Class Notes

You Do What?


Gayle Duke

2014-07-12D Duke Space Museum

Gayle Duke (’65), helped Neil Armstrong reach the moon. Now her love for MTSU will help generations of students who will study in MTSU’s new $147-million Science Building reach for the stars.

Duke and her husband, Dwayne, are including the University in their estate. It will endow scholarships for science students who, like Gayle, will be the first in their families to go to college.

Duke understands the value of a degree in the sciences. After graduating with a degree in mathematics and the experience of taking the first computer science class ever offered by the University, Gayle joined IBM in Huntsville, Ala., where NASA was taking the first steps toward the moon.

“President Kennedy had decided we were going to the moon. It was exciting—such a special time,” Gayle says.

She recalls working on an Apollo flight control computer with only 16 kilobytes of memory to help guide the moon capsule on its round-trip journey of more than 475,000 miles. (Today, even a smartphone’s capacity is measured in gigabytes.)

Gayle worked on Skylab (the first U.S. space station), Spacelab, and the space shuttles.

At MTSU, Gayle had the support of mentors whose encouragement helped her graduate in just three years. Her work-study scholarship helped make college possible.

She was barely aware she was one of just a handful of women studying mathematics, much less pioneering the then-exotic field of computer science.

“I always had professors I could go talk to. You felt cared for,” she says. She developed confidence and rose through the ranks at IBM, eventually managing a department of male engineers.

“I’ve never been one to be intimidated,” Gayle says. MTSU



Thomas “T” McFerrin    mcferrin.rev_300

Thomas “T” McFerrin (’64), a Murfreesboro native and graduate of Murfreesboro Central (’60) was inducted into the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. During his 38 years as a head football coach, McFerrin built winning programs at nine high schools. His 340 career wins is fourth all-time among Georgia football coaches. He won two state football championships—at Elbert County in 1995 and at Jefferson in 2012. Neither program had ever won a state title before McFerrin. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution named him high school football coach of the year in 1982, 1995, and 2012. The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons awarded him a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.



larry williams_300bLarry Williams

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) presented Larry Williams (’71, ’76, ’95) of Murfreesboro with its Master Pilot Award in 2014. Williams learned to fly in 1964 at the Murfreesboro airport and has had a long and distinguished aviation career as a flight instructor, charter pilot, airline pilot, corporate aviation department manager, university faculty member (Auburn and MTSU), aviation author, and FAA aviation safety inspector (for more than three decades). Williams retired in 2010 but has since worked internationally as a safety consultant for foreign civil aviation authorities, airlines, corporate aviation departments, and others.


Eddie Gossage

AAA Texas 500

Eddie Gossage (’82) is president of Texas Motor Speedway (TMS), where in 2014 he introduced the Big Hoss, a huge video screen along the backstretch. It’s the largest HD screen in the world and was used at races last year. In 2012, d magazine credited Gossage with turning the 1,500-acre, $250-million TMS into one of Dallas-Fort Worth’s “most underrated sports success stories, annually making millions of dollars for its owner.”

A legendary promoter, Gossage is well known for using creative, even outrageous, methods to promote the track and NASCAR. In 2010, he offered a Dallas-area radio personality $100,000 to change his name to TexasMotorSpeedway.com and get a tattoo with the new name. The prank got
international attention. MTSU


nancy williams_300Nancy Williams

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development named Nancy Williams (’84) Tennessee Main Street program director in 2014. Main Street helps Tennessee communities revitalize downtowns and central business districts. Williams has more than 30 years of experience in communication, community development, historic preservation, and association management. Most recently, she was Main Street’s director at the Heritage Foundation of Franklin and Williamson County, which included directorship of the Downtown Franklin Association. During her time at that position, Franklin got national recognition including fourth place on the 2012 Best Places to Visit for Historic Preservation list compiled by livability.com. MTSU



Britnee Kinard

classnotes 50 BritneeKinard

The Lincoln Awards, recently created by the charitable arm of the Friars Club to recognize outstanding achievement in providing support to veterans and military families, selected MTSU graduate Britnee Kinard (’05) as one of its 10 inaugural, national recipients. Kinard is a full-time caregiver for her husband, U.S. Army Purple Heart recipient Douglas H. Kinard Jr., and a full-time mother to two sons, including her eldest Blayne, who was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in 2013. Last year, inspired by her 15-month struggle to get her husband’s service dog, Gunner, approved by the V.A., Kinard founded the SD Gunner Fund to assist Veterans and disabled children with expenses associated with owning service animals. Kinard also works with several other Evans County, Georgia organizations to provide support to military families and those with autistic children. True Blue! MTSU



Randy KnightRandy Knight

Randy Knight (’83), who grew up in Rutherford County and was hired by Nissan at age 22, was named vice president of Nissan Manufacturing USA’s plant in Smyrna in 2013. The plant is the largest producer of vehicles in the nation. At the time of his appointment, Automotive News described Knight as “the hometown kid who made good.” Formerly director of material handling and production control, Knight joined Nissan in 1983 as a production technician. The plant he now runs employs more than 7,000 people and has an annual payroll of more than $275 million. It produces Altima, Maxima, Pathfinder, and Infiniti vehicles plus the all-electric, zero-emission Leaf. It houses the country’s largest lithium-ion automotive battery plant to support production of the Leaf.



Demetria N. “Dina” Elosiebo 120220-Z-IP373-085

In her first semester at MTSU in 1998, Demetria N. “Dina” Elosiebo (’02) was the only African American and the only woman in her aviation class. Now, 1st Lt. Elosiebo is a rotary wing pilot of Army Black Hawk helicopters in the District of Columbia National Guard. A platoon leader with an air ambulance unit in the D.C. area, she flies two or three times a week and stays in a constant state of readiness. Her unit hoists people from difficult-to-reach places with as little as one hour’s
notice and cares for the critically injured en route to hospitals. She’s the first African American woman in her current post. She became a Black Hawk pilot in February 2014 at age 33. MTSU




hutson_300Chad Hutson

Chad Hutson (’94) is cofounder and president of Leviathan, a Chicago-based conceptual design company. Leviathan projects are in the spotlight at art exhibits running in different parts of the world, including the ongoing CHGO DSGN exhibition at the Chicago Cultural Center and Digital Revolution: An Immersive Exhibition of Art, Design, Film, Music, and Videogames at London’s Barbican Centre. Hutson is a past presenter at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas. MTSU





Mary Esther Reed          reed_300

Mary Esther Reed (’92, ’94, ’96), mayor of Smyrna, has served on the Smyrna Town Council since 2003. Reed is a former classroom teacher at John Coleman Elementary and Smyrna Primary Schools. Today, she owns and operates the Learning Circle, an educational supply store. She has served on the boards of the MTSU National Alumni Association and the Blue Raider Athletic Association. MTSU






Bobby Bosko Grubić and Robert Rowles

grubic Rowles 2_300

Mass Comm alumni Bobby Bosko Grubic´ (’99) and Robert Rowles (’99) produced an award-winning short film, The Parting Shot, which was one of ten semifinalists out of 500 entries in the 2014 Producers Guild of America Make Your Mark competition. The awards ceremony was held at the AT&T Theater in Los Angeles. Entries were judged by a panel including Kathy Bates, Danny DeVito, and Michael Douglas. The Parting Shot is an action-drama about a government undercover agent who struggles to keep his family safe. Grubic´is known for his corporate production and TV commercials, and he won Emmy Awards in 1999, 2006, and 2007. Rowles, a visual effects compositor, has worked films including The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, The Incredible Hulk, and Day After Tomorrow. He also worked on the team that won the 2007 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects (The Golden Compass.) MTSU





clasnotes 51 blooding 2_300Courtney Blooding

After moving from Tennessee to Los Angeles, Courtney Blooding (’03) began working for David Foster, a multiple Grammy winner and Academy Award nominee. Blooding worked closely with Foster on demanding, high-profile productions worldwide, including coordinating, managing, contracting, engineering, singing, and producing with the likes of Josh Groban, Cher, Paul Anka, Michael Bublé, Richard Marx, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Andrea Bocelli, Seal, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Oprah Winfrey, Donna Summer, and Michael Bolton, among others. Blooding studied voice and recording industry management at MTSU and auditioned for American Idol 7. Recently, she became head of business operations for Momentum, a California-based custom music provider. MTSU






Allison Bradley Frazee

Allison Bradley Frazee (’08, ’10) was named one of six new assistant athletic directors at Vanderbilt University in 2014. Frazee is assistant AD for sales and marketing. She was once a graduate assistant at MTSU. MTSU





Matt Vanderpool


Matt Vanderpool (’05) is executive director of the Tennessee Golf Association (TGA), which comprises approximately 200 golf courses and more than 32,000 members. The TGA conducts 17 annual state championships and administers the USGA Handicap and Course Rating Systems for Tennessee golfers. A native of Rutherford County, Vanderpool began working for the Tennessee Golf Foundation during his freshman year at MTSU. The TGA hired him in 1999. He became assistant executive director in 2002 and executive director in 2008, replacing the legendary Dick Horton, who had served since 1974. In addition to his TGA responsibilities, Vanderpool regularly serves on the Rules Committee at various USGA national championships and other regional and national competitions. MTSU




Tyndall_300Emmanuel (Manny) Tyndall

Veteran law enforcement professional Emmanuel (Manny) Tyndall (’09) was named to lead Tennessee’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), which pursues fraud connected to TennCare, the state’s healthcare insurance program, and has investigated cases leading to more than $5 million repaid to TennCare. Tyndall has been with the OIG since its inception in 2004 and was one of the first five special agents hired to work in the agency’s criminal investigation division. MTSU






Jeremy Qualls


Jeremy Qualls (’08) was named athletic director and physical education specialist for Williamson County Schools. Qualls earned his master’s in Administration and Supervision at MTSU. After playing basketball at Austin Peay, he taught and coached at Northeast High School in Clarksville. He has since taught and coached basketball in Tennessee and was athletic director at Lexington High School. For the last four years, he has been principal of Hickman County Middle School. MTSU




compton_300Wes Compton

Back in 2013, MTSU’s first Student Business Idea Competition, held in conjunction with the University’s observance of Global Entrepreneurship Week, offered $2,500 in cash prizes, including $1,200 for first place. The Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship in Jennings A. Jones College of Business and MTSU’s Tennessee Small Business Development Center sponsored the then new annual contest. Wes Compton (’13) of Chattanooga, a senior at the time, won the top prize for his business software idea to prevent cyberbullying by alerting parents to potentially harmful keywords and phrases in their children’s online communications. (The idea was that software could flag questionable interactions before they appear in social media.) Compton, who later graduated with a B.B.A., today works as an equity controls analyst for financial services giant UBS. MTSU



Randy King (’73, ’84), Murfreesboro, was inducted into the TSSAA Hall of Fame in April 2014. The 23-year head boys’ basketball coach for Oakland High School is now athletic director for Providence Christian Academy in Murfreesboro.

J. Steven Fults (’77), Wilson, North Carolina, was given the Lincoln Financial Faculty Member of the Year award at the 112th commencement exercises of Barton College. The award recognizes teaching excellence and commitment to student success. Fults is director of the gerontology program at Barton and has a combined 25 years of teaching experience at Utah State University, the University of Tennessee–Knoxville, Bowling Green State University, and Barton.

Gregory L. Wade (’77), Franklin, has a new book, Broken Valley: A Wartime Story of the Hopes and Fears of Those Left Behind in a Remote East Tennessee Valley. He works to preserve Civil War battlegrounds and is founder of the Franklin, Tennessee, Civil War Round Table.

Robert Campbell (’79), Columbia, is working with the Martha O’Brien Center in East Nashville as a mentor and teacher.

Donna Landrum Tarver (’79), Rossville, Georgia, retired from Hamilton County Schools after
30 years of service.



Kathryn Williams Jones (’83), Murfreesboro, accepted the position of sales manager/broker for Bob Parks Realty Murfreesboro’s Northfield Office.

Tammy Lamberth (’86), Cottontown, was named Teacher of the Year for North Sumner Elementary School, where she teaches special education.

Mark Stout (’86), Spring Hill, has been named Nissan’s divisional general manager, global talent management, at the company’s headquarters in Yokohama, Japan. Stout will oversee global Nissan talent management and coordinate with the Renault-Nissan
Alliance HR group.



Kathryn Arce (’90), Kissimmee, Florida, and Rebecca Grinnals run an international wedding consulting firm called Engaging Concepts. They were among the top innovative people with one of the best events strategy brands of 2014, according to BizBash, a trade journal website.

Karen Simpson Palin (’92), Madison, has been promoted to director of technical operations for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC). She supervises technical staff and maintenance and coordinates tech production and theater
use with clients and other
TPAC departments.

Craig Boswell (’93), Smyrna, is a correspondent for CBS Newspath, the network’s 24-hour news service for CBS stations and broadcasters around the world. Boswell began his broadcast journalism career as a producer at WKRN-TV in Nashville and later was an anchor and reporter for the station.

Lewis Harkness (’93), Fort Mill, South Carolina, a television sports journalist who recently joined ESPN, began work on the production team for the new Southeastern Conference television network, SEC, in August 2014 at ESPN headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Donald Gandy Jr. (’94) is vice president of North American sales for London-based
Cognia Inc.

Lori Sain Smith (’94), launched her own interior design firm, Daffodilly Design, primarily serving middle Tennessee for residential and commercial applications, garden design, and holiday and event styling. Smith grew up working in her mother’s antique business, The Daffodilly, in Bell Buckle. She began her professional career in retail operations and healthcare marketing and PR with the Reeves-Sain Family of Medical Services in 1997.

Philip Crabtree (’97), El Paso, Texas, transferred to Fort Bliss, Texas, to serve as deputy public affairs officer of the 1st Armored Division. Maj. Crabtree’s duties include planning all public affairs communication for the division and Fort Bliss, including digital and social media. He is also principal speechwriter for Maj. Gen. Sean MacFarland, commanding general of the division.

Brian Gray (’97), Soddy Daisy, has been promoted from sales manager to Comcast Business Services regional sales coach.

André (A. J.) Bahou (’99), Brentwood, was elected president of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association (TIPLA). Bahou has been a leader in the organization for several years, most recently as vice president on its board of directors. He’s a registered patent attorney who practices intellectual property law.

Heather Jensen (’99), Hermitage, has been appointed community relations officer for the Tennessee Department of Transportation’s Region Three, based in Nashville. She has more than 10 years of experience in television news reporting, anchoring, editing, and producing in major markets, most recently as a reporter/anchor for WKRN News 2.

Clarence Parks (’99), Nashville, has been appointed president of First Columbia Gold Corp.


Henry Bedford IV (’01), Brooklyn, New York, was an associate producer on the film Foxcatcher, a psychological thriller released in November 2014.

Sonya L. Sanderson (’02), Lake Park, Georgia, of Valdosta State University’s Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education, was awarded the 2014 VSU Faculty Excellence in Advising Award.

The History Press published the latest book by Gordon (’03) and Traci Nichols Belt (’03) of Kingston Springs. John Sevier: Tennessee’s First Hero examines the extraordinary life
of Tennessee’s first governor.

Carla Hayes (’03), St. Louis, was named diversity leadership fellowship director for FOCUS St. Louis. Hayes was previously named one of 30 Leaders in Their Thirties by North County Inc., a regional development group.

Benjamin Henson (’03), Atlanta, recently became manager of communications for the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

Ryan Blazer (’04), Long Beach, California, is working with Signature Entertainment (in conjunction with Nederlander Concerts) to develop a casino division. He is also opening an artist management division for Signature Entertainment.

Michael Knight (’04), Lafayette, Louisiana, is in-school suspension coordinator at Ossun Elementary School.

Jason Cox (’05), Keizer, Oregon, is a communications specialist for the Oregon School Employees Association.

Audrey Starr (’05), Dayton, Ohio, associate director of communications at the University of Dayton, was recently appointed communications vice president of the Junior League of Dayton, an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities.

Courtney Vickers (’05), Murfreesboro, has taken a position as director of student support
(special education) at the Nashville Academy of Computer Science, a charter school that opened in 2014.

Katelynn Baker (’06, ’11), Nashville, is events sales and services manager for the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Ynetia Avant (’07, ’11), Murfreesboro, is the new principal of Kittrell Elementary School.

Jenna Kelley (’07), Cleveland, joined the sales team of the Chattanooga office of Full Media.

Andy Lowe (’07), Knoxville, now heads the valuation, litigation and business transition services group for Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain in Knoxville as an accredited senior appraiser.

Jordan R. Haskins (’08), Lafayette, received his Doctorate of Osteopathic Medicine from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences and has started a three-year residency in family medicine at Oklahoma State University Medical Center in Tulsa.

Brian Solomon (’08), Nashville, is marketing and communications manager for Franklin Theatre.

Ashley DeSabetino Stearns (’08), Murfreesboro, received a J.D. from the Nashville School of Law. She is an associate with the Law Office of W. Kent Coleman.

Nikki Etemadi Watson (’09, ’11), Brentwood, has joined Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain as a senior staff accountant in the shared services internal accounting department. She was previously staff auditor with Byrd, Proctor & Mills CPAs.


Matthew E. Wallace (’10), Nashville, is a managing partner at Wallace/Hinote. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Nashville Entrepreneur Center, and the Tennessee Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Matthew Wozniak (’11), Chattanooga, is president and cofounder of Angels of Care, based in Annapolis, Maryland. The in-home senior care business offers personal companionship and medication management to senior citizens and people with disabilities.

Richel Albright (’12), Franklin, has joined McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations.

Charity Blair (’12), Austin, Texas, recently graduated from the pastry and baking program at Austin’s Escoffier School of Culinary Arts. She works for La Condesa restaurant in Austin as a pastry cook.

Lauren Eddings (’12, ’14), Murfreesboro, has joined the assurance and audit services team at Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain as a staff accountant working with healthcare, not-for-profit, and real estate companies.

Elliott Elsey (’12), Charleston, North Carolina, is manager and engineer of Truphonic Recordings Studio, where he records local and major label artists as well as ADR (looping) for film and television.

Trisha Thompson Murphy (’12, ’13), Rockvale, has been named assistant director of annual giving at MTSU.

Fadia Patterson (’12), Murfreesboro, has joined ABC affiliate WEHT in Evansville, Indiana,
as a reporter and producer.

Devin Wayne (’13), Mt. Juliet, has joined Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain as a staff consultant in the security and risk services department. She will primarily be performing information technology
compliance audits.

Phillip Dixon II (’14), Goodlettsville, was a video intern aboard the exploration vehicle Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel operated by Ocean Exploration Trust, on its 2014 expedition in the Gulf of Mexico. (The trust’s founder and president is Robert Ballard, leader of the team that discovered the wrecks of RMS Titanic and the German battleship Bismarck.)

Alaya Howard (’14), Nashville, is communications assistant for Titan Web Marketing Solutions, a Murfreesboro-based digital agency. Howard assists the agency and clients with social media and email marketing.

Katie Tierney (’14), Gatlinburg, has joined Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain as a staff auditor. She will be working in industries including real estate, restaurants, professional service organizations, and manufacturing.






Evan Grant Anderson, born August 8, 2014, to Patrick (’11) and Cammie Hickerson Anderson (’02) of Smyrna.

Marin Kennedy Basinger, born November 6, 2013, to Jason and Jennifer (Kennedy) Basinger (’00) of Murfreesboro.


Kinleigh Capri Bills baby raider_300



Kinleigh Capri Bills, born August 28, 2014, to Jeremy (’08) and Heather Bills of Murfreesboro.




bishop baby raider_300b


Lydia Elizabeth Bishop, born July 7, 2014, to David Bishop (’13) and Lihong Wang of Spring Hill.



Fiona Everly Black, born May 29, 2014, to Sam and Alison Black (’02) of Nashville.


bradford baby raider_300b



Jamison Kohlton Bradford, born May 21, 2014, to Joseph (’98) and Emily Bradford of Lewisburg.






Harper & Fletcher Gallian baby raiders_300


Harper Paige and Fletcher Drew Gallian, born July 21, 2014, to Keith Gallian (’97) and Elizabeth Bronson of Mokena, Illinois.


Goedecke baby raider.v1.300



Ava Jayne Goedecke, born September 17, 2013, to David (’11) and Jayna Whittaker Goedecke (’11) of Mountain Brook, Alabama.



vera & violet helen baby raiders_300


Identical twins Vera Elizabeth and Violet Helen Graham, born May 17, 2014, to Matt (’00) and Ashley Swafford Graham (’01) of Chattanooga.




Davy Lee Hicks, born April 4, 2014, to Lee and Kelly Dewey Hicks (‘07) of Bradyville.


Gianna Bella Mason, born April 1, 2014, to Marc Mason and Asia Vanatta (’01) of Alexandria, Virginia.


Bristol Marie Reed, born January 2, 2014, to Josh (’04) and Toni Little Reed (’06) of Lexington.


Beckett Steurer baby raiders_300 copy

Ethan & Asher Steurer baby raider_300

Ethan Frederick and Asher Christian Steurer, born September 9, 2012, and Beckett Richard Steurer, born May 14, 2014, to Ron (‘99) and Lisa Steurer of Nashville.











Ava and Gavin Travis, born December 22, 2013, to David Travis Jr. (’05) and Crystal Baker-Travis (’05) of Murfreesboro.


Addison Hope Wright_300Addison Hope Wright, born September 24, 2014, to Richard (’07) and Debbi Hope Wright (’02) of Murfreesboro.









In Memoriam


Jewell Goodman (’38), Pelham, May 18, 2014

Evelyn Meadows Saine (’36), Dallas, Texas, May 7, 2014


Margaret Cox Bibb (’40), Clarksville, April 22, 2014

Robert L. Couch Jr. (’49), Tullahoma, August 11, 2014

Sarah Case Harris (’42), Valley, Alabama, July 11, 2014

James Kennon (’41), Memphis, August 22, 2014

Doris Mason McGregor (’45), Hillsboro, Texas, July 3, 2014

Jane Maxwell Tucker (’45), Murfreesboro, April 20, 2014

Betsy Foutch Willis (’49), Murfreesboro, April 19, 2014


Cary Armstead (’56), Columbia, July 12, 2014

Evelyn Johns Dooley (’57), Fayetteville, May 3, 2014

Dorothy Douglass (’54), Gallatin, September 24, 2014

Robert Dyer (’52), Blacksburg, Virginia, May 29, 2014

Bob Hardison (’52, ’55), Franklin, September 7, 2014

James Hayes (’51), Murfreesboro, July 9, 2014

Charles Henry (’50), Chattanooga, January 27, 2013

Rebecca Seat James (’50), Franklin, September 20, 2014

Evelyn La Fevor (’57), Watertown, February 18, 2014

Mildred Lassiter (’53), Oak Ridge, May 3, 2014

Odie Lowery (’56), Hendersonville, May 20, 2014

James McKee (’57), York, South Carolina, March 27, 2014

Mary Nelson Pennington (’52), Hermitage, July 18, 2014

Samuel Rigney (’57), Snellville, Georgia, August 2, 2014

Neuva Sears (’54), Franklin, August 21, 2014

Dewey Simpson (’51), Maryville, March 31, 2014

Joseph Smith (’51, ’57), Murfreesboro, May 7, 2014

James Taft (’58), Nashville, September 5, 2014


Helen West Alexander (’60), Readyville, July 12, 2014

Vernon Amos (’67), Hermitage, June 2, 2014

Sandra Bates (’65, ’66), Corryton, August 3, 2014

Loren Carswell (’67), Culver, Indiana, June 16, 2014

David Cline (’60), Greenbrier, September 5, 2014

Ronald Coleman (’65,’69), Murfreesboro, May 1, 2014

Robert Compton (’66), Fletcher, North Carolina, January 9, 2014

Jerry Daly (’67), Athens, Alabama, August 23, 2014

John Dillon (’61), Franklin, August 12, 2014

William Ealy (’65), Nashville, January 12, 2014

Glenn Harris (’69), Tacoma, Washington, July 22, 2014

Robert Hatcher (’60), Brentwood, July 22, 2014

Margaret Bardin Mason (’66), March 21, 2014

James Painter (’62, ’63), Columbia, June 3, 2014

Christopher Parker (’61), Tucker, Georgia, May 11, 2014

William Perkins (’64), Counce, August 15, 2014

Joe Pollock (’61), Huntsville, Alabama, June 13, 2014

James Roberts (’64), Soddy Daisy, May 2, 2014

Carol Rose (’69, ’78), Florence, Alabama April 11, 2014

Jacob Rowe Sr. (’67), St. Augustine, Florida, September 13, 2013

Dwight Storey (’62, ’67), Frankewing, May 21, 2014

Margaret Weeks (’66), Seymour, March 21, 2014

Barbara Williams (’68), Decherd, May 20, 2014

Charlene Buchanan Williamson (’66, ’67), Donna, Texas, July 26, 2014


Michael Abston (’76), Las Vegas, Nevada, April 24, 2014

Guy Anderson (’71), Farmersville, Texas, May 14, 2014

David Attaway (’79), O’Fallon, Illinois, August 29, 2014

James Avaritt Sr. (’77), Murfreesboro, August 14, 2014

Hugh Blair IV (’73), Soddy Daisy, May 20, 2014

Jerry Blevins (’71), South Pittsburg, June 7, 2014

Anne Rhea Browning (’70), Chattanooga, July 16, 2014

William Brunson (’75), Columbia, August 21, 2014

Carol Ward Cannon (’79), Nashville, July 10, 2014

Robert Cook (’70), Colorado Springs, Colorado, March 21, 2014

Willie Coleman (’76), Nashville, August 17, 2013

Melvin Daniels (’75, ’81, ’01), Murfreesboro, August 2, 2014

Marilyn Denlinger (’75), Lisle, Illinois, September 13, 2014

Barbara Dodd (’77), Mt. Juliet, May 20, 2014

Clara Duesterhoeft, Collinwood, August 29, 2014

Deborah Ann Freeze (’75), Murfreesboro, February 6, 2014

Larry Grantz (’77), Ponca City, Oklahoma, April 17, 2014

Patricia McNeal Harris (’71), Paducah, Kentucky, September 4, 2014

Jean Harsha (’70), Fallbrook, California, May 2, 2013

James Holmes (’72), Nashville, July 25, 2014

Murrey Holton (’71, ’73), Chapel Hill, April 15, 2014

Robert Hooper Jr. (’71), Lynn Haven, Florida, May 9, 2013

Huey Johnson (’73), Plainfield, Illinois, April 14, 2014

Christopher Wayne Keen (’77), Huddleston, Virginia, May 2, 2013

Arthur Kinzel (’73), Columbus, Georgia, June 11, 2014

Darrell Knox (’73), Murfreesboro, September 16, 2014

Cheri Garner Miller (’75, ’87), Tullahoma, May 23, 2014

Naomi Parker Pedigo (’76), Murfreesboro, September 19, 2014

Joseph Robinson (’72), Deltona, Florida, April 10, 2014

Albert Stone (’71), Murfreesboro, May 14, 2014

Robert Tittsworth (’79), Knoxville, July 6, 2014

Kathleen Vaughn (’74), Madeira Beach, Florida, September 15, 2014

William Weldon (’73), Readyville, March 23, 2014

Jimmy Wheeley (’70, ’77), Lafayette, July 4, 2014

Darrell K. Williams (’74), Franklin, July 9, 2014


Donna Crutcher (’81), Lebanon, May 11, 2014

John Evans (’86), Maryville, August 5, 2014

Richard Johnson (’85, ’88), Christiana, May 1, 2014

Kevin Kyle (’82), Cedar Rapids, Iowa, June 28, 2014

Thaddeaus Mason (’88), Murfreesboro, June 13, 2014

Jeffrey Moore (’81), Nashville, June 9, 2014

Anita Patrum (’88), Beechgrove, July 26, 2014

Sterling Seat Jr. (’80), Mt. Juliet, May 10, 2014

Greggory Simerly (’84), Murfreesboro, July 19, 2014

Elizabeth McAllister Smith (’83), Murfreesboro, May 31, 2014

Diane Grimes Stikeleather (’82, ’87) Gallatin, August 4, 2014

Lori Worthington (’86), Murfreesboro, July 22, 2014


Jere Gardner (’95), White Bluff, February 10, 2014

Rawlin Jernigan (’91), McMinnville, April 18, 2014

Lynn McGuire Glessner (’95), Renton, Washington, June 22, 2014

Barbara Gunter Hall (’92), Piedmont, South Carolina, August 30, 2014

Annie Peels (’95), Shelbyville, August 6, 2014

Thomas Price Jr. (’94, ’02), Murfreesboro, July 30, 2014

Kerry Rushing (’93), Nashville, July 16, 2014

Will G. Shipley (’96, ’01), Hendersonville, September 4, 2014

Louis D. Stringer (’90), Lucedale, Mississippi, September 21, 2014


Janice Adcock (’03), Smyrna, September 23, 2014

Robert Biddle IV (’09), Hermitage, January 29, 2014

Erik Blom (’09), Fairview, May 1, 2014

Kristin Hayes (’05), Franklin, May 15, 2014

Shonta Whorley Lamb (’02, ’11), Shelbyville, August 27, 2014

Chad Lemons (’02), Nashville, April 26, 2014

Karen Martin (’06), Murfreesboro, May 14, 2014

Cameron Parnell (’06), Pecos, Texas, April 28, 2014

James Parnell (’01), Nashville, June 29, 2014

David Pierce (’00), Nashville, July 22, 2014


Brandon Clark (’11), Hermitage, July 17, 2014

Michael Schussler (‘12), Greenbrier, April 10, 2014

Ashton Thomas (’13), Smyrna, September 28, 2014

Austin Troutt (’13), Murfreesboro, September 13, 2014

Bonita Woitkowiak (’10), Murfreesboro, August 31, 2014

Jay Wolf (’13), Tampa, Florida, August 13, 2014

Grade A Grads

Alumni Association broadens field of Distinguished Alumni

by Randy Weiler


Alumni bring the University prestige and distinction through outstanding professional careers and loyal support.

Since 1960, the MTSU Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with its highest honor: the Distinguished Alumni Award. Younger alumni who are having a positive impact in the world have received the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

New this year are True Blue Citations of Distinction in the categories of Achievement in Education (current or retired faculty), Achievement in Education (for accomplishment outside MTSU), Service to the University, and Service to the Community.

This year’s honorees include two with strong aviation backgrounds, two lifelong educators, a third whose vision and passion for education has affected thousands of students, and a politically savvy alumna whose talents have taken her all the way to the White House.

The six were recognized many times during Homecoming Week on campus in October. Here is a glance at the 2014–15 honorees.

  2014-10-20D Homecoming





PrintDistinguished Alumna: Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour (1997)

Armour went from being a beat cop to a combat pilot in three years and became America’s first African American female combat pilot, serving two tours overseas. Armour enrolled at MTSU, joined the Army ROTC program, and, after earning an Exercise Science degree, served three years as a Metro Nashville police officer. Following her father and stepfather’s military path, she became a second lieutenant and pilot in the Marine Corps. Now a noted motivational author and speaker, Armour has been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, CNN, the Tavis Smiley Show, and National Public Radio and in many publications.


Young Alumni Achievement Award: Ashley Elizabeth Graham (2012)Graham, Ashley 07-2014

Graham’s passion for politics landed her a role in a state senator’s campaign while she was an MTSU student, and then it catapulted her to Washington, D.C. Early in her career, she was writing speeches for the General Services Administration, a job that required security clearance. Later, she worked at the White House for the Bush administration as deputy director of presidential writers. She was one of six speechwriters for a recent Republican National Convention, and she’s now deputy communications director for U.S. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee’s 7th congressional district. Graham, a Nashville resident, received the Maverick PAC 40 under 40 Award in 2013.


True Blue Citations of Distinction


2014-07-20D Ray Phillips Alumni AwardRay Phillips (1966): Achievement in Education

(current or retired MTSU faculty)

Phillips, who lives near Bell Buckle, is Professor Emeritus of Mathematical Sciences and a former department chair, associate dean of the College of Graduate Studies, and interim dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. He served MTSU from 1990 to 2003 and was active in research, curriculum development, and crucial grant writing that earned several millions. He was a leader in the push for STEM education, and he established the Tennessee STEM Education Center at the University. A colleague said his “illustrious career in education . . . brought distinction to MTSU.”


Linda Gilbert (1972, ’79 and ’91): Achievement in EducationMCS_01-WEB_GILBERT-Linda_0058_pp1


Gilbert, a Murfreesboro resident, has been a Murfreesboro City School administrator for many years and is now director of schools. Her leadership and knowledge have benefited both city schools and MTSU. She coauthored grants for MTeach, a University effort designed to increase the number and quality of math and science teachers and encourage dual enrollment between MTSU and county schools. Her involvement and service includes sitting on and chairing many advisory boards and committees—from the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences advisory board to Band of Blue executive board.


donald_mcdonaldDonald McDonald (1963): Service to the University

McDonald and his wife, Frances, are avid MTSU supporters, scholarship benefactors, and 1911 Society members who are supporting the University through their estate plans. The aerospace maintenance laboratory at the Flight Operations Center at Murfreesboro Airport is named for McDonald, and he serves on the MTSU Foundation board and the Aerospace Department’s advisory board. The McDonalds open their home and personal hangar to aerospace students and faculty for many MTSU functions.



LittleMatthew Little (2008): Service to the Community

Little, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, has been a part of many service initiatives: running camps for 2,000 students, providing leadership for Tennessee’s statewide service day, and creating a National Park educational program. Tennessee named Little as a delegate to its first Truancy and Dropout Prevention Conference, and he participated in the Mayor’s Summit on Children and Youth in Nashville. He also works with the nonprofit ServeAlabama to support volunteer work. Little’s leadership has guided three institutions to places on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. He is senior associate director of admissions at the University of Alabama–Huntsville.


Gifts that keep on Giving

The Centennial Campaign, the largest fundraising campaign in MTSU’s history, is having a transformative effect on programs and students across campus. The campaign is focused on four priorities:

  •  Fostering an innovative learning environment by building partnerships, learning spaces, and programs that  support the needs of the modern workforce
  •  Maintaining an exceptional student body by bolstering scholarships and student aid
  •  Assuring the highest quality faculty and staff by increasing tools needed to improve recruitment, retention, and   graduation
  • Competing at the highest levels athletically by matching up against top-notch competition, improving facilities, and focusing on academic success

Here is a glimpse at a few of the gifts made to the University during the ongoing Centennial Campaign. True Blue!



Better by Design

MTSU’s new Mechatronics Engineering program promises to elevate the University’s Department of Engineering Technology to the next level.

Mechatronics is a design process that includes a combination of mechanical, electrical, robotic, and computer programming as well as control systems. MTSU’s program is based on a three-level international certification system created by Siemens AG, a German engineering company. An example of a mechatronic system is a surgical robot, which performs precision mechanical work under sophisticated electronic and sensory control.

Last fall, the new program received its first gift—$15,000 from the southeast chapter of the International Beverage Packaging Association—to go toward endowing student scholarships. Southeast chapter member Jimmy Davis of Murfreesboro describes the new program as a “game-changer.”

Davis, an MTSU alumnus and past president of the Engineering Technology Advisory Board, is the owner of Murfreesboro-based the Davis Groupe, which supplies machinery, tools, and parts to Toyota, General Motors, and Nissan, among others.

There’s a high demand for skilled workers to maintain and repair mechatronic systems. People trained and certified in mechatronics engineering can expect high-growth opportunities and wages. MTSU alumnus and state senator Bill Ketron, a small-business owner and a member of the Engineering Technology Advisory Board, says the economic impact of the new program will be significant.

“Once we start training these young people and the industries and manufacturing concerns realize there’s a good, trained, and educated workforce for their needs, they’ll start locating here,” he says.





Without Reservation

Sometimes Gordon and Sara Bell’s friends have to choose between electricity for light or propane for heat. They can’t always afford both, but when it’s as cold as 50 below zero outside, and your house is made of tarpaper and a few old boards, the choice is easy.

That’s why the Bells make a point of taking candles when they visit the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, as they have every year for 30 years. Gordon (’73) and Sara (’72, ’84) became aware of the daily struggle for life on the reservation when they joined a church mission trip. Sara has since been adopted into the tribe. On each visit, they are confronted with a crisis of health and poverty invisible to most Americans. But they are inspired by the resilience and dignity of their friends in the Lakota Sioux tribe.

They hope the student who receives their newly endowed MTSU scholarship will join them on their journey—physically, intellectually, and perhaps spiritually. Each year, a University Honors College junior or senior researching Native American topics will be selected for the scholarship.

“After all, 99.9 percent of Americans don’t think about Native Americans. They’re out in the middle of nowhere,” Sara says. “It’s easy to forget, if you ever knew. Maybe that one student will make people aware.”



All Systems Go

A bequest from Steve and Kathy Anderson will create an endowed chair in computer information systems at MTSU and give students the benefit of a nationally prominent faculty member who understands the important challenges and opportunities in information systems and technology.

Steve Anderson (’77) majored in Marketing with a minor in Information Technology. While studying for his M.B.A. in 1978, Anderson worked as a graduate teaching assistant in the Information Technology Department.

Upon completion of his M.B.A., he began working with what was then called Andersen Consulting (now Accenture). During his 25 years with Accenture—15 years as a partner—Anderson’s client work focused on large-scale manufacturing, supply chain, and information technology strategy for Fortune 500 industrial and consumer products companies. Several of these efforts were global in scope and included teams working across Europe and the Far East. He led major restructuring efforts for several Fortune 500 companies. He also led lean manufacturing programs in over 20 different facilities across the U.S. and Europe. Anderson’s client work garnered him national press recognition in publications including BusinessWeek and CEO Magazine.

Anderson’s vision for the Chair in Computer Information Systems is to hire a chairperson who embodies the qualities possessed by Dr. Richard Callahan, a highly-dedicated and much-loved former professor in the then School of Business. According to Anderson, the chair will (among other objectives) expose students to creative, value-added uses of technology and conduct “innovation fairs,” where student teams will develop their own innovative ideas to be judged by their peers and by business leaders.



Serving It Up

A new indoor tennis facility is under construction at Old Fort Park that will greatly improve MTSU tennis and give local tennis lovers a new place to play.

The $3.7 million building will have eight indoor courts, an electronic scoreboard, a pro shop, locker rooms, a lounge, and a meeting area. It will be open to the public and serve as the home of Blue Raider tennis.

      The project was funded in part through private donations and is also part of the University’s $80 million Centennial Campaign. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to open this fall.

Numerous donors have made the new facility possible. For example, the scoreboard will be named in honor of                     the LaLance families of Murfreesboro in recognition of a donation from the families of Richard “Dick” and Jan LaLance and the late Robert “Bob” and Martha Lou LaLance. A court will be named in honor of the late Carolyn Reeves, a former high school tennis coach and community leader, in recognition of a donation from Shane and Amanda Reeves and the Reeves-Sain Foundation.





Standing Tall

John Stanford came to MTSU in   the 1950s after serving with the   Air Force, where he won acclaim as a baseball pitcher. He made his mark on Blue Raider baseball by becoming an All-OVC player.

After graduation, Stanford turned pro, pitching two seasons for the Washington Senators before serving as baseball coach for Shelbyville Central and Motlow Community College. In 1974, he returned to his alma mater to cultivate one of the most respected programs in college baseball. His Blue Raider record of 402–272–4 is second only to that of his successor, Steve Peterson. Blue Raider squads under Stanford made repeated trips to the NCAA Tournament, and Stanford won multiple coach-of-the-year honors. Later, as the University’s athletic director, he worked with donors to improve baseball facilities and scholarships, upgraded the golf program, and advocated the formation of the women’s softball program and field (among other accomplishments).

Stanford, who died in July 2013, will be honored with the placement of a 10-foot bronze statue outside the gates of Reese Smith Jr. Field. A similar statue of the late Reese Smith Jr., a Nashville alumnus for whom the stadium is named and whose two sons played baseball for MTSU, will stand next to Stanford’s.

One of Smith’s sons, Stephen B. Smith (’11), provided the funds to erect the statues. Chair of the board of Haury & Smith Contractors, a six-decade-old middle Tennessee development and home building company, Smith also served on the board     of directors of the Blue Raider Athletic Association, is a member of the Blue Raider Sports Hall of Fame, chaired the search committee for MTSU’s athletic director, spearheaded the successful effort to raise   $5 million to remodel the baseball stadium, and now is an important part of the University’s $80 million Centennial Campaign. He was named an MTSU Distinguished Alumnus last year.


To donate, visit www.mtsu.edu/supportMT.

Forward March























by Allison Gorman

Rickey Smith (’78) draws wisdom from the past. He quotes great military strategists as easily as most of us recite our phone numbers. But as director of ARCIC Forward—the strategic engagement wing of the Army Capabilities Integration Center— he’s focused on the future, helping transform the U.S. Army into an ultramodern fighting force ready to battle on any front, whether subterranean or in cyberspace.

That’s no small task. Historically the least agile branch of the U.S. military, the Army has 980,000 active and reserve troops. The Department of Defense is reducing military spending as the war in Afghanistan draws down, yet far greater threats to American interests remain. Those threats are global, complex, and constantly changing, and as the logistical backbone of the joint military forces, the Army must be ready for them.

“Have you ever heard of building a bridge while walking on it?” Smith asks. “Welcome to my world.”

President Sidney A. McPhee recently hosted a reception for Washington, D.C.–area MTSU alums at Café Berlin. Among those pictured here are (3rd from left) General William Phillips, U.S. Army; (8th from left) McPhee; (9th from left) former congressman Bart Gordon; (10th from left) Rickey E. Smith; and (11th from left) Ken Strickland, NBC News Washington bureau chief.

The center’s job is to plan how to train, structure, equip, and position the Army to thwart present and future enemies as quickly and efficiently as possible. Smith’s job is to convey that vision to those inside the Washington beltway. He works with Congress, administrative offices, and think tanks to help keep the ARCIC mission moving forward and to explain why, in a remote-control world, America’s land fighting force is more relevant than ever.

Before he retired from the U.S. Army and became civilian director of ARCIC Forward in 2009, Smith did “futures work” on the military side, helping oversee the most sweeping reorganization of combat operations since World War II. Now an even more dramatic modernization is underway, and Smith is helping shape a force facing limited funding but near-limitless combat scenarios.

“I don’t use the phrase ‘irregular warfare,’” he says. “It’s just warfare. What used to be conventional is now unconventional. That’s the chaotic dynamic we’re working in.” So while the Army has institutionalized the practice of learning from its mistakes (with, for example, the Center for Army Lessons Learned), its best weapon going forward might be adaptability.

Troops may fight the next big battle in one of the growing number of “megacities,” tracking a loosely organized enemy through sewers or high-rises. Or they might have to swap their Humvees for horses, using GPS to call in airstrikes, as they did in the mountains of Afghanistan. “Our challenge is we have to do these things as an away game anywhere on the globe,” says Smith.

He predicts that cyberspace will become more treacherous as hackers learn to disable military computers and redirect GPS units. (“That’s what we would do, so that’s we should expect our enemy to do. They’re not idiots.”) He also considers chemical and biological weapons credible threats.

“We’re facing an active, dynamic, resourceful adversary that doesn’t have the same legal or moral structure that we do,” he says. “How do we deal with that?”

ARCIC offers two answers: adaptation and innovation. The hoped-for result is a leaner, smarter, more flexible U.S. Army that leaders expect to have in place by 2025.

Already, the Army’s traditional strength-in-numbers approach has given way to smaller brigade combat teams—nimbler tactical units that are now its primary fighting force, Smith says. Increasingly sophisticated unmanned systems will complement boots on the ground.

ARCIC helped shape new cyberspace operations units, including one focused on missile defense, as well as a “consequence management” formation to assess and contain damage from a weapon of mass destruction. The center has also increased the Army’s focus on biometrics and forensics and sees particular promise in human performance and material science research.

And then there’s technology that should make formations faster and more resilient: innovations such as bandages that cauterize wounds, uniforms that store solar power or a soldier’s own kinetic energy, “Iron Man” helmets with heads-up displays, and devices that pull water from air. “Some of these things are past the testing phase,” Smith says. “Now we’re assessing where we should put them in the force.”

Whether the question is where to station troops or what technology to buy, Smith says it all boils down to cost-benefit analysis—a perfect challenge for a former finance major.

Smith attended MTSU on a four-year ROTC scholarship, choosing his hometown school out of 350 options because he felt it offered him the best chance to succeed on his own merits. “Even with the growth of the University,” he says, “it remains a place where you can achieve your personal excellence, even if you didn’t come from a long line of college graduates, which I didn’t.”

Yet succeed he did.

At MTSU, Smith joined the riflery team and was cadet battalion commander. He also married his high-school sweetheart, Margaret Smith (’84). After graduating in 1978, he joined the Army as a field artillery officer, completing tours of duty in Germany and Korea. He earned an M.B.A. and a master’s in national security strategy. He participated in START treaty negotiations in Geneva and after 9/11 was a Department of Defense coordinating officer for disaster relief and homeland security before moving on to futures work.

All along the way, he says, he’s drawn on lessons he learned as a cadet at MTSU. “The notion of being able to examine problems, come up with courses of action, do a kind of cost-benefit analysis . . . that all stems from those early days.”

As ARCIC’s point person in Washington, Smith considers himself less an advocate than an educator, and those analytical skills are still critical. At a time when military decisions can boil down to numbers, he presents the cost of arbitrary change versus the benefit of restructuring the Army in an intellectually driven way.

“At the end of the day, the nation will have the army it wants to resource,” he says.

Central to ARCIC’s philosophy is the conviction that no unmanned system and no amount of remote firepower can replace the need for boots on the ground.

“Don’t get me wrong—I want the world’s greatest air force and navy,” Smith says. “But that won’t drive you to a strategic resolution . . . and by launching that bomb, you may have created ten adversaries you didn’t have before.”

With troops in more than 100 countries, the U.S. Army is positioned to deter war by addressing its underlying human causes, he says.

“Clausewitz said that war is the ultimate expression of politics. . . . The human aspect of military operations is about changing behavior. Lethal means—the battle, the firefight—that’s a last resort. If you really want to change behavior, you’ve got to start through engagement.”

Smith says human capital is the Army’s most precious commodity, and today’s soldiers come with fresh, invaluable skills: they are digital natives who find new ways to use technology, often write their own apps, and solve problems through crowdsourcing.

Then again, Smith says, some things haven’t changed since he was a cadet at MTSU. “We’ve got a lot more gee-whiz things now,” he says, “but strength of character, the Army values we embrace—those are enduring.”





Degrees of Recognition

by Jimmy Hart and Drew Ruble

The granting of an honorary doctorate degree, a tradition of universities dating back to the Middle Ages, is higher education’s most significant accolade. Such degrees recognize those with sustained records of achievement who have made outstanding contributions and who exemplify the ideals for which a university stands. They are not lightly given. It is a university’s ultimate sign of respect.

On May 10, 2014, during the University’s commencement ceremonies, MTSU granted just the third and fourth honorary degrees in its 103-year history. Receiving them were MTSU alumnus Lt. Gen. William Phillips (’76), a U.S. Army three- star general from Bell Buckle, and Madam Xu Lin of China, a vice minister of education and director-general of the worldwide network of Confucius Institutes. Each honoree addressed graduates during commencement exercises.



A Soldier’s Soldier

From February 2010 to April 2014, Phillips was stationed at the Pentagon and served as principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the U.S. Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology. He retired in April after 38 years of service.

In a recent House speech honoring Phillips, U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-Texas), a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, called Phillips “a true champion for soldiers and their families,” adding, “His dedication to excel- lence has ensured our beloved soldiers fighting on behalf of the nation have always had, and will continue to have well into the future, the most technologically advanced and reliable equipment whenever and wherever they need it most.”

Phillips graduated from MTSU in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree. He received a master’s in procurement and materials management from Webster University and a master’s in personnel management from Troy State University. He is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College, the Defense Systems Management College, and the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

Among his many awards are the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Meritorious Service Medal, and the Iraq Campaign Medal. In 2001, he was named U.S. Army Acquisition Commander of the Year.




A Cultural Icon

Xu Lin leads the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and serves as chief executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. During her tenure, the organization has experienced tremendous growth. Since 2004, it has expanded to more than 120 countries with more than 440 Confucius Institutes and 650 Confucius Classrooms, reaching more than 850,000 students. MTSU joined China’s Hangzhou Normal University to open its Confucius Institute in 2010.

“Under Xu’s leadership, Hanban has been committed to making Chinese language and culture teaching resources and services available to the world, meeting the demands of over-seas Chinese learners and contributing to the formation of a world of cultural diversity and harmony,” said President Sidney A. McPhee.

In October 2013, Xu visited the MTSU Confucius Institute and the Tennessee State Capitol, where she met with Sen. Bill Ketron and Gov. Bill Haslam, among others, to discuss the importance of cultural exchanges between the U.S. and China. Xu received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai and a master’s degree from Beijing Normal University. She has received many honorary doctorate degrees from universities around the globe. MTSU

[Editor’s Note: Almost 2,300 students graduated at MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies on May 10. Of that number, 1,893 were undergraduates and 393 were graduate students.]


Class Notes

You Do What?

Suzette Ervin (’90), a production designer for film and television, most recently worked on the award-winning Disney Channel show Good Luck Charlie, which once featured special guest the Muppets (pictured here with Ervin). Ervin has a long list of television credits as an art director and production designer, including The Ellen Show, Access Hollywood, and Will And Grace. She designed the feature film The Last Producer for director Burt Reynolds. MTSU




That Disney Channel program your kids are wearing out day after day might have an MTSU connection. Betsy Sullenger (’88) is executive producer of the hit show Liv and Maddie. She is pictured here with the star of the show, Dove Cameron. This summer, while the program is on break, Sullenger is producing the action/horror/com- edy Scouts vs. Zombies for Paramount. She is one of the rare producers (male or female) who work in both film and TV. And rarely do they do it at the same time.




Raiders of Industry

Google Inc. hired MTSU computer science alumnus Nathan Reale, who will begin working in California in June. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Google IT


by Randy Weiler

Nathan Reale and Matt Houglum are the latest alumni from MTSU’s Computer Science Program to tap the career pipeline to Web service giant Google. “It is very difficult to get hired at Google, and the fact that a major company like Google is hiring our students is indicative of the quality of the education being offered in the Department of Computer Science at MTSU,” said Chrisila Pettey, professor and department chair.

With 12 faculty members and 375 students housed on the third floor of 103-year-old Kirksey Old Main, Computer Science flies under the radar compared to signature programs such as Recording Industry and Aerospace. But Google hires register on every- one’s radar.

Reale, of Franklin, and Houglum, of Christiana, both 24, will be joining Computer Science alumni Collin Winter and Micah Chasteen as Google employees. Eldridge Alexander, a 2012 graduate from the College of Mass Communication, also works for Google in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Reale will work on Google projects at its Mountain View, California, operations outside San Francisco. He says Google “was my dream job.” Houglum will be an enterprise technical solutions engineer at Google’s Seattle operations, “solving technical problems people and companies have when they begin using Google products,” he said. While at MTSU, Houglum participated on a student team that developed an Android mobile app for students to provide easy access to a wide variety of University information. MTSU


Mike Kopp (’81) has spent more than 30 years helping celebrities, public figures, executives, companies, and organizations create new opportunities for success. The former deputy commissioner of economic and community development for the State of Tennessee and former partner in the Nashville PR firm the Ingram Group, Kopp was also press secretary for Congressman Al Gore. He is cofounder and senior VP of digital marketing for MMA Creative in Nashville. In 2012, Kopp joined Music Row veteran Sharon Corbitt-House to launch HouseKopp, an artist management company whose primary client is singer-songwriter/producer Ben Folds. Kopp is Folds’s representative on all fronts: from contracts to bookings and branding to studio work. MTSU




Christopher Tilton (’79) is cofounder of Smart Planet Technologies in Newport Beach, California. Focused on developing recyclable, environmentally ethical packaging materials, Smart Planet special- izes in replacing plastic coatings with mineral composites in frozen food packaging, disposable cups, and other containers, thereby diverting them from landfills. Tilton’s role with Smart Planet includes research- ing, developing, patenting (he holds over 50 patents), licensing, and commercializing the company’s products. Customers include paper giant International Paper and grocer Whole Foods. Tilton, a first-gen student, has six younger siblings who also attended MTSU. He met his wife, Cynthia (’79), at MTSU. One of his brothers, Col. Charles Tilton (’87), recently took charge of the Tennessee Army National Guard’s 117th Regional Training Institute in Smyrna. MTSU




James T. Cox (’60), Fayetteville, was among just three Tennes- see bankers honored in 2013 by the Tennessee Bankers Association with the Leader in Banking Excellence Award. Cox is senior officer of First National Bank of Pulaski.

Thelma Straw (’63), New York, N.Y., is a member of the Mys- tery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and writes for the blog Crime Writers Chronicle.

Robert Turman (’63), Ijamsville, Maryland, retired after 45 years of federal service, including 25 years as a U.S. Army officer in the Medical Service Corps and 20 years as a budget and pro- gram analyst in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Donald Gates (’65), Durham, Connnecticut, interim principal at Coginchaug Regional High School and retired principal of Portland High School, was recognized recently by the National Association of Secondary School Principals
with a prestigious Gerry Tirozzi Membership Star Award for 39 years of membership.



George Bragg III (’70), Old Hickory, is a pilot flying for L-3 Communications after retiring from a 27-year career with Federal Express. In his military career, he was deployed seven times to Afghanistan, three to Iraq, and once to Bulgaria.

Tony Kessinger (’71), Melbourne, Florida, has released his latest book,Things That Must Take Place: A Commentary on Revelation Chapters 4-22.

Richard (Butch) Chambers (’72), Portland, Oregon, a retired financial consultant and an avid outdoorsman, is a member of the Multnomah County Sheriff’s search and rescue team and recently par- ticipated in several high-profile investigations in the Oregon outback.

Tim Tackett (’74), Murfreesboro, was named the first athletic director and charter schools co- ordinator for Rutherford County Schools.




Katherine Batey Whitt (’01) and Brandon Whitt (’02) won the Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award from the American Farm Bureau Federation earlier this year. Winners are chosen based on their operation’s growth and financial progress, Farm Bureau leadership, and contributions outside the Farm Bureau. The couple was presented with MTSU Blue” GMC Sierra. Katherine’s parents, John L. and Melissa, are University alumni from the mid-1970s. John L. and Brandon together to operate Batey Farms, an eighth-generation family farm in tion since 1807. MTSU




Adam Rector (’99) is getting noticed in Nashville business media circles new online camera rental system, RENTaCAMERA.com, which launched earlier this year. The Tennessean reported that Rector the equipment department of the Electric Picture Co., a well-known Nashville-based production retailer, in 2005. He then started The Video Company, which loans its stock of 70 cameras, hundreds of lenses, and other production equipment to “do-it-yourself” operators. The Nashville Business Journal reported that the company has aged 30 percent revenue growth through the years and now has more than $1 million in equipment. MTSU




Micheal Burt (’98, ’02), an entrepreneur, motivational speaker, and author of books on self-improvement and business success, has entered the world of reality television. His reality show, Zebras and Chee- tahs, began airing in January on the CW Network in the Nashville area. Contestants compete in the Zebra Challenge, in which they work to understand what makes them unique; the Cheetah Challenge, in which they determine how agile and quick thinking they can be; and the Final Challenge, appearing before a three-person board of advisors (including restaurateur Peter Demos) to pitch themselves as most-im- proved competitor. The concept stems from Burt’s book, Zebras and Cheetahs: Look Different and Stay Agile to Survive the Business Jungle, cowritten with Colby Jubenville, MTSU Health and Human Performance professor and assistant to the dean for student success and strategic partnerships in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. Burt’s most recent book is titled SWAG. MTSU





Matt Palmer (’03) made his Carnegie Hall debut in February as the only American chosen to present a concert during the D’Addario Performance Series. Palmer has appeared as a soloist throughout the U.S., Europe, Mexico, Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. He won the 2010 Up-and-Coming Guitarist of the Year Award from Guitar International Magazine and is author of The Virtuoso Guitarist. MTSU


Andy Haines (’04) was named manager of the New Orleans Zephyrs AAA minor league baseball club in 2014. Haines, who is rising fast in the Florida Marlins minor league system, previously managed the Class A Jupiter Hammerheads of the Florida State League, where his 2012 team came within one victory of the championship. Before entering the managerial ranks of professional baseball, Haines spent three years as an assistant coach at MTSU. MTSU



CBS’s 60 Minutes recently profiled Kevin Reeder (’06), a military veteran, about the post-traumatic stress disorder treatment program he runs at the North Little Rock, Ark., Veterans Affairs facility. Reporter Scott Pelley (pictured here with Reeder on set) discussed Reeder’s innovative methods of treating veterans struggling with the aftermath of combat in a segment titled “The War Within.” According to a recent George Washington University project, one in five veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars—nearly 300,000—have been diagnosed with PTSD. According to the same study, veterans account for 20 percent of all U.S. suicides. Reeder’s late parents, Glen and Ernestine N. Reeder, served on the MTSU faculty. His mother was chair of the Human Sciences Department, and his father chaired the Department of Health and Human Performance. MTSU




John Campbell (’75), Lewis- burg, retired after 35 years with University of Tennessee Exten- sion. He served as 4-H agent in two counties before becoming an area farm management specialist with the nationally recognized MANAGE education program.

Vicki Sherrell Sewell (’75), Suwanee, Georgia, recently published her first children’s book, The Magnificent Sprinkles, Growing Up Sprinkleliciously.

Marcia Melton (’77, ’87, ’93), Woodbury, supervisor of K–12 instruction in Cannon County, was named Tennessee’s 2013–14 Supervisor of the Year.

Carlos Clemente (’78), Lawndale, Calif., was acknowledged as the number one Western Region sales consultant by Cadillac during its annual dealers meeting at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November 2013.

Michael B. Jinks (’78), Morristown, retired from Hamblen County schools and is now an adjunct professor at Tusculum College.

Paula Thomas (’78, ’83), Murfreesboro, an accounting professor at MTSU, completed the Chicago Half-Marathon, striking off an ambitious goal from her bucket list—running a half-marathon in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Greg Hartman (’79), Flagstaff, Arizona, retired from the Flag- staff Police Department after 32 years.

William McAdams (’79), Savannah, received the A. F. Bridges Award from the TSSAA for Principal of the Year in the Hardin County High School athletic district. McAdams has been a coach and teacher for 33 years.

Teresa Brockwell (’81), Murfreesboro, was awarded Teacher of the Year for the elementary school level in Rutherford County Schools. She teaches at Walter Hill Elemen- tary School.

Dewayne Thompson (’81), Cleveland, received the 2013 International Teaching Excel- lence Award from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

Thomas Carroll (’83), Fort Wayne, Ind., is the new busi- ness development director for design-builder and general contractor CME Corporation.




Charles Clary (’04) creates paper sculptures that seem to come off the wall and reach out to the viewer. Organic topographies, pencil marks, and subtle imperfections reveal that each piece was cut by hand. Given that most Clary exhibits contain hundreds of pieces with thousands of layers—all hand-cut—the sheer volume of work involved is astonishing. Clary recently exhibited at the prestigious Nancy Margolis Gallery in New York City and was a featured artist on the show Daily Planet, of Discovery Canada. Highly regarded art journals including Hi Fructose have covered him. Clary is also a foundations and painting professor at MTSU, teaching four classes each semester. MTSU

Kathy Nichol (’84), Daphne, Ala., received the Outstanding Gifted Coordinator award for 2013–2014 from the Alabama Association for Gifted Children.

Christie Allison (’86), McMinnville, won the Hometown Heroine Award from the McMinnville branch of the American Association of University Women. She is a teacher induction coordinator for Warren County schools and has been in education for 28 years.

Gayle Reed Goad (’87) was recently named Teacher of the Year at Millersville Elementary School in Sumner County.

Carla Hausler (’88), Beechgrove, was awarded Teacher of the Year, secondary school level, for Rutherford County Schools. She teaches at Oakland High School.

Ronald Malone (’88), Murfreesboro, assistant VP for events and transportation at MTSU, recently received the Presi- dent’s Silver Column Award, recognizing his willingness to go beyond the call of duty to make sure that MTSU remains conducive to learning.



Stephanie Faris Berry (’92), Nashville, recently sold her second book, 30 Days of No Gossip, to Simon & Schuster’s Aladdin M!x imprint. Her next work, 25 Roses, is set for a 2015 release.

Daryl Welch (’92), Tullahoma, general manager and broker at Harton Realty Company, is chair of the Motlow College Foundation.

Nicole Brown (’93), Chattanooga, along with the UTC Communication Department, produced the documentary 9 United for Equality: Reflections on the Struggle for Civil Rights in Chattanooga.

Lydia Medlock Kelly (’94), Murfreesboro, self-published three books—Woodrow: A Memoir, Innocence Lost, and Power of Faith— under the pen name Lydia Leigh.

Kenneth Youngstead (’94), Franklin, a CPA with more than 18 years experience, became a member/owner of Nashville- based KraftCPAs in November 2013.

William M. “Bill” Maples (’96), Alexandria, Va., was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel U.S. Marine Corps while serving in the Pentagon. This fall, Maples will serve as squadron commander of the Wake Island Avengers, a Harrier squadron based in Yuma, Arizona.

Robin Newell (’96), Murfreesboro, principal at Mitchell- Neilson School, won first prize at the seventh annual Read to Succeed Celebrity Spelling Bee.

William Childers (’97), Tullahoma, received his Ed.D. from Lipscomb University in December 2013.

Gabriel Smith (’97), Nashville, was named 2013 Young Advisor




Meredith Leigh Burton (’07) attended the Tennessee School for the Blind before enrolling at MTSU, where she graduated with majors in English and Speech and Theatre. She obtained her teaching certification and now lives and works in Lynchburg. Her memories and stories about being a blind student at MTSU are expressed in her young adult fantasy novels, which feature disabled protagonists who are called upon to fight against evil. One book, The Jarah Portal, is set in a world where all the inhabitants are blind. Through her work, Burton hopes to show readers that disabilities are really blessings and that everyone has Team Leader of the Year by the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.






Mark Cheathem (’98), Lebanon, published Andrew Jackson-Southerner. He is also the author of Old Hickory’s Nephew: The Political and Private Struggles of Andrew Jackson Donelson.
Matthew Hurtt (’09), who ran for Murfreesboro public office at age 19 and was well known for his outspoken conservative views while an MTSU student, contributing regularly to both the school newspaper and the Daily News Journal, now lives in Washing- ton, D.C., where he works in politics. Hurtt, a copywriter for Response America, a direct mail fundraising firm that has raised millions of dollars for conservative candidates like Florida senator Marco Rubio and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann, has appeared on domestic and international television talk shows, been published in news outlets including the Daily Caller, RedState, and Breitbart; served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention in Tampa in 2012; and managed the 2010 campaign of Maryland state senator Alex X. Mooney, chair of the Maryland GOP. MTSU



Moose Weekes
, a former Blue Raider basketball player, is a Harlem Globetrotter. An American entertainment institution, the Globetrotters began in 1926 as the Savoy Big Five. Now, more than 85 years and 20,000 games later, the team has become one of the most recognizable sports franchises in the world. Weekes led the Blue Raiders in blocks as a freshman and broke the school record for most blocked shots in a game with eight. He studied wellness and exercise science in college and hopes to help train other athletes following his playing days. According to the Globetrotters’ website, his pregame rituals include listening to country rap tunes while stretching, drinking coconut water, and eating
bee pollen. MTSU




Amiee Stubbs (’12)
is the official photographer for the Nashville Zoo and a photojournalist for Animal Rescue Corps. Kensingtyn Sloan HillThe owner of Amiee Stubbs Photography and UltraViolet Gallery in Nashville, Stubbs was recently profiled in the “people” issue of Nashville Scene. In the article, Stubbs tells a story of being bitten by a penguin.

According to the Scene, Stubbs “might be the most interesting woman in town.” Why, you ask? Well, she was a professional wrestler known as Athena who performed on the NWA, TNA, and USA Championship Wrestling circuits from the late 1990s until 2005. According to the article, “After losing the creative outlet of wrestling,

Stubbs says she found herself miserable at a corporate job. So she went back to MTSU, and a series of events led her to a black-and-white photography class. That’s when she realized she’d wanted to do photography all along.” MTSU





George Lynn Agee
, December 19, 2013, to Kelly and Lauren Gillespie Agee (’01) of Murfreesboro

Sayler JulieAnn Bishop, August 11, 2013, to Rawley (’13) and Kari Bishop (’11) of Knoxville

Caleb Scott Corum, March 14, 2013, to Scott and Mindy Faddis Corum (’03) of Knoxville

Gabriel Sean Dolan, December 05, 2013, to Jason and Kandy Dorris Dolan (’02) of Columbus, Ga.

Finn Oliver Huff, July 25, 2013, to Elvis (’09, ’12) and Jessica Hamblin Huff (’11) of Lebanon

Daniel John King, February 23, 2014, to Christopher (’03) and Rebecca Ann King of Southeast Asia

Elizabeth Reagan Maples, May 13, 2012, to William M. “Bill” (’96) and Shannon Maples of Alexandria, Virginia

Abigail Rose Mayer, December 23, 2013, to Thomas (’99) and Michelle Mayer of Melbourne, Florida

Amon Jerry (AJ) Pack, born on May 3, 2013, to Andy (’12) and Lauren Pack (’12) of Woodbury

Kensingtyn Sloan Hill, born July 15, 2013, to Donald and Christie Holman Hill (’98) of Murfreesboro

Naomi Kathryn Walls, December 20, 2013, to Aaron and Leigh Tudor Walls (’02) of Murfreesboro

Emerson Honor Williams, born April 2, 2014, to Brian (’02) and Rebecca Williams of Thompson Station



Lauren Beard (’03, ’07), Murfreesboro, was recognized as Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance. She teaches at Northfield Elementary School.

Alanna Vaught (’03), Auburntown, a 2012 MTSU Outstanding Teacher Award winner, recently graduated from Texas A&M with a doctorate in agricultural education.

Frederick “Nathan” Vinson (’03), Birmingham, Alabama, recently joined English, Lucas, Priest, & Owsley in Bowling Green, Ky., as an associate with the firm.



The Aerospace Department recently celebrated its first online master’s degree in Aviation Administration (Safety and Security Management), awarded to Ed Owen (’13). A flight simulator instructor for FedEx, Owen previously spent 30 years as a pilot for Northwest Airlines. It took the nontraditional student two years to earn his master’s. The 66-year-old did so from the comfort of his own home nearly 240 miles away from Murfreesboro via the Blue Raider educational community online. Last November, Owen made his first- ever trip to campus to present his 80-page master’s thesis, “Assessing the Status of Airline Safety Culture and Its Relationship to Key Employee Attitudes.” MTSU






John Gibi (’04), Knoxville, a lead technician for Express Jet, a regional airline contracted by United Airlines, won the com- pany’s Best of the Best Award in the maintenance category.

Kathleen McCraw Gibi (’04), Knoxville, is a public affairs spe- cialist for the City of Knoxville. Part of her duties include serving as liason for Let’s Move!, First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to address childhood obesity.

Cory Bransford (’06), Lafayette, was awarded Teacher of the Year, middle-school level, in Rutherford County Schools. He teaches at Christiana Elementary.

Jessica Lumpkins (’09), Nashville, is the agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at McGavock High School.



Sabrina Hayes (’10), Iron City, published her first children’s book, Saturday Morning and Sneaky, with Tate Publishing.

Michael Brasfield (’11), Knoxville, graduated from the Army National Guard Warrant Officer Candidate School at Fort Rucker, Alabama.

Daniel Burt (’11), Murfreesboro, joined the Brentwood office of Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain accounting and consulting firm on the Information Technology Help Desk team.

Aaron Mead (’12), Smyrna, joined the firm of Edmondson, Betzler and Montgomery as a staff accountant.

Chris Burns (’13), Smyrna, Brett Johnson (’13), Franklin, and Emily Ziadeh (’13), Old Hickory, joined the Brentwood office of Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain as tax accountants.

Briana Woodllee (’13), Woodbury, is a correctional officer at the Rutherford County Juvenile Detention Center.






In Memoriam




Eunice Kenney Taylor (’39), Houston, Texas, December 27, 2013

Pauline Malone Tramel (’38), Nashville, July 23, 2013



Jessie Buchanan Jr., (’46), Brentwood, December 21, 2013

Lucy Will Case (’42), Lawrenceburg, February 6, 2013

Betty Kelton Dodd (’47, ’72), Lascassas, January 20, 2014

Mary McLaughlin Ford (’45), Shelby, N.C., October 27, 2013

Mary Kemp Hayes (’48, ’79), Murfreesboro, January 30, 2014

Edwina Fisher Phelps (’46), Brentwood, October 4, 2013

Eulalia Baker Scott (’41), LaVergne, October 3, 2013

Mary Sinclair Stevens (’48), St. Simons Island, Ga., January 15, 2014



Claude Adams (’59), Murfreesboro, December 25, 2013

Sidney Adams (’59), Murfreesboro, March 26, 2014

Aubrey Adcock (’57), Mount Juliet, October 5, 2013

Lawrence Adwell (’52), Nashville, November 16, 2013

Robert “Harris” Allen (’56), Jackson, December 14, 2013

Guy Buchanan (’51), Waynesboro, March 9, 2014

Dolores Sorrells Crawley (’54), Nashville, January 15, 2014

Helen Merrell Currin (’54), Cleveland, October 29, 2013

Alton Ferrell (’50), Nashville, October 16, 2013

Tyler Ford Jr., (’59), Gallatin, June 12, 2013

Carolyn Ledford Fortson (’56), Athens, Ga., January 20, 2014

George Gardner (’57), Murfreesboro, March 3, 2014

John Hale Jr., (’53), Liberty, May 29, 2013

Ray Hughes (’57, ’64), Murfreesboro, December 22, 2013

Jim James (’54, ’59), Athens, Ga., November 23, 2013

Anne Waggoner Nunamaker (’55, ’59), College Park, Md., April 10, 2013

Maxine Chambers Osteen (’54), Brentwood, July 16, 2013

Ralph O. Osteen (’53), Brentwood, January 17, 2014

E. J. “Joe” Overton (’58), Chattanooga, October 15, 2014

Charles E. Roddy (’58), Huntsville, Ala., July 5, 2012

Marion Rogers (’57), Murfreesboro, October 6, 2013

Donald Sharp (’59), Nashville, February 3, 2014

Billy Shoemake Sr., (’56), Antioch, December 3, 2013

Amanda Smith (’52), Oceanside, Calif., March 7, 2014

Hulan Thomas (’59), Bon Aqua, February 3, 2014

Dan Thweatt (’54, ’59), Vero Beach, Fla., November 21, 2013



Glenn Armistead (’60), Acton, Mass., December 13, 2013

E. Keith Atchley (’66), Como, Miss., February 6, 2014

Joe Baker (’66), Quinton, Va., December 13, 2013

Ralph Bryant (’61), Lafayette, January 1, 2014

Douglas Cassetty (’66, ’72), Red Boiling Springs, January 2, 2014

Carolyn Doyle Couch (’65), Dalton, Ga., December 28, 2013

Danny Davis (’69), Brentwood,October 16, 2013

J. L. Ford (’64), Maryville, March 11, 2014

Jerry Gilliland (’68, ’71), Nashville, January 11, 2014

Mary Hacker Goff (’69), Bristol, November 8, 2013

Rex Lemay (’62), Columbia, December 7, 2013

Charles Marlin (’63), Hanover, Ind., January 22, 2014

Robert Miller Jr., (’64), Chattanooga, March 10, 2014

Martha Jones Morgan (’68, ’69), Signal Mountain, December 31, 2014

James Murray (’66, ’67), Tullahoma, January 27, 2014

Edna O’Neal Pickett (’62, ’74), Whitwell, February 9, 2014

Richard Randolph (’68, ’72), Murfreesboro, November 11, 2013

Freeman Ray (’67), Savannah, December 11, 2013

Robert Roy (’67), Tullahoma, February 24, 2014

Patricia Sharp (’65), Cordova, January 24, 2014



Marcia Akers (’79), Nashville, November 30, 2013

David Alexander (’71), Brentwood, March 13, 2013

Thomas Askins (’76), Fayetteville, April 17, 2013

Danny Brown (’70, ’76, ’78), Winchester, October 7, 2013

Dale Clements (’73, ’78), Nashville, October 25, 2013

Linda Mullins Cox (’73), Gallatin, July 7, 2012

Robert Crowell (’74), Columbia, October 31, 2013

Donald Daugherty (’74), Cane Ridge, November 26, 2013

Carolyn Haynes Davis (’73, ’75), Nashville, January 22, 2014

James Garant (’72), Rockvale, October 11, 2013

Robert Garland (’76), Gainesboro, September 13, 2013

David Groce (’76), Fayetteville, May 18, 2013

James Jobe (’78), Hendersonville, January 17, 2013

Lee Jones (’70, ’71), Murfreesboro, February 8, 2014

Geoffrey Kranz (’78), Knoxville, February 23, 2014

Vicki Yarbrough Lambert (’76), Shelbyville, December 13, 2013

Doris Lindsey (’74), Port Char- lotte, Fla., December 15, 2013

Brenda Parris Maples (’75), Byhalia, Miss., October 16, 2013

James Melhorn (’73), Lancing, June 21, 2013

Valerie Vaughn Osborne (’78), Chattanooga, February 1, 2013

Karen Parsons (’77), Fayetteville, August 19, 2013

Donna Richardson (’77), Harriman, February 2, 2014

Victor Ristvedt Jr. (’77), Murfreesboro, December 26, 2013

Marsha Osgathorp Smith (’70, ’78), Milton, January 4, 2014

Sheila Scott (’70), Murfreesboro, October 28, 2013

Tommy Shelton (’70), Tullahoma, February 23, 2014

Kenneth Spears (’73), Lufkin, Texas, February 13, 2014

Joseph Steranka Jr. (’72), Dickson, November 16, 2013

Annette Stapler Tillman (’71), Pulaski, December 24, 2013

Elise Black Towry (’74), Huntsville, Ala., April 24, 2013

Patrick Work (’72, ’75), Sullivan’s Island, S.C., January 28, 2014

Margo Tesch (’78), Miami, Fla., November 30, 2013



Thomas Bateman Jr., (’82), Nashville, November 18, 2013

Kevin Bevill (’81), Murfreesboro, November 30, 2013

Bryce Boles (’87, ’91), Cookeville, July 6, 2013

William Cosson (’87), Oak Ridge, March 2, 2014

Michael Flory (’81), Lima, Ohio, January 13, 2014

Michael Harbin (’82), Old Hickory, September 7, 2013

Eric Payton Hodge (’88), Delta, Mo., April 6, 2014

Calvin Howell (’80), Watertown, October 22, 2013

Dorothy King (’84), Troutman, N.C., June 7, 2013

Mary Mason McCauley (’85), Atlanta, Ga., January 26, 2014

James McCullough (’84), Nashville, December 31, 2013

David Patterson (’88), Nashville, November 19, 2013

William Robertson (’83), Columbia, January 21, 2014

Diane Sawyer (’83, ’94), Tullahoma, February 8, 2014



Thelma Moore (’96), McMinnville, October 20, 2013

Sharon Napier (’95), Gallatin, April 11, 2014

Marty Plott (’92), Franklin, December 13, 2013

Joseph Potts (’99), Kimberton, Penn., January 28, 2014



Helen Blankenship (’01, ’04), Murfreesboro, March 5, 2014

Daniel Feese (’02), Crestwood, Ky., January 19, 2014

Amanda Richards (’08), Brent- wood, December 17, 2013

Phillip Robertson (’08), Murfreesboro, March 15, 2014

Kristina Tarini (’02), West Hat- field, Mass., November 8, 2013

James Weir II (’09), Memphis, January 13, 2014



Philip Akoto (’13), Murfreesboro, December 14, 2013

Lamar Grant (’13), Antioch, January 16, 2014

Larry White (’13), Columbia, March 8, 2014






Jon Scarlett (’72, ’94) died July 2, 2013. Scarlett spent 10 years as a faculty member and advisor in the University’s Health and Human Performance program, where he was influential in the establishment of the Leisure and Sport Management master’s program. His father, M. G. Scarlett, was president of MTSU from 1969 to 1978.




Beth Smith (’83), a civic leader and former Rutherford County Habitat for Humanity executive director, passed away May 31, 2014. She was 54. Smith’s first battle with cancer occurred during her twenties while a student at MTSU. She devoted her life to helping people. One of her favorite projects with Rotary was giving out dictionaries to local third-grade students.

Creating a Paper Trail

Charles Clary’s art cuts both ways.



by Darby Campbell

When you step into an exhibition of Charles Clary’s (’04) paper sculptures, it can be an overwhelming experience.

The playful shapes come off the wall and reach out to the viewer. Cut in such precise, delicate detail, the tiny brightly colored landscapes invite you to come closer for exploration. What you see there may surprise you. Organic topographies, pencil marks, and subtle imperfections let you know that each piece was cut by hand. Given that the room contains hundreds of pieces with thousands of layers—all hand-cut—the sheer volume of work is astonishing.

The art world is taking notice. Clary recently exhibited as part of a two-person show at the prestigious Nancy Margolis Gallery in Chelsea, New York City. He was a featured artist on television program Daily Planet, of Discovery Canada. Highly regarded art journals including Hi Fructose have covered him. By the end of this year, Clary’s work will have been featured in five books devoted to paper art.

He produces all of this work while also working as a foundations and painting professor at MTSU, teaching four classes each semester. A devoted teacher, he’s passionate about setting an example for his students as a practicing professional.

“If I’m not doing what I preach, what good am I to my students?” he asks. “If I’m not pursuing my professional goals of being a recognized artist who has relevance in the contemporary dialogue, then I’m not of any use to my students because I’m trying to tell them this is a possibility, this is something they could do with their lives. And if all I’m doing is teaching, then that’s telling them, ‘Forget it. All you can do with [an art degree] is teach.’”


In December, the Rymer Gallery in Nashville held an exhibition of Clary’s work called Meticulous Excavations, in conjunction with fellow artist Jamey Grimes. This particular body of work was a sort of memorial. Each of the 204 pieces represent a day between his mother’s diagnosis of stage-four lung cancer in July 2012 and her death in February 2013, followed two weeks later by the death of his father.


Clary described making the work as cathartic.

“It was kind of a nice renewal of getting back into working just as hard as I did before they passed,” he says. “So the work that’s going to come out of it is going to be energetic. The colors I used were based on radiation and chemotherapy, and some of the other colors were quite a bit more pastel, so it kind of emphasizes the idea of losing one’s life, of having that kind of essence pumped out of you.”

Despite the grief that inspired the work, Clary strives to leave the viewer with a feeling of joy. No wonder he relishes describing a time when a four-year-old girl came to one of his exhibits in France and started poking her fingers in all the openings of his work.

“She was just laughing, all giddy, and people were horrified that she was doing this. I was like, ‘Whatever, I can always make another one, but that reaction is priceless!’” he recalls.


Though Clary freely admits he would discourage adults from doing the same, his goal is clear—always leave the viewer with a smile.







You can watch a video of Charles Clary creating one of his paper sculptures below:


Beyond Blue – MTSU recognizes successful alumni


James “Boots” Donnelly (’64) was among 24 inductees into the College Football Hall of Fame last year. The first ever Blue Raider to receive the honor, Donnelly joined only 934 players and 205 coaches (out of the nearly 4.92 million who have played or coached college football over the past 144 years) ever to be inducted into the hall. As a player, Donnelly led MTSU to a conference championship and a Grantland Rice Bowl win in 1964. As a coach, Donnelly led MTSU to nine top-20 regular-season finishes, seven NCAA I-AA playoff appearances, and a 31-game home winning streak from 1987 to 1993. He later served as MTSU’s athletics director, playing an integral role in moving the program to the FBS level.


 Woody Bomar (’67) is president of Green Hills Music Group, a Music Row publishing enterprise, whose songs have been recorded by George Strait, Hunter Hayes, Luke Bryan, and Jake Owen, among others. A Vietnam veteran, Bomar
began his music career as a songwriter, penning hits in the 1980s for the likes of Conway Twitty, Loretta Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., and Lee Greenwood. He later
served as general manager at Combine Music, where he promoted the music of staff writers including Kris Kristofferson, Larry Gatlin, and Dolly Parton and placed
notable hits including the Judds’ first single. He left Combine in 1987 to start Little Big Town Music, which produced fifteen number-one country singles over the next decade. In 1998, Bomar sold Little Big Town Music to Sony/ATV and was simultaneously named the company’s senior vice president and general manager. Over the course of his eight-year tenure at the helm of Sony/ATV, the company released 46 number-one singles. Bomar also signed artist/writers including Dierks Bentley, Rascal Flatts, Josh Turner, and Blake Shelton. In 2006, Bomar parted ways with Sony/ATV to return to independent publishing with the creation of Green Hills Music Group.



Longtime Nashville city employee Billy Lynch (’68, ’78) retired last year after 45 years working for Metro in various roles, including as fire chief, chief deputy sheriff, and public works director, where he oversaw the massive cleanup of the city in less than 30 days in the aftermath of the flood of 2010.



Burns Phillips (right)(’70, ’73) was named commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development last year. His previous career included serving as managing director of customer-focused government initiatives administration-wide in the Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration. Phillips also founded a surgical instrument company in 1991 that conducted business in the U.S. and 30 other countries.


Debra Payne (left) (’76)  was named commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) last year. Payne previously served as deputy commissioner of DIDD, a department Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam described in a press release announcing Payne’s promotion as one that handles “some of the state’s most difficult work concerning our most vulnerable citizens.”


Blind since birth, John Harris (’79, ’89) served as MTSU’s first Disabled Student Services director. Harris retired last year after more than 27 years with the University, leaving a lasting impression for his efforts in administering the Americans with Disabilities Act and for being a strong advocate for students with disabilities.of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD) last year. Payne previously served as deputy commissioner of DIDD, a department Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam described in a press release announcing Payne’s promotion as one that handles “some of the state’s most difficult work concerning our most vulnerable citizens.”


After graduating from MTSU, Wayne White (’79) went to New York City and worked as an illustrator for several publications, including the New York Times and the Village Voice. In 1986, White became a designer and puppeteer for Pee-wee’s Playhouse, and earned three Emmy Awards. White eventually moved to California, where he worked in music videos, winning Billboard and MTV Music Video Awards as an art director for his work on the Smashing Pumpkins’ “Tonight, Tonight” and Peter Gabriel’s “Big Time.” More recently, White has earned acclaim for a documentary about his life and work, Beauty Is Embarrassing, and for word paintings, which use thrift-shop “sofa painting” landscapes as backdrops for detailed, deadpan words and phrases like “You’re Just Agreeing with Me So I’ll Shut Up,” and “Hoozy Thinky Iz?“ Among his current projects is a permanent sculpture on the Bonnaroo concert grounds—a 30-foot tree made of steel and wood that turns into a psychedelic light show at night.







One of the most recent investments made by venture capitalist Byron Smith (’84), a founder of Mountain Group Capital, is Aspire Health, a palliative-care physician network launched by former Senate majority leader Bill Frist, which aims to improve care and lower costs for patients with chronic illnesses. Other companies Smith has invested in include Streamweaver, a synchronized social video app chosen by Apple as a featured app in the iTunes store, and whose investors include one of the earliest-ever investors in Facebook; Panopto, which provides lecture-capture software used by 500 universities and over four million students around the world; Myomo, a company founded at MIT that is a computerized/motorized exoskeleton for use by people with paralysis of the arm; and SwingPal, a company for golfers that also provides the SwingFix service for the Golf Channel and powers much of the Golf Channel Academy app.







Life sciences journal PharmaVOICE recognized Ernst & Young LLP Principal and Advisory Life Sciences Lead Kim Ramkov (’90) as one of the “100 Most Inspiring People in the Life Sciences Industry” for 2013. As part of her selection, PharmaVOICE highlighted Ramko’s dedication to helping women in the industry advance into positions of leadership. Ramko has over 23 years of experience managing business strategy, process improvement, and large-scale information technology projects.












Christopher Parks (’91) is founder and chief development officer for Brentwood-based health care technology company change:healthcare Inc. The entrepreneur established the company in 2007 to help employers, employees, and consumers save money on their health care expenses by improving information flow and cost transparency. Parks is also the founder of checkd.in (a targeted audience engagement firm used by the likes of country music act Lady Antebellum), @carlsays.com, and other companies.





Missy Marshall (’92) was named executive director of Keep Tennessee Beautiful, the state resource center for litter prevention, community greening, and recycling and waste reduction education, which is funded by the Beverage Association, Malt Beverage Association, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Marshall previously served as director of communications and external affairs for the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Development Disabilities (DIDD).




Jeffrey Parker (’97) is an MTSU-trained physicist who spends his days making possible something that has eluded humankind for millennia—a close, comfortable shave. Parker is a senior scientist at Procter & Gamble’s South Boston Innovation Center, where he researches how razor blades work and how to make them better. “None of it, someone would say, is cutting-edge technology, not what someone would think science is working on,” Parker says. “But it’s the nature of the world. It’s surprising, the amount of technology in any product.” Parker’s work has been instrumental in advancing P&G’s Fusion ProGlide products, which use five blades—each thinner than a grain of sand—to ensure a smooth shave. Becoming one of P&G’s top shaving scientists, though, hasn’t led Parker to shave his beard.


Rachel Fontenot (’98) is director of marketing at Sony Music Nashville, which includes three country label operations—Arista Nashville, Columbia Nashville, and RCA Nashville—and Provident Music Group, one of the world’s leading Christian music companies. Fontenot started working at Sony as an intern and has been with the company for 12 years.

Aylton Tesch (’98), a professional sports agent and vice president at Los Angeles–based Relativity Sports, represented four of the 19 international players selected in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft last year. Tesch played for the Blue Raider basketball squad from 1995 to 1998 before enjoying a 10-year professional basketball career playing overseas. Tesch also won a Gold Medal at the 1999 Pan American Games as a member of the Brazilian national team.





David Chadwell (left)(’00) is vice president of event operations for the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena with responsibility for all guest experiences at the venue. Chadwell also oversees the box office, concessions, security, ushers, and the AT&T Fan Information desk. Before Bridgestone Arena, Chadwell worked with Starwood Amphitheatre and Creative Artist Agency and spent time on tour with legendary guitarist B. B. King.


Retta Gardner (right)(’00), formerly executive vice president at Murfreesboro-based Guaranty Trust, succeeded company founder and CEO Wendell Mandrell as president and CEO of the 27-year-old mortgage company last year. Gardner joined Guaranty in 1996. Named executive vice president in 2010, she has been responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations, including overseeing new projects and personnel at offices in Murfreesboro, Hendersonville, Mt. Juliet, and Knoxville.






Heather Webb (’00) taught high school French for nearly a decade before turning to full-time novel writing and freelance editing. Her debut novel, Becoming Josephine, released in December 2013 by Plume Book, an imprint of Penguin, tells the story of Rose Tascher, who sails from her Martinique plantation to Paris to trade her Creole black magic culture for love and adventure, including a relationship with the most powerful man of his century—Napoleon Bonaparte.





Sara Rainwater (’01) is development director for the TaxPayers’ Alliance, Britain’s independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes. Rainwater became involved in politics and campaigning at age 12 by helping her uncle (Tennessee state senator Bill Ketron) in his first local election campaign. Rainwater moved to London in 2002 and started a postgraduate degree in European studies at the London School of Economics while also working as a research assistant for a member of Parliament. She joined the TaxPayers’ Alliance in 2008 and today oversees the organization’s fundraising program and special projects, including organizing high-profile events with international dignitaries.




Julianna Bass (’02) captured top honors with her T-shirt design in last year’s Diet Coke Young Designer Challenge. Her design is now emblazoned on T-shirts being sold at all Target stores nationwide—a huge step in any designer’s career sure do wonders for the promotion of her own fashion line, which she launched in 2008. Celebrities including Paula Abdul and Eva Longoria have worn Bass’s fashions, and she has received professional accolades from publications including Vogue and Women’s Wear Daily, among others.






Herbert Winstead (’53), Walling, retired with the rank of full colonel from the Tennessee State Guard after 48 years of service in the Army, Navy, and State Guard. He received the prestigious Alvin C. York Award for outstanding service to his country and the state of Tennessee. Dr. Winstead has owned and operated Walling Dental Center since 1978.



Marvin Burton (’61), Rockvale, received the Lions International Letter of Appreciation from the Murfreesboro Lions Club.

Bob Haley (’68), Nashville, was inducted into the Wilson County Agricultural Hall of Fame in April 2013.

Mike Jones (’68, ’81), Auburntown, is the new principal at Cannon County High School.



Betty Anderson (’71), Nashville, is the new executive director of Stand for Children Tennessee.

Larry Williams (’71, ’76, ’95), Murfreesboro, published his second book, The Unruly Skies: One Man’s Journey inside the Federal Aviation Administration, describing his 34 years as an FAA safety inspector.

Wilmon Ashley Smith Jr. (’72), Cleveland, director of teacher education and field experiences at Lee University, was designated president-elect of the Association for Middle Level Education.

George Hughes (’73), Union, Ky., Gateway Community and Technical College president and CEO, was awarded the prestigious Founders Award by the Covington Business Council for his visionary leadership to establish an urban/metro campus in the northern Kentucky city.

Evelyn “Creighton” Anderson (’75), Harrison, has collaborated with Thornton Parsons on a political work titled Jack A$$ Politics and Culture.

Barbara Gourley Davenport (’76), Smyrna, was recently promoted to Extension Agent II, working with the 4-H Youth Development Program in Rutherford County. She was recognized as Communicator of the Year by her professional organization, TAE4-HW, awarded the NAE4-HA Southern Region Award, and presented with Outstanding Achievement certificates at the National Extension 4-H Agents Conference last fall.

David Parker (’76), Bradyville, host of the annual Parker Brother’s Labor Day Polled Hereford sale, received the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association Cow/Calf Producer of the Year award.

Thomas Vance (’76), McMinnville, retired as CEO and vice chair of First National Bank of McMinnville.

Mark Barker (’77), Readyville, received the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association Stocker Grower Producer of the Year award.

Barbara Nichols Parker (’77, ’80, ’94), Woodbury, Cannon County director of schools, was named 2013 Upper Cumberland Director of the Year.

John Pitts (’78), Corinth, Miss., sports editor at the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in Tupelo, was awarded the 2012 Better Newspaper Contest award for Best Sports Column from the Mississippi Press Association.

Sharon Payne Hamrick (’79), Signal Mountain, was appointed director of litigation support services for Decosimo Advisory Services Practice.

Sheila Johnson (’79, ’87 ’91), Joelton, retired from teaching after 30 years.



James Spurlock (’81), Murfreesboro, received the Heart of Hospice Award from Alive Hospice.

Gregory D. Smith (’85) is a Pleasant View Municipal Court Judge. He recently wrote the Tennessee Municipal Judges Benchbook, printed and published by the Tennessee Administrative Office of Courts.

Marshall Davidson III (’86), Goodlettsville, staff attorney for the Tennessee Supreme Court, was honored with the 2013 Distinguished Faculty Award from the Nashville School of Law.

Gary Smith (’87), Mt. Juliet, was promoted to assistant manager of the Hwy. 70 branch of Wilson Bank & Trust.

Kenneth Strickland (’89), Chevy Chase, Md., was named to NBC’s 2013 TheGrio List, recognizing African Americans making a difference in the lives of Americans from a variety of work fields.



Kerry Armstrong (’90), San Diego, Calif., was named Trial Lawyer of the Year by the San Diego Criminal Defense Bar Association.

Timothy Fink (’90), Kingston Springs, was appointed to the advisory board of the I’ll Fly Away Foundation.

Sherri Holmes (’90), Portland, was named 2012–13 Teacher of the Year at Portland West Middle School.

Jim Summers (’90), Patuxent River, Md., recently retired from the U.S. Air Force after 21 years of service, most recently as a civil service employee (contract specialist) with the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at the Naval Air Station.

Mark K. Green (’91), Brentwood, was promoted to chief counsel, regulatory boards with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance.

Martin Harris (’92), Chattanooga, was named director of nursing at Chattanooga State Community College.

Mary Esther Reed (’92, ’94, ’96), Smyrna, was sworn in as the new mayor of Smyrna.

Sherry King (’93, ’96, ’00), Murfreesboro, was appointed principal at Homer Pittard Campus School.

Matthew Wade (’93, ’07), Bell Buckle, was named director of farm laboratories at MTSU.

Carlton Clay (’94), Benton, Ark., is area supervisor for American Greetings in Little Rock, Ark.

Heather Gum (’94), Readyville, is a program assistant for the Rutherford County Extension Office, where she has been awarded the NAE4-HA Southern Region Award and recognized with Outstanding Achievement certificates at the National Extension 4-H Agents Conference.

Jason Loggins (’94), Mt. Juliet, was named a vice president at Wilson Bank & Trust.

Muffin Dixon (’95), Memphis, was named director of development operations for the Pi Kappa Alpha Foundation.

Becky Duncan (’95), Mt. Juliet, a full-time aviation mechanic instructor at Baker’s School of Aeronautics in Nashville, received the Association of Women in Aviation Maintenance Teacher of the Year award in March 2013.

Christopher Haley (’95), New York, N.Y., was appointed director of institutional advancement for the Professional Children’s School in New York City.

Heath Nokes (’95), McMinnville, transferred after 17 years working with youth in Moore and Cannon counties to a position as Extension Agent III in adult agriculture in Warren County.

Scott W. B. Kaiser (’96), Franklin, was recently elected to the board of the nonprofit A Vintage Affair, which raises funds benefiting needy women and children in Williamson County.

Connie Frey Spurlock (’96, ’98), Staunton, Ill., was named Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville’s first Sustainability Faculty Fellow. She was also recently promoted to associate professor.

Lisa McWherter (’97), Anderson, S.C., was named vice president for development at Southern Wesleyan University.

Melissa Riley (’97), Brentwood, coauthored Waves of Change, a book chronicling how Tennessee’s thousand-year flood changed the lives of a survivor, a rescuer, and a family grief counselor.

Robert Holman (’98), Lynchburg, was named publisher of the Moore County News in November 2012.



Jessica Willett Parrish (’02), Las Vegas, Nev., is the new pastoral assistant at St. Anthony of Padua Church.

Matt Palmer (’03), Bowie, Md., was a featured performer in the Norsk Gitarfestival in August 2013, in Hamar, Norway (Scandinavia’s most prestigious guitar series). Palmer teaches at Washington College in Chestertown, Md.

Meredith Kerr (’04, ’12), Murfreesboro, was named development director for the MTSU College of Liberal Arts.

Amanda Maynord (’04), Nashville, is a senior account supervisor for public relations firm Lovell Communications.

Teresa Whitton (’04), Ringgold, Ga., earned her CFP designation—the highest professional designation in the financial planning field—from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards.

Tyler Andal (’07), White House, won the National Old-Time Banjo Championship at Uncle Dave Macon Days in Murfreesboro.

Benjamin Barnes (’09), Opp, Ala., was promoted to head women’s golf coach at Troy University.

Amanda DeRosia (’09), Murfreesboro, was promoted to senior accountant in the tax services department of Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain PC.

Kyle Engels (’09), Mt. Juliet, was promoted to senior accountant of tax services for Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain PC.

Bryan McCoy (’09), Fargo, N.D., is transportation coordinator for the North Dakota Community Action Partnership, promoting and coordinating public transportation systems across the state.

Curtis Hall (’04, ’13), Nashville, was promoted by performing rights organization SESAC to be responsible for recruiting, training, and managing the company’s licensing representatives.

Amanda McRight Relyea (’08), Nolensville, was promoted to director of professional development of the International City/County Management Association.

Summer Harlow (’09), Nashville, was named director of West Coast promotion for Mercury Records Nashville.



Anthony L. King (’10), New Orleans, La., is dean of students and families at Sylvanie Williams College Prep Elementary School.

Michelle Ebel (’11), Murfreesboro, was promoted to senior accountant of audit services for Lattimore Black Morgan & Cain PC.

Jason Gass (’11), Portland, Maine, joined Stantec’s Scarborough office as an aviation planner.

Mara Snowman (’11), Cleveland, is a euphonium player with the U.S. Army Japan Band and has been named the U.S. Army Japan Soldier of the Year.

Abbey Espey (’12), Smyrna, was named head coach of the Smyrna High School Lady Bulldogs volleyball team.

Elliott Malone (’12), Mosheim, completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

Alexis Metko (’12) was promoted to national sales assistant for Cumulus Nashville.

Jack H. Williamson (’12), Hixson, graduated from Navy Officer Candidate School and received a commission as an ensign assigned to the Officer Training Command in Newport, R.I.

Joy Bauman (’13), Pegram, was appointed principal at Kingston Springs Elementary School.





Aubrey Margaret Adams, August 21, 2013, to Jason and Angela (’08) Adams of Smyrna

Casper William Bibeau, September 21, 2013, to Chuck (’98) and Jennifer Bibeau of Franklin

Bennett Michael Booten, January 28, 2013, to Brandon (’02) and April Richardson Booten (’04) of Murfreesboro

Fletcher Reid Brandon, June 8, 2013, to Matthew (’07) and Lauren Brandon (’07) of Murfreesboro

Jordin Mackenzie Carlton, October 17, 2012, to Jay (’01) and Anna Carlton of Murfreesboro

Darien Cartwright, (left) November 14, 2012, to Charlie and Nancy Michele Cole Cartwright (’06) of Smyrna

Martin Thomas Clarke, (right) September 24, 2013, to Charlie (’01) and Megan Clarke (’01) of Murfreesboro

Caroline Elizabeth Dianna, May 21, 2013, to Chris and Jody McHugh Dianna (’99) of Murfreesboro

Carter Jedidiah Parrish, March 14, 2013, to Gary and Jessica Willett Parrish (’02) of Las Vegas, Nev.


Lily Kate Wilburn, (right) March 22, 2013, to Joey (’08) and Tracie Wilburn (’08) of Murfreesboro

Clayton Joseph Riddle, August 28, 2013, to Brad (’99) and Katy Francisco Riddle (’99,’05) of Manchester

 Vivian Eleanor Winkler, (left) October 3, 2013, to Rhett (’03), and Macy Winkler (’11) of Murfreesboro





In Memoriam

Shanda Carney Fanning (’99) was one of two pilots who died August 14, 2013, when a United Parcel Service airplane crashed in Birmingham, Ala. Described as a country girl at heart who loved to ride horses and who had wanted to fly airplanes from a very young age, Fanning was 37 at the time of her death. She is survived by her husband, Bret Fanning, who works in distribution at Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg. In the aftermath of her death, Fanning’s best friend, fellow MTSU alum Whitney Dix, also a pilot and a dispatch manager with Southwest Airlines in Texas, is spearheading a drive to establish the Shanda Carney Fanning Aviation Memorial Scholarship at MTSU. Nearly $50,000 has been raised to endow the scholarship, which will be awarded annually to aviation students studying in MTSU’s nationally known aerospace program. The goal is to begin awarding it for the 2014–15 academic year. The long-term goal is to increase the award to the University’s Centennial Scholarship level, which requires a $100,000 endowment. Anyone interested in giving to the scholarship fund can do so online at www.mtsu.edu/fanningscholarship.


Mary Caruthers Scales (’67), whom the Daily News Journal recently described as a trailblazer for local black and female leaders, died on October 6, 2013, following an extended battle with cancer. She was 85. The first black female on the Murfreesboro City Council, Scales was also a member of the Murfreesboro City School Board. Additionally, she holds the distinction of being the first black faculty member at MTSU to be hired in an academic unit on campus, where she taught in the department of education. Scales owned Scales & Sons Funeral Home from 2000 to 2012.







Inez Jennings Harrison (’38, ’68), Lebanon, June 20, 2013

Ruby McElroy (’30), Nashville, May 19, 2013



William Davidson (’41), Shelbyville, September 12, 2013

Anna McCormick Kamack (’48), Alpharetta, Ga., June 6, 2013

Alderson Miller (’40), State College, Penn., May 14, 2013

Christine Farmer Moberly (’41), Knoxville, September 27, 2013

Mable Bowling Petty (’43), Pensacola, Fla., September 27, 2013

Carol Crouse Powell (’49), North Potomac, Md., June 10, 2013

Claudine Sproull (’47), McMinnville, April 18, 2013

Kathryn Kerby Tolle (’46), Keller, Texas, January 22, 2013

Edwin Whitlock (’48), McMinnville, March 19, 2013



Bryan Carson (’59), Shelbyville, August 30, 2013

David Cullum (’55), Nashville, May 2, 2013

Bettye Knight Gentry (’56), Goodlettsville, June 16, 2013

Jerry Gilreath (’56), Bethesda, Md., September 10, 2013

Hollis Hopkins (’59), Huntsville, Ala., July 20, 2013

Donald Jones (’59, ’66), Woodbury, August 20, 2013

Bob Keeton (’54), Las Vegas, Nev., September 9, 2013

Joe McElroy (’53), Murfreesboro, September 24, 2013

June Carter Miller (’51), Murfreesboro, January 21, 2013

Leroy Provost (’52), Holyoke, Mass., July 9, 2013

Millie Overall Rawlins (’58), Jacksonville, Fla., July 14, 2013

Clifton Ray (’54, ’55), Jacksonville, Fla., July 5, 2013

Lester Sands (’59, ’62), Mount Pleasant, July 4, 2013

Cromer Smotherman (’50), Lawrenceburg, May 3, 2013

Joe C. Tenpenny Jr. (’56), Murfreesboro, July 1, 2013

Marvin Thomas (’59), Hixson, July 29, 2013

Clyde Underwood (’51), New Port Richey, Fla., May 14, 2013

Ruth Bryant Weaver (’51), Lewisburg, July 29, 2012



James T. Brown (’62), Shelbyville, June 4, 2013

Dorothy McQuiddy Cathey (’64), Madison, June 11, 2013

Robbie Cole (’60), Gulfport, Miss., May 2, 2013

Jack Condra (’60), White, Ga., July 2, 2013

Jerry Fisher (’67, ’70), Bon Aqua, September 24, 2013

Michael Gavin (’68, ’95), Murfreesboro, January 9, 2013

Bobby Holmes (’67), Chattanooga, June 22, 2013

Robert Rader (’66), Savannah, Ga., August 8, 2013

William Richardson (’63, ’74), Murfreesboro, September 9, 2013

Mildred Martin Sargent (’65, ’67), Fort Myers Beach, Fla., April 20, 2013

Mary Caruthers Scales (’67), October 6, 2013

Dwight Smith (’61), Old Hickory, September 21, 2013

Hughie Slater (’69), Higdon, Ala., April 17, 2013

Elliott Stockard (’69), Columbia, June 1, 2013



Gary Arnold (’78), Franklin, July 1, 2013

Lillian Faulkner Baggett (’77), Dacula, Ga., June 28, 2013

Alan Chester (’75), Dickson, July 22, 2013

Lynda Combs (’75), Loogootee, Ind., August 17, 2013

Linda Ellis Day (’72), Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., September 24, 2013

Frederick Erickson (’78), Franklin, July 6, 2013

Timothy Gooden (’70), Hixson, July 15, 2013

Carey Henley (’72), Chattanooga, April 15, 2013

Marilyn Hundley (’79), Lexington, Ky., August 5, 2013

Marian Kavka (’73), Lisbon, Iowa, September 11, 2013

James Kelley (’70), Columbia, July 9, 2013

Kenneth Lavender (’72), Fitzgerald, Ga., June 23, 2013

Burley Lockridge (’71), Brentwood, June 5, 2013.

Walter Low (’75, ’76), Ann Arbor, Mich., March 3, 2013

Loyd “Tommy” Nokes Jr. (’78), Murfreesboro, June 15, 2013

Jon Scarlett (’72, ’94), Smyrna, July 2, 2013

Sam Salerno (’78), Stockbridge, Ga., September 19, 2013

Johnie Tharp Jr. (’74), Richmond, Va., March 11, 2013

Johnny Thompson Sr. (’75), Lebanon, May 25, 2013

Robert Tingle (’72), Signal Mountain, August 3, 2013

Joy Bromley Walker (’70), Chesterfield, Va., May 5, 2013

Lillian White (’79), Nashville, August 2, 2013



Walter Brown (’85), Cookeville, December 15, 2012

Joe Bryant (’81), Murfreesboro, June 12, 2013

Janice Golden (’84), Lynchburg, September 23, 2012

Betty Hare (’85), Old Hickory, June 19, 2013

Robert “Duane” Hensley (’81), Manchester, November 26, 2012

Lizabeth Jacobs (’83), Murfreesboro, September 24, 2013

John Johnson (’86), Poulsbo, Wash., June 21, 2013

Christopher Keen (’80), York, Penn., May 2, 2013

Mark Landers (’80), Winchester, September 15, 2013

Daphne Lazenby (’86), Thompson Station, August 20, 2013

Richard Linville (’87), Gainesville, Ga., September 16, 2013

Edith Powers Louisell (’86), Chattanooga, July 23, 2013

Joseph Maples (’81), Pigeon Forge, August 31, 2013

Donna McPeak (’89), Pulaski, July 2, 2013

Karen Powers (’80), McEwen, January 31, 2013

Diana Reed (’80), Brentwood, October 3, 2012

Claudia Robinson (’83), Princeton, N.J., June 30, 2013

Walter Sloan (’82), Kennesaw, Ga., March 7, 2013

Larry Trapp (’81), Seguin, Texas, May 22, 2013

Peggy Waters Vann (’87), Centerville, July 7, 2013

Sandra Barnes Walker (’82, ’86), Murfreesboro, September 22, 2013

Marshal “Owen” Warren (’83), Nashville, December 6, 2012

Lawrence Wooden (’86, ’94), Murfreesboro, October 17, 2012



Debbie Breeden (’95), Manchester, January 17, 2013

Kevin Haughney (’98), Chapel Hill, N.C., January 31, 2013

Kevin Howard (’91), White House, May 4, 2012

Betty Johnson (’92), Murfreesboro, September 21, 2013

Jennifer Messick (’98), Murfreesboro, May 26, 2013

Patsy Stuard (’93), Clarksville, April 27, 2013

Phillip Winkler (’91), Dyersburg, April 25, 2013

Jay Young (’94), Orlando, Fla., February 16, 2013



Ashley Adcock (’07), Hixson, June 15, 2013

Kyle Allen (’08), Columbia, February 17, 2013

Brice Barnes (’09), Owensboro, Ky., October 1, 2012

William Bates (’09), Tullahoma, September 7, 2013

William Boone III (’03), Westerville, Ohio, September 23, 2012

Wendi Wilson Bravo (’02), Columbia, July 10, 2013

Patti Bryant (’02), Maryville, September 23, 2012

Rhonda Burkett (’01), Murfreesboro, October 3, 2012

Whitney Fisher (’06), Hendersonville, August 23, 2013

Derek Harper (’08), Carthage, October 19, 2012

Andre Logue (’05), Lebanon, August 10, 2013

Brandi Carter Magin (’04, ’07), Mercersburg, Penn., September 18, 2012

Brooks May (’01), Lewisburg, February 7, 2013

David Moore (’05), Rockvale, Mary 25, 2013

Suzanne Moran (’04, ’10), Nashville, August 27, 2013

William Rosenbalm (’01), Los Angeles, Calif., June 11, 2013

Dawn Tittle (’03), Union City, August 27, 2013



Tanya Luffman (’11), Salisbury, Mass., April 16, 2013

Grade A Grads

Pictured (l to r): MTSU National Alumni Association vice president Paula Mansfield (‘89), 2013 Distinguished Alums Stephen B. Smith, Aaron Carlton, and Larry Cox, and President Sidney A. McPhee

Every year since 1960, MTSU’s Alumni Association has recognized accomplished alumni with the association’s highest honor—the Distinguished Alumni Award. Younger alumni who are making a positive impact in the world are eligible for the Young Alumni Achievement Award.

This year’s honorees include a nonprofit innovator, a couple of high-powered Tennessee businessmen, and a young expert in foreign service. Each is well deserving of the honor, and their personal stories don’t make for a bad read, either.


Service to the University

Stephen B. Smith (’11)

Stephen Smith has a lengthy history of involvement with MTSU. He has served on the President’s Council and the board of directors of the Blue Raider Athletic Association. A former MTSU baseball player and member of the Blue Raider Sports Hall of Fame, Smith chaired the search committee for MTSU’s athletic director and spearheaded the successful effort to raise $5 million to remodel the baseball stadium. He received the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Citation for Excellence in Philanthropy. Professionally, Smith is chair of the board of Haury & Smith Contractors, a 59-year-old middle Tennessee development and home building company.  In political circles, he achieved Super Ranger status (one of only three in Tennessee) in President George W. Bush’s 2004 presidential campaign and served as national finance chair for Senate majority leader Bill Frist’s leadership political action committee, VOLPAC.

A nontraditional student, Smith received his degree from MTSU while in his late fifties. He attended MTSU to study finance in the 1970s but left college before completing his degree. “It’s never too late to go back to school,” he told MTSUnews.com after his graduation. “What all the Smiths have been good at is keeping up with something until it’s finished.”

Service to the Community

Larry Cox (’68)

Larry Cox is the owner of Homestead Egg Co. (a wholesale food distributorship), Chicken City (a retail food outlet) and Cox Family Leasing (a rental and leasing company). But despite his professional accomplishments as a businessman and entrepreneur, he is better known as a tireless volunteer, ferocious fundraiser, and community philanthropist in the Knoxville area. Also a 20-year elected member of the Knoxville City Council, his nonprofit involvement is extensive. As an example, Cox has been involved for more than two decades with the Emerald Youth Foundation, whose mission is to encourage urban youth to become leaders who help renew their communities. The political science major is also a field representative for Congressman John Duncan, who said of Cox, “I do not believe there is a man in Knoxville who has done more to help young people than Larry Cox has.”


Young Alumni Achievement

Aaron Carlton (’05)

After serving in the U.S. Army from 2000 to 2003, during which time he was deployed to Iraq with the 4th Infantry Division, Aaron Carlton attended MTSU and graduated magna cum laude with a double major in International Relations and Spanish. He eventually joined the U.S. Department of State as a foreign service officer. While serving in Uganda, he drafted the Department of State’s annual reports on human rights, human trafficking, child labor, and religious freedom. He also assisted the Ugandan government in establishing a prevention of trafficking office and task force. Carlton was awarded the State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award for his work combating human trafficking in Uganda. Carlton moved on to serve as a reporting officer and advisor at the United Nations in New York City. He recently became a consular officer in Venezuela.



Professional Achievement

Keith Taylor (’89, ’91)

While a faculty member at MTSU, Keith Taylor began using 10 percent (or $350) of his monthly gross income from his job as an English professor to give small grants to low-income families to see them through unexpected financial crises. He transformed this hobby into a nationally acclaimed online nonprofit, ModestNeeds.org. Strangers visit the website, choose a grant recipient they would like to help, and donate online. The enterprise is supported primarily by $5, $10, and $25 gifts made by legions of unassuming philanthropists around the world. His organization, where his employees refer to him as “Dr. Keith,” has been called the “future of philanthropy” and has been covered in many press outlets such as Forbes, People, USA Today, the Today show, and the CBS Morning Show, among others.






The Middle Tennessee State University Alumni Association annually seeks and accepts nominations for the Distinguished Alumni Awards.

These awards honor those with sustained records of achievement who have made outstanding contributions to society and who exemplify the ideals for which MTSU stands in extraordinary ways.

This year, in addition to the Distinguished Alumni awards, the MTSU Alumni Association is proud to introduce the True Blue Citations of Distinction:

Young Alumni Achievement

Achievement in Education—MTSU Faculty

Achievement in Education—Non-MTSU Faculty

Service to Community

The David Cullum Award for Service to the University

We encourage you to recognize the achievements of an alum by nominating someone for an award.

Award criteria and nomination forms may be found at www.mtalumni.com/awards.

Nominations for all awards are due March 29, 2014.


In Memoriam and Baby Raiders

In Memoriam



James Buchanan (’40), Blacksburg, Va., January 9, 2013

Eva Wilburn Fielder (’42), Waynesboro, November 29, 2012

Dalton Stroop (’42), Murfreesboro, October 1, 2012

Sandell Dalton McCrary (’45), Murfreesboro, November 2, 2012

William Shacklett (’45), Murfreesboro, October 19, 2012

Briley Adcock (’46), Florence, Ala., November 28, 2012

Joe McCrary (’46), Murfreesboro, January 11, 2013

Kathryn Kerby Tolle (’46), Keller, Texas, January 22, 2013

Beatrice Pittard White (’48), Sandy, Utah, January 22, 2013

Norman Weems (’49), Glen Cove, New York, September 8, 2012

Arsey Womack (’49), McMinnville, June 23, 2012


James Dillingham (’50), Shelbyville, October 10, 2012

Martha Powell Haun (’50), Trinidad, Colo., November 6, 2012

Solan Wheeler (’50, ’52), Signal Mountain, October 2, 2012

Delmas Grammer (’51), Madison, January 8, 2013

Horace Reed (’52), Bradyville, September 5, 2012

John Adkerson (’54), Smyrna, November 12, 2012

Ervin Manning (’54), La Vergne, October 17, 2012

Thomas Cheney (’56, ’58), Hermitage, February 23, 2013

Joe Hardy (’56), Winchester, November 13, 2012

Allan Welch (’56), Old Hickory, January 13, 2013

J. T. West (’56), Bethpage, September 30, 2012

Robert David (’57), Chattanooga, April 12, 2013

Ramon Nelms (’57), Nashville, September 25, 2012

Donald Clark (’58), Huntsville, Ala., June 4, 2012

Former MTSU athlete and head coacKen Trickey (’56, ’62) died last December at age 79. Trickey played basketball and baseball at MTSU from 1952 to 1955 and was MTSU’s head basketball coach from 1965 to 1969.


George Duncan (’58, ’70), Nashville, January 26, 2013

Marjorie Fyke (’59, ’62), Springfield, March 20, 2013

Joe Hollis (’59), Murfreesboro, March 31, 2013


Robert Clark (’60), Campbellsville, Ky., April 5, 2013

George Lanning (’60), Lawrenceburg, January 17, 2012

Reba Hill Newby (’60, ’63), McMinnville, July 13, 2012

William Youree (’60), Readyville, February 3, 2013

Marjorie Doubleday (’61), Hermitage, September 7, 2012

Oma Griffith (’62), Whitwell, December 7, 2011

R. Shelton Hatcher (’62), Hendersonville, October 10, 2012

Charlene Bentley Key (’62, ’67, ’92), Lebanon, February 1, 2013

Richard Brodhead (’62), Lebanon, July 26, 2012

James Preston (’62), Memphis, August 7, 2012

Geddes Noble Boone (’63), Dearborn, Mich., October 5, 2012

Edward Kelly (’63), New Fairfield, Conn., November 17, 2012

Jacqueline McClain Sherrill (’64, ’89, ’94), Mt. Pleasant, November 5, 2012

Richard Short (’64, ’78), Fayetteville, December 3, 2012

Albert Jones (’66), Franklin, April 4, 2013

David Stacey Jr. (’66), Lewisburg, October 28, 2012

Mary Chamberlain Allen (’67), Nashville, October 29, 2012

Kathleen Bryson (’67, ’75), Murfreesboro, October 18, 2012

Robert Hlodan (’67, ’69), Gardena, Calif., October 9, 2012

Talmadge Overton (’67), Lafayette, February 15, 2013

Betty Campbell Smith (’67), Murfreesboro, January 21, 2013

Joseph Grandstaff (’69), Old Hickory, November 16, 2012

James Hooker (’69), Shelbyville, December 27, 2012

Burl Kell (’69), Ringgold, Ga., November 19, 2012

John Stanford (’62, ’64), a Blue Raider baseball player from 1960 to 1963, died on July 1, 2013, at the age of 77.Stanford, whopitched two seasons in the major leagues for the Washington Senators, served as baseball manager forMTSU from 1974 to 1987 and as athletic director of MTSUfrom 1987 until 1994.




Russell Jarrell (’70), Hixson, November 2, 2012

Robert Lavender (’70), Memphis, March 31, 2013

Ben Perkins (’70), Bowdon, Ga.,October 24, 2012

Curtis Grubbs (’71), Fort Worth, Texas, November 30, 2012

Linda O’Rear (’71), Columbia, September 29, 2012

Kenneth Williams (’71, ’72), Lawrenceburg, June 29, 2012

Dorris Dennis Jr. (’72), College Park, Md., December 12, 2012

Jarrett Greene (’72, ’73), Sewanee, October 27, 2012

Leonard Harris (’72), Lebanon, September 23, 2012

Ronald Potts (’72), Tullahoma, July 9, 2012

Ivan E. Shewmake (’72, ’74), died in March 2013 at age 70. A U.S. Army vet who served in Vietnam, Shewmake was MTSU’s associate dean of students for men, assistant director of University Housing, student ombudsman, and director of University Housing. He retired from MTSU in 1997.

Frances Bass Cox (’73), McMinnville, January 29, 2013

James Mullinix (’73), Livingston, April 4, 2013

Earline Thigpin (’73), Murfreesboro, January 17, 2013

Grace Clore Camp (’74, ’79), Tullahoma, February 28, 2013

Sandra Rubens Gardner (’74), Rockwood, October 25, 2012

Allie Malone (’74), Watertown, December 9, 2012

Homer Huffman Jr. (’75), Murfreesboro, February 6, 2013

Gary Miller (’75), Chattanooga, October 2, 2012

Barbara Shahrokhi Crowell (’76), Jackson, October 22, 2012

Nick Dudiak (’76), Murfreesboro, January 23, 2013

Willetta McClain (’76), Nashville, November 3, 2012

James Pope (’76), Murfreesboro, December 11, 2012

Martin Rooker (’76), Murfreesboro, April 14, 2012

Randall Vanatta (’76), Lebanon, March 30, 2013

Robert Duncan (’77), Gallatin, April 30, 2012

Donna Edwards (’77), Belfast, August 8, 2012

Willard Wallace Jr. (’77), Goodlettsville, October 3, 2012

Teresa Gearlds Burnside (’78), Cincinnati, Ohio, January 23, 2013

Richard Collins (’78), Tupelo, Miss., November 4, 2012

Martha E. Fries (’78), Ooltewah, February 14, 2013

John Taylor (’78), McMinnville, July 6, 2012

Greg Bettis (’79, ’91), Tullahoma, February 3, 2013

Sheikh Faye (’79), Bakau, Gambia, February 11, 2013

Phillip Johnson (’79), Lewisburg, February 6, 2013

Claudetta Walls Rudolph (’79), Goodlettsville, February 6, 2013

Thomas Ware (’79), Goodlettsville, November 14, 2012

Baby Raiders

Jaxton Edward Graham, January 15, 2013, to Jade Edward (’94) and Anjie Graham of Gladeville.

Emma Nicole Tolson, October 16, 2011, to John Tolson (’96) and Amanda Rhodes of Chesapeake, Va.

Lucas E. Nokes, November 2, 2011, to Nicholas (’98) and Susan Spingler Nokes (’98) of Liberty.


Parker Ray Boutté, June 22, 2012, to Scott and Rae Clarke Boutté (’03), of Ringgold, Ga.



William Owen Dean, February 8, 2013, to William and Colleen McEachen Dean (’04), of Hendersonville.


Avery Grace Smith, June 4, 2012, to Josh (’06) and Katie Peek Smith (’05) of Tullahoma. Keely Rayann Thomas, October 12, 2011, to Keosha Thomas (’06) of Antioch.


Macon Chandler Reed, March 19, 2013, to Tyler (’10) and Alisha King Reed (’10) of Readyville.



Laken Christopher Wade, November 16, 2012, to Chris (’10) and Holly Wade of Tullahoma.




Connor Ryan Speck, July 19, 2012, to Ryan (’11) and Jenna Speck of Fayetteville.