MTSU symposium tackles higher ed debt, more social science topics

MTSU student, faculty and visiting scholars will discuss whether the opportunities that higher education provides are worth the debt it often requires at the 23nd annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium Oct. 29-30.

Click on the poster above to see the schedule for the 23nd annual Tennessee Undergraduate Social Science Symposium at MTSU Oct. 29-30.

With a theme of “Worth Every Penny?: Debt, Education and Opportunity,” the two-day research symposium inside MTSU’s James Union Building is free and open to the public.

A searchable campus map with parking notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

This year’s symposium features a Thursday, Oct. 30, keynote address from Dr. Joel Best, co-author of “The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem,” at 9:40 a.m. in the JUB’s Tennessee Room.

Best’s topic is “The Student Loan Mess: How It Got Here and Why It’s Not Going Away.”

Other key events include a Wednesday, Oct. 29, workshop and panel featuring Best and including:

  • Dr. Maria Edlin, assistant director of MTSU’s Center for Economic Education.
  • Jackie Morgan, senior economic and education financial specialist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s Nashville office.
  • Trina Wilson, assistant director of the Office of Financial Aid at MTSU.
  • Mallory Melton, academic adviser in MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts and an MTSU alumna.
Joel Best

Dr. Joel Best

Best book cover webStudent research presentations are scheduled throughout both days of the symposium, and their topics range from parking-lot littering to Native American language in historical writings to media coverage of same-sex couple violence. The top three undergrad papers will be announced and prizes awarded at 9:30 Thursday morning.

Conducted at MTSU since 1993, the event is modeled after a typical professional conference and was designed to prompt students’ scientific study of human interaction and encourage their professional growth as well as provide opportunities for scholars to exchange ideas.

The symposium is sponsored by MTSU’s College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, the Office of Research, the University Honors College, the MTSU Sociology Club, the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series and the Office of the University Provost.

For more details and a complete schedule, visit the symposium’s home page at www.mtsu.edu/soc/socsymp. You also can contact Dr. Meredith Dye at 615-898-2690 or meredith.dye@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU opens new Science Building in grand style (+VIDEO)

Inside the newly named Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium, a large crowd celebrated Middle Tennessee State University’s crown jewel — the new Science Building, considered the catalyst for a future in scientific endeavors.

Several hundred people joined Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and university President Sidney A. McPhee Wednesday, Oct. 15, to christen the 257,000-square-foot facility on the south side of campus.

As what may be one of the greatest game-changers in MTSU’s history, the $147 million structure will push the university’s scientific community into fast-forward in terms of research, collaboration and individual exploration.

Six teaching lecture halls, 13 research laboratories and 36 teaching laboratories are just the start of the features for the building, which opened Aug. 25 on the first day of fall 2014 classes, more than five months ahead of schedule.


Haslam, who attended the facility’s May 2012 groundbreaking ceremony, led the collection of speakers, which also included Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan, state Sen. Bill Ketron, and Tammy Melton and Kenneth Ball, representing MTSU faculty and students, respectively.

“By 2025, at least 55 percent of Tennesseans will need a certificate or degree beyond high school to find a job,” Haslam said. “Attracting and growing jobs in Tennessee is directly tied to education, and if we are not prepared to fill those jobs of the future, they will go somewhere else.

“Graduates with STEM degrees are important to our state’s ability to thrive, and the additional space to train these students — provided by this building — will help us compete in today’s global economy,” he added.

Haslam challenged MTSU to produce highly educated, STEM-trained graduates to continue to attract high-tech jobs for the Midstate workforce.

After thanking many supporters, including those in both the public and private sector, McPhee told the audience that the building was just an abstract concept, or better yet, a hope and a dream, especially after an economic jolt in the form of a recession delayed the state’s No. 1 capital project in higher education for nearly five years.

“This magnificent building would have never materialized if not for the leadership of Gov. Bill Haslam, who determined early in his tenure we needed to stop talking and start constructing,” McPhee said, “as well as the support of key legislative leaders, including Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, House Speaker Beth Harwell and Reps. Harry Brooks and Charles Sargent, and the persistence of the Rutherford County legislative delegation and our county and city mayors, who advocated our need in every corner of the capitol until they were heard.”

McPhee told the audience the Science Building “is critical to our continuing efforts to provide Tennessee with workers equipped for the challenges of the 21st century workforce, particularly in the science, technology, engineering and math areas.”

Eighty percent of the MTSU student population will take classes in the building.

“Our new Science Building provides a place of inspiration,” McPhee said. “When you walk the halls of this building, you will note the glass walls in each of the laboratories, where you can see for yourself the students and faculty collaborating on projects and conducting cutting-edge research.”

Faculty member Tammy Melton praised her predecessors and current colleagues for their roles in landing the facility.

“Drs. (Bud) Fischer, (Greg) Van Patten, and (Lynn) Boyd deserve the highest praise for being thrust into the midst of the process, getting up to speed, and showing great patience and leadership along the way,” said Melton, referring to the respective College of Basic and Applied Sciences dean and chemistry and biology department chairs.

Donors provide critical support

McPhee emphasized the critical support secured from donors to produce the matching funds required as part of state funding of the project.

Dr. Liz Rhea was among the major private donors who attended the ceremony. She and her late husband, who died in 2004, have been longtime university donors. She gave “a generous bequest” early in the private funding process, McPhee said.

Dr. Liz Rhea

Dr. Liz Rhea

“I can’t believe it. This is just awesome,” said Rhea, an alumna of MTSU’s Class of ’55, as she visited the building for the first time. “This is more awesome and grandiose than I could imagine. Even pictures don’t do it justice.”

Students in pre-med, pre-dental or nursing — and future MTSU students — will have vast opportunities because of the technology in the facility, said Rhea, a native of Eagleville, Tennessee, where seeds were planted in elementary school to encourage her to become a physician.

“I feel so strongly,” Rhea added. “It’s got to start here in the Science Building. Here is where you’ve got to start studying and learn how to study.

“There is nothing like this to inspire you or fulfill your dream. … This will help with recruiting of better qualified students.”

Along with the Rhea Atrium, one other area of the building funded by donors includes an analytical chemistry lab named in honor of Dr. Gale Clark, who died in 2008. A gift from his estate will fund the lab he helped plan.

His wife, Alee, gave the university their first house in Murfreesboro. Proceeds from the sale of that home help fund a chemistry scholarship.

Among the donors McPhee recognized during the opening ceremony were:

  • Bev and the late Doug Kanitz. Years before the state approved funding for the Science Building, Bev Kanitz, wife of the late engineering technology professor Doug Kanitz, made a pledge. She gave MTSU their Murfreesboro home when she decided to move to Cincinnati to be near her adult children.
  • The Christy-Houston Foundation, a Murfreesboro organization led by Bob Mifflin. A $1.5 million Christy-Houston gift provided a significant boost during a six-month period when the university needed to raise $20 million. The foundation has contributed $8 million to fund MTSU’s Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building, the Tennessee Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia, Student Health Services, the Ann Campbell Early Learning Center (formerly known as Project Help), and School of Nursing scholarships.
  • Gayle Duke, a member of the Class of 1965, and her husband, Dwayne, who are including MTSU in their estate to help future MTSU attendees study science in the new building. After graduating from the university, Gayle Duke went to work for NASA and had a hand in the U.S. landing on the moon.
  • Charlotte and the late George Gardner, Clara Todd, Dr. Dan and Margaret Scott, the city of Murfreesboro, Rutherford County and the Rutherford County Industrial Board, all of whom have provided major commitments to MTSU.

MTSU President Emeritus Sam Ingram also was among those who attended the Oct. 15 ceremony.

Wiser-Patten Science Hall, which opened in 1932, and Davis Science Building, which opened in ’67, will remain open and undergo approximately $20 million in renovation and upgrades.

Meanwhile, the university learned recently that the Science Building is a LEED-certified project, achieving Silver-level certification.

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of green buildings, homes and neighborhoods. The MTSU Science Building is the 254th LEED-certified project in Tennessee and the largest core-learning higher-education facility in the state.

Along with the grand opening and the LEED recognition, the Department of Physics and Astronomy recently received recognition from the American Physical Society for improving undergraduate physics education.

Deanna Ratnikova of the American Physical Society said the MTSU department has “consciously adopted a mission to provide exceptional classroom
 experiences, career-focused courses and pathways and intensive research 
opportunities to prepare students for targeted careers.”

You can find more details about MTSU’s new Science Building at the following links:

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


MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, talks with Gov. Bill Haslam en route to the Wednesday, Oct. 15, opening ceremony for the university’s new $147 million Science Building. Haslam, who attended the facility’s May 2012 groundbreaking, spoke on the building’s importance to education in Tennessee during the morning ceremony. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU senior Kenneth Ball, center left, and chemistry professor Tammy Melton, center right, cut the ribbon on the university’s new Science Building during the Wednesday, Oct. 15, opening ceremony for the facility. Joining in the celebration are, from left, John Hood, MTSU director of government and community affairs; Chancellor John Morgan of the Tennessee Board of Regents; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Gov. Bill Haslam; and state Sen. Bill Ketron. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU senior Kenneth Ball makes a point during his remarks at the Wednesday, Oct. 15, opening ceremony for the university’s new $147 million Science Building. The Savannah, Tennessee, native is majoring in general science and plans a career as a secondary school teacher. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU graduate students Dianna Prince, in foreground, and Mahsa Majedi work in one of the new Science Building’s labs early Wednesday, Oct. 15, before the late-morning opening ceremony for the $147 million facility. Both women are working toward their Master’s of Science in Professional Science degrees. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

Dr. Bud Fischer, second from right, dean of MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences, shows a group of visitors one of the labs in the university’s new Science Building during the Wednesday, Oct. 15, opening ceremony for the facility. Students and faculty can write on the labs’ glass walls to work out chemical equations and make notes for research and lab projects. (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

Ascendo3 brings free public concert, student master classes to MTSU

Ascendo3, an internationally recognized trio who create unique collaborations of classical and contemporary music, are coming to MTSU Wednesday, Oct. 22, for a free public concert and master classes for students.

The concert is set to begin at 8 p.m. Oct. 22 in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building. You can find a printable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Ascendo3 will conduct their master classes for MTSU students before their concert at 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the Saunders Fine Arts Building on campus.

Ascendo3, an internationally recognized trio who create unique collaborations of classical and contemporary music, will present a free concert at MTSU Wednesday, Oct. 22. The members of Ascendo3 are, clockwise from upper left, Cameron Hofmann, piano; Anna Marie Wytko; saxophone; and Joseph Wytko, saxophone.

Saxophonists Anna Marie Wytko and Joseph Wytko and pianist Cameron Hofmann are known for their international collaborations with contemporary composers, along with programming of new acoustic and electroacoustic works and fresh, bold presentations of works by Bach, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Poulenc, Rachmaninoff, Gershwin and others.

During their MTSU concert, Ascendo3 will perform two Tennessee premieres: “Krypton” by Philippe Gantchoula and “The Subconscious Imagery of Joan Miró” by Dr. Paul Osterfield, MTSU composer and professor of theory/composition.

The trio also will perform Beethoven’s “Trio (Opus 11),” Erik Satie’s “Gnossienne No. 3” and “Gnossienne No. 4” and Astor Piazzolla’s “Le Grand Tango.”

Dr. Paul Osterfield

Dr. Paul Osterfield

“I am very pleased to have Ascendo3 on campus working with our students,” said Osterfield. “All three members of the trio are top-flight performers and pedagogues. Their performance and master classes promise to be a great experience for all involved.”

Anna Marie Wytko is an assistant professor of music at Kansas State University and an artist-clinician for the Yamaha Corp. She has performed as a soloist throughout the United States and around the world.

Joseph Wytko is a professor emeritus at Arizona State University and an artist-clinician with Selmer Paris and Conn-Selmer USA. He has performed as a soloist with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and with orchestras in Europe and Mexico and has served as orchestral saxophonist with the Phoenix Symphony Orchestra since 1976.

Hofmann is a collaborative pianist, organist and vocal coach who has performed throughout the United States and around the world. Currently a lecturer in collaborative piano at Baylor University, Hofmann also has taught at the University of Minnesota and at Yuba College.

For more information on this and other concerts in the MTSU School of Music, call 615-898-2493 or visit www.mtsumusic.com and click on the “Concert Calendar” link.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Science Building ceremony available live Wednesday on web, radio, TV

Residents unable to attend the Wednesday, Oct. 15, ribbon-cutting celebration for the new MTSU Science Building have options to listen to or view live broadcasts of the ceremony.

CGI science building video featured graphic

The grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Science Building will be held Wednesday, Oct. 15.

Gov. Bill Haslam, university President Sidney A. McPhee and other state and local dignitaries will give remarks at the public ceremony, set for 10 a.m. Wednesday inside the state-of-the-art facility located at 440 Friendship St., just off Alumni Drive on the south side of campus. (Read the full story here.)

MTSU provided live video streaming of the event for desktop, laptop and tablet users. The live feed ended with the event, however, and is no longer available for viewing.

Other media options include:

Radio: WMOT-FM, the university’s public radio station, will broadcast the event live on 89.5 and also through its website, www.wmot.org.

TV: MTSU’s Educational Resource Channel @ Middle Tennessee, also known as ERC@MT, and the student-run station MT10 will be televising the occasion.

ERC@MT airs locally on Comcast Channel 9 in Rutherford County while MT10 can be seen on Comcast Channel 10 in Rutherford County. The event will also air on AT&T U-verse Channel 99 across Middle Tennessee.

MT10 also will offer live video streaming at www.mt10news.com/live.

The 257,000-square-foot, $147 million Science Building opened this fall, a full semester ahead of schedule. It represents the largest single capital investment ever in Tennessee higher education.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU brings Civil War history to community with Oct. 18 speakers

MTSU is helping to bring history to the community during Rutherford County Heritage Month with a special public event, “The Legacy of Stones River,” set Saturday, Oct. 18, at Murfreesboro’s First Presbyterian Church.

Click on this event poster to see a larger version.

With the help of MTSU’s Department of History and the Public History Program, two speakers will address the impact of the Civil War from 9 a.m. to noon Oct. 18 at First Presbyterian, located at 210 N. Spring St. just off East Main Street near Murfreesboro’s Public Square.

Erskine Clarke, whose most recent book is “By the Rivers of Water,” will speak on “American Missionaries in West Africa, Slavery and the Civil War” at 9:45 a.m.

Beginning at 10:30 a.m., environmental historian Megan Kate Wilson, author of “Ruin Nation: Destruction and the American Civil War,” will speak on “Among the Ruins: Charles F. Morse and Civil War Destruction.”

A discussion and book signings with both speakers are scheduled from 11 a.m. to noon.

“These will be engaging talks about topics that have not been broadly addressed in the past, and they illustrate some of the new directions Civil War studies are taking,” said Dr. Rebecca Conard, a history professor at MTSU and director of the university’s Public History Program.

Cost for the event is $10 per person, which also includes a continental breakfast at 9 a.m. and a 1 p.m. lecture by a park ranger and guided tour at Stones River National Battlefield.

The registration deadline is Thursday, Oct. 16, for this event. You can register online at www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/legacycurrent.htm or in person at the battlefield’s visitor center bookstore, located at 3501 Old Nashville Highway north of Murfreesboro.

In addition to MTSU’s Department of History and the National Park Service, “The Legacy of Stones River” is co-sponsored by the Friends of Stones River National Battlefield, the Tennessee National Civil War Heritage Area and the Rutherford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

For more information on this public history event, visit www.nps.gov/stri/planyourvisit/legacycurrent.htm or email rebecca.conard@mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

This photo from MTSU's Albert Gore Reserach Center shows a portion of Murfreesboro's Public Square circa 1864, when the Union Army used the Rutherford County Courthouse as a headquarters after the Battle of Stones River.

This photo from MTSU’s Albert Gore Reserach Center shows a portion of Murfreesboro’s Public Square circa 1864, when the Union Army used the Rutherford County Courthouse as a headquarters after the Battle of Stones River.

MTSU studies business of Bonnaroo with help from organizers (+VIDEO)

Bonnaroo began as a way to reinvigorate outdoor music festivals, its organizers said Wednesday, Oct. 8, at MTSU, and over the last 13 years has used its business model to embrace and expand on the same peaceful, inclusive culture of the events that inspired it.

The daylong seminar sponsored by MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, “Bonnaroo: The Making of a Music Festival,” drew standing-room-only crowds in a parliamentary room normally used by the Student Government Association.


MTSU students listen to Bonnaroo organizers discuss the festival’s music and programming at a special Oct. 8 business seminar at the university. Facing the crowd are, from left, panel moderator Pat Embry, director of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies; Bonnaroo co-founders Ashley Capps, Rick Farman and Jonathan Mayers; Charlie Jennings, Bonnaroo director of operations; Bryan Benson, vice president for Bonnaroo co-producer AC Entertainment; and Russ Bennett, Bonnaroo’s head of visual design. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Staffers from every facet of the event joined Bonnaroo co-founders Ashley Capps, Jonathan Mayers and Rick Farman to explain how they create, promote, maintain and safely operate a city of 80,000-plus people that emerges for four days every year near Manchester, Tennessee.

“We’re there and see the site transform from a farm into a city,” said Russ Bennett, Bonnaroo’s head of visual design, “and the culture, the impact and power of all those humans living together, with every kind of viewpoint, political view, musical taste, is still incredible to me.”

The festival launched in 2002 with little traditional advertising and sold out its 70,000 tickets in 11 days. Since then, organizers have continued to expand both its entertainment offerings and its 700-acre site to grow into an event that Rolling Stone magazine has called one of the “50 moments that changed the history of rock ‘n’ roll.”

After explaining to the MTSU audience how planning each Bonnaroo is now a year-round effort and fitting the artists for each year’s event into the site’s multiple venues is “like a big puzzle,” co-founder Mayers noted that we “started with a business plan, and … a lot of adjustments have had to be made.

“As each year goes by, we want to keep improving the experience, which means that we have to keep looking at the business model and the ticket price,” he continued. “We don’t make decisions within silos; we have to look at the whole complete picture.”

“We’re building a city for the weekend,” Capps added, “and it really has to have all the core ingredients that a city needs, from medical assistance to security to access to food and water, and that can get expensive for 80,000 people.”

That figure for ticketholders doesn’t include the full event staff that ranges from 8,000 to 10,000 workers when Bonnaroo is at full steam.

Jonathan Meyers

Jonathan Mayers

Ashley Capps

Rick Farman

The daylong MTSU seminar discussed all aspects of the internationally acclaimed festival from its business model, planning, marketing and media to its community spirit, volunteerism, music and programming.

Its revenue streams have expanded from the traditional concert ticket sales, concessions and merchandise to encompass VIP event packages, corporate sponsorships, live streaming audio and video and licensing of audio and video content.

“It’s an extraordinary opportunity for a college of media and music to host a group of professionals so adept at both,” said Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, who introduced several of the day’s panels.

“It’s simply unprecedented for the full management team of a world-class music festival to take a full day to engage and educate the next generation of music and media professionals.”

MTSU’s College of Mass Communication teamed up with Bonnaroo leaders earlier this year in an ongoing partnership that brought the festival officials to campus in April for question-and-answer sessions with students and then put MTSU students behind the scenes at Bonnaroo in June for multimedia news coverage.

The Oct. 8 public symposium also is part of that partnership, Paulson said. The event was streamed to classrooms on campus and was recorded to create a “video textbook” and possibly a video course for MTSU’s music business curriculum.

As for what’s next for Bonnaroo, organizers were circumspect about the future.

“We think about how it can be more than just those four days, and what’s the spirit of it, and how our community can take that back to their everyday lives,” Mayers said. “What started as ‘Let’s put on an amazing festival’ has become ‘How can this be a platform for inspiration and to improve everyone’s day-to-day lives?'”

Capps added that organizers are “definitely exploring opportunities to expand the infrastructure on the site so we can accommodate other events. That’s been in discussion for a number of years, and pretty soon we’ll probably see another event or two emerge, but it depends on a lot of circumstances.”

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU to host Women in Higher Education in Tennessee conference

Networking, brainstorming and presenting awards will be only a few of the facets of this year’s Women in Higher Education in Tennessee conference at MTSU.

“College Completion: Women in Higher Education Moving the Needle” is the theme of the 34th annual gathering, which is slated for Oct. 9-10 in the Student Union.

Dr. Idahlynne Karre

Dr. Idahlynne Karre

Dr. MaryLou Apple

Dr. MaryLou Apple

Dr. MaryLou Apple, president of Motlow State Community College and presidential adviser to the organization also known as WHET, will lead a panel discussion on “Leadership and College Completion” from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9.

Dr. Idahlynn Karre, a consultant with a distinguished career of 42 years as a professor and administrator, will deliver the keynote address, “Leading through Strengths,” at 9 a.m. Friday, Oct. 10.

Karre is a member of the facilitation team for the Mesa, Arizona-based Chair Academy, an organization that provides talent management and leadership development programs for post-secondary educational institutions. She was a faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado for 32 years.

Karre will lead the closing conversation — “A Unique Opportunity: The Best of You!” — from 3 to 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10.

During the conference, WHET will present its Woman of Achievement Awards to leaders in higher education.

Any female student, faculty, staff or alumna of an institution of higher education in Tennessee may nominate women for the honor in two categories: Student and Faculty/Administrative and Community or Business Leader.

In addition, the organization will present the June Anderson Award to a woman who has:

  • demonstrated leadership in WHET;
  • developed curricula that enhance understanding of the role women play in various disciplines;
  • mentored other women;
  • demonstrated leadership on campus that directly brought more women into leadership positions;
  • demonstrated advocacy for women in the community;
  • supported women in becoming better qualified to advance in higher education professions; and
  • demonstrated influence that has an impact on opportunities for women beyond the bounds of Tennessee.

A native of Tennessee’s Tipton County, Anderson joined the MTSU chemistry faculty in 1958 and taught for 25 years. She founded an academic support service for women at MTSU and championed pay equity, child care centers and proper campus lighting. The university’s Center for Women and Nontraditional Students bears Anderson’s name.

Each conference participant will receive an access code and instructions on taking the StrengthsFinder assessment from Gallup Inc. online.

Click on the logo to visit the Women in Higher Education in Tennessee website.

The assessment will help participants to learn more about their strengths and how to utilize this information to achieve personal and professional growth and inspire the same in others.

Conference fees are $80 for current WHET members, $100 for nonmembers and $20 for full-time graduate students. Membership dues are $50 per year for professionals and $20 per year for full-time students.

Register online at http://whettn.org or by mailing a copy of the registration form with payment to La Kiesha Armstrong, WHET Treasurer, Belmont University, Office of the Registrar, 1900 Belmont Blvd., Nashville, TN 37212.

For more information, contact Connie Huddleston, coordinator for the MTSU College of Liberal Arts, at 615-494-7628 or connie.huddleston@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Gov. Haslam, TBR chief to join Oct. 15 Science Building ribbon-cutting

Middle Tennessee State University’s new campus showpiece — the 257,000-square-foot, $147 million Science Building — is ready for the ribbon-cutting celebration.


Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam

Gov. Bill Haslam is scheduled to attend with numerous other dignitaries, the campus community and alumni and friends of the university.

The grand opening will be held starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, at the facility located at 440 Friendship St., just off Alumni Drive on the south side of campus. The public is invited. (For those unable to attend, details about live broadcasts of the ceremony via online video streaming, television stations and WMOT-FM radio can be found here.) 

For visitors, a shuttle service will provide transportation from the Rutherford parking lot on Rutherford Boulevard starting at 9 a.m. For parking and building location, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Haslam, who will be introduced by university President Sidney A. McPhee, will be the primary guest speaker.

Chancellor John Morgan

Chancellor John Morgan

Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan and other state and local dignitaries are scheduled to give remarks as well, along with select MTSU students and faculty.

“The building is already helping MTSU create more science graduates to fill high-tech jobs,” McPhee said. “It immediately makes MTSU more competitive for research projects, science scholarship and entrepreneurial efforts.”

The facility represents the state’s largest capital investment in higher education. It features 37 class laboratories, two open labs, 13 research labs, six classrooms, about 1,500 student stations in labs and classrooms, chemistry and biology faculty and staff offices, numerous informal learning areas and space for student presentations.

“MTSU’s new Science Building promotes dynamic, collaborative, experience-based teaching, interdisciplinary research opportunities, will help attract and retain highly qualified faculty and students and will make MTSU students more competitive in advanced study and science-based professions,” College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer said.

Nobel Prize-winning chemist Harry Kroto will deliver the first public lecture in the building at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, in lecture hall Room 1006. 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.

The Science Building opened more than five months ahead of schedule. Turner Construction Company built the facility. Thomas, Miller & Partners PLLC served as project architect.

To view the MTSU Science Building Fact Sheet, visit http://www.mtsunews.com/sciencebuilding.

Refreshments and tours will follow the ceremony. The dedication coincides with MTSU Homecoming Week activities.

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





Illustrator, students provide 2 new exhibits at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery

MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery will feature two new public exhibits through October: the work of nationally acclaimed illustrator John Hendrix and the creations of MTSU graphic design students.

Click on this exhibit poster to see a larger version.

Click on this exhibit poster to see a larger version.

“John Hendrix: Drawing by Heart” and “Crosshatch Illustration Show 2014” are on display through Thursday, Oct. 23, in the Todd Art Gallery in the heart of the MTSU campus.

Both are presented by MTSU Arts.

Hendrix’s exhibit is in the main gallery of the facility, while the Crosshatch student exhibit is in Room 210, also known as TAG|210.

John Hendrix

John Hendrix

Hendrix, an assistant professor at Washington University in St. Louis where he teaches illustration and typography, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts. While living in New York, he worked at The New York Times as assistant art director of its Op-Ed page for several years and taught at Parsons School of Design.

He published his first picture book, “Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek,” in 2008, receiving recognition from the American Library Association as a “Notable Book” and the Comstock Award for read-aloud books.

“John Brown: His Fight for Freedom,” which he wrote and illustrated, won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal and was named one of the “Best Books of 2009” by Publisher’s Weekly. His 2012 book, “A Boy Called Dickens” was described as “touching and believable” by The New York Times, and his latest book is “Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914.”

Click on this exhibit poster to see a larger version.

Click on this exhibit poster to see a larger version.

In addition to illustrating book jackets by many other authors, Hendrix’s work has appeared in dozens of magazines, including Sports Illustrated, Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone, Time and Field & Stream.

His images also have been part of advertising campaigns for ESPN/ABC, AT&T and Travelocity and annual award publications for groups like AIGA, the professional association for design, and the Society of Illustrators.

MTSU arts logoThe Crosshatch student show at the Todd Gallery features a mix of works that include hand lettering, icon design and spot illustrations with applications that showcase printed interactive pieces, editorial and book design, branding, package design and print design.

“The purpose in organizing this event is to showcase the department’s largest segment of declared majors,” said Art Department Chair Jean Nagy.

John McFarland, president of the MTSU student chapter of AIGA, described the exhibit as “a free salon-style show displaying illustrative mixed media projects that students have done here at MTSU.”

McFarland noted that the student exhibit is an effort to “coincide with the main gallery presentation of illustrative work” by Hendrix.

All Todd Art Gallery exhibits and receptions are free and open to the public. The Todd Gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and is closed on weekends and state and university holidays.

For more information about MTSU Arts, which presents a full slate of art, theatre and music offerings at the university each year, visit www.mtsuarts.com.

For more information about MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery, including parking and directions, contact gallery director Eric Snyder at 615-898-5653 or eric.snyder@mtsu.edu or visit www.mtsu.edu/art. You also can find a campus parking map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

“Parents Raising Dinosaur Kids,” an illustration by MTSU student Kyle Patterson, is part of the “Crosshatch Illustration Show 2014” exhibit set Oct. 7-23 at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery.

Artist John Hendrix created this illustration of the Beastie Boys for a 2004 story in Rolling Stone magazine. An exhibit of Hendrix’s work is set Oct. 7-23 at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery.

Artist John Hendrix’s new children’s book is “Shooting Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914.”

“The Untethered Balloon,” an illustration by MTSU student Kelsey Greer, is part of the “Crosshatch Illustration Show 2014” exhibit set Oct. 7-23 at MTSU’s Todd Art Gallery.

Heath to open Jazz Artist Series with tribute to sax great Jacquet

Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath will join the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and MTSU jazz faculty to open the 2014-15 MTSU Jazz Artist Series Monday, Oct. 20, with “A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet.”

Tickets for the Oct. 20 concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m. in Hinton Hall inside MTSU’s Wright Music Building, are $10 for the public. You can find a printable campus map at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

Tenor saxophonist Jimmy Heath will join the MTSU Jazz Ensemble I and MTSU jazz faculty to open the 2014-15 MTSU Jazz Artist Series Oct. 20 with “A Tribute to Illinois Jacquet.” (photo submitted)

Admission is free for MTSU students, faculty and staff with a valid ID. Discounts for area music students and educators also are available.

The concert will salute the American jazz tenor saxophonist Jean-Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet, who died in 2004 after a storied 60-year-plus career that deeply influenced artists in jazz, rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll.

MTSU arts logoThe event also will celebrate a new MTSU jazz scholarship established by the Illinois Jacquet Foundation, said Jamey Simmons, jazz trumpeter and coordinator of jazz studies in MTSU’s School of Music.

“We were thrilled last year when Dr. Pamela Jacquet Davis approached us to inquire about the possible donation of (her father) Illinois Jacquet’s archive to MTSU’s Center for Popular Music and the establishment of a scholarship to be awarded to students interested in studying the art of jazz,” said Simmons, noting that Davis also will be on hand Oct. 20 for a special presentation.

“It’s in the spirit of celebration that we bring in Jimmy Heath, a true jazz legend who shared the stage with Jacquet.”

MTSU will salute the late jazz tenor saxophonist Jean-Baptiste “Illinois” Jacquet Oct. 20 when it opens its 2014-15 Jazz Artist Series with a performance by saxophonist Jimmy Heath. (photo submitted)

Click on the Illinois Jacquet Foundation logo above to learn more about the jazz great.

Heath is recognized as a brilliant instrumentalist as well as a magnificent composer and arranger. It’s clear that music is in his blood, as he’s the middle sibling of the legendary Heath Brothers trio — with Percy Heath on bass and Tootie Heath on drums — and his son is acclaimed jazz, funk and soul musician and producer Mtume.

Heath has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, including Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. One of Heath’s earliest bands in 1947 in Philadelphia included John Coltrane and Benny Golson, and Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one occasion.

Heath has performed with nearly all the jazz greats of the last 50 years, including Howard McGhee, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis and Wynton Marsalis. One of Heath’s earliest bands in 1947 in Philadelphia included John Coltrane and Benny Golson, and Charlie Parker and Max Roach sat in on one occasion.

You can learn more about Heath and listen to his latest release, “Togetherness,” at his website, www.jimmyheath.com. The Illinois Jacquet Foundation has more information about Jacquet at its website, http://www.illinoisjacquetfoundation.org. You can watch a 2013 master class performance by Heath and an excerpt from a documentary on Jacquet below.



Heath also will present a free public music clinic the day after his MTSU performance at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in Room 303 of the Saunders Fine Arts Building on campus.

Tickets may be reserved in advance by calling 615-898-2724 or emailing Simmons at james.simmons@mtsu.edu. Tickets also can be purchased at the door.

Now in its 16th season, the MTSU Jazz Artist Series brings internationally renowned jazz artists to campus for performances and educational workshops. Past guest artists have included some of the most important musicians and educators in jazz history.

The 2014-15 Jazz Artist Series continues Friday, Feb. 13, with a performance by the MTSU Jazz Alumni Big Band directed by John Duke. The third concert in the series is set for Saturday, March 21, with pianist Bill Cunliffe.

For more information about MTSU’s Jazz Artist Series or any other events in the MTSU School of Music, please visit www.mtsumusic.com or call 615-898-2493.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)