We Believe“We Believe” Capital Campaign Approaches $42 Million in Gifts
Southern’s Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning saw tremendous growth in 2017, finishing the year with a total of $41.9 million toward its $50 million goal. Five impact areas drive the campaign’s mission, with the endowment ($14 million goal) representing the largest area of that growth in the past year. Several new endowed scholarships were created in 2017, helping increase opportunities for students to enjoy the Southern Experience. For additional information, visit southern.edu/webelieve.

Washington, D.C., Museum Features Work of Southern Students, Professors

More than 3 million visitors are expected to visit the new Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., this year. Many of them will explore the findings of Southern’s archaeology students and professors on display in the special temporary exhibit, titled “In the Valley of David and Goliath.” This area of the museum focuses on the ground-breaking contributions of the Khirbet Qeiyafa Archaeological Project, co-sponsored by the Institute of Archaeology at Southern and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Museum of the BibleFrom 2007-2013, many groups of Southern students had the opportunity to work on a site overlooking the valley where the story of David and Goliath took place. The ancient fortified garrison city Khirbet Qeiyafa is on the border between Judah and Philistia, southwest of Jerusalem. During the course of the excavation, students helped make discoveries that gained international attention and are now featured in the museum, such as the oldest Hebrew inscription ever found.

“We were the only special exhibit to open up with the main exhibits of the Museum of the Bible,” said Michael Hasel, PhD, director of Southern’s Institute of Archaeology. “Because this was the grand opening for the entire institution, guests of honor, donors, and dignitaries were invited from around the world. It was a privilege to take part in these ceremonies.”

The Museum of the Bible is located in the heart of Washington, D.C., near Capitol Hill, the Smithsonian Institution, and the National Mall. Hasel said the six-story museum is the largest in the world to focus on the history of the Bible.


community connections


WSMC Commissions Violin Piece for Prison Premiere
A concert last fall has led to an unusual opportunity for Southern’s Classical 90.5 WSMC radio station. It began when Holly Mulcahy, violinist and concertmaster for the Chattanooga Symphony & Opera, performed at Walker State Faith and Character-Based Prison in North Georgia. The recital featured works by well-known classical composers like Bach and Franck, but also included works by two living composers who were in attendance at the event.

Composers Jie Wang and Mischa Zupko had the opportunity to talk with the inmates at the prison and hear their thoughts about the music. The dialogue between composer and prisoner was profound and impactful.

WSMC Prison Work"I have never before been so thoroughly convinced of the restorative powers of music and its absolute necessity in our lives," Zupko said.

Wang agreed: "Sharing freedom with men who have lost it has given me much to contemplate."

Tyler Rand, ’16, social innovation manager for WSMC, was also in attendance at this unusual violin recital. He was so moved by the experience that he approached Mulcahy about ways in which WSMC could get involved in this project. They decided that the radio station could pursue the opportunity of commissioning an original work for violin from Wang to be premiered in the prison.

Classical compositions are typically commissioned for large events in formal concert hall settings, but this commission will be one of the first of its kind and will receive its world premiere by Mulcahy in the prison this fall. Look for more about this developing story and partnership in the months ahead.

Funds for the commission were made available through generous support from The McKenzie Foundation in Chattanooga, which also funded WSMC’s large instrument drive in 2014.

Southern Receives First Bitcoin Donation

Until recently, the most unusual donation to Classical 90.5 WSMC had been two Rolls Royce sedans. All that changed in December when a potential donor contacted WSMC to see if Southern’s radio station could accept a bitcoin donation valued at approximately $10,000. Bitcoin, one of many cryptocurrencies, was something many on campus had heard about but few understood.

According to the IRS, bitcoin is not money per se; it’s considered property, like gold coin, and taxed like property with short- and long-term capital gains. Making donations or submitting tithe and offering in bitcoin can potentially help with capital gains, providing an incentive to use this method depending on the state of residence. Donors should consult with a financial advisor to discuss tax deduction implications. 

Bitcoin DonationThe donor wanted to make a contribution within the Seventh-day Adventist Church, but despite his search, was unable to find a denominational organization which had adapted to accept this digital currency. He discovered WSMC’s vehicle donation program that accepts cars, boats, and RVs, and asked if he could help the radio station with a similar property gift of bitcoin.

While Southern is not actively investing in cryptocurrency, it researched other nonprofits that welcome bitcoin, such as United Way, and set up an account with a currency exchange company to facilitate the transaction. Once the bitcoin gift was received, it was immediately liquidated with proceeds transferred to the university’s bank account.

The donor believes that technologies like bitcoin are the future of digital money and appreciated Southern accommodating his request.

“I hope other institutions and churches will soon follow your lead and make this an option,” he said. “Southern is a true pioneer!”

-Scott Kornblum, WSMC general manager


campus life


Art Annex Renovations Create New Space for Students
Southern’s School of Visual Art and Design is home to hundreds of students immersed in curriculum ranging from animation to art therapy and graphic design to museum studies. With so much going on, it’s easy for students to run out of quality workspaces. The university helped remedy this problem, as well as provide important structural updates, using $100,000 in academic growth funds from the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning and $200,000 in additional funds.

The Art Annex, located behind Brock Hall and just across Colcord Drive (formerly Industrial Drive), recently received more than 6,000 square feet of renovations in Phase 1 of a multi-year plan. Academic changes included adding a printmaking lab and individual studio cubicles for fine art students as well as remodeling pottery spaces.

The facility also benefited from a completely new roof and new heating and air system, among other improvements. Renovations are meaningful for students and professors alike.

Art Annex“We’ve needed this space for nearly 20 years,” said Randy Craven, MFA, dean for the School of Visual Art and Design. “I’m extremely grateful for the donors’ impact.”

Along with the physical benefits, film program coordinator David George, ’98, MFA, believes the renovation holds psychological value as well.

“Having a bigger and better workspace empowers the students and allows the creative process to unfold with fewer interruptions,” George said.

When funds become available, Phase 2 will realize the creation of a new film studio, allowing the film program to move from Ledford Hall to the Art Annex where it will partner with the School of Journalism and Communication in using this production space for student instruction.

-by Gavin Finch, senior English major

Freshman Class Sees Growth in International Student Enrollment

More than twice the average number of freshmen international students came to study at Southern this year as 49 new faces from abroad added to the total of 200 international students enrolled.

Southern does not recruit outside of the United States, unless invited, so many international students hear about Southern by word of mouth or through student missionaries.

“A fellow church member told me about Southern,” said Ando Razafindrabe, a junior biomedical major from Madagascar. “Choosing Southern must have seemed the most irrational decision I've ever made, but I decided to trust God.”

International Students OutingInternational students have various reasons for attending Southern, many citing Sabbath issues as a key factor; however, the decision to come to a school in America comes with its own set of challenges. Finances often present the biggest roadblock since international students cannot receive government funding or work more than 20 hours per week under the F-1 student visa.

To help with these obstacles, a campus ad-hoc committee supports international students with the challenges they face from the moment they land in the U.S. to the moment they graduate—and at times, post-graduation.

Elizabeth (Scott) Anderson, ’12, is one of five Designated School Officials on campus, which means she is certified to deal with international document-processing. She serves as a liaison between the school, the government, and the students. Other ad-hoc committee members interact with international students through ESL classes, social activities in Chattanooga, monthly Sabbath potlucks, and Saturday night get-togethers.

“Southern Adventist University wants international students and is willing to fight to keep them here,” Anderson said. “Our institution has placed itself as a shield to keep them here and make their experience as smooth as possible.”

A version of this article originally appeared in The Southern Accent.

-by Cynthia Salinas, senior English major

Southern to Offer Physical Therapist Assistant Degree

Southern’s newest academic area, the Physical Therapist Assistant Department, will begin offering classes for its physical therapist assistant (PTA) program in January 2019; however, applications to the program will be accepted April-June 2018. The new associate degree includes two semesters of prerequisites and three semesters of PTA-specific classes.

Loma Linda University is the only other Seventh-day Adventist school in the nation that offers a PTA degree. Christopher Stewart, chair of Southern’s Physical Therapist Assistant Department, pointed to this as a large reason why Southern decided to start its own program.

“Many students would rather not go to the other side of the country for an associate’s degree,” Stewart said.

During the program’s first year, it will still be in the accreditation process.

“It is a small risk for the inaugural class because they will be going through accreditation with us,” Stewart said. “As with a number of other health professions, such as occupational therapy or occupational therapist assistant, we have to be observed during the first run-through to be accredited.”

Stewart said physical therapy students who want to earn a degree faster can easily switch to PTA, which has a median salary of $54,000.

“The PTA program is an awesome idea for anyone who wants to be in the medical field,” said Allison Johnson, sophomore health science major. “It’s potentially more hands on than physical therapy, and the pay is good!”

The PTA program, limited initially to 40 students, will be housed in Fleming Plaza next to the Campus Shop. For more information, visit the PTA website, or email Christopher Stewart.

A version of this article originally appeared in The Southern Accent.

-by Kristen Eldred, junior English major


Alumni Highlights


New York Times Features Arauz, ’12, in Article About Adoptions by Single Men
ArauzStatistics show that married couples make up the overwhelming majority of foster care adoptions. Single moms come in a distant second. Single dads have historically represented an almost insignificant number. That’s slowly changing.

In “Adoption and the Single Guy,” The New York Times paints a beautiful picture of the impact Steven Arauz has had on his new son. Arauz graduated from Southern with a degree in education and is teaching in Longwood, Florida; in fact, his son was once a student in his class!

For the full story (available without a subscription) visit The New York Times website.

Upcoming Events

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

Art Exhibit Opening. January 18 at 6 p.m. in the John C. Williams Art Gallery. Work by Professor Donald Keefe, MFA, will be on display in his “Precarious Structures” exhibit through February 12. Keefe Donald has an active national exhibition record and a growing publication list. His artwork consist primarily of paintings and drawings, several of which have won awards. For more information, call 423.236.2732.

E.O. Grundset Lecture Series. January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Chapel. Southern professors Aaron Corbit, PhD, and David Nelsen, PhD, will speak about discoveries made through their research together on “Ecology, Toxicology, and Venomous Organisms.” For more information, call 423.236.2926.

E.A. Anderson Lecture Series. January 22 at 7 p.m. in Brock Hall room 3205. Evie VandeVere will present "What's In a Name?" Continuing Education Credit is offered. For more information, call 423.236.2527.

Terrence Roberts Convocation. January 25 at 11 a.m. in the Iles P.E. Center. Roberts was part of the Little Rock Nine (the first African-American children to racially integrate the largest school in the capital of Arkansas). His presentation will briefly review the chaotic episodes of September 1957. The presentation may also be viewed online. For more information, call 423.236.2814.

Star Watch. January 26 at 6:30 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. For more information, call 423.236.2669.

Symphony Orchestra Concert. January 28 at 4 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Concerto Competition Concert will be conducted by Laurie Redmer Minner. The repertoire is to be announced. The concert may also be viewed online. For more information, call 423.236.22880.

Ron C. Smith Convocation. February 1 at 11 a.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists.  Smith grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Oakwood University with a degree in theology and biblical languages in 1982 before later attending seminary at Andrews University. Smith is president of the Southern Union and chairman of Southern’s Board of Trustees. The presentation may also be viewed online. For more information, call 423.236.2814.

E.O. Grundset Lecture Series. February 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. Jim Nestler, PhD, will presenting “Sea Cucumbers: Rotting and Regenerating Zombies of the Sea.” Nestler works in the Department of Biological Sciences at Walla Walla University. For more information, call 423.236.2926.

Fisk Jubilee Singers. February 10 at 6 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Fisk University opened in Nashville in 1866. The singers performed their first concerts in small towns, where early audiences responded with surprise, curiosity, and some hostility to the young black singers. They continue the tradition of singing the Negro spirituals around the world. For more information, call 423.236.2814.

Pops Concert. February 10 at 8 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Southern’s Wind Symphony and Jazz Ensemble, directed by Ken Parsons, will present “Happy Birthday, Lenny: A Centennial Tribute to Leonard Bernstein” including music from “On the Town” and selections from “West Side Story,” as well as others. For more information, call 423.236.22880.

Bruce Ashton Piano Concert. February 11 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Ashton will perform a faculty recital. Repertoire is to be announced. For more information, call 423.236.22880.

Archeology Lecture. February 12 at 7 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Auditorium. Agnete Lassen, PhD, Associate Curator of the Yale Babylonian Collection, will present “Seals Hidden and Seals Revealed - Seals in Ancient and Modern Display.” For more information, call 423.236.2030.

Southern 6 Trail Race. February 18 at 12 p.m. at Southern’s White Oak Mountain Trails. Everyone 10 and older is invited to participate, with proceeds benefiting the university's Outdoor Leadership program’s inner city environmental education initiative. More information and registration is available online.


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