This is a previously scheduled issue of QuickNotes. In addition to hearing about Southern’s response to COVID-19, we hope you enjoy the positive stories at a time when so much in the news is sobering.

Last week, the World Health Organization officially declared the current coronavirus a pandemic due to the alarming levels of spread and severity of COVID-19. In response, Southern canceled all official Spring Break trips and made the difficult decision to transition to distance learning for the remainder of the school year. It also closed the residence halls and Southern Village, although arrangements were made for international students who could not go home to stay on campus.

While there were no known cases of infection at Southern, the administration made this decision in part at the recommendation of experts who advise limiting close contact and large gatherings in order to help slow the spread of the disease in the community. In an email to students, President David Smith said:

“Those of us who work in higher education do so because we love young people and learning together! We will deeply miss the presence of students on our campus over the next few months, and eagerly look forward to resuming normal campus life as soon as possible.”

Smith also recorded a video message. For more details, regular updates, and an FAQ for students, visit

-Staff Report

Over the course of 2019, Southern’s leadership worked to revise the university’s official mission, vision, and values. The new statements were finalized by the university’s Board of Trustees on February 23:

The Mission
Grounded in Jesus Christ and dedicated to the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, we equip students to embrace biblical truth, embody academic and professional excellence, and pursue Spirit-filled lives of service.

The Vision
Southern Adventist University’s vision is to:

• Model the love of Jesus in every interaction.
• Invite each student into a saving relationship with Jesus.
• Inspire each student to engage with God’s Church and the world through service and witness.
• Provide each student with an exceptional learning experience that equips them to thrive in a fluid, global job market.

missionCore Values
As Southern Adventist University employees, we: 

• Embrace the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s Worldview and Fundamental Beliefs
• Love Others as God Loves Them
• Act with Integrity
• Live Prayerfully
• Serve Others Generously
• Follow God’s Calling
• Pursue Excellence
• Exercise Responsible Stewardship
• Offer an Exceptional, Wholistic Learning Experience

“These new statements define the heart of who and what we are as an institution and also who and what we plan to be in the future,” said President David Smith. “Our goal is to clearly express, particularly to our employees, what we expect from their service, as well as sharing with our students and constituents what we expect to deliver.”

-Staff Report 

In February, a group of historiography students from Southern had a special opportunity to visit The National Archives in Washington, D.C. They weren’t there as tourists; they came to do the hard work of research. What they discovered made the rich experience even more memorable.

Most colleges and universities do not provide opportunities for undergraduate students to acquire hands-on experience at an archive with primary sources—original documents such as artifacts, documents, and petitions—let alone the National Archives. For that reason, docents at the National Archives were reluctant to accommodate Southern’s uncommon request. Fortunately, Kevin Burton, PhD, instructor in the History and Political Studies Department, knew some of the archive’s employees from personal research experiences there and persuaded them to give his students a chance. 

“They were very impressed with our students’ professionalism and amazed that Southern would invest in its students this way,” Burton said. “Furthermore, two PhD candidates approached me, asking what school we were from and saying how lucky our students were to have such an opportunity!”

archivesStudents followed the National Archives’ protocol for gaining access, including an orientation process where they learned how to call archived items from a vault and handle them properly. They also gained service-learning credits by developing finding aids for future researchers. As a result, these students can now list work for the National Archives on their resumes, which gives them a meaningful advantage during job searches or when submitting graduate school applications. 

Burton is currently researching antislavery petitions, particularly cases with Seventh-day Adventist involvement. At the National Archives, his students assisted him by analyzing boxes of petitions from different years, focusing on places with a known Millerite or Adventist presence. In the past, Burton had found names on abolitionist petitions and then cross-referenced them with church records to learn if they were Adventist. This particular trip yielded far more efficient and impactful results.

Xavier Snyder, sophomore history major, uncovered a wealth of relevant information while examining a petition from 1862 that was prepared, circulated, and signed by a group who identified themselves in as the Seventh-day Adventists in Linn County, Iowa. That petition—the first one on record explicitly stating it was written by Seventh-day Adventists—called for abolition, staying that slavery was a sin. The document also said that if America didn’t abolish slavery, then the country would feel God’s wrath.

“It was beautiful to see Adventists who came before us taking a stand for something they believed in,” Snyder said. “I hope what I found will be a part of a greater research project in the future that helps shape how we look at our denomination’s history.”

Several of the trip’s students were inspired by working with primary sources and are planning future visits to Atlanta, Nashville, and Memphis for independent research on their own capstone projects. The Floyd Greenleaf History Research Travel Fund helps offset associated expenses. Gifts in support of this fund, and the students it supports, may be made online.

-by Angela Baerg, ’06

Community Connections
Several news organizations have recently reported on the joint archaeological excavation project between Southern’s Institute of Archaeology and The Hebrew University of Jerusalem (2013-2017). While media has previously covered portions of the excavation, the most recent articles and television segments are focusing on a new scientific article published in the British journal Levant.

Lachish news“The new Canaanite temple is the first discovered in Israel in the last 40 years. Several smiting god figurines that may represent Baal or Reshef as well as a silver-sheet pendant that may be Hathor/Asherah or Ashtoreth testify to the worship of Canaanite deities described by a number of biblical passages,” said Michael G. Hasel, PhD, director for Southern’s Institute of Archaeology. “The temple is one of three found at Lachish from this period and demonstrates the significant nature of the Canaanite site mentioned in Joshua 10.” 

An archive of lectures hosted by Southern’s Institute of Archaeology, including some about Lachish, is available on the university’s website. Gifts in supports of the institute and Southern’s excavation work may be made online.

-Staff Report

On February 27, Southern’s Enactus team—in partnership with the national education nonprofit CoLabs—held a major pitch event on campus called LaunchU. Modeled after the television show Shark Tank, the evening program provided students with an opportunity to present their business ideas while vying for $10,000 in prize money to invest in the projects.

Southern’s LaunchU event featured seven competitors representing a variety of projects. Senior business administration major Isaac Fernandez won first place and received $5,000 from CoLabs for his business concept called “Systematic Medical Referral” (SMR). SMR seeks to develop an electronic system that will cut back the errors and waiting time that clients in the medical field often face.

According to Fernandez, his business is still in its beginning stages. From here, Fernandez plans to use the money from this competition to find company investors.

LaunchU“I felt so relieved after winning because I put so much work into this event,” Fernandez said. “It was all worth it at the end. The LaunchU judges not only gave me an insight into different aspects of my company, but also provided me with help regarding the steps to take next. And the $5,000 in capital from this competition will cover the early developments of SMR and a go toward helping find investors for the project.”

Matthew Jensen, sophomore computer science major, and Kristi Jensen, senior business administration major, placed second with their pitch, “JenComm,” which helps small businesses with marketing and internet visibility. JenComm received $3,000 in development funding.

Nathalia Levterova, sophomore marketing major, placed third with her business idea to expand her social media based brand @LiveInspiredLoveHarder, which she said “gives people the tools they need to live an intentional life inspired by Christ and helps people find their purpose in loving others harder.” Levterova received $2,000 to further that goal.

Southern’s Enactus team is sponsored by faculty from the School of Business and housed in the university’s Institute of Ethical Leadership.

-by Trisney Bocala, junior mass communication major

alumni highlights

L. Michelle Codington, ’95, counts it a privilege to help traumatized children develop into confident individuals, even if she never imagined this specific calling when beginning her professional career.

“When I first started, I swore the one area in which I would never work would be with abused or neglected children—I didn’t think I could handle it,” Codington said. “And yet, now that is precisely what I do. I train other clinicians how to best serve children whose bodies and brains have been impacted by adverse experiences and educate others on how they can help children heal.”

Codington began her vocational journey at Southern, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology before later graduating from Loma Linda University with a Master of Science in Marriage and Family Therapy. Southern professor Ruth Williams, PhD, was extremely influential in her development.

“She challenged me to push myself past my comfort zone and grow,” Codington said. “That has proven far more important than any one theory or modality I learned along the way.”

CodingtonSuch growth led Codington to co-found and lead her own agency, Where Kids Thrive. Thrive serves children and families across southern New Jersey and is known for its specialty in addressing complex trauma through creative and expressive art therapies.

“We use interventions such as movement, music, dance, drama, art, and play to regulate the nervous system first before attempting to address specific behaviors,” Codington said. “We don’t make kids ‘behave.’ We teach them how to regulate their own bodies in order to access their choosing mind to make wise decisions for themselves.”

Codington has presented at many regional and national conferences on child mental health, and was invited by the Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families to join a task force on how best to meet the mental health needs of young children statewide. For more information about the Thrive Program and Codington’s work, visit

-by Antannia Aguilar, '19, graduate student (counseling)

Recently, more than 80 young alumni and graduating seniors gathered on a Friday night to open the Sabbath together at the Student Park Pavilion. The dinner and vespers, sponsored by the Alumni Association, connected graduates from 2009 to 2019 with seniors preparing to graduate in 2020.

BONDfireMoses Maier, ’17, GOLD Alumni Association president, led an alumni panel that answered questions seniors had submitted prior to the event about what to expect from life after graduation. They addressed a wide spectrum of questions, including matters related to professional development, finances, and how to stay connected with the church and community after leaving Southern. The night ended with alumni and students gathered around the fire, sharing stories and eating s’mores.

The Alumni Association looks forward to providing additional programs that bring alumni and students together. Follow the Alumni Association on Facebook to stay informed of future opportunities to reconnect with Southern graduates of all ages across the country.

-Ashley Fox, ’15, assistant director for Alumni Relations


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

                                                                            gfh   gh  amazon smile