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MTSU helps highlight October lectures at Heritage Center

MTSU alumni and faculty have been sharing their research and insights on significant people and events from Rutherford County’s 200-plus-year history each Tuesday in October at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

 To celebrate October as “Heritage Month” in Rutherford County, the Heritage Center has been hosting free weekly lunchtime lectures Tuesdays at 11:30 a.m. at its location off the Public Square in Murfreesboro, 225 W. College St.

MTSU alumnus Patrick “Pat” Cummins, president of the Native History Association, and association vice president Toye E. Heape were set to discuss the organization’s research into the Trail of Tears during their Tuesday, Oct. 21, lecture at the Heritage Center.

Their talk, “Forgotten Footsteps: Exploring the Cherokee Trail of Tears Alternate Route in Rutherford County, Tennessee,” tracks a little-known route of the forced relocation of the Cherokee people that travels from Readyville, Tennessee, along the east fork of the Stones River to the site of the former Old Jefferson community near Smyrna and on to Nashville.

Dr. Carroll Van West

Tennessee state historian Dr. Carroll Van West, an MTSU alumnus who also serves as director of the Center for Historic Preservation, will speak Tuesday, Oct. 28, on “Murfreesboro’s Historic Architecture.”

His 11:30 a.m. talk will address how the city’s historic buildings and places add to a sense of identity and community and remind us of landmarks lost.

“MTSU always gives back so much to the community,” West said. “We are proud to share our research with everyone in Rutherford County to emphasize how much significant history has happened here over the decades.”

The Oct. 7 lecture, “Rutherford County Cemetery Project,” was presented by MTSU alumni John Lodl, Rutherford County archivist; Michael Fletcher, a graduate research assistant in MTSU’s Center for Historic Preservation; and Catherine Hawkins of the Rutherford County GIS Lab.

They highlighted some of the findings of a countywide cemetery survey currently underway by Rutherford County government with the assistance of the Center for Historic Preservation and the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center. The goal of the project is to digitally map and record all the cemeteries in the county.

Alex Collins, a student in MTSU’s public history program and the director of collections and education at the Historic Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, discussed “Davis Women in Mourning: Customs and Practices of the Victorian Age” Tuesday, Oct. 14.

Collins’ talk included the Victorian mourning rituals prevalent at the time Sam Davis, a Confederate Army scout, was hanged and how the women in his family would have observed the practices.

The Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County is a partnership between Main Street Murfreesboro, the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation, the city of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County Government. The facility is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

For more information on activities at the Heritage Center, please call 615-217-8013 or visit www.hcmrc.org. For more information on Heritage Month events in Rutherford County, visit www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/sharingprograms.htm.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Murfreesboro's Old City Cemetery on East Vine Street, shown in this photo, is part of a countywide survey to digitally map and record cemeteries in Rutherford County. The survey is the topic of a free public lecture set Oct. 7 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. (Photos courtesy of the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County)

Murfreesboro’s Old City Cemetery on East Vine Street, shown in this photo, is part of a countywide survey to digitally map and record cemeteries in Rutherford County. The survey was the topic of a free public lecture Oct. 7 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County. (Photos courtesy of the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County)

The Victorian mourning displays practiced in the 19th century at the Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, shown here, are the topic of discussion in a free public lecture Oct. 14 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

The Victorian mourning displays practiced in the 19th century at the Sam Davis Home and Plantation in Smyrna, shown here, were the topic of discussion in a free public lecture Oct. 14 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

This map of Rutherford County created from an 1832 survey of Tennessee depicts a little-known route of the Trail of Tears that's the topic of a free public lecture set Oct. 21 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

This map of Rutherford County created from an 1832 survey of Tennessee depicts a little-known route of the Trail of Tears that’s the topic of a free public lecture set Oct. 21 at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

This building on North Church Street on the Public Square in Murfreesboro, most recently the home of The Guidance Center, shows the attention to architectural detail in city buildings that Dr. Carroll Van West will discuss Oct. 28 in a a free public lecture at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

This building on North Church Street on the Public Square in Murfreesboro, most recently the home of The Guidance Center, shows the attention to architectural detail in city buildings that Dr. Carroll Van West will discuss Oct. 28 in a a free public lecture at the Heritage Center of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.

MTSU singers making mark again on ‘The Voice’ (+VIDEOS)

MTSU is once again giving viewers a dose of music reality as a student and an alumna have sung their way onto the NBC competition “The Voice.”

Jonathan Wyndham

Jonathan Wyndham

Jean Kelley (Kelley Duggan)

Jean Kelley (Kelley Duggan)

Magna cum laude music-business graduate Kelley Duggan, who performs under her stage name Jean Kelley, was initially chosen as a member of singer-songwriter Gwen Stefani’s “team” on the weekly reality show.

She sang Kelly Clarkson’s “Already Gone” for her “blind audition,” when the celebrity judges can only hear, not see, the contestants.

Senior commercial songwriting major Jonathan Wyndham had all four celebrity judges scrambling to add him to their teams when he performed A Great Big World’s “Say Something” in his audition.

He chose Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine as his mentor and team leader.

Both singers’ auditions aired during the Sept. 30 episode of “The Voice.” This marks the third year that “The Voice” has chosen MTSU alumni or students from among thousands of hopefuls to compete for $100,000 and a recording contract.

However, during the “battle round” competitions between members of each judge’s team, which began airing Oct. 13, Kelley narrowly avoided elimination, and Wyndham was sent home.

Levine chose singer Chris Williams over Wyndham after the competitors ang Bruno Mars’ “Young Girls.”

You can watch Wyndham’s “battle round” performance from the Oct. 13 episode below.

http://youtu.be/J4Iyqerr488

Stefani kept singer Sugar Johns instead of Kelley after the competitors sang Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor.” Judges Levine and Pharrell Williams took advantage of the ouster to try to “steal” Kelley for their own teams. Kelley chose to work with Williams, keeping her in the competition for another week.

You can watch Kelley’s “battle round” performance from the Oct. 13 episode below.

http://youtu.be/wHmqW_6qUfE

Kelley, a Brentwood, Tennessee, native who now lives in Atlanta and works in marketing and radio, called the auditions “surreal” and said she “didn’t expect it to be as fun as it was.”

Levine called Kelley “sassy,” and Stefani, leader of No Doubt, praised her vocal range.

In addition to her August 2009 degree from MTSU with honors and membership in Phi Kappa Phi honor society, Kelley represented the university as Miss MTSU 2007 and competed in the Miss Tennessee pageant.

You can watch Kelley’s audition from the Sept. 30 episode below.

http://youtu.be/NkW8kEliZQ0

Wyndham, a Lexington, South Carolina, native, said that music helped him overcome a childhood speech impediment and called “The Voice” a “crazy, out-of-body experience.”

The judges praised the emotional delivery and “vulnerability” of his audition song.

You can watch Wyndham’s audition from the Sept. 30 episode below.

http://youtu.be/XHHM09E_Big

Auditions for the seventh season of “The Voice” were recorded last summer and began airing Sept. 22. The “battle rounds” between the singers began airing Oct. 13, ultimately leading to live performance shows with an audience-voted winner.

The auditions narrowed 56 successful hopefuls down to 40 to create 10-member teams for each of the celebrity judges. Country singer Blake Shelton is this season’s fourth celebrity judge.

NBC The Voice graphic webThis is the second consecutive season that MTSU has been represented in the NBC reality show. MTSU 2009 recording industry grad Austin Ellis made his debut last spring; you can read more about him here.

Kris Thomas, a 2008 MTSU psychology alumnus, reached the show’s top 10 in spring 2013. Learn more about his adventure here.

Another MTSU alumnus, 2013 advertising/public relations grad Ben Briley of Gallatin, Tenn., reached the top 11 on Fox’s “American Idol” before the audience and judges sent him home last March. Read about him here.

MTSU vocal performance major Jonathan Allen sang himself into the summer 2013 semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” at Radio City Music Hall before that opportunity ended. Recording-industry major Curtis Holland tap-danced his way past hundreds of other hopefuls to make the Top 20 of Fox’s summer 2013 “So You Think You Can Dance,” but a shoulder injury eliminated him from the competition. You can learn more about them here.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Golden Raiders urged to join celebration of MTSU Class of ’64

MT alumni logo webThe MTSU Office of Alumni Relations is issuing a call for all Golden Raiders — university graduates and students from the Class of 1964 and earlier — to attend the annual reunion during Homecoming 2014 Oct. 17-18.

The Golden Raiders Society is for those who graduated or attended 50 or more years ago. This year, the Class of ’64 will be inducted into this special society.

The induction luncheon will be held at noon Friday, Oct. 17, in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. The reservation deadline is Friday, Oct. 10. Call 615-898-2922 or 800-533-6878 to register.

University President Sidney A. McPhee and National Alumni Board President Paula Mansfield will conduct the induction ceremony.

All past inductees are encouraged to return to campus for the homecoming celebration and share in the induction of the newest class, said Rhonda King, alumni relations assistant director.

“It is a special occasion that celebrates one of life’s major milestones,” King said. “While the reunion provides an opportunity to see how campus has changed since their graduation, the focus of the event is to recognize those whose foundation we stand on today.”

The event is a chance for alumni to pause and reflect on what they have accomplished in life, King said, and how then-Middle Tennessee State College played a part in their successes.

“It’s very fitting this reunion takes place during homecoming, which provides a weekend full of Blue Raider camaraderie,” she said.

For more information about the Golden Raiders schedule of events and full Raiderstock MTSU Homecoming details, visit www.mtalumni.com/s/1092/start.aspx. “Raiderstock” is the 1960’s theme for this year’s homecoming.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU 2014 homecoming logo72

National historic preservation chief visits ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus who has become a national leader in preserving America’s heritage was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

David J. Brown

David J. Brown

Host Gina Logue’s interview with David J. Brown, executive vice president and chief preservation officer of the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Washington, D.C., first aired Sept. 22 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Natl Trust for Historic Preservation logoBrown earned his bachelor’s degree from MTSU’s Department of History in 1977. He also holds a master’s degree in planning from Georgia Tech.

He is in charge of the National Trust’s preservation efforts, including the construction of new historic site models, the advocacy of laws and policies that promote historic preservation and direct action to protect historic buildings and locations.

Our language, when we talk about preservation, often looks backwards,” said Brown, “but when we do it well, we’re always trying to shape communities and manage the change in communities so that we get the kind of communities we want, as opposed to the types of communities that we’re handed.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord.

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

Keel, Scott honored at Women in Music City Awards (+VIDEO)

NASHVILLE — MTSU professor Beverly Keel, chair of the university’s Department of Recording Industry, and former MTSU student Hillary Scott of Grammy-winning music group Lady Antebellum were among honorees Monday night at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

http://youtu.be/_Dzc-WBjh7o

Scott, who attended MTSU as a recording industry student before launching a successful music career, was honored as Artist of the Year and was keynote speaker at the red carpet event, held at the Omni Nashville Hotel. Keel was among the 26 other women recognized for their contributions to Nashville’s thriving music industry.

“I’m just so thrilled to be a part of this,” Keel said. “It’s an amazing list of women, and what’s so great is that they’ve all chosen different paths.”

Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of Grammy-award winning country music trio Lady Antebellum, was recognized as Artist of the Year at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards. The event was held Monday night at the Omni Nashville Hotel. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of Grammy-award winning country music trio Lady Antebellum, was recognized as Artist of the Year at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards. The event was held Monday night at the Omni Nashville Hotel. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Also honored at the event was MTSU alumna Jill Napier (’99), director of copyright management at Music Services Inc. in Brentwood, Tennessee. Napier currently serves on MTSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors.

The Business Journal solicited nominations of women working in the music business “who are making a creative and economic impact on the industry.” A judging committee of women music professionals from Los Angeles and New York City reviewed and scored the nominees, and an NBJ committee chose the winners.

Formerly an award-winning music journalist and recording industry executive, Keel became recording industry department chair a year ago. Among projects the MTSU alumna has worked on since include efforts to establish a scholarship fund at MTSU in memory of country music legend George Jones; and creation of the Chair’s Lecture Series to bring industry leaders such as Gary Overton, Sarah Trahern, Joe Galante and others to speak to students.

Scott, a Nashville native, is lead singer of the musical trio Lady Antebellum, whose fifth album, “747,” is scheduled to be released Sept. 30. The other members of the group, which has already captured seven Grammy Awards, are Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley.

In her keynote remarks, Scott, who’s married and has a 1-year-old daughter, recalled fondly her time at MTSU and thanked Keel for being so welcoming during her time on campus. She applauded Nashville’s music industry for its support of women in the industry.

“Nashville’s emphasis on nurturing families has never been more,” Scott said. “Being in a business that’s very hectic and demands so much of your time, I’ve still never felt like I had to make a choice between having a career and being a mom.”

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said Scott “is a perfect example of what makes Nashville such a special place.”

Read the full list of winners at http://bit.ly/1kz9P5x.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Beverly Keel, right, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, accepts her award from Nashville Business Journal Publisher Kate Herman at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

Beverly Keel, right, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, accepts her award from Nashville Business Journal Publisher Kate Herman at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of country music trio Lady Antebellum, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and first lady Elizabeth McPhee at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, Beverly Keel, chair of the MTSU Department of Recording Industry, Hillary Scott, MTSU alumna and lead singer of country music trio Lady Antebellum, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and first lady Elizabeth McPhee at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, Beverl Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, and MTSU alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

From left to right, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, first lady Elizabeth McPhee, Beverl Keel, chair of the Department of Recording Industry, and MTSU alumnus Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry, at The Nashville Business Journal’s inaugural Women in Music City Awards.

MTSU agriculture alumni, friends gather at The Celebration

MTSU alumni John L. Batey, left, and Faye Brandon laugh during the 2012 Ag Alumni and Friends Reception at the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration in Shelbyville, Tenn. (File photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Alumni and friends of the MTSU School of Agribusiness and Agriscience will hold their eighth annual reception at The Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration starting at 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 30, in Shelbyville, Tennessee.

The gathering will be held in the Calsonic Arena’s Hall of Fame Room on World Grand Championship night at The Celebration.

The $10 admission includes food, beverages and a free ticket to the 2014 Tennessee walking horse grand finale.

Open to all alumni and friends of the university, attendees are asked to RSVP by calling 615-898-2523.

Recent graduate Sarah Newton-Cromwell will be introduced to the audience, as well as David Whitaker, director of the MTSU Horse Science program.

Newton-Cromwell, who earned her master’s degree from MTSU and graduated Aug. 9, will be a faculty instructor and handle the equine-assisted activities and therapies aspect of the program.

Whitaker, a member of the faculty since 1982, will be retiring in September.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ demystifies state’s first governor

Unraveling the myths and legends surrounding one of Tennessee’s founding fathers was the focus of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU alumnus and historian Gordon T. Belt first aired Aug. 25 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Gordon T. Belt

Gordon T. Belt

Belt and his wife, MTSU alumna and historian Traci Nichols-Belt, are co-authors of “John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Governor.”

The book explores Sevier’s leadership in a battle against British loyalists at Kings Mountain, his reputation as an Indian fighter and his formation of the state of Franklin, the predecessor to the state of Tennessee, out of lands belonging to North Carolina.

“A lot of what we know, or what we think we know, about him is wrapped up in these embellishments written by men who were respected,” Belt said.

“The true essence of this man, I think, has yet to be revealed. There’s so much about him we know, and there’s so much we don’t know.” 

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to www.mtsunews.com/ontherecord/.

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video clip of the interview may been seen below.

http://youtu.be/qAAnzwwGhTQ

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game moves to new Rockvale site for Aug. 9 event

The annual MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game preseason social event will offer another new venue and will be held earlier this year.

Pigskin Pre-Game 2014 graphic webThe event, sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations and the MT Alumni Association, will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 9, at Annalee Acres, 11000 state Route 99, in Rockvale, Tennessee.

For directions, visit www.annaleeacres.com and click on the “Contact” link or call 615-274-3376.

The Pigskin Pre-Game serves as the kickoff for the MTSU Blue Raiders football season each year and a fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

“All proceeds of this event benefit the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, which is awarded to children or grandchildren of MTSU alumni,” said Paul Wydra, Alumni Relations assistant director.

“We love this event every year because it is a great chance for everyone to get together for a good cause and get ready for some Blue Raider football.”

Wydra added that the alumni association has been “very fortunate with the support Pigskin Pre-Game has garnered through the years and looks forward to having another successful event.”

Ticket prices are $30 for adults. Children 12 and under will be admitted free.

Attendees must pay in advance and RSVP by Wednesday, Aug. 7, to secure their tickets. Admission will include food, beverages, entertainment by the Nashville-based O’Donnells, door prizes and more.

For more information about the event and sponsorship opportunities, or to reserve tickets, call 800-533-6878 or 615-898-2922, or visit www.mtalumni.com.

Payments can be mailed to the Office of Alumni Relations, MTSU Box 104, Murfreesboro, TN, 37132.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game attendees enjoy food and fellowship in this file photo from the 2013 celebration. The 2014 event will be held Aug. 9 at Annalee Acres in Rockvale, Tennessee. (MTSU file photo)

MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game attendees enjoy food and fellowship at the 2013 celebration. The 2014 event will be held Aug. 9 at Annalee Acres in Rockvale, Tennessee. (MTSU file photo)

Alumna, now a Buddhist nun, outlines her life on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MTSU alumna Dolma Johanison, whose personal path has led her from toting a gun to becoming a nun, was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dolma Johanison

Dolma Johanison

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Johanison originally aired July 28 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Johanison graduated from MTSU in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Her career includes a stint with the Army National Guard, a job as a criminal analyst at the Pentagon and her current profession as an acupuncturist in Poolesville, Maryland.

She considers her conversion to Buddhism, however, to be the defining moment of her life. In 2008, she took more than 200 vows at Poolesville’s Kunyang Padyul Choling temple to become a nun, dedicating her life to alleviating suffering wherever she finds it.

“We all possess what is referred to as ‘the Buddha seed,’” Johanison said. “And ‘the Buddha seed,’ upon watering and nourishment, will grow and flourish internally, reaching our spiritual attainment, ascending to a higher level of being.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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

TV sports journalism is in the picture on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus who will help usher in the SEC Network after producing at ESPN was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.”

Lewis Harkness

Lewis Harkness

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Lewis Harkness first aired July 21 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org). You can listen to their conversation here.

Harkness, a native of Harriman, Tennessee, graduated from MTSU in 1993 after working at the student television station. He began interning at WKRN-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, that same year and worked there for 18 years before becoming a producer of ESPN’s “Sportscenter.”

Beginning in August, Harkness will work for the Southeastern Conference’s new TV network, which will be located in the headquarters of the ESPNU network in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I never really wanted to be in front of the camera,” said Harkness. “Probably the creative side of me is what drove me to be behind the scenes.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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