The Alumni Association of Southern Adventist University was officially organized on October 26, 1996, when alumni voted to approve the constitution and bylaws that defined the Association’s purposes, membership, leadership, and management.

BylawsAssociation members subsequently voted revised documents in 2000 and 2006 to reflect updated processes. The Alumni Council, the Association’s leadership team, currently consists of four elected officers, four general representatives of the at-large alumni membership, and three non-voting Advancement staff members.

The Council realized two years ago that the 2006 document no longer aligned with current best practices for managing the Alumni Association. The Council has since worked on drafting a revised constitution and bylaws document to reflect purposes and practices that will better serve the current and future needs of Association members.

The Council is seeking alumni review of and valuable input on the revised constitution and bylaws by June 30, 2022. The Council will make final edits as needed, enact the document, and implement the new election processes for seating officers and members to fill open positions.

Alumni may view an electronic copy of the revised document and submit feedback here, or request a copy of the document be mailed to them by contacting Alumni Relations. The online directory of current Alumni Council members is available here.

-Evonne Crook, director of Alumni Relations

Senior leadership from SouthEast Bank organized a special meal on April 6 that honored students who had been chosen to receive scholarships funded by the business. Select employees and alumni from Southern were also in attendance, using the opportunity to express heartfelt thanks for this transformative partnership.

SouthEast Bank, which was founded in 2002 and includes 15 locations in Tennessee, began partnering with Southern in 2011 and has routinely added to its scholarship funding since then. In fact, the bank recently announced another increase, bringing the total scholarship commitment to $35,000 annually. These funds will be divided between five students, with each receiving a renewable $7,000 scholarship.

SouthEast Bank ScholarshipsLinda White, SouthEast Bank’s senior vice president, looks forward to the celebratory luncheons each year. Although the students she meets at these events fluctuate as seniors graduate and freshmen recipients are added, one aspect remains rock solid: the students’ deep desire to express gratitude.

“Southern has great students who are always so appreciative,” White said. “I’ve never met one of them who wasn’t genuinely grateful. It makes my heart melt. We even had a parent come by our Ooltewah branch specifically to thank me, saying ‘I don’t know what we would have done without this help from SouthEast Bank.’”

When this partnership was first conceptualized, bank administrators saw clearly how the program would make a difference in the lives of students and envisioned it freeing them up to experience college more fully, with less time spent working and worrying about finances. Testimonies show that to be accurate.

“When I enrolled at Southern, my parents were just returning from missionary work in South America, so finances were tight,” said Brandon Vanfossen, senior business administration major and four-year SouthEast Bank scholarship recipient. “Because of these funds, I was able to work fewer hours at campus jobs and dedicate time to both my studies and entrepreneurial efforts, such as starting a software development business.”

More information about funding existing scholarships, or establishing new ones, is available online.

-Staff Report

The Tennessee chapter of the National Association of Social Workers recently honored Kristie (Young) Wilder, ’03, MSW, JD, professor in the School of Social Work at Southern Adventist University, as the 2022 Social Work Educator of the Year.

Wilder has served Southern’s School of Social Work in different capacities since 2013: as faculty, as co-director of field education, and as dean. She graduated from Southern in 2003 with a bachelor’s degree in social work and completed her master’s degree in social work at the University of Tennessee. She received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from the Nashville School of Law.

Kristie WilderPrior to coming to Southern, Wilder worked with children, adolescents, and families in community facilities, non-profits, and government agencies. Her experiences include program development for children in state’s custody, training child welfare workers and foster parents, and developing juvenile justice and child welfare policy with the Comptroller’s Office of Research and Education Accountability in Nashville, Tennessee.

Wilder’s heart for service, her deep respect for the dignity and worth of each person, for diversity in all its dimensions, shine through in the classroom, through her interaction with students and colleagues, and through her advocacy for students facing different needs.

In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses, Wilder is the BSW Club adviser modeling social work values and helping them come to life. At the university level, she has served on different committees, most recently on the Retention Committee, the Committee on Sexual Integrity, and the IRB/Research Committee helping influence and shape university policies and strategic planning. Currently she represents the School of Social Work on the University Senate, where advocacy and social justice are at the core of her engagements.

For her tireless work with students and her involvement in the greater Chattanooga community, Wilder was recognized by Southern as the 2021 faculty recipient of the President’s Distinguished Community Service Award.

In the classroom, Wilder is committed to the success of her students. She believes that learning should be both rigorous and fun academically as well as spiritually and emotionally. Wilder has guided her students in policy development and encouraged and offered opportunities for students to be active at the local community, state, and national levels. She has involved her students with the NASW-TN Social Work Day on the Hill and takes students to Washington, DC, to be involved in legislative work and to show students that they can make a difference.

At the community level, social work values are once again foundational to all she does. Wilder has been involved in many communities with social justice issues. She and the School of Social Work have partnered with the Chattanooga Police Department (CPD) on a research project aimed at providing evidence-based victim services. Wilder has been involved in the Empower Women PAC, that is helping women advance politically and professionally. She also has been involved in NASW-TN since before 2011. She has been on the steering committee for NASW-TN’s Southeast Branch and has lead training sessions in the community.

Wilder has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the six core values and ethical principles of the social work profession: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence.

-Staff Report

For more than 33 years, Evonne (Kutzner) Crook, ’79, has faithfully served Southern in various roles across campus. During her tenure, Crook served under six university presidents and seven vice presidents for Advancement. In August, Crook will retire after 19 years as director of Alumni Relations.

“It has truly been a blessing and honor for me to have been part of the Southern Adventist University family for more than 33 years,” Crook said. “The wonderful friendships that developed while serving alumni and colleagues will be among my most treasured memories.”

Evonne CrookCrook received a bachelor’s degree in English from Southern in 1979. A year after graduation, she returned to Southern’s campus to serve in the Records Office, where she had worked under the mentorship of Mary Elam, former registrar, throughout college. Three years later, she began working as KR Davis’ administrative assistant in the Counseling and Testing department.

After six years at Southern, Crook took time off to dedicate to her family, returning in 1995 to serve in the Advancement Office. She held several roles until being promoted to director of Alumni Relations in 2003.

During nearly two decades of service in this role, Crook has dedicated her efforts to providing services and resources that help keep alumni informed and connected to the university. Her accomplishments include leading the charge for 19 Homecoming Weekends, reorganizing the Alumni Council, overseeing alumni-student mentoring, and implementing alumni database software.

Under Crook’s leadership, the Alumni Relations office emphasized academic connections and other special affinity reunions. She has enjoyed partnering with groups such as Die Meistersinger, Gym-Masters, Chorale, Black Christian Union, and Student Missions for hosting alumni reunion activities.

“Evonne has built a strong program and enriched the lives of so many alumni. As an alum of this institution, I am profoundly grateful for her service,” said President Ken Shaw, ’80. “We are committed to serving and supporting our alumni and are actively searching for a new director to lead the Alumni Association.”

Crook is looking forward to retirement, which will provide her more quality time with her family and grandchildren. A novice bird watcher, this new chapter will provide opportunities to rekindle her adventurous nature through travel and exploration of the great outdoors.

We wish to thank Evonne for her service and dedication to the university. Alumni and friends are invited to share favorite memories, photos, and well wishes at before July 1, 2022.

-Ashley (Noonan) Fox, ’15, and Carolyn (Sampson) Liers, attended

Upcoming Events
• Evensong, Saturday, April 30 – School of Music choral ensembles with conductor Gennevieve Brown-Kibble, 7:30 p.m. Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists (live streaming link)


Florida Alumni Pop-Ups: Information and registration link

• Sunday, May 1 – Ice Cream Social, 3-5 p.m., Ice Dreammm Shop, Wesley Chapel, Florida

• Tuesday, May 3 – Breakfast with the President, 7-9 a.m., Panera Bread, Altamonte Springs, Florida

• Tuesday, May 3 – AdventHealth Corporate Campus Open House/Reception (for alumni currently employed by AH), 4-6 p.m., Altamonte Springs, Florida


• Graduation Weekend, May 6-8: Schedule, program, and live streaming link


• Academic Summer Camps, June 13-15: Southern is hosting 11 in-person camps where high school students can explore or sharpen potential career interests before even starting college. Each three-day camp includes hands-on learning with some of our top-notch professors as well as a spiritual component, modeling how Adventist education offers both academic rigor and development for the whole person. Free transportation is available for those coming from Asheville, North Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Knoxville, Tennessee; and Nashville, Tennessee. For more information or to register, visit


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