Category: 2017-2018


JUFL mourns loss of graduate

Cassie Pack. Staff Photo from Kissimmee Christian Church.

KISSIMMEE— JUFL graduate Cassie Pack was killed in a car accident in Kissimmee, FL Sunday. The university mourns her loss and grieves for her family, friends and husband Richard.

Pack was a 2016 JUFL graduate and worked at Kissimmee Christian Church as the office assistant and elementary coordinator. Pack touched many lives in the Kissimmee community and throughout her ministry.
On the Kissimmee Christian Church staff page, Pack’s response to ‘What gets you most excited about serving in the church?’ included:

“For me it is the fact that we are impacting people’s lives on an eternal level. No matter how big or small the task, everything we do here affects the spiritual development of a person.  And that is pretty exciting if you ask me!”

The university asks that all continue to lift up her family and friends in prayer during this time.

There will be a celebration of life service for Pack 1 p.m. Saturday at Kissimmee Christian Church.

One of the many things Pack is remembered for is her saying, “Remember me how I was.”

In honor of this saying, the church would like to honor Pack by remembering her how she was, as she would always say.

To share any photos of her for the service, use #RememberMeHowIWas_CP on Instagram.

It is requested that attendees bring a wildflower or sunflower to leave for the family at the end of the service.

There is also a GoFundMe account set up to offset funeral expenses Here


JUTN’s First Generation Students gathering scholarship fund donations

KNOXVILLE—First-Generation students is a group dedicated to providing assistance and resources to those who are the first in their families to attend college. They work extensively on Johnson University Tennessee campus to see that their fellow students succeed.

Adam Ruvo’s official title may be president, but he sees his role differently than what he says most would associate with that title.

“How I like to think about my job is as more of an encourager,” Ruvo said. “Making sure that as a group we stay together, not just saying I’m the president and I’m going to do things by myself but seeing how we can incorporate everyone in this group.”

Ruvo works with their sponsor, Kelly Estes, to bring about change and community amongst the first-generation students at Johnson University Tennessee.

“I try to give ideas to Kelly. Kelly and I work closely together on what we can do differently. Whether it’s that week or that semester, we work on how we can better the group, and how we can impact more people.”

One of the many challenges faced by first- generation students is finances. Estes and the students have been raising funds with Johnson professors and other organizations to be able to provide scholarships to deserving students.

“It’s really cool, because we didn’t even want this to happen — it just did,” Ruvo explained. “Every year they allocate funds at chapel or they’ll talk to professors about giving to a certain organization. For the past couple of years, it’s been the first gen group.”

Ruvo said the goal is to have enough money to help financially support the first gen students who are having a hard time getting started at the university.

“We’ll have surveys for when you’re first coming in to evaluate first gen college students,” Ruvo said. “That way we’ll have those checklists, so that when we look at it we can say, this student really needs it. Whether it’s a bad background, or some reason that we really feel that we need to give that person a scholarship, we can do that.”

The first-generation students also hold regular events throughout the semester to help their students adapt to college life.

“Every semester we have the registration event for those who need help with registering for classes,”
Ruvo said. “We’ll have the head of the registrar’s office come in and talk to first-generation college students, or whoever wants to join, about how to register. That’ll be done around the week before registration.”

If you are a first-generation student at JUTN and are looking for ways to get involved with this group, contact Ruvo at


Your Role in the Story of Johnson: Carl Bridges

KNOXVILLE — Johnson University’s campus has been shaped and molded by hundreds of individuals through the years.

Approaching the 125th anniversary, the Royal Scribe has prepared a video series that will introduce current Johnson faculty and staff, and give them a chance to reflect not only on how Johnson has shaped them personally, but how they have in turn left their mark on Johnson.

Dr. Carl Bridges, Professor of Bible and Theology:


Johnson hosts Allen Morris Moustache Memorial 5k run/walk

KNOXVILLE—On February 21, Johnson hosted for the first time, the Allen Morris Moustache Memorial 5k run/walk. This event was created to benefit the Allen Morris Memorial Scholarship Fund.
In 2016, Morris unexpectedly died during a softball tournament for his church—First Christian Church in Cookeville, TN where he preached, according to the scholarship’s gofundme page.

David Lee and Tracy Shaner put together this event in honor of Morris and to represent the class of 1988.

“We were roommates for a year and a half,” Lee explains. “One of the best things about Allen was how humble, kind and caring he was.”
Together with this 5k and the gofundme page, the Allen Morris Scholarship fund has raised more than $1,000.

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Does Black History Month serve its original purpose? Reflections on last month’s celebration

KNOXVILLE — Black History Month, the annual observance marking the importance of African Americans to history, began February first, and Johnson students, among others, have differing views on what the observation means today.

Peniel Joseph, the Barbara Jordan Chair in Political Values and Ethics and the founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin, recently wrote a piece for CNN entitled  “We need Black History Month now more than ever.”

In his article, Joseph argued that Black History Month is important for three reasons: It provides a lens to contemplate current social issues, it provides perspective into “how civil rights struggles can fundamentally change democratic institutions,” and black history is alive.

“From Barack Obama’s historic election to the galvanizing presence of Black Lives Matter demonstrations, the events, social movements, political breakthroughs, and human drama that make up Black History Month continue,” Joseph wrote.

Joseph’s article reflects the historical perspective on Black History Month. However, the historical perspective is not the prevailing perspective from students at JU.

Shae Pierre-Jean, a Johnson Counseling major from Georgia, who has a rich family history from Haiti, is against the continued observation of Black History Month. The way she sees it, the observation of Black History Month is inadequate.

“I don’t like Black History Month,” Pierre-Jean said. “It doesn’t do justice for black people.”

She said the major contributions of black people to history cannot receive proper acknowledgment in a sole month’s time. She believes that historical African American contributions deserve year-round remembrance.

“I believe that black people should be celebrated every day,” Pierre-Jean said. “I don’t believe that a month does it justice.”

Noah Kropp, a Johnson sophomore, is in favor of Black History Month’s continued observation. From his perspective, the month-long observance is a time for people to unify against racism. As he sees it, until racism is no longer an issue, Black History Month is an excellent time to bring people together.

“I think Black History Month should continue to be observed because racism still isn’t entirely in the past,” Kropp said.

The United States has observed Black History Month since 1970.

The United Kingdom and Canada adopted the observation in 1987 and 1995 respectively.


Johnson students say SALT is ‘worth it’

KNOXVILLE — For students to graduate, Johnson University requires they complete the Service and Learning Together program.

SALT allows students to take their knowledge from the classroom and apply it in everyday situations through voluntary work in the community.

Students are required to complete 120 hours of SALT service for a bachelor’s degree or 60 hours for an associate’s degree.

Max McCoig, a senior majoring in ministry leadership, said he enjoys the SALT program.

“I think that they [the hours] are very easy to achieve and that it helps the students to kind of get their foot in the door for ministry purposes, because I know the majority, if not all of the students here, are either planning to go into the ministry or some sort of like mission or ministry field,” McCoig said. “So I definitely think, at least for me with Young Life, it’s helped me get a foot in the door to progressively come on staff.”

McCoig earns his hours by volunteering with Young Life, a worldwide Christian ministry that connects older mentors with middle school, high school, and college age students in their community.

Although McCoig said it can be challenging to fit baseball, school, his personal life and the volunteer work into his schedule, he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“I don’t sleep a lot,” he said. “I’m never caught up on everything that I have to do.”

McCoig said that he likes the adrenaline rush of always having something to get done.

“I’m constantly going, but at the end of the day, I think it’s worth it,” he said.

The SALT course information states that the program is meant to help students identify their gifts and strengths, develop skills, shape a humble attitude and confirm the students’ career decision among other things.

“I think [SALT] matures us, especially in the ministry aspect,” McCoig said. “You get to change lives so it may start as ‘oh I need to get so many hours in so I can graduate’ but then you come back and you realize, ‘wow I’m doubling my hours that I needed because of how much my heart is actually in this ministry or this mission field that I’ve gone into’. You’re changing lives and that makes it all worth it.”

He said that although he believes the hours may be too much for some students in certain situations, for example, students who have to work to put themselves through school, it is not impossible.

“I would tell them [students struggling to find the time] to find something that they’re not doing just for the hours,” he said. “Find something that you’re doing because you enjoy it and that just so happens to give you hours.

“Find something that actually pulls at your heart and that you have a heart for at the end of the day,” he added.

Sam Kelly, a freshman, and business administration major, feels that the requirements are easily attainable, although the rules regarding when the hours can be obtained are strict.

“I think they’re a good idea, honestly, because it does help people get an idea of what it means to volunteer their own time without getting anything in return,” Kelly said. “This also promotes good outlooks on work rather than expecting a reward in return. The sacrifice is worth it.”

Johnson University’s SALT hours have a few rules put in place when it comes to obtaining the hours a student needs to graduate. One of these rules is that a student cannot account for more than 20 SALT hours per semester.

“One hundred twenty hours is a reasonable time for four years of college,” Kelly said. “The only part about SALT hours that I do not enjoy is that I have a set amount I can obtain each year.”

He said that he would like the flexibility to achieve more than 20 hours in a single semester.

“With peoples’ schedules, I feel like we should be able to decide when we volunteer our own time,” Kelly said. “I think Johnson should change to allow us to decide when we get our 120 hours rather than limiting us to a certain amount per semester.”

Since Kelly is a business major, he let us in on why he thinks SALT hours are important to his future after graduating.

“My specialized major is business management, and I eventually want a master’s in entrepreneurship,” Kelly said. “What this means is that eventually I want to open up my own business, and so many people in the business world are so focused on making as much money as possible and running a successful business, and they skip out on the key humane parts of running a business, such as giving back to the community and helping the needy. I think that the SALT hours here are helping me to get into the right mindset to remember that in my future career.”

Abigail Guthrie contributed to this story. 


First class held in new SCCA music, worship center

Music Education Director Don Trentham conducts the first class in the new music and worship center.

Don Trentham, director of music education, conducts the first class in the School of Communication and Creative Art’s new music and worship center. The music theory class began at 11:15 Tuesday and marks the end of music and worship classes being taught in the Alumni Memorial Chapel. SCCA faculty and staff are planning an open house so the campus community can see the new center. The date for the open house has not yet been determined.


Dare to See suicide prevention event to be held tonight

Doors open at 6 p.m tonight in The Square Room for the free event, Dare to See, held by New City Resources. There will be speakers, music and resources all on the topic of suicide awareness and prevention.

Johnson University Tennessee student, Olivia Martin, works as the event coordinator for NCF, and has been heavily involved in the planning of this event.

“We know that everyone deals with pain and suffering on different levels, but a part of the human experience is knowing pain,“ Martin said. “So, we want to dare people to see the good beyond that, and to see the tools and the support that is there for them, and to reach out for help when they need it.”

Several local artists which will be performing tonight.

“It‘s going to be an evening of singing and song. Johnson’s own singer and songwriter Tanner Rutherford, Daje Morris, Joey Jennings, Starfish Prime, and Farrugut Highschool’s next up and coming rock band will all be there.”

Tennessee Suicide Prevention network, Johnson University’s counseling center, and Ebeneezer counseling services will be there to give assistance and resources to attendees.

“They will all have information about the services they provide, and some tools,” Martin said.

There will also be several speakers there to help initiate and guide discussion on suicide.

“We are going to have a couple of different speakers and some testimonies, Martin said. “As well as some actual information about why there is a need for suicide prevention.”

Martin said she wants the resources provided at this event to uplift all who attend.

“Its going to be an encouraging evening,” Martin said. “Obviously suicide is a heavy topic. Since we know that so many people have been effected by it, this will be a safe environment for those emotions.”

The show is expected to fill quickly, and it is recommended for people to arrive when the doors open.

“While there are not tickets, there is a capacity,” Martin explained. “I would say to get there early, and get your seats.”