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Couple creates new scholarship for Bahamian students (+VIDEO)

GREAT EXUMA, Bahamas – A Franklin, Tennessee, couple who founded a network of substance-abuse treatment clinics has funded a special targeted scholarship to allow students from a high school in the Bahamas to attend MTSU.

Michael and Tina Cartwright, who have a second home in The Bahamas, wanted to help students from L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma develop expertise through higher education that, in turn, would help benefit others on the island of Exuma.

The Cartwrights, who both attended MTSU, established a $600,000 scholarship fund to cover tuition, housing and other expenses for four Coakley students to live and take classes on MTSU’s Murfreesboro campus.

The scholarship will renew after the first group of four honorees graduate from MTSU.

Michael Cartwright, chairman and co-founder of American Addiction Centers, announced the gift during events Jan. 21-22 in The Bahamas with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a native of the country. You can watch a video from the events below.

http://youtu.be/S4IBWEnRxyE

“Tina and I understand the value of higher education,” said Michael Cartwright. “We approached President McPhee to establish a pathway that could recognize and reward future leaders who could return to Exuma as leaders and will help spur economic development on the island.”

Jerome Fitzgerald, Bahamian minister of education, science and technology, said he was “humbled” by the Cartwrights’ donation.

“I applaud your initiative and fully endorse this endeavor that will greatly benefit the students of Exuma, the island of Exuma and, by extension, our country,” the minister added.

Franklin, Tennessee, behavioral health entrepreneur Michael Cartwright announces a new MTSU scholarship fund for students at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, during a Jan. 21 celebration at the school. Cartwright and his wife, Tina, want Coakley students to earn degrees at MTSU to help their community and country. (MTSU photos by Andrew Oppmann)

Franklin, Tennessee, behavioral health entrepreneur Michael Cartwright announces a new MTSU scholarship fund for students at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, during a Jan. 21 celebration at the school. Cartwright and his wife, Tina, want Coakley students to earn degrees at MTSU to help their community and country. (MTSU photos by Andrew Oppmann)

McPhee said the Cartwrights wanted to make a targeted gift with an institution they trusted to help mold students into leaders for Exuma.

“Michael and Tina wanted to invest in MTSU, a known entity to them, to help people that they knew could benefit from mentoring, guidance and direction for this archipelago,” McPhee said.

“Our university will help prepare and educate the students selected for this honor to become leaders and influencers on the island.”

The Exumas, an archipelago of 365 cays and islands, are located 35 miles southeast of Nassau, the capital of The Bahamas. They are divided into three major areas: Great Exuma, Little Exuma and The Exuma Cays.

Great Exuma and Little Exuma are known for their laid-back surroundings. The Exuma Cays boast private homes, luxury resorts and beachside condos.

“The Cartwrights hope that the recipients of their award will return to their home communities and contribute to the economic, social and cultural growth of Great Exuma,” McPhee said.

The MTSU president noted that the scholarship recipients will be required to complete two experiential learning or community service projects in Great Exuma.

“Tina and I wanted to give something back to the people we’ve come to know, love and respect during our time in The Bahamas,” Michael Cartwright said. “MTSU offers a unique experience to transform the lives of those selected for this program.”

Behavioral health entrepreneur Michael Cartwright oversees the Brentwood, Tennessee-based company, which operates six inpatient substance-abuse treatment centers across the United States. The company began trading publicly on the New York Stock Exchange last October as AAC Holdings Inc. and was included on the 2014 Inc. 500 list of the magazine’s fastest-growing private companies.

“We are proud of the Cartwrights and appreciate the confidence they have placed in MTSU to effect change in a community that they value,” McPhee said. “Their gift is a significant financial contribution that over time will transform the lives of the recipients and the community of Exuma.”

McPhee has made targeted international enrollment a strategic priority for the university. MTSU’s international student enrollment has doubled from 396 to 789 in five years, and it had 335 students studying abroad last summer.

— Andrew Oppmann, Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, discusses a new scholarship fund established Jan. 21 for students at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, by Tennesseans Michael and Tina Cartwright to attend the university. Listening are, from left, Michael Cartwright, a Franklin, Tennessee, behavioral health entrepreneur, and Jerome Fitzgerald, Bahamian minister of education, science and technology.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, discusses a new scholarship fund established Jan. 21 for students at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, by Tennesseans Michael and Tina Cartwright to attend the university. Listening are, from left, Michael Cartwright, a Franklin, Tennessee, behavioral health entrepreneur, and Jerome Fitzgerald, Bahamian minister of education, science and technology.

Students, faculty and staff at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, celebrate news of a scholarship fund established Jan. 21 for their students by Tennesseans Michael and Tina Cartwright to attend Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is seated in the center of the front row, and Michael Cartwright is seated and holding a corner of the MTSU "I Am True Blue" flag.

Students, faculty and staff at the L. N. Coakley High School in Great Exuma, The Bahamas, celebrate news of a scholarship fund established Jan. 21 for their students by Tennesseans Michael and Tina Cartwright to attend Middle Tennessee State University. MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee is seated in the center of the front row, and Michael Cartwright is seated and holding a corner of the MTSU “I Am True Blue” flag.

Next ‘MTSU On the Record’ learns how to handle social media

Teaching social media to millennials is the subject of the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Carla Swank, a lecturer in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 1, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Carla Swank

Carla Swank

This semester, Swank is teaching “Intro to Social Media Practice,” in which students design, plan and execute social media campaigns for actual clients. They also will measure their performance and become certified in the use of Hootsuite, a cyberspace metrics monitor.social media icons web

She also is teaching “Sports and New Media,” in which students will create a new sports blog and cover the NCAA basketball tournament in real time using social media.

“It’s a matter of appearance online in that posting things in a professional manner means using a little bit of editorial judgment, ‘thinking before you tweet,’ as I like to say, keeping in mind who your audience is,” Swank said.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit 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.

‘MTSU On the Record’ features summer study-abroad trip to Holy Land

MTSU’s third consecutive study-abroad course in Israel was the topic of a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Dr. Karen Petersen

Dr. Karen Petersen

Click on the poster to see a larger, printable version.

Click the poster to see a larger, printable version.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Karen Petersen, associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and a professor in the Department of Political Science, first aired Jan. 19 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

“The Politics of Being ‘Israel’ from Abraham to Modern Democracy” is slated for July 14 to 24.

The deadline for applying for MTSU’s study-abroad scholarships is Feb. 4; you can find more details about the trip, including a video and links to an application form and scholarship details, here.

Airfare, lodging, transportation and most meals are included in the estimated cost of $4,350 to $4,950. The itinerary will include Jerusalem, Galilee, Masada and the Dead Sea, among other highlights.

Petersen and Dr. Mark Byrnes, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, will lead the course.

“Strikingly, I think that the one thing that all the students tell me is that they cannot believe how different it is from what they see on television and what the media portray Israel to be,” Petersen said.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit 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.

March 6 deadline set to join summer WWII study abroad in Sicily, Italy

There’s still time to ensure that you’ll get to retrace the Allies’ footsteps in Italy and Sicily this summer.

A few more places remain for a new MTSU study-abroad course led by Dr. Derek Frisby, an associate professor of global studies and cultural geography.

Lt. Col. Lyle Bernard, right, commanding officer of the U.S. Army's 30th Infantry Regiment and a prominent figure in the second daring amphibious landing behind enemy lines on Sicily’s north coast, discusses military strategy with Lt. Gen. George S. Patton near Brolo in this 1943 Army Signal Corps photo. MTSU professor Derek Frisby is leading a new World War II-focused study-abroad excursion to Italy and Sicily this summer. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)

Lt. Col. Lyle Bernard, right, commanding officer of the U.S. Army’s 30th Infantry Regiment and a prominent figure in the second daring amphibious landing behind enemy lines on Sicily’s north coast, discusses military strategy with Lt. Gen. George S. Patton near Brolo in this 1943 Army Signal Corps photo. MTSU professor Derek Frisby is leading a new World War II-focused study-abroad excursion to Italy and Sicily this summer. (Photo courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)

Non-MTSU students are welcome to join the class on a 15-day trek through Italy and Sicily in July 2015. They can fly with the group or arrange for flights on their own.

The application deadline is Friday, March 6.

Dr. Derek Frisby

Dr. Derek Frisby

The cost will run at least 20 percent less than an average commercial tour cost. Group airfare will cost $1,885 per student, and the total per-student cost will range from $4,200 to $4,500, including tuition and fees. Financial aid is available for MTSU students.

Frisby, who has led World War II-focused study-abroad excursions to Pacific islands and western Europe, will take the group to the beaches where British, Canadian and American forces invaded Sicily in July 1943 and trace the route Gen. George S. Patton’s forces took to Palermo.

From there, they will visit the active volcano Mount Etna and the dormant volcano Mount Vesuvius. The group also will tour the ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii, which was destroyed when Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D.Frisby WWII study abroad 2015 trip graphic

The critical WWII battle sites of Anzio and Salerno are on the agenda, along with tours of the Vatican, the Coliseum, the Forum and some wine-tasting and craft-sampling opportunities in the cities of Naples and Florence.

“This trip is really about warfare and culture and the memory of warfare,” said Frisby, who added that he welcomes the opportunity to include some ancient and cultural history as well.

“If you are a student, please go to the MTSU Education Abroad website and fill out the application,” said Frisby. “Also, ensure that you have applied for an Education Abroad scholarship.”

Financial aid is available through the Office of Education Abroad. For more information about financial aid, call 615-898-5179 or educationabroad@mtsu.edu.

More information about the course and a complete itinerary are available here. Contact Frisby at derek.frisby@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU recognizes high achievers on fall 2014 Dean’s List

More than 4,500 MTSU students are included on the latest Dean’s List for their academic achievements for the fall 2014 semester.

fall 2014 deans list graphic croppedThis list, alphabetized by home county and surname, is the final compilation by the MTSU Records Office of the names and hometowns of students receiving the Dean’s List distinction for the fall. The PDF is available by clicking here.

To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must maintain a current semester grade-point average of 3.5 or above and earn at least 12 semester hours.

The “Dean’s List” notation applies only to undergraduate students. MTSU’s lists are updated after each semester ends and student grades are posted.

An archive of recent Dean’s Lists by semester is available here.

Please note: These lists are provided by the MTSU Registrar’s Office and are compiled from information from each student’s official records. The Office of News and Media Relations does not compile nor create the final Dean’s List.

For questions about an individual student’s inclusion on the list, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 615-898-2111 or records@mtsu.edu.

MTSU finalizes list of fall 2014 graduates

MTSU is proud to release a printable list of the graduates who received their degrees in the recent fall 2014 commencement ceremony.

This list, alphabetized by home county and surname, is the final compilation by the MTSU Registrar’s Office of the names and hometowns of MTSU’s fall 2014 graduates. The PDF is available by clicking here.

An MTSU student's mortarboard tells her story in the fall 2014 commencement event inside Murphy Center Dec. 13. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

An MTSU student’s mortarboard tells her story in the fall 2014 commencement event inside Murphy Center Dec. 13. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Full news coverage of the fall 2014 commencement ceremony on Dec. 13, including videos and links to plenty of photos, is available here

MTSU graduation lists are finalized after each commencement day. An archive of recent graduation lists by semester is available here.

Please note: These final graduation lists are provided by the MTSU Registrar’s Office and are compiled from information from each student’s official records. The Office of News and Media Relations does not compile nor create the final graduation list.

For questions about an individual student’s inclusion on the list, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 615-898-2111 or records@mtsu.edu.

‘MTSU On the Record’ focuses on finding funds for study-abroad trips

A new means of financing study-abroad classes in tight financial times was the topic of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Mark Byrnes, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, first aired Dec. 15 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Dr. Mark Byrnes

Dr. Mark Byrnes

study-abroad scholarships graphicThe College of Liberal Arts in January will begin offering five scholarships of up to $500 each for experiential learning activities to liberal arts majors.

Applicants must have completed 30 credit hours before the semester in which the award will be made. At least 15 of those credit hours must have been earned at MTSU. A GPA of 2.5 or higher is required.

The stipends can apply to either faculty-led study-abroad programs or credit-bearing unpaid internships. The deadline for meeting the criteria and filing the paperwork is Feb. 6, 2015.

More information is available from the College of Liberal Arts at 615-898-2534 or www.mtsu.edu/liberalarts.

“Clearly, we believe in the importance of classroom instruction, homework, lectures, discussions and everything we do here on campus,” said Byrnes, “but an extremely important complement to that is real-life experience. I think it’s really vital to a complete college education.”

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit 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.

A video clip from the interview can be seen below.

http://youtu.be/vNfWMHqOjeU

Local church’s college ministry bolsters MTSU Student Food Pantry

They call themselves The Movement, a group of MTSU students wanting to make a real difference in the lives of those around them.

Senior psychology major Christina Brown serves as president of this small but dedicated group of young adults who make up the college ministry at First Baptist Church on East Castle Street in Murfreesboro. Their mission is to “connect, grow and impact.”

MTSU student Faith Metcalf stacks a box of canned goods inside the MT One Stop Tuesday, Dec. 16, that will be stocked in the MTSU Student Food Pantry. Fellow students Terrell Burton, back left, and Christina Brown help. The students are part of The Movement, a college ministry of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street that held a canned food drive to assist the pantry. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

MTSU student Faith Metcalf stacks a box of canned goods inside the MT One Stop Tuesday, Dec. 16, that will be stocked in the MTSU Student Food Pantry. Fellow students Terrell Burton, back left, and Christina Brown help. The students are part of The Movement, a college ministry of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street that held a canned food drive to assist the pantry. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

The “impact” portion was on full display recently when some of the students dropped off more than $2,000 in canned food and other food items to the MTSU Student Food Pantry.

The donation was the result of their efforts in recent weeks to conduct a canned food drive — entitled “Can the Hunger” — and raise funds to buy food in support of the university’s efforts to assist students in need with a good meal.

Click on the MTSU Student Food Pantry logo for more information about donations.

Click on the MTSU Student Food Pantry logo for more information about donations.

“Being a student at MTSU, knowing that I’m able to help other students feels amazing,” said Brown, a Knoxville, Tennessee, native, as she and fellow Movement members unloaded three pickups Tuesday afternoon in the parking garage connected to MT One Stop, which houses the student pantry.

Joining Brown for the drop-off were fellow MTSU students Terrell Burton, a senior visual communications major from Paris, Tennessee; Faith Metcalf, a junior childhood education major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Andrew Randle, a senior exercise science major also from Memphis.

Becca Seul, pantry founder and a coordinator at MT One Stop, appreciated this latest large donation, which follows other sizable donations and drives that have brought in several thousand pounds of food in recent months.

Started two years ago, the pantry is available to any currently enrolled student who shows a valid student ID. The need remains, as the pantry was accessed over 300 times in the month of November alone and 500 times throughout the entire fall semester, Seul noted.

“We have students on campus that stay here year round,” she said. “The donations slow down around the holidays, but the need picks up. So we really appreciate such donations during this time of the year.”

Becca Seul, MTSU Student Food Pantry founder and a coordinator at MT One Stop, looks over inventory before accepting a large donation Dec. 16 from The Movement college ministry group at First Baptist Church on East Castle Street. The pantry is located inside MT One Stop.

Becca Seul, MTSU Student Food Pantry founder and a coordinator at MT One Stop, looks over inventory before accepting a large donation Dec. 16 from The Movement college ministry group at First Baptist Church on East Castle Street. The pantry is located inside MT One Stop.

Seul said even though the university will be closed for a period during the holidays, students in need can still access the pantry through an arrangement she has with the University Police Department.

Seul noted another significant contribution from a local church. St. Mark’s United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro recently donated $800 and more than 1,000 pounds of food to the pantry. And Tracy Noerper, an instructor in Nutrition and Food Science, secured a public service grant that was used to purchase additional storage space for overflow items and for donated toiletries and personal items dropped off at the pantry.

The Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist, and DeAntwaine Moye, associate minister and co-director of young adult ministries at the church, helped The Movement’s students unload their donation and were proud of their commitment to help fellow students.

“Our college students wanted to find a way to make a difference,” said McCarroll, noting that the students also raised more than $4,000 as part of a broader Thanksgiving community service effort. “They created this campaign. … And we as a church said that we would support them.”

Since the student pantry opened two years ago, it has been visited more than 900 times and has had over 22,000 pound of food donated. Students who are between paychecks or whose campus meal plans have run out use the pantry. Students with longer-term food needs are referred to community partners such as Greenhouse Ministries.

The pantry accepts nonperishable items that aren’t expired. Among the most needed items usually are canned fruits and beans, pasta, peanut butter, crackers, fruit cups, rice, cereal, bottled water and Ramen noodles. See the full needs list at www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry.

People can drop off donations anytime the MT One Stop is open: Monday-Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. MT One Stop is located on the east side of campus at MTSU Boulevard and Blue Raider Drive, with visitor parking available off MTSU Boulevard.

Those wishing to help monetarily can also donate online at www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry. The pantry now has an MTSU Foundation account, which allows Seul to stock up on items available in bulk at less cost.

For more information, contact Seul at 615-494-8910 or becca.seul@mtsu.edu, or visit www.mtsu.edu/foodpantry.

You can follow The Movement’s efforts on their Instagram page, @themovement_fbc.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

From left to right are Faith Metcalf, a junior childhood education major from Memphis, Tennessee; Andrew Randle, a senior exercise science major also from Memphis; Terrell Burton, a senior visual communications major from Paris, Tennessee; and Christina Brown, a psychology major from Knoxville, Tennessee. The students are part of The Movement, the college ministry of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street. The group dropped a large canned food donation Dec. 16 to the MTSU Student Food Pantry.

From left to right are Faith Metcalf, a junior childhood education major from Memphis, Tennessee; Andrew Randle, a senior exercise science major also from Memphis; Terrell Burton, a senior visual communications major from Paris, Tennessee; and Christina Brown, a psychology major from Knoxville, Tennessee. The students are part of The Movement, the college ministry of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street. The group dropped a large canned food donation Dec. 16 to the MTSU Student Food Pantry.

The Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street in Murfreesboro, stacks a box of canned goods inside the MT One Stop Tuesday, Dec. 16. McCarroll was helping members of the church's college ministry, The Movement, unload donations from a canned food drive to assist the MTSU Student Food Pantry.

The Rev. James McCarroll, pastor of First Baptist Church on East Castle Street in Murfreesboro, stacks a box of canned goods inside the MT One Stop Tuesday, Dec. 16. McCarroll was helping members of the church’s college ministry, The Movement, unload donations from a canned food drive to assist the MTSU Student Food Pantry.

Celebrate with some of MTSU’s top new graduates!

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee sat down with several students in the Cope Administration Building recently to discuss their plans after their Dec. 13 graduation with honors from the university. The students graduated with honors after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by J. Intintoli, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

Hamilton County Honor Graduates – Fall 2014

 

Hamilton honors fall2014

In the photo above, McPhee, seated at left, joins a trio of fall 2014 Hamilton County honor graduates to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Jalisa Jones of Chattanooga, a criminal justice major; standing are Carly Duffy, left, of Chattanooga, a genetics and biotechnology major, and Kaitlin Pitre of Soddy-Daisy, an interdisciplinary studies/elementary education major.

Jones, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, is a 2011 alumna of Notre Dame High School and also was a member of Gamma Beta Phi honor society, the Scholars Academy, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Collegiate 100 Black Women of MTSU during her college career. She is the daughter of Lisa and Michael Jones Sr. of Chattanooga and plans to become a defense attorney.

Duffy, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in genetics and biotechnology, is also a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success and the recipient of the Eliot Dawson Bioventures/Biotechnology Scholarship, during her college career. She is the daughter of Claudia and Terence Duffy and the sister of Julianne Duffy and the late Luke Duffy, all of Chattanooga. She plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate for a career in laboratory research.

Pitre, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies/elementary education, is a 2011 alumna of Soddy-Daisy High School. She is the daughter of Ann and Mark Pitre and the sister of Mark Pitre, all of Soddy-Daisy, and will begin her studies for a master’s degree in literacy this spring. She also will serve as a graduate assistant in MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates – Fall 2014

 

Rutherford honors fall2014

In the photo above, McPhee, seated at left, joins nine fall 2014 Rutherford County honor graduates to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Zac Woodward of Murfreesboro, a music business major; standing are, from left, Amethyst McClellan of Murfreesboro, a nursing major; Amanda Gambill of Smyrna, a public relations major; Robert B. Allen II of Smyrna, a financial institutional management major; Shannon Hallavant of Murfreesboro, a mathematics education major; Jonathan Driver of Murfreesboro, a psychology major; Austin Hitt of Murfreesboro, a professional computer science major; Molly Devine of La Vergne, an English major; and Jessica Schwendimann of Murfreesboro, a sociology major. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Woodward, a cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in music business, is a 2010 alumna of Mt. Juliet High School and minored in media management. He is the son of Kris Wienk and Bob Lynch of Murfreesboro and plans a career as producer of a Nashville radio show.

McClellan, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and an Experiential Learning Scholar at MTSU. She is the daughter of Consuelo Motto of Murfreesboro and plans to obtain her nursing license and begin her career in health care, then earn a master’s degree in nursing.

Gambill, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in public relations, is a 2011 alumna of Smyrna High School. She minored in office management and women’s studies at MTSU. Her parents are Rita and Dave Gambill of Smyrna, and she plans to work in a public relations agency in Nashville.

Allen, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in financial institutional management, is a 2011 alumnus of Smyrna High School. He is the son of Nichole and Robert Allen and the brother of Austin Allen, all of Smyrna, and plans a career in investment banking in Nashville.

Hallavant, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and the recipient of the Frances Stubblefield Calculus II Award and the Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship during her MTSU career. Her husband, Buddy Hallavant; sister and brother-in-law, Rachel and Leo Davenport; and cousin, Brandy Herman, all live in Murfreesboro. She plans a career teaching mathematics at Stewarts Creek High School.

Driver, a magna cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, is a 1999 alumnus of Oakland High School and a Dean’s List honoree throughout his MTSU career. He also is a 2014 and 2014 recipient of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences’ Certificate of Superior Academic Performance – Psychology and a graduate of the University Honors College. He is the son of Kathryn A. Driver of Murfreesboro and Jimmy C. Driver of Lebanon and plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Hitt, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in professional computer science, is an alumnus of Oakland High School and recipient of the Richard Detmer Award for Computer Science and the Excellence in Computer Science Award during his career at MTSU.

Devine, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, is a 2010 alumna of Aaron Academy. She minored in history and information systems and served as treasurer of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society during her MTSU career. Her fiancé, Andrew Stophel, is a Smyrna resident, and her parents, Windi and Mike Devine, live in La Vergne. She plans a career as a librarian.

Schwendimann, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology, is a 2010 alumna of Siegel High School and minored in psychology and child development/family studies during her MTSU career. Her parents, Renee and Alan Schwendimann, and brother, Will Schwendimann, all live in Murfreesboro. She plans a career as a licensed school counselor.

You can see full news coverage of MTSU’s fall 2014 commencement, including photos and videos, here.

 

Summer 2014

More of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their summer 2014 graduation and discussed their futures with President Sidney A. McPhee during an August photo session in the Cope Administration Building. The students graduated with honors Aug. 9 after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by Andy Heidt, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

Hamilton County Honor Graduates

 

Hamilton County native Jacob Lisemby, seated at right, an organizational communication major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Lisemby, a Chattanooga resident and 2010 alumnus of the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, received his Bachelor of Science degree Aug. 9 and was a member of the Order of Omega honor society for the Greek community. He was included on the Dean’s List throughout his enrollment at MTSU and is a cum laude graduate of the university. Lisemby’s parents are Reginald and Crystal Lisemby and his siblings are Faith and Judah Lisemby, all of Chattanooga.

 

Hamilton County resident Cathy Camille Patty, seated at right, a nursing major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Patty, a Chattanooga resident and 1987 alumna of Northwest Georgia High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree Aug. 9 and was a member of The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Patty, a cum laude graduate of MTSU, is married to Paul Patty of Chattanooga and the couple has three children: Lauren Peace, Justin Patty and Hampton Patty, all of Chattanooga. She is the daughter of Mrs. Mary Ellis of Trenton, Georgia, and the late Donald Ellis.

 

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates

 

Rutherford County resident Olivia Voravong, seated at right, a business management major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Voravong, a Murfreesboro resident and 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School, received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and minored in economics and finance. The cum laude graduate is the daughter of Gen and Tov Voravong and granddaughter of Kim and Khamdy Mathavong, all of Murfreesboro. She plans to continue working with her current employer and move up the company’s corporate levels.

 

President McPhee, seated at left, joins four Murfreesboro residents who graduated with honors during the university’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Regan Best of Murfreesboro, an animal science major; standing are, from left, Miranda Troup of Murfreesboro, an advertising and public relations major; Matthew Dravis of Murfreesboro, an electromechanical engineering major; and Melissa Beasley of Rockvale, a business administration major.

Best, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and was a member of the Golden Key honor society at MTSU. She plans to attend graduate school. Her parents are Sammi and Michael Best, both of Murfreesboro.

Troup, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree, is a 2011 alumna of Riverdale High School and was a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha honor society at MTSU. She is moving to Atlanta to work with a marketing firm/advertising agency. Her parents are Janet York and Bill Troup, both of Murfreesboro.

Dravis, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree, is an alumnus of Washington (Illinois) Community High School and was chosen as MTSU’s Electromechanical Engineering Technology Outstanding Student of the Year for 2013-14. He is married to Michaelle Mitchell-Dravis of Murfreesboro and is the son of Kathy and Richard Dravis, both of Washington, Illinois.

Beasley, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, is a 1992 alumna of Ravenna (Michigan) High School and was a member of MTSU’S Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She is married to Eric Beasley of Rockvale, and the couple has four children: Brittani Beasley of Austin, Texas; Samantha Miller of Honshu Yokosuka, Japan; and Grace and Sophia Beasley, both of Rockvale.

 

Spring 2014

More of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their spring 2014 graduation and discussed their futures with President Sidney A. McPhee during a May photo session in the Cope Administration Building. The students graduated with honors May 10 after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by Andy Heidt, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

 

Blount County Honor Graduate

 

Blount County Spring 2014 honor grad web
Blount County native Steven Faulkenberry, seated at right, an engineering technology major who graduated with highest honors during the university’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Faulkenberry, a Maryville, Tennessee, resident and 2010 alumna of Heritage High School, received his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering technology. He was selected as the Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering Technology for 2013-14 as well as an Honors Associate in the University Honors College. Faulkenberry, a summa cum laude graduate, is the son of Don and Nyana Hill of Maryville and Ron Faulkenberry of Kansas City, Missouri, and the grandson of Carolyn and J.T. Crawford, also of Maryville. He plans to continue his education at MTSU with a master’s degree in engineering technology and a doctorate in computational sciences and become a hardware design engineer in CPU development.

 

Bradley County Honor Graduate

 

Bradley County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Bradley County native Melani Owens, seated at right, a film production major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Owens, a Cleveland, Tennessee, native and 2010 alumna of Walker Valley High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media Communication and minored in political science. Owens, a magna cum laude graduate, was included on the Dean’s List through much of her enrollment at MTSU. She is the daughter of Gary and Kendra Owens and granddaughter of Carol Martin, all of Cleveland, and the sister of Brittany Owens of Ooltewah, Tennessee and Valerie Braddy of Georgetown, Tennessee. Owens plans to continue her production work and screenwriting in Nashville.

 

Coffee County Honor Graduate

 

Coffee County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Coffee County native Justin Kanjanabout, right, an early-childhood education major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Kanjanabout, a Manchester, Tennessee, native who now lives in Murfreesboro, is a 2009 alumna of Coffee County High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in education and was included on the Dean’s List through much of his enrollment at MTSU and plans to teach prekindergarten through third grades. Kanjanabout, a cum laude graduate, is engaged to Kayla Gipson of Manchester, Tennessee, and also is the grandson Candice Barnes and the nephew of James Barnes, both of Murfreesboro.

 

Marion County Honor Graduate

 

Marion County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Marion County native Allison Lloyd, seated at right, a communication disorders major who graduated with highest honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Lloyd, a Jasper, Tennessee, native and 2011 alumna of Marion County High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theater and minored in psychology. She received the Outstanding Communication Disorders Major Award for 2014 and was included on the Dean’s List throughout her career at MTSU. Lloyd, a summa cum laude graduate, is the daughter of Ruth Ann Lloyd and George Lloyd, both of Jasper, and plans to earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

 

Roane County Honor Graduates

 

Roane County native Emilie Aslinger, right, a global studies and French language major who graduated during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Aslinger, a Kingston, Tennessee, native, is a 2010 alumna of Roane County High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU with highest honors. A Buchanan Fellow and graduate of MTSU’s University Honors College, Aslinger also is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Aslinger is a summa cum laude graduate and plans to attend graduate school with a focus on international education. She is the daughter of Jane Ann Aslinger and Dennis Aslinger, both of Kingston.

 

Roane County native Kelly Leanne Weeks, right, a psychology major who graduated during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Weeks, an Oak Ridge, Tennessee, native, is a 2009 alumna of Oak Ridge High School and received her Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in music and science. A member of the Psi Chi honor society, Weeks plans to earn a master’s degree in social work from MTSU to become a licensed clinical social worker. She is the daughter of Pat Weeks and J.W. Weeks, both of Lenoir City, Tennessee, and the granddaughter of Reba McGinnis of Oak Ridge.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates

 

McPhee, seated at left, joins five Murfreesboro residents who graduated with honors during the university’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Samantha Rosas, a magna cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and organizational psychology. Standing are, from left, Patrick Travis Woodruff, a cum laude graduate who received dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and English; Robert Daniel Murphy, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and astronomy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and graduated summa cum laude; Ryan Stahlbusch, a magna cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace maintenance management; and Anna Laura Williams, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Music degree.

Rosas, a Murfreesboro resident, minored in sociology and was included on the Dean’s List throughout her career at MTSU and is considering graduate school. Her Murfreesboro relatives include Larry and Sharon Reeves and Ariel, Alex and Elijah Rosas.

Woodruff, a native of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and a 1988 alumnus of Roanoke Rapids High, received the 2013 Homer Pittard Creative Writing Scholarship at MTSU and is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. He plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate in philosophy and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. His family includes his wife, Kristal Woodruff, and children Christian, Pheobe and Sophie, all of Murfreesboro; daughters Sarah and Samantha Woodruff, both of Wilson, North Carolina; and his mother, Nancy Woodruff, of Marion, North Carolina. His eldest daughter, Melissa Woodruff of Roanoke Rapids, passed away in 2011.

Murphy, a Rutherford County native, and a 2010 alumnus of Siegel High School, minored in mathematics and plans to earn a doctorate in physics at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, then conduct scientific research and teach at the university level. A Buchanan Fellow and graduate of MTSU’s University Honors College, Murphy also is the recipient of a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the 2014 MTSU Faculty Achievement Award in Physics and is a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He is the son of Brian and Annette Murphy and the sibling of BJ and Mackenzie Murphy, all of Murfreesboro. Murphy’s grandparents are Arlene and the late Daniel Harris and Robert and Sandra Murphy, and he’s also the nephew of Judy and the late John Davis, all of Murfreesboro.

Stahlbusch, a native of Schoolcraft, Michigan, and a 1997 alumnus of Schoolcraft High School, is a member of the Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Sigma honor societies as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success. He was the recipient of the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Society 2013 Charles E. Taylor Scholarship, the MTSU Enrichment and Diversity Scholarships and the National Business Aviation Association’s Maintenance TRACS Scholarship via Global Jet Services and was the vice president of education for MTSU’s Aerospace Maintenance Club as well as vice president of the university’s chapter of Alpha Eta Rho. Stahlbusch also was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, serving as an APG mechanic on C-130, C-17 and C-5 aircraft from 2003 to 2009 and is a veteran of the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom campaigns. Stahlbusch plans to earn his Airframe and Powerplant Technician certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and work in corporate aviation, and he is considering attending graduate school to earn a master’s degree in aviation safety and security. Stahlbusch’s parents are Lon and Lynne Stahlbusch of Hudsonville, Michigan, and Steve and Linda Schiele of Schoolcraft.

Williams, a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School, minored in secondary education and received several honors at MTSU, including the College of Education’s Teacher Education Scholarship, the College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Achievement in Flute and Senior Honors Awards and the School of Music’s T. Earl Hinton Music Education Scholarship. A member of Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, she also earned recognition in multiple music competitions for her performances on flute and piccolo, including the 2014 Convention Performer honor at the National Association for Music Education and third place in the Florida Flute Association’s 2014 College Young Artist Competition. Williams plans to become a band director in Tennessee, and her career goals also include earning master’s and doctoral degrees in music and teaching at the university level. Williams’ mother, Cathy Williams, and brother, Dr. Zachariah Williams, live in Murfreesboro.

New grads can be ‘game-changers,’ extraordinary: speakers (+VIDEOS)

MTSU’s newest graduates can be “game-changers” like George Washington and Jackie Robinson by using their education to accomplish good things for themselves, their families and for society, Murfreesboro’s mayor said Saturday.

And NBC’s vice president and Washington bureau chief said students can use ordinary, common-sense tools to turn their careers — and their lives — into something extraordinary.

http://youtu.be/KXe9Yb1KADE

Speaking to graduates in the morning ceremony for the university’s fall 2014 commencement, MTSU alumnus Shane McFarland explained that he, like many of the students, is a small-town native and the first in his family to go to college.

Mayor Shane McFarland

Mayor Shane McFarland

Joined by his twin brother at MTSU, McFarland earned an accounting degree in 1997 and served as student body president. He opened his own custom residential and commercial construction firm and has served on the Murfreesboro City Council since 2006. He was elected mayor earlier this year and described himself as a lifelong “sports buff.”

“I can honestly stand before you and tell you that MTSU has changed my life. It’s been a game-changer in my life,” McFarland said. “Graduating from this institution has not just changed me; it’s changed my family’s legacy.”

He cited moments in the lives of President George Washington, British abolitionist William Wilberforce, Olympian and missionary Eric Liddell and legendary athlete Jackie Robinson that changed history.

“We may never have a story like George Washington, like Jackie Robinson, like William Wilberforce, like Eric Liddell, but this can be a monumental day for your and for your family,” McFarland said.

“Here’s my hope for you. Today, I know, is a game-changer for many of you, but it doesn’t stop today. Continue finding those game-changing moments, and in doing so, you’ll find a game-changing moment for someone else, for your family, for your children.”

Kimberly Vilaysouck’s graduation was not only a game-changing moment in her life; it was a watershed moment for her entire family.

Kimberly Vilaysouck

Kimberly Vilaysouck

Like McFarland, the MTSU marketing major from Nashville is the first person in her family to graduate from high school or college. Her family came to the United States from Vientiane, Laos, a little over 20 years ago.

Vilaysouck, who was born in the United States, said she now plans to go to graduate school.

“I actually wasn’t interested in marketing until I took my first Principles of Marketing class,” said Vilaysouck. “When I started to learn things about marketing, I thought it was interesting to learn about a product, not from the consumer’s perspective, but from the marketer’s perspective.”

Vilaysouck’s eventual career plans are still in the formative stages, but she said MTSU’s Jones College of Business gives her an edge over other future marketers.

“A lot of my marketing classes would actually have classroom speakers from the business world,” she said. “That helps us as students. The professors like to get their students very involved. That helps a lot as far as being in touch with opportunities.”

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

An estimated 1,803 students received their degrees in two fall 2014 commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center.

Students from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Education received their degrees in the morning ceremony. Students in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and the University College received their degrees at the afternoon event.

Students from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Education received their degrees in the morning ceremony.

“We want you to enjoy this time of excitement and bask in the glory of this day,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee told the students, then saluted the loved ones who have supported their educational goals.

“This is just the beginning of greater things to come.”

Ken Strickland

Ken Strickland

MTSU alumnus Ken Strickland, who now leads NBC’s editorial affairs and administration and works closely with NBC executives in his post atop the Washington bureau, told graduates in the afternoon ceremony that he, too, had been in their position.

“Twenty-five years ago, I was in this very building, sitting in those very chairs and thinking the very same thing: who is this guy?” said the 1989 mass communications graduate.

“Let’s do something I couldn’t do when I graduated. Everybody pick up your phones and let’s take a selfie,” he said as the audience laughed and applauded. “You guys better smile!”

Citing the usual commencement clichés, Strickland said he had a different suggestion for the new grads: “I’m going to tell you how ordinary things can lead to extraordinary outcomes. In a language you understand, that’s ‘hashtag #ordinaryextraordinary.’”

He then encouraged the new graduates to learn to get along with people, be open to change and be grateful. “A lot of struggle went into getting you here today,” he said. “Try to always remember how lucky and blessed you are. Be grateful not only for the extraordinary things in your life but for the ordinary things, too.”

An MTSU student's mortarboard tells her story in today's fall 2014 commencement event inside Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

An MTSU student’s mortarboard tells her story in Saturday’s fall 2014 commencement event inside Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Austin Wood, 23, of Bellevue, Tennessee, graduated with honors and a 3.62 GPA from the MTSU’s Honors College and College of Liberal Arts with a major in history and a minor in economics through the Jones College of Business.

Austin Wood

Austin Wood

Wood’s honors thesis focused on developing features for the MTSU Athletic Department’s mobile app. His goal was trying to increase student involvement through university-sponsored activities.

“It had its ups and downs. It’s now finished and I am very happy with it,” said Wood, who designed the concepts and functionality for the mobile development team. “It’s definitely on my resume.”

Wood was deeply involved in campus life during his time at MTSU. He was a member of the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, served as a Student Government Association senator for the College of Liberal Arts, worked as a Blue Elite tour guide through the Office of Admissions, served as an MTSU senator for the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature and played on the MTSU rugby team.

“I’ve been able to do a lot because of the size and resources available,” said Wood, donning a blue and white SGA stole over his gown. “Even though we are such a large university, it has a very small feel in the sense that you can get involved and make a difference.”

Wood plans to attend law school next, then practice disability law for a while and move eventually into politics.

“My dream job is United States senator,” he said with a broad smile.

MTSU’s Registrar’s Office reported that 1,516 of the 1,803 students graduating Dec. 13 are undergraduates and 287 are graduate students, including 271 master’s candidates, five education-specialist degree recipients and 11 doctoral candidates. Another 13 students received undergraduate certificates, and two more received graduate certificates.

Information on MTSU’s graduation ceremonies is available anytime at www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

More photos from the fall 2014 ceremonies are available at the MTSU Facebook page. You also can view a PDF of the complete 36-page commencement program here.

— Gina E. Fann, Gina K. Logue and Jimmy Hart (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students wait anxiously for the morning fall 14 commencement ceremony to begin today inside Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU students wait anxiously for the morning fall 14 commencement ceremony to begin inside Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Students listen to speakers at today's morning ceremony for MTSU's fall 2014 commencement event in Murphy Center. An estimated 1,803 students are receiving their degrees today; a second ceremony begins at 2 p.m. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Students listen to speakers at MTSU’s fall 2014 commencement event in Murphy Center. An estimated 1,803 students received their degrees in dual ceremonies. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Cannon County native Hannah Nokes snaps a selfie with her new Bachelor of Science in education degree from MTSU at Saturday's fall 2014 commencement in Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Cannon County native Hannah Nokes snaps a selfie with her new Bachelor of Science in education degree from MTSU during the morning ceremony in Saturday’s fall 2014 commencement in Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Students celebrate their accomplishments at the conclusion of MTSU's fall 2014 commencement ceremony in Murphy Center Saturday. More than 1,800 students received their degrees during the dual-ceremony event. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Students celebrate their accomplishments at the conclusion of MTSU’s fall 2014 commencement ceremony in Murphy Center Saturday. More than 1,800 students received their degrees during the dual-ceremony event. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

http://youtu.be/HNq-Nf8qY88