Earlier this year, two Southern Adventist University students were awarded the 2021-2022 Morning Pointe Scholars Endowment Scholarship. Co-founders of Morning Pointe Senior Living, Greg Vital, ’14 business management alumnus and president of Morning Pointe, and Franklin Farrow, ’93 business marketing alumnus, member of Southern’s Board of Trustees, and chief executive officer of Morning Pointe, presented the scholarship to Leroy Cox, junior health services and senior living administration major, during an event hosted by the university’s School of Business. The second award recipient was Brittany Franks, senior nursing major.

Morning Pointe Scholarship“Receiving this scholarship came as a surprise, and it means everything to me,” Cox said. “My long-term goal is to not only work in the health administration field but also make a difference wherever I am. I want to be known for more than just doing my job the right way; I want to be a person who everyone respects and knows to be a God-fearing individual.”

Vital and Farrow established the scholarship in 2017 to support the education of future caregivers and healthcare administrators while increasing awareness of occupations within senior living communities.

“As people live longer and stay healthier, the need for senior care and its services continues to grow, and we think that Southern has a unique opportunity to help prepare the next generation of leaders for senior care and geriatrics,” Vital said. “The university’s programs parallel Morning Pointe’s mission of providing affordable, compassionate senior care throughout the Southeast. Along with our commitment to education, we want to help provide for those students who might need some financial assistance and show our appreciation to Southern for its work and leadership in this area.”

-Staff Report


This year, the North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists (NAD) has designated July 24 as Health Sabbath, and eight Southern Adventist University students, alumni, and staff worked with the NAD to provide resources for youth and young adults. The annual event is an opportunity to focus on the importance of good health and the healing ministry of Christ, and this year the topic is “The Joy of Eating.” Churches across the division are being encouraged to utilize the provided resources to discuss healthy relationships with food.

Tiffany Bartell, Counseling Services coordinator at Southern, was invited by Angeline Brauer, DrPH, Health Ministries director for the NAD, to coordinate youth content for this year’s program. Bartell created the outline for a five-day young adult study guide and asked Southern students and alumni to write guides on the topics of memorable meals of the Bible, food and fellowship, body image and disordered eating, and food insecurity.

Health Sabbath 2021“I think there is a lot of value in young adults having the opportunity to talk to other young adults about these subjects,” Bartell said. “Society doesn’t always discuss these topics in a healthy way and can give us the wrong messages. We want to bring back the original intention that God had about food in the Garden of Eden. This is a timely conversation to have, and I’m excited that Southern gets to be part of it.”

Beatrice Ngugi, ’19, who is earning her master’s degree in social work at Southern, contributed a study guide lesson about food insecurity.

“My message for Health Sabbath is personal to me because I’m a believer in advocacy,” Ngugi said. “I interned at Southern’s food pantry and saw firsthand the need people have in this area. My goal when sharing this message for Health Sabbath is that people will know that they can make a change, whether that’s donating food to pantries or helping people who are experiencing homelessness. Health Sabbath is helping show that access to food is not always an expectation and is a privilege for many.”

“I am so thankful for the contributions from Tiffany and her team of young adults from Southern,” Brauer said. “They have shared eloquently how a Bible-based understanding of food can result in bringing us together and building our communities. I pray that their work will help to focus our energies onto the joy of eating that God intended for us to share.

For more information about Health Sabbath, visit

-Madison Reinschmidt, junior mass communication major

Three science professors from Southern Adventist University contributed to a book released this summer titled Design and Catastrophe: 51 Scientists Explore Evidence in Nature. Published by Andrews University Press, the book includes a variety of short essays written by men and women of faith from a wide range of scientific disciplines. While not attempting to prove the biblical accounts of origin and a global flood, Design and Catastrophe invites readers to search Scriptures for an explanation of discoveries found in nature and the meaning and purpose in life.

Lucinda Hill Spencer, MD, a professor in Southern’s Biology Department, contributed “The Amazing Gift of Hearing,” a chapter that explores the design of the ear and the complex mechanisms essential to the ability to hear and respond.

God's Hand in Nature“Because of the powerful agenda to push evolutionary theory today, many people struggle with their faith in God and in the Bible,” Hill said. “Design and Catastrophe examines the scientific evidence and covers a variety of topics that are helpful in thinking through issues and strengthening our faith.”

David Nelsen, PhD, associate professor of biology, was happy to participate in a project that combines his passions, faith and science. He wrote the chapter titled “Design, Spiders, and ‘Integrated Wholes.’”

“In this essay, I discuss how my worldview allows me to think about organisms and biology differently than many of my secular colleagues,” Nelsen said. “I hope people can appreciate that it is possible to be passionate about both science and faith—you don’t have to choose one over the other.”

Mitch Menzmer, PhD, a professor in the university’s Chemistry Department, enthusiastically shares the wonders of divine handiwork at the molecular level in the chapter “A God of Law, Order, and Beauty.”

“Accepting the evidence of design in nature as coming from an intelligent Creator is absolutely essential to the Christian faith,” Menzmer said. “Understanding what God is capable of through creation of the physical universe gives me assurance of what He can do in my life and in the lives of those around me.”

-Madison Reinschmidt, junior mass communication major

In the summer of 2019, Joshua Draget, business administration major at Southern, began serving as a student missionary at Riverside Farm Institute in Zambia. What began as an opportunity to do good while refocusing his life and taking a break from classes has become much more.

Riverside Farm is a multifaceted ministry that includes agriculture, evangelism training, a lifestyle center, a health clinic, and much more. Draget’s responsibilities included helping build One-Day Churches in rural Zambia, as well as researching and making business recommendations. When COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and the institution entered lockdown, he recognized a need for quality, affordable bar soap, as well as a means for young people to support themselves. He studied up on soapmaking and established Akuna Soap Industry—a name that comes from the phrase “Akuna Sesipala,” meaning “with God, nothing is impossible."

Akuna Soap“In Zambia, the rate of unemployment among young people is almost 22%,” said Craig Harding, director of Riverside Farm. “Making or selling soap with Akuna Soap Industry is something that anyone can do, and it empowers an underserved population. It’s a healthy, local product in a time when hand cleanliness is so important, due to COVID-19.”

Through experimentation, Draget perfected a soap recipe and began training local young people in the soapmaking process. He also collaborated with local Seventh-day Adventist Church conferences to conduct training sessions, equipping young people and women to become soap salespeople. So far, he has trained hundreds of church members in this role.

“With God’s help, the Akuna Soap Industry has already provided 360 jobs, and the company is still growing,” Draget said. “Akuna’s soap is competitively priced, substantially lower than other soaps on the market. These advantages, along with the company’s vast network of sales agents and ease of scalability, have allowed the Akuna Soap Industry to expand in Zambia.”

By using natural ingredients, including charcoal and shea butter, rather than the harsh chemicals and detergents often used in locally produced soap and cleaning products in Zambia, Draget says that Akuna’s soap is healthier and better for the skin. The team is now expanding into retail sales with a contract with Jumbo Wholesale in Zambia, along with several other health and retail chains.

To accommodate increased product demand, the team plans to build a new production facility that will increase capacity from 1,600 bars of soap per day to 12,000. The new facility and equipment will cost approximately $100,000; thanks to a recent gift of $35,000, construction of the facility will begin next month. Additional fundraising and prayers are ongoing.

“God is using this project to bless Zambian young people and women by enabling them to provide for their families while at the same time spreading the gospel,” Draget said.

The current business plan will provide up to 3,000 jobs for these demographics while simultaneously establishing a network of missionaries who sell soap to the people of Zambia and distribute biblical literature to their customers.

In 2020, Southern’s Enactus team began providing support to Akuna Soap Industry through research, promotion, and fundraising. This is one of several projects that Enactus is involved in that utilize the power of entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life and standard of living for people in need.

In April, Southern’s team placed third in the 2021 Enactus United States National Exposition World Cup Qualifier Competition. The 2020-2021 Enactus president and senior accounting major, Ashley Blake, will spend this school year in Zambia working with Draget on Akuna Soap Industry. Skyler Schiff, senior business administration major, will also be joining the team at Riverside Farm.

To learn more, visit Akuna Soap Industry; to support the project, give here and include “Akuna” in the comments.

-Staff Report

Southern has always been a champion of the Seventh-day Adventist health message, whether in classrooms, the Dining Hall, or even the Village Market grocery store. Thanks to a $14,000 grant from Ardmore Institute of Health, the university will be able to further integrate these principles into campus curriculum through a new culinary medicine lab, offered during the Fall 2021 and Winter 2022 semesters.

School of Nursing Professor Lilly (Boles) Tryon, ’82 and ’14 (DNP), is leading the implementation of this lab, with support from a team of nutrition and culinary arts faculty, including Bonny Musgrave (pictured below). Together, they are developing a four-session, interactive experience to prepare advanced practice nursing students to counsel patients in successful behavior change around nutrition and cooking. The emphasis will be on plant-based or plant-forward diets for evidence-based health promotion and disease management or reversal.

Bonny MusgravePresident Ken Shaw, ’80, EdD, appreciates the support of outside organizations—such as Ardmore Institute of Health—that partner with Southern when the opportunity for mission alignment presents itself.

“These grant funds will ensure that Southern remains positioned to successfully and creatively advocate for lifestyle medicine, both in our classrooms and the greater Chattanooga community,” Shaw said.

Long-range plans include using this culinary medicine lab as a model to develop student skills and competencies in other lifestyle medicine domains, such as sleep, stress management, connectedness, and substance use.

-Staff Report


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