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Magdalene/Thistle Farms founder brings voice to MTSU April 3

The Rev. Becca Stevens, recently named by the White House as one of 15 “Champions of Change,” will discuss how she uses social entrepreneurship to help troubled women on Tuesday, April 3, in MTSU’s Keathley University Center.

The Rev. Becca Stevens

Stevens’s free public lecture, “Becoming a Thistle Farmer: Walking with Dignity and Humility,” is set from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. in the KUC Theater.

Stevens, an Episcopal priest, also is founder of Magdalene House and Thistle Farms, a joint community and social enterprise that helps women recovering from violence, prostitution, addiction and life on the streets.

Magdalene House shelters women for up to two years at no cost to the residents. Thistle Farms employs 35 Magdalene residents and graduates who manufacture, market and sell all-natural bath and beauty products in more than 200 retail stores around the world.

“The Magdalene House model is now being replicated in other cities across the United States,” says Anne Fraley, interim director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students.

Stevens, who also serves as chaplain at St. Augustine’s at Vanderbilt University, has been named “Nashvillian of the Year” by the Nashville Scene and “Tennessean of the Year” by The Tennessean. In 2011, she was named the “Social Entrepreneur of the Year” in Nashville, and she became the youngest and first woman recipient of The University of the South’s “Distinguished Alumnus Award” in 2010.

To date, Stevens has raised more than $13 million for the organizations she supports, garnering awards from the Frist Foundation and the Academy of Women of Achievement.

The event is sponsored by the MTSU National Women’s History Month Committee. For more information about Stevens’s visit, contact the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students at 615-898-5989 or jacwns@mtsu.edu.

For more information about Magdalene House and Thistle Farms, visit their website at www.thistlefarms.org or click on the Thistle Farms graphic at left.

— Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)