Student center

Southern Adventist University’s New Student Center Receives Design Awards

The new Bietz Center for Student Life at Southern Adventist University has won four awards from the Association of University Interior Designers, a national organization. Most notably, the Jack Blanco Chapel wall art at the Bietz Center won the “Best in Show” award. Entries were submitted by universities across the country and were independently judged by architecture and interior design professionals.

“The ‘Best in Show’ almost brought me to tears,” said Becky Djernes, interior design and real estate coordinator at Southern.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think a spiritual project would win. When it happened, I just smiled and said, ‘God, you won. You always win.

The chapel was named for Jack Blanco, PhD, retired dean of the university’s School of Religion. While planning the winning wall art, Ms. Djernes asked Dr. Blanco, “If you only had four Bible verses to share the gospel with someone, what would they be?” His responses (Jeremiah 29:11, John 3:16-17, John 14:1-3 and Revelation 22:1-3) are printed in full on large panels. Additionally, the backlit panels feature copies of Dr. Blanco’s handwritten Bible study notes that eventually became The Clear Word paraphrase.

Blanco Chapel wall art also won first place in the “Specialty” category. Other Bietz Center awards include second place in the “Specialty” category for metal wall art in The Hangout and third place in the “$50,000-$150,000 Renovations” category for the Southern Shoppe.

The awards were announced at this year’s AUID annual conference, held in Chattanooga, not far from Southern. As part of the conference, more than 20 AUID members visited the university campus. Attendees expressed their appreciation for Southern’s beautiful grounds and cohesive architectural theme. Ms Djernes was delighted with the response, saying: “What really made me happy was that several people said, ‘You can see the proof of God on your campus.'”