NAD President’s Commencement Message Challenges Graduates
Dan Jackson, president of the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists, addressed the 424 undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral graduates during Southern’s Commencement Ceremony on May 6 at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

Jackson challenged the graduates to invite God to assist and guide them as they use their voices, interests, skills, and passions to tackle the issues they will encounter and to become tipping points in their communities.

“You will feel the pressure to conform to the standards and the values that the world has established, both positive and negative,” Jackson said. “If you want to make a positive contribution to the world around you, you will need to intensify the faith dimension in your life, to look beyond yourself to the Divine. And as you do this, you will find fulfillment in your journey and the fulfillment of many of your dreams.”

Spring Graduation 2018Senior Class President Jordan Layao accepted Jackson’s challenge on behalf of the class of 2018, saying: “We will choose to seek God’s wisdom as we push forward in this next phase of our lives.”

Each year, the graduating class chooses to support an area that will have a lasting impact on future generations of Southern students. The Class of 2018 has decided to partner with the Class of 2017 to impact the Student Missions program by providing an interactive, digital touchscreen that highlights the locations of student missionaries and allows students on campus to send encouraging messages to those serving across the world.

The touchscreen will be housed in the Bietz Center for Student Life, which is scheduled for completion by Summer 2020. Alumni gifts to support this Class of 2017/2018 project may be made online—select “other” from the pulldown menu—or by calling 423.236.2829.

Inaugural Southern Appreciation Day Draws a Crowd
More than 100 students and alumni stopped by Bruster’s Real Ice Cream in Chattanooga on April 24 for Southern Appreciation Day.

Southern Appreciation DayIntermittent rain and the threat of thunderstorms did little to deter attendance as young and old(er) alike came out for ice cream and conversations. Wearing Southern shirts and other gear wasn’t a requirement for the free dessert, but many people proudly displayed their alma mater affiliation. Pictured here are Alumni Association President Jay Dedeker, ’88 (holding his shirt from the 2010 intramural floor hockey championship team); History Department Professor Lisa Clark Diller, ’96; and Jennifer (Spruill) Johnson, ’94.

Sponsored by Southern’s Alumni Relations and Philanthropy departments, the gathering celebrated a shared history but also pointed toward a shared future. While catching up with friends, both alumni and students alike used the casual gathering as an opportunity for networking as they freely shared job leads, business cards, and phone numbers.

Southern Appreciation Day may have been the first event of its kind, but it won’t be the last. Follow the Alumni Association on Facebook to stay informed of similar activities in the months ahead.

campus life
Science Center Renovations Help Increase Student Collaboration
Since it opened in 1997, Hickman Science Center has been the hub of STEM activity on campus—a place where students immerse themselves in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. In an effort to remain flexible in the ever-evolving world of STEM, the first floor of the Hickman Science Center recently received some simple, yet effective renovations.

Modifications included added seating along the hallways and in the lobby, increased and more efficient lighting, and scriptures that relate God to the fields of science and computing (Bible verses in binary code, for example). The Foucault pendulum and solar spectrum array, two hallmarks of the lobby that often catch the eye of campus visitors and new students, remain as anchors of interest on the ground floor.

Hickman Lobby“We wanted to create a flexible space in the building where students could either study collaboratively or socialize,” said Physics Department Chair Chris Hansen, PhD, ’89. “This is what has happened, and it warms my heart to see more and more students utilizing this part of our building.”

Many people and departments were involved with the project, and one recurring theme among them was the importance of increasing, even in a physical space, the integration of faith and learning.

“In every renovation, we strive for ways to incorporate evidence that Christ is the reason we are all here,” said Becky Djernes, interior design coordinator for Southern. “In the Hickman Science Center, we wanted to portray that God is a God of order and has written the ‘code’ in every piece of creation, from the smallest micron to the infinite universe.”

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major

Academic Research Committee Assists Professors with Scholarly Work 
Southern encourages, and often requires, students to participate in research projects. Campus Research Day is testament to both the quality and quantity of scholarly work being done outside the classroom. But that inquisitive spirit isn’t limited to students, and it doesn’t stop after graduation.

To help facilitate faculty research, Southern’s Academic Research Committee accepts funding proposals from professors and awards between $50,000 and $60,000 annually; 22 proposals were recently approved for the 2018-2019 academic school year. Additional research funding comes in the form of grants from independent external organizations as well as collaborative projects with other universities.

School of Nursing Professor Ronda (Westman) Christman, PhD, ’87, is working on a research project titled “Multi-Patient Interprofessional Collaborative Practice Simulation.” The study uses students from the schools of nursing, religion, and social work–in addition to retirees with the Lights Volunteers program at Southern—to study the functionality of intensive care units. Data gained from the research will be shared at nursing conferences both in Tennessee and around the country.

“By participating in research, I can be a role model to students conducting their own research studies,” Christman said. “Plus, I have a wealth of new information to share in class!”

Professor Joyce Azevedo, PhDFaculty projects at Southern aren’t limited to traditional research fields of science, social work, or history. Giselle Hasel, MFA, associate professor for the School of Visual Art and Design, received funding from the Academic Research Committee to work on “Art as Artillery: The Visual Battle Between Reformers and the Counter-Reformation.”

All campus research projects are approved by Southern’s Institutional Review Board prior to application for funding. This ensures quality research that contributes to the professional community, keeps professors current in their fields of study, and presents a valuable example of professionalism to students.

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major


community connections
Legacy Society Breakfast Celebrates the Impact of Giving
Graduation encourages a time of reflection, and seniors are often asked what legacy they will leave behind. Seasons of change are ripe for such moments of contemplation.

On April 22 a similar kind of reflection took place, involving those who have made plans to share their legacy of generosity with Southern. More than 100 alumni and friends of Southern gathered for the Legacy Society Breakfast at Garden Plaza in Collegedale. The annual event honors generous individuals who have chosen to include the university in their estate plans through family-named scholarships or designations to academic departments using gifts of insurance, real estate, retirement assets, stocks, and other options. Legacy members are free to financially support any affinity area on campus of their choice.

In addition to their future planned gifts, many legacy members are inspired to support current students who have financial needs by making current gifts to both the endowed and immediate Legacy Society scholarship funds. Students who were direct recipients from this year’s scholarship awards shared their personal words of gratitude during the event.

Legacy Society BreakfastPresident David Smith, PhD, and other Southern staff shared messages of gratitude and encouragement with attendees at the breakfast. Guests also heard testimonies directly from students who told how the Legacy Society scholarships had played a part in their Adventist education.

Nick Wanovich, a junior theology major, described his path to Southern. He first learned about Seventh-day Adventists during an evangelistic event hosted by Shawn Boonstra, and felt the Holy Spirit convicting him throughout the series. He was baptized on the final night. Tough decisions followed.

Wanovich was already attending a public university and enjoyed minimal tuition-related stress. But the call into ministry drew him to Southern—and to an uncertain financial future.

“Year by year God has helped me walk by faith,” Wanovich said. “You all [Legacy Society members] are now a part of my story. You’re not just affecting my life, but the many people I hope to reach out to.”

For more information about the Legacy Society and planned giving, email Carolyn Liers or call 423.236.2818.

-by Lizzie Williams, junior public relations major

Graduate Students Provide Free Counseling Service
King Solomon, the wisest man in history, wrote: “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety” (Proverbs 11:14, ESV). Southern is doing its part to heed this warning by building an army of professional listeners who fight for the health and well-being of others.

Operational for more than a decade, the Summerour Counseling Center utilizes graduate students from the School of Education and Psychology to offer free counseling to community members and students alike. Counseling students need 100 hours of practicum and 600 hours of internship in order to complete the program. The center helps them earn practicum hours with clients and gain the confidence they need before starting internships with agencies in the community.

Summerour Counseling CenterAll Summerour Counseling Center clients understand that services are being led by students who are currently in their graduate training. Each counselor-in-training receives weekly supervision and consultation from faculty members who hold doctoral degrees in counseling or psychology and appropriate licenses to practice. Sessions are recorded so that both faculty and students can review the quality of counseling, as well as body language and eye contact.

Graduate students put their heads, hearts, and ears to the test by working with more than 60 community clients each semester on a first-come, first-served basis. The free counseling appointments offer a bright light in the darkest of times. Appointments are available September through April. For more information, call 423.236.2492 or visit Summerour Counseling Center online.


alumni highlights

Homecoming Speaker Bears Witness to Calling

“Flexibility” is a common theme found in books or heard at conferences when experts talk about the key to personal and professional happiness. Pierre Monice, ’07, can attest to that. He graduated from Southern with a degree in theology and immediately went to work as a pastor in Oklahoma before a series of career transitions led him to become the vice president of operations for Florida Hospital (Altamonte).

Monice is one of the speakers at Homecoming Weekend, October 25-28, where he will share insights learned during this intertwining of career and calling. QuickNotes editors spoke with Monice ahead of the visit for a preview of his story.

What’s the most useful thing you learned at Southern that prepared you for life after college? There is power in relationships. You can always learn something new from someone, regardless of differences in backgrounds.

Tell us about what led to the transition from theology to business. Did you get any pushback from friends or family? I have always had an interest in business and took a few business classes at Southern. While serving as a senior pastor in Oklahoma, I had the privilege of working alongside amazing healthcare leaders in my church. Through a series of God events, Adventist Health System started recruiting me. My family and friends were always supportive.

Pierre Monice, '07 (right)Do you see a difference between career and calling? Our career and our calling go hand in hand. God wants our Christianity to shine through, whether at work, school, or play. I've seen many people who are in their career but are not carrying out their calling. In my life, I believe that God has called me to use my gifts to bring healing to people—whether physically, spiritually, or emotionally. In order to truly know our calling, we have to be connected to the Source, knowing that He will lead us and guide our decisions. The Bible says that everything we do should be for God's glory, no matter what our career. Ultimately, although I've made transitions in my career, God’s calling for me has not changed.

What’s the best example so far in your life of how God has used you for His work? He has allowed me the opportunity to speak in front of many secular crowds to talk about Christianity and faith in the business workplace.

How does it feel to be invited back to your alma mater to speak during Homecoming Weekend? I’m truly humbled and honored to be asked to speak for Homecoming Weekend. I always relish the opportunity to share my experience; to be able to influence another person is a task not to be taken lightly, and I look forward to using this opportunity to inspire others to be better versions of themselves, with Christ at the center.

Online registration for Homecoming Weekend opens on May 18. For more information, visit southern.edu/alumni, email alumni@southern.edu, or call 423.236.2830. 

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

Carolina Camp Meeting Picnic: June 1 at noon under the tents beside Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska. Alumni and friends of Southern are invited to this free event. Tickets are required and will be available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Southern’s table in the Harrell Center exhibition area. Email rsvp@southern.edu or call 423.236.2829 before May 25 to reserve a seat.

Georgia-Cumberland Camp Meeting Reception: June 1 from 12-2 p.m. in the lobby of Lynn Wood Hall. Alumni and friends of Southern are invited to stop by and enjoy refreshments and fellowship. Email rsvp@southern.edu or call 423.236.2829 before May 28 to let us know you plan to participate.

WELLkids in the Wild Day Camps: June 4-8, June 11-15, June 18-22, and July 23-27 on campus. Each week-long session offers outdoor adventures facilitated by graduate students in the Outdoor Leadership program. Activities include rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, ropes course, caving, rafting, and more. Available for ages 10-16. For more information and to register, visit southern.edu/wellkids.

Academic Summer Camps: June 18-20 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at various locations on campus (overnight housing available). Students entering grades 9-12 can choose from a variety of potential majors for a three-day immersive experience in career and calling. For more information and to register, visit southern.edu/camps.

Michigan Camp Meeting Lunch: June 23 at 12:30 p.m. (after conclusion of worship service) in the Cedar Lake Seventh-day Adventist Church fellowship hall. Email rsvp@southern.edu or call 423.236.2829 before June 15 to reserve a seat.


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