Don’t miss folk scholar Wade’s musical visit to MTSU Sept. 24-25

Renowned folk scholar Stephen Wade is bringing the music, stories and photos of Depression-era Southern field workers to MTSU in a special Sept. 24-25 campus visit that features free public concerts and chats.

The largest event, “A Concert and Conversation with Stephen Wade,” is set Thursday, Sept. 25, at 5 p.m. in Room S102 of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building as part of the university’s Tom T. Hall Writers Series.

Wade also plans a mini-concert at noon Wednesday, Sept. 24, in MTSU’s James Walker Library Atrium, followed by an informal meet-and-greet session in the library’s Periodicals Lounge from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.

The Grammy-nominated folk musician/scholar/author’s performance incorporates live music, projected imagery and spoken narrative to explore the stories behind his award-winning 504-page book, “The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience.”

Grammy-nominated folk musician, scholar and author Stephen Wade will visit MTSU Sept. 24-25 for a series of concerts and conversations as part of the university’s Tom T. Hall Writers Series. (Photo courtesy of Mary E. Yeomans)

“Beautiful Music” is a collection of Library of Congress field recordings spanning from 1934 to1942 and hailing from Southern Appalachia down to the Mississippi Delta.

To learn more about these recordings, including a brief video interview with Wade, visit http://ow.ly/uBEEA.

During his campus visit, Wade also plans to work with MTSU students. Wade’s visit was originally planned last March, but a winter storm in his home state of Maryland convinced organizers to reschedule the events for this fall.

Dr. Greg Reish, the new director of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, has known Wade for some time and has worked with him.

“Stephen is an extraordinary scholar and musician, passionately devoted to the vernacular music of the United States and the people who make it,” Reish said. “His presentations are truly marvelous, and we are very excited to welcome such a captivating and engaging figure.”

Wade became intrigued by traditional music and folklore as a youngster growing up in Chicago in the 1950s and ’60s, where he met musicians moving into the city from the Mississippi Delta and the Southern Appalachians.

Click on the poster to see a larger version.

He learned guitar at age 11 and eventually switched his attentions to the banjo, ultimately traveling across the United States to research American humor and folk tales and meet with folk musicians in the field.

Wade developed acclaimed theater performances, including “Banjo Dancing” and “On The Way Home,” to share his love of folk music and history. Wade also was a part of the public television documentary “The Unquiet Library,” a study of the Library of Congress’s music division, and has authored essays, reviews and articles published around the country. He has recorded and/or produced more than a dozen albums, including his most recent, the Grammy-nominated “Banjo Diary: Lessons from Traditions” on the Smithsonian Folkways label.

All Wade’s appearances at MTSU are free and open to the public. They’re co-sponsored by the MTSU College of Mass Communication, The Center for Popular Music, MTSU College of Liberal Arts, Department of History, School of Music, and the Virginia Peck Trust.

The Tom T. Hall Writers Series in the College of Mass Communication at MTSU celebrates songwriters, authors, poets and screenwriters and offers students, faculty, staff and the public a chance to learn more about the creative process as well as the business end of success.

Previous Hall Writers Series guests have included country superstar Vince Gill; acclaimed songwriter John Hiatt; bluegrass impresario Ricky Skaggs; Dan O’Shannon, one of the Emmy-winning executive producers and writers of the hit ABC comedy “Modern Family”; and the Emmy-nominated creative team behind the HBO Films movie “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” which included MTSU alumnus and composer George S. Clinton.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Jones College hosts speaker who encourages ‘embracing growth’

With the higher education landscape transforming in myriad, sometimes unpredictable ways, MTSU’s Jones College of Business is hosting a series of seminars to help university faculty and staff approach these changes in a productive way.

California-based speaker, author and business trainer Keith Froehling addressed a group of roughly 100 faculty and staff Friday (Sept. 5) inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

California-based speaker, author and business trainer Keith Froehling addressed a group of roughly 100 faculty and staff Sept. 5 inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

California-based speaker, author and business trainer Keith Froehling addressed a group of roughly 100 faculty and staff Sept. 5 inside the Student Union Ballroom.

WordmarkJonesCollegeFroehling, who was mentored by internationally known motivational speaker Tony Robbins, encouraged attendees to guard their environments to ensure they are focusing on the right things. His presentation was entitled “Embracing Growth.”

“If you focus on being miserable, you’ll get what you focus on,” he said. “You’re also going to attract those same type of people into your life. … What you focus on, you get.”

The half-day session primarily consisted of College of Business faculty and staff, but also included those from other areas such as Information Technology and Academic Affairs. A second session will be held later this month.

Dr. David Urban

Dr. David Urban

Among the topics discussed during the session was developing a master strategy, handling change, developing a vision and adopting listening as a critical part of communication.

Dr. David Urban, dean of the Jones College of Business, said such training is needed to help college faculty and staff think differently about their roles and the role of the institution going forward.

“Higher education is facing greater challenges now than ever before, and it is a very dynamic, changing environment,” Urban said.

The dean added that Froehling was invited to share tools needed “to respond adequately to the needs of our constituencies and in order to take advantage of the opportunities in that environment.”

For more information about Froehling, visit www.KeithFroehling.com.

For more information about the seminar series, contact the Jones College of Business at 615-898-2764.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Leaders begin mapping auto manufacturing strategy at MTSU

With Middle and East Tennessee continuing as major automotive-industry players among four states and 69 counties, leaders from across the region gathered at MTSU recently to discuss strategy on advanced manufacturing of automobiles.

There will be far-reaching implications for MTSU as well in the Tennessee DRIVE for the Future Manufacturing Community initiative.

Tennessee DRIVE for the Future leader Chuck Shoopman explains the Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership during the first strategic planning meeting recently in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building. Nearly 80 people attended the event focusing on the future of automobile manufacturing in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

The effort is part of the Obama administration’s program initiated in 2013 called Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership, or IMCP.

“Our students will be working on many advanced technologies that don’t even exist today, and that’s the goal,” said Dr. Charles Perry, who serves as chairholder of the Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence in the Department of Engineering Technology at MTSU.

Dr. Charles Perry

Perry was among the 80 people from academia, industry and government who attended the Tennessee Valley DRIVE meeting in MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

The IMCP program is an initiative designed to revolutionize the way federal agencies leverage economic development funds. It encourages communities to develop comprehensive economic development strategies to strengthen their competitive edge for attracting global manufacturer and supply chain investments.

Tennessee Valley is one of 12 IMCP groups eligible for $1.3 billion in economic assistance from 11 federal agencies and programs.

Tennessee DRIVE for the Future, led by Chuck Shoopman, assistant vice president at the Institute for Public Service at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, will seek collaboration between colleges and universities, including those in the UT and Tennessee Board of Regents systems, manufacturing, workforce development and others.

“We (MTSU) have an opportunity to gain federal grant money for the purpose of workforce development, boosting research assets and utilizing the supply chain,” Perry said.

Dr. Andrienne Friedli, assistant to the vice provost for research and director of the Center for Advancement of Research and Scholarship, said with MTSU’s year-old mechatronics engineering program established with nearly 100 students enrolled and the Science Building open, the university looks forward to contributing to workforce development and innovation to support  the automotive industry, including the supply chain.

Chuck Shoopman tells the DRIVE for the Future audience to submit proposals to take advantage of the opportunity for federal funding.

Dr. Andrienne Friedli

“Hosting the first planning meeting was an opportunity for MTSU to help broaden the community of participants and to brainstorm about the best strategies to capture federal funding for the DRIVE region,” Friedli said. “The mechatronics engineering program has already submitted one National Science Foundation proposal with a letter of support from the DRIVE executive committee.

“Along with partners in the DRIVE team, we hope to win grants designed to strengthen the auto industry through academic, government and industry collaboration.”

Through the IMCP, the federal government is rewarding best practices by coordinating federal aid to support communities’ strong development plans and managing grant programs across multiple departments and agencies.

No money is guaranteed to the group, Shoopman said. He added that if the group does not apply for funding, no money will come their way.

“We’ve got a new asset here, and we’ve got to take advantage of it,” Shoopman said. “If we don’t submit any proposals, we won’t get any money.”

He urged the partners to work together to leverage relationships, ideas and assets in the region.

The Tennessee Valley region includes Middle and East Tennessee, southern Kentucky, northern Alabama and northwest Georgia. Middle and East Tennessee feature Nissan North America plants in Decherd and Smyrna, the Nissan automotive financial headquarters in Franklin, a General Motors plant in Spring Hill and the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga.

Breakout session presenters during the daylong session included:

  • James King, TBR vice chancellor for Tennessee Technology Centers.
  • John Townsend, TBR executive director for workforce development.
  • Dan Marcum, executive director of the Southern Middle Tennessee Entrepreneur Center and NEST TN.
  • John Morris, president and CEO of Technology 2020.
  • Tom Brewer, president of the Tennessee Automotive Manufacturers Association and an associate vice president at Tennessee Tech.
  • Paul Jennings, executive director at the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

Attendees heard a live Skype presentation from Bernard Swiecki, assistant director of the Automotive Communities Partnership and the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based Center for Automotive Research. He explained how Mexico has made a major impact in the auto manufacturing industry.

“This is driving excellent opportunities for higher education,” said Ginger Hausser, TBR director of external affairs. “This is a workforce issue and an economic issue. By coming together, we think we can really advance the automobile industry in the region.”

The DRIVE executive board will meet in September in Nashville.

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

Tennessee’s Higher Education Resource Officer visits MTSU

It’s “getting to know you” time for the state’s Higher Education Resource Officer and the more than 52,000 people who keep Tennessee’s public colleges and universities functioning.

Nneka Norman-Gordon is making the rounds of schools in the Tennessee Board of Regents and University of Tennessee systems to explain what she does.

Nneka Norman-Gordon, right, the state’s Higher Education Resource Officer, chats with Cynthia Stone, left, director of MTSU’s Student Union, during an Aug. 6 visit to campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Nneka Norman-Gordon, right, the state’s Higher Education Resource Officer, chats with Cynthia Stone, left, director of MTSU’s Student Union, during an Aug. 6 visit to campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Norman-Gordon’s job was created July 1, 2013, under the Comptroller of the Treasury to help faculty, staff and other higher-education employees function more efficiently.

“They’re my constituents, and I’m here to serve,” Norman-Gordon said during her Aug. 6 stopover at MTSU’s Student Union Building.

The Higher Education Resource Officer can serve as a conduit between employees with questions or issues and the people who can provide answers, either within an institution or at the governance level.

“The mission is to make government work better, to the extent there are institutional barriers, by shining a spotlight on it, perhaps discussing a different method of handling an issue,” Norman-Gordon said.

In some instances, Norman-Gordon performs a liaison’s role.

When a professor at one TBR school complained that her job was coming to an end because her applied research was not being considered along with her peer-reviewed research, Norman-Gordon agreed to witness a meeting between the key players.

The matter was resolved in the professor’s favor.

Norman-Gordon can field inquiries not only from the higher education community but also from legislators and other individuals and agencies. She has used her contacts to explore how equipment grant funds were distributed, the criteria for those decisions and which programs were unfunded, among other items.

Norman-Gordon, a 2012 graduate of the Tennessee Government Management Institute, earned her bachelor’s degree from Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, and her master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from Austin Peay State University.

She has worked for the comptroller’s office for more than nine years. Before assuming her current position, she worked as a legislative research analyst for the state’s Offices of Research and Education Accountability.

Norman-Gordon runs the office alone at the moment, but she said she doesn’t rule out the possibility that the office will grow over time.

For more information about the state’s Higher Education Resource Officer, call 1-855-440-HERO (4376) or visit http://HERO.cot.tn.gov.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU hears how pilot overcame obstacles to join Blue Angels

U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team pilot and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill, left, talks with Kaylee Meddron, Carly Alsup and Michaela George before Cordill’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall June 13. The Blue Angels are flying in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. The girls participated in MTSU camps June 9-13. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team pilot and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill, left, talks with Kaylee Meddron, Carly Alsup and Michaela George before Cordill’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall June 13. The Blue Angels are flying in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. The girls participated in MTSU camps June 9-13. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

A standing-room-only crowd of about 300 people, many of them under 18, heard U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill express why he never let obstacles curtail his career dream.

Cordill, a Hemet, California, native, stood before them June 13 in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The Blue Angels will fly in the annual Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee, with MTSU serving as one of the sponsors.

Cordill said he had to overcome making only “decent” grades in high school and an 850 on his SAT — when 1600 was the top score in 1998).

A hockey player, he realized he was too small and lacked the talent to reach the NHL. He was “crushed” by not passing a U.S. Air Force test and learned through a Navy eye exam that he lacked depth perception.

Blue Angels badgeCordill discovered Saint Louis University, whose aerospace engineering program did not require an SAT. While sitting in the commercial pilot ground school class on Sept. 11, 2001, he and the other students were mesmerized by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City.

“Watching that, I became committed. I wanted to serve my country,” Cordell said, drawing a large round of applause from the audience.

Cordill’s 9/11 classroom faculty member that day was Wendy Beckman, now a professor in MTSU’s nationally recognized aerospace program and director of the Aviation Summer Camps and a partnership with The Academies of Nashville at McGavock High School.

“He remembered me, and that was pretty amazing,” Beckman said of their unexpected reunion Friday morning. “He’s done great. I’m very proud of him.”

At least two audience members, and probably more, want to follow in Cordill’s footsteps.

MTSU junior aerospace professional pilot Nick Morrison of Gainesville, Georgia, wants to be a Marine pilot. Capt. Nathan Skopak of the Marine recruiting command in Nashville said Morrison will be a future Marine when he enters as a second lieutenant at the completion of the Marine officer program in Murfreesboro.

Morrison said the Blue Angels visit was “pretty cool. I’m glad they came out. I’m looking forward to seeing the show Saturday.”

Brandon Cordill shares with the audience how a series of events eventually landed him with a role as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team, which will fly in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. MTSU is serving as an event sponsor.

Brandon Cordill shares with the audience how a series of events eventually landed him with a role as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team, which will fly in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. MTSU is serving as an event sponsor.

Murfreesboro’s Daniel Fallon, 14, who will be a Blackman High School freshman this fall, wore a Blue Angels T-shirt he bought when he and his family vacationed in Florida and saw them practice.

Fallon, who wants to be a pilot, is attending this week’s Introduction to Aviation Camp.

“I thought it was amazing,” Fallon said of the appearance. “I’m happy for him serving.”

First-year MT Sampler Camp participants also attended, including Jannah Ragab, 10, a sixth-grade student at Nashville International Academy, who had her photo taken with Cordill.

“I’m sure it will encourage people to one day be in the Air Force,” Ragab said, adding that she learned from the presentation “how planes fly close together.”

Cordill told the audience that the precision flight demonstration team flies their aircraft a mere 12 to 18 inches apart at times.

“It’s a matter of trust,” he said. “There’s no instruments or autopilot. Nobody’s going to move the (command) stick. They will hold their position until the end.”

Curtis Matthews, an aviation survival equipment man first class with the  U.S. Navy, also spoke to the gathering in the State Farm Room.

University President Sidney A. McPhee attended, joined by Col. Bill Lane of Gray, Tennessee, who is Tennessee Wing Commander with the Civil Air Patrol.

In addition to aerospace students and faculty, the audience included other MTSU faculty and staff, guests and about 20 members of the Civil Air Patrol Smyrna Composite Squadron, led by squadron commander Jeff Wreyford. Cordill presented the Smyrna group with a CAP Squadron of Distinction 2014 certificate and banner.

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

Pilots with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perfom a maneuver at an air show, leaving a synchronized trail of smoke.

Pilots with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perfom a close-knit synchronized maneuver at an air show, leaving a trail of smoke. The precision flight demonstration team is now in its 68th year of performing to inspire young men and women to pursue military careers as well as excellence in their lives. They perform June 14-15 at the MTSU-sponsored Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee. (U.S. Navy Blue Angels photo)

Alexander joins MTSU in welcoming Governor’s School in 30th year

For almost three decades, the Governor’s School for the Arts has nurtured the “creative spark” of young Tennesseans with a love for music, theatre, visual arts, dance and filmmaking.

As the program kicked off its 30th anniversary this week at MTSU, the man who founded the statewide summer programs for gifted high schoolers said his goal remains the same for each participant: “aim for the top.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, pauses for a photo with Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts leaders before speaking at the opening ceremony for the 2014 event at MTSU. Alexander, center, is joined by Dr. Jim Brooks, left, director of the Governor’s School at MTSU from 1995 to 2000 and a former chair of the MTSU Department of Speech and Theatre, and Dr. Raphael Bundage, right, the current Governor’s School director and a professor in MTSU’s School of Music. (MTSU photo courtesy of Justin Durham)

“The whole idea was simply to find within our schools students who were really good, and who wanted to be better, and to give them the opportunity to meet with other students who felt the same way,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, said at a Tucker Theatre welcome ceremony for 305 new participants and their families, event staff and counselors, and other guests June 1.

“Not only would that help them be better, but whenever they went back home to their schools, others would think ‘Where’d they go and what did they do? And if it’s that important, maybe I should be thinking in the same way.'”

Alexander, himself a musician since age 4, was governor in 1984 when he encouraged Tennessee lawmakers to create summer residency programs for young people in the arts, engineering and math, and international studies — one for each of the state’s three grand divisions.

Thirty years later, there now are a dozen different Governor’s Schools across Tennessee to immerse dedicated 10th and 11th graders in their chosen fields for four weeks and give them college course credit to boot. The arts school at MTSU is the state’s oldest and largest with more than 9,000 alumni.

“All of this, over the last 30 years, has helped lift up our state and caused us to think more of ourselves. The Governor’s Schools have grown, and they’ve become terrifically important,” Alexander, also a former U.S. education secretary, said. “I have two former Governor’s School students who work with me in my Senate office.”

Alexander joked that excellence in the arts never precludes excellence in seemingly unrelated fields, adding that even former Federal Reserve Chairman Allen Greenspan was able to find a good job when Greenspan’s clarinet career at the Juilliard School didn’t pan out quite as he’d hoped.

“Whether you become a professional or remain an amateur, your music will stay with you the rest of your life,” Alexander told the standing-room-only audience.

“You are helping us show that we can aim for the top in the arts and all the other activities we have at the Governor’s Schools. You are part of our effort to find the excellence and to praise it.”

Click on the 30th anniversary banner to learn more about the Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU.

2011 Governor’s School theatre alumnus Zach Ginn, who helped emcee the welcome event, is now majoring in human and organizational development at Vanderbilt. His captivating demeanor while handling a happy crowd of nearly 1,000 could certainly be learned in a boardroom, eventually, but his stage experience has obviously given him an advantage.

“Creativity’s in many forms,” Ginn said. “We talk about how in business you need creativity to come up with your product or service and then must be able to reach the customer with it. It’s the whole left-brain connection that really makes sense in solving problems as well as coming up with new ideas.”

Dr. Raphael Bundage, a vocal professor in MTSU’s School of Music and the director of the Governor’s School for the Arts, agreed.

“We have students who were in Governor’s School everywhere now,” Bundage said, checking off the names of respected business leaders as well as “people in U.S. government, singers at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, countless numbers of teachers …

“Not everyone who attends our Governor’s School ends up in the arts. That mindset is there, though, and that creative capacity is there. Whatever field they end up in, that creative spark will be there and can be useful to them.”

The Governor’s School for the Arts runs through June 26 at MTSU. Public finale events will be held on campus June 25 and 26. For more information, including applying for next year’s session of the Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU, visit http://gsfta.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Windham Lecture sheds light on ‘Coup’ to oust governor (+VIDEO)

Public affairs consultant and former journalist Keel Hunt brought the story of Tennessee’s unprecedented bipartisan ouster of a corrupt governor to MTSU’s renowned Windham Lecture Series April 17.

Keel Hunt

MTSU alumnus Hunt, author of “Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal,” was joined in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre by Alexander, now Tennessee’s senior U.S. senator; John Seigenthaler, Tennessean editor emeritus; and former U.S. Attorney Hal Hardin for an in-depth discussion of the 1979 political scandal.

Hunt was appreciative of MTSU’s invitation to share a deeper understanding of his book.

“This is where I came of age … this is where I spent my undergraduate time and made friends and associates that have been dear to me for the past 50 years,” he said. “I’m so grateful to MTSU for what this university means to our state and so many like me.”

A captive audience listened as the panel recalled the story of Tennessee’s constitutional crisis erupting 35 years ago, when then-Gov. Ray Blanton signed 52 executive clemencies, including pardons for a political pal’s son and 20 other convicted murderers, amid a growing federal investigation into a clemency-for-cash scandal.

You can watch an excerpt of their conversation below.

“One reason I wrote the book was that it was an extraordinary tale,” Hunt said. “What you’re about to hear about has never happened anywhere in our country … before 1979 and certainly not since.

“In hindsight, it’s a pretty good case study in an episode of very serious bipartisanship at a very high level in our state government.”


Leaders learned Blanton planned to issue more pardons before the newly elected governor Alexander was to be sworn in Jan. 20, 1979. Hardin, who also is an MTSU alumnus, contacted Alexander with the news.

“And I said, ‘I’m not calling you as the United States Attorney, I’m calling you as a Tennessean, and here’s what I know,'” Hardin told the audience, adding that he remembers that day’s events “like it was yesterday.”

Working with the state attorney general to determine whether an early inauguration was constitutional, Alexander, a Republican, had only a few hours to collaborate with Speaker of the House Ned Ray McWherter and Lt. Gov. John Wilder, both Democrats, to find a solution.

John Seigenthaler

Hal Hardin

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

They did. Alexander took the oath of office three days early in the Tennessee Supreme Court chambers, and the bipartisan scramble effectively prevented any more early releases for dangerous criminals.

Alexander recalled the angst he felt.

“I had to think about, ‘How do you do this, since it has never been done?’ Going through my mind were things like, ‘If I appear to be the usurper of power, Tennessee will be even more of a laughingstock because of the pardons.'”

Thursday night’s audience also watched archival news footage from Nashville’s WTVF-TV on the night of Jan. 17, 1979, when Alexander took the oath of office for governor.

“The days and weeks prior to this, all of the media in Tennessee was telling the story, either in print or in broadcast, the story of the scandal,” said Seigenthaler, who wrote the forward to Hunt’s book and was editor in chief of The Tennessean at the time of Blanton’s ouster.

“There were very few people in the state at the time who didn’t understand that this scandal, this crisis, was on us.”

Hunt, a former Tennessean reporter and city editor who campaigned for Alexander in the 1978 election and later became his special assistant and speechwriter, was able to interview many of the surviving participants for “Coup,” learning details that surprised even his former boss Alexander.

“I admire so much the book Keel has written because he’s collected a lot of stories I didn’t know anything about, because I was in the center of it,” Alexander said.

Hunt characterized his book as “a story of a crisis, and mainly the story of how that crisis was resolved. And the solution was a one of a kind.

“I appreciate that a lot of the appeal of the story is due to the scandal and the corruption,” he continued, “but genuinely what was more interesting to me was how these other folks worked through the solution on that afternoon. There was a crisis, but there was also the solution.

“I would say this is not so much a story about bad guys doing wrong: it’s about good guys doing right.”

MTSU’s Windham Lecture Series in Liberal Arts was established by William and Westy Windham through the MTSU Foundation.

Dr. William Windham was a member of the MTSU faculty from 1955 to 1989 and served as chairman of the Department of History the last 11 years. His first wife, the late Westy Windham, earned a master’s degree in sociology at MTSU and was the founder of the Great American Singalong. Since Westy Windham’s death, Windham and his current wife, Doris, have continued their sponsorship of the lecture series and were in attendance for Thursday night’s lecture.

The inaugural Windham Lecture in 1990 featured Drs. Dan T. Carter of Emory University and Dewey W. Grantham of Vanderbilt University, who spoke on “The South and the Second Reconstruction.” Since then, the Windham Lectures have addressed topics spanning from American music to U.S. foreign policy and have included such speakers as musician Bela Fleck, filmmaker Rory Kennedy and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

For more information about the lecture series, please contact the College of Liberal Arts at 615-494-7628.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu) and Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Inclement weather cancels Holocaust Remembrance Day talk

Potential inclement weather has forced the cancellation of today’s planned lecture from Frances Cutler Hahn, a survivor of the horrors of the Third Reich, in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frances Cutler Hahn

Hahn, a 78-year-old Nashville resident, had been scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m. today, April 28, in MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of MTSU’s Holocaust Studies Program, said Hahn’s lecture will be rescheduled.

“We regret the inconvenience, but the potential safety of our speaker and audience are of primary importance,” Rupprecht said, referring to weather forecasts that included a flash-flood watch for Rutherford and adjoining counties and the potential for severe thunderstorms.

Hahn was born to Polish parents in 1936 in France just before the Nazi occupation of Paris. They put her in a children’s home at the age of 3 to save her life.

Hahn’s mother was initially taken to Camp Drancy, a detention camp, and later to Auschwitz, where she was murdered at the age of 28.

Fearing losing his daughter the same way, Hahn’s father placed her with a Catholic farming family for the duration of the war. He succumbed to his war injuries in 1946 at age 35.

Following the war, Hahn lived in orphanages until the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society arranged for her to travel to Philadelphia in 1948 at age 10.

Hahn donated her personal collection of documents to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.

The collection includes copies of photographs of her parents, letters to their family in Poland, photographs of Hahn in wartime children’s homes and postwar orphanages and documents relating to her emigration to the United States.

For more information, contact Dr. Elyce Helford at elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can listen to part of a Nashville Public Radio interview with Hahn and read excerpts from it here.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

U.S. diplomatic official to discuss Iraq, Afghanistan (+VIDEO)

A top U.S. diplomatic official offered his perspective on one of the world’s most volatile regions in an address at MTSU. Jason Lewis-Berry discussed “Conflict Prevention and Response after Iraq and Afghanistan” April 22 in the Tom Jackson Building.

You can watch an excerpt from his talk below.


Lewis-Berry’s address marked the Senior Practitioner Inaugural Lecture in International Affairs.

A component of MTSU’s master’s degree program in international affairs, this initial offering in what will become a yearly lecture series was  intended to provide greater insight into the complex issues facing the world and how key players deal with them.

The master’s degree program, which is offered by the MTSU Department of Political Science, will recruit future lecturers from international organizations, business corporations and governmental agencies.

Lewis-Berry has been director of overseas operations in the Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations since March 2008. He was an adviser to nonviolent civilian Syrian opposition groups in Turkey in 2013 and partnered with U.S. special operations forces to coordinate strategy against militant movements in central Africa from 2011 to 2012.

He served as chief of staff for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2010, managing the daily operations of a binational group working in support of the Afghan government.

Lewis-Berry also has led multinational civil-military planning and assessments in the field in Mexico, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.S. State Department can deploy him to unstable environments worldwide on 48 hours’ notice.

A team member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Fellow, Lewis-Berry holds a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

For more information, contact Dr. Moses Tesi at 615-898-5731 or moses.tesi@mtsu.edu or the MTSU Department of Political Science at 615-898-2708.

To learn more about MTSU’s international relations master’s degree, listen to a recent interview with Tesi on “MTSU On the Record” here.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Folk singer offers lunchtime concert Friday at Center for Popular Music

Anne MacFie, a folk singer, songwriter and storyteller from eastern Kentucky, will present a lunchtime concert at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music at noon Friday, April 25.

MacFie CPM concert poster webThe free public event inside the university’s Bragg Mass Communication Building will feature MacFie’s versions of the traditional ballads and stories she learned from her Appalachian foothills neighbors.

She has also worked with and learned from artists such as Lily May Ledford, Jean Ritchie and Almeda Riddle.

A professional musician since 1969, MacFie has performed internationally and has recorded three solo albums as well as works as a member of the Twa Sisters duo and with the Civil War ensemble, Privates By Choice.

MacFie has given summer concerts and directed music festivals for many years in the Kentucky State Parks, including Pine Mountain’s Great American Dulcimer Convention, and for the National Parks and Forests.

She has taught classes and workshops for festivals and folk camps, including Kentucky Music Week, Swannanoa Gathering and Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, and is the folksong instructor for annual Road Scholar programs on Appalachian culture.

She is also an accomplished and acclaimed songwriter; artists such as Kentucky Standard and the Gallier Brothers Band regularly perform her songs.

The Center for Popular Music at MTSU is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, MTSU’s CPM maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)