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.

Class Notes

Beyond Blue – MTSU recognizes successful alumni

Charlie Hughes (’71), executive director of the Chattanooga Community Kitchen and a former football coach, has been described by Chattanooga’s Times Free Press as “Knute Rockne for Team Homeless,” who inspires those he serves to get “back onto life’s gridiron—even when they’ve given up hope of completing their much needed, miraculous Hail Mary.” Hughes began working for the kitchen in 1989 as a case manager and became director in 2000.


In 2011, O’Dwyer’s  ranked Nashville based health care public affairs firm Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock the 14th-fastest-growing independent public affairs firm in the nation and the fastest-growing in Tennessee for the second year running. President and CEO David Jarrard (’85)  has led communications campaigns for hospitals and health care companies throughout the country over the last 16 years. Before starting his own firm, Jarrard was president of the Ingram Group, vice president of communications for Whittle Communications Inc., and a partner at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations. He began his career as a reporter for The Tennessean.


Keel Hunt (’71) has written a new book, Coup (Vanderbilt University Press), a behind-the-scenes story of the downfall of former Tennessee governor Ray Blanton. A former city editor at The Tennessean, Hunt was a key member of then-gubernatorial candidate Lamar Alexander’s campaign staff and later was Alexander’s special assistant. Hunt, who has a master’s from Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and also attended the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, later became a strategy consultant for businesses including HCA and Pilot Oil Corp. He later served as staff director of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, leading the planning for the Partnership 2000 economic development initiative. In 1993, Hunt established his own public affairs consulting business (The Strategy Group) and has since worked for institutions including Ingram Industries, the Frist Foundation, and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.


Gale Prince (’57), Murfreesboro, was inducted into the Tennessee Lions Club Hall of Fame.


The Nashville Pro Bono Program, a joint venture of the Legal Aid Society and Nashville Bar Association, honored Perry Happell (’65) with the Volunteer of the Year Award for 2012, a year in which Happell represented 19 clients referred to him by the Nashville Pro Bono Program. A founding partner in the Nashville law firm of Blackburn, McCune, Happell & Zenner, he practices law in the areas of bankruptcy and Social Security disability.

Anthony Dudley (’11) is one of the latest success stories to emerge from MTSU’s graduate sports management program, directed by Dr. Colby Jubenville. Dudley earned a degree from Florida State University, but two years after graduation, he felt he was at a standstill in his professional career and enrolled at MTSU. In 2011, upon graduation with a master’s, Dudley was hired by the Nashville Sports Council as marketing and development manager of the council and the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.

Catrice James (’11), Nashville, has joined the Brentwood office of Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain.

Phonethida “Tiffany” Sirikoun (’11), Smyrna, was promoted to operations project manager for the concrete manufacturer and aggregate supplier Chaney Enterprises.

November “Nova” Ford (’12), Nashville, is co-owner of Creative Capers, a copyediting/proofreading service. Ford also cowrote the award-winning short story One Afternoon in the House of Numb, which originally appeared in Collage and is included in the recently published Attachment: Four Stories of Love and Loss (Spearhead Press). She designed the cover for that book and also for Ice on the Wing: Essays on Life and Other Difficult Situations.

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



Hershel “Pat” Wall (’57)  Chancellor Emeritus at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) College of Medicine in Memphis. Wall has been special assistant to the UTHSC chancellor and special assistant to the university’s president, focusing on fundraising, capital development, and alumni relations. A longtime UTHSC faculty member and administrator, Wall has also served as UTHSC chancellor, interim dean for the UT College of Medicine, associate dean for admissions and student affairs, and division chief of General Pediatrics. An endowed student scholarship fund has recently been created at the school in his honor.


Ronald Roberts (’84, ’91) has been promoted to president and CEO of DVL Public Relations & Advertising, one of the largest and best-known public relations and advertising agencies in the Southeast. Roberts joined DVL in 1992 following stints at the Nashville Network and MTSU. He is on the boards of Citizens Bank & Trust, the Nashville Sports Council, Second Harvest Food Bank, Nashville Downtown Rotary Club, Nashville Downtown Partnership, and 100 Black Men of Middle Tennessee.


A former producer at NewsChannel 5 who spent 14 years in the news business, Jamie Berry (’98)  found her dream job last year as the new public relations and communications manager for Goodwill Industries of Middle Tennessee.


Rodney Bennett Rodney Bennett (’90, ’92, ’93) has become the 10th president of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. The appointment makes Bennett the first African American to lead the university or any of the state’s historically white institutions of higher learning. Bennett most recently served as vice president of student affairs at the University of Georgia.






Steve Graham (’92) was an all-conference athlete on the MTSU golf team.

From 1994 into 1997, Graham played professional golf on several of the smaller U.S. tours. These days, he’s general manager and director of golf (and one of the owners, including Champions Tour player Kirk Triplett) of Champions Run golf course in Rockvale, Tenn., which has a state-of-the-art practice and training center that MTSU golfers use to keep their skills sharp during the winter months.


Jennifer Stone Shaw (’01), a textiles, merchandising, and design major is an assistant draper in the costume shop of the Los Angeles Opera, working with general director Placido Domingo. The company hires top-notch designers from around the world, and Shaw’s job is to help turn their designs into garments in which artists can perform. Shaw is shown here in one of the dresses she helped create.


A. J. Busé (’85, ’97) has been named to the slate of officers for the American Advertising Federation Council of Governors, a national-level leadership position with the AAF. Busé previously served as governor of the AAF’s District 7, comprising 23 local advertising clubs across the South. He started his own advertising and public relations business, Brand New Day, in 1997.



Meagan Flippin (’07, ’09) was promoted from senior director to president and CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties following a nationwide search. Past president of Murfreesboro Young Professionals and past chair of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce’s Diplomat Program, Flippin is also active with the Junior League of Murfreesboro and the Blue Raider Athletic Association. She earned her bachelor’s with a concentration in advertising and public relations and her master’s in professional studies in strategic leadership from MTSU. Before joining United Way in 2009, she worked for the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville and for MTSU.


Nashville singer-songwriter Jessica Campbell (’03, ’05 ) released her second album, The Anchor & The Sail , in April. Fellow MTSU alum Dave Barnes (Grammy-nominated for “God Gave Me You”) contributed vocals to the album. Last year, Campbell signed a worldwide copublishing agreement with Franklin-based MWS Group, owned by artist Michael W. Smith.




You might say Skye Medley (’06, ’09)  travels with a fast crowd. Medley is a production manager assistant for ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team who travels from race to race doing logistical planning, coordinating interview times with other networks, and seeing that producers and announcers have what they need for the broadcasts. A Mass Communications major who concentrated in electronic media journalism, Medley has also worked the Liberty Bowl, the Music City Bowl, the Winter X Games, and NFL Monday Night Football.


Jason Brooks (’06) was recently hired as defensive secondary coach for the Florida International University Panthers after spending the previous four seasons with the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens, most recently as offensive quality control assistant.





Evyn Mustoe (’07) is creative manager at ASCAP Nashville. The nonprofit American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers is one of three performance rights organizations that work to protect the songwriter copyrights of its members by monitoring public performances of music (broadcast or live) and compensating them accordingly. Mustoe’s focus at ASCAP is on the growing pop/rock scene in Nashville and the Southeast.



Two former Blue Raider football players are coaches for the University of North Carolina football team. Walt Bell (’05, ’06)  is tight ends coach, and his brother, Luke Paschall (’06, ’07), is assistant coach for special teams. MTSU plays at UNC on Sept. 7, 2013.




Among the latest major guitar competitions won by Romanian guitarist Silviu Ciulei (’08)  was the open division of the third annual Indiana International Guitar Festival and Competition, held by the prestigious Indiana University Jacobs School of Music in 2012. Ciulei, who studied guitar at MTSU with William Yelverton, has since graduated with a master’s in guitar performance from Florida State University, where he is now teaching and working on a doctoral degree.



Chet Overall (’09) leads the Lagniappe Brass Band, based in New Orleans, which was chosen to be on the king float in the 2012 Endymion Mardi Gras parade, ferrying music superstar Kelly Clarkson (pictured here with Chet playing saxophone).







Pettus Read (’70), Rockvale, received the Outstanding Commitment to Tennessee Agriculture Award by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee  He was also recognized with a joint House resolution for his many years of covering and promoting rural life in Tennessee.

Gary (’72) and Terry Moore Davenport (’72), Sacramento, Calif., are now with Beijing Church of Christ in Beijing, China.

Kenneth Honeycutt (’76), Murfreesboro, is retiring after 34 years with the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department.

Elizabeth Farrar Hord (’76, ’82), Murfreesboro, was the honoree at the MTMC Foundation Power of Pink’s inaugural Wine Around the Square event on Sept. 21, 2012.

Wayne Shanks (’76), Cookeville, is retiring after 36 years of teaching administration to spend more time with his other passion: his family.

Russell Neal Sr., (’77), Mt. Juliet, was promoted to assurance senior manager for the Nashville firm of Decosimo Certified Public Accountants in October 2012.

Guy Wilson (’77), Greenville, N.C., is chief financial officer for Shalag US, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shalag Industries, a publicly traded Israeli corporation.

Edward Arning (’78), Murfreesboro, is the new director of Printing Services at MTSU. He will be responsible for expanding Printing Services’ offerings, which will include a new retail site in the Student Union Building.

Denice Rucker (’78), Murfreesboro, retired from State Farm after 27 years.

Penny Baker (’79), Clinton, retired from the Anderson County Sheriff’s Department after 32 years.

Kimberly Shadwick Savona (’79) is general manager of the Mall at Green Hills, Nashville’s premier upscale retail destination. Savona has spent the past 24 years with Michigan-based Taubman Centers, which owns and/or operates 27 premium shopping centers nationwide.


Don Embry (’80, ’88), Shelbyville, was named superintendent of schools for the Bedford County School District.

Kina (Steed) Mallard (’81) was promoted from vice president of academic affairs to executive vice president at Carson-Newman University in Jefferson City, where she also serves as provost.

Rob Mitchell (’82), Murfreesboro, was elected property assessor of Rutherford County in August 2012.

Phil Williams (’85), Nashville, an investigative reporter for WTVF-TV, was among 20 recent initiates inducted into Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society.

Tonya Cherry (’87), senior manager in the Nashville office of accounting firm Rodefer Moss, is a Court Appointed Special Advocate in Wilson County. Volunteer advocates are assigned to juvenile abuse cases and work to expedite them through the judicial system while providing continuity and support for children. So far, Cherry has helped seven children from five families.

Molly Glover (’88), Memphis, joined the law firm of Burch, Porter & Johnson in Memphis. She was recently listed by the Tennessee Supreme Court as a Rule 31 mediator and was selected by her peers as a Mid-South Super Lawyer in 2012.

Raymond Pryor (’88), Wartrace, was recognized by the Webb School Parents Association with the 2012 WSPA Faculty Enrichment Award. He is director of technology and a computer teacher at the Webb School.


Jonathan Cooke (’90), Brentwood, is a certified public accountant and a partner in tax services with Lattimore, Black Morgan & Cain.

Shalynn G. Ford Womack (’90), Nashville, had two books published recently—Ice on the Wing: Essays on Life and Other Difficult Situations (nonfiction) and Attachment: Four Stories of Love and Loss (fiction).

Brian Byrd (’91, ’96), Murfreesboro, is the new chief financial officer for Roscoe Brown Inc., a 73-year-old HVAC company with operations throughout middle Tennessee.

Christopher Whaley (’91), Harriman, is president of Roane State Community College.

Lynn Baxter (’92), Ooltewah, was named 2012 Elementary School Teacher of the Year by the Tennessee Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

Melanie Hamilton Baldwin (’93), Memphis, was part of a collectively written book (along with a group of 22 other parents) called The Thinking Mom’s Revolution— Autism Beyond the Spectrum: Inspiring True Stories from Parents Fighting to Rescue Their Children.

Paul Burris (’93), Franklin, is a certified public accountant and a partner in LBMC Outsourcing Services Division/Tax Services.

Mary Rickman Dayton (’93, ’06), Smyrna, has been named head coach of the volleyball team at Stewarts Creek High School. She will also teach physical education.

Kelly Rollins (’93), Murfreesboro, was awarded the National Medallion of Honor by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America for his support and devoted service.

Tim Henderson (’95) is the new executive director for Humanities Tennessee, the state-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities that operates the Southern Festival of Books. Henderson, who earned master’s degrees in English and information science from MTSU, previously served as director of operations.

Gregory Milnar (’95), Franklin, has been promoted to chief financial officer at Milnar Organ Company. Greg is an affiliate broker with Forest Hills Realtors in Nashville.

Virginia K. “Ginger” Johnson (’96), Nashville, was named a partner with Seigenthaler Public Relations Inc., an award-winning communications firm with offices in Nashville, New York, and Chicago.

Donovan Sargent (’96), College Grove, has joined LBMC Technologies as a network system engineer in its Brentwood office.

Bobby Bosko Grubic (’99), Marina del Rey, Calif., produced and directed a short film, Change to Spare, written by Michael Dorazio. The film was selected from among 300 entries as one of the 10 best at the 2nd Annual Debra Hill/2012 Producers Guild of America Weekend Shorts Awards held in association with New Filmmakers in Los Angeles.


Barret Albritton (’00), Signal Mountain, attorney for Leitner, Williams, Dooley and Napolitan was named Young Attorney of the Year by the Chattanooga Bar Association.

Angie Teaque Grissom (’00), Franklin, has been promoted to president of the Rainmaker Companies. She will oversee the firm’s alliances, consulting, and training services.

Helen Blankenship (’01, ’04), Murfreesboro, was elected to the Rutherford County School Board.

Torian Hodges-Finch (’01), Antioch, a sixth-grade teacher at Smyrna Middle School, is president of the Rutherford Education Association.

Delvecchio Rankins (’03), Hartsville, has joined First Freedom Bank as a customer service representative in the Lebanon office.

Stewart Aaron Carlton (’05), Eagleville, worked as a political/economic officer at the U.S. embassy in Kampala, Uganda, from August 2010 until August 2012 and as a reporting officer and advisor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York City until December 2012. He is now training at the George P. Schultz Foreign Affairs Institute in Arlington, Va., preparing for his next assignment as a consular officer in Caracas, Venezuela.

Keosha Thomas (’06), Antioch, is a celebrity/entertainer journalist for the online publication Examiner.com. She is a publicist for Grammy Award–winning Torrance Esmond (’03).

Mark Bell (’08), Talbott, a professional journalist, won his second Malcolm Law Investigative Reporting Award from the Associated Press.

Matthew Swafford (’08, ’10), Nashville, was promoted to audit senior in the audit practice at Deloitte & Touche.

Kevin Kanaskie (’09), Boalsburg, Penn., is the new head coach of boys basketball at Ottumwa High School in Ottumwa, Ill.

Kyle Mahoney (’10), Clarksville, graduated from the Joint Specialized Undergraduate Pilot Training Program, Vance AFB, on June 29, 2012. He is continuing on to pilot B-52s at Barksdale AFB in Barksdale, La.

Michael Bolton (’11), Smyrna, is now a tax department staff member in the Brentwood office of Lattimore, Black, Morgan & Cain.