The Courage to Make a Difference
While Sherry Campbell, ’11, was working as a social worker at Hospice of Chattanooga, she realized there was no place for those who are homeless to receive hospice care.

“I kept seeing this need and wished someone would do something about it,” says Campbell. “I never thought of doing something myself though. I was the least likely person.”

She’d earned her undergrad in social work at a state school and decided to take her master's degree at Southern. It renewed her. “I credit the Southern graduate program for giving me the courage to take action.”

Campbell stepped out in faith to start Welcome Home of Chattanooga. “God called me to do this, and it was a journey from 2011 until we opened our doors in 2015, she says. But once I told God I’d do it, things began falling into place.”

Campbell rented a building in the Brainerd area that could house five individuals who needed hospice care. For the first six months, though there were many volunteers, she was the only employee and lived in the facility. People who had no home and needed hospice care were able to receive it, because they had rooms they could claim as theirs for as long as they needed end-of-life care.

As the program grew, Welcome Home was able to purchase a five-acre property with three homes on it. Doubling the number of people that could be housed, services also were expanded into cancer respite with four rooms dedicated to enabling homeless individuals to receive needed treatment without the limiting risk factors that come with homelessness.

Welcome Home ChattanoogaAfter the expansion, one of the hospice residents, Mark, who had only a few weeks to live, was able to get a second opinion and receive treatment. Three years later, he’s living a better quality of life—this video tells his story.

Through her organization, Campbell has learned that one of the most critical components to the successful impact of her work is building community. “Here we’re all taking care of each other and showing love for each other—that’s what we should be doing all around the world,” she says. “Community is so important for healing, knowing you’re not alone.”

Welcome Home is very intentional about fulfilling this need. All the residents have dinner together every evening, and they even hold vigil when one of their housemates is passing away.

Volunteers are also a crucial piece of their community. “Dinner Club” members take turns bringing in supper once a month, and the “Go-Go Club” transports residents with cancer to their appointments. The volunteers spend time with residents, bringing cookies, keeping vigil, visiting, and more.

Campbell also credits nature for the healing it brings to the residents, and Welcome Home’s property has allowed the staff to create beautiful, peaceful spaces for clients to relax and experience God’s healing through nature.

Carrie (Garlick) Harlin, ’01, joined the team as director of development in 2023 after moving back to the Chattanooga area—though she’d never imagined working in development or for an organization like this. “I’d been working in preschools and thought I would keep doing so, but this job opportunity kept popping up. I finally said, ‘This is meaningful; let me look into it.’”

The whole staff at Welcome Home is passionate about their greater mission, which is to end homelessness. “Our goal is to put ourselves out of a job,” says Campbell. They partner with social workers and local organizations to help residents who graduate from cancer respite find housing, get plugged into a new community—as many have been part of a community on the streets and having that connection is crucial for their success—and gain skills that will help them to maintain a home for the long haul.

They also partner with other organizations actively working to end homelessness. “We’re pushing back against the breakdown of community,” says Campbell. “It leads to death, poverty, mental illness, and drug abuse, and I believe it is the origin of homelessness. Some people have found a community on the streets and don’t want a house.”

As they’re working to achieve that goal, Welcome Home will continue to provide safe, comfortable, and peaceful housing and community for those who have been homeless and are receiving end-of-life care. “This is a space for people to come for love at the end of their lives, and I’m grateful for the many volunteers, partners, and donors who believe in it,” says Campbell. “We all live a better life when we spend some moments contemplating death, because it gives us perspective. I’m more apt to tell people I love and forgive them and enjoy life.”

Harlin is looking forward to continuing to impact more lives as Welcome Home doubles its capacity in 2025. “I’m happiest doing work that’s for others,” she says.

Learn more about Welcome Home of Chattanooga.

-Staff Report

Papa Johns Partnership Brings in $32,000 for Student Scholarships
Southern’s partnership with Papa Johns provides students, alumni, and friends with discounted pizza and has resulted in more than $32,000 in contributions toward an endowed scholarship. 

According to Lucas Patterson, associate director of strategic partnerships on Southern’s Advancement team, the conversation about collaborating with a local business began in 2012 when a former Student Association (SA) senator pitched the idea. Southern then partnered with the Papa Johns franchise group, Papa Johns Pizza of Chattanooga.

In a February 15 press release emailed to the student newspaper, Papa Johns of Chattanooga stated that the franchise group began the partnership to provide students with a way to order pizza at a discounted rate while also giving back to the university through the scholarship fund.

The pizza franchise did this by implementing a promotion code system. Seventeen store locations that span from Athens, Tennessee, to Rome, Georgia, participate in the program. Fifteen percent of all online purchases that use the codes SAU999 or SAU33 are gifted to Southern. Members of the Southern community can get a large, one-topping pizza for $9.99 using SAU999 or 33% off their order with SAU33. 

Papa Johns Scholarship MoneyThese codes are promoted on campus screens in the Bietz Center for Student Life and flyers put into students’ mailboxes once a year. “I’ve used the discount codes four to five times so far, and I’m pretty happy with the money I’ve saved,” said freshman computer science major Justin Roberts.

While Southern receives funds for scholarships from other companies and organizations, the partnership with Papa Johns of Chattanooga stands out to Patterson. “I’m not aware of any that are quite as tied to commerce as this one is,” he said. “It’s like, ‘You buy from us, and we’ll give back to you.’ I think they’re really unique in that way.”  

The money received from Papa Johns goes toward the SA Senate Leadership/Merit Endowed Scholarship, which currently hold funds exceeding $32,000. The stated purpose of endowment is to award monies to individuals of the student body who show contributive and impactful leadership roles on and off campus.

Since 2016 when the endowment reached its starting point of $25,000, scholarships have been awarded to 14 different students, and the total amount of scholarship money has exceeded $12,000. The principle continues to grow, thanks to the continued use of promo codes and gifts from donors.

-Eliana Morales, sophomore mass communications major

McKee Library Renovation Enhances Study Spaces
Southern celebrated the recent renovations to update the entryway and increase useable space throughout the McKee Library. The improvements include an enclosed front entrance, a windowed reading room on the second floor, and remodeling the third floor with new spaces for the Tutoring Center, the Writing Center, the Center for the Study of 19th Century America, and an additional classroom.

“This dramatically improved the physical presence of the McKee Library, which is a legacy building for the university,” Marty Hamilton, associate vice president for Financial Administration, shares. “Students are very active in these spaces, and the addition really reflects the appropriate modernization of the library.”

Fred Turner, Southern’s corporate architect, shares that he wanted to transform the building to fit today’s modern campus while capturing the classical feel associated with the university and its grounds.

“It’s a beautiful structure. I enjoy all the windows at the front where you can look out at the trees,” says Jack McKee, whose family was instrumental in supporting the original effort to build the facility in 1970.

Library Space Dedication“The renovations are beautiful, especially the reading room. I would love to hang out in there where it’s nice and quiet,” says Chris McKee, ’88. “There are so many distractions bombarding us constantly, and it’s really nice that the students have a quiet place like that to reflect and read.”

“I love how the design allows sunlight to not only enter the new vestibule and the upstairs study room but also continue through another glass wall to illuminate the entire open space within the library,” shares Rusty McKee, ’87. “The cool thing is that Adventists, more than most, recognize the sun as a beautiful reminder of Jesus’ fourth day of creation and the nearing Sabbath when we have unrushed, quality time with Him, our Creator Savior.”

Deyse Bravo, director of McKee Library, shares that the library’s mission is to equip leaders and learners through instruction, resources, and spaces for lifelong academic and professional growth. “Our library has undergone a remarkable transformation, aligning perfectly with our mission,” she says. “The new spaces provide an environment that fosters learning, creativity, and exploration, with enhanced services that are tailored to meet the diverse needs of our students and faculty.”

A dedication ceremony attended by the McKee family and key university employees involved with the project was held on February 9 to celebrate the project’s completion. The renovations are part of the Campaign for Excellence in Faith and Learning, which began in 2016 and included construction of the Bietz Center for Student Life and increased endowments for scholarships and research, among other undertakings.

-Becky Brooks, ’03, editorial manager

Gearing up for Homecoming 2024
Plans for each year’s Homecoming Weekend begin taking shape more than a year and a half ahead of time, and Southern’s Alumni Relations team already has several events in place for this October 24-27.

Pavel Goia, ’99, editor for Ministry Magazine and associate ministerial secretary for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists is the featured speaker for both worship services. He travels around the world sharing the gospel, and his story is chronicled in the book One Miracle After Another: The Pavel Goia Story by Gregg Budd.

Pavel GoiaThis Homecoming Weekend marks several milestones for Southern. Alumni and attendees are welcome to celebrate 100 years since Lynn Wood Hall was first occupied, 60 years since the School of Health and Kinesiology was founded, and 50 years since the Die Meistersinger men’s chorus began.

The weekend will also provide opportunities to attend a variety of workshops on health, leadership, artificial intelligence, cooking, and more! Traditional events include the Kick-off Banquet, departmental gatherings, Student Missions vespers, delicious meals, the car show, the Alumni Golf Tournament, and other classics.

Mark your calendars now to be on campus October 24-27, and visit for the latest news. Registration opens in early summer.

-Staff Report

Southern Adventist University’s Chemistry Department Collaborates with McKee Foods
In late September of this school year, McKee Foods Corporation contacted Southern’s Chemistry Department for a potential collaboration. Southern’s chemistry lab has some equipment and instrumentation that McKee Foods does not have, according to Bruce Schilling, PhD, chemistry professor. “We had them come over and tour the chemistry department, and some of us went over there and toured the analysis laboratories at McKee Foods,” Schilling shares.

Jared Freeman, ’23, an analytical chemist at McKee Foods and alum of Southern, said the equipment at Southern can help them troubleshoot and find issues. “The instrumentation that Southern has is incredibly helpful for troubleshooting, that’s the big thing,” he says. “We have an issue, we don’t know why, and we can take it over here [Southern].”

Brent Hamstra, PhD, professor and chair of the Chemistry Department, feels that this collaboration with McKee Foods is a great opportunity for students to see how chemistry works in the real world. Hamstra shares that chemistry students sometimes have a hard time realizing that a chemistry degree is beneficial for a lot of jobs; going into medicine is not the only option. Hamstra believes that students hearing about chemists from McKee Foods using Southern’s instrumentation for real-life problems will help open their eyes to more options.

Chemistry DepartmentMcKee Foods offers an internship to a chemistry major each school year. Freeman was the first chemistry major from Southern to intern, and Nathan Dickerhoff, a current senior chemistry major, is currently interning at McKee Foods. Hamstra shares that the interns have had great opportunities to see how chemistry can be applied off-campus and used to solve problems outside of the classroom. This also gives students the awareness that there are jobs available after graduation, which is important to both students and their parents, says Hamstra.

McKee Foods has visited Southern’s chemistry lab several times to test and receive data. Freeman notes that since Southern has several professors with doctoral degrees, there is a lot of knowledge combined when McKee Foods chemists come to the university’s lab.

Southern’s Chemistry Department and McKee Foods have talked about the potential for students to take a field trip to the McKee Foods labs next year to learn more about how chemists work in the field. The two also agree on continuing the collaboration in the future because it benefits both sides.

-Alexis Dewey, junior mass communication major

Southern Launches Aspiring Teachers’ Clubs at Adventist Academies
To inspire the next generation of Seventh-day Adventist teachers, Southern piloted the nation’s first Aspiring Teachers’ Club (ATC) for students at both Georgia-Cumberland Academy and Collegedale Academy in 2022. Since then, it has grown into a valuable resource within the Southern Union Conference for high school students who are interested in a career in education.

Melanie DiBiase, ’83 and ’15, associate professor of education at Southern, describes the purpose of the Union-wide ATC program as “pulling back the curtain on teaching,” empowering high school students to jumpstart their journeys as educators and learn about a misunderstood career.

“We all go through school, so everybody sees what a teacher does,” DiBiase says. “However, most kids don’t fully understand the role and mission of an educator. They don’t realize that teachers make thousands of tough decisions some days.”

As members of an ATC, academy students have opportunities to shadow and assist professional teachers, engage in pre-professional development club meetings, lead out in school worships and mini lessons, assist in coaching sports teams, and attend University education department events. They also tutor younger students at nearby Adventist elementary schools; meet with sponsors to discuss tenets of effective instruction, such as social-emotional learning and growth mindset; and interact with denominational conference leaders to learn about careers within the Adventist school system.

“Aspiring Teachers’ Clubs allow kids to test-drive teaching and build relationships with valuable mentors early. It’s a way to make them feel seen and wanted, to elevate the profession of teaching,” DiBiase says.

Aspiring Teachers ClubDiBiase hopes the ATC will not only help high school students realize God’s calling for their lives but also create a pipeline of quality Adventist educators who will bless young learners for years to come. “We want the students who enter our programs to be ready to embrace the rigors of college and the journey to becoming a teacher. We want to fill the Seventh-day Adventist teacher pipeline with high-quality, enthusiastic educators who are ready to successfully enter the classroom on day one of their careers,” DiBiase says.

“One of our church’s greatest ministries is our school system, and for children in our schools, one of the most important people in their lives is their teacher,” DiBiase says. “Every single year, our students deserve the very best. That’s true at each level of education, from college to kindergarten. That’s why we need to support teachers, even if they’re still in high school and considering a career in education. We need to help young people build tools that transform them into teacher-disciples for Christ.”

Jordan Smith, high school senior and Collegedale Academy’s ATC president, said, “The Aspiring Teachers’ Club has connected me with teachers who care about my future and are willing to help me achieve my goals. My experience in this club has convinced me that I want to be a teacher just like my incredible mentors.”

Read the full story on Southern’s webpage.

-Amanda Blake, senior journalism major

Upcoming Events
Benjamin McArthur Endowed Lecture feat. Karen Swallow Prior: April 3
Southern Adventist University’s honors program, Southern Scholars, is pleased to welcome Karen Swallow Prior, PhD, as presenter for the second annual Benjamin McArthur Endowed Lecture. Her presentation is titled "Conversion: What Can the Evangelical Movement Teach Us about Religious Transformation?" This installment of the lecture series will take place on Wednesday, April 3, at 7 p.m. in Mabel Wood Hall’s Ackerman Auditorium. Learn more at

Giving Day: April 3-4
Southern is celebrating 10 years of Giving Days. You’re invited to join the celebration by making a gift that will impact Southern students. From supporting scholarships to expanding learning opportunities, or even impacting basic needs there is a project where you can make a difference. Gifts of all sizes make an impact when we come together. With your help, we can continue to shape characters for eternity. Enjoy this year’s video and visit to get involved.

Illuminate Conference for Art and Faith: April 4-5
Explore the intersections of art and faith through presentations, workshops, and conversations with session leaders and performers from around the country April 4-5 on Southern’s campus. Faculty presenters from sister colleges in the area will join Southern’s own professors to showcase inspiring topics about literature, music, art, and more. Visit for schedule and registration information. Our alumni discount is still available!

Andrew Peterson Concert: April 5
Southern is hosting a concert by talented Christian musician Andrew Peterson (“Is He Worthy?” “Be Kind to Yourself”) at Collegedale Community Church on Friday, April 5. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the concert begins at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 online and $25 at the door. For more information, visit

Alumni Event in Nashville: April 6
Fellowship with fellow alumni and attendees for Sabbath lunch after enjoying Southern’s Wind Symphony during the worship services (9/11:30 a.m.) at Madison Campus Church. Lunch begins in the church fellowship hall at 1:30 p.m. on Sabbath, April 6. RSVP at

Wind Symphony Performance in Nashville: April 6
Southern’s Wind Symphony will be playing for the worship services at the Madison Campus Church on Sabbath, April 6. All are welcome to enjoy the music and message at 9 or 11:30 a.m.

Gym-Masters Home Show: April 6-7
Southern Adventist University’s School of Health and Kinesiology invites the community to two home show performances by the Gym-Masters acrobatic team in Iles P.E. Center on campus. Under the theme “A Night at the Movies,” the team will perform on Saturday, April 6, at 9 p.m., with a repeat matinee on Sunday, April 7, at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and will be available at the front desk of Hulsey Wellness Center, which is adjacent to Iles. For more information, contact Southern’s School of Health and Kinesiology at 423.236.2593.

Symphony Orchestra Concert: April 21
The School of Music presents the Symphony Orchestra, directed by Laurie Redmer Cadwallader, performing Jongen’s Symphonie Concertante, op. 81 and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 4. on Sunday, April 21, at 7:30 p.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. For streaming options and additional information, visit

Horn Ensemble Concert: April 22
The School of Music invites the community to a Horn Ensemble Concert, under the direction of Gordon James, on Monday, April 22, at 7:30 p.m. in Mabel Wood Hall’s Ackerman Auditorium. Two student members will be conducting music by renowned composers that spans from classics to modern pieces. For streaming options and additional information on this free event, visit

Sacred Choral Concert: April 27
Choral ensembles from the School of Music will perform under the direction of Gennevieve Brown-Kibble on Saturday, April 27, at 4 p.m. in Collegedale Church of Seventh-day Adventists. The program will include a tribute to composer Alice Parker and highlights from the repertoire I Cantori has prepared for a upcoming concert tour to Spain.  For streaming options and additional information, visit

Jazz Ensemble Concert: April 27
The School of Music presents “Happy Birthday, Duke,” a Jazz Ensemble tribute to pianist, composer, and bandleader Ellington. Directed by Ken Parsons, the concert in Mabel Wood Hall’s Ackerman Auditorium on Saturday, April 27, will begin at 9 p.m. and feature Satin Doll and Mood Indigo, among other selections, plus two music majors as vocalists. For streaming options and additional information on this free event, visit

Academic Summer Camps: June 9-12
Each June, Southern Adventist University offers a selection of academic summer camps hosted in-person on our 1,300-acre campus. High school students are invited to explore or sharpen potential career interests before even starting college in this immersive learning experience. Each 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. Visit to learn more and sign up.

WELLkids: June 17-21, July 8-12, and July 15-19
Keep your kids moving and exploring the great outdoors this summer with “WELLkids in the Wild,” a day-camp program on Southern’s campus. Each week-long session offers outdoor adventures facilitated by the university’s Adventure Programming staff. Activities include rock climbing, hiking, canoeing, ropes course, caving, rafting, and more. Spots for ages 10-16 are limited! For fees and other information or to register, visit

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