public Health, and sits on the steering committee for the Human Rights Watch Young Professionals Network. Despite the overwhelming weight of those topics, Whiting has found a formula for staying positive and avoiding compassion fatigue.

“It’s so easy to become discouraged in the current human rights climate, and I don’t believe that anyone working in my field could say they don’t struggle with this at times,” Whiting said. “For me, the key has been to focus on the one or two things in front of me that I can change, however small those may seem. Large successes in the advancement of human rights have nearly always been the result of a lot of little actions carried out by many, mostly very regular, people. We’ll likely never know which of those actions makes the difference, but it means that each one could, and that’s reason enough for hope and perseverance.”

-by Erica King, senior public relations and international studies double major

What's the Latest News?
Keep your Southern family informed by contributing a paragraph or two in the alumni update section of Columns, our university magazine. Please email us any family or professional news you'd like to share.


Upcoming Events
Orlando-Area Lunch. February 5 from 12:30-2 p.m. at Chevys Fresh Mex (Lake Buena Vista, Florida). Southern’s Advancement and Enrollment Services teams are jointly hosting a complimentary lunch event for alumni and prospective students. Space is limited to the first 40 people who RSVP. Call 423.236.2472 or email gragsdale@southern.edu to reserve your spot.

E.A. Anderson Business Lecture. February 6 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall, Room 3205. The School of Business hosts moderated discussion on emerging trends. The title of the discussion is “The Impact of Alzheimer’s on Long Term Care.” An archive of past E.A. Anderson series presentations is available online.

Lynn H. Wood Archaeology Lecture. February 7 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. Emory University’s Brent Strawn, PhD, and Joel LeMon, PhD, will share "The Search for YHWH's Image in Light of Seals." An archive of past archaeology presentations is available online.

Carlton P. Byrd Convocation. February 9 at 11 a.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Byrd is senior pastor at the Oakwood University Seventh-day Adventist Church and speaker/director for Breath of Life Ministries. His convocation message may be viewed live online as well.

Chang Park Art Exhibit. February 9 at 6 p.m. in Brock Hall’s John C. William Art Gallery. Park is a New York City artist currently teaching at the Pratt Institute and Parsons School for Design.

Pops Concert. February 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Southern’s Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble perform classics from Leonard Bernstein, John Philip Sousa, George Gershwin, and others. A more complete repertoire is available online. The concert is free and open to the public. 

Southern 6K Trail Race. February 19 at 2 p.m. on White Oak Mountain trails in Collegedale. Participants age 10+ are invited to compete for cash prizes. Registration is $30 for community members and $20 for Southern students or employees. Proceeds benefit Southern’s Outdoor Leadership program and their work with inner-city kids.

E.O. Grundset Biology Lecture. February 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Hulsey Wellness Center, Room 3135. Southern Professor Benjamin Thornton, PhD, will share an overview of the toxicology and ecology research he and his students have been conducting. 

Cicely Parnas Cello Concert. February 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Parnas is recognized for bringing what The New York Times describes as “velvety sound, articulate passagework, and keen imagination” to her performances. The concert is free for current Southern students and staff. The public is invited for $5 per person or $12 per family.

Join Us Online. Each week during the school year we invite you to join us online for Vespers on Friday at 8 p.m. and the student-led Renewal church service on Sabbath at 11:35 a.m. (Eastern Time).

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