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‘MTSU On the Record’ checks what’s brewing in fermentation science major

The next “MTSU On the Record” radio program will examine a process that is used to make everything from beer to bread.

Dr. Tony Johnston

Dr. Tony Johnston

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Tony Johnston, a professor in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, March 5, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Johnston wrote the proposal for MTSU’s new fermentation science major, the first degree program of its type in Tennessee.

WMOT-new web logoIn food processing, fermentation is the process by which carbohydrates are converted either to alcohol or organic acids through the use of microorganisms. Foods and drinks processed in this manner include sauerkraut, yogurt, beer, wine, bread and some types of meats.

Beginning in fall 2017, MTSU will teach courses in fermentation science in partnership with local companies, and hands-on training sessions at industry sites, as well as internships, will be scheduled to accommodate both working professionals and traditional students.

“There are literally hundreds of potential jobs out there — not just in the state of Tennessee, not just in Middle Tennessee, but literally worldwide,” said Johnston. “This is the biggest selling point, to me, about this degree program.”

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

MTSU Center for Historic Preservation documents FFA’s Tennessee legacy

Another chapter in Tennessee’s agricultural history has been written with help from MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation.

Representatives from the center and from Tennessee Future Farmers of America presented copies of “Tennessee FFA: Tradition and Transformation” to Gov. Bill Haslam and the General Assembly Wednesday, Feb. 22, at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville.

Dr. Carroll Van West

Dr. Carroll Van West

Dr. Carroll Van West, center director and Tennessee State Historian, co-wrote “Tradition and Transformation” with Savannah Grandey, an MTSU alumna from Woodbury, Tennessee, in partnership with the Tennessee FFA and its foundation to highlight the leadership and achievement of thousands of alumni who wear the FFA blue jacket.

“Generations of FFA leaders have shaped our economy, our government and the very landscape we share as Tennesseans,” said West.

CHP-TN FFA history cover-webThe ceremony was part of the celebration of the national Future Farmers of America Week and the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Hughes Act, the 1917 federal law that established agricultural vocational training and spurred the 1928 development of FFA.

After the presentation of West and Grandey’s work, legislators presented a state proclamation honoring the Smith-Hughes Act centennial.

“Many Tennesseans have participated in the FFA, each with a unique story of how the organization shaped them into who they became as adults,” said Mark McBride, chairman of the Tennessee FFA Historic Preservation Committee.

“Dr. West and Savannah Grandey did a fantastic job researching our records to complete this history, all with the desire to help us convey the importance of the FFA to agriculture in Tennessee.”

McBride, Steven Gass, Chelsea Rose and John Mayfield lent their support to the project.

To purchase a copy of “Tennessee FFA: Tradition and Transformation,” contact the Tennessee FFA at 615-253-5207 or the Tennessee FFA Foundation at 931-372-6050. For more information, contact the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, call 615-898-2947 or visit www.mtsuhistpres.org.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Indigenous Peoples Powwow returns to MTSU Feb. 24-26 with pageantry

For the first time in almost a decade, MTSU will host a three-day powwow as a tribute to indigenous peoples.

The Native American Student Association will present the Indigenous Peoples Powwow Feb. 24-26 at the Tennessee Livestock Center, 1720 Greenland Drive in Murfreesboro. A printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Native American dancers will engage in a Chicken Dance in a tribute to Jackie Ross, shown here, a veteran performer of Native American dances, at the Indigenous Peoples Powwow. The event, hosted by MTSU’s Native American Student Association, is scheduled for Feb. 24-26 at the Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro. (Submitted photo)

Native American dancers will engage in a Chicken Dance in a tribute to Jackie Ross, shown here, a veteran performer of Native American dances, at the Indigenous Peoples Powwow. The event, hosted by MTSU’s Native American Student Association, is scheduled for Feb. 24-26 at the Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro. (Submitted photo)

Arts and crafts, dancing, music, storytelling and vendors selling authentic handmade Native American items will be part of the celebration, which will begin at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, with a fry bread cook-off.

At 5 p.m., representatives of various tribes will participate in a forum about issues facing Native Americans today.

“We’re talking about the successes native people have had in their communities and the struggles they face as they look for a successful route to addressing them,” said Melissa Shelby, the event’s primary organizer and a graduate student majoring in biochemistry.

Social dances and a hand drum competition will round out Friday’s activities at the livestock center. Renowned blues artist Butch Mudbone of the Seneca tribe will perform at an after-hours event at 9 p.m. Friday at Jazzmatazz, 1824 Old Fort Parkway in Murfreesboro.

The agenda for Saturday, Feb. 25, will start at 9 a.m. as vendors offer their silverwork, drums, flutes, hides, beadwork, woodcarvings, pottery and basketry for sale.

Storyteller Jamie Oxendine, Native American liaison for Ohio University, will share true stories of the Woodland tribes at the Indigenous Peoples Powwow. The event, hosted by MTSU’s Native American Student Association, is scheduled for Feb. 24-26 at the Tennessee Livestock Center in Murfreesboro. (Submitted photo)

Storyteller Jamie Oxendine, Native American liaison for Ohio University, will share true stories of the Woodland tribes at the Indigenous Peoples Powwow.  (Submitted photo)

Niles Aseret, a Navajo born and reared on an Arizona reservation, will speak at 11:15 a.m. Saturday on his campaign for a National Native Code Talker Day to pay tribute to the individuals who used their knowledge of Native American languages to transmit messages for the Allied forces during World War II.

Throughout the powwow, various dancers will display their talents in competitions. On display will be social dances and special dances including the Hoop Dance, the Chicken Dance and a special dance honoring those who walked the infamous Trail of Tears, the forcible removal of Native Americans from their ancestral homelands between 1830 and 1850.

“I watched many of these youth who were dancing at 6 years and 12 years, and now these people are bringing their 2-year-olds and their 6-year-olds to this powwow,” said Shelby.

General admission for Friday’s activities is $4. Admission to Butch Mudbone’s performance at Jazzmatazz is $8.

Admission for Saturday and Sunday is $7 general admission, $5 for MTSU students and employees and seniors. Active-duty and retired military personnel, emergency medical technicians, firefighters and police officers, as well as children under 6 years of age, will be admitted free of charge. 

For more information, contact Shelby at mds2e@mtmail.mtsu.edu. To make a financial contribution, go to https://www.gofundme.com/mtsu-indigenous-peoples-powwow.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Pleas Award winner Turnage hailed as ‘perfect faculty member’ [+VIDEO]

The 21st recipient of MTSU’s highest honor for black faculty is being praised as a credit to her profession and a caring mentor to future members of her profession.

Dr. Barbara Turnage, a professor of social work, was presented with the John Pleas Faculty Award at a ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of MTSU’s James Union Building.

The award is presented annually during Black History Month to a black faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service.

“The award is not about me,” Dr. John Pleas, the retired psychology professor for whom the honor is named, said to Turnage. “It’s about you. It’s about all these individuals who are named on the back of the program that have made contributions to the university.”

As a roomful of colleagues and admirers looked on, Turnage was hailed by her colleagues for her research, teaching and community service. Social work professor John Sanborn called her “fantastically collegial.”

A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Turnage has built a social work career that has included providing social services for those with impaired and/or aging parents, new mothers and families with physical and mental health needs.

She also has counseled methadone clients and individuals who were at risk of harming themselves or others. This practical experience has informed her teaching, mentoring and research.

“Her communication abilities are quite amazing, and her bubbly personality is nothing short of infectious,” said Justin Bucchio, an associate professor of social work.

In addition to her academic achievements, Turnage is vice chair of the Board of Directors for Journeys in Community Living, a program that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. She will assume the chair in fall 2017.

“Dr. Turnage exemplifies a passion for helping social work students become self-driven, knowledgeable practitioners,” said Laura R. James, a master’s degree candidate in social work from Murfreesboro. “She cares about our academic performance and supports field opportunities commensurate with our career interests.”

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage thanks her family, colleagues and supporters after receiving the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage thanks her family, colleagues and supporters after receiving the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

At MTSU, Turnage has served on MTSU’s Faculty Senate, the Forrest Hall Review Committee, the Africana Studies Program Development Committee and the International Education and Exchange Committee. She continues to serve on multiple faculty, search, admissions and qualifying exam committees.

In accepting the award, Turnage called her family and colleagues to the podium to share the moment with her.

“Everything we do is based on our foundation, based on people that support us,” said Turnage. “I just wanted you to know my support system. These are people that I know love me no matter what, no matter what I do or say. … I can’t thank them enough for loving me.”

“From the college perspective, you’re the perfect faculty member,” said Dr. Harold Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

For more information about the John Pleas Faculty Award, go to www.mtsu.edu/aahm/john-pleas-award.php.

Previous winners of the Pleas Faculty Recognition Award since its inception are:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, economics professor, 1998.
  • Dr. Laura Jarmon, English professor, 1999.
  • Dr. Gloria Bonner, dean of the College of Education, 2000.
  • Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, social work professor, 2001.
  • Dr. Alphonse Carter, engineering technology professor, 2002.
  • Dr. Bertha Clark, professor of communication disorders, 2003.
  • Dr. Anantha Babbili, 2004, dean of the College of Mass Communication.
  • Dr. Pat Patterson, professor of chemistry, 2005.
  • Dr. Rosemary Owens, dean of continuing studies and public service, 2006.
  • Dr. Connie Wade, chair of the Department of Elementary and Special Education, 2007.
  • Dr. Marva Lucas, chair of the Department of University Studies, 2008.
  • Dr. Adonijah Bakari, history professor, 2009.
  • Dr. Dwight Patterson, 2010, chemistry professor.
  • Dr. Raphael Bundage, 2011, music professor.
  • Dr. Cheryl Slaughter Ellis, professor of community and public health, 2012.
  • Dr. Newtona “Tina” Johnson, professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, 2013.
  • Dr. Sekou Franklin, political science professor, 2014.
  • Dr. Michaele Chappell, professor of mathematics education and coordinator for the Masters of Science in Teaching program, 2015.
  • Dr. Linda Clark, professor of mathematics in the Department of University Studies, 2016.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage, left, receives the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award from Professor Emeritus John Pleas at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU social work professor Barbara Turnage, left, receives the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award from Professor Emeritus John Pleas at a Feb. 21 ceremony in the James Union Building. 

Dr. John Pleas, emeritus professor of psychology, gives remarks Tuesday, Feb. 21, before presenting the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award to Dr. Barbara F. Turnage, professor in the Department of Social Work. The ceremony was held in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Dr. John Pleas, emeritus professor of psychology, speaks Tuesday, Feb. 21, before presenting the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Award to Dr. Barbara F. Turnage, professor in the Department of Social Work. 


Social work professor to receive MTSU top minority faculty honor Feb. 21

Feb. 15, 2017

An MTSU professor whose dedication to others has been the hallmark of her career is the 2017 John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award honoree.

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Dr. Barbara Turnage

Social work professor Barbara Turnage will receive the award in a 4 p.m. ceremony Tuesday, Feb. 21, in the Hazlewood Dining Room of the James Union Building.

The ceremony is free and open to the public. A campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the ceremony should obtain a special one-day permit from MTSU’s Office of Parking and Transportation at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

MTSU presents the John Pleas Faculty Award each year during Black History Month to a minority faculty member who has demonstrated excellence in teaching, research and service. The honor, established in 1997, is named for Dr. John Pleas, an MTSU professor emeritus of psychology.

Turnage, a native of Omaha, Nebraska, has built a social work career that has included providing social services for families with impaired and/or aging parents, new mothers and families with physical and mental health needs.

She also has counseled methadone clients and individuals who were at risk of harming themselves or others. This practical experience has informed her teaching, mentoring and research.

Dr John Pleas web

Dr. John Pleas

At MTSU, Turnage has served on MTSU’s Faculty Senate, the Forrest Hall Review Committee, the Africana Studies Program Development Committee and the International Education and Exchange Committee. She continues to serve on multiple faculty, search, admissions and qualifying exam committees.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Click on the 2017 poster to see a larger PDF version.

In addition to her academic achievements, Turnage serves as vice chair of the board of directors for Murfreesboro’s Journeys in Community Living, a program formerly known as the Rutherford Adult Activity Center that supports adults with intellectual disabilities. She will assume the board’s chair in fall 2017.

Turnage, a first-generation high school graduate, earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. She earned her doctorate in social work from Tulane University and earned a four-year regents’ fellowship there.

Pleas Award nominees must have completed at least five years of service at MTSU and have a record of outstanding service. Each nominee must have three letters to support his or her nomination.

For more information about the John Pleas Faculty Recognition Award at MTSU, contact Dr. Linda Clark, professor of mathematics in the Department of University Studies and the 2016 Pleas Award winner, at 615-904-8234 or linda.clark@mtsu.edu.

Along with Clark, previous winners of the Pleas Faculty Recognition Award since its inception are:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, economics professor, 1998.
  • Dr. Laura Jarmon, English professor, 1999.
  • Dr. Gloria Bonner, dean of the College of Education, 2000.
  • Dr. Sharon Shaw-McEwen, social work professor, 2001.
  • Dr. Alphonse Carter, engineering technology professor, 2002.
  • Dr. Bertha Clark, professor of communication disorders, 2003.
  • Dr. Anantha Babbili, 2004, dean of the College of Mass Communication.
  • Dr. Pat Patterson, professor of chemistry, 2005.
  • Dr. Rosemary Owens, dean of continuing studies and public service, 2006.
  • Dr. Connie Wade, chair of the Department of Elementary and Special Education, 2007.
  • Dr. Marva Lucas, chair of the Department of University Studies, 2008.
  • Dr. Adonijah Bakari, history professor, 2009.
  • Dr. Dwight Patterson, 2010, chemistry professor.
  • Dr. Raphael Bundage, 2011, music professor.
  • Dr. Cheryl Slaughter Ellis, professor of community and public health, 2012.
  • Dr. Newtona “Tina” Johnson, professor of English and director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program, 2013.
  • Dr. Sekou Franklin, political science professor, 2014.
  • Dr. Michaele Chappell, professor of mathematics education and coordinator for the Masters of Science in Teaching program, 2015.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Public’s help needed with African-American history at Bradley Academy

MTSU students are trying to preserve the history of African-American education in Rutherford County, and they need help from the public.

The Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center on South Academy Street in Murfreesboro, the first school for black students in Rutherford County, needs help preserving African-American history at the school. (Photo Courtesy of the city of Murfreesboro)

The Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center on South Academy Street in Murfreesboro, the first school for black students in Rutherford County, needs help preserving African-American history at the school. (Photo Courtesy of the city of Murfreesboro)

Graduate students in Dr. Brenden Martin’s “Essentials of Museum Management” class, in cooperation with the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center and Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation, need citizens throughout the community to provide artifacts and identify people in photographs as they revamp the museums’ exhibit area.

Dr. Brenden Martin

Dr. Brenden Martin

The exhibit space was developed 16 years ago, but Martin said museum and municipal officials want to broaden the scope of the exhibit.

“As Bradley Academy moves into a new administrative structure, I think they are very interested in expanding their collections,” said Martin.

Student project director Lindsey Fisher, a doctoral candidate from New Castle, Pennsylvania, said the effort focuses on African-American education and history “as a way to do activism and preservation.”

A presentation method for the artifacts is still being discussed, but Martin and Fisher said plans include using some existing oral histories from MTSU’s Albert Gore Research Center and the Rutherford County archives to create short films for a multimedia experience.

Eleven students who are working on their master’s and doctoral degrees are contributing to the project.

“Each person is assigned a specific task,” said Fisher. “We have some people who are doing research, some people who are coordinating all of the oral histories, some people who are doing just the digital histories, and then we’re all sort of working together on the exhibit text to make sure it all makes sense.”

The 1924 11th-grade class at Bradley Academy poses in their scholarly finest for a group photo. Standing from left to right are Richinell King, Nevada Crenshaw, Calvin Johnson and Geneva Buford; seated from left to right are Fruzzie Burrus, George Francis, Lillian Murray and Marie Bright. (Photo courtesy of Ernestine Tucker)

The 1924 11th-grade class at Bradley Academy poses in their scholarly finest for a group photo. Standing from left to right are Richinell King, Nevada Crenshaw, Calvin Johnson and Geneva Buford; seated from left to right are Fruzzie Burrus, George Francis, Lillian Murray and Marie Bright. MTSU museum management students are seeking artifacts and photos like these and help identifying them to preserve more of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County’s history. c(Photo courtesy of Ernestine Tucker)

Martin said Bradley Academy, Holloway High School and other educational venues were “places of empowerment” to lift up the African-American community in the wake of slavery and the subsequent Jim Crow laws that hampered the citizens’ education.

“We are excited for the new additions and changes to highlight the accomplishments of more African-Americans in the community that have not been told or shown to the public,” said Katie Wilson of the Friends of Bradley Academy Museum.

Some existing aspects of the exhibit, such as the arch representing the academy entrance and murals painted by artist Steve Matthews, will remain part of the display.

This sign from the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities denotes the historic significance of Bradley Academy, opened in 1917 as Rutherford County's first school for African-American students.

This sign from the Association for the Preservation of Tennessee Antiquities denotes the historic significance of Bradley Academy, opened in 1917 as Rutherford County’s first school for African-American students.

“We take pride in the historical value of this building and want to give everyone who visits a wonderful and educational experience,” said Vonchelle Stembridge, program coordinator of the Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Center.

“The community is going to be able to view our museum in a new and innovative way.”

The project represents a major addition to the students’ professional portfolios as they prepare for careers in historical fields.

“The benefit of this for the students is that they get some real world, hands-on experience in museum exhibits, installation and collections management,” said Martin.

“I think it’s a really unique training opportunity for their future careers.”

Anyone who can help with information or artifacts can contact Martin at 615-898-2643 or brenden.martin@mtsu.edu or Fisher at lmf3z@mtmail.mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

‘Trump and Putin’: Listen to Feb. 14 ‘MTSU On the Record’

Producer/Host: Gina Logue
Guest: Dr. Andrei Korobkov

Synopsis: The political science professor and native Muscovite analyzes the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin and its possible implications for U.S.-Russia relations.

MTSU goes red for Feb. 28 interior design event at Oaklands Mansion

An MTSU-sponsored event at Murfreesboro’s historic Oaklands Mansion is combining history, February’s color scheme and a popular ongoing exhibit into a special lecture.

new-MTSU-ASID-logo-web“Red: The Heart of the Wedding” is slated for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 28, at Oaklands Mansion, located at 900 N. Maney Ave. Oaklands Mansion and the MTSU student chapter of the American Society of Interior Designers host it.

MTSU alumna Amanda Farris, a Nashville, Tennessee-based designer account executive with Sherwin-Williams Paints, will deliver a presentation, “Seeing Red,” on the history and use of the color red in interiors.

After her talk, attendees will be able to enjoy Oaklands’ “Wedding Dresses Through the Decades” exhibit, which is underway through Sunday, March 5.

Amanda Farris

Amanda Farris

The array of more than 50 gowns from the 19th through the 21st centuries include country music star Barbara Mandrell’s 1967 wedding gown and attire from the 25th anniversary renewal of her vows with her husband, Ken Dudney.

Oaklands Mansion logo webThe exhibit is sponsored in part by MTSU’s Department of Human Sciences.

Refreshments will be available, and door prizes have been donated by local businesses.

Tickets for the entire event are $20 for the general public and can be prepurchased in the museum gift shop or by calling Oaklands at 615-893-0022. Seating is limited and reservations are requested.

For more information, visit www.oaklandsmuseum.org or email Mary Beth Nevills, education director of Oaklands, at mb@oaklandsmuseum.org.

To learn more about MTSU’s Textiles, Merchandising and Design Program in the Department of Human Sciences, contact chair Deborah Belcher at 615-898-2302 or deborah.belcher@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Professor examines inmates’ grief, mortality on next ‘MTSU On the Record’

The next “MTSU On the Record” radio program will look at how older inmates deal with the deaths of friends and relatives as well as their own mortality.

Dr. Ron Aday

Dr. Ron Aday

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Ron Aday, a professor of sociology, will air from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Aday is co-author of “Older Prisoners’ Experiences of Death, Dying and Grief Behind Bars,” which was published in the September 2016 edition of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. (You can read the report at this link.)

The report paints a grim portrait of a rapidly aging inmate population who often dare not give expression to their feelings when they learn that a loved one is dead.

WMOT-new web logoWhile some fear becoming targets if they show any emotional vulnerability, the report notes, others try to come to grips with the realization they might not get the health care they need as they approach the end of their own lives.

“When I started studying this decades ago, we didn’t have 30,000 or 40,000 people that were over age 50,” said Aday. “Now it’s almost 300,000, and in another five years or so we’re going to have a half a million people over age 50, inmates that have three or four chronic illnesses.”

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Unity Luncheon honors 11 local heroes for ‘doing the right thing’ [+VIDEO]

Eleven humanitarian leaders were acknowledged Thursday, Feb. 16, for their good works at MTSU’s 21st annual Unity Luncheon in the Student Union Ballroom.

The Black History Month Committee and the Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs hosted the annual event, which honors unsung heroes for their contributions in the areas of education, black arts, community service, excellence in sports and civility.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee made welcoming remarks and presented the statuettes to each honoree.

In his luncheon address before a crowd of more than 300 attendees, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn struck a theme of “doing the right thing.”

The MTSU alumnus credited his family, some of whom were in attendance, in helping him become a productive citizen, starting with his career in law enforcement with the McMinnville Police Department.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that there’s a lot more good people in this world than there are bad,” said Gwyn. “It’s just that my calling is to protect those good people.”

Gwyn is on his third term as TBI director. For the past 13 years, he has been the only African-American director of a state bureau of investigation in the nation.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, an MTSU alumnus, delivers the address at the 21st annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Director Mark Gwyn, an MTSU alumnus, delivers the address at the 21st annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union.

“For me, it’s a sense of pride, but it’s a sense of obligation,” said Gwyn. “I’ve got to represent a little better, and I’m OK with that … I don’t do it because I’m African-American. I do it because it’s the right thing to do.”

A fellow law enforcement veteran, former Smyrna, Tennessee, Assistant Police Chief Vernal Young, was one of the Unity Luncheon honorees.

“We started the first drug program here in Rutherford County,” said Young, an honoree as an advocate of civility. “We went from primary schools to high schools … I really enjoy working with people.”

One of the community service honorees, Navita Gunter of Guthrie, Kentucky, has triumphed over both domestic violence and cancer. She was chosen for founding the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee.

“Really, it’s not for me,” Gunter said of her award. “It’s for the people that I’m really trying to help by sharing my story of survival. … That’s why I do it.”

Each year, MTSU’s Unity Luncheon honors dedicated leaders who haven’t been recognized for their outstanding contributions to education, community service, civility advocacy, sports and black arts.

Along with Young and Gunter, this year’s honorees and their areas of recognition include:

  • Dr. Bichaka Fayissa, a native of Ethiopia and a professor in MTSU’s Department of Economics and Finance; education.
  • Dr. Jacqueline Jackson of Lexington, Kentucky, a retired MTSU Department of English professor; education. Jackson was unable to attend the ceremony, and MTSU English professor Frances Henderson accepted the award on her behalf.
  • Evelyn James of Murfreesboro, a retired nursery school teacher and member of Ardent Workers of First Baptist Church, Murfreesboro; education.
  • Carl Marable of Murfreesboro, the director of Second Chance Outreach Ministries; community service.
  • Ernest Newsom of Murfreesboro, a clarinetist and psychologist; contributions to black arts.
  • Albert Richardson Jr. of Murfreesboro, a community volunteer and humanitarian; community service.
  • Revonda J. Rucker of Murfreesboro, a registered nurse and funeral director; community service.
  • James Douglas Watkins of Murfreesboro, a former community school director and athletic mentor in Flint, Michigan; excellence in sports.
  • Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, a community volunteer and humanitarian; community service.

For more information about the Unity Luncheon and how to recognize an unsung community hero, contact the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs at 615-898-5812 or ida@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, far left, poses with the 2017 Unity Luncheon honorees following the Feb. 16 awards presentation at the Student Union. Standing from left to right, are McPhee, Bichaka Fayissa, Carl Marable, Albert Richardson Jr., Ernest Newsom, James Douglas Watkins and Vernal Young. Seated, from left, are Navita Gunter, Evelyn James, Revonda J. Rucker and Martha Womack. Not pictured is honoree Jacqueline Jackson, who was unable to attend. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, far left, poses with the 2017 Unity Luncheon honorees following the Feb. 16 awards presentation at the Student Union. Standing from left to right, are McPhee, Bichaka Fayissa, Carl Marable, Albert Richardson Jr., Ernest Newsom, James Douglas Watkins and Vernal Young. Seated, from left, are Navita Gunter, Evelyn James, Revonda J. Rucker and Martha Womack. Not pictured is honoree Jacqueline Jackson, who was unable to attend. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, left, chats with fellow honoree Evelyn James at the 21st annual MTSU Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union as other honorees, friends and guests talk in the background.

Martha Womack of Murfreesboro, left, chats with fellow honoree Evelyn James at the 21st annual MTSU Unity Luncheon Feb. 16 in the Student Union as other honorees, friends and guests talk in the background.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version.

Click on the poster to see a larger PDF version of MTSU’s 2017 Black History Month events.

March 15 is application deadline for Community Foundation scholarships

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee is offering three scholarships specifically for MTSU students and prospective students, all with deadlines of March 15.

Community Foundation logo web

Click on the logo for scholarship information.

The Archie Hartwell Nash Memorial Scholarship Fund was established in 1997 to honor the late owner of Overton Produce Company and several related companies.

Eligible applicants for the Nash scholarships must be MTSU sophomores or above, including graduate students, who are working a minimum of 20 hours per week and maintaining a 2.0 or higher grade-point average.

Ken Shipp, an MTSU alumnus who coached football for several teams at the collegiate and professional level, established a scholarship in his name in 2009 for graduating seniors from Rutherford County public high schools who plan to attend MTSU. Shipp died in 2012.

Cameron Blake Parnell

Cameron Blake Parnell

Ken Shipp

Ken Shipp

Applicants for the Shipp scholarship must have a minimum GPA of 2.75 and/or meet the eligibility criteria for the Tennessee Lottery scholarship. In addition, they must have financial need and be persons of good moral character.

Family and friends established the Cameron Blake Parnell Scholarship Fund in 2015 to honor the professional pilot and MTSU alumnus, who earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace administration in 2006. Parnell died in 2014 in a hiking accident in Crater Lake, Oregon.

Applicants for the Parnell scholarship must be rising juniors or seniors at MTSU who major in aerospace and plan to become pilots. They also must maintain a 3.0 GPA or above.

For more information, contact Pat Embry of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee at 615-321-4929, extension 114, or at pembry@cfmt.org, or visit www.cfmt.org/request/scholarships.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

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