We are so excited to welcome our extended Southern Adventist University family back to campus for Homecoming, both in person and virtually!

Young Alumni

This year's theme is "Celebrating His Blessings." Join us as we honor the following classes: 1940, '41, '50, '51, '60, '61, '70, '71, '75, '76, '80, '81, '90, '91, '00, '01, '10, and '11.

Program highlights include:

• Worship services with Don Keele Jr., '81, as speaker
• 50- and 25-year class reunions
• Bietz Center for Student Life tours
• An archaeology presentation by Professor Michael Hasel, PhD
• Evensong featuring Deep 6, an alumni low brass ensemble
• The Southern Shuffle, a 5K run and 1-mile run/walk
• Our annual golf tournament  

Register now, view the full schedule, and see updated information at

-Staff Report

As many as five generations of students have studied on this campus, and your alma mater remains committed to recruiting the next generation of Southern alumni.

Future Alumni BookSince launching the Future Southern Alumni program in February 2019, more than 125 alumni families have enrolled their children. Through this complimentary program, Alumni Relations hopes to excite children of alumni about their possible future at the university with a series of age-appropriate birthday gifts from the time of enrollment until age 17. The program was recently expanded with several new gift additions, including a Southern-themed activity book with illustrations by Rebecca Johnson, '13.

“Southern is proud of the bond that ties together past, present, and future generations of alumni,” shared Evonne Crook, '79, 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(ren). For more information, contact Alumni Relations at

-Staff Report

See what students are experiencing in their beautiful new facility as they begin the school year. Facilities Manager Joey (Norwood) Tolbert, '01 and '07, guides viewers on a visit to some of the larger spaces that anchor the building.

-Staff Report

The 2020-2021 Annual Report is brimming with stories made possible through the support of alumni and friends. Enjoy reading about innovation in research, personal encounters with God, learning moments in Bangladesh, Giving Day results, President Ken Shaw’s priorities, and more.

-Staff Report

Southern has launched a partnership with Equal Chance for Education (ECE), a Tennessee-based scholarship program that helps provide Hispanic individuals with an equal opportunity to achieve the American dream by completing college. Incoming college students may qualify for an ECE scholarship of up to $6,000 per year if they have a GPA of at least 3.0, are ineligible for federal funding, and have a defined career goal.

This partnership came about thanks to scholarship recipient and incoming-freshman Julena Camarena (see picture below). When Camarena applied for an ECE scholarship and was accepted, she was disappointed to find that her dream school—Southern—was not partnered with ECE. She asked if ECE would consider working with Southern, and to her surprise, they agreed. Since then, Southern and ECE have formed a partnership that will help financially insecure students find the funding they need to pay for college expenses.

Julena Camarena“Working with this program will help Southern find financial resources for programs and scholarships that support diversity on campus,” said Stephanie Guster, senior advisor for diversity at Southern. “This program shows that there are highly capable students who want to be in higher education—who choose Southern—but who aren’t eligible for federal funding. It’s exciting to have a resource to assist those students!”

As a freshman at Southern this fall, Camarena is studying clinical psychology as she begins her journey to becoming a surgeon.

“I am a first-generation college student, so this scholarship is really important to my family as I build a future for myself,” Camarena said. “Through ECE and Southern, I can see God’s will working in me. I know this scholarship program will help others who are in the same situation have an opportunity to attend an Adventist university, too.”

To learn more or to apply for an ECE scholarship, visit or contact an admissions counselor at Southern.

-by Madison Reinschmidt, junior mass communication major

What first drew Katie (Milliken) Cramer to the School of Education and Psychology at Southern was the opportunity to study and gain practical skills in a welcoming, encouraging Christian atmosphere.

“The environment at Southern is so different from a state university—having prayers and worship in class calmed me and helped me to focus on each day,” Cramer said. “I was able to form close relationships with the other students in my cohort, and we uplift each other, which has helped the process too.”

Cramer is a master’s student in the Professional Counseling program, completing a dual specialty in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and School Counseling. She also works as a graduate assistant for the program. She helps coordinate the Southern Center for Counseling and Emotional Wellness, an on-campus service providing community members with free counseling from graduate students.

Counseling Center“In addition to helping the community, these services benefit our counselors-in-training,” said Ileanna Freeman, PhD, professor and director of Graduate Studies in Professional Counseling. “The counseling practicum prepares students to practice counseling after graduation and teaches them to be responsible professionals, including how to follow the code of ethics and the normal procedures of counseling centers.”

The program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP), and each session is strictly supervised by licensed professionals. During the school year, approximately 15 counselors are available to help clients with issues such as mental health, relationship conflicts, and more. Cramer completed her counseling practicum during the Winter 2021 semester.

“Throughout my practicum, I could see how the techniques and skills I had learned in classes were working in my clients’ lives and making a difference,” Cramer said. “I trusted that the Lord would guide me through each session and help me know what to say and do. The process was a huge confidence builder.”

Anyone is welcome to sign up for a free counseling session; appointments can be made by calling 423.236.2492. They are available in person on campus or virtually.

“The things I love most about counseling are the connections I make and seeing people grow emotionally and mentally,” Cramer said. “Counseling is an art to learn, and not every session will go the same way. It helps people realize different perspectives in their life and start the healing process.”

-by Madison Reinschmidt, junior mass communication major

Students now have the option to complete their Master of Social Work (MSW) degree at Southern entirely online; Southern is the only Seventh-day Adventist university to offer this option.

“There are individuals outside of our geographic area who would like to graduate with a degree from a Christian university but may be unable to come here,” said Laura Racovita, PhD, dean of the School of Social Work. “By offering this master’s program online, we are expanding our reach through technology to provide quality Christian education around the globe.”

SAU MSW OnlineSouthern’s MSW program has used a hybrid format since 2010; however, when all courses temporarily transitioned online in 2020 due to the pandemic, leadership recognized a growing need for students to have the flexibility to participate fully online from wherever they live. This year Southern received permission from the Council on Social Work Accreditation to update the program’s structure.

“We hope that students from all over the county and around the world will consider participating in this flexible program,” said Lorri (Boyle) Merchant, '94, PhD, the MSW program director. 

In addition to the 100% virtual option, students can still choose to attend in-person classes every other Sunday, with the remaining course requirements completed online.

“We strongly believe that offering our program online aligns perfectly with our university mission,” Racovita said. “We can serve, help others, and empower individuals to change their world wherever they are, extending and expanding our influence beyond our local community.”

-by Madison Reinschmidt, junior mass communication major

Upcoming Events
School of Music Performances
Hosted by the School of Music, Evensong is a long-standing tradition, currently starting at 7:30 p.m. in the Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists every Sabbath. The School of Music’s full Fall 2021 calendar with live streaming links is available by visiting

• August 28 – Evensong: Piano students of Peter Cooper
• September 4 – Evensong: Bethany, '18, and Daniel Howard (attended), piano and cello
• September 11 – Evensong: Joshua Knight (attended), organ
• September 18 – Evensong: Alex Mejias, '10, piano
• September 25 – Evensong: Voice students of Julie Penner

Presidential Inauguration
September 30 – Join us virtually at 11 a.m. as Southern celebrates Ken Shaw, '80, EdD, as the new university president! This ceremony will include an alumni processional representing various decades.

Fine Art Show
September 30 – You are invited to the opening of a fine art show, titled “The Joy of Life,” at 6:30 p.m. in the John C. Williams Art Gallery on the second floor of Brock Hall. The showcase will feature the creativity of Elena Burykina, a local artist who specializes in portraiture. The gallery will be featuring Burykina’s work through January 10, 2022.

Homecoming Weekend
Join us for a variety of in-person and virtual activities:

• October 28-31 – View updates and register
• October 31 – Alumni Golf Tournament: View updates and register


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