Southern students in the Winter Alpine Mountaineering class recently returned from an 11-day international trip where they summited Pico de Orizabe, the tallest mountain in Mexico (18,406 feet), and Iztaccihuatl, the country’s third highest peak (17,159 feet).

Doug Brown, associate professor in the School of Physical Education, Health, and Wellness, led the group of 11. Although climbing to the top of the mountain is an important goal of mountaineering, it was not the course’s primary focus.

“Our main reason for going on these types of trips is to teach leadership,” Brown said. “Mountaineering teaches a lot about humility, which is at the core of leadership teamwork. When climbing, we meet things that are way beyond us, way bigger than us. In those moments, God shows us—through His power and His strength—that we can accomplish great things, especially when we surround ourselves with beautiful people who take care of us.”

mountaineeringEach student had an opportunity to be leader of the day (LOD). Responsibilities included guiding the group, taking care of logistics, managing time, and working with the guides to make sure everything and everyone was taken care of.

“I was the LOD on the first day, which pushed me right out of my comfort zone from the start,” said senior biology major Ally Lang. “I felt insecure taking charge of a group of peers in a context so unfamiliar to me, and that’s where my first lesson came in. I learned that being a leader often means taking charge in situations where you feel less than equipped. This trip also taught me that leadership doesn’t always mean pushing hard at the front and showing people what you’re capable of, it’s also about being aware of people’s needs and struggles and coming alongside them to help them through it.”

The next Alpine Mountaineering class will be taught during the Fall 2021 semester.

-by Megan Yoshioka, sophomore mass communication major

As framing work on the Bietz Center for Student Life nears completion and bright green insulation sheeting is added to the structure’s exterior, each day brings noticeable progress on Southern’s newest building. The excitement is palpable!

Although another wetter-than-normal winter is complicating construction timelines, workers press ahead. The Bietz Center’s roofing system is fully installed, which provides crews with partial protection from the elements—even on rainy days—and the ability to address interior areas. Projects moving past the halfway mark include sewer rough in (90% complete); HVAC ductwork (85% complete on first floor; 60% on second floor); and electrical rough in (95% complete on first floor; 70% complete on second floor). The building’s generator and HVAC units are also set in place.

Bietz Center for Student LifeAlumni and friends of Southern are anxious to get a closer look at the Bietz Center, a 40,000-square-feet “campus living room” funded entirely by gifts to the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning. Hard hat tours will be available for Board of Trustees members at the beginning of October during their fall meeting, followed by tours for alumni during Homecoming Weekend. Administrators estimate the Bietz Center will be ready for employees to begin moving into their new offices by early 2021.

An email and mail campaign, reminding alumni and friends to make their gift in support of the Bietz Center, will begin this month. Included in those communications are details regarding how to acquire one of the popular new Bietz Bobbleheads, a commemorative item celebrating both the building and the educational legacy of its namesake, former president Gordon Bietz, PhD.

To stay up to date on Bietz Center progress, visit the construction photo album and user-controlled webcam.

-Staff Report

Community Connections
In 2016, Dennis Li uprooted his family from China and moved to the United States so that he could pursue a degree in theology at Southern. He quickly realized that “God sent us to this country to do more than complete a degree.” He felt called to start a Chinese church on campus. In September 2017, two or three families and several students began meeting in Brock Hall for Sabbath morning church services.

Chinese ChurchDespite small beginnings, the group quickly outgrew its space, developing into an international community of nearly 130. Recently, working through the Georgia-Cumberland Conference, the congregation moved into its own church building not far from Southern and adopted the official name High Point Seventh-day Adventist Fellowship.

Li, who graduated from Southern in December 2019, plans to continue leading the diverse group of families, students, and community members. As they grow, Li emphasizes the importance of inviting young people to participate, and enthusiastically says, “Our goal is to open our arms wide and welcome anyone to worship with us.”

Services are held in English every Sabbath at 10:15 a.m. at 3450 Camp Road in Apison, Tennessee.

-by Trisney Bocala, junior mass communication major

Darcie Denton, a senior fine arts major at Southern, has found a way to use her passion to make an impact on those affected by the recent wildfires in Australia.

Denton has been creating art her whole life, from oil painting to watercolor to acrylic. While in high school, she discovered the art community on Instagram and YouTube and was inspired to share her work online. She amassed thousands of followers on Instagram, and her YouTube videos and vlogs have more than 3 million views.

Australian Wildfire ReliefWhen the widespread fires began in Australia, she realized that she could use her public platform to help the cause. She created beautiful prints of koalas using the linocut technique, which involves cutting a design into linoleum, covering it in ink, and then stamping it onto paper, which she then sells.

Denton began selling the koala prints in mid-January and plans to send all profits to Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA). She encourages other students to get involved in any cause they are passionate about.

“Whatever you can do, whatever you can give,” she said, “will help at least one person.”

Those who wish to support Denton’s endeavors can purchase the koala prints through her shop on Etsy.

-by Stefanie Green, freshman business administration major

alumni highlights

Marvin CamposRaised by immigrant parents who modeled a generous spirit for helping others, it’s little wonder that Marvin Campos, ’16 and ’18 (MSW), is working as a life coach for the less fortunate. His degrees in psychology and social work from Southern helped prepare him for this position with Building Stable Lives, a Chattanooga-based program funded by the United Way.

EDGE magazine recently published an article about Campos and his efforts to help Guatemalan immigrants in the East Lake area of Chattanooga. To learn more, read the full article online.

-Staff Report

The Alumni Association has a long-standing tradition of recognizing outstanding alumni and university friends whose known accomplishments have gone above-and-beyond in their profession or in service to others. Selected recipients of these awards serve as ambassadors of Southern and the Alumni Association.

Alumni AwardsAlumni and university friends are invited to nominate alumni who have demonstrated and supported the university’s mission and core values in their workplaces and communities. Awards are presented to recipients during Homecoming Weekend.

Nominations for 2020 awards are open through March 6. Nominations received after the deadline will be held for future consideration. Visit to view selection criteria and the list of past recipients. Thank you for continuing to support your alma mater through active involvement in the Alumni Association!

-Staff Report

Since launching in February 2019, more than 70 alumni families have enrolled in the Future Southern Alumni program. Through this initiative, the Alumni Relations Office hopes to excite children of alumni about their possible future at the university with a series of age-appropriate gifts.

Future Alumni“Southern is proud of the bond that ties together past, present, and future generations of alumni,” shared Evonne Crook, director of Alumni Relations. “It is exciting to celebrate meaningful milestones with our alumni families, and we look forward to their children continuing this legacy as students in the years ahead.”

If you or your spouse attended or graduated from Southern, visit to enroll your child or children in this complimentary program.

Children may enroll in the program at any age between birth and 17 years old, although the child’s age will determine the first gift received. For more information, contact the Alumni Relations Office at 423.236.2829 or

-Staff Report

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

School of Music Pops Concert. February 15 at 8 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium (Wood Hall). Southern’s Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, Steel Band, and Ringtones will present works such as Magnolia Star” (Danyew), “Symphonic Songs for Band” (Bennett), and more. For more information, call 423.236.2880.

Archaeology Lecture Series. February 17 at 7 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Chapel. Douglas Petrovich, PhD, professor of Biblical History and Exegesis at The Bible Seminary, will present "Is Hebrew the Language of the World's Oldest Alphabet?" For more information, call 423.236.2027.

Reginald Horton Convocation. February 20 at 11 a.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Horton, ’91, is a chaplain in the United States Air Force and serves as an adjunct instructor in Southern’s School of Religion and School of Education and Psychology.

Senior Graphic Design Show. February 20 at 6 p.m. in John C. Williams Art Gallery in Brock Hall. The showcase, titled “#000000 #FFFFFF,” (which is hexadecimal code for “Black White”) features pieces created by graduating graphic design students in Southern’s School of Visual Art and Design. The exhibit will remain open until March 12.

Southern 6K Trail Race. February 23 at 2 p.m. on White Oak Mountain trails. Everyone age 10 and above is invited to run and compete for cash prizes. Registration ($25 for non-Southern students) begins at noon. For more information, call 423.236.2459.

Meet the Firms and Graduate Schools. February 27 at 11 a.m. in Iles P.E. Center. This networking opportunity connects Southern students and alumni with potential employers and graduate school representatives. For more information, call 423.236.2830.

Biology Lecture Series. February 27 at 7:30 p.m. in Lynn Wood Hall Auditorium. Molly Theus, ’16, will present “All Creatures Great and Small.” Theus’ talk focuses on the journey to becoming a veterinarian, including the process of applying to veterinary school, possible career paths within veterinary medicine, and tips for succeeding while enrolled in a professional degree program.

Star Watch. February 28 at 7 p.m. in the Hickman Science Center parking lot. Explore the heavens through a telescope (weather permitting).

Alumni Dinner (Redlands, CA). February 29 at 6:30 p.m. Alumni are invited to join Southern staff for a casual come-and-go dinner at Pieology Pizzeria (623 Orange Street). Stop by to connect and network with alumni in your area! RSVP by visiting

Alumni Brunch with Prospective Students (Loma Linda, CA). March 1 at 10 a.m. Southern alumni who are students, graduates, or employees of Loma Linda University are invited to visit with Southern biology professor Rick Norskov, MD, and share about your time at Southern with future Southern students interested in health sciences. Event seating at the Drayson Center Student Union (25040 Stewart Street) is limited to 50. RSVP by visiting

I Cantori Concert. March 1 at 7:30 p.m. in Ackerman Auditorium (Wood Hall). I Cantori, Southern’s select chamber choir for students, will perform under the direction of Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, conductor. For more information, call 423.236.2880.

Karin Lopez Sandiford Convocation. March 5 at 11 a.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Sandiford, a business technology leader with Google, is the daughter of missionary parents who taught her foundational truths that formed who she is today: love God, love your neighbor, work hard, be honest, respect others, and make a positive difference in your community.

Symphony Orchestra Concert. March 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. Southern’s symphony orchestra will perform under the direction of Laurie Redmer Cadwallader, conductor. For more information, call 423.236.2880.


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