Category Archives: News

Photo of the Week – Friday, September 4

September 4 – Special thanks to the volunteers from SCORE International in Chattanooga who came to campus this week to help clear fairways for Shorter’s new disc golf course, which will open later this fall. The course will follow Shorter’s walking trail and offer a fun recreational option for students.

SCORE International is a short-term mission organization founded in 1984 by Ron Bishop. The Chattanooga-based ministry was founded as a sports ministry but has grown into a full-service mission organization.

See more photos from their work day.

Photo by Josh Pilgrim, Campus Ministry Intern

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Shorter’s Chapter of Alpha Chi National Honor Society Names Officers

2015-2016 Alpha Chi Officers
Pictured are the 2015-16 officers for Shorter University’s chapter of Alpha Chi with university president Dr. Don Dowless, center. From left are: Rachel Butler, secretary; Stefanie Starkey, treasurer; Sarah Geil, president; and Elle Ryan, vice president.

Rome, Ga. — Four Shorter University students have been elected officers of the university’s chapter of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society.

Alpha Chi, whose national motto is “making scholarship effective for good,” combines high achievement in academics, good character, good models of citizenship and leadership. It is only open to top 10 percent of juniors and seniors academically. As a member, students have access to scholarships and the opportunity to present at the Alpha Chi national conference.

“Alpha Chi is a great opportunity for students to shine academically and to provide good service to the school and the community,” said Shorter’s Associate Provost and Alpha Chi sponsor Dr. Kathi Vosevich.

Sarah Geil, of Kennesaw, Ga., will serve as the Alpha Chi president. She is senior triple majoring in English, psychology and liberal arts. Elle Ryan, of Marietta, Ga., will serve as the vice president. She is a senior double majoring in history and liberal arts. Rachel Butler, of Eva, Ala., has been named the secretary. She is a biology pre-medicine major. Stefanie Starkey, of Summerville, Ga., has been chosen to be the treasurer. She is a senior majoring in criminal justice and English.

Vosevich said each officer is “fantastically qualified” and has shown great leadership and management qualities. Geil, a national student representative for Alpha Chi, was recently selected to be part of the national board for Alpha Chi. Through the organization, she has won a national scholarship and was a triple winner at the Alpha Chi conference last year. Ryan spent a year studying abroad at Oxford University and has shown great leadership through her work with Alpha Chi. Starkey, who spent a summer studying abroad in Austria, has taken the lead on projects such as a “Thousand Thanks” that sends thank you cards to American soldiers who are overseas. Butler, who Vosevich said jumped on the opportunity to become an Alpha Chi officer, has won major scholarships and awards at Shorter.

Each year, Shorter’s Alpha Chi chapter sponsors several service and academic events. In the past, they have held resume writing workshops, and last year, they adopted the Mitochondrial Foundation as their service project where they painted fingernails and raised $110 that they donated to the foundation.

The Shorter chapter’s activities have earned it recognition from the national organization as a STAR Chapter for the past six years. This means Shorter is in the top 10 percent of schools in the nation, which Vosevich calls “a rare privilege and opportunity.” She also said the president of the National Alpha Chi refers to Shorter as a model for other chapters.

Vosevich added that each year three to five students from Shorter take part in the national Alpha Chi Convention, and each year Shorter has had winners. In the past few years, they have had three major scholarship winners and four category winners. “For a small school, that is outstanding, because we compete with big schools and for us to do so well nationally is a statement of how good our academics are here at Shorter,” she said.

In addition, Vosevich has made presentations at the national convention two years in a row on how to have a good chapter and how to get more people involved. She serves as ad hoc member of Alpha Chi’s national committee.

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Learn more at www.shorter.edu.

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Shorter honors longtime faculty members through Legends Campaign

Rome, Ga. — Shorter University is recognizing four longtime faculty members for their dedicated service by establishing the Legends of Teaching Excellence Endowed Scholarship Campaign in their honor. The scholarships will honor the almost two centuries of combined teaching experience at Shorter University by Dr. Craig Allee (Science), Dr. Richard Cowan (Mathematics), Dr. Terry Morris (History/Policital Science), and Dr. Alan Wingard (Music/Fine Arts).

“Many minds have been positively influenced and many hearts have been forever touched by the life and work of these Christian scholars,” said Shorter University President Dr. Don Dowless. “By creating scholarships in the names of these Shorter Legends, we hope to continue the legacy of life and learning provided by these remarkable and dedicated individuals. We invite alumni and friends to partner with us in honoring these beloved professors and investing in the lives of future Shorter students through the Legends Campaign.”

For additional information or to contribute to the Legends Scholarship campaign, visit www.shorter.edu/legends-scholarships or call Shorter’s Office of University Advancement at 706-292-3905.

Dr. Craig Allee
Dr. Craig Allee

The Marshall Craig “Doc” Allee Endowed Scholarship is established in honor of Dr. Allee, a Rome native and 1963 graduate of Shorter College. Dr. Allee served as a member of Shorter’s science faculty from 1968 until his retirement in 2012. He was named dean of the School of Sciences and Mathematics in 2001 and was instrumental in establishing Shorter’s reputation as a leader in science education. Dr. Allee received numerous awards during his time at Shorter, including the 1989 Excellence in Teaching Award, the 1976 Faculty Spirit Award, the 1975 Shorter College Annual Alumni Association Faculty Award, and the 2010 President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and Scholarship. In addition to his teaching duties, he was dean of the Division of Student Services from 1976 to 1986.

“Dr. Allee was the best professor and boss anyone could ever ask for,” said Clint Helms, a 2007 graduate of Shorter who serves as a member of the university’s science faculty. “He is truly an inspiration and shining example of what it means to be a Shorter Hawk.”

Dr. Richard Cowan
Dr. Richard Cowan

The Richard E. Cowan Endowed Scholarship is established in honor of Dr. Cowan, a Rome native and a 1964 graduate of Shorter College. He served as a member of the Shorter faculty from 1969 until his retirement in 2015. He returned to Shorter in 1969 as chair of the Department of Mathematics and began teaching math classes. In 1979, he added a new role to his faculty responsibilities, serving as Shorter’s director of athletics until 1992. He was voted Athletic Director of the Year in 1992 while being honored that same year as Shorter’s Teacher of the Year. Respected nationally, Dr. Cowan became an invaluable resource to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) on eligibility issues and served as eligibility chair at the conference level from 1986 to 2012. In 2011, he became Shorter University’s first director of compliance, helping to successfully guide Shorter University through its transition to NCAA Division II membership. Dr. Cowan was inducted into Shorter’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.

“My fondest memory of Dr. Cowan is how encouraging he was in class,” recalls Nolan Smith, a 2011 graduate of Shorter. “Whenever a student would get an answer correct in lecture, he would shout, ‘Correct!’ and make a whistling sound by blowing into the cap of his [dry erase] marker. He encouraged us to learn and kept us entertained all in one.”

Dr. Terry Morris
Dr. Terry Morris

The Terry R. Morris Endowed Scholarship is established in honor of Dr. Terry Morris, a 1964 graduate of Shorter College who has served as a member of Shorter’s faculty for more than 50 years. Dr. Morris currently serves as Professor of History; he joined Shorter’s faculty in 1965. The recipient of the 1993 Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award, Dr. Morris has impacted generations of Shorter students through the classroom and through the university’s Honors Program, which he developed in 1985 and led until 2013.

Mack Parnell, a 2014 graduate of Shorter and former Student Government Association president, said, “When I first went to Shorter, I heard that Dr. Morris was a tough professor. This proved to be correct. He challenged me to be a better student, but more than that, he challenged me to be a better person.”

Dr. Alan Wingard
Dr. Alan Wingard

The Alan B. Wingard Endowed Scholarship is established in honor of Dr. Wingard, dean of the School of Fine and Performing Arts and professor of music at Shorter. A member of the faculty since 1973, Dr. Wingard has more than 40 years of choral teaching experience and has taught and conducted children’s, youth, adult, and senior adult choirs in the church, school, and community. He has conducted the Shorter Chorale, the Shorter Mixed Chorus, and the Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He conducted the Georgia Youth Chorale at Carnegie Hall in 1992 and 1993. He is Minister of Music at Garden Lakes Baptist Church in Rome, where he has served for more than 20 years.

“Since the day I met Alan Wingard as an 18-year-old freshman, I have always known that he believed in me,” said Cliff Duren, a 2001 graduate of Shorter. “He is not only a great teacher, but such a kind encourager. I could list many reasons why Shorter made such a lasting and positive impact on my life… and Alan Wingard would be at the heart of that list. A legend in his field and inspiringly loyal to the principles of Christian education, Dr. Wingard is so deserving of this endowment and so worthy of being remembered for his faithful service to Shorter University.”

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Shorter is online at www.shorter.edu.

 

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Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Coordinator Speaks to Sport Management Students

Rome, Ga. — To get ahead in the world of sports, “it’s not about who you know; it’s about who knows you.” That was the message Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Coordinator Amanda Dinkel wanted to drive home when she spoke to sport management students in Shorter University’s Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business on Monday, Aug. 31.

Atlanta Falcons Community Relations Coordinator Amanda DinkelDinkel, who graduated with a degree in sport management from North Carolina State University, became the Falcons community relations coordinator earlier this year. She told the students that she was excited to talk with them because she’d been where they were sitting. In her talk, she shared details of her journey from her role as a student to landing a full-time position with the Atlanta Falcons. The path included countless volunteer hours, a commitment to networking, and both unpaid and paid internships – with many completed after she graduated with a bachelor’s degree.

Her number one piece of advice to students was to get involved. “Reach out and ask if you can do things,” Dinkel said. While living in Raleigh, N.C., she frequently volunteered at sporting events in Charlotte, a two-and-a-half-hour drive from home. She attended the NFL’s combine conference and made a commitment to talking to anyone and everyone.

“I wound up talking to a lot of people, including the janitor and also to the vice president of marketing for the Kansas City Chiefs, who helped open the door for my internship with the Colts,” Dinkel said. “You never know who you are going to meet. You never know where you’re going to meet them. So always be professional and always be polite.”

Dinkle addressed a few myths related to college and careers, including the idea that a person’s career starts when he or she lands a job. “Your career started when you walked into Shorter University. All that you are involved in here can go on a resume – so get involved,” she said.

She also encouraged students to build relationships with professors and fellow students. “I get calls all the time from people I went to school with who want to know if there are any jobs open with the Falcons. If it is someone who I know will reflect well on me, I will put in a good word.” She explained that students should strive to be the kind of person for whom their professors and fellow students would want to offer a referral.

Dinkel described her role with the Falcons as “helping bridge the gap between the community and the team.” Her work includes planning numerous events to impact the community, including moms clinics and hospital visits. When asked why she selected community relations as a career, she explained, “We do a lot of heartfelt stuff. I may take a player to see a dying patient in a hospital and sit there and cry like a baby. But I also get to see the person in the hospital bed having the time of their life. When you have the money and you have the platform, it is great to give back. The Atlanta Falcons and Arthur Blank, the owner, are really committed to giving back.”

Dinkel said plans are already underway for a September 11 outreach in which Falcons will deliver pizzas to first responders as a way of saying thank you for serving. “A lot of times, these events don’t get picked up by the media, but that’s okay,” she said. “It’s about connecting the team to our community and making a difference.”

Heath Hooper, chair of the Department of Sport Management at Shorter University, said Dinkel’s visit was a wonderful opportunity for the university’s sport management students. “The Shorter University Sport Management program and students are blessed to have had the opportunity to have a speaker and Sport Management professional such as Amanda,” he said. “Our students are able to benefit from the knowledge, future volunteer/internship opportunities and the understanding of the path and career of a professional in her field of expertise.”

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Visit Shorter online at www.shorter.edu.

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Photo of the Week – Friday, August 28

August 28 – Among the new students arriving at Shorter University for the fall semester were 10 new international students who hail from eight countries.

The students posed for a picture following their welcome dinner hosted by Shorter’s Office of International Programs. Pictured from left to right are: Vice President of Student Affairs Corey Humphries, Athletic Director Kim Graham, Charlee Boxall (Australia), Jack Power (United Kingdom), Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Donald Martin, Oliver Laycock (United Kingdom), Mauricio Rancel (Venezuela), Rudi McWhirr (United Kingdom), Assistant Vice President of International Programs Linda Palumbo Olszanski, Jasurbek Tursunboyev (Uzbekistan), Campus Minister David Roland, and Jonathan Roland.

Not pictured are incoming students Mark Hanlon (Ireland), Paula Monserrat Oviedo Tellez (Paraguay), Gracel Peris Meneu (Spain), and Arnold Mutuse (Kenya).

Shorter currently has 55 international students who represent 24 different countries.

Photo by Dr. Dawn Tolbert, associate vice president for university communications

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Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Ann Cravero to present guest recital

 

Rome, Ga. — Acclaimed mezzo-soprano Ann Cravero will present a guest recital at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 31, in Shorter University’s Brookes Chapel. The program will also feature Shorter music faculty member Jerico Vasquez, piano. The event is open to the public at no charge.

Ann CraveroCravero has been heard on stages in Italy and the United States, including repeat performances at Weill Recital Hall in Carnegie Hall. Her recent engagements as a concert artist include performances at Minzu University in Beijing, China; Lyric Symphony Orchestra, California; The Bach Festival, Illinois; the Central Wisconsin Symphony Orchestra; the Alexander and Buono Festival, Italy; the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, Iowa; and the Overture Center, Wisconsin.

Cravero holds the Doctor of Musical Arts and Master of Arts from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor of Music Education from Bradley University. She serves as associate professor of voice at Drake University.

Dr. Jerico VasquezVasquez, who serves as artist-in-residence at Shorter, performed eight solo piano recitals during the fall of 2014 in Illinois, North Carolina and Georgia. He was Shigeru Kawai’s featured artist for the Piano Technicians Guild Convention in Atlanta and performed a recital at the Ayala Museum and a masterclass in Manila, Philippines. His schedule for this fall includes several chamber recitals and a concerto performance with the Rome Symphony Orchestra in October.

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Visit Shorter online at www.shorter.edu.

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Shorter University Welcomes New Faculty Members

Shorter University announces the addition of three new faculty members for the 2015-2016 academic year. Dr. Robert Stinchcomb is serving as Assistant Professor of Sport Management in Shorter’s Robert H. Ledbetter College of Business. David Webb is Assistant Professor of Mathematics in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. Also joining the College of Arts and Sciences is Veronica Tudor Allen, who is Biology Laboratory Instructor/Coordinator.

“We are extraordinarily blessed to have these three new faculty members who will serve in their respective academic departments,” said Shorter University Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Donald Martin. “During the interviewing process, I was impressed, not only by their academic credentials but more importantly by their call to the ministry of teaching and their commitment to Jesus Christ. Based on the scholarly preparation and personal testimonies of these new professors, I know that the learning experience of our students will be significantly enhanced as they interact with them. We offer a cordial welcome to the newest members of the Shorter family.”

Dr. Robert StinchcombDr. Robert Stinchcomb brings more than three decades’ experience in athletics at the university and high school levels to his sport management classroom. He most recently served as athletic director at Darlington School in Rome from 2008 to 2015. He had previously served as athletic director and head football coach at Eagle’s Landing High School in McDonough, Tifton High School, and Appling County High School in Baxley. He began his athletic career working with football operations and linebackers at Florida State University and went on to serve as outside linebackers coach at West Texas State University, assistant head coach for special teams at Samford University, recruiting coordinator and special teams assistant at Auburn University, and special teams coordinator for outside linebackers at the University of South Carolina.

Stinchcomb earned the Bachelor of Education degree in Physical Education from Bethel College, the Master of Science in Physical Education (Administration) from Florida State University, and the Doctor of Education in Sports Management (Leadership) from the United States Sports Academy. He serves on the executive committee of the Georgia High School Association and was a member of the executive board and past president of the Georgia Athletic Directors Association. He is a nationally certified master athletic administrator (CMAA) and won the Frank Kovaleski Award for Leadership in Professional Development in both 2012 and 2014. He was named region and classification Athletic Director of the Year in 2004, 2006, and 2010 and received the 2013 State Award of Merit from the Georgia Athletic Directors Association.

David WebbDavid Webb comes to Shorter from the University of North Carolina, where he has served as a teaching assistant, summer school instructor, and research assistant. He is researching partial differential equations and is completing a dissertation titled “Lifespan of a Nonlinear Cubic Dirac Equation in Two Space Dimensions.” Webb received a 2014 funding award from the National Science Foundation to support his participation in the Harmonic Analysis and Partial Differential Equations Conference.

Webb is a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics at the University of North Carolina. He holds a Master of Science degree in Mathematics from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and a Bachelor of Science with a major in Chemistry and minor in Mathematics from Berry College.

Veronica AllenVeronica Tudor Allen comes to Shorter from Floyd Medical Center, where she is a professional registered nurse in the neurosciences-stroke unit. She previously served as biology laboratory instructor and manager at Southern Polytechnic State University and as an adjunct instructor in biology at Chattahoochee Technical College. Her teaching experience also includes working as instructor and assistant professor at the University of the Philippines at Los Banos, assistant professor at the University of Philippines at Mindanao, and as a science teacher at Plantation Christian Academy and Grace Baptist Christian School. She served as a graduate research assistant at Oklahoma State University and a research aide at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines.

Allen completed the coursework requirements for a Ph.D. in Plant Science at Oklahoma State University. She holds the Master of Science in Genetics and the Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. She graduated from Georgia Highlands College with an Associate of Science in Nursing.

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christ-centered, four-year liberal arts university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). The university offers traditional bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and four master’s programs. Visit Shorter online at www.shorter.edu.

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Photo of the Week – Friday, August 21

August 21 – Opening Convocation on Wednesday, August 19, marked the official beginning of Shorter University’s 2015-2016 academic year. During the ceremony, Mrs. Emily Messer, Vice President for Enrollment Management, welcomed the returning students and introduced the incoming freshman class. The Class of 2019 includes, Mrs. Messer said, students from 65 counties in Georgia; 12 U.S. states including the bordering states in the Southeast as well as North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, and Wisconsin; and international students from five different countries.

To view other photos from Convocation, click Opening Convocation 2015 Photo Gallery.

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Shorter University Chorale members serve, sing, and sightsee on summer tour in South Africa

When Shorter University Director of Choral Activities Dr. Stefanie Cash began planning the Shorter Chorale’s summer tour in Cape Town, South Africa, she held fast to a prayer she had recited many, many times before.

“For four years, I had been praying that the lives of our students would be changed forever,” Dr. Cash, who also serves as Associate Professor of Music, said. “My heart’s cry was for their worldview to be completely altered from an international trip. By God’s grace, and through the many wonderful people we met and the experiences we shared, I believe that was accomplished.”

Chorale member with local children

At the start of the past academic year, Dr. Cash began carefully orchestrating the Chorale’s international trip, tailoring each selection the group performed during the year to culminate into a perfect mix of songs that would be sung on an entirely different continent before audiences who had experienced entirely different life events. As she worked to perfect the music, the then-upcoming international trip began to grow into a three-pronged tour that would span several townships of Cape Town. Months later, when the 21 Shorter University Chorale members, their accompanist Daniel Ng, and Dr. Cash boarded a plane bound for the South African port city, it was clear: They were on a mission to serve, sing, and see.

During the nine-day trip in May, Shorter Chorale members spent three and a half days working with Living Hope, a ministry aimed at reaching people for Christ by bringing hope and breaking the despair of poverty and disease. Through the students’ work with kids clubs and singing during church services and Bible studies, members of the Chorale experienced the distinct power of music and its ability to forge connections with people of different cultures, Dr. Cash said.

On the students’ first day working with Living Hope, they toured several of the organization’s ministry sites including a branch called Living Care. A chance encounter with an elderly woman being treated at the facility, which focuses on health care and ministering to the sick and dying, became a poignant experience for recent Shorter University graduate Ashley Poole.

“This sweet elderly women was so excited to see us. She came up to every member of the Chorale and learned each of our names. When she found out that we were a choir, she asked us to sing for her,” Poole remembers. “We sang the song that became our mantra while in Cape Town: ‘Come Unto Me,’ which was written by Shorter alumnus Cliff Duren.”

Duren’s song is based on Matthew 11:28-29, which says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” The song they had sung many times before suddenly took on a new meaning for the Chorale as they performed for just one person, she said.

“Every member of the Chorale was giving their all — not only as an act of worship to God, but also to bring hope and joy to this precious, elderly, sick woman,” Poole said. “I think this was one of the first times that everyone understood our purpose while in Cape Town. We were using our gifts and talents to share the love of Jesus and encourage her. It was a sweet moment that I know I will never forget.”

A couple of days later, after performing for a Living Hope support group for recovering drug and alcohol addicts, the Shorter Chorale again was moved by the reaction of those who heard them perform.

“On Tuesday, we sang for about 30 or 40 women at Bible study in Ocean View,” Dr. Cash said. “In preparation for going to South Africa, we learned different songs in several of the country’s native languages, and we sang for residents in their native languages. That particular township spoke Afrikaans.

“When we sang to people in their native languages, they went crazy, but I had not found a song in Afrikaans to take with us,” Dr. Cash continued. “So we asked them to teach us some songs in Afrikaans after we performed. We spent another 15 to 20 minutes learning Afrikaans songs and singing together about Christ. We could truly feel the Lord’s presence surrounding us.”

Then, Dr. Cash said, leaders opened the floor to anyone in the audience who wanted to say a few words. Four ladies quickly got up and began to speak Scripture over each member of the Shorter University Chorale. The women then took the time to talk to individual members of the choral group.

“They were very encouraging to our students about the gifts that God has given us and how we are using them for His kingdom,” she said. “It was a very precious time of encouragement.”

Poole, who begins her music education career as the choral director at Hiram High School this fall, said the opportunity to work alongside employees with Living Hope and sing for the ministry’s clients greatly impacted her own faith. She was challenged by the lives of those she met and was encouraged by the unconditional love employees of Living Hope showed to the people they served.

“It challenged me to serve sacrificially in my own community, just as they do in their communities,” she said. “I was reminded that, above all, we are called to grow where we are planted and serve the Lord wherever He places us. I was also reminded of how important it is for me to use my gifts for His glory.”

Poole said the Chorale had many memorable experiences in South Africa that helped remind her of the power of music. One such experience happened in a place that was once filled with pain and despair: Robben Island. Located in Table Bay, off the west coast of Cape Town, the island was home to political prisoners dating back to the 17th Century. Its most notable prisoner was former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Picture of Nelson Mandela at prison

As members of the Chorale made their way through the buildings of the desolate prison, imagining what it must have been like to be held for an uncertain period of time away from family and friends, their tour guide recounted his own experience as a prisoner on the island during the Apartheid movement, Poole said. Listening to his personal stories, it only seemed fitting to sing a prayer for peace in the dining hall, which was the last stop of the tour. They asked their guide what his native language was, and began to sing in Zulu.

“Ukuthula kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ ukuthula
(Peace in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings peace)

Usindiso kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ usindiso
(Redemption in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings redemption)

Ukubonga kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ ukubonga
(Praise in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings praise)

Ukukholwa kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ ukukholwa
(Faith in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings faith)

Ukunqoba kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ ukunqoba
(Victory in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings victory)

Induduzo kulo mhlaba wezono (Aleluya) igazi likaJesu linyenyez’ induduzo
(Comfort in this world of sin (Halleluja) the blood of Jesus brings comfort)”

“We sang ‘Ukuthula’ for him, which is a Zulu prayer for peace,” Poole said. “The song was especially appropriate, given our surroundings and the history that it represented. As we sang the song, we began to understand how desperately these people — and our world — need peace. The reaction of our tour guide made the impromptu performance even more meaningful. He was so touched that we knew a song in his language that he thanked us with tears in his eyes.”

Such transformational moments, which Dr. Cash describes as “God moments,” were brought up each day. She said listening to their stories further reinforced that her prayer was being answered.

“To watch them talking about story after story where they were impacted was incredible,” Dr. Cash said. “You go on these trips wanting to serve and wanting to be a blessing to others, and most of the time it’s us that comes back completely changed — which was my prayer for four years. That is an amazing feeling, and I am so blessed to have been a part of this experience with these students.”

Poole said that she has had the opportunity to go on several international mission trips, each of which has reminded her that although we may all speak different languages, have different cultural backgrounds, and have different stories, we serve the same God.

“I was touched again and again by the worshipful experiences that we had with the South African people,” she said. “The fact that music was the means to close these gaps changed my worldview.”

On their last night in Cape Town, the Shorter Chorale performed a joint concert with the University of Cape Town. It was to be the seniors’ final concert as members of the Shorter Chorale. They had seen and done so much over the course of the days they had spent in South Africa, and they were exhausted.

“When you’re tired, you don’t sing in tune,” Dr. Cash said. “A lot of the students told us later that they really didn’t want to do go on, that they were done, but we chatted about how this was our ministry, how we needed to do this for God. We knew we had an audience in which many of them may not know Him, so we needed to share our music and sing about God through the texts that we had.”

The Chorale began with their African pieces, with the intent to transition into to their English selections.

“We started with a song in the language known as Xhosa. We started singing and the audience just went crazy, and as soon as the audience got excited and began ululating, saying, “La, la, la, la, la, la!” and clapping and cheering, everything changed with our students,” Dr. Cash said. “They were so energized by the response of our crowd, so we sang the other African piece that we had. Again, there was such a strong response that I decided to change the program right then and there to do all four African pieces. The last one was ‘Tshotsholosa,’ their unofficial national anthem, so I asked the audience to sing along with us.”

Poole described that moment as one of her most exciting performances.

“When we began to sing this piece, the audience and the University of Cape Town choir stood to their feet and began to sing with us,” she said. “The energy in the room was electric, and that was the most fun that I have ever had singing.

“As is tradition, the Chorale ended our portion of the concert with ‘When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,’ she went on to say. “When the song began, everyone in the choir began to hold hands, a lasting symbol that although this was the last time that the choir would exist with these particular people, we are still family, bonded by our love for Christ, music and each other.”

As the connection that music can have across cultures and languages again emerged, Dr. Cash’s prayer was answered. Worldviews were changed, not only for Shorter’s students, but for many people who were in the room that evening singing together in harmony.

“That was a very powerful moment,” Dr. Cash said. “Even our bus driver said it was evident that Christ was a part of our music, which made a difference to him, which made a difference to us. We were part of something bigger, and my prayer was answered.”

SEE A GALLERY OF IMAGES FROM THE TRIP

Founded in 1873, Shorter University is a Christian university committed to excellence in education. The Princeton Review annually includes Shorter on its list of best Southeastern Colleges. Shorter University is a member of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Shorter offers traditional bachelor’s degree program in 48 areas of study, online courses and degree programs, undergraduate programs for working adults, and master’s degrees. Shorter is online at www.shorter.edu.

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Photo of the Week – Friday, August 14

August 14 – The Hill was buzzing with activity on Friday, August 14, as incoming freshmen arrived for Move In Day. The students and their families brought cars, trucks, and trailers loaded with gear to outfit the students’ new homes in Shorter’s residence halls. Many families were thankful for the assistance provided by returning Shorter students and local churches who spent the morning offering help unloading vehicles. Here, sophomore Cheyenne Frady, of Ellijay, and other Shorter students help unload one new student’s belongings.

For more photos from Move In Day and the Vendor Fair, click here.

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