Logo

New, returning MTSU student veterans treated to ‘newcomers briefing’

New and returning MTSU student veterans and their families were welcomed Jan. 19 at a “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center.

The event was held in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building, 628 Alma Mater Drive.

Hilary Miller, at back standing, director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, listens to comments from Trey Smith during the “newcomers briefing” provided by the center Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building for new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families. Seated, from left, are Aaron Greenberg and Dr. Brian Hinote, an associate professor in the anthropology and sociology department. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Dr. Hilary Miller, standing at center left, director of the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, listens to comments from Trey Smith during the “newcomers briefing” provided by the center Thursday, Jan. 19, for new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families. Seated, from left, are Aaron Greenberg and Dr. Brian Hinote, an associate professor in the Department of Anthropology and Sociology. (MTSU photos by Eric Sutton)

The briefing was to ensure veterans and their families are up to speed on campus resources, said Dr. Hilary Miller, center director.

Miller and her staff targeted new-to-MTSU student veterans and family members, but the event was open to all military-connected students, she said.

“Our goal is to make sure they have on-campus contacts for all offices that can help them be successful,” Miller said. “In addition, we want them to know the center staff, be connected to us and know other student veterans.”

The agenda included a dinner; a welcome and introduction of staff and an explanation of the center’s mission, led by Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general; introductions of veterans; and a discussion of current center programs and fall semester events, led by Miller.

Dr. Derek Frisby, a veteran, MTSU alumnus and professor in the Department of Global Studies and Cultural Geography in the College of Liberal Arts, shared information on MTSU and its relationship with veterans.

Officials also discussed discovering campus resources for veterans, which include tours and information about the G.I. Bill, VetSuccess on Campus and tutoring, and Miller presented a college challenge to the newcomers by emphasizing graduation and employment expectations.

Student veterans can get more information about the center at its website, www.mtsu.edu/military.

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

Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, speaks to new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families attending a “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives and retired U.S. Army lieutenant general, speaks to new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families attending a “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building.

U.S. Army Capt. Shane Smith, an assistant professor in the MTSU Department of Military Science, speaks to new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families at a “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center held Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. 

U.S. Army Capt. Shane Smith, an assistant professor in the MTSU Department of Military Science, speaks to new and returning MTSU student veterans and their families at a “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center held Thursday, Jan. 19, in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

While Military Science professor Capt. Shane Smith holds her daughter, Ava, at right, MTSU student veteran Nashelly Larmon signs in for the “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

While Military Science professor Capt. Shane Smith holds her daughter, Ava, at right, MTSU student veteran Nashelly Larmon signs in for the “newcomers briefing” Jan. 19 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU student veteran Timothy “TJ” Lewis, left, accepts a tote bag with information from U.S. Army Capt. Shane Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Military Science, after signing in at the “newcomers briefing” hosted by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU student veteran Timothy “TJ” Lewis, left, accepts a tote bag with information from U.S. Army Capt. Shane Smith, an assistant professor in the Department of Military Science, after signing in at the “newcomers briefing” hosted by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center Jan. 19 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU student veteran Emily Steinway speaks during the “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center held Thursday, Jan. 19, in Cantrell Hall of the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU student veteran Emily Steinway speaks during the “newcomers briefing” provided by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center held Jan. 19 in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU recognizes 4,750-plus high achievers on fall 2016 Dean’s List

More than 4,750 MTSU students are included on the latest Dean’s List for their academic achievements for the fall 2016 semester.

fall2016 deans list graphicThis 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 searchable 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: This updated Dean’s List information is provided by the MTSU Registrar’s Office and is 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 615-898-5170 or records@mtsu.edu.

MTSU Dance Team competes in national championship in Florida

The MTSU Dance Team is headed to Florida this weekend to compete in the National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship for the first time in more than a decade.

Hosted by the Universal Cheerleading Association and Universal Dance Association, the competition runs Friday-Sunday, Jan. 13-15, at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex on the Walt Disney World property in Orlando, Fla.

MTSU Dance Team members Zephanie Dykes, center, and Abby Hutchins, left, show their school spirit during the team’s halftime performance Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Blue Raider men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. The dance team is competing this weekend at the UCA & UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Fla. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU Dance Team members Zephanie Dykes, center, and Abby Hutchins, left, show their school spirit during the team’s halftime performance Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Blue Raider men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. The dance team is competing this weekend at the UCA & UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Fla. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

First-year coach Rae Boutte, an MTSU alumna and former member of the team, said the 18-member squad will be competing in the Division IA Pom against programs such as Ohio State and the University of Alabama.

MTSU competes Saturday in the semifinal competition, with top teams moving on to Sunday’s finals in the premier college national championship in dance and cheerleading. The networks of ESPN will air the finalists’ performances at the competition later in the year.

“The team has worked countless hours over the holiday break to prepare for the event,” Boutte said. “We are all so excited to start building a nationally recognized program here at MTSU.”

MTSU Dance Team members Katie Leftwich, center, and Abby Hutchins, left, are all smiles during the team’s halftime performance Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Blue Raider men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. The dance team is competing this weekend at the UCA & UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship in Orlando, Fla. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU Dance Team members Katie Leftwich, center, and Abby Hutchins, left, are all smiles during the team’s halftime performance Thursday, Jan. 12, at the Blue Raider men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

The dance team is part of the MTSU Band of Blue and performs with the band during halftime of Blue Raider football games while also doing pre-game and in-game routines. The team also performs during halftime of some home basketball games, the latest coming Thursday night when the group performed its national’s routine at the men’s game at Murphy Center before jumping on a bus for Florida.

“It is a phenomenal group of students, and they have represented MTSU at the highest level this year,” said music professor Craig Cornish, director of the Band of Blue. “We are very proud of our dance team and our new coach.”

Boutte, who relocated from Georgia with her husband, Scott, and their two young sons a year ago, said the team attended UDA summer camps last year and submitted footage showing their routines and spirit-raising techniques in order to qualify for the competition.

“We are so excited to be representing MTSU, and we hope to bring more attention to the university and our program,” Boutte said. “It’s such an honor to get to come home and do this.”

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

The MTSU Dance Team performs at halftime Thursday, Jan. 12, at the men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. The team headed to Orlando, Fla., following the game to compete this weekend at the UCA & UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

The MTSU Dance Team performs at halftime Thursday, Jan. 12, at the men’s basketball game at Murphy Center. The team headed to Orlando, Fla., following the game to compete this weekend at the UCA & UDA National College Cheerleading and Dance Team Championship. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

MTSU Honors Transfer Fellowship has Feb. 15 application deadline

A special incentive in the form of a $3,500 scholarship for up to four semesters awaits prospective MTSU transfer students who meet the eligibility criteria and apply by the Feb. 15 deadline.

The MTSU Honors College is offering 30 Honors Transfer Fellowship awards, which are patterned after the highly successful Buchanan Fellows Program.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

To apply, visit http://mtsu.edu/honors/transfer.php.

Chosen applicants will be a part of the fifth class of transfer students. The transfer fellowships began in 2013. In the previous four years, the Honors College awarded 15 such awards.

“In talking to President Sidney A. McPhee, this is two years after implementation of the Tennessee Promise (free community college tuition),” said John Vile, Honors College dean. “We are anticipating that significantly more community college graduates will be benefiting from that this year.”

The fellowship is open to students who anticipate having completed 60 hours of college or university coursework with a 3.5 GPA or better by the fall of 2017.

Honors College logoRecipients will gain special consideration for support for study abroad and for making presentations at scholarly conferences. Students who are accepted as fellows will complete a common class together during their first semester at MTSU.

For up to six out of state transfer recipients, the award will be $7,000 per semester because they pay higher tuition and fees, Vile said.

For those who do not receive the Honors Transfer Fellowship, MTSU Financial Aid also offers a guaranteed Transfer Promise Scholarship of $1,500 a semester to students with a 3.0 GPA who complete their application by Wednesday, Feb. 15.

Applications by mail must be postmarked by Feb. 15. Applications must include official transcripts of all college and university work, two letters of recommendation from college professors and/or honors administrators and a personal essay.

For more information, call 615-898-2152.

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

MTSU Records Office provides final list of fall 2016 graduates

MTSU is proud to release a final list of the graduates who received their degrees in the recent fall 2016 commencement ceremonies.

A pair of newly minted MTSU graduates show off their degrees inside Murphy Center during the university’s fall 2016 morning commencement ceremony Dec. 10. (MTSU photo by Eric B. Sutton)

A pair of newly minted MTSU graduates show off their degrees inside Murphy Center during the university’s fall 2016 morning commencement ceremony Dec. 10. (MTSU photo by Eric B. Sutton)

This list, alphabetized by home county and surname, is the final compilation by the MTSU Records Office of the names and hometowns of MTSU’s fall 2016 graduates.

The PDF is available by clicking here.

Full news coverage of the fall 2016 commencement ceremonies on Dec. 10, 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 615-898-5170 or records@mtsu.edu.

MTSU business students tout value of hands-on internship experience

MTSU senior Karan Mistry has enjoyed his classes thus far in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. But an internship this past semester for an area startup company gave him a close-up view of entrepreneurship that can’t be found in a classroom.

Mistry, a finance major from Knoxville, Tennessee, was among a handful of Middle Tennessee State University students who interned this past semester for Hytch, a Nashville-based startup that is centered on a ride-sharing service app “on a mission to reduce traffic in Middle Tennessee by bringing the digital age to carpooling.”

The interns primarily worked remotely on marketing and setting up databases, while also assisting with event coordination in support of Hytch’s goal of getting 500 commuting cars off the road and lowering vehicle emissions in the Midstate.

From left, Karan Mistry, a senior finance major from Knoxville, Tennessee, Dustin Grubbs, a senior business administration major from Smyrna, Tennessee, and Nick Justice, a junior economics major from San Francisco, are shown outside Kirksey Old Main at MTSU. The students interned at startup ride-sharing company Hytch during the fall semester. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

From left, Karan Mistry, a senior finance major from Knoxville, Tennessee, Dustin Grubbs, a senior business administration major from Smyrna, Tennessee, and Nick Justice, a junior economics major from San Francisco, are shown outside Kirksey Old Main at MTSU. The students interned at startup ride-sharing company Hytch during the fall semester. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

“We were able to learn so much in such a little amount of time,” Mistry said. “What you learn in school can take you a considerable amount of the way, but if you’re trying to do your own thing … I really think it’s important to be able to see it (first hand).”

The Jones College’s internship program was among the resources cited by LendEDU.com, which recently ranked MTSU among the nation’s top 50 schools for its support of aspiring entrepreneurs. An online marketplace for student loans and refinancing, LendEDU looked at more than 100 colleges offering entrepreneurship courses and programs to undergraduates.

Mistry said he was contacted by Bill McDowell, chair of the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship, about the available internships at Hytch, where classmates Dustin Grubbs and Nick Justice also worked this past semester along with students from Lipscomb and Belmont universities.

“I’ve actually been able to see a startup business at the very beginning,” said Grubbs, a senior business administration major from Smyrna, Tennessee, scheduled to graduate in May 2017.

Grubbs said the Hytch internship, a first for him, also allowed him to research potential corporation partnerships for Hytch, a task in which he could apply knowledge gained from his marketing research courses at MTSU. Through it all, he began to recognize how a small startup like Hytch “really needed the interns.”

“I’ve gotten to see the entrepreneurial side of it,” said Grubbs. “They’re so hardworking.”

That penchant for hard work stems from the deep passion of Hytch co-founder and CEO Mark Cleveland, who was keynote speaker for MTSU’s Global Entrepreneurship Week in mid-November.

Mark Cleveland

Mark Cleveland

Dr. Bill McDowell

Dr. Bill McDowell

The annual event is designed to offer free lectures, workshops and panel discussions to the campus community and general public, with this year’s edition providing students and aspiring entrepreneurs with information on special topics such as apparel manufacturing and general topics such as franchise startups.

“In my view, we should be doing everything we can to support, develop and inspire young people who could become entrepreneurs,” Cleveland said during his keynote remarks. “We all need to catch them early, too, before they are consumed by the idea that it’s cool to blend in and not stand out.”

The Nashville Chamber of Commerce named Cleveland its Entrepreneur of the Year in recent years. In addition to Hytch, he is developing a boutique hotel in downtown Nashville, and owns an online retailer of radio-controlled drones and airplanes, an athletic compression sock company and commercial music and marketing services company.

hytch-logo-webA self-described serial entrepreneur, Cleveland encouraged students to “fail forward” and “embrace disruption” while pursuing the things they love.

“Profits are not the only definition of success,” he said. “The best definition of success actually revolves around how well you serve others, doing that thing you love to do.”

The new report released by LendEDU ranked MTSU No. 17 in the “Top Colleges for Aspiring Entrepreneurs Report.” MTSU joined Belmont University in Nashville (No. 30) as the only Tennessee colleges on the list.

“We have invested a great deal of time and effort into developing our entrepreneurial program, and I believe that this ranking will help us as we strive to grow the reach and impact of the entrepreneurial culture on campus and in the community,” said McDowell.

“The whole Global Entrepreneurship Week is designed to bring awareness,” added Mistry, who is on track to graduate next fall and is already involved in fledgling e-commerce and real estate projects. “A lot of people have questions these days regarding startups and small business. … It was very inspiring.”

The Hytch experience along with the Global Entrepreneurship Week events allowed him to see what steps entrepreneurs need to take to get their ideas off the ground as well as the periodic trial-and-error that is sometimes necessary with such ventures.lendedu-best-undergrad-entre-graphic

Fellow intern Justice, a junior economics major from San Francisco, did an unpaid internship with Hytch during the semester, but the experience of “building a brand” was priceless, he said. The interns had the freedom to set their schedules, while also learning the soft skills needed during face-to-face interactions at Hytch promotional events.

“With this internship, they were very big on, ‘you pick the project,’” said Justice, also interning for the first time. “That was a huge upside.”

Jones College of Business logo-updatedComing from the Silicon Valley area, Justice has numerous friends who work or have worked for startups. He’s excited that the Midstate contains the ingredients needed for startups like Hytch to thrive here as well.

“I think it’s great for the economy and what’s happening here,” he said. “You don’t have to (always) rent office space, you can work from home and network and start a business that way.”

For more information on the event, contact the Pam Wright Chair of Entrepreneurship at 615-898-2785 or email Stacy.Aaron@mtsu.edu. To learn more about MTSU entrepreneurship program, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/entrepreneurship/.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Student-run WMTS-FM boasts first black female GM, diverse lineup

Approaching its 25th anniversary, MTSU’s WMTS-FM 88.3 student radio station is celebrating its diversity with the landmark appointment of its first African-American female general manager and a renewed push to promote its wide-ranging programming featuring the next generation of media talent.

General manager Ebon’e Merrimon, who will start in January, also is just the third woman to hold the top position at the station, which was formed in 1992 and is housed in the university’s Center for Innovation in Media inside the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. (Editor’s note: The original posting incorrectly stated that Merrimon was the first black GM in WMTS history. Nyronn Bryant was the first African-American general manager in the early 2000’s.)

MTSU junior Ebon’e Merrimon of Nashville, Tenn., will become the first African-American female general manager at the university’s student-run radio station WMTS-FM 88.3. Merrimon starts her new role in January. (Submitted photo)

The Nashville area junior with the electric smile said she developed her drive in a single-parent household under the tutelage of her mother, Pastor Stacey Young.

“When it comes to growing up, I had to learn ‘adult first, child later,’ and I’m still like that now,” Merrimon said.

“My entire life I’ve seen nothing but a woman on the move, on the grind. My mother worked three jobs one time to provide for me and my sibling.”

CME-logo-webA College of Media and Entertainment student majoring in media management with a minor in African-American studies, Merrimon said she’s looking forward to working alongside Assistant General Manager Melissa Summit to expand the station’s footprint and continue creating a more diverse array of shows.

Merrimon and her team will manage nearly 60 shows, which include the award-winning “The Justin Reed Show,” which features classic country, bluegrass, Americana, classic and Southern rock music, and the station’s highly rated hip-hop program, “The Remix.”

Named for the well-known graduate student who serves as its host, “The Justin Reed Show” is broadcast 6-10 a.m. on Thursdays. “The Remix” airs 8-10 a.m. on Fridays. You can see the station’s full lineup at WMTS.org.

Merrimon has been involved with the station since her freshman year and served as a host for the station’s first gospel show, “Deep Soul Gospel,” as well as “Deep Soul Radio.”

MTSU graduate student Justin Reed hosts the award-winning “The Justin Reed Show” on WMTS-FM 88.3. (Courtesy of The Justin Reed Show)

MTSU graduate student Justin Reed hosts the award-winning “The Justin Reed Show” on WMTS-FM 88.3. (Courtesy of The Justin Reed Show)

Those around the station, including center director Val Hoeppner, say Merrimon’s ambition and tenacity ultimately led her to becoming the general manager.

Val Hoeppner

Val Hoeppner

“She’s got a ton of energy, she’s incredibly passionate about this,” said Hoeppner. “She came to me a freshman, banging down my door to get in here and get on the radio. I think that’s really great, and she’s so organized and dedicated to doing this.”

In the male-dominated industry, especially in leadership positions, WMTS has worked to stay ahead of the curve in promoting diversity at the top. Hoeppner plays a vital role overseeing the station, and Merrimon will be taking over for the second woman to hold the station manager’s position, Melissa Ferguson.

Ferguson trained Merrimon this semester to prepare her for the role. The new station manager said already has a plan set up for when she takes office.

One facet of that plan, Merrimon said, stresses promoting more community involvement between the station and its students, including a WMTS-sponsored concert that will invite local acts, especially students, to perform.

While details are still being developed, Merrimon and her team envision that the concert will take place in August and feature acts from all genres, including rock bands, rappers, and even jazz artists.

Forming stronger relationships with other organizations on campus also is a part of Merrimon’s agenda.

“I’m definitely all about networking with other organizations on campus to make sure their organization is getting out there. If the station is student-run, it should be student-associated,” she said.

Internally, Merrimon and her team will focus on locating more self-motivated radio personalities, such as Reed and Jasmine McCraven, who hosts the hip-hop and discussion-based “JazzyLo Radio” each Thursday from 11 p.m. to midnight. Increasing the profile of such shows will help with acquiring more sponsorships and increase the funding for WMTS, Merrimon said.

MTSU sophomore Joe Wasilewski of Knoxville, Tenn., prepares for his 4-6 p.m. show at the student-run WMTS-FM 88.3 radio station. His show, “Stop Motion,” features alternative rock, psychedelic and “trip hop” music, and is among the varied radio personalities that listeners will find on WMTS, which is housed in the Center for Innovation in Media inside the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU sophomore Joe Wasilewski of Knoxville, Tenn., prepares for his 4-6 p.m. show at the student-run WMTS-FM 88.3 radio station. His show, “Stop Motion,” features alternative rock, psychedelic and “trip hop” music and is among the varied programming that listeners will find on WMTS, which is housed in the Center for Innovation in Media inside the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

MTSU sophomore Joe Wasilewski of Knoxville, Tennessee, whose 4-6 p.m. show “Stop Motion” features alternative rock, psychedelic and “trip hop” music, is among the varied programming listeners will find on WMTS.

A local rapper was a recent studio guest, which was a departure from Wasilewski’s comfort zone but something he has the freedom to do.

“What’s surprising is the amount of listeners I get, particularly during the drive time hours,” said Wasilewski, who said he was recently accepted into the music business program.

Even though she doesn’t take office until January, Merrimon has already begun putting the wheels in motion for some of her plans. Ferguson, who served as her mentor and trainer, isn’t surprised by her efforts.

“She’s really a go-getter, and she’s just so inspiring to me and I think to others. The biggest thing I told her was to be prepared to make decisions for the good of the station, even when they’re hard or you don’t like them. I think she’ll do well,” said Ferguson.

Merrimon will hold the position until her expected graduation date in 2018. By the time she leaves her post, Merrimon already has a vision for what her tenure at WMTS will have accomplished.

“I want it to be when I leave out of here, you can’t go anywhere without knowing WMTS is a student-run station and it’s poppin’ and a hit,” she said.

For more information on WMTS, visit the station website, www.WMTS.org, or call 615-898-2636.

— Steven Michael Johnson (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU graduates’ dreams come true at fall commencement [+VIDEOS]

Dreams came true for at least 1,892 people at MTSU Saturday, Dec. 10, as they accepted their hard-earned graduate and undergraduate degrees inside Murphy Center at the university’s fall 2016 commencement ceremonies.

“We’re here to honor your accomplishments and your successes,” U.S. Rep. Diane Black told the newly minted graduates in the morning commencement ceremony.

“Now that you’ve fulfilled this dream, a dream you’ve looked for for a long time, I want you to dream bigger. … You’ve received some of the best training around, and now it’s time for you to go out and build something beautiful.”

Here’s a video recap of the morning ceremony:

https://youtu.be/1fj9k62B5H8​

U.S. Rep. Diane Black

U.S. Rep. Diane Black

Jeff Davidson, Rutherford County deputy mayor

Jeff Davidson

Black, a resident of Gallatin, Tennessee, who represents the state’s 6th District in Congress, joined afternoon commencement speaker Jeff Davidson, an MTSU alumnus and Rutherford County deputy mayor, in congratulating the graduates.

Davidson, citing entrepreneur Warren Buffett’s qualifications for an ideal employee — integrity, intelligence and energy — urged them to maintain their integrity above all.

“Class of 2016, you have the intelligence. You will receive a diploma indicating that achievement,” said Davidson, an Eagleville, Tennessee, resident who’s also a retired U.S. Army colonel.

“Your energy should be reflected in your perseverance: three strikes and you’re not necessarily out. And remember, whatever mistakes, whatever bad luck, whatever failure may come your way, your personal integrity is in your hands and your hands only. Nobody can take it away from you except for you.”

Here’s a video recap of the afternoon event:

Kingston, Tennessee, native and biology major Amanda Uhls is already on track for a career that demands all three qualities. Graduating cum laude in just 3 1/2 years, Uhls received her degree in the morning ceremony, then watched as Cory Uhls, her husband of six months, received his audio production degree in the afternoon commencement.

Amanda Uhls

Amanda Uhls

She begins work Jan. 9 as a microbiologist for the Tennessee Department of Health in Nashville.

“It’s kind of scary because I’m not going to be in school for the first time ever, but it’s nice to have a job,” said Uhls, 21. “I have a lot of friends still waiting to hear about job opportunities. It doesn’t feel real. It’ll kick in after everybody else comes back to school in January.”

Joey Kennedy

Joey Kennedy

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee noted that 70 percent of all MTSU’s graduates stay in Tennessee. “We don’t export talent,” McPhee said. “This is just the beginning of greater things to come.”

At least one new MTSU graduate may venture outside the United States, however, if he’s accepted in January as a Fulbright scholar.

Joey Kennedy of Murfreesboro, who’s majored in Spanish and international relations, said he’d like to use that international honor to work as an English teaching assistant in the South American nation of Ecuador, then earn dual law and MBA degrees and seek an automotive career in international business with a focus in Latin America.

He attributed his success to his MTSU professors and mentors.

“The faculty helped challenge me academically through strenuous course material,” said Kennedy. “The staff were also key to my success at MTSU by providing advice and guidance when I needed it the most.”

The MTSU Registrar’s Office reported that 1,622 of the 1,892 students who received degrees Dec. 10 are undergraduates and 270 are graduate students, including 251 master’s candidates, six education-specialist degree recipients and 13 doctoral candidates. Twenty students received undergraduate certificates, and one student received a graduate certificate.

Fall 2016 degree candidates from MTSU’s College of Education proudly wear their hearts — and careers — on their mortarboards as they file into Murphy Center Saturday, Dec. 10, for the morning commencement ceremony. (MTSU photo by Eric B. Sutton)

Fall 2016 degree candidates from MTSU’s College of Education proudly wear their hearts — and careers — on their mortarboards as they file into Murphy Center Saturday, Dec. 10, for the morning commencement ceremony. (MTSU photo by Eric B. Sutton)

A trio of MTSU’s fall Class of 2016 degree candidates snap a final selfie together before the afternoon commencement ceremony in Murphy Center Saturday, Dec. 10. From left are Daniel Rayner, Denise Ramirez and Gerkelly Mealey. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

A trio of MTSU’s fall Class of 2016 degree candidates snap a final selfie together before the afternoon commencement ceremony in Murphy Center Saturday, Dec. 10. From left are Daniel Rayner, Denise Ramirez and Gerkelly Mealey. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

You can see more photos from the fall 2016 commencement ceremonies at www.facebook.com/pg/mtsublueraiders/photos. The full commencement program is available here.

MTSU graduation information is always available at www.mtsunews.com/graduation-info.

— MTSU News and Media Relations staff (news@mtsu.edu)

MTSU unveils School of Concrete and Construction [+VIDEO]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The vision of Middle Tennessee State University College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer led to the merging of its signature concrete program with its construction counterpart to form the MTSU School of Concrete and Construction Management.

Accompanied by Fischer, Provost Mark Byrnes and other university officials, School Director Heather Brown formally announced the merger and name change to industry representatives Thursday (Dec. 8) at Ascend Amphitheater’s indoor venue.

MTSU has had the nationally recognized Concrete Industry Management program — the first of its kind in the country — and the highly successful residential/development and commercial construction program for more than 20 years. There are 310 majors combined in the two concentrations.

“The merger was led by a vision from Dr. Fischer to create a school that would gain attention from high school students, parents and employers that would serve as the statewide clearinghouse for concrete and construction education,” Brown said.

Fischer, who has been dean since 2012, said for years MTSU “has enjoyed peer recognition as having among the best residential and commercial construction programs in the Southeast.”

“The Concrete Industry Management department also enjoys acceptance as the best concrete program in the nation, with a model partnership involving the industry,” he added. “Bringing these two programs of this nature together in the proposed School of Concrete and Construction will create a unique organization that spans the traditional academic disciplines.”

The merger establishes “a new standard for concrete and construction education, research and outreach, confirm our reputation for innovation and creativity and make Middle Tennessee State University a destination for students interested in an applied science education with a focus on the built environment,” Fischer said.

Event attendees included dozens of alumni and industry professionals. Franklin, Tennessee-based Skanska USA sponsored the reception.

Heather Brown, MTSU director for the School of Concrete and Construction Management, discusses the merger of the Concrete Industry Management program and its construction management counterpart Dec. 8 at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Heather Brown, MTSU director for the School of Concrete and Construction Management, discusses the merger of the Concrete Industry Management program and its construction management counterpart Dec. 8 at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

“Skanska congratulates MTSU on the merger of their concrete, commercial and residential construction programs under one school,” said Joey Hatch, executive vice president for Skanska. “This new collaboration will increase synergy between the combined advisory boards, allow MTSU to gain more recognition from the increased student population of the total program and provide companies like Skanska the opportunity to recruit from a larger pool of local graduates with a more well-rounded education.”

Hatch added that MTSU’s brand will be “more prominent than it’s ever been by creating our region’s only program that houses a unique blend of construction disciplines.”

As of August, department data showed 8.4 jobs per each graduating MTSU concrete major and average salaries from 2012-16 included nearly $43,000 in Tennessee and nearly $51,000 out of state.

The residential/land development construction major is also special and has been at MTSU since 1991, Brown said. Commercial construction has been very successful at placing graduates since 2010 with nearly 100 percent job placement.

The land development/residential building construction management student team twice won the National Association of Homebuilders Student Chapters residential construction management competition and placed in the top five seven times from 2003-12.

Electrical construction management is the only bachelor’s degree in the country that allows electrical apprentices to complete a college degree while gaining experience in electrical construction, Brown added.

Prominent concrete and construction alumni include:

  • Chad Hustedde (Class of 2000), a concrete graduate, who is vice president and general manager of Cemex in Tampa, Florida.
  • Drew Cox (’03), a concrete graduate, who is vice president/construction with TDK Construction in Murfreesboro.
  • Brian Chastain (’01), a construction management graduate, who is president of Parkside Builders in Nashville, Tennessee.
  • Matt Fugate (’05), a construction management graduate, who is vice president of construction for EMJ Corporation in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

For more information, call 615-494-7658 or visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/concrete-industry/ and http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/construction/.

Stacks of concrete coasters for the new School of Concrete and Construction Management rest on a table as event attendees mingle before the announcement of the merged programs Dec. 8 at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tenn.

Stacks of concrete coasters for the new School of Concrete and Construction Management rest on a table as event attendees mingle before the announcement of the merged programs Dec. 8 at Ascend Amphitheater in Nashville, Tenn.

MTSU seniors recognized for plans to restore 3 songwriters’ copyrights

Two MTSU seniors are the dual recipients of MTSU’s 2016 Chitwood Award for Excellence for their plans to help three best-selling songwriters reclaim ownership of two of their popular compositions.

Peyton Robinette

Peyton Robinette

Robert Williford

Robert Williford

Peyton Robinette and Robert Williford accepted the awards during a special ceremony Nov. 30 in MTSU’s Bragg Media and Entertainment Building.

Their honors recognize the best “Recapture Projects of 2015-16” proposed by a Department of Recording Industry student in MTSU associate professor Deborah Wagnon’s copyright law class.

The projects affect the songs “Dirty Pool,” created by the late musicians Stevie Ray Vaughan and Doyle Bramhall, and singer/songwriter Mike Reid’s classic “Stranger in My House,” performed by Ronnie Milsap.

Deborah Wagnon

Deborah Wagnon

“The power of each of these 1983 songs made this a particularly exciting opportunity to shine the light on both blues and country works that have stood the test of time,” Wagnon said.

The Recapture Project is tied to U.S. Copyright Act (Section 203), which lets copyright creators terminate their publishers’ rights and reclaim ownership of their songs or books after a 35-year moratorium. Each student studying copyright law with Wagnon is required to participate in the project.

Wagnon, who also is an entertainment business attorney, said she will contact the Vaughan and Bramhall estates and Reid’s representatives to present the students’ proposal.

Each of Wagnon’s students also must create a plan of action for the recaptured work, including information that’s needed to reclaim the copyright 35 years after the original grant, assignment or license was finalized.

“This means Peyton and Rob had to demonstrate a future plan hat will be inventive and timely in the marketplace as of Dec. 31, 2019,” Wagnon explained.

Robinette specifically sought out works by some of his favorite artists and realized the time frame would fit songs from Vaughan’s debut album, “Texas Flood.” The commercial songwriting major from Rockwood, Tennessee, recognized Bramhall’s name thanks to seeing the late musician’s son, Doyle Bramhall II, on stage with Eric Clapton.

“When I realized the connection between the two, my heart was set on the song ‘Dirty Pool,’” Robinette said. “This recapture project … blended legal process with art, allowing me to fully dive into my efforts.”

Doyle Bramhall

Doyle Bramhall

Stevie Ray Vaughn web

Stevie Ray Vaughn

Williford, a Nashville recording industry major who also is a songwriter and musician, said his project on Reid’s 1984 Grammy winner for best country song “presented a particularly interesting and educational opportunity to gain real-world experience in the publishing world.”

“Drafting a proposal outlining the process which would allow Mr. Reid to exercise his right to recapture his intellectual property was a unique, exciting endeavor,” he added. “I especially enjoyed the creative challenge of envisioning ideas for potential exploitation of his song in the future.”

Mike Reid webMTSU’s Department of Recording Industry inaugurated the Chitwood Award of Excellence in fall 2014 to honor recording industry major David “Ritt” Chitwood, who was killed in a January 2014 traffic accident near campus. Organizers said Chitwood, a Nolensville, Tennessee, resident, served as an inspiration for faculty and students alike because of his optimism and eagerness to learn after surviving a near-fatal 2006 car wreck.

They expanded the award this year to also honor the estate of Charles Monroe Johnson, a Tennessee attorney, author and World War II veteran whose 1954 memoir, “Action with the Seaforths,” had fallen into the public domain and has now been restored to Johnson’s family in a new copyrighted derivative work with new photos, a foreword by Johnson’s daughter, Mona, and a new cover illustrated by recording industry graduate Victoria Richardson.

Wagnon began the Recapture Project in 2011 for her copyright law classes to encourage research and legal detail as well as creativity and entrepreneurial thinking. Copyright law is a required course in MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, which is a part of the university’s College of Media and Entertainment.

For more information about the Department of Recording Industry at MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu/recording-industry.

Secured By miniOrange