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The Richmont Community Counseling Center Welcomes New Bilingual Therapist

CHATTANOOGA, TN (September 10, 2014)

In August, the Richmont Community Counseling Center (RCCC) hired Rebeca Durand as the Center’s new bilingual counselor. Durand will fill Ani Hernandez-Johnson’s role at the RCCC as Johnson transitions to serve clients at Richmont’s Henegar/CBI Counseling Center. This summer, Rebeca has assumed the responsibility of caring for new Latino clients who are seeking services at the RCCC.

“We are excited to welcome Rebeca to the RCCC team and look forward to seeing how God uses her talents in the lives of those she works with through counseling,” said RCCC Director, Michelle Shelley. “We are grateful that the Lord continues to bless RCCC with qualified and gifted therapists.”

R. Durand 2Raised in Miami, Florida, Rebeca holds a B.A. in Psychology and an M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Lee University. She is half Chilean, half Puerto Rican, fluent in Spanish, and a Certified Pregnancy Coach (CPC). Her clinical background includes serving individual bilingual clients (in international and domestic settings), conducting couples therapy and group therapy, and pre-k/kindergarten counseling. The wife of an Air Force pilot, she is also comfortable working with military personnel and their families.

“I am so glad to be serving clients and providing community services through the RCCC that would otherwise be challenging for many individuals and families to access,” said Rebeca. “This new position allows me to reach a population that has traditionally been underserved due to lack of resources. Being at the RCCC gives me the ability to serve as well as fulfill a calling I believe I was meant to do. It has been a blessing to accept this position and I know great things will come of it!”

Currently, Rebeca is accepting new clients. Individuals, couples and families of all walks of life and insurance status are encouraged to seek reduced-fee counseling and mental health services through the RCCC. To schedule a session, please call (423) 648-2423 or visit the RCCC web page.

Richmont to Participate in GeoCASH Adventure through the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (August 29, 2014)

On Saturday, September 13 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Richmont will have a team of 4 racers and two volunteers participate in the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga’s (CFGC) “GeoCASH Adventure” race. Celebrating the Foundation’s 50th Anniversary, the Richmont team will engage the geocaching scavenger hunt in which hidden objects are found by means of GPS coordinates. A total of 25 nonprofit organizations throughout the city have been selected to participate and the first place finisher will win $20,000 with second and third places earning $10,000 and $5,000.

Following the GeoCASH adventure, a party will be held at the First Tennessee Pavilion to celebrate each teams’ accomplishments and the nonprofit’s causes. The public is invited to cheer on the teams and learn more about Chattanooga’s nonprofit community. Additionally, the public will have the opportunity to nominate a nonprofit organization of their choice into the drawing for a $1,000 CFGC donation.

Richmont Now Offering Electronic Transcripts

ATLANTA, GA and CHATTANOOGA, TN – (August 15, 2014)

This summer, Richmont partnered with Scrip-Safe to begin offering alumni and current students electronic access to their academic transcripts. While students have access to their unofficial transcripts via the university’s internal portal, the vast majority of graduates pursue licensure after finishing coursework. This “transcripts on demand” program will provide 24/7 access to ordering and will therefore dramatically expedite the licensure application process.

“We are so glad to be able to offer this to our current students and our alumni,” said Richmont’s Registrar, Roxanne Shellabarger. “Processing time is so much faster and students have appreciated being able to request an electronic transcript and it arrive in an inbox 30 minutes after it’s processed. We have had great feedback about the service from students and hope to find other ways to serve our students and alumni better in the future.”

Thus far, the university has experienced a smooth transition to this program. Some of the other benefits associated with electronic access include:

  • The option to continue accessing paper copies of transcripts.
  • The ability to store signatures on file.
  • Not having to worry about forms getting lost in the mail or misplaced.
  • The status of a request may be reviewed at anytime by logging onto Transcripts on Demand.
  • The ability to record when transcripts were opened via secure links.
  • The ability to provide email notifications regarding the status of orders.

Currently, transcripts may be ordered and paid for via Richmont’s web site or the Scrip-Safe ordering link. Deliveries are completed via Scrip-Safe’s Global Electronic Transcript Delivery Network and the U.S. mail system.

For more information, visit Richmont’s official transcripts page.

Richmont Hires Four New Counseling Faculty Members

CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA – (August 4, 2014)

It is with great pleasure that Richmont welcomes four new faculty members to the School of Counseling.

*Lorrie Slater will be serving at Richmont as an Assistant Professor of Counseling as well as the Assistant Dean of Students on the Chattanooga Campus. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and has served as an adjunct professor at Tennessee Temple University and Lee University. Recently, she also served as a teaching assistant and practicum supervisor at Regent University. Prior to joining the Richmont Henegar Counseling Center in Chattanooga last March, she provided individual, couple, and family counseling services at the Relationship Therapy Center. A Richmont alumna, she is completing her doctoral dissertation in the Counselor Education and Supervision program this year at Regent University.

*Vanessa Snyder will be serving at Richmont as an Assistant Professor of Counseling. She is both a licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist. A 2008 graduate of Richmont, she will be graduating in December from Regent University with her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision. Her areas of research interests include: sexual abuse and trauma; trauma effects on the God perception; assessment and play/art therapy in treatment of adults who experience trauma/complex trauma; and, complex trauma model protocol used for human trafficking. Her teaching experience includes serving as a Richmont adjunct, guest lecturer at the University of Tennessee and guest lecturer with the Institute for Sexual Wholeness.

*Sonja Sutherland will be serving at Richmont as an Assistant Professor of Counseling. She, too, is completing her doctorate in Counselor Education and Supervision at Regent University this fall. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and a Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor. She has served as an adjunct professor at Kennesaw State University and as a teaching assistant and practicum supervisor at Regent University. Prior to Regent, she completed her graduate degree in counseling at Georgia State University. Her areas of research interests include: the integration of spirituality in the psychiatric residential treatment setting for adolescents; increasing academic achievement for underserved minority children and teens through family centered therapeutic intervention within and outside of the school setting; and best practice models of supervision in the online supervision environment.

*Long-time adjunct faculty member, Jason Hayes, will now serve Richmont’s Atlanta campus as a part-time Assistant Clinical Professor of Counseling. He has been a part of Richmont’s adjunct faculty since 2005 and previously served as a course instructor at Georgia State University and James Madison University. He has an M.A. in Counseling from Asbury Theological Seminary and Psy.D. from James Madison University. He completed his post doctoral education at Georgia State University. He is also an Associate Pastor at Marietta Alliance Church in Marietta, GA, where he has been serving since 2000.

*Stanley Hoover, a graduate of Richmont and a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education and Supervision Ph.D. Program at Mercer University, will be serving as adjunct faculty at the Atlanta campus. Stan is currently serving as a therapist at Tapestry Associates Counseling Center in Marietta, GA. He has also served as an adjunct instructor at Mercer. His areas of clinical and research interests include: trauma and stress related disorders; religion, spirituality and mental health; psychodynamic psychotherapy and counseling; counselor education and supervision; and, higher education pedagogy.

“We’re delighted to bring on board our new faculty members,” said Dean of the Schools of Counseling & Psychology, Dr. Keny Felix. “Each individual not only believes in our mission but is well qualified to have a tremendous impact on our students through the integration of counselor education and the Christian faith. Together with our longstanding faculty members, we will continue in our tradition of academic and clinical excellence. Moreover, the addition of faculty from Counselor Education and Supervision doctoral programs will allow us to meet current demands related to growing trends in the field of counselor education.”

These new faculty members will join our dedicated team of full-time, clinical and adjunct instructors in Richmont’s School of Counseling. At present, the school serves approximately 236 students who are pursuing master’s degrees in Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Ministry, and Psychological Studies. Many students also elect to pursue a degree specialization in addictions, child and adolescent therapy, sex therapy, spirituality and counseling, trauma counseling and spiritual direction.

“We are thrilled to have so many capable and accomplished professors join Richmont’s School of Counseling this summer,” said Richmont President, Bob Rodgers. “Richmont’s curriculum promotes scholarly research and evidence-based methodologies that prepare students to serve clients from all backgrounds. We look forward to our faculty expanding in order to better serve our current and future students.”

Richmont to Co-Host Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Continuing Education Event

On Friday, August 22, from 12:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. the Tennessee Licensed Professional Counselors Association (TLPCA) will be hosting An Introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) on Richmont’s Chattanooga campus. This continuing education event will feature Richmont Professor, Dr. Tim Sisemore, and will help participants to: articulate the theory of psychological suffering behind ACT; list the six elements of the hexaflex model of ACT; implement one intervention for each of the six elements of the hexaflex. A NBCC approved continuing education provider, TLPCA will award 2 contact hours for participation in this event. The cost at the door for attending is $10 for professionals and $5 for students with lunch included.

To learn more, contact Chattanooga TLPCA representatives Lauren Stevens and Yohunnah Woods-Moton at: and Additionally, Richmont’s Chattanooga campus is located at: 1815 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404.

Dr. Mike Stewart Named Dean of the School of Ministry

CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA – (July 9, 2014)

It is with great pleasure that Dr. Michael (Mike) Stewart is officially announced as the new Dean of the School of Ministry. The Founding Dean of Richmont’s School of Ministry, Dr. Leland Eliason, graciously took a sabbatical from retirement to commit five years to establishing the School and the certificate programs. In his tenure, the School was incepted, fully accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), began offering coursework online, hosted internationally renowned author and pastor, John Ortberg, Jr. for a two-day conference, and launched the Certificate in Spiritual Direction program.

“At the end of the final integrative seminar for the School of Ministry’s first graduating class, I had an overwhelming sense of gratitude,” said Eliason. “Every one of the graduates spoke of how the degree program had been used of God to transform their lives. They referred to the outstanding quality of the teachers, the power of community, and to the threefold emphasis of knowing, being, and doing. The curriculum we have worked so hard to create – works! It has been an extraordinary privilege to be part of creating and implementing this degree program.”

“We could not be more grateful to Leland for all he has given to lay a foundation for the School of Ministry,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “We are thrilled that he will continue training future ministers and that someone as capable and qualified as Dr. Stewart will take up the reigns of leadership. This is an incredibly exciting time in the life of the university and we look forward to seeing many more students receive training to serve God and others.”

Dr. Stewart will begin leading the School of Ministry in a full time capacity on August 1, 2014 from the university’s Atlanta, Georgia campus. This will allow Eliason to transition to a teaching and advising capacity within the School.

Previously the President of Emmanuel College, Stewart led an unprecedented nine-year season of growth which included more than $20 million raised in funds. He also oversaw the building of new student housing, the addition of nine new athletic programs, an athletic center, seven new academic programs, as well as full membership into the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities. Interestingly, Stewart was not only the President of Emmanuel, but he completed his Bachelor’s degree there prior to completing his Master’s degree at Liberty University and Doctor of Ministry degree at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

“Dr. Mike Stewart’s presidency of Emmanuel College has been characterized by courage, authenticity and breakthroughs,” said Eliason. “Those are the qualities that are needed for leading the School of Ministry to its next levels of growth. He lives by the values imbedded in the School of Ministry – the integration of faith and learning, integrity, and innovation. I am very excited about his capacities to enable the School of Ministry to fulfill its purposes to advance God’s kingdom, to enrich the body of Christ, and to equip Christians to offer transformational ministry.”

“I am very much looking forward to joining the team at Richmont,” said Stewart. “The School of Ministry fills an incredibly important niche in serving today’s churches and Christian ministries. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow in Dr. Eliason’s footsteps as the School only grows in influence.”

The university looks forward to welcoming Stewart and his wife, Pam, to campus this summer.

Dr. Amanda Blackburn to Serve as Dean of Students

CHATTANOOGA, TN & ATLANTA, GA – (June 17, 2014)

On Friday, June 13, Dr. Amanda Blackburn accepted the position of Dean of Students at Richmont Graduate University. After joining the faculty in 2010, Amanda has served as the Assistant Dean of Students on Richmont’s Chattanooga campus since 2011. She will begin her new position on July 1, 2014. A licensed clinical psychologist, Blackburn also serves as an Assistant Professor of Counseling at Richmont. While she and her family will soon transition to Atlanta, she will continue to teach classes and connect with students on the Chattanooga campus at least once a week.

“I am humbled and excited about the opportunity to serve Richmont students in this new capacity,” said Blackburn. “My time as Assistant Dean of Students in Chattanooga, walking alongside students during their time at Richmont and beyond, has been such an enriching and life-changing experience for me. I am honored to be asked to continue in this role in a new capacity.”

By July 1, Blackburn will assume her new role as Dr. DeAnne Terrell, Richmont’s immediate past Dean of Students, begins her new role as a private clinician and faculty member at John Brown University.

“I am grateful to DeAnne Terrell in her demonstration of humble service in students to Richmont during her time here,” said Blackburn. “She has been a selfless professional and personal mentor.”

“Amanda is the perfect person to be named the Dean of Students,” said Terrell who was instrumental in bringing Blackburn to the Richmont community. “She is wise, kind, supportive and encouraging. She has served the students in Chattanooga with grace and love for all these years and I know that she will continue to offer her loving support to all RGU students with excellence.”

“Amanda is an incredibly gifted teacher and committed friend of students,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “She is a remarkably capable professor and gives the best of herself to helping students have a full and meaningful experience at Richmont.”

Richmont to Move Atlanta Campus to New Location

ATLANTA, GA – (June 13, 2014)

By the end of this calendar year, Richmont Graduate University’s Atlanta campus will be moving to a new location on Windy Hill Road just off Interstate 75 North. After considering approximately 90 potential properties, university administrators identified a new 17,800 square foot space which will eventually provide 3,800 square feet more than what Richmont currently enjoys. As of June 4, 2014, thanks to a private lead gift of $1.2 million, Richmont’s Board of Trustees made an offer of $1.2 million and put the new building under contract. The building appraised at $1.4 million and was listed for $1.35 million.

“We are incredibly excited about this timely transition in the life of the university,” said President, Bob Rodgers. “This new building will offer a strategic location to both train students as professional counselors and ministers to continue partnering with local nonprofit organizations in order to serve metro Atlanta residents. We look forward to seeing what the Lord does in this next season.”

Formerly a Piedmont Hospital Sleep Center, Richmont plans to utilize this new building to grow the institution’s capacity through larger classrooms and also through technology and audio visual improvements and upgrades. The student lounge will be designed as a comfortable, accessible, attractive gathering space for individual and group meetings and study time, eating meals, accessing the library, and building friendships. The faculty and administrative offices are being designed to create even more interaction between the professors, staff and students. In time, the building will likely house one of the university’s Hope Counseling Centers.

In order to make this space become a reality architectural plans are in the second round of revisions, the environmental and engineering studies have all been initiated and the closing will likely occur during the first week of July. In order to successfully serve Richmont’s constituents, approximately 80 percent of the interior will need to be renovated. To be as efficient as possible in the renovations, much of the existing electrical equipment, lighting, plumbing, doors, and ceiling will be re-purposed. To this end, the university’s advancement team is working diligently to raise $850,000 funds to support this upcoming transition.

“Overall, the Board of Trustees, Administrative Council and I are incredibly excited about all that this new building has to offer,” said Rodgers. “It will provide a strategic location to both train students as professional counselors and ministers and to continue partnering with local nonprofit organizations in order to serve metro Atlanta residents. Thank you in advance for praying with us as we begin the process of planning and preparing to move by the end of the year.”

Richmont Students Garner 98% Passing Rate on National Counselor Examination for Second Year

ATLANTA, GA and CHATTANOOGA, TN – (June 11, 2014)

This spring, 50 of Richmont’s graduating students took the National Counselor Examination for Licensure and Certification (NCE) and achieved an exceptionally high passing rate of 98 percent for the second year in a row. Richmont’s mean scores on the NCE for the Atlanta and Chattanooga campuses surpassed the mean scores of CACREP accredited and Non-CACREP accredited institutions in every CACREP and Counselor Work Behavior subject area.

“The Board of Trustees and I are extremely proud of the quality of Richmont’s faculty and the performance of each of our students once again this year,” said President Bob Rodgers. “This year’s passing rate and individual scores are nationally impressive and they continue a well-established legacy of students scoring in the 90th percentile on the NCE.”

According to the National Board of Certified Counselors, the NCE is used to “…assess knowledge, skills, and abilities viewed as important for providing effective counseling services…It is intended to assess cognitive knowledge which should be known by all counselors regardless of their individual professional specialties.” After completing the four hour, 200 multiple choice question exam, students who satisfactorily perform on the NCE are eligible to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC). A passing score on the NCE is required for licensure as a professional counselor in most states, including Georgia and Tennessee.

“We are tremendously proud of our students once again,” said Dr. Keny Felix, Dean of the School of Counseling. “Their outstanding performance on the NCE reflects the exceptional quality of the counseling program at Richmont.”

As an academic institution, Richmont currently hosts campuses in Atlanta, Georgia and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), Richmont offers master’s-level training in counseling to help individuals, families and groups successfully confront life’s challenges. Presently, students have the opportunity to pursue master’s degrees in: Professional Counseling, Marriage and Family Therapy, Ministry, and Psychological Studies as well as specializations in addictions, child and adolescent therapy, sex therapy, spirituality and counseling, and trauma counseling.

Additionally, in order to serve Richmont’s campus communities, the university hosts a network of Community Counseling Centers that offer reduced-fee counseling/mental health services to children, adults, families and groups of all walks of life, regardless of their insurance status. Through this network, Richmont offers subsidized services such as: Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), child and adolescent therapy, Trauma-Focused Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), depression/anxiety counseling, grief/loss counseling, marital counseling, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) counseling, and self-esteem/body image counseling. The university is thankful for an avenue to offer access to counseling services that help client’s better understand their personal histories and how their thoughts, beliefs, feelings and physical responses have been affected as a result.

Currently, several of Richmont’s counselors are accepting new clients. Open five days a week, scheduling information can be obtained by calling 423-756-2894 or by visiting: the CBI web site.

Richmont Trustee Emeritus, Hugh Huffaker, Jr., Passes Away at 84

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (June 10, 2014)

On Friday, June 6, 2014, Hugh Dayton Huffaker, Jr., a trustee emeritus of Richmont Graduate University passed away in Chattanooga, Tennessee. A well respected business man and civic leader, Huffaker was born and raised in Chattanooga before meeting his wife, Marion Henderson, at the University of Chattanooga. The two were married for 62 years and had three children.

After serving in the U.S. Army, Hugh joined his father, Hugh Huffaker, Sr., in business at Ferger Brothers and Huffaker Insurance Agency. Alongside his brother, Bob, he eventually started Huffaker and Associates Inc., where he served as president and later chairman of the board. In 1982 he also started Huffaker Realtors which developed portions of Signal Mountain and Hixson. Upon selling Huffaker Realtors in 1997 it was the largest independent real estate company in Chattanooga.

A very active member of the Chattanooga community, Hugh served on the board of the Chattanooga Bible Institute (CBI). In 2000 he was instrumental in the merger of CBI and the Psychological Studies Institute (PSI) in Atlanta, GA. In 2008, PSI was renamed Richmont Graduate University. A friend of CBI and Richmont for more than 30 years, the university was pleased to acknowledge Hugh’s investments of time, talent and treasure with an honorary doctorate in 2013.

“Hugh was an incredible voice at Richmont during several of our most formative years,” said Richmont President, Bob Rodgers. “He was a person of integrity who gave the best of himself in service to others. There are countless individuals and families who have benefitted from his insights and service. We are grateful for the sacrificial legacy he left on campus and throughout Chattanooga.”

In addition to his faithful service at Richmont, Hugh was a charter member of Rivermont Presbyterian Church, a Rotarian, a past president of the Insurers of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Board of Realtors, as well as a McCallie School board member and former board chair. He was one of the original organizers of CARTA and also served on the boards of the Maclellan Foundation, Lay Renewal Ministries and the Electric Power Board.

The memorial service will be held Saturday, June 21, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. at Rivermont. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the church on Friday, June 20, from 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday, June 21, from 2:00 -3:30 p.m. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made in Hugh’s honor to Richmont Graduate University or the Rivermont Presbyterian Church Missions Program.