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Richmont Participates in Giving Tuesday

We have a day dedicated to giving thanks and today, Giving Tuesday, is a day for giving back.

Richmont Graduate University is joining with charities, families, businesses, and students around the world to dedicate today to celebrating generosity and giving back. Would you join us by making a special gift to Richmont?

The community we enjoy at Richmont isn’t accidental – it’s intentional and effective. The Lord has faithfully guided our administrative steps, spoken through our faculty, and encouraged our students as they answered His call on their life. We are humbled and grateful for His many blessings.

In turn, we are committed to “giving back” to the communities where we have campuses. We do this by professionally training students as counselors and ministers while also hosting a network of counseling centers that provide an average of 24,000 counseling sessions every 12 months. Our students and professors also continue to receive national recognition through their test scores, research initiatives, publications, and conference presentations.

Your gift this Giving Tuesday will create financial margin that allows our mission to continue to thrive.

This fall, because a friend of the university has generously contributed the final $200,000, we are now $500,000 away from finishing our $2.1 million goal of transitioning the Atlanta campus to its new location. While this relocation budget is in addition to our daily operating costs we are looking forward to having a permanent home in Atlanta like the faculty, staff and students enjoy in Chattanooga. For alumni who support the university this winter, your gifts will be matched dollar for dollar thanks to a $10,000 matching grant from the Alumni Advisory Council.

Your gift matters to us! As millions around the globe participate in Giving Tuesday would you consider joining them by giving to Richmont? You can give online now via Richmont’s web site. After you do, share it with your friends via #GivingTuesday.

We continue to have wonderful opportunities to advance God’s work of healing, restoration and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches and communities. Thank you in advance for giving generously to support what the Lord is doing through Richmont.


Richmont Professor Writes Children’s Book about Christmas

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (November 14, 2014)

Dr. Erica Skidmore, Assistant Clinical Professor of Counseling at Richmont, along with her husband, Rev. Ben Skidmore, have written a children’s book for Christmas. The book, A Bed for the King, is the familiar story of the Nativity but with a twist. Told from the perspective of the animals present for Jesus’ birth, A Bed for the King is a story about how God uses our willingness to give to others, even if we feel we do not have much, in order to build His Kingdom.

“I believe the Lord gave us the idea for A Bed for the King out of our desire to teach our own children that Christmas is about more than just presents,” said Dr. Skidmore. “Every December, we have the opportunity to celebrate the coming of Christ. We also have a chance to begin the New Year focusing on the gifts of the season – caring for others, compassion, and kindness.”

“The Christmas season is a time when, more than any other season, people are inspired and encouraged to reach out to their neighbor in kindness and giving,” said Reverend Skidmore. “Then somehow, by December 26, the kids are complaining that they’re bored, the checking account is low, and kindness and giving are often after-thoughts. We hope A Bed for the King will be a way for people to have a new experience on December 26 – one in which families can look back at the positive memories of the lasting impact on the Kingdom they have created by engaging with each other and their community.”

The book also includes instructions and activities for families to use in order to put the book into practice. The activities offered were influenced by Dr. Skidmore’s experience as a clinical psychologist and Reverend Skidmore’s experience in ministry and each one encourages acts of kindness and seeks to create family traditions around the real meaning of Christmas.

After reading the book, Dr. Gary Moon, former President of Richmont, and the Executive Director of the Martin Institute and Dallas Willard Center said, “Writing a children’s book is not easy; I know, I have tried. The good ones engage the child and stirs imagination. The really good ones do that while causing a tear or a smile to form in the eye of the adult reader. A Bed for the King is a really good children’s book about the heart of Christmas – and it is superbly illustrated. I know. It made me cry.”

For a peek into the pages of A Bed for the King or to get your copy in time for Christmas visit

Richmont Professor Travels to Moldova to Train Counselors

ATLANTA, GA – (October 28, 2014)

This October, Vanessa Snyder, Assistant Professor of Counseling at Richmont, traveled to Moldova to conduct research and provide training on a trauma treatment model for staff working with victims of sex trafficking. Partnering with Hope for Justice, Snyder has traveled and trained with the organization in the past. This trip, however, focused on teaching the organization’s residential workers in aftercare shelters best practices within the three phase “heart trauma model.” Ideally, aftercare therapists will be better equipped to offer a more holistic approach to their clients who have experienced immense adverse life experiences.

Moldova-1“There is such a strong focus on the rescue of children and women who are being trafficked. While this is a necessity, it can, at times eclipse an equally desperate need for quality aftercare services,” said Snyder. “Having evidence based treatment for survivors of such complex trauma and organizations that are trauma-informed is a passion of mine.”

A 2008 graduate of Richmont, Snyder will be completing her degree 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; and complex trauma model protocol used for human trafficking. With her teaching experience and specialized research, her relationship with Hope for Justice has grown over the last three years. Later this month, Snyder plans to speak at the organization’s national conference in Nashville, Tennessee to present her research and trip experiences.

A licensed professional counselor and marriage and family therapist, Snyder’s work in Moldova is not only preparing aftercare workers to offer whole-person focused treatment, but the data she collects and studies from the shelters informs future service provision and therapeutic practice across the counseling field. Best practices in aftercare shelters is a passion of Snyder’s and her studies influence individual treatment models, self care for clinicians, and future organizational development.

Richmont Faculty to Present at the CAPACITY Conference in October

ATLANTA, GA – (October 10, 2014)

This October, Dr. Keny Felix, Richmont’s Dean of the Schools of Counseling and Psychology and Dr. Leland Eliason, the Founding Dean of Richmont’s School of Ministry, will be speaking at the 2014 CAPACITY Pastors and Leaders Conference in Austell, Georgia.

The three-day conference is boutique style allowing the 500 attendees to select plenary sessions and workshops that span a wide range of leadership conversations. According to the conference web site, the weekend is specifically “designed to equip and empower pastors and leaders” while challenging “conference attendees to go to the next level of personal development, authenticity and ministerial and organizational growth.”

“Bishop Dale C. Bronner is delighted to have Richmont Graduate University as a Sponsor of this year’s CAPACITY Pastors and Leaders Conference,” said Richmont professor, Reverend Courtney Wright. “We have been working on this conference for almost two years and have planned every detail to make it impactful and intentional. We have designed the conference to benefit those who are in any form of leadership, whether it be pastoral, ministerial or vocational.  Our belief is that it will bless all who attend and take them to a higher level of personal, ministerial and professional excellence.”

This year, both Drs. Felix and Eliason will be presenting during the conference’s breakout sessions. Specifically, Dr. Felix will present, “The Importance of Restoration and Respite for those in Ministry and Leadership” and Dr. Eliason will present, “Authentic Leadership: Is There Any Other Kind?”

“I am very much looking forward to presenting on “Authentic Leadership” this year during the Saturday break-out session,” said Dr. Eliason. “Participants will be invited to visualize how the content applies to their ministry situations and to describe the steps they plan to take to ensure that wanted changes take place. The learning outcomes thus move from information gathering to leadership transformation. I have never been more excited about presenting at a conference for Christian leaders!”

“We know that effective ministry is not a sprint but a marathon,” said Dr. Felix. “To serve well and fulfill their call, ministers and leaders need respite as they navigate through the different seasons of ministry. Otherwise they become at risk of dysfunction, engaging in unhealthy behaviors, or moral failure in response to the pressures of life and ministry. I look forward to sharing on this critical topic, as well as addressing the restoration of ministers and leaders when they fail.”

Alumni Advisory Council Announces $10k Match for Richmont’s Building Campaign

ATLANTA, GA – (October 6, 2014)

On September 15, Richmont’s Alumni Advisory Council announced a dollar for dollar matching gift up to $10,000 in support of the renovations on the new Atlanta campus location.

“This matching challenge is an extraordinarily generous gift to the university,” said Richmont’s president, Bob Rodgers. “Engaged alumni are critical to the health and well-being of Richmont. I am extremely grateful that we have a group of thankful givers who are encouraging others to join them in the process. The margin that they help us create allows us to tenaciously pursue Richmont’s mission.”

The goal of this fundraising effort is to secure funds for classrooms in Richmont’s new location. The hope is that, thanks to this $10,000 match, that a total of $20,000 will be raised to name one of the classrooms in honor of the university’s alumni.

“The 10k Alumni Match Campaign provides Richmont Alumni with a wonderful opportunity to participate in giving and to help celebrate the new campus,” said Lavinia Myers, Chair of the Alumni Council. “This campaign empowers current and future students to enhance their learning while advancing the Richmont community in a tangible way.”

Additionally, current Alumni Council Member, Lisa Byrd, said, “Many of us had life changing experiences during our time at Richmont, and we have an amazing opportunity to give that same experience to current and upcoming students by sponsoring a classroom. Please join us in creating an atmosphere of love, acceptance, and learning that far surpasses any other. There’s no better place to have the foundation for counseling laid!”

Please prayerfully consider how you might participate and support the future of Richmont’s legacy. Our goal is to finish the $10,000 match by December 31. Individuals interested in contributing may connect in the following ways:

  • Click here to give online via the Richmont web site. Simply direct your donation to the “alumni match” in the gift designation drop down window.
  • Phone: 404-835-6118
  • Email: Christianna Luy at
  • Mail: Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Richmont Professor Travels to Uganda to Teach Counselors

ATLANTA, GA – (September 30, 2014)

This fall, Sonja Sutherland, one of Richmont’s newest faculty members in the School of Counseling, traveled to Mukono, Uganda in collaboration with Regent University to teach master’s level counselors and therapists. This was Professor Sutherland’s third trip to Africa, and her second to Uganda. Her team conducted classes for about 100 people through Uganda Christian University on assessment, counseling as a science, and counselor supervision.

“Having been to Uganda before on evangelist mission, this trip was different because it was a perfect melding of my personal mission and professional passion for teaching,” said Sutherland. “Being able to serve in this way in a country where there are so few counseling and counselor-training resources was very exciting.”

Preparing to finish her Ph.D. dissertation this fall through Regent, Sutherland taught a lecture series on supervision including models of supervision, developing the supervisory alliance, self supervising skills, evaluation, and more. While the lecture series went exceptionally well, Sutherland was reminded of the patriarchal society that still heavily rules families and dictates behavior in Uganda. Because societal traditions remain that are considered clinically detrimental on the individual level, the team was challenged to work collaboratively with Ugandan counselors and counselors-in-training to create unique interventions that would be effective within their cultural norms.

“At present, there are no systems in place to confront some of the more harmful traditions,” said Sutherland. “While my team and I didn’t anticipate encountering such controversial and challenging clinical dilemmas linked to traditional Ugandan culture, I believe we were still able to provide many effective resources to help Christian counselors, counselors-in-training, and the newly established Uganda Counseling Association. Many indicated they felt better equipped to impact their culture in ways they deemed most important and most critical for the public benefit.”

As a result of this trip, Uganda Christian University has expressed an interest in developing a partnership with Richmont in order to welcome more teaching teams and hopefully even counseling interns.

Highland Park Mission to Utilize Sanctuary Space at Richmont

CHATTANOOGA, TN – (September 11, 2014)

After renting the sanctuary at Richmont Graduate University for 10 years, Anglican Church of the Redeemer has purchased the former Trinity Presbyterian Church in Brainerd, Tennessee. With the sanctuary space available at Richmont, the Highland Park Chapel congregation of the Mission Chattanooga signed a lease on August 27, 2014 to utilize Richmont’s property.

“Our partnership with Anglican Church of the Redeemer has been a blessing over the past 10 years. We couldn’t be more excited for them as they begin ministry in their new building,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “Simultaneously, we are excited that a branch campus of the Mission Chattanooga has decided to take advantage of the university’s sanctuary space. We look forward to growing our partnership and friendship for many years to come.”

With worship services beginning in September, the Redeemer staff is looking forward to expanding their ministries and becoming more available to their neighborhood in their new building.

“The Anglican Church of the Redeemer is overjoyed to have her first permanent property,” said Brice Ullman, Redeemer’s Rector. “We have clearly seen God’s provision for us by providing us with this excellent facility; however, we are mindful that God has always provided for us, especially through the kindness and hospitality of Richmont where we had worshiped for nearly a decade.  We are grateful for the relationships we have with these wonderful people and we are glad to know their sanctuary will continue to be used for worship by another congregation.”

Similarly, for the past 18 months, the Highland Park Chapel has met weekly at the St. Andrews Center in downtown Chattanooga. During this time, the church has outgrown their current space as over 100 people are typically in attendance on Sunday morning.

“Those of us at Mission Chattanooga feels called to plant neighborhood specific congregations throughout Chattanooga in order to be a blessing and serve the specific needs of those communities,” said Pastor Ben Ferguson. “Richmont offers an amazing location because it is right in the middle of five important downtown neighborhoods: Highland Park, Bushtown, Churchville, Glenwood and Rigdale. We are overjoyed not only that we will have room to grow in Richmont’s sanctuary, but also that God has given us the opportunity to worship in such a beautiful and historic church. Most of all, we are excited about the future strategic partnership with Richmont Graduate University. The Mission Chattanooga is the home church for many Richmont Students and counselors and I know the Lord will use each of our gifts and abilities to bless and serve the city of Chattanooga.”

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.