Recognizing Our Past, Shaping Our Future
Southern Adventist University seeks to provide a safe and caring environment for every student on our campus. In response to questions raised by students regarding how Southern could better meet the needs of our students of color, President David Smith recently made a video statement, which included steps the university is now implementing to improve the way issues relating to diversity and inclusion are addressed.

President Smith“Our school was born and grew up in the post-Civil War South,” Smith explained. “As such, our student body has not always been the diverse group that it is today. While we have made efforts to bridge the divides through the years, unfortunately, we have not done enough; even today, some of our students of color have expressed concerns and hurt.”

One of the initiatives announced is the immediate creation of a new vice president for diversity position. Southern has a diverse student body, with 53 percent of undergraduate students representing minority racial groups. In a ranking by U.S. News and World Report last year, Southern tied for most diverse university in the South.

Business Lecture Series Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Southern’s E.A. Anderson Lecture Series, hosted by the School of Business, features guest speakers who share elements of the business world, providing a broader understanding to students, faculty, staff, and community members alike. 2018 marks the 50th anniversary of this valuable programming.

The series was established with and in honor of Eugene A. Anderson, a successful Atlanta businessman, who was supportive of Southern, serving on its Board of Trustees and making substantial financial gifts. In 1977, Anderson was designated as the Entrepreneur of the Year by the Georgia Business and Industry Association. His continued success led to conferral of the Presidential “E” Award from President Ronald Reagan in 1987 for contributions to American foreign trade.

E.A. Anderson lectures are held most Mondays during the Winter Semester at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall, room 3205. Presentations are open to the public, and continuing education credit is offered. A complete schedule of the lectures is available online, as is a partial archive of past presentations.

campus life
$1 Million Gift Funds New Endowed Scholarship for STEM and Business Majors
Rahn Shaw, ’78, MD, had glimpses of his calling to medicine even before coming to Southern. He worked several jobs in a hospital cleaning lab equipment, performing housekeeping, and caring for patients as an orderly. Those experiences, along with his time on campus, laid the foundation for both a successful career and a heart for helping future students find their own career paths.

STEMShaw recently gifted $1 million to Southern that will provide scholarships for students majoring in biology, business, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, and physics. The Dr. Rahn and Natalia Shaw Endowed Scholarship Fund is specifically designed to look at not only academic achievements but  to also recognize students who department deans and chairs have identified as having an entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to explore their field’s content with fresh perspectives.

As a student at Southern, a number of faculty’s ideologies impacted Shaw. Former physics professor Ray Hefferlin, for example, made a lasting impact on his outlook on life.

“I really enjoyed classes taught by Dr. Hefferlin; he had a natural ability to connect science, philosophy and religion together,” Shaw said. “His course on the philosophy of how the universe works is what I remember more than any academic experience in college.”

Shaw gained valuable experience outside the classroom, as well. He joined the Tri-Community Fire Department as a volunteer, which turned into a full-time job that helped pay his way through college.

“I remember how much I worked to get through school and hopefully these scholarship funds will make it easier for some students to earn their degrees,” Shaw said.

The first awards of the endowment will be given to students in the 2018 fall semester. Southern invites additional gifts to grow the Dr. Rahn and Natalia Shaw Endowed Scholarship Fund, part of Southern’s Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning. For more information, call 423.236.2829.

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major

"Little Rock Nine" Member Inspires Students with Perspective on Adversity
Southern students, staff, and community members benefited from Terrence Roberts' first-hand account of historic events when he spoke for convocation on January 25 in Iles P.E. Center.

Roberts was one of the Little Rock Nine (the first group of African-American children to integrate Little Rock, Arkansas, public schools in 1957). This racially-charged event drew national attention when an angry mob of approximately 400 surrounded the school, despite the presence of the National Guard. Conflict continued, and President Eisenhower eventually sent Army troops to protect the students as they came to and from school, although they were unable to prevent incidents of violence inside.

Little Rock NineIn 1999, Roberts and other members of the Little Rock Nine were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by President Bill Clinton.

In his presentation at Southern, Roberts, who has a PhD in psychology and is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, shared his personal experiences and lessons that he learned from the chaotic episode in Little Rock. He believes that there are still great strides to be made in terms of interactions across lines of demarcation, and endeavors to alleviate the confusion in all the various arenas of difference and diversity that characterize our nation.

“I was glad to see so many people from diverse cultures stay attentive and walk away with new perspectives,” said Phillip Warfield, Student Association president. “When we discuss ideas like these we have the opportunity to grow closer. Dr. Roberts was monumental in helping the campus as a whole start to understand social constructs differently.”

Robert’s presentation can be viewed online.

Religion Professor Philip Samaan Prepares to Retire

Philip Samaan, PhD, is retiring at the end of this semester. The venerable professor and prolific author has taught at Southern for 20 years and is regarded by his students as a spiritual mentor, invested teacher, and friend.

Before working at Southern, Samaan served as a youth leader in the North Pacific Union Conference, a missionary in the African Division of Seventh-day Adventists, a professor at Andrews University, and chief editor of the Adult Sabbath School Quarterly at the General Conference.

“The passion of my life was to teach, and God fulfilled that,” Samaan said. “Christian education is more than dispensing good information but investing in our students.”

SamaanSamaan has taught courses such as Christian Spirituality, Life and Teachings of Jesus, Christian Witnessing, and World Religions among many others. Samaan believes that one of the greatest ways for professors to help student retention is not just to teach but to genuinely connect with students.

“If you’re a teacher, teach like Jesus,” Samaan said. “There is no greater accomplishment than that. It is not just meeting of mind with mind, but meeting their [students’] hearts.”

Samaan will be remembered for just that. Over the years, he could often be seen making residence hall visitations, eating lunch with students, and staying updated in their lives.

Madeline Mace, junior fine arts major, said that Samaan has impacted her profoundly.

“His spiritual guidance and encouragement is a testimony to how every Christian should seek to be. He thinks nothing of himself, but seeks to build up those who are broken and struggling. I am so thankful for the service he has done for us students and the entire campus.”

-by Natalia Perez, junior mass communications major

A version of this story appeared originally in the Southern Accent student newspaper.

community connections
Southern Celebrates 25 Years of Community Service Day
Every January for 25 years, Southern students and employees have given their time to serve the Chattanooga community on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. This year, nearly 1,000 participants took part in Southern’s annual day of service, assisting community members and partnering with 34 organizations including the American Red Cross, Samaritan Center, and the Salvation Army.

Media Coverage of Service DayThe university’s a capella group and gymnastics team also performed in a program with the City of Chattanooga which marked the 50th anniversary of King’s death.

Alysia Wright, a graduate student pursuing her master’s in counseling, said that service is one reason she chose to attend Southern, a university whose very mission incorporates servant leadership. She has volunteered during every MLK Service Day since her freshman year and spends Sabbath afternoons in volunteering in the community.

“I love making people smile, knowing that I am making a difference in their lives,” Wright said. “When I have the opportunity to help someone less fortunate, it warms my soul.”

-by Oksana Wetmore, senior public relations major


Alumni Highlights


Homecoming Takes on New Meaning for Family and Lost Pet
In the midst of a busy fall semester, an unexpected source drew the campus together: a dog named Callie. The 10-pound Maltese went missing on November 3 while her owners, the Haas family, attended the International Supper during Homecoming Weekend.

Upon discovering Callie’s sudden disappearance, dozens of search parties—students, faculty, alumni, and members of the community—came together to help. Many people even began carrying dog treats in their pockets while walking on campus, just in case they spotted her.

Along with individual volunteers, campus departments shared a sense of urgency to help reconnect the alumni couple with their lost family member: Southern’s on-campus printing company made free posters that included Callie’s photo; Campus Safety officers prayed with the Haas family and gave them maps of campus to help narrow their search; and Southern’s Alumni Relations office provided free housing for the Haas family as they continued their search for Callie in the week following her disappearance before, heartbroken, they returned to Florida.

Haas FamilyDuring the 22 days Callie was missing, various students and search groups spotted her; unfortunately, none of them were able to get close enough to catch her. But eventually their luck changed. A small group of Southern students were walking out of the men’s residence hall when they saw Callie running through campus.

“We were on our way to dinner when we spotted her in the distance,” said Jessie Darwin, junior finance major. “We recognized her from the posters around campus.”

The students followed her for some time before they were finally able to catch her outside of Brock Hall. Another of the rescuers, junior biology major Skyelor Black, took Callie to his home where he bathed and fed her before contacting the Haas family – using contact information on the posters – to let them know she had been found.

Upon receiving this exciting news, the Haas family immediately left their home in Florida and drove through the night to Southern for this reunion. Other than having lost a significant amount of weight, Callie was free of injury and in good health.

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major

Film Project Builds New Framework for Discussions about Sexual Purity
Melody George, ’06, is partnering with New Dawn Christian Village and Mt. Rubidoux Seventh-day Adventist Church to produce the feature-length film Your Love is Strong. This faith-based story follows the frustrations of young Christian characters struggling with what it means to remain sexually pure among changing cultures both inside and outside the church.

“Growing up I saw three different dynamics in the church surrounding purity,” George said. “Churches either wouldn’t discuss purity, developed a culture of shame surrounding it, or had an ideology stating purity is no longer relevant. These are not healthy ways to think about sex.”

"Your Love Is Strong" FilmGeorge’s desire is that viewers will learn to understand purity as more than a list of dos and don’ts, instead recognizing that leaning on God and listening to the Holy Spirit will help guide them toward clarity through these struggles.

A leaders’ curriculum will accompany the film to help guide productive conversations between pastors and their congregations. It can also be used by parents who want to approach the topic of purity with their children from a Christ-centered standpoint. 

Before the film can fully be realized, George is focused on gathering additional financial support as well as structural support from churches and members who believe in the message and the youth that the film is designed to reach. Southern’s growing community of film program alumni in Los Angeles will be a source both of emotional and technical support as production draws near.

“I came to college with a basic desire to be an activist and do meaningful work,” George said. “Southern gave me a spiritual setting where this was celebrated and encouraged. That was such a blessing to me!”

To learn more, visit the film’s website.

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major

Upcoming Events

Unless otherwise noted, all events are free and open to the public.

Southern 6K Trail Race. February 18 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.A. Anderson Lecture Series. February 19 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall (room 3205). Gabriel Aviles, vice president of media marketing at thestartup.com, will present “Remaining Relevant in Media Marketing.” Continuing Education Credit is offered. For more information, call 423.236.2527.

Meet the Firms. February 22 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Iles P.E. Center. Meet the Firms and Graduate Schools is an opportunity for students and alumni to meet potential employers and graduate school representatives. For more information, call 423.236.2830.

E.O. Grundset Lecture. February 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. Benjamin Wildman, ’15, PhD candidate, will present “The Dewey Decimal System of Bone: An Epigenetic Pathway that Controls Bone Growth In-Vivo.” For more information, call 423.236.2926.

Star Watch. February 23 at 7 p.m. in the Hickman Science Center parking lot. Explore the heavens through a telescope (weather permitting). Meet at the sun dial in the parking lot of the Hickman Science Center located toward the Upper Stateside Apartments.

Honors Choral Festival Concert. February 24 at 4 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. The School of Music will host its Honors Choral Festival concert, which invites high schoolers from across the southeast to participate in this biennial collaboration. The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit southern.edu/music or call 423.236.2880.

E.A. Anderson Lecture Series. February 26 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall (room 3205). Author Kevin McCarthy will present “Blindspots: Why Good People Make Bad Choices.” Continuing Education Credit is offered. For more information, call 423.236.2527.

Cave Exploration. March 4 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Student Park Cave (beside the Goliath Wall). The Student Park Cave is an educational and recreational resource that contains nearly a mile of walking, squeezing, crawling, and swimming passages. Cost is $3 per person (includes headlamp and entrance into the cave). For more information, call 423.236.2416.

E.A. Anderson Lecture Series. March 12 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall (room 3205). Kimberly Klein, CPA and controller at Jackson Furniture, will present “The Nuances of an Audit.” Continuing Education Credit is offered. For more information, call 423.236.2527.

Michael Behe Convocation. March 15 at 11 a.m. in the Iles P.E. Center. Lehigh University Biochemistry Professor Michael Behe, PhD, did his dissertation research on sickle-cell disease and has authored more than 40 technical papers and two books. For more information, call 423.236.2814.

Saint Louis Brass Band Concert. March 15 at 7 p.m. in the Iles P.E. Center. Founded in 1964, the band originally formed to play children’s concerts around the Saint Louis area, but they soon began to present full-length concerts funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. A nominal fee will be charged to those without a Southern ID. For more information, call 423.236.2814.

E.O. Grundset Lecture. March 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. Lehigh University Biochemistry Professor Michael Behe, PhD, will present “The Edge of Evolution,” showing the limits of random Darwinian process and the depths of designs of life. For more information, call 423.236.2926.


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