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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.

Richmont to Offer a Certificate in Spiritual Direction

ATLANTA, GA – (June 4, 2014)

This fall, Richmont Graduate University’s School of Ministry will begin offering a Certificate in Spiritual Direction. Through this 15 month, 4 consecutive semester program students will learn to help others discern the active presence of the Triune God and perceive the Holy Spirit’s movement in ordinary life. Throughout the curriculum of five 3-credit hour courses, spiritual directors will journey with directees, assisting as they deepen their lived intimacy with Christ, the One True Director.

“In the fast paced, ‘get things done now’ culture in which we live, the art of listening to God and the capacity to discern his voice are in serious disrepair. To sit with a trained Spiritual Director provides a powerful corrective,” said Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry. “The benefits are life changing – with Christians discovering anew their center in the Presence of the Living God. The Scriptures say, ‘Be still and know that I am God’ and Spiritual Directors help us to do just that!”

Coursework is intentionally structured to help students apply the classroom material in “real life.” Therefore, two-thirds of class time will be focused on content and one-third on putting content into practice. The practical component will include supervision while giving spiritual direction one-on-one and in triads or groups. In order to facilitate student convenience while preserving a sense of community, coursework will be offered predominantly online, through a week-long orientation, and through two three-day courses. This program is designed to be completed in 15 months.

“This program will be hugely important for anyone who has ever felt God’s leading to help people further their lived intimacy with Christ,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “Richmont has a long-standing history of offering excellent graduate level training and we are very excited to offer this certificate program which will help students practice effectiveness within ministry, church settings, and their daily lives.”

For more information on prerequisites, application procedures and costs visit the Certificate in Spiritual Direction page on Richmont’s web site or contact the School of Ministry at 404-835-6124.

Summer 2014 CE Opportunities

We hope to see you at one of the many continuing education opportunities we have planned!

Atlanta Opportunities:


 When: Saturday, July 12, 2014 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

 Where: Room 303 in the McCarty Building – Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

 Presenter: Shaw Wendi Fortuchang, MD

 Topic: This workshop is designed as an introduction to psychopharmacology. Major emphasis will be on understanding neurologic substrates that are targeted with medications, recognizing the major classes of medication, understanding how medications are chosen, major side effects and how to assess and refer for medication.

As a result of this seminar, participants will be able to:

  • Discuss the neurologic theory behind the use of medications.

  • Utilize a working knowledge of the major classes of medication and individual medications in each class.

  • Describe medical conditions, which may mimic or complicate mental disorders.

CE Credit: 3 NBCC-Approved Clock Hours Awarded. 3 CE Approved Clock Hours for Psychologists.

Cost: $50

*Register HERE

*Info Link:

 *Note: Richmont is opening a portion of this course to Richmont alumni and the surrounding community for Continuing Education Credit. This event is not sponsored by the alumni association and does not fall under the benefits of founding membership status. Also, meals will not be provided for this event. Refunds available upon request through July 10, 2014.


Prepare-Enrich Certification Workshop

When: Saturday, August 16, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Where: McCarty Building – Richmont Graduate University, 2055 Mt. Paran Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327

Presenter: Todd Sandel, LMFT

CE Credit: 7 CE credits

Cost: $150 (RGU Discount), $175 (Guests). Price includes all training materials and DVD kit.

*Register HERE

* For more information or to register by August 9, 2014, email or call 404-842-3150

*Note: Richmont only serves as host for this event. A continental breakfast will be provided with lunch on your own.


Chattanooga Opportunities:

Foundations of Supervision

When: Friday, June 13, 2014 from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Where: Finley Hall – Richmont Graduate University, 1815 McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, TN 37404

Presenter: Cara Cochran, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT

Topic: Supervisory relationships are among the most important foundational aspects of a counselor’s career. An encouraging, challenging supervisor can help a student intern or a graduate seeking licensure find his or her strengths, and develop as a professional. Supervision that encourages growth requires intentional investment into the lives of these individuals on the path to independent practice.  During this workshop, participants will discuss the basic requirements for supervision, the legal and ethical aspects of supervision, and the practical aspects of supervision.

 Within the context of this 5 hour workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the motivation and basic requirements of the supervisory relationship.

  • Describe the legal and ethical aspects of supervision.

  • Discuss the practical aspects of supervision, including the supervisor contract.

CE Credit: Five NBCC-approved clock hours awarded. Five CE Clock Hours Awarded to Psychologists.

Cost: Richmont Legacy & Founding Alumni members, Clinical Supervisors, Faculty, Staff, and Students are Free. Basic Alumni Association members are $30. Non-members and friends of alumni are $75.

*Register HERE

*Info Link:

*Note: Lunch will be on your own. Also, refunds are available if requested by June 11, 2014.


Questions about these CE events? Contact Autumn Stephenson at or 423-648-2679.

 Richmont Graduate University is an NBCC-Approved Continuing Education Provider (ACEP) and may offer NBCC-approved clock hours for events that meet NBCC requirements. Richmont Graduate University is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. Richmont Graduate University maintains responsibility for this program and its content.



Richmont Hosts May Graduation with 75 Students

ATLANTA, GA – (May 16, 2014)

On Saturday, May 10, 75 students participated in the university’s spring graduation ceremony. The university awarded degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy, Christian Psychological Studies and Professional Counseling. Of special note, this year also marked the first class to graduate from Richmont’s School of Ministry.

“Graduation is always such a special time to celebrate each of Richmont’s graduates and their years of diligent work,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “It was also a wonderful time of acknowledging the Lord’s faithfulness and hand of provision at work in Richmont and in the lives of each student.”

In addition to honoring this year’s graduates, Richmont named Kenyon Knapp as 2014’s Distinguished Alumnus. A 2005 Richmont graduate, Knapp serves as the Assistant Dean for Graduate Programs and is a tenured Associate Professor of Counseling at Mercer University in Atlanta, where he teaches master’s and doctoral level courses.  Kenyon founded and is the chairman of the Mercer Atlanta Research Conference; represents Counselor Education research with selective membership on the Institutional Review Board; and is a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges Evaluator and CACREP Site Team Chair. Apart from the academic world, Knapp loves to serve the Lord through international missions work and crisis counseling.

Similarly, Ronald Bunger, Richmont’s Chattanooga campus librarian, received this year’s Peterson Award for the commitment and service he has shown to the university that has consistently exceeded his job demands and institutional expectations. Bunger has faithfully served the university for 10 years and is well regarded by students, faculty and staff.

As the first graduates from Richmont’s School of Ministry assembled on stage to receive their diplomas, Dr. Leland Eliason, Dean of the School of Ministry said flashes of individual student responses to the Ministry degree program passed through his mind, several of which included:

  • “I gained a vision to reach out to those who have given up on church through a course that at first I thought would be unhelpful!”
  • “For the first time in my life I have an understanding of the Trinity – it has renewed my understanding of God.”
  • “I’ve released and been freed from a load of hurt and resentment. I am ready and anxious to give my life in service to the Lord.”

Reflecting on graduation and on the past two years, Eliason said, “What a privilege it has been to be part of the launch of this program! These are graduates that I am very proud of and I believe they will be effective in transformational ministry for the rest of their lives!”

This year’s graduation also honored Dr. DeAnne Terrell for 15 years of service as the Dean of Students at Richmont. At the end of May, she will be transitioning to extend her talents and leadership capabilities as a professor at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.

“DeAnne has expertly and steadfastly served at Richmont,” said Rodgers. “She is a thought leader in the field and is exceptionally beloved by students and staff both past and present. She is irreplaceable member on this team and has been a true gift to us.”

While students, faculty and staff know Richmont will not be the same without Dr. Terrell everyone is excited to rejoice with her in this next season. Thankfully, she will remain an adjunct professor at Richmont and will return to Atlanta in order to occasionally teach counseling courses.

*Photo Credit: Josh Booth Photography

Richmont Graduate University Selected as one of Charisma Magazine’s “Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education” Providers

ATLANTA, GA and CHATTANOOGA, TN – (May 9, 2014)

This spring, Richmont Graduate University was listed by Charisma Magazine as one of the “Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education” providers. This marks the university’s first time being featured on this list as well as marks a growing relationship with the magazine.

“We are thrilled to be recognized on Charisma Magazine’s list of best graduate schools this year,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “It is a privilege to participate with the magazine in sharing about Richmont’s academic programs that provide Christ-centered education and research that advances God’s work of healing, restoration, and transformation in the lives of individuals, churches, and communities.”

Starting with a list of 205 schools that offer master’s degree and Ph.D. degrees, Charisma Magazine created a comprehensive list to aid potential graduate students in their search for the best advanced degree program in their area of interest. This year’s list featured Richmont alongside institutions such as Liberty University, Asbury Theological Seminary, Oral Roberts University and Fuller Theological Seminary.

According to Charisma Magazine, the Best Graduate Schools, Seminaries and Online Education is intended to provide readers with a guide “…that is informative, authoritative and helps prospective students make a wise decision – including looking at schools and advanced-degree programs they may not have known existed.”

Additionally, Richmont’s President was asked by Charisma to compose an article called: A Wisdom-Based Formula for Success: Why advancing your education isn’t just about traditional ROI. In the article, Rodgers offers four key elements to going “…beyond the traditional money-in, money-out thinking” and factoring in “…the Spirit’s discernment, unique skills and support you need to answer God’s call for your life.” The full article was featured online and in print this spring.

Richmont Receives Continuing Education Provider Status from the American Psychological Association

Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN – (May 7, 2014)

This spring, Richmont was awarded Continuing Education (CE) Provider status by the American Psychological Association (APA). This status denotes Richmont as an approved provider offering continuing education courses to psychologists. The university’s application was not only approved, but received a five year status which is the highest level awarded to an academic institution.

“We are thrilled to have our application for CE Provider status receive such incredible validation from the American Psychological Association,” said Richmont’s President, Bob Rodgers. “Our current CE events have a high level of participation and we look forward to leveraging our networks and providing more resources for local counselors, therapists and psychologist in the future.”

Presently, Richmont hosts continuing education events throughout the year with the next event occurring on the university’s Atlanta campus on May 16, 2014.

“It is an honor for our Continuing Education program to be recognized in this way by the American Psychological Association,” said Autumn Stephens, Director of Career Services. “It demonstrates the standard of excellence we strive to maintain as an institution within our Continuing Education program. It also shows our commitment to advancing the education of our alumni beyond their time as a student.”

Richmont Faculty and Staff Publish Chapter in New “Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology” Book

Atlanta, GA and Chattanooga, TN – (April 9, 2014)

This spring, Dr. Amanda M. Blackburn (Associate Dean of Students & Richmont Faculty member), Christine Weisgerber (Richmont alumna) and Michelle Shelley (Richmont alumna and Director of the Richmont Community Counseling Center) co-wrote and published the 10th chapter in the groundbreaking “Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology” book. Published by InterVarsity Press, their chapter was titled “Behavioral Approaches to Treatment” and discussed theoretical and evidence-based approaches to working with children and adolescents through the frameworks of developmental psychopathology and a Christian worldview.

“It was exciting to be a part of such an important project and to contribute to the conversation of developmental psychopathology with a Christian voice that advocates for children as gifts, persons, and agents in their development,” said Dr. Blackburn.

As a whole, this volume offers essays that offer an integrated framework between psychopathology and the Christian faith. For the first time since developmental psychopathology’s inception in the 1980’s, Christian mental health professionals working with children and adolescents have a resource that speaks to their specific approach to clinical treatment. The web release published by InterVarsity Press states:

“Throughout the book, the authors explore three integrative themes, looking at children as divine gifts, as persons and as agents in their own development.” The release also states, “Christian insights help to prevent the scientific study of the developmental process from being reductive. At the same time, research into the biological, sociocultural and psychological dimensions of human development can serve to inform and guide Christian practices of care and hospitality toward children and families.”

Edited by Kelly S. Flanagan and Sarah E. Hall, the book is available for purchase by visiting the InterVarsity web site or any major retailer.

“I feel honored to participate in writing a chapter for Christianity and Developmental Psychopathology,” said Shelley. “As a child and adolescent therapist, I strive to not only apply techniques that have scientific validity, but to integrate my Christian faith into my worldview of children and the manner in which I apply therapy. I am humbled to have been a part of a book that clearly disseminates these concepts to the clinical world as well as represent Richmont Graduate University in this way.”

Spring Continuing Education Opportunities

We hope to see you at one of the many continuing education opportunities we have planned!

Atlanta Opportunities:

*The following courses will be allotted 1 clock hour of NBCC approved CE credit from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. unless noted otherwise.

  • April 1- Jessica Richards presents her thesis on “The Impact of Process Groups on Community: A Survey of Perceived Cohesion and Implications for Church Communities.”
  • April 8- Charles Fuller (2009 alumnus) presents “Working with Traumatic Brain Injury.”
  • April 10- Kristina Tucker presents her thesis on “Working with Clients with Chronic Pain” (hosted from 1pm–2pm.)
  • April 15- Tim Elmore presents “Dynamics of Strong Leadership.”
  • April 17- Adam Young presents “Healing from Trauma Using the Allender Approach” (hosted from 1pm–2pm.
  • April 22- Dr. Keny Felix presents “The African American Male Perspective.”
  • April 24- Tracy Busse `04 presents “Working with Victims of Sex Trafficking” (hosted from 1pm-2pm.) 


*The following courses will be allotted 1 clock hour of NBCC approved CE credit from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

  • April 1- Ashley Dillon presents her thesis on “Adopting Parents’ View of Grace and Report of Behavior and Mood of Biological Children Before and After the Adoption of a Sibling.”
  • April 8- Dr. Tim Sisemore presents “A Theology of Anxiety.”
  • April 22- WeCounsel Solutions, LLC presents information and a demonstration of “Telehealth Counseling.”­­­­­

Save the Date:

*Further information will be coming via Richmont’s Events page.

  • May 16 – Jeff Ashby, PhD, ABPP, will present “Making Professional Ethics Practical.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Atlanta campus from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
  • June 13 – Cara Cochran, Ph.D., LPC, LMFT will present “Foundations of Supervision.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Chattanooga campus from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. 
  • July 12 – Shaw Wendi Fortuchang, MD will present “An Overview of Psychopharmacology.” This event will take place on Richmont’s Atlanta campus from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

Richmont Graduate’s Book Lands on Amazon Bestselleing Devotionals List

CLEVELAND, TN – (March 24, 2014)

On March 20, 2014, Jennifer Hand, a two-time Richmont graduate, released her first book 31 Days to Coming Alive. Since the book’s release, it has been on Amazon’s list of bestselling devotionals. The print version of the book will be available for purchase at the end of April. 

The idea for this devotional book first came to Hand while studying at Richmont. Receiving her Master of Science in Psychological Studies and Master of Arts degree in Professional Counseling, Hand came to Richmont intending to learn practical counseling techniques and use them to help others find freedom.  

Her book, 31 Days to Coming Alive, helps people easily connect their hearts with Christ in order to come alive in their daily lives. Each daily devotional is written to connect scripture to reader’s hearts using life stories and topics include: coming alive in confidence, coming alive in prayer, coming alive in courage, coming alive in your common, and coming alive in community. These devotions speak to the reader’s soul and the heart at the end of each day and include a few questions or directives to practically apply the concepts.  

“I did not imagine that my time at Richmont would revolutionize my walk with the Lord,” Hand said. “Through my classes in Spiritual Direction, God developed in me a deep longing and calling to help others connect in deeper heart ways with Christ.” 

In between her years at Richmont, Hand also served for two years as a missionary in Nepal. After graduating in May 2012 she started Coming Alive Ministries to help people come alive in Christ through counseling, conferences and written resources. Today, Coming Alive Ministries provides opportunities for women to come alive in Christ through conferences and retreats, counseling, and written and multimedia resources. In particular, the conferences are designed to encourage attendees to live alive in Christ through worship, the Word, laughter, fellowship and fun. While teaching approximately 40 retreats and conferences a year across the globe, Hand also engages missionary families in counseling as a professional counselor.

Richmont student, Sylvain Panu, Presents Research at the Southeastern Psychological Association’s Annual Conference

ATLANTA, GA – (March 10, 2014)


Master’s student, Sylvain Panu, represented Richmont Graduate University at the Southeastern Psychological Association’s (SEPA) annual conference on Friday, March 7. Panu, who submitted a presentation proposal last fall, was selected to present his thesis research via a poster session at the 2014 conference in Nashville, Tennessee. Mentored by Richmont faculty members Dr. Mary Plisco and John Hughes, Panu’s thesis is titled: The Effects of Traditional Martial Arts on Mindfulness and Psychological Well-Being.

“I was excited to present my thesis research because martial arts have had a huge impact on my life,” said Panu. “I love the idea of using activities as a part of therapy. I am looking forward to combining a passion of mine with psychology and adding to a body of research that will hopefully support martial arts as an effective form of intervention in therapy.”

“In his exploration of traditional martial arts and their relationship to a person’s development of mindfulness and general psychological well-being, Sylvain has been able to take a passion of his and lay the groundwork for some potentially impactful research,” said Hughes. “His study combines a timely topic with ancient traditions, and honors the Creator and created by addressing the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. I am glad to have had the opportunity to join Sylvain in this journey and am very proud of what he has been able to accomplish thus far.”

According to SEPA’s web site, they represent the “…largest psychological organization in the southeast and one of largest in the United States.” Seeking to “…advance psychology as a science, as a profession, and as a means of promoting human welfare…” SEPA’s mission is “…to stimulate the exchange of scientific and professional ideas across the diverse areas of psychological inquiry and application.”

“Richmont has, for many years, had a significant presence at the SEPA conference,” said Bob Rodgers, Richmont’s President. “We are proud of Sylvain’s work, thankful for two incredible faculty mentors and are pleased to contribute to initiate a new discussion on such an important research topic.”