Good News – August 2018

New Students Welcomed to Southern Nazarene University

A strong class of Freshmen and transfer students arrived on campus for Fall New Student Institute – five days filled with tradition and orientation to college life at SNU. Each new student was connected with upperclassmen, faculty, staff and other peers in a family group setting, encouraging new friendships and establishing relationships with their faculty and student mentors.

NSI begins with a University Fair and is highlighted by the tradition of the Candlelighting Ceremony with a welcome from President Keith Newman. A Sunday morning Dedication Service is always a moving time of family unit prayer, and the day concludes with a faculty mentor home visit after parents and family have departed. Throughout the next several days, prior to the beginning of classes, they take on service projects around the community, are hosted for a western-theme party called Southern Supper and are guided through any remaining steps or needs addressed before classes.

A long-standing and innovative program of SNU, New Student Institute continues to be a highly effective way to make Freshmen and transfer students feel welcome, known and cared for. Through NSI, they learn from the experience of faculty, staff and student mentors, the keys to making the most of their journey at SNU.

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Veteran SNU Professor Accepts Chaplaincy Assignment

When the Professional and Graduate Studies (PGS) department at Southern Nazarene University began the search for a Chaplain to their adult students, they looked no further than the campus building next door. Dr. Doug Samples, a veteran professor in the School of Theology and Ministry, with over twenty years of service to SNU, as well as twenty plus years in pastoral ministry, began an added assignment on July 1, 2018. His mission is to offer spiritual care to SNU’s 1,100 plus adult learners – in much the same way that Dr. Blair Spindle, SNU’s Campus Pastor, offers spiritual guidance and support to our traditional students.

Uniquely, adult students are never in the same place at the same time, except in small groups, so it became immediately clear to Dr. Samples that he would need to create methods to bridge this gap. In order to introduce himself, and begin to build relationships with these students, Samples is attending many of the sixty to seventy “Organizational Night” meetings that are held throughout the year as each Group begins their academic program. He is also making himself available to students as they arrive on campus for evening classes which are spread from Monday through Thursday each week. Future plans are for production of a video introduction for use with programs that are completely online, and an online portal for students to confidentially submit prayer requests and receive a personal response.

Partnering with the Alumni Relations office, Samples is finding reasons to relate to students as they experience life events, such as presenting a gift with the ‘future Alumni’ logo to a parent of a new baby. Showing personal interest and care for these students who have minimal contact with campus life – but who are genuinely proud to be part of the SNU family – is the primary mission of the Chaplain to Professional and Graduate Students, according to Samples. He feels, as well, that his connecting to students will have a positive influence on the efforts of the PGS staff to recruit for significant growth in the future.

When asked about his acceptance of the assignment, Samples said, “Although I am glad to still be serving half-time in the School of Theology and Ministry, teaching and directing the intern program, I am excited for the possibilities that this new position opens up for me.” He added, “There are limitless opportunities to offer grace and peace to our PGS learners, many of whom are spiritually homeless – what a divine privilege!”

To learn more about completing your undergraduate degree, earning a degree online, or exploring options for a graduate degree – visit

Football Standout Reese Carlson Answers His Call to Ministry

It’s a long journey from the Pacific Northwest to central Oklahoma, even for those who take the most direct route. But for some, it’s more about the ultimate goal than about the time and distance it takes to get there. For Reese Carlson, a senior Theology major from Gig Harbor, Washington, the journey to Southern Nazarene University was mapped out by God, and anything but direct.

Carlson was attending the University of Montana on a football scholarship – a level of play most athletes only dream of attaining – but a higher calling came in the midst of it all when the pastor of the church he was attending in Missoula asked Reese if he would serve as their youth director. He fell in love with it – and knew he was called to ministry. Although he loved his school, coaches, and teammates, Reese made the hard decision to transfer to a university where he could study for the ministry – and, ideally, still play football at a highly competitive level.

But where? The answer came through the wise counsel of mentors and a diligent search which led him to Coach Andy Lambert, and Southern Nazarene University. Because Coach Lambert places such a high priority on Christian values and personal integrity, he knew the program would be a great fit for him, Reese said – but what surprised him, he added, was how challenging and engaging his Theology coursework has been, and how invested each professor is in his life – encouraging and inspiring him to do his best work in preparation for a life of service and sharing the Gospel.

And Carlson didn’t come alone – his girlfriend, Alison, transferred to SNU from Oregon State University and the now-Mrs. Carlson is a valued member of the SNU Track Team and is majoring in Nursing. Reese is set to graduate from SNU in December of 2018, and plans to pursue a Master’s degree in a ministry program while Alison continues her studies at SNU.

The journey so far has been anything but direct – but, as Reese said, “When we follow God, he gives us direction, purpose and a specific plan.”

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