Noted ‘green’ chemist to speak at MTSU Science Building Oct. 24

An expert in green and renewable chemistry will appear at MTSU Friday, Oct. 24, to talk about how science can help reduce waste and create more environmentally friendly processes and products.

Dr. William B. Tolman, chair of chemistry at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, will conduct a seminar on “Plastic from Plants: The Chemistry of Sustainable Polymers.”

Dr. William B. Tolman

Dr. William B. Tolman

The seminar, a continuation of the grand opening celebration for the new Science Building, will begin at 3:15 p.m. in amphitheater Room 1003 on the first floor of the facility, located at 440 Friendship St. on the south side of campus.

The public is invited. To find parking and the Science Building, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

MTSU assistant professor Keying Ding said Tolman, who leads the Tolman Group Laboratory at his university, was invited so he can “share his great knowledge on sustainable and green chemistry development.”

“Dr. Tolman has led the whole department with faculty members, researchers and students toward a successful story on addressing sustainability issues with the focus on chemistry research, education and public outreach initiatives,” Ding said.

“As one of the investigators at the Center for Sustainable Polymers at the University of Minnesota, Tolman concentrates his research efforts on harnessing the renewable, functional, degradable and non-toxic polymers provided by nature for tomorrow’s advanced plastics.”.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said green or sustainable chemistry is a philosophy of chemical research and engineering that encourages the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances.

“Green chemistry represents the fundamental building blocks of sustainability,” Ding said. “The scientific and technological breakthroughs in green chemistry will be not only crucial to the global economy, but also have a great impact on the environment, such as consuming less energy for chemical production, limiting pollutants emissions and reducing waste disposal.”

Tolman is the Distinguished McKnight University Professor at Minnesota and has earned many honors in his career.

He is the second public speaker to appear at the MTSU Science Building this week.

Nobel laureate in chemistry Harry Kroto provided the first public lecture in the $147 million facility Oct. 20. Kroto shared the 1996 Nobel Prize with Robert F. Curl Jr. and Richard E. Smalley for their discovery of fullerenes, a series of carbon molecules, also known as “Buckminsterfullerenes.”

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

Hear from renowned music manager Peter Jenner at MTSU event

MTSU and the campus community can glean plenty of music-industry knowledge Tuesday, Oct. 21, from the man who’s helped guide the careers of musicians ranging from Pink Floyd to Billy Bragg.

Manager and producer Peter Jenner will speak at 5 p.m. in Room 221 of MTSU’s McWherter Learning Resources Center as part of the Department of Recording Industry Chair’s Speakers Series. Doors will open at 4:30 p.m. for the free public lecture, and seating will be on a first-come, first-served basis.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

Peter Jenner

Peter Jenner

Jenner, who earned his degree in economics from Cambridge University and lectured at the London School of Economics, left academia to manage a new band he’d heard called Pink Floyd. His music career has spanned more than four decades and includes work with groups ranging from Marc Bolan and T. Rex and the Edgar Broughton Band to Ian Dury and the Blockheads, the Clash and Michael Franti.

He has served as manager for more than 25 years for singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, who visited MTSU in September 2013 as the inaugural guest speaker for the College of Mass Communication’s Americana Music series.

Jenner is president emeritus of the International Music Managers’ Forum and a former director of the UK Music Managers’ Forum and also worked with the Featured Artists Coalition. He’s also been involved in efforts to build a music rights registry at the European Union level and has argued for an international music registry to help equalize future digital music delivery systems and payments to artists.

“I think the mass market model of music we have now is in crisis, and the new inspiration will come from individual creative musicians and new people and structures that develop to support them,” Jenner wrote for Co-Operatives UK.

“People are into the major labels because they have the money, and at the moment they have the advantage so they drive a very hard bargain, but that doesn’t work best for artists, and doesn’t work for our cultural future.”

For more information on MTSU’s recording industry program, visit http://recordingindustry.mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Baden brings focus on medical examiner training for Oct. 21 lecture

Veteran medical examiner Michael Baden has played a role in some of history’s most celebrated investigations, and now he’ll share his knowledge with the MTSU community Tuesday, Oct. 21.

Baden, a former New York state medical examiner known for his work investigating high-profile deaths, will speak on “Out of the Grave: Case Studies in Decomposition and Exhumation” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 21 in the second-floor ballroom of MTSU’s Student Union.

The free public talk is part of the university’s renowned William M. Bass Legends in Forensic Science Lectureship. A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

Dr. Michael Baden

Dr. Michael Baden

During his nearly 50-year career, Baden, a host of HBO’s “Autopsy,” has conducted more than 20,000 autopsies; chaired Congressional forensic pathology panels reinvestigating the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King; provided expert testimony in the deaths of John Belushi, Medgar Evers and Nicole Brown Simpson; and performed a family-requested autopsy on Michael Brown, who was fatally shot Aug. 9 by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer.

Baden, who has worked to publicize the tasks of forensic pathologists and has called for specialized training in pathology for all physicians who conduct autopsies, continues to push for national standards for death investigations and to keep medical examiners’ offices science-focused and uninvolved in politics.

He’s also the author or co‐author of more than 80 professional articles and books, including “Unnatural Death: Confessions of a Medical Examiner” and “Skeleton Justice,” and is a Fox News forensic science contributor and reviewer for the New England Journal of Medicine.

The community also can hear a preview of Baden’s talk during a special interview set to air Monday, Oct. 13, from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on MTSU’s award-winning weekly radio program, “MTSU On the Record,” on WMOT-FM  (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). The interview will be rebroadcast from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, on WMOT-FM.

MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education, or FIRE, is sponsoring Baden’s lecture. The Bass Lecture Series, named for renowned University of Tennessee forensic anthropologist Dr. William M. Bass, brings forensic-science experts to campus each fall and spring.

FIRE’s co-sponsors for Baden’s lecture are the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Fund, the College of Liberal Arts, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, the College of Graduate Studies, the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, the University College, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Department of Criminal Justice and the Middle Tennessee Forensic Science Society.

In addition to the Bass lecture series, MTSU’s FIRE, established in 2006, provides regular educational and training opportunities for law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, attorneys, social workers, and other groups in forensic science and homeland security.

For more information on this lecture or other FIRE programs and events, please contact the FIRE offices at 615-494-7713 or visit www.csimtsu.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.

Click on this lecture poster to see a larger version.

Holocaust survivor and Watergate journalist Rosenfeld visits MTSU

From the war-torn streets of Berlin to the monument-lined streets of Washington, D.C., Harry Rosenfeld has been an eyewitness to history.

The survivor of Nazi Germany and former managing editor of The Washington Post’s metro desk during the Watergate scandal will recall anecdotes from his fascinating life in “From Kristallnacht to Watergate,” a free public event, at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

Harry Rosenfeld

Rosenfeld will discuss his memoirs with Gina Logue, producer for the university’s Office of News and Media Relations and host of WMOT-FM’s “MTSU On the Record.”

The son of a furrier, Rosenfeld was only 9 years old when his father was rousted out of bed in the middle of the night by Nazi officials and taken away on Oct. 28, 1938.

For three days, the family did not know whether Solomon Rosenfeld was dead or alive. Finally, the elder Rosenfeld called from Warsaw to say he and other Jews had been expelled to Poland, their country of origin.

Harry Rosenfeld also saw his family’s synagogue in Berlin destroyed on Nov. 9, 1938. This time of rampant coordinated destruction of Jewish stores, temples and homes became known as Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass.”

“We can read a thousand factual books about the Holocaust, but we can viscerally understand the horror of the Holocaust only by understanding the people who experienced it,” said Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of the MTSU Holocaust Studies Committee and a history professor at the university.

In 1939, when Harry was 10 years old, the Rosenfeld family made it to America. His journalism career began in 1948 as a shipping clerk in the syndicate department of the New York Herald Tribune.

With the exception of U.S. Army service during the Korean War and a brief stint writing for CBS News, Rosenfeld worked for the Herald Tribune until the newsroom’s demise in 1966.

Initially hired for the night foreign desk at The Washington Post in 1966, Rosenfeld was transferred to the metro section in 1970.

R As head of the metro desk, Rosenfeld’s instincts told him that little-known reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were up to the challenge of unearthing the facts about the Watergate scandal. It was Rosenfeld’s job to keep them on course and make sure they were accurate.

Only in their 20s when burglars broke into the Democratic Party’s national headquarters in 1972, Woodward and Bernstein’s reportage connected the crime to other illegal activities and a cover-up that extended into the highest levels of the federal government.

Ultimately, their revelations and those of other journalists sparked congressional investigations and prompted President Richard Nixon to announce his resignation on Aug. 8, 1974.

“America was fortunate that a journalist as vigilant and committed as Rosenfeld was at the helm of local news reporting when the Watergate break-in occurred, initiating an investigation that truly fulfilled the First Amendment mission of a free press,” said Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication.

Following the Oct. 8 conversation with Rosenfeld, the audience can participate in a question-and-answer session.

Now editor-at-large for the Albany Times-Union, Rosenfeld also will autograph copies of his book, “From Kristallnacht to Watergate: Memoirs of a Newspaperman.” MTSU’s Phillips Bookstore will have available for purchase.

Rosenfeld’s appearance at MTSU is sponsored by the University Provost, the Holocaust Studies Committee, the College of Mass Communication, the College of Liberal Arts and the University Honors College.

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or gina.logue@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

‘MTSU On the Record’ examines dead bodies with Dr. Michael Baden

The forensic pathologist who autopsied Michael Brown’s body at the request of his family is the guest on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Michael Baden, the former medical examiner for the city of New York, will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 19, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Dr. Michael Baden

Dr. Michael Baden

Baden will deliver the William M. Bass Legends in Forensic Science Lecture at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Student Union ballroom. The event, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education.

Baden has conducted more than 20,000 autopsies in his career, including an autopsy on the body of Brown, who was shot to death by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Aug. 9.

High-profile cases in which Baden has provided expert testimony include those of civil rights leader Medgar Evers, comedian John Belushi and Nicole Brown Simpson, the wife of former football star O.J. Simpson.

In addition, Baden chaired congressionally appointed panels probing the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.

“We have to deal with the science and what the science says, and we cannot be influenced by what makes one side happy and one side not happy,” said Baden. “That’s always a problem, but it’s more public when it’s a high-profile case.”

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.

‘Breaking Bad’ star RJ Mitte amuses, inspires MTSU audience

One of the stars of TV’s “Breaking Bad” offered an evening of uplifting advice in a conversation with fans at MTSU.

RJ Mitte, who portrayed Walter “Flynn” White Jr. on the Emmy-winning AMC cable network drama, discussed his battle with cerebral palsy and his acting career Oct. 1 at Tucker Theatre.

Actor RJ Mitte of the Emmy-winning television program “Breaking Bad” speaks to an audience at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre in an Oct. 1 appearance. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

The event was sponsored by MTSU’s Diversity and Access Center as part of a weeklong observance of National Disability Awareness Month.

“RJ Mitte’s presentation solidified our office’s philosophy that disability is a natural part of the life experience,” said Lance Alexis, center director.

“We hope that message will spread across campus so more students will grow comfortable with disability and approach our office to learn more about disability culture and/or to register with us.”

Much of Mitte’s advice to the audience pertained to authenticity, individuality and refusing to allow others to impose labels.

“Make sure they’re seeing you, not what they’re trying to make you,” he said.

Mitte described a grueling childhood regimen of speech therapy, leg braces and counseling sessions at Shriners Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana, a five-hour drive from his Lafayette, Louisiana, home. However, Mitte said his family and friends were available for him all the way.

“I never knew I was different until I went to school and someone said, ‘What’s wrong with your feet?,’” Mitte said.

Learning how to deal with bullies became a big obstacle, but Mitte persevered.

“You can’t let doubt control your emotions,” he said.

The 27-year-old actor said he was cast for his role on “Breaking Bad” because he had cerebral palsy. His character, the son of a chemistry teacher who makes and sells illegal methamphetamine to pay for his cancer treatments, has a more severe form of the condition.

Ironically, said Mitte, his first acting job was for a public service announcement about the dangers of methamphetamine.

Mitte also discussed his activism for the disabled as the youth spokesman for the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour, as well as his advocacy for the disabled with the Screen Actors Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, also known as SAG/AFTRA, the National Center for Bullying Prevention and Actors’ Equity.

He said he doesn’t really have a problem with nondisabled actors playing disabled characters.

“I hate to tell you this, but we’re all disabled in some way, really,” Mitte said with a chuckle.

Mitte, whose other credits include “Switched at Birth” and “Hannah Montana,” referred to acting as a “very no-oriented business” when discussing the many rejections actors get when auditioning for work.

“Playing other characters is the only thing I like about this business,” said Mitte. “Money burns and fame is fickle.”

For more information about the MTSU Disability and Access Center, call 615-898-2783 or go to www.mtsu.edu/dac.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Gonzales talks politics, preparation, service during MTSU visit

A Sept. 25 talk anticipated as a recruiting tool for his law school turned out to be an opportunity for former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to talk politics and breaking news, reminisce about his days in the West Wing and encourage MTSU students to include community service as part of their career paths.

Gonzales, the dean of Belmont University’s College of Law, made his first trip to MTSU Thursday to speak on “Law School and the Legal Profession” at the invitation of MTSU’s Department of Political Science and the University Honors College.

Greeting an audience of students and staff inside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre, Gonzales fielded a few specific questions about Belmont’s program, established in 2011, and the availability of jobs for new law grads. The afternoon’s focus, however, remained more on what led him to the nation’s top legal job and the work he did in that office.

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales talks with an MTSU student after his “Law School and the Legal Profession” talk at the university’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building Thursday, Sept. 25. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Gonzales served as counsel to George W. Bush when Bush was Texas governor, then joined him in Washington, D.C., as the first Hispanic White House counsel, serving as the 80th U.S. attorney general from 2005 to 2007. He also served as the Texas secretary of state and as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court.

Gonzales even had empathy for the 82nd U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, whose resignation was rumored all day and was officially announced shortly after Gonzales’ MTSU visit ended.

“Anytime the attorney general announces that he or she is stepping down, it is a sad day,” Gonzales said. “A lot of people have worked very, very hard the last 5 1/2 years helping General Holder move forward his agenda, which is to reflect the agenda of the president of the United States.

“Not surprisingly, I’ll say that I do not agree with some of the decisions made by the Department of Justice under General Holder, but I have to honor his service,” Gonzales continued. “I know how difficult it is to be in the position of attorney general. The attorney general is invariably going to be involved in the most controversial decisions, and whichever way the attorney general goes, somebody is going to be unhappy.”

Gonzales’ White House tenure was marked by controversy related to the war on terrorism and his personnel decisions, prompting a peaceful protest of his visit outside the Honors Building by members of the MTSU branch of the national organization Solidarity and a brief interruption of his talk by students inside who disagreed with his views.

“Controversial decisions? Right? That’s your legacy, man,” one young man said as MTSU Police escorted him and two friends out of the room.

“One of the things we do when we serve the government is fight for the right for people to speak out like that,” Gonzales said, turning back to the crowd after glancing at the protesters.

He then recalled his work days in the West Wing, going from the casual atmosphere of “never giving it a thought to pop over to the (Texas) Capitol building (in Austin), plop down on the couch and talk about policy, politics and baseball” with Bush to “going through four security checkpoints and past bomb-sniffing dogs every day … to stand in front of the same desk used by FDR as he negotiated with Winston Churchill to try to find an end to WWII, the same desk used by JFK as he wrestled with the Cuban missile crisis, the same desk used by Ronald Reagan as he worked to end the Cold War, to get to advise the president of the United States.”

Recalling at length his experiences on Sept. 11, 2001, and still sounding awed by the opportunity he had in Washington, Gonzales explained that “every day, every moment, is special when you get to work in the White House.” He admitted having some regrets about decisions he made, however.

Former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales emphasizes a point while speaking in the university’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building Thursday, Sept. 25.

“I’m asked sometimes if I have regrets about my time in service. Of course I do,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be great in life if we had do-overs? If you think about the degree of difficulty that an Eric Holder or a President Obama has every day and think they’re not making mistakes, you don’t understand how difficult these decisions are. But you identify them, you learn from them, you correct them if you can, and then you move on.

“I don’t like to spend a lot of time listing all the things I would ‘do over,'” he said after explaining the context of his “quaint” characterization of some prisoner-of-war privilege provisions of the Geneva Convention.

“We would all do things better, differently, if we had the benefit of hindsight, and that’s certainly true when you’re in these positions of power and authority.”

Gonzales is a native of Humble, Texas, and was one of eight children born to first-generation Mexican-American parents. Despite family hardships, Gonzales became an honors student and subsequently attended the U.S. Air Force Academy, where he continued his academic excellence.

He earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from Rice University and his law degree from Harvard and said he didn’t become involved in politics until he returned to Houston and began practicing law.

“I made a circle of friends who happened to be Republicans … and was given various leadership opportunities in the Republican Party in Harris County and Houston, so I became a Republican,” he said. “But I try to encourage people to look out for your own self-interests in deciding whom you want to support. Don’t just look at the party as a label. Look at what they’re saying. What are they selling you?”

Gonzales joined the Nashville law firm of Waller Lansden in 2011 and has served as the Doyle Rogers Distinguished Chair of Law at the Belmont College of Law since moving to Tennessee. He was named to lead Belmont’s law school this past June.

Click on this poster to see a larger version.

He has a book on immigration law that will be available in November, “A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform,” co-written with Texas immigration attorney David N. Strange, that he said is “going to make some conservatives angry and make some liberals angry, which tells me we’re on the right track with it.”

Gonzales encouraged the students to use their education to be ready to face any opportunities that arise, both personal and professional.

“You may go to law school, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to practice law,” he said. “You can do all kinds of things with a law degree. I love what I do, and having that law degree has been very helpful.

“I’m on the ground floor in working to prepare the next generation of leaders for this community, for this state, for this country. I want to help you get ready. I know what it takes to be successful. It could be tough, but if you prepare yourself with an education, by being proficient in a trade or profession, there’s going to be another George W. Bush who’s going to come along and give you a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, like he did for me. And the question is, are you going to be ready?”

He added that public service is the best way to ensure stability in the community as well as find personal satisfaction.

“You have a lifetime to make money, and you have a lifetime to pay back (educational) debt. Try to find time to give back to the community,” he said. “Lawyers have a special obligation and a unique opportunity to do something in the community.

“It will … surely make you a better person if you step into the arena of public service and give back. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done, and it’s made me so much happier. Go in with your eyes open and your armor on, but at the end of the day, you’re going to be so grateful that you’ve done something with your life.”

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Folk scholar Wade brings ‘performer’s passion’ to historic music at MTSU

Grammy-nominated folk scholar Stephen Wade is a walking, singing and sometimes dancing encyclopedia of traditional American music. If you have a chord, he has a story of how Kirk McGee or Sid Harkreader or Lead Belly played it.

During a half-hour mini-concert at MTSU’s James Walker Library Wednesday, Sept. 24, Wade gave rapt students, staff and visitors a little preview of his full-scale “concert and conversation” event planned for Thursday, Sept. 25, on campus.

An animated Stephen Wade plays and tells the story of Col. David Crockett’s adventures in Arkansas at a “mini-concert” at MTSU’s James Walker Library Wednesday, Sept. 24. A free, full-length “Concert and Conversation with Stephen Wade” is set Thursday, Sept. 25, in MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building and is open to the public. (MTSU photos by Darby Campbell)

Focusing on Tennesseans from the frontier to the MTSU campus, the boisterous banjoist played tales of Col. David Crockett and his adventures in Arkansas, crashed into an Uncle Dave Macon clawhammer to preach an alliterative “Beauty and the Beast” while providing his own percussion with his rhythmic clogging, and praised the late MTSU folklore scholar Charles Wolfe as “an enormous encouragement to me in my life.”

“Some people come just for the tuning,” Wade wisecracked during a quiet moment while he adjusted one of his historic banjos.

The audience, peering down from the library’s three upper floors onto the almost-full first floor, laughed in unison, then resumed tapping their toes and nodding when Wade began to play again.

Wade, whose visit to MTSU is part of the university’s Tom T. Hall Writers Series, also has a free public 5 p.m. concert event set Thursday, Sept. 25, in Room S102 of the Business and Aerospace Building. You can find a printable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap14-15.

He’s also visiting music and oral history classes during this trip to MTSU.

“I’m so excited to be back at the ground zero of Uncle Dave Macon!” Wade cried during a relaxed meet-and-greet with admirers Wednesday after his mini-concert. “He offered such an enormous breadth to his music and incorporated so many kinds of popular music into his own.”

Wade’s love of music, history and people culminated in an award-winning 504-page book, “The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience.” It’s a collection of Library of Congress field recordings spanning from 1934 to 1942 from southern Appalachia down to the Mississippi Delta, teamed with Wade’s own scholarly research and personal interviews.

MTSU alumnus Bill Steber made a special trip back to campus for Wade’s visit, savoring the music and the tales as well as an opportunity to talk with a man he said “made a big difference in my life.”

Steber, a professional photographer, has been documenting blues culture in Mississippi for more than 20 years. In 1997, Steber had been trying, unsuccessfully, to visit the infamous state penitentiary known as Parchman Farm to photograph members of the prison’s renowned blues band.

He recalled that he was poring over one of Wade’s CDs and went back to the prison to try one more time.

“I guess they thought I was you,” Steber told a surprised Wade, “because they let me in. That was the only reason they let me in that close, I’m sure.”

Wade laughed as he signed Steber’s copy of his old CD and his book.

“He’s a rare case of someone who brings a performer’s passion to an academic field,” Steber said after his conversation with Wade. “He’s a joy to listen to and to see.”

Folk scholar Stephen Wade, standing, explains his discovery of the origins of the blues/folk classic “Rock Island Line” first popularized by Lead Belly during an informal meet-and-greet session Wednesday, Sept. 24, in MTSU’s Walker Library. Among those listening are, seated from center, Michael D. Doubler, a historian, author and great-grandson of Uncle Dave Macon; and MTSU alumnus Bill Steber, a professional photographer and Mississippi blues culture researcher.

To learn more about the recordings in “Beautiful Music,” including a brief video interview with Wade, visit http://ow.ly/uBEEA. You can also watch a free 1987 documentary about Wade, including his own performances as well as some of his interview subjects and idols, at http://bit.ly/CatchingMusic.

Dr. Greg Reish, the new director of MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, is a friend and scholarly colleague of Wade’s and introduced him at the Sept. 24 library events.

Click on the poster for more details on Stephen Wade’s Sept. 25 performance at MTSU.

“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. He developed acclaimed theater performances, including “Banjo Dancing” and “On The Way Home,” to share his love of folk music and history and also was a part of the public television documentary “The Unquiet Library,” a study of the Library of Congress’s music division.

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 are 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)

A crowd of students, staff and visitors listen to folk scholar Stephen Wade during a "mini-concert" at MTSU's James Walker Library Wednesday, Sept. 24.

A crowd of students, staff and visitors listen to folk scholar Stephen Wade, center, during a “mini-concert” at MTSU’s James Walker Library Wednesday, Sept. 24.

‘Breaking Bad’ star, adviser to tout disability insights, science

MTSU will be “Breaking Bad” with a week of science, drug- and disability-awareness activities inspired by the popular television series.

Free food, prizes, giveaways and meetings with two people associated with the multi-award-winning TV drama are planned through Oct. 3 to commemorate National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

RJ Mitte

The AMC cable network drama has won 16 Emmy Awards since its debut in 2008. It centers on Walter White Sr., a chemistry teacher with cancer who becomes a drug kingpin to shore up the family finances.

The centerpiece of the week will be “An Evening with RJ Mitte,” the actor who portrayed Walter “Flynn” White Jr. on the program, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in Tucker Theatre.

 Like his character, Mitte has cerebral palsy, but the disability was not the focal point of the character’s existence on the program. His work on the show earned him the 2013 Harold Russell Award from the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Dr. Lance Alexis, director of MTSU’s Disability and Access Center, said such roles all too often have gone to nondisabled actors.

“In many cases, they’re coveted roles because they have won numerous awards,” Alexis said.

“He (Mitte) is going to talk about navigating this career with this disability, because it’s not easy in the acting world for anybody, and it’s probably more difficult for somebody with a disability like cerebral palsy,” said Sara Read, the center’s testing coordinator.

The 23-year-old Mitte, whose other credits include “Switched at Birth” and “Hannah Montana,” is the youth spokesman for the National Disability Institute’s Real Economic Impact Tour. The campaign works with low-income people with disabilities to help them improve their financial situations.

Mitte also is a spokesman for “I AM PWD,” an advocacy campaign for actors with disabilities sponsored by the Screen Actors Guild, Actors’ Equity and AFTRA, and he also works on an awareness campaign for the National Center for Bullying Prevention.

The MTSU Disability and Access Center will provide American Sign Language interpretation for Mitte’s Tucker Theatre appearance. Other disability-related accommodations will be made available upon request by calling 615-898-2783 in advance.

Dr. Donna Nelson

MTSU’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (WISTEM) Center will present a lecture by Dr. Donna Nelson, a science adviser on “Breaking Bad,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in Tucker Theatre.

Nelson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma, examined scripts, provided dialogue, drew chemical structures and wrote chemical equations to enhance character Walter White Sr.’s credibility.

An American Chemical Society Fellow and Fulbright Scholar known for her work on diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education, Nelson also will discuss the benefits of using the media to help the public better understand and appreciate the work of scientists.

Teams of four students each will compete in a “Breaking Bad Trivia Contest” from 1 to 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3, in the Tom Jackson Building.

“Breaking Worse: Synthetic Drugs of Abuse,” a discussion about the lethal side effects of synthetic drugs and the struggle to regulate them, was held Sept. 28 in Room 221 of the Learning Resources Center.

Posters representing characters and events in “Breaking Bad” were on display Sept. 29 in the second-floor lobby of the Keathley University Center.

Teams of two students searched campus all day Sept. 30 to uncover clues about MTSU’s many assets in the “Breaking Bad Amazing Race,” starting from the Disability and Access Center in Room 120 of the KUC.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Disability and Access Center at 615-898-2783 or dacemail@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@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)