Alumni PicnicTo start the Sabbath on September 20, more than 50 Southern alumni and their families gathered at the Student Park Pavilion for an evening picnic before joining current students at this year’s Lawn Concert. Graduates from 2009 to 2019 networked in a casual environment and were treated to Southern giveaways at the event, which was sponsored by the Alumni Association

Vespers at the Goliath Wall is a long-standing Southern tradition and one that students eagerly anticipate each fall. Contemporary Christian artist Josh Wilson performed at this year’s event.

Drew Forsey, '14, and his wife, Emily (Taylor), '14, attended the picnic, as well as other alumni activities this year. "Being a part of these events allows us to stay connected with fellow graduates and learn of the great work being done at Southern for the future," he said.

Follow the Alumni Association on Facebook to stay informed of similar opportunities to reconnect with Southern graduates of all ages across the country.

Last November, 945 alumni, employees, and friends contributed more than $168,000 during the 1892-minute Giving Day challenge designed to encourage a grassroots-level demonstration of generosity. Planners hope to exceed that total during 2019’s Giving Day as the Southern Family reflects on this year’s theme: “Better Together.”

Giving Day PreviewSeveral special financial incentives help spirit the Southern community forward each year on Giving Day. One of the most competitive is the Academic Area Challenge. Donors are invited to make a gift to an academic area of the university that means the most to them. As Giving Day come to a close, those gift totals are tallied. The five academic areas with the most donors win varying amounts of additional funds for their school or department; last year’s winners split $15,000!

Keep an eye out for posts on social media and emails that share more information about Giving Day. Southern would love to see you join us for this exciting event, either as a donor or a social media ambassador. There’s a role for each of us to play. That’s why we’re Better Together!

campus life
Sometimes one course can change the direction of a student’s life; this summer, three Southern students made the decision for baptism as a result of what they learned in the classroom.

The four-week Christian Beliefs course, taught by Associate Professor David Hartman, ’82, DMin, (pictured center, below) covered various aspects of the Adventist-Christian faith such as the narrative of creation, the fall, and God’s ultimate plan to restore all things. The class also provided understanding of the 28 fundamental beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church as they are found in Scripture.

Professor with Student“In every doctrine, we looked at what it reveals about the character of God and how it addresses a human need and longing,” Hartman said. “So the biblical truths hit not just the head, but also the heart. In all this, I want students to see God in a fresh new light and fall in love with Him.”

With this goal, Hartman was particularly thrilled to have the privilege of baptizing three of his students at the conclusion of the summer term. On Sabbath, August 24, approximately 60 friends, classmates, faculty, and family members came together to witness and support the students’ baptisms at nearby Harrison Bay State Park.

“After a prayer over all three, we exited the lake to cheers, tears, and hugs. I can’t help but believe that all heaven was celebrating as well,” Hartman said. “This event reminded us that the true purpose of Adventist Christian education is for each student to be brought into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.”

-by Rachel Beaver, senior public relations major

There’s good news ahead for those whose age, injury, or disability make navigating stairs problematic. Soon they’ll be able to get from the second to the fourth floors of Wright Hall using a new elevator with exterior access directly from street level on Cafeteria Drive. 

Wright Hall already has two elevators, but one of them does not have access to the fourth floor’s student center, stopping only on the first three floors. The other elevator has been closed off to students in recent years due to mechanical failures that make it unreliable. 

Elevator Drawings“We have had quite a few people get stuck in the student center’s elevator,” said Dennis Clifford, associate director of Plant Services. “So rather than keeping it open to everyone, it’s now used only by Food Services staff.”

Students and employees were working around the problem with varying levels of success, but an event during Homecoming Weekend 2018 highlighted the need for improved access to Wright Hall. The $250,000 project, one of the brick-and-mortar components within Southern's Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, began in late summer and is scheduled for completion by the end of October. Gifts in support of elevator installation can be made online or by calling 423.236.2829.

Barbara James, ’74, PhD, recently retired after 28 years as nursing faculty and dean of the School of Nursing. A $1 million gift from AdventHealth for the department makes her transition out of academia a little easier, confirming her confidence that the program is in great shape for years to come.

The $1 million gift completes $2 million worth of endowment funding to create the AdventHealth Chair of Nursing Education, a new title that belongs to James’ successor, Holly Gadd, PhD. Some of the chair’s responsibilities include becoming knowledgeable about AdventHealth’s mission, purpose, and reach, as well as fostering a good professional relationship between AdventHealth and Southern. Much of this work is supplemental, as a healthy partnership already exists between the two institutions.

Southern Nursing StudentsThe AdventHealth Chair of Nursing Education is more than a job title. James sees the organization’s investment in Southern as testament to a vision shared by donors, the university, and businesses.

“The funds are obviously helpful and provide funding for operations,” James said, “but this named chair also validates Southern as a valuable partner of AdventHealth. Both organizations are committed to having highly skilled nurses at all levels who live the values of their university and employing organization.”

AdventHealth engages Southern students in a variety of ways over the course of their studies here. Opportunities include nursing leadership internships, AdventHealth’s participation in Southern’s Meet the Firms (an on-campus recruiting event), and even a “Heritage Hire” event—with the name acknowledging our shared Adventist beliefs—where the organization flies students to Florida for in-depth job interviews and site visits.

A similar partnership in 2016 created the AdventHealth Chair of Business Administration at Southern, a position held by Braam Oberholster, DBA. AdventHealth maintains a network of healthcare services across more than 130 facilities nationwide, including hospital campuses, urgent-care centers, home-health and hospice agencies, and nursing homes.

Community Connections
This summer, Southern staff helped the Cuba Adventist Theological Seminary install a distance education classroom using funds donated to the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. This will expand the reach and options offered by the seminary.

The idea originated when Elvis Hernandez, principal of the seminary, came to Southern to study English. Hernandez spoke with President David Smith, PhD, and invited him to speak for graduation in Cuba. Smith agreed, and while he was there, they discussed the potential for turning a storage room into a distance education classroom.

Upon his return, Smith assigned the technological part of the project to Gary Sewell, associate vice president for Information Technology at Southern. Knowing little about the room, Sewell bought everything the project might require, including cordless drills and screws.

“The amazing thing is that what we ordered was just enough for what we needed,” Sewell said. “God was in it from the beginning, and He just made it all happen.”

Southern Staff with Cuban Seminary StaffIn addition to purchasing new equipment using donor gifts from the church, Southern shared other used components from its own Information Technology department such as network switches, cameras for the church to record its services, and memory and hard drives for existing servers. Then in August, Sewell and Nick White, ’10, audio visual technician at Southern, traveled to Cuba and installed the equipment.

Throughout the two-day installation process, maintenance workers at the seminary were actively involved. Before leaving Cuba, Sewell’s team spent time with the staff, explaining the inner workings of the system and answering questions.

“We wanted to make sure that they understand how it works and how to support it. If in the future they want to build another one, they can, because it’s a repeatable process,” Sewell said. “When we turned on the computer, they were just overjoyed, and when my wife called in, you should have seen their faces. They loved it.”

The former storage room is now equipped with technology that allows classes to be taught and attended virtually. Because the Cuban government prohibits foreigners from entering the country to teach, and since there are not enough Adventist professors in the area, this classroom will allow the seminary to provide the three master’s degrees it has been approved to offer. The plan is to begin teaching classes next semester.

Luis Amador, vice principal for Academic Affairs at the Cuban seminary, told Sewell that when he had been a student at the seminary 15 years earlier, he had sat in that exact room and prayed that God would use it for something very special.

“I know that the administration, faculty, and staff at the seminary are delighted with the distance learning facility they now have,” Smith said. “And we are thrilled that Southern could support them. It has been an honor to help advance God’s agenda in this neighboring country.”

-by Trisney Bocala, sophomore mass communication major

This summer, an alumnus and adjunct instructor in Southern’s School of Journalism and Communication received one of the most coveted honors in broadcast journalism: a Peabody.

"Buried Truths" Podcast AwardDavid Barasoain, ’89, (shown far right in picture) won the award for the podcast “Buried Truths,” which he produces with a team that includes Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Hank Klibanoff as the host. The podcast also received a Robert F. Kennedy Journalism award for radio. Launched last year, the first season of “Buried Truths” tells the story of Isaiah Nixon, an African American man killed in 1948 for exercising his right to vote.

“If you really boil it down, the story is about a man who was killed in front of his family, and nobody else knew it, and nobody else cared to know about it,” Barasoain said. “This isn’t just busywork for us. We’re doing all of this for a reason. The Peabody mantra is ‘stories that matter.’ They chose us because it was an important story.”

Barasoain began his career in radio as a student working at Southern’s radio station, Classical 90.5 WSMC. After 10 years at Adventist World Radio, Barasoain began working for WABE in Atlanta, where he is the director of radio production. He has taught as an adjunct at Southern since 2005.

-by Emma Winegardner, ’19

alumni highlights

While a student at Southern, Dennis Millburn, ’72, worked regular shifts as a part-time employee for McKee Baking Company. He spent 24 hours a week on the line as a boxer while paying his way through college, a luxury that inflation doesn’t afford to very many students in the 21st century. Having a reliable and convenient job weren’t the only perks, though. On certain days it was the free cookies that made a shift worthwhile. 

“The oatmeal ones were my favorite,” he said.

Millburn’s employment was even more enjoyable because he was able to spend time among friends. In the book Century of Challenge, former Southern professor Dennis Pettibone, PhD, provides context that hints at the footprint of McKee Foods’ impact on Millburn (pictured below) and his peers. During the 1960s, for example, the bakery employed nearly 400 students at any given time.

Dennis Millburn, '72This shared history often comes up organically during Homecoming Weekend conversations, and it’s a primary reason why the university is hosting its inaugural McKee Foods Alumni Employee Reunion on October 25.

“Many students who attended Southern during the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s credit the job opportunities provided to them at the bakery for making it possible to obtain a Christian education,” recalls Evonne Crook, ’79, director of Alumni Relations. “This reunion celebrates long-standing partnerships that the McKee family and the McKee Foods corporation continue to grow in support of Southern Adventist University students and alumni.”

The come-and-go reunion is for alumni who were, or currently are, bakery employees. Attendees can enjoy root beer floats and a McKee Foods trivia contest with Little Debbie apparel as prizes. Chances are good that Oatmeal Creme Pies will be on hand, as well—one of many reasons Millburn plans to attend.

Editor's Note: An article in the November issue of QuickNotes will highlight recent success stories of paid internships at McKee Foods that have turned into full-time jobs for Southern students after graduation.

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

Wind Symphony Performance. October 13 at 7:30 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Student musicians, under the direction of Conductor Ken Parsons, will perform a variety of pieces contributing to the theme “British Band Classics.”

Andreas Klein (piano). October 21 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Klein is widely acclaimed as a pianist of rare sensitivity and musicality, receiving positive reviews by The New York Times and The Washington Post, among others. General admission seating is $5 per person.

Percussion Ensemble. October 23 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium.

Homecoming Weekend. October 24-27. This year’s theme is Foundations for the Future. Honor classes: 1939, ’49, ’59, ’69, ’74, ’79, ’89, ’94, ’99, and ’09. Special features include a Die Meistersinger reunion and concert, Evangelistic Resource Center (ERC) and Soul-winning And Leadership Training (SALT) reunions, a Golden Anniversary Class of 1969 reunion, and a McKee Foods alumni employee reunion. Eric Bates, ’99, DMin, will speak for the worship services. Visit southern.edu/homecoming for more information. Register online or by calling 423.236.2829.

Isaac Duncan III Exhibit Opening. October 24 at 6 p.m. in the John C. Williams Art Gallery (Brock Hall). Duncan has been nominated for the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation Sculpture Fellowship, and he received the State of Tennessee Individual Artist Fellowship in 2017. His sculptures can be found in a variety of museums and college campuses across the United States and Canada.

Jennie Janssen Lecture (biology). October 24 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. As part of the E.O. Grundset Lecture Series, Janssen, ’99, will share “From Happy Valley to a Career in Public Aquaria.” Janssen works at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland.

Jazz Ensemble. October 24 at 7 p.m. in Collegedale Commons.

Classic Car Show. October 27 from 12-3 p.m. in the Mabel Wood Hall parking lot. Along with a variety of antique, classic, and specialty cars, this annual event features food truck favorites, a race car simulator, goody bags to the first 200 attendees, and trophies awarded to the People's Choice and 1st place cars. To register your car, visit southern.edu/carshow.

Xavier Foley (double bass). November 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium. Foley is the winner of several musical competitions and has been named an “artist to watch” by classical music radio station WQXR in the New York City metro area. General admission seating is $5 per person.

Melody George Convocation. November 7 at 11 a.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. George, ’06, is producing a movie that tackles the subject of sexual purity. Her biggest passion is to direct films that create positive social change and draw people closer to the heart of God.

Star Watch. November 8 at 6:30 p.m. in Hickman Science Center parking lot. Students and guests will explore the heavens through a telescope (weather permitting).

AcroFest Show. November 9 at 8 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center. General admission seating is $10 per person.

Symphony Orchestra Performance. November 10 at 7:30 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Student musicians, under the direction of Conductor Laurie Redmer Cadwallader, will perform selections by Delibes, Sibelius, Glinka, and Saint-Saëns.


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