Southern Adventist University Showcases Acrobatic, Animation, and Orchestral Talent at Annual Gala


The second A Taste of Southern event hosted by Southern Adventist University was held September 28 at The Chattanoogan Hotel on Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga. Nearly 350 local business and organization professionals in attendance experienced a glimpse of what students and employees enjoy every day on the Collegedale campus.

Nearly $130,000 was raised, with proceeds adding to the university’s endowed scholarship for first-generation college students that was started at last year’s inaugural gala. Southern alum Rebecca Hogan of Russ Blakely & Associates shared her experience as a first-generation student and invited the audience to support others like her. Some of the 380 current students at Southern whose parents do not have four-year degrees will benefit from the new funds next school year.

Guests watched a live, outdoor routine from the university’s Gym-Masters acrobatic team and also saw animation unfold in action as presented by the School of Visual Art and Design. President Ken Shaw reported that Southern “offers the only animation program of its kind in the area.” 

Elected officials in attendance included Tennessee Senator Bo Watson, who gave the invocation prior to dinner. In addition to performances by Southern’s Symphony Orchestra and renowned guest tenor David Phelps, the evening featured a silent auction with donated items ranging from a pottery experience to a foursome at Council Fire Golf Course and a baseball bat signed by record-breaking star Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves.

“Our goal for the annual event is two-fold,” said Ellen Hostetler, vice president for Advancement. “First, to welcome our community into the Southern experience; and second, to raise scholarship dollars for a unique group of students on our campus.” 

Part of the Chattanooga region for more than 130 years, Southern has been ranked among “Best Colleges” for 22 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report and also slated as the second most diverse regional university in the South.

Sponsors for this year’s event included the Irvin and Evea Bainum Foundation, Morning Pointe Senior Living, San Sebastián Development, SouthEast Bank, Southern Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Chattanooga Times Free Press, and other community partners.

Visit to view photos of the event.

The views and opinions of campus guests do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Southern Adventist University. An individual's or group's invitation to speak or present on campus should not be regarded as a university endorsement of their philosophies and beliefs.