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MTSU staffers to host 2 Homecoming Week book signings at bookstore

Two members of the MTSU family will share words of written wisdom about life principles during Homecoming Week at separate book signings at Phillips Bookstore in the Student Union.

Dr. Cornelia Wills, a director in the Office of Student Success, will have signings from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2, and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, for her book, “Mama Said: A Word to the Wise is Sufficient.”

Cornelia Wills, director of student success, Office of Student Success

Dr. Cornelia Wills

Joining Wills on Saturday, Oct. 3, will be Dr. Wayne Rollins, an MTSU marketing professor who will be signing his book, “Million Dollar Turtles,” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the bookstore.

Both books, which will be available for purchase at the signings, were inspired in many ways by a parent who shaped the lives of the authors in profound ways.

Mama Said cover-webWills’ book is a compilation of “pearls of wisdom” dropped in her spirit by her late mother, Rosa Lee Wills, while growing up in rural Alabama.

The 114-page book is a collection of 101 of her mother’s favorite proverbial sayings, parables, quotes and expressions “for successful everyday living,” Wills said.

Topics addressed include relationships, friendship, trust, morals, finances and time management, to name a few. Each saying is followed by an explanation of its true meaning.

Earlier this year, Wills launched a philanthropic initiative to give a portion of the proceeds from her book back to help MTSU students in need through the university’s student microgrant program.

The program supports students that have emergency situations. Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/studentsuccess/crisis-aid.php.

For more information about the book, email Wills at cwillscw1@gmail.com.

While Wills found inspiration from the wisdom of her mother, it was the hard work and common-sense-in-life approach of Rollins’ father, Thomas, that gave him the push to partner with an Alabama turtle farmer to share wisdom about finances, leadership, integrity and a host of other foundational values.

Middle Tennessee State University business professor Wayne Rollins co-authored the book "Million Dollar Turtles" with Alabama turtle farmer Gary Bentley. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Middle Tennessee State University business professor Wayne Rollins displays a copy of “Million Dollar Turtles,” the book he co-authored with Alabama turtle farmer Gary Bentley. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

“Million Dollar Turtles” stemmed from what appeared to be a chance meeting between Rollins and turtle farmer Gary Bentley on a flight to Las Vegas in the fall of 2011. But Rollins soon felt the meeting was a divine connection.

The two men got to know each other during that three-hour flight and stayed in touch afterward.

Ongoing conversations eventually resulted in Rollins and Bentley co-authoring the recently published book, whose title pays tribute to Bentley’s turtle farming success and the lessons he learned as an entrepreneur and businessman.

Rollins says he was drawn to Bentley and his background because of the similarities to his father, Thomas, who started a nursery from the ground up on Monteagle Mountain.

At roughly 80 pages, the book is “a quick read,” Rollins noted, and consists of a mixture of stories and insights from Rollins and Bentley about the lessons learned about business and life. The book is dedicated to Rollins’ father.

“The reason I love the book so much is its stories,” Rollins said. “I want to tell stories — real stories about real people. … These characteristics we’re talking about, they’re our life principles.”

For more information, contact Rollins at wayne.rollins@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU administrator and author Cornelia Wills, left, shares a copy of her book, "Mama Said: A Word to the Wise is Sufficient," with popular syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner during Joyner's recent publicity stop in Nashville. (Submitted photo)

MTSU administrator and author Cornelia Wills, left, shares a copy of her book, “Mama Said: A Word to the Wise is Sufficient,” with popular syndicated radio personality Tom Joyner during Joyner’s recent publicity stop in Nashville. (Submitted photo)

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