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Diane Nash offers encouragement, advice for change at MTSU

Diane Nash is using her history-changing work for civil rights to advise and encourage those today who want to help America ensure freedom and justice for all.

“It was an interesting time and I’m glad I got to see it,” the trailblazer for equality said Wednesday, Sept. 14, at MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration while discussing those frightening but uplifting days.

Civil rights activist Diane Nash speaks to several hundred attendees inside Tucker Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 14, during her keynote address for MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Civil rights activist Diane Nash speaks to several hundred attendees inside Tucker Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 14, during her keynote address for MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“I wish young people today could see their grandparents involved in that movement, with its discipline and strategy and courage. We were brilliant.”

Nash, who helped integrate Nashville lunch counters with peaceful sit-ins in 1960 and desegregate bus travel with the Freedom Riders and ultimately aided passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, recalled the segregated Nashville of the 1950s and ’60s, when she was a student at Fisk University.

The sight of black citizens sitting on downtown curbs, forced to eat their noon meals brought from home or bought from restaurants’ side windows and back doors while their white co-workers dined in indoor comfort, both infuriated her and broke her heart.

“I found that dehumanizing and humiliating,” the Chicago native said, noting that Fisk students were relatively insulated from racism on campus but faced it almost as soon as they stepped off the university grounds.

“It wasn’t even possible to go downtown with a girlfriend and window-shop and treat yourself to a quick lunch. I found segregation very limiting. … When I obeyed a segregation rule, I felt like I was agreeing that I was too inferior to other people to do what the rest of the public did. I found that intolerable.”

During the Sept. 14 MTSU event in Tucker Theatre, which included a post-lecture discussion led by public history doctoral student Torren Gatson, Nash told the full house that she “enthusiastically” supports efforts to bring justice and equality by groups that include the Black Lives Matter network.

She cautioned, however, that “there’s a difference in just protesting and in conducting a nonviolent campaign,” referring to the extensive training that she and other activists underwent in workshops with the Rev. James Lawson. Lawson, who visited MTSU last year for the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Voting Rights Act, studied and shared Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of civil resistance through nonviolence, self-discipline, truth, fearlessness, respect and economic strategies.

http://youtu.be/RnIKpu_n6_w

“I think they’re doing what they saw, which were the demonstrations and the marches,” Nash said of today’s activists working for change. “They did not see the workshops, where we were really trained in philosophy and strategy and really thinking through what we wanted to accomplish and what love is.

“They didn’t see the door-to-door canvassing to get the community involved. They didn’t see many of the educational meetings,” she continued. “We educated the community in civics and in government and the role of citizens in government. Demonstrating constituted about 20 percent of what we did.

“We were not just protesting. … Very often, the powers that be know you don’t like what they’re doing, but they’re determined to do it anyway. … You can’t build good will in a beloved community by visiting violence on someone. The unjust political system is the enemy, an unjust education system. Ignorance, racism, sexism, mental illness — those are the enemies.”

American Democracy Project logo webNash’s talk was one of the highlights of the daylong celebration across campus in observation of the 229th anniversary of the Constitution’s signing.

Students, faculty, staff and visitors read the historic document at multiple sites across MTSU throughout the day, and voter registration tables were set up in busy locations to help citizens prepare for the Nov. 8 federal and state elections. Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Tracy Nelson, the blues-rock icon who fronted Mother Earth in the 1960s and ’70s and now sings across the country, also performed in the McWherter Learning Resources Center.

MTSU observes the Constitution’s 1787 signing every year with special events and programs organized by the university chapter of the American Democracy Project.

Tuesday, Oct. 11, is the final voter registration deadline in Tennessee to cast a ballot on Nov. 8.

For more information about American Democracy Project events at MTSU, email amerdem@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/amerdem.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Diane Nash, center, leads a silent march of more than 3,000 people to Nashville's City Hall with fellow civil rights activist C.T. Vivian, left, on April 19, 1960, the day Nashville attorney J. Alexander Looby's home was firebombed and students at nearby Meharry Medical College were injured. The protesters, who had been conducting sit-ins at city lunch counters, met on the steps with then-Mayor Ben West to demand an end to injustice and violence in the city, and West agreed. (Archive ;hoto from The Tennesseean)

Diane Nash, center, leads a silent march of more than 3,000 people to Nashville’s City Hall with fellow civil rights activist C.T. Vivian, left, on April 19, 1960, the day attorney J. Alexander Looby’s home was firebombed and students at nearby Meharry Medical College were injured. The protesters, who had been conducting sit-ins at segregated Nashville lunch counters, met on the city hall steps with then-Mayor Ben West to successfully demand an end to the segregated eateries and to work toward ending injustice and racial violence in the city. (Archive photo from The Tennesseean)

Civil rights activist Diane Nash takes questions from a student panel following her keynote address inside Tucker Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 14, as the highlight of MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration.

Civil rights activist Diane Nash takes questions from a student panel following her keynote address inside Tucker Theatre Wednesday, Sept. 14, as the highlight of MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration.

Dr. Laura Clark, College of Education faculty, reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration outside the College of Education Building

Dr. Laura Clark, College of Education faculty member, reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration outside the College of Education Building. Students, faculty, staff and visitors read portions of the founding document throughout the day across campus.

With biology professor Kim Cleary Sadler looking on and a line of students waiting to take their turn, MTSU freshman Aja Davis reads an amendment to the Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during the university’s Constitution Day celebration outside of the Science Building. Students, faculty, staff and visitors read portions of the founding document throughout the day across campus.

With biology professor Kim Cleary Sadler looking on and a line of students waiting to take their turn, MTSU freshman Aja Davis reads an amendment to the Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during the university’s Constitution Day celebration outside the Science Building.

Tony Beard, former MTSU National Alumni Board President, reads a portion of the Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, outside of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building as part of the university’s Constitution Day celebration.

Tony Beard, former MTSU National Alumni Board president, reads a portion of the Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, outside of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building as part of the university’s Constitution Day celebration.

Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College, reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration.

Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College, reads a portion of the U.S. Constitution Wednesday, Sept. 14, during MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration as Associate Dean Philip Phillips waits his turn with a group of students, faculty and staff.

Area middle school students line up to read the U.S. Constitution outside of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building Wednesday, Sept. 14, as a part of MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration.

Area middle school students line up to read the U.S. Constitution outside of the Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building Wednesday, Sept. 14, as a part of MTSU’s Constitution Day celebration.

Click the image for a full-sized PDF version of the poster.

Click the image for a full-sized PDF version of the poster.

Post editor discusses police-shooting database Sept. 20

A deputy investigative editor at The Washington Post will discuss the newspaper’s Pulitzer Prize-winning — and unprecedented — database of nearly 1,000 fatal police shootings Tuesday, Sept. 20, in a special free public event at MTSU.

David Fallis

David Fallis

“Fatal Force” with David Fallis is set for 1 p.m. Sept. 20 in the Parliamentary Room inside the university’s Student Union.

A searchable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap. Off-campus visitors attending the lecture can obtain a special one-day permit at www.mtsu.edu/parking/visit.php.

Click The Washington Post's "Fatal Force" graphic to visit the website.

Click The Washington Post’s “Fatal Force” graphic to visit the website.

The discussion, presented by the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at MTSU, is part of the university’s Pulitzer Prize Centennial Series commemorating the 100th anniversary of The Pulitzer Prizes.

Fallis helped lead the team behind the Post’s “Fatal Force” project, which included traditional reporting and national data collection of police shootings and analysis. The project won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting for its comprehensive study of 990 on-duty fatal shootings by a police officer in 2015.

The yearlong project evolved after the fatal Aug. 9, 2014, shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominantly African-American suburb of St. Louis.

The Pulitzer committee noted the Post team’s discoveries, which included:

  • Most of those who died were white men armed with guns who were killed by police in threatening circumstances.
  • A quarter of those killed were suicidal or had a history of mental illness.
  • More than 50 of the officers involved had killed before.
  • While only 9 percent of people killed by police were not armed, unarmed black men were seven times more likely than unarmed whites to die by police gunfire.

“The Post’s stories defied conventional wisdom about police shootings while exposing an urgent need for reform,” the Pulitzer committee said in announcing the award.

Pulitzer Centennial graphic webPost Executive Editor Martin Baron said the “Fatal Force” project was a full-force newsroom effort.

“When police shootings dominated the national conversation, basic facts were missing because police are not required to report fatal shootings to the FBI. The Post’s writers and editors sought to fill that enormous information gap with an unprecedented database on police shootings and comprehensive on-the-ground reporting,” Baron said.

“Deploying people in every corner of the newsroom, The Post delivered on a core journalistic mission — telling the public what it needs to know. And its work had immediate impact: The FBI said it would overhaul how it tracks fatal police encounters, promising to make it ‘the highest priority.’ We’re honored that the Pulitzer board recognized the skill of our staff and the importance of its work.”

“Fatal Force” also won the Polk Award for National Reporting and a Sigma Delta Chi Award for Public Service and was a finalist for The Selden Ring Award for Investigative Reporting, The Goldsmith Award, the Scripps Howard Award for Investigative Reporting and IRE’s Innovation in Investigative Journalism award.

You can see The Post’s fatal police shootings 2015 database here; the page also includes a link to the 2016 database.

Seigenthaler Chair new logo webFallis has worked at The Washington Post since 1999 in the publication’s investigations teams, taking the deputy editorship in August 2014. Before joining The Post, Fallis, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, wrote and edited for The Tulsa World. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and taught investigative reporting at George Washington University.

Pulitzer Prize-winning author, historian and journalist Jon Meacham was MTSU’s inaugural Centennial Series guest last February. The Seigenthaler Chair also brought firsthand insights “From the Front Lines of Ferguson” to MTSU in February 2015 with the help of St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer/videographer David Carson, St. Louis 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French and USA Today reporter Yamiche Alcindor.

MTSU established the John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies in 1986 to honor the iconic journalist’s lifelong commitment to free expression. The Seigenthaler Chair, which is a part of the university’s College of Media and Entertainment, supports a variety of activities related to free speech, free press rights and other topics of concern for contemporary journalism.

Learn more about MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies at http://mtpress.mtsu.edu/seigenthaler.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Blues-rock icon Tracy Nelson sings of freedom at MTSU Wednesday

Blues-rock icon Tracy Nelson, whose soulful, powerful voice lends extra gravitas to the music of her four-decade career, will perform songs of freedom at MTSU Wednesday, Sept. 14, as part of the university’s Constitution Day 2016 celebration.

Tracy Nelson poster webNelson, who fronted Mother Earth in the 1960s and ’70s and wrote classics like her signature song “Down So Low”, which has been covered by Linda Ronstadt and Etta James, will perform and speak at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in Room 221 of the McWherter Learning Resources Center.

Her appearance is free and open to the public. A searchable, printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Tracy Nelson

Tracy Nelson

The Grammy-nominated Nelson will discuss songwriting in the context of free speech and social activism during her MTSU visit as well as her storied career, including her days with Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and her collaborations with Willie Nelson, Marcia Ball and Irma Thomas.

Her visit is presented by the Center for Popular Music in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment.

The Wisconsin native, who first heard R&B music on Nashville’s historic WLAC-AM radio station, began performing in folk groups as a teenager. She released her first album, “Deep Are the Roots,” in 1964, featuring acoustic blues tunes accompanied by a band that included renowned harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite.

By 1966, Nelson was in San Francisco, singing with Mother Earth at the Fillmore Auditorium on bills with Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and the Jefferson Airplane. Before the decade ended, she and the band had moved to Middle Tennessee, where they recorded their groundbreaking “Make a Joyful Noise” album and four more together and Nelson released another solo effort, “Mother Earth Presents Tracy Nelson Country.” Her next solo album, “Bring Me Home,” included songwriter Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road,” released a full decade before The Eagles’ live 1980 cover.

Her 1974 duet with Willie — no relation — Nelson, “After the Fire is Gone,” earned the pair a Grammy nomination, as did her acclaimed 1998 collaboration with Ball and Thomas, “Sing It.” Through the years, Nelson has continued recording and performing on her own schedule and terms, singing across genres and contributing to other artists’ albums and causes.

Her command of so many forms of American music has led critics to call her “the Queen of Americana,” but she’s dismissed the title with a laugh. She told the Nashville Scene’s Jim Ridley in 2007, “I think I make perfect sense in that format, but what do I know?”

You can hear Nelson sing “Down So Low” from her album “Live from Cell Block D,” recorded in 2002 at the West Tennessee Detention Center in Mason, Tennessee, below.

Details on MTSU’s full Constitution Day 2016 schedule are available here.

For more information on MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit www.mtsu.edu/popmusic.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

http://youtu.be/qSaBPO-9hqs

 

‘MTSU On the Record’ discusses Constitution with civil rights activist

A pivotal figure in civil rights progress in Middle Tennessee shared her legacy on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program in advance of her Constitution Day 2016 visit to campus.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with civil rights activist Diane Nash and Dr. Mary Evins, director of the American Democracy Project at MTSU, first aired Sept. 5 on WMOT-FM/Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation below.

Diane Nash

Diane Nash

Dr. Mary A. Evins

Dr. Mary A. Evins

Nash will speak at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in Tucker Theatre as part of MTSU’s Constitution Day festivities.

The event is free and open to the public. A printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Now a Chicago realtor, Nash was instrumental in leading demonstrations against segregated lunch counters in Nashville while a student at Fisk University in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Her leadership compelled Nashville Mayor Ben West to admit that African-Americans deserved to be served alongside white patrons. Nashville became the first Southern city to desegregate lunch counters on May 10, 1960.

Subsequently, Nash went on to co-found the Southern Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, participate in the 1961 Freedom Rides to protest interstate bus segregation and work for voter registration and education in Mississippi and Alabama.

“The phrase we often used was, ‘Is this the loving thing to do?’” said Nash. “We were trying to bring about what we used to call a ‘beloved community’ as opposed to trying to win. Your attitude is important.”

Evins, who also is a research professor with the Center for Historic Preservation at MTSU, will explain the other Constitution Day activities, including the reading of the Constitution at various locations around campus and placement of voter registration tables.

“The purpose is not just to pay homage to Constitution Day but to actually provide learning opportunities for our students as broadly as possible across the campus in an interdisciplinary fashion university-wide,” Evins said.

Constitution Day this year is Saturday, Sept. 17, but MTSU will observe it on the preceding Wednesday to enable more students to attend events.

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.

Click the image for a full-sized PDF version of the poster.

Click the image for a full-sized PDF version of the poster.

https://youtu.be/X38MQizWHlo

Convocation speaker’s message to students: ‘Be better citizens’

MTSU’s 15th University Convocation speaker made reference to the best-selling book he co-authored and was read by more than 3,000 new freshmen and transfer students this year.

But civility and respect were at the heart of Rajiv Chandrasekaran’s 20-minute message to his audience at Convocation, a special annual ceremony that welcomes new students into the MTSU learning community and immediately engages them in the learning process.

2016 University Convocation keynote speaker Rajiv Chandrasekaran, co-author of "For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice" addresses an attentive audience Aug. 21 in Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

2016 University Convocation keynote speaker Rajiv Chandrasekaran, co-author of “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice,” addresses an attentive audience Aug. 21 in Murphy Center as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center, and Dr. Rick Sluder, vice provost for student success, listen intently. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“You have read about honor and valor and about service and sacrifice,” said Chandrasekaran, who, along with Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, wrote “For Love of Country: What Our Veterans Can Teach Us About Citizenship, Heroism and Sacrifice.”

“How do we take those values and incorporate them into our lives?” he continued. “Some of you will participate in MTSU’s ROTC program and serve our nation as military officers upon graduation. Others of you may choose to enlist. You have my utmost respect.

“But all of you — all of us — can serve our nation. And it doesn’t require a uniform. It simply requires a willingness to espouse the values that have long made our nation great: civility, civic engagement, empathy and a willingness to work with others who hold different opinions in a polite and respectful way. It requires us to be good citizens.

“We all have this power within us. But many of us choose not to demonstrate it — at least not on a regular basis.”

A San Francisco native, Chandrasekaran became senior vice president for public affairs at Starbucks and executive producer of the company’s social impact media initiatives in 2015.

“For Love of Country” was MTSU’s 2016 Summer Reading Program selection. Incoming freshmen and transfer students are expected to read each book before classes start, and all University 1010 classes will discuss it this fall. Faculty campuswide also are incorporating the book into their fall lesson plans.

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Rajiv Chandrasekaran

Freshman Melany Ortiz-Hernandez, 18, of Smyrna, Tennessee, said “every story (in the book) was so heartbreaking and brought tears to my eyes. The book gave me a whole new level of respect and opened my eyes to our fellow veterans.”

Accompanied by her parents, Ofelia Hernandez and Max Ortiz, and sisters Kimberly and Ashley Oritz-Hernandez, the textiles, merchandising and design major said Chandrasekaran’s talk “gave us another opportunity to soak in what the book taught us and offered a new perspective regarding valor, compassion and love for our fellow man.”

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, welcomed the freshmen and new transfer students to MTSU’s learning community.

“It’s a transition of where you have been and where you are going. … Today, you become one of us.”

President Sidney A. McPhee explained how the new students will be beginning “many new, significant relationships that will change your life.” He praised “our outstanding faculty” as a major part of that opportunity.

Chandrasekaran is a former senior correspondent and associate editor with The Washington Post. In addition to covering Afghanistan for most of a decade, he also was the Post’s bureau chief in Baghdad, Cairo and Southeast Asia.

Following Convocation, students, their families, faculty and administration attended the President’s Picnic at Floyd Stadium.

Convocation signals the start of the 2016-17 academic year at MTSU and is one of many Week of Welcome activities. For a full schedule, visit http://mtsu.edu/nsfp/welcome.php. Students begin classes Monday, Aug. 22.

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

New MTSU students recite the True Blue Pledge during University Convocation Aug. 21 in Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

New MTSU students recite the True Blue Pledge during University Convocation Aug. 21 in Murphy Center.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, top, and first lady Elizabeth McPhee, left, visit with guests during the President's Picnic at Floyd Stadium following University Convocation Aug. 21. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center, and first lady Elizabeth McPhee, left, visit with guests during the President’s Picnic at Floyd Stadium following University Convocation Aug. 21.

Digital animation alumna returns to MTSU for special talk

An Oscar-winning MTSU media alumna is returning to campus Wednesday, Aug. 17, for a special student event that’s also open to the public.

Mikki Rose webMikki Rose, a member of the Rhythm & Hues Studios team that won the 2008 Oscar for Visual Effects for their groundbreaking animation work on “The Golden Compass,” will speak to the MTSU student chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 17 in Room 148 of the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building on campus.

Click on the logo to visit the Facebook page for the MTSU Student Chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH. https://www.facebook.com/MtsuAcmSiggraphStudentChapter.

Click on the logo to visit the Facebook page for the MTSU Student Chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH.

The event is free and open to the public. A searchable, printable campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap.

Rose, who earned her MTSU bachelor’s degrees in mass communication/digital animation and computer science in 2005, now works for Blue Sky Studios in Greenwich, Connecticut, as a Fur Technical Director — what she calls “a CG hair stylist” — specializing in hair and cloth visual effects and animation for feature films.

She’s been affiliated with the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Computer Graphics and Interactive Technique since 2002, rising from student volunteer to co-chair of the organization’s 2015 international computer animation festival and serving as production services chair for the 2016 SIGGRAPH international conference.

Blue Sky Studios logo webRose’s talk with the student group will focus on her career, which has also included a stint at Sony Pictures Imageworks. At Rhythm & Hues, she worked on two “Alvin and the Chipmunks” movies and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” “The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor” and “Aliens in the Attic” and managed a team of technical animation directors.

At Sony Imageworks, Rose’s talents dressed and coiffed characters in “Alice in Wonderland,” “Arthur Christmas,” “Men in Black III,” “Hotel Transylvania,” “Oz the Great and Powerful” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2.”

Her most recent projects with Blue Sky include 2015’s “The Peanuts Movie,” this year’s “Ice Age: Collision Course” and the upcoming feature “Ferdinand.”

In 2012, Rose was added to the College of Media and Entertainment’s “Wall of Fame,” an annual honor reserved for accomplished media alumni.

You can watch Rose briefly discuss her involvement with SIGGRAPH in this video:

http://youtu.be/ROWinsJOFwk

For more information about Rose’s visit or the MTSU student chapter of ACM SIGGRAPH, contact Kevin McNulty, MTSU professor of electronic media communication, at kevin.mcnulty@mtsu.edu or visit the organization’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/MtsuAcmSiggraphStudentChapter.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU media alumna Mikki Rose, who’ll return to campus Aug. 17 for a special visit, is among the animators who worked on this year’s “Peanuts Movie.” This scene from the Blue Sky Studios’ film shows plenty of Rose’s specialty, which she calls “CG hair stylist.’’

MTSU media alumna Mikki Rose, who’ll return to campus Aug. 17 for a special visit, is among the animators who worked on this year’s “Peanuts Movie.” This scene from the Blue Sky Studios film shows plenty of Rose’s specialty, which she calls “CG hair stylist.’’ (Photo courtesy Blue Sky Studios)

Sportscaster Greg Gumbel set for keynote at sold-out BRAA dinner

The Blue Raider Athletic Association’s annual Donor Celebration Dinner will have a different flair this year. The change received a tremendous response as the event is already sold out.

Slated for Friday, Aug. 12, this year’s dinner will for the first time be held at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. The event will also for the first time feature a guest speaker – sportscaster Greg Gumbel.

Sportscaster Greg Gumbel will be the keynote speaker at the sold-out Aug. 12 Blue Raider Athletic Association Celebration Dinner at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (Submitted photo)

Sportscaster Greg Gumbel will be the keynote speaker at the sold-out Aug. 12 Blue Raider Athletic Association Celebration Dinner at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. (Submitted photo)

“We’ve never had a guest speaker of this magnitude before, so having Greg Gumbel there will be a huge addition,” said Bethany Thurston, director of development/stewardship and special events for the Blue Raider Athletic Association.

Gumbel is best known for his work on CBS broadcasts of the National Football League and college basketball. He is currently the host of “Inside the NFL,” which airs on Showtime and NFL Network.

BRAA new logo-webIn addition to his work on CBS, Gumbel has worked on networks like ESPN, NBC and others, and has hosted the Winter Olympics and World Figure Skating Championships to go along with football, basketball and baseball duties. He is also one of four broadcasters to have been a host and play-by-play announcer for Super Bowls, and was the first African-American (and Creole) announcer to do play-by-play for a major sports championship in the U.S.

Gumbel was secured through the Jones College of Business, through his involvement with the Premiere Speakers Bureau. The partnership between the Jones College and the Premiere Speakers Bureau was shared with the BRAA.Jones College of Business logo-updated

“The Jones College of Business has been a huge help with this event, financially and with the planning process,” added Thurston. “It’s always a great thing when two campus groups can partner to show our appreciation for the generous contributions that we receive from our donors.”

Read the full GoBlueRaiders.com story here.

MTSU on WGNS: #TRUE Blue Tour, partnerships, student success

MTSU faculty and staff took to the radio recently to share information about an MT Athletics upcoming promotional tour, new efforts to strengthen partnerships with business and industry, and a new center focused on helping students reach their fullest potential.

The details were shared during the July 18 “Action Line” program with host Bryan Barrett. The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests included:

• Danielle Mayeaux, assistant athletic director of marketing for MT Athletics, discussed the fourth annual #TRUE Blue Summer Tour starting July 28.

MTSU faculty and staff appeared on the July 18 WGNS Radio "Action Line" program. Pictured are, top from left, Danielle Mayeaux, assistant athletic director of marketing for MT Athletics, and Paula Mansfield, director of strategic partnerships in the MTSU Office of University Advancement; bottom, special assistant to the dean for Student Success and Strategic Partnerships in the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. (MTSU photo illustration)

MTSU faculty and staff appeared on the July 18 WGNS Radio “Action Line” program. Pictured are, top from left, Danielle Mayeaux, assistant athletic director of marketing for MT Athletics, and Paula Mansfield, director of strategic partnerships in the MTSU Office of University Advancement; bottom, special assistant to the dean for Student Success and Strategic Partnerships in the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. (MTSU photo illustration)

The goal of the #TRUE Blue summer tour is to connect with the community in order to get fans excited about the 2016 season. Each stop will allow fans the opportunity to get autographs from and to mingle with Blue Raider coaches and players and members of the spirit squads. Fans will also be able to pick up season ticket information, posters, schedule cards and various MT Athletics promotional items.

For the complete list, go here.

• Paula Mansfield, new director of strategic partnerships in the MTSU Office of University Advancement, discussed her new role at MTSU and plans going forward.

After three decades of experience and “relationship building” in the financial services industry, Mansfield was hired earlier this year to provide a single point of contact between MTSU and corporate partners as well as other external and internal constituencies to build stronger relationships that lead to ongoing collaborations that impact inside and outside the classroom.

For more about the Office of University Advancement, go here.

• Dr. Colby Jubenville, special assistant to the dean for Student Success and Strategic Partnerships in the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, discussed his role at MTSU as well as his background and expertise in coaching people to “go their own way” to monetize their knowledge and skills.

In 2016, Jubenville secured $1 million in private monies and launched The Center for Student Success and Coaching, a high profile student success initiative focused on coaching students, enhancing problem solving capabilities, professional preparation, personal branding and emotional intelligence. He serves as the director of the center, which will be housed in the Miller Education Center on Bell Street.

Learn more about his work here.

Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu.

Charleston church massacre remembered on ‘MTSU On the Record’

In the midst of national turmoil over racial issues, the “MTSU On the Record” radio program recently reviewed the 2015 massacre in Charleston, South Carolina.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Latoya Eaves, a lecturer in the Global Studies and Cultural Geography program, first aired July 25 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org). You can listen to their conversation below.

Dr. Latoya Eaves

Dr. Latoya Eaves

In an essay for the journal “Southeastern Geographer,” Eaves wrote poignantly of the slayings of nine African-Americans during Bible study at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the oldest black church in the South, on June 17, 2015.

Titled “We Wear the Mask,” a reference to Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem about the inability of African-Americans to give voice to all their emotions in a white-dominated society, the essay analyzes the quality of forgiveness as a black survival tactic.

Eaves said she was struck by how the forgiveness shown by the victims’ loved ones toward the alleged murderer, Dylann Roof, resonated with people through both conventional and social media.

“Forgiveness, in a way, is a way to navigate the world, and it’s a pretty safe thing to do, and it’s also very important,” said Eaves. “But it doesn’t take care of the issues that underlie some of this very structural violence against people.”

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

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

https://youtu.be/uTA4F13sI_s

‘MTSU On the Record’ helps ACE Learning Center ‘Saddle Up’

Helping children develop properly in their formative years was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Christy Davis, director of the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center, first aired July 18 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org). You can listen to their conversation below.

Christy Davis

Christy Davis

Saddle Up 2016 graphic web

This year marks the 10th anniversary of “Saddle Up,” the center’s major annual fundraising event, which is slated for 5:30 to 8 p.m. Saturday, July 29, at Murphy Center.

“We’re going to make it family-friendly,” said Davis. “We’ll have a magician. Discovery Center will have animals. We’ll have puppet-making … science activities, a horse-grooming station … a giant coloring book.”

The ACE Learning Center, formerly known as Project HELP, gives young children with and without developmental delays a head start on life by helping them develop good motor skills, social abilities, cognitive abilities and communication skills.

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

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