Growing Faith and Business Together
The School of Business at Southern Adventist University is partnering with nonprofit Hyve International to host Hyve Creators 2024, an entrepreneurship event with a Seventh-day Adventist perspective, at the end of February.

This will be the second year the summit is held on our campus. This past spring, more than 800 participants attended Hyve Creators 2023 where they learned about combining mission, innovation, and entrepreneurship from a group of experienced and successful Christian inventors and business professionals affiliated with Hyve International, which provides community and support on the ground floor for Adventist-run missional businesses around the world. 

The weekend exceeded attendance expectations, marking the largest recent gathering of Adventist entrepreneurs, with powerful stories, testimonies, and workshops bringing to life the principles shared.

Hyve“This kind of event builds a bridge between inspirational and practical, mission and business,” said Michelle Doucoumes, ’05, ’10, and ’22, associate professor in Southern’s School of Business and a coordinator of the event. “Some of the most amazing people in our church not only spoke but also expressed a willingness to invest in Adventist businesses after meeting young entrepreneurs who are doing super-cool things. The value of connecting with leaders and experts who share the same principles and goals is immeasurable for our students and others.”

Event speakers included David Asscherick of Light Bearers ministry; Sebastien Braxton, co-founder of the Luminate app; CW Chew, founder of Something Better Foods; Ruben Dias, co-owner at Hill Helicopters; Daryl Gungadoo, inventor of 360° video technology; David Grabiner, ’07, founder and operator of Lubono Capital; Annette Thurmon, ’05, influencer, Azure Farm; and Jared Thurmon, ’04, serial entrepreneur and pastor.

Under the umbrella of the School of Business, the university’s student-led Enactus chapter spearheaded the inaugural Hyve event. The student team maintains a specific focus on supporting and enhancing the spirit of entrepreneurship on campus, and Hyve Creators 2023 provided a way for that initiative to be extended to a much broader community. Business majors Lauryn Daniels and Kelsie McCarty served as project managers and led their team in organizing the event, from logistics to programming.

“I strongly believe that everyone who attended both virtually and physically was meant to be there,” Daniels said. “I’m beyond grateful to God for the opportunity to lead, connect, and serve!”

“This was a great learning experience and a wonderful opportunity for networking,” McCarty added. “I was so proud of all of the entrepreneurs, especially the Southern students who pitched, won, and were involved with the event.”

The Lion’s Den, an innovative startup pitch competition, was the signature session during the gathering, with more than 60 individuals or teams applying from countries across the globe, including Colombia and France. Evaluated by a panel of judges on market viability, differentiation, actionability, and social/spiritual impact, 20 were chosen to present during the weekend. Many of the entrepreneurs received investment offers from business leaders in attendance to help their missional ventures make a greater impact on communities.

“I’m encouraged that there are so many in Adventism who are just itching to do something with specific talents and creativity,” Doucoumes said. “From clothing lines to making empanadas or even soap, so many have not only extraordinary ideas but also missional hearts to use those businesses to do good.”

Of the six businesses that placed as winners, four involved Southern students, and each earned a year of free business coaching from Hyve as well as prize money. Akuna Soap Industry in Zambia, which was developed and continues to be led by Southern Enactus students, won first place.

“Faith and business, combined, form a powerful tool to spread the gospel,” Doucoumes said. “As Adventists, we have a unique angle built into our DNA, a key belief about sharing God’s love and His good news beyond the traditional avenue of church activities.”

To learn more about Hyve Creators 2024, contact the School of Business at 423.236.2527.

-by Tina (Frist) Smith, ’89

Journalist Michel Martin Speaks at Southern
The School of Journalism and Communication welcomed Michel Martin, Emmy Award-winning journalist and host of NPR’s Morning Edition, to campus on November 9. Martin joined Atlanta audio producer and David Barasoain, ’90, for a conversation to navigate “Making Sense of a Polarized World.” 

Martin’s appearance was a part of the R. Lynn Sauls Endowed Lecture series, which made its debut last year. The lecture series was set in place to “inspire a new generation of truth seekers, storytellers, and influencers” by hosting important communication and journalist specialists on campus. Students, faculty, alumni, and community members were invited to the event.

Working in the journalism business for more than 25 years for the Washington Post, NPR, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, and more, Martin shared lessons she has learned and gave students advice on what it means to provide people with truthful news in this generation. “We don’t have to accept this [polarization]. We all have a part in this human enterprise,” Martin said. 

MartinMartin shared some of the experiences she has encountered while working in print journalism, television, and on the radio. She gave insight on how to keep an open mind while gathering news and understanding that no matter who you are and what you look like, you can be effective in the world. Martin also emphasized that the people she interviews are more important than the story, and she must gain their respect. “Talk to people, not about them,” she said.

Earlier in the day, Martin attended some of Southern’s journalism classes, speaking with students about navigating the professional world directly after college and answering questions. Martin also attended the morning convocation, titled “Is Journalism a Bad Word?” where professors, along with Barasoain, spoke to students about the role of journalism in society. 

“When Michel Martin described journalism as a ‘ministry of presence,’ I was deeply impacted,” said Amanda Blake, senior journalism major and editor-in-chief of the Southern Accent student newspaper. “Martin’s down-to-earth, profound expression of a journalist’s duty to give a voice to the voiceless reminded me of why I accepted the call to lead the Accent.” 

One lesson Martin shared is that news is not inherently bad. She reminded listeners to check their sources, share factual information, and approach conversations with curiosity and compassion for others. Noting that the tools people use to communicate, such as social media, are morally neutral, she said, “It’s up to you what you do with it.”

-by Alexis Dewey, junior mass communication major

Alumni Invited to Join in Service
Local alumni are invited to join Southern’s 30th Annual MLK Service Day on January 15, 2024, as we continue the university’s tradition of honoring Martin Luther King Jr. through service to neighbors in need. Southern hopes to have more than 1,000 participants join together to serve organizations and community members within the Chattanooga area. 
Cheryl Craven, director of Christian Service at Southern, is organizing partnerships with more than 30 organizations for volunteer opportunities, including the Chambliss Center for Children, Samaritan Center, Red Clay Farms, and Reflection Riding Arboretum and Nature Center.

MLK Day“It’s a Southern tradition to take time on MLK Day to make a positive difference in our community,” Craven said. “My hope is that our students experience the joy of service and make it a way of life, both during their academic career at Southern and following graduation.”

A program will take place from 8:30-9 a.m. in Iles P.E. Center, followed by service projects from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Alumni who sign up in advance will receive a free T-shirt. Breakfast is provided during the morning program, and lunch will be served back in the gym from 1-2 p.m.

Visit our alumni sign-up form to see the available projects or contact the Christian Service office for more information at 423.236.2701 or

Homecoming Weekend 2023
Thank you to the nearly 900 alumni, attendees, former employees, and friends who came back to campus for Homecoming 2023. Alumni enjoyed the opportunities to reconnect, make new friends, and be inspired throughout the weekend.

“What I enjoyed most were the conversations and listening to the reflections of our alumni on their time as students,” noted university president Ken Shaw, PhD, ’80.

Pavel Goia, ’99, will be our worship services speaker for Homecoming Weekend 2024. Mark your calendars to join us on October 24-27, 2024! Enjoy several photos from this year’s events and watch for updates to our planning for 2024 at

Oral History Project
Southern has partnered with Publishing Concepts, Inc., to gather stories from alumni, attendees, and former faculty and staff to preserve our collective memories for future generations. Already more than 1,260 of you have called and shared stories – THANK YOU!

Besides recording these stories as audio files, the company will print a coffee table book that can be easily displayed and shared with friends. We encourage everyone who has had meaningful experiences at Southern to reach out and be included in the project. Learn more at, and to share your story, call 1.855.976.2516.

Please note that while you will have the opportunity purchase the book and other Southern items, a purchase is NOT required or expected for the inclusion of your story.

Giving Thanks
Whether you’ve made a gift, said a prayer, volunteered on campus, mentored a student, or encouraged someone to come to Southern, we appreciate you. Enjoy this video highlighting the ways gifts have been impacting our students.

Upcoming Events
Harp Ensemble Evensong | December 2
The School of Music’s Harp Ensemble will perform during the final minutes of the Sabbath under the direction of Ellen Foster. Saturday, December 2, at 5 p.m. in Collegedale Church.

Chattanooga Alumni Dessert Reception | December 2
Join us before the Christmas Pops Concert for hot drinks, donuts, and the opportunity to connect with fellow alumni in the area around Southern. We’d love to see you and hear how we can add value to your lives and create more meaningful opportunities to connect. Saturday, December 2, at 7 p.m. in the lobby of Hulsey P.E. Center.

Christmas Pops Concert | December 2
The School of Music will host to an evening of festive Christmas music by the Wind Symphony, Jazz Ensemble, and Steel Band. Saturday, December 2, at 8 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center.

Horn Ensemble Concert | December 4
The Horn Ensemble from the School of Music will perform holiday selections and other favorites. Monday, December 4, at 7:30 p.m. in Mabel Wood Hall’s Ackerman Auditorium.

Choral and Orchestral Christmas Concert | December 9
The Symphony Orchestra with the Bel Canto, Die Meistersinger, and I Cantori choirs from the School of Music is pleased to present Handel’s Messiah, conducted by Laurie Redmer Cadwallader. Saturday, December 9, at 4 p.m. in Collegedale Church.

Patrick Rice Organ Recital | January 14, 2024
Chattanooga native Patrick Rice, who studied organ at Southern and abroad and now serves as an assistant in the School of Music, will share a recital. Sunday, January 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church.

MLK Community Service Day | January 15, 2024
Southern’s 30th Annual MLK Service Day is set for January 15 beginning in Iles P.E. Center. Program: 8:30-9 a.m.; service projects: 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m; and lunch: 1-2 p.m.

American Spiritual Ensemble | January 20
Enjoy commanding music and spoken words offering hope and reconciliation in a free virtual experience as the captivating voices of American Spiritual Ensemble complement text from the book In Their Own Words: Slave Life and the Power of Spirituals on Saturday, January 20, at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church.

Paintings Exhibit Opening | January 25
The School of Visual Art and Design announces a showcase featuring works from painters Heath Montgomery and Donald Keefe, also an associate professor. Opening on Thursday, January 25, at 6 p.m. in the John C. Williams Art Gallery of Brock Hall, the exhibit is free and open to the public through February 23.

Nathan Laube Organ Recital | January 28 
The School of Music welcomes Nathan Laube, one of the world’s elite organ performers and pedagogue, on Sunday, January 28, at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church. An organ faculty member at the State University of Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart, Germany, Laube also serves as an international consultant in organ studies at the United Kingdom’s Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. 

IGNITE Live with Riley Clemmons ­| February 3
The School of Journalism and Communication presents IGNITE Live, a talk-show with special guest and Christian recording artist Riley Clemmons on Saturday, February 3, at 8 p.m. in Iles P.E. Center. Ticket pricing and other event details are available at or by calling 423.236.2330.

Concerto Concert | February 4
The Southern Adventist University Concerto Competition on Sunday, February 4, begins at 4 p.m. and showcases gifted young instrumentalists from across the region who auditioned and were chosen to present solos alongside the university’s full Symphony Orchestra. Held in Collegedale Church and directed by Laurie Redmer Cadwallader, this School of Music event is free and open to the public.

Alumni Association Tour: Europe | May 6-17, 2024
Join fellow alumni and friends of Southern Adventist University for a tour of beautiful sites and remarkable history in Holland, Belgium, France, and Germany. Visit to learn more, or reach out to Alumni Relations at 423.236.2827 or

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