On January 20, 2020, more than 1,000 students, faculty, and staff will volunteer with nearly 50 nonprofits throughout Hamilton and Bradley counties as part of Southern’s 27th annual MLK Community Service Day. The university welcomes alumni participation in this special event.

MLK Service DaySouthern’s Christian Service Program organizes MLK Community Service Day each year. When students participate in service activities such as these, they develop a sense of belonging, connecting firsthand with their community. Involvement grows civic engagement and even helps them find their calling. By working alongside students, alumni can be a part of encouraging them to connect their own passions with God’s purposes.

Alumni interested in volunteering with Southern on MLK Community Service Day may select from a list of opportunities online. To view the options, users will need their Southern email and password. Those who have forgotten that info—or may have attended the university in years predating internet access on campus—may choose “Can’t Log In” or “Create Account” respectively. The alumni registration deadline is January 7.

-Staff Report

The 40,000-square-foot Bietz Center for Student Life, a centerpiece of Southern’s $50 million Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, is scheduled for a winter 2020 grand opening.

Campus EaterySeveral options make it possible for those outside of Collegedale to stay engaged in our building process during the months leading up to an unveiling. Alumni can operate the construction webcam for real-time updates, view photo galleries and floor plans, share fun videos on social media, and even help name the new campus eatery.

Beginning December 16 at 9 a.m. Eastern Time, various naming options for the Bietz Center’s second-floor eatery will be presented online in bracket format. We’ll pit one option against another each day, through December 18, as we narrow down the top choices. The final name from this poll will be considered by Southern’s building planners as they decide what to call the new eatery.

Alumni can weigh in up to four times during each bracket challenge—once each on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Southern’s website. We look forward to your feedback!

-Staff Report

During lunch on November 5, the happy tunes of Southern’s steel band and the explosion of a giant evergreen gift box in the Dining Hall marked the beginning of Giving Day. Students, faculty, and staff joined alumni and friends from all over the world to celebrate this year’s Giving Day theme, “Better Together.”

The collective energy and effort produced record-setting results. Gifts from the Southern family totaled more than $280,000, exceeding 2018’s Giving Day tally. Donor participation was also at an all-time high, with 1,142 supporters making a gift on behalf of students.

Giving Day 2019Giving Day’s Academic Area Challenge returned for a second year. The friendly competition created excitement among old and new participants alike. Our School of Social Work came out on top by a landslide with 279 donors. Newcomers to the top five, the School of Education and Psychology and the School of Computing, nabbed second and third place with 136 and 106 donors, respectively. At the close of Giving Day, the five schools with most donors divided $16,000 in additional bonus funds.

Students also made their mark during Giving Day. Seniors rallied to respond to a matching challenge of $5,000 for scholarships if 100 seniors made a gift. Class President Michael Baranda and his officers inspired their peers to give, and by the end of Giving Day the class surpassed its goal.

Generous gifts of all sizes will touch the lives of students in many different ways. Funds raised provide scholarships, send student missionaries around the world, support lecture series, purchase equipment, and stock our campus food pantry. The Southern family truly is “Better Together.”

-by Sandra Delgado, annual giving coordinator

For more than a decade, Southern’s Journal of Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research (JIUR) has been publishing review papers, position papers, empirical work, experiential reflections, and original quantitative and qualitative research.

The School of Education and Psychology recently published Volume 11 of JIUR and uploaded the journal to McKee Library’s Knowledge Exchange website. More than 118,000 users from across the world have downloaded papers from JIUR since it launched in 2009, a testament to JIUR’s multidisciplinary scope and research quality.

JIUR 2019By offering undergraduates the chance to express their ideas to a broader audience, JIUR demonstrates the strength of undergraduate scholarship at Southern and the university’s continuing focus on academic excellence. Psychology Professor Tron Wilder, ’01, PhD, serves as JIUR’s editor-in-chief.

“The JIUR provides Southern students the opportunity for publication in a refereed journal while they are completing their studies—something that will help strengthen their graduate school applications,” Wilder said. “Beyond that, producing the JIUR is a source of pride for the School of Education and Psychology. We are excited to provide this venue to showcase the incredible research that students are conducting on our campus.”

Volume 11’s papers include:

Analysis of Burnout and Career Calling in Undergraduate Pre-Medical Students

 The Impact of Participation in Extracurricular Activities on Elementary School Students

 Ireland: A Study in the Effectiveness of Corporate Tax Rate Reduction

 Colonialism, Apartheid, and Democracy: South Africa's Historical Implications on Land Reform Debate

 UI-SPEED: Uniquely Identifiable Self-Contained Pass-Through Enhanced Encryption Device

In addition to its online presence, print copies of JIUR are distributed to local academic libraries, sister Adventist universities, and individual subscribers.

-by Lucas Patterson, QuickNotes editor

Rachel Beaver, senior public relations major, received the annual Student Award at this year’s Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico. According to SAC’s website, the honor recognizes students “who have demonstrated excellence not only in the classroom, but on the job, as well.”

Lorraine Ball, School of Journalism and Communication professor, nominated Beaver for this award, which is the highest award a student can earn.

Rachel Beaver“Rachel is a great example of a strong communication student who has worked in numerous communication jobs and internships, volunteered with the Pathfinders and the board in her local church, and has a true heart for the Church’s mission,” Ball said. “She has juggled her volunteer responsibilities with full-time schooling and work. I was happy to nominate Rachel because of her strong work ethic, dedication to service, and passion for ministry.”

Beaver knew she had been nominated but said that she did not expect to actually win the award.

“I’m happy to have people in my life who put a lot of faith in me and the work I was doing,” Beaver said. “When they announced my name, I was crying. I thought back to the person I was, even a couple years ago, who had zero experience and came to this school knowing nobody and nothing about the major I had just changed to. It was a really emotional, reflective moment.”

Beaver said she took away more from the SAC convention than just an award. 

“Getting to hear about all of the projects that other communication professionals are doing makes me excited, because I’m about to graduate and I really hope that I get to do work like that.”

-by Trisney Bocala, sophomore mass communication major

Community Connections
During the 1960s, McKee Baking Company employed nearly 400 Southern students at any given time for tasks ranging from janitorial work to boxing snack cakes. Over the years those production-oriented opportunities have transitioned into white-collar responsibilities. Students are now able to prepare for life after college by taking advantage of a robust corporate internship program within walking distance of their classrooms and residence halls. 

According to Rachel Allen, ’11, senior talent acquisition specialist for McKee Foods, the company employs several Southern interns at any given time. Yes, employs. Interns are paid competitive market wages and work a minimum of 20 hours each week during their year-long commitment.

Vanessa (Lezeau) Daniel, ’14 and ’16 (MBA), is a consumer insights analyst with McKee Foods. Prior to being hired on as a full-time employee, Daniel (pictured below) first connected with the company through an internship while pursuing her MBA at Southern. She reaped immediate benefits.

Vanessa Daniel“McKee Foods doesn’t treat interns like many other companies do; here, interns are treated as regular employees,” Daniel said. “You aren’t tasked with getting someone coffee or making copies of papers all day. You’re taught how to do valuable work, and your team relies on you to get the job done. It was a great hands-on learning experience, which helped me discover much of what I needed to start my career in marketing.”

McKee Foods produces and ships nearly a billion cartons of Little Debbie snack cakes and other products each year. Like many students, Bryant Rodriguez, ’17, didn’t fully appreciate the scope of McKee Foods’ reach or grasp how fortunate he was to have such a globally successful company in his backyard. After an internship there led to his full-time employment as a digital and social media strategist, he’s still acclimating to the company’s enormous industry impact.

“I think a lot of Southern students have zero idea how amazing it is that the company that put prepackaged snack cakes on the map sits next to their campus,” Rodriguez said

Both Daniel and Rodriguez credit their internships with sparking the decision that McKee Foods was where they wanted to launch their careers.

“In the days following our viral #OneGottaGo tweet in November 2017, I began to realize how incredible it would be to help bring Little Debbie to life through social media,” Rodriguez said. “But even if that viral moment had never happened, the structured freedom that my manager provided me with was exactly the kind of work environment I knew I needed.”

Daniel’s vocational epiphany wasn’t connected with a specific job-related activity, even though the tasks were challenging and exciting. Instead, her time as an intern demonstrated the value of aligning personal values and corporate culture when exploring career options.

“From the very start, McKee Foods was a welcoming company. Everyone is very friendly and courteous—from top executives down to part-time employees. Our company motto is ‘we bake and the world smiles.’ I may not do the baking, but I still get to play a role in creating that joy by doing the consumer research that helps the company decide what to bake to make our consumers smile. It’s a great work environment.”

Internship opportunities—including openings at the company's facilities in Arkansas, Virginia, and Georgiaare posted online. For more information, visit the McKee Foods website

-by Lucas Patterson, QuickNotes editor

alumni highlights

New Alumni Council officers and members were officially introduced during this year’s Homecoming Weekend. Moses Maier, ’17, president of GOLD (Graduates of the Last Decade), and Eric Dunkel, ’99, senior president, will work closely together to lead the Alumni Council and meet the needs of the Alumni Association.

Alumni Council GroupIn January 2020, the new Council presidents will host a live Q&A. Southern alumni are invited to submit questions on their roles and the work of the Alumni Council.

The Alumni Association is managed through the leadership of the Alumni Council. Selected members pictured here, left to right, include: Raymond Liu, Jay Dedeker, Janice Cosme, Moses Maier, and Eric Dunkel. This group of volunteers serves in advisory capacities to assist the Alumni Relations department in fulfilling the mission and strategic plans of the university as determined by the Board of Trustees and administration. During Homecoming Weekend, the following Alumni Council officers and members were officially introduced:

• Moses Maier, ’17 – GOLD president

• Eric Dunkel, ’99 – senior president

• Janice Cosme, ’15 and ’18 – vice president for Homecoming Weekend

• Raymond Liu, ’13 and ’16 – vice president for Alumni Engagement Initiatives

• Carl Swafford, ’75 – member

• Jay Dedeker, ’88 – past president (ex-officio)

• Evonne (Kutzner) Crook, ’79 – director of Alumni Relations (ex-officio)

• Ashley (Noonan) Fox, ’15 – assistant director of Alumni Relations (ex-officio)

• Carolyn Hamilton – vice president for Advancement (ex-officio)

Membership in the Association is a complimentary service provided to graduates and attendees (those enrolled at Southern for at least one semester or more) who are in good standing. More than 37,300 Southern alumni are considered current members.

-by Ashley (Noonan) Fox, ’15, assistant director of Alumni Relations

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

Star Watch. December 13 at 6:30 p.m. in Hickman Science Center parking lot. Students and guests will explore the heavens through a telescope (weather permitting).

School of Music Christmas Concert. December 14 at 4 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists (or live online).

Winter Commencement. December 19 at 7 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center (or live online).


We are excited to offer an experience for our alumni and friends called Southern Community Online. Create an account which will grant you access to our alumni directory, event calendar and registration, your giving history, and more.
Southern Community

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