The Stone Pride

The Honors College is home to some nonliving embodiments of its nobler aspirations

By Drew Ruble

 

MTSU has a beautiful campus. There are many beautiful buildings (both new and old) and several important landmarks that include the enduring columns of Kirksey Old Main, the obelisk at the Main Street entrance, the horseshoe in Walnut Grove, the columns in the roundabout from the Old Capitol Building, and the new veterans memorial near the University’s four original buildings.

 

Enter the lions.

 

Those who know John Vile, dean of the Honors College, know that, next to writing, he loves to collect. Vile and his wife spend many Saturday mornings going to estate sales and flea markets, and the dean has a special fancy for old books, political collectibles, and art.

 

The hobbyist/collector just happened to spend two summers studying at Princeton University, where he was especially impressed by the statues of tigers spread throughout the campus.

 

“It was almost as though they were breeding,” Vile says. “One could practically direct a visitor through the campus by directing them from one such statue to another.”

 

Imagine Vile’s delight, then, when he was at a favorite consignment shop in Nashville a few years ago and saw two gray granite lions.

 

Though he says he was tempted to carry them to his own front porch, both had been brought from China, with which MTSU has many connections, and both were stately symbols that in Vile’s mind seemed to epitomize the strength of mind, will, and character that the Honors College seeks to imbue. Vile placed the lions outside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, facing visitors approaching from the College of Mass Communication or the College of Education to the west.

 

“I thought perhaps they would also inspire courage,” Vile says. “After all, the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz is so memorable because it so contradicts the stereotype.”

 

To be precise, the lions are actually Fu dogs. In feng shui, the Chinese art of placement, a Fu Dog is a door guardian. The lion-like statues usually appear in pairs (a male and a female) and have muscular bodies, fearsome faces, and curly hair. Fu dogs are sometimes referred to as lion dogs, temple lions, or Chinese guardian lions.

 

Fu dogs guard and bring energy blessings to the places they “protect.” They are traditionally displayed in front of a door or a hallway near a door to prevent bad spirits and harmful energy from entering a home or business.

 

Vile says he only purchased the lions because of the University’s China connection and because he liked them—not because he is a follower of feng shui (or was even fully aware of the connection at the time). “I think they add a bit of personality to the entrances,” Vile says. “The Chinese consider them to bring good luck. And if they do so, then that’s just an added bonus!”

 

The deal was done after some negotiation. Luckily for Vile’s pocketbook, the owner had an MTSU connection and was proud to have the statues ending up on campus. Vile soon discov­ered that each lion seemed to weigh about a ton! He recruited one of his strongest students, who helped lift them into the dean’s Honda Odyssey and eventually onto the back steps of the Honors Building, where they now regally reside.

 

Smitten with his first pair of guardians, the search was on for Vile.

 

He found four other lions later at the same Nashville shop. They are now found on the other side of the Honors Building, facing the Rec Center and the new student services building. They are white rather than gray, smaller, look more distinctly Chinese than the first two, and are perhaps more whimsical than imposing. Two have marbles in their mouths.

 

Lions are often associated with strength, but Vile says he thinks the six now perched outside the Honors Building also look just a bit wise.

 

“The statues help remind me that the Honors College values not only the retention of facts but also strength of character and wisdom,” Vile says. “That, at least, is what I think of when I look at them. It seems fitting that statutes from one of the world’s most ancient civilizations, which values wisdom, have found a home at the Honors College.”

 

In many ways, the lions dotting the perimeter of the building also provide a new, signature, artistic marker for the campus.

 

Hear them roar.

 

 

 

Check out the Honors College in the video below:

MTSU’s “first-gen” deans

Roughly 30 percent of entering first year students in the United States are first-generation college students,

meaning that they are the first members of their families to enroll in any educational institution after high

school.

 

To be the first in a family to receive a college degree is a big accomplishment and a deserved point of

pride. MTSU has long been a top choice of such “first-gens” who enroll in college in a deliberate attempt to

improve their social,economic, and occupational standing.

 

It is perhaps appropriate, then, that at MTSU, six of the nine academic deans leading the various colleges

and academic units that comprise MTSU are themselves first-generation college students. Pictured here are

the six MTSU deans and below they are listed with the colleges they helm and the institutions from which

they received their bachelor’s degrees.

(left to right) David Urban (Business) University of Virginia, B.S., commerce, 1977,  Ken Paulson (Mass Communication) University of Missouri, B.J., journalism, 1975, Bonnie Allen (Walker Library) Indiana University–Bloomington, B.A., fine arts (art history), 1972, Lana Seivers (Education) MTSU, B.S., speech and hearing therapy, 1972, Bud Fischer (Basic and Applied Sciences) Herkimer County Community College, A.S., liberal arts: science, 1980 SUNY College, B.S., forest biology, 1982, Terry Whiteside (Behavioral and Health Sciences) University of Miami, B.A., psychology, 1967

True Blue!

Raiders of Industry

A Roundup of Former MTSU Athletes Plying their Wares in the Big Leagues

by Drew Ruble

MT athletics boasts an impressive roster of former student-athletes now playing professionally. Here is the cream of the crop—the most recognizable former Blue Raiders now making a living as professional athletes.

Michael McKenry Pittsburgh Pirates Major League Baseball fans will remember the night of July 26, 2011, when a game between the Atlanta Braves and the Pittsburgh Pirates lasted 19 innings (6 hours and 39 minutes) and ended at 1:50 a.m. ET with what some sportswriters described as the worst officiating call ever in baseball. How does this apply to MTSU? When Braves runner Julio Lugo scored from third base on the contested play at the plate that ended the game with a Braves victory, replays clearly showed that former MTSU baseball standout Michael McKenry—the Pirate catcher— made the tag for the out. The home plate umpire saw it differently. The loss sent the Pirates, who were in the thick of a playoff hunt for the first time in decades, into a spiral. After that loss, the Pirates lost 21 of their next 29 games and fell out of contention in the National League Central. McKenry started the 2013 season in a catching rotation with former Dodger and Yankee Russell Martin. Other former Blue Raider pro baseball players playing in the minor league system include Hunter Adkins, Bryce Brentz, Brett Carroll, Alex McClure, Justin Miller, Daniel Palo, Kenneth Roberts, Will Skinner, and Coty Woods.

 


Alysha Clark (’09) Seattle Storm A. S. Ramat Hasharon Electra Clark, who led the NCAA in scoring and set a school record with 27.5 points per game while a senior at MTSU, got her pro career back on track last year with the Seattle Storm in the WNBA. (Clark has also played in Israel.) Clark was recently named an assistant coach for the Lady Raiders. She will remain with Seattle until their season is complete this fall.


 

 

 

Golf

Chas Narramore, Rick Cochran (’09), Kent Bulle (’11) (Right), Jason Millard (’11), and Hunter Green could soon crack a PGA tour event. A recent list of 10 “golfers to watch” on the 2013 National Golf Association tour (widely regarded as the numberthree men’s professional golf tour in the U.S.) spotlighted Narramore, Cochran, Bulle, and Millard in particular as players who could move up to the Web.com tour or even the PGA Tour “sooner than later.” Narramore finished top-5 in NGA earnings in 2012 with four top-10 finishes. Cochran had six top-10s.

 

 


Basketball

Tom Gunn Kis-Raba menti Takarek Soproni KC (Hungary) Gunn has been playing pro basketball in Europe since 2004.

Chrissy Givens (’06) BC ICIM Arad Givens lit up the Romanian National League earlier this year, leading in scoring at over 19 points per game and taking ICIM Arad to first place in her first season with the team.

Amber Holt (’11) Tulsa Shock Uniwa Euroleasing Sopron Last season, her fifth in the WNBA, Holt started 18 games for the Tulsa Shock. (She has also played in Hungary.)

Laron Dendy (’12) Kolossos Rodou B.C. Dendy plays in the Greek Basketball League, averaging nearly 15 points and six rebounds per game. Currently, Dendy is a member of the world champion Miami Heat’s summer league squad.

James Washington (’11) Nassjo, Sweden Washington averaged 20 points per game for Leitershofen, Germany, last season.

Tim Blue (’07) Antibes, France Blue was recently named finals MVP in the French league.

 
Fishing

Kendall Newson MTSU’s all-time leading receiver (1998–2001), who played receiver professionally for the Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins, is today a member of the American Bass Anglers Bassmaster Weekend Series circuit.

 
Soccer

Lisa-Marie Woods Boston Breakers Fortuna Hjørring A pro player in Denmark and a member of the Norwegian Women’s National Team system since 2003, Woods recently signed a contract with the Boston Breakers of the newly christened National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).

Katie Daley Sherwood Chelsea Ladies Football Club Sherwood is in her second season playing in England in the Football Association’s Women’s Super League (FAWSL).

Shan Jones (’12) Jones was selected to the Wales Women’s National Team for the 2013 Algarve Cup, a prestigious global competition between 12 national teams held in Algarve, Portugal.

Football

Eric Walden (’07) Indianapolis Colts Though he had just three sacks last season, Walden ranked second among Green Bay Packers defenders in quarterback hits with 24. During the off-season, the Indianapolis Colts signed Walden to a four-year, $16 million free-agent contract.

Phillip Tanner (’10) Dallas Cowboys Tanner will enter the 2013 NFL season as one of the backups to starter DeMarco Murray in the backfield for the Cowboys.

Degrees of Recognition

The granting of an honorary degree, a tradition of universities dating back to the Middle Ages, is higher education’s most significant accolade. Such degrees honor 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 11, 2013, during the University’s commencement ceremonies, MTSU granted the first two honorary degrees in its 102-year history. Receiving them were two MTSU graduates: former U.S. congressman Bart Gordon and (posthumously) Nobel Prize winner James Buchanan.

Serving the People 

Bart Gordon is a third-generation Blue Raider. At MTSU, he was elected president of the Associated Student Body. He graduated with honors in 1971 and served in the Army Reserves from 1971 to 1972. He graduated from the College of Law at UT–Knoxville in 1973. From 1974 to 1983, he practiced law in Murfreesboro and worked for the Tennessee Democratic Party. In 1984, Gordon was elected to Congress as representative of Tennessee’s sixth district.

Bart Gordon and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee

During his 26-year congressional career, he developed a reputation as the undisputed bipartisan leader in innovation policy. As chair of the House Science and Technology Committee, Gordon helped pass 151 bills and resolutions, all bipartisan.

He led the effort to enact the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which increased mileage standards, improved vehicle technology, promoted alternative energy research, and improved energy efficiency in a variety of ways. He was a leading proponent of America’s space program and championed the America COMPETES Act promoting federal investments in innovation to make the U.S. more competitive.

He counts the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act, the 911 Improvement Act, and the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (aimed at curbing youth suicide) among his legislative achievements. Gordon cowrote the Family Medical Leave Act in 1990, which was signed into law in 1993 by President Bill Clinton. Gordon also wrote the Sports Agent Responsibility and Trust Act, which protects amateur athletes from abusive contract practices, and helped pass laws regulating 1-800 and 1-900 numbers for the first time.

Gordon has been a champion of expansion and improvement at Stones River National Battlefield, and he wrote legislation creating the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area. He also helped make possible the Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, Murfreesboro’s greenways and improvements to Oaklands Historic House Museum.

For 20 years running, Gordon was known as “the fastest member of Congress” by virtue of his victories in the Capital Challenge, an annual three-mile race for charity.

When he retired from Congress in 2011, Gordon joined the law firm of K&L Gates as a partner. In 2012, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Later that year, the government of France awarded him the Legion of Honor with an added promotion by the president to the rank of Officier.


Paying it Forward

Dr. James M. Buchanan, grandson of a Tennessee governor, was a 1940 graduate of Middle Tennessee State Teachers College. A Rutherford County native, Buchanan received the 1986 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.

Buchanan, who died earlier this year at age 93, is the only MTSU alumnus so far to win the honor. A stridently independent thinker, Buchanan earned the Nobel for “his development of the contractual and constitutional bases for the theory of economic and political decision making.” Within the economics discipline, his contribution is known as the field of public choice, which brings the tools of economic analysis to the study of public decision making. Buchanan once wrote, “If Jim Buchanan can get a Nobel Prize, anyone can.”

Buchanan also completed a graduate fellowship at UT–Knoxville and an economics fellowship at Columbia University. Following naval service in the Pacific, he earned his doctorate from the University of

James Buchanan

Chicago. Dr. Buchanan wrote and lectured around the world into his 90s. He spent much of his academic career in Virginia, first at the University of Virginia, then at Virginia Tech, where he established the Center for the Study of Public Choice. Buchanan and the Center moved to George Mason University in 1983. He retired in 2007.

While visiting MTSU in 1997 to address students, Buchanan said, “Economics . . . requires expository writing skills, logical structures of analysis, and a grounding in ultimate reality. And political economy, the branch of moral philosophy from which economics springs, requires philosophical coherence. I came away from Middle Tennessee with all of these.”

Speaking at MTSU’s commencement in May 2000, Buchanan challenged graduates to question the day’s political leadership.

“An open politics makes no distinction between the Ivy Leagues and the bush leagues when it comes to telling us what we want our government to do. The people, yes, but all the people, treated as equals, and not some more equal than others.”

In 2006, President Sidney A. McPhee established the Buchanan Fellowship program in the University Honors College to attract top scholars from across the state and country. Only a limited number of applicants are selected each year as Buchanan Fellows, the highest academic award given to an entering MTSU student.

SIDEBAR: Eyes on the Prize

Just prior to the commencement ceremony in which Buchanan was awarded an honorary doctoral degree from MTSU, Buchanan’s family gave his Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences to MTSU on a perpetual loan basis.

In addition, a $2.5 million bequest from Buchanan’s estate was announced. The gift is earmarked for MTSU’s Honors College. It is the largest donation to the Honors College. In 2002, brothers Lee and Paul Martin Jr. gave $2 million to the university to help construct the building that bears their late father’s name.

Until his death, Buchanan had been a significant financial supporter of the Honors College for many years. His funding provided the Buchanan Fellows program, the highest scholarship offered by the university.

Stemming from the gift, MTSU and George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., will explore a potential partnership” being called The Buchanan Papers Project, a Collection of the Papers of James M. Buchanan, that McPhee said will “create an exceptionally accessible and complete record of Dr. Buchanan’s work.”

A portion of the bequest will also be used to establish the James M. Buchanan Lecture Series: Applying the Ideas of James Buchanan in Today’s World, McPhee said.

Vietnam Revisited

Vietnam Revisited

by Gina K. Logue

Nearly 40 years after the last American troops left Vietnam, MTSU students who were born about 20 years after the end of the war went to Southeast Asia to discover a piece of the past and a glimpse of the future.

Public Memory and the Vietnam War is the name of the class, and it challenged students to compare what they had come to believe about the conflict from American books, movies, music, and TV shows with what they discovered after being in the country for two weeks.

From March 10 to 24, students trekked through fields and jungles; scaled the heights of Hill 119, former home of the U.S. Marines’ First Reconnaissance Battalion; crawled through a tunnel dug to hide civilians from
American troops; and boated across the Mekong River. They witnessed Vietnamese making rice paper, coconut candy, honey, and silk; sampled cuisine ranging from elephant fish to dragonfruit; inspected the ancient ruins of the Cham Kingdom; entered a cave that was once a Viet Cong hospital but now is a room of worship inside Marble Mountain; and viewed a pagoda that is reputed to enhance fertility.

Wandering through official tourist attractions such as the War Remnants Museum in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) provoked a great deal of thought about the nature and language of propaganda. Yet, unexpected moments that were off the itinerary reminded students that the need for human connection trumps both warfare and time. While preparing to leave the site of the 1968 77-day siege at Khe Sanh, a bus of North Vietnamese army veterans pulled up. The NVA vets, clad in green uniforms and wearing medals, immediately were greeted with smiles and handshakes from Vietnam Battlefield Tours guides, American veterans all.

By far the most poignant moment was when MTSU alumnus William “Bud” Morris (’68, ’75) returned to within 1,000 yards of Quang Tri, one of the bases where he was stationed while in the Army during the war.
The Murfreesboro native calls his sojourn with the University’s Vietnam study-abroad class “the greatest experience of my life.” Morris, now an insurance agent who bleeds State Farm red and MTSU blue, returned to the area where he served with the First Brigade, Fifth Infantry Mechanized Division of the U.S. Army during the Vietnam war. “I don’t know that I came for closure or anything like that,” Morris said. “I came to see it. I came to experience it again.”

Dr. Derek Frisby, associate professor of history, who led the trip, said Morris provided his class with an “invaluable” opportunity “to connect the environment and the terrain with an actual human story.”

“Imagine what it would have been like 50 years after the Civil War to go back to the Battle of Stones River and have veterans guide you around the battlefield,” Frisby said. “This is what this experience is like for our students, and it’s one we can’t afford to pass up.”

The complicated relationship between the United States and Vietnam is as tangled as the vegetation that covers the southern hillsides of both countries. It practically cries out for a study-abroad experience of this nature: a chance to see, smell, taste, touch, and hear history and to get a sense of what life is like after the 1995 normalization of relations. MTSU can be proud to have provided that opportunity.


Talkin’ Baseball

Jim Bouton, former Major League pitcher and author of the widely discussed and debated baseball diary Ball Four , was the guest luncheon speaker at the 18th Annual Conference on Baseball in Literature and Culture in April.

 

 


Chaz Bono

Chaz Bono, LGBT rights advocate, author, and musician, was the keynote speaker in April for MT Lambda’s SpringOut! 2013 celebration, a weeklong campus pride event for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, friends, and supporters.


 

 

 

Kung Fu Fighting

The Capital University of Physical Education and Sports of Beijing, China, demonstrated Chinese kung fu at Murphy Center in April. The event was presented by MTSU’s Confucius Institute. Among the performers was Fengmei Li, a stuntwoman who was the choreographer for Zhang Ziyi, who starred in the movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

 


 

 

 

Lady of Firsts

As part of MTSU’s observance of National Women’s History Month in April, Rep. Beth Harwell of Nashville, speaker of the Tennessee House of Representatives and the first female House speaker in Tennessee and in the Southeast, was honored as the second Distinguished Friend of the University Honors College.

 


Woman of Note

Lilly Ledbetter, whose judicial battle with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. led to the passage of federal legislation in a historic gender discrimination case, was the keynote speaker for MTSU’s biennial Women’s and Gender Studies Conference in April, a major part of the University’s National Women’s History Month celebration.

 

 


 

On the Pulse

Ken Paulson, a nationally recognized advocate for the First Amendment, is the new dean of the College of Mass Communication. Paulson, president and CEO of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University and at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., replaces Roy Moore, who had been dean since 2008. Paulson was on the team of journalists that founded USA Today  in 1982, and he was editor-in-chief from 2004 to 2009. He is now a columnist on USA Today ’s board of contributors. Paulson is active in the Nashville music community, including as vice chair of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is also the author of Freedom Sings , a multimedia stage show celebrating the First Amendment that tours the nation’s campuses.


An Urban Development

David J. Urban is the new dean of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Formerly executive associate dean and marketing professor in the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University, he replaces Jim Burton, who was dean for 13 years. Urban will guide a business program that boasts more than 125 full-time faculty members, more than 3,000 undergraduate majors, and more than 500 graduate students.

 

 


 

Off the Row

MTSU graduate Beverly Keel (’88), an award-winning music journalist and former recording industry executive, is now chair of the Department of Recording Industry. A longtime MTSU professor, Keel returned to the University after serving as senior vice president of media and artist relations for Universal Music Group Nashville, where she developed extensive media campaigns for a charttopping roster including Lionel Richie, Scotty McCreery, Sugarland, Jamey Johnson, Josh Turner, Kip Moore, and many more.

 


 

Not Fiddlin’ Around

(L. to R.) Pam Matthews, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Charlie Daniels, and student Jordan Todd.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee surprised country music legend Charlie Daniels on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in May when he helped announce that the International Entertainment Buyers Association had established a scholarship in honor of Daniels with a $25,000 endowment. The IEBA is a Nashville-based, nonprofit trade organization for live entertainment industry professionals. Starting in the fall of 2014, a $1,000 scholarship will be awarded each year. Students majoring in recording industry, songwriting, audio engineering, and music business are eligible recipients.

 


 

Fourth Estate Fame

In April, six journalists made up the inaugural induction class of the new Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame housed at MTSU. Heading the group was John Seigenthaler, chair emeritus of The Tennessean , founding editorial director of USA Today , and founder of the First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt. Also honored were Dan Miller (posthumously), the longtime chief news anchor at Nashville’s WSMV-TV Channel 4; William Bryant (Bill) Williams Jr., a third-generation community newspaper publisher and publisher emeritus of the Paris (Tenn.) Post-Intelligencer ; Anne Holt, a 30- year veteran and three-time Emmy Award winner at WKRN-TV News 2 in Nashville; Chris Clark, retired chief news anchor for WTVF-TV NewsChannel 5 in Nashville (and current instructor at MTSU); and Dean Stone, editor of the Daily Times  in Maryville.

 


Campus Growth

(From left) Mayor Ernest Burgess; Lee Moss, Gordan Ferguson, Sidney A. McPhee, and Mayor Tommy Bragg

In April, MTSU officially acquired the Middle Tennessee Medical Center property near campus. The 17.4-acre property includes the 115,000-square-foot Bell Street Building, a 143,000-square-foot parking garage, and a large green-space area that was the site of the old main hospital building. President Sidney A. McPhee has said that the University will use the Bell Street Building for academic purposes.

 


 

 

The Firing Lane

MTSU ROTC cadets now have more opportunities to sharpen their shooting and tactical skills following an upgrade at the Military Science Department’s indoor rifle range simulator. MTSU provided funding for an additional five-lane, $116,000 trainer unit, bringing to 10 the number of lanes available at the Engagement Skills Trainer. The simulator uses computers, lasers, projectors, and pneumatic weapons to provide a realistic experience of firing a weapon, including recoil and sound.

 

 


 

The Middle Kingdom

MTSU’s delegation to China in May yielded several new agreements with strong potential to produce tech transfer opportunities for the University’s science-related endeavors. First, MTSU’s partnership in China studying modern uses of ancient herbal remedies has produced almost 40 results showing promise in the treatment of cancer, viral infections, and other ailments. Those findings were released during a visit to the Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plants, named in2011 as the world’s largest medicinal herb garden by Guinness World Records. Located in Nanning in southern China, the garden features more than 7,400 medicinal plants.

President Sidney A. McPhee and Miao Jianhua, vice president of the Guangxi Academic Science Institute and garden director, celebrated the partnership’s progress with the christening of an MTSU-branded Joint Research Center at the garden’s new research laboratory and headquarters. The Tennessee Center for Botanical Medicine Research, based at MTSU, and the

Xu Xuyan, deputy director of the Education Bureau of Shunde District, President Sidney A. McPhee, Senator Bill Ketron.

Guangxi garden are partners in an exclusive collaborative agreement that seeks to accelerate the development of Western medicines from plant extracts.

MTSU’s delegation was headed by McPhee and included state senate majority caucus chair Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, a 1976 graduate of the University.

MTSU established formal ties with a university known as “China’s MIT” for its strong science, engineering, and biomedical programs. The agreement between MTSU and Shanghai Jiao Tong University will allow the exchange of faculty and students and allow professors to collaborate and share research. Shanghai Jiao Tong University, founded in 1896, offers three disciplines—naval architecture and ocean engineering, mechanical engineering, and clinical medicine—that are ranked first in China.

Additionally, MTSU signed a pact to become the first American university to establish formal ties with an institute in China’s leading design center for  household appliances and technology—the Research Institute of Industrial Design in the Shunde district.

MTSU also opened a student recruitment office at Guangxi University— the University’s first overseas representative office—as part of its efforts to bolster international enrollment in master’s and doctoral study. The delegation also made stops at Chongqing University of Posts and Telecommunications (one of the country’s top universities for information science and technology), Communication University of China in Beijing (the country’s foremost media education university), and the Confucius Institute’s global headquarters, which oversees more than 350 institutes worldwide (including at MTSU).

 


With a Song

Josh Kear

MTSU alumnus Josh Kear (’96) brought home his third Country Song of the Year honor at

Torrance Esmond

the 55th annual Grammy Awards in 2013, winning recognition for Carrie Underwood’s “Blown Away” to join his earlier wins for Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now” and Underwood’s “Before He Cheats.” Kear competed against fellow MTSU alumnus Eric Paslay’s (’05) “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” performed by the Eli Young Band, in the Song of the Year category. Alumnus Torrance Esmond (’03), a.k.a. “Street Symphony,” who is vice president of A&R at Reach Records and a songwriter and record producer, produced Gravity with gospel rapper Lecrae, which won the Grammy for Best Gospel Album. MTSU faculty and alumni have appeared regularly on Grammy nominee and winner lists in recent years.


 

 

A Look at Recent Awards, Events, and Accomplishments Involving the MTSU Community

by Gina A. Fann, Jimmy Hart, Gina K. Logue, Paula Morton, Drew Ruble, and Randy Weiler


Lights, Camera…Action!

Some of MTSU’s finest student filmmakers showcased their work at the 13th Annual MTSU Student Film Festival in April. David Perauldt won first prize for Do It All Call. The audience favorite went to Ryan Rhenbourg for Hobo Wicked Fix. Nashville-area filmmaker Christopher Roberts screened his documentary Street Paper, which is about Nashville’s successful newspaper sold by homeless citizens, the Contributor.


A Future So Fulbright

When MTSU was recently named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a top producer of Fulbright scholars for 2012–13, it joined academic powerhouses like Duke, Stanford, and Princeton. Just 108 colleges were recognized, and no other college or university in Tennessee was listed. MTSU students have received Fulbright funding to teach or do research in a variety of fields—from philosophy to biology to international relations—in countries as diverse as Portugal, Russia, Tanzania, and Laos. MTSU has produced nine Fulbright winners since 2001. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Fulbright is one of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships and its flagship international educational exchange program. Recent grad, Kaitlen Howell (on left), recently spent 18 months in Germany conducting epidemiological research as a Fulbright scholar.


A View from the Hill

Eight MTSU undergraduate student researchers participated in the seventh annual Posters at the Capitol in February in Nashville. They included Goldwater Scholar Award recipient Jordan Dodson. Created in 2007, this year’s Posters at the Capitol brought 64 undergraduate researchers from six Tennessee Board of Regents and three University of Tennessee universities to the state capitol to meet and discuss their research with state senators and representatives. Other MTSU students who participated included Adam Banach, Jacob Basham, Matt Harris, Josh Horvath, Joseph Keasler, Kevin McDaniel, and Paige Stubbs.


Jonathan W. Herlan

Going for the Gold(water)

MTSU students Robert Daniel Murphy (winner) and Jonathan W. Herlan (honorable mention) received recognition in the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program. Murphy’s goal is to get his Ph.D. in atomic physics and research exotic states of matter such as Bose-Einstein condensates and degenerate Fermi gases. Herlan seeks a Ph.D. in physical acoustics and wants to conduct acoustic research and teach at the university level.


 

Distinguished Fellows

Gov. Bill Haslam

At a time when lawmakers are stressing retention and graduation in higher education in Tennessee, MTSU’s May commencement ceremonies witnessed the largest graduating class ever. The ceremonies were highlighted by speeches from Gov. Bill Haslam and alumnus Pete Fisher (’87), general manager of the Grand Ole Opry.


Constructing a Dynasty

An MTSU construction management team had another top-10 finish at this year’s national competition in Las Vegas. Led by Jason Harrison, the six-member MTSU Land Development/Residential Building Construction Management team placed eighth out of 31 teams at the International Builders Show. MTSU, which won in 2007 and 2012, has nine top-10 and seven top-5 finishes. In this year’s competition, students were given 118 acres, including an existing rock quarry, to develop on the banks of Utah Lake in Saratoga Springs, Utah.


For Art’s Sake

Collage: A Journal of Creative Expression  earned a Collegiate Gold Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association for the second straight year. It was the journal’s third major award in the past three years. Senior Courtney Hunter and alumna Jennifer Johnson served respectively as editor-in-chief and designer of the award-winning issues. In the recent contest, 1,344 digital, print, and hybrid magazines, newspapers, and yearbooks published during the 2011–12 academic year were eligible. Only three college print magazines received Gold Crown Awards.

 


On the Runway

The organization called Fashion and Design Students of MTSU, known as FaDs, displayed their talents at several places on campus during MTSU’s second annual Fashion Week in April. American costumer Manuel, often called the “Rhinestone Rembrandt,” whose original designs have been worn by Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Hank Williams, the Rolling Stones, and the Grateful Dead, was a featured speaker.

 

Coming Into Focus

It could be said that a new photo gallery soon to open at MTSU has been more than a half-century in the making

by Drew Ruble

A few years after arriving from Colorado in 1959 to teach industrial arts at MTSU, now-retired photography professor and Murfreesboro resident Harold L. Baldwin launched the University’s photography program. He soon realized the need for gallery space to augment the instruction he was providing in the rapidly expanding program.

“We needed to bring in popular photographers to enhance the student experience,” Baldwin said. “That was the one thing that was lacking. Students couldn’t get exposed to the work of top professional photographers like all the big schools on the East and West Coasts.”

Baldwin began working with the Eastman Kodak Company to bring exhibits to campus, but the Kodak shows did not match his vision.

“They were the traditional pretty prints; they didn’t have any real meaning to them,” he explained. “I knew I needed to get some true artists to campus.”

Baldwin started contacting well-known photographers. One of the first was American photographer Ansel Adams.

“This was before big PR agencies handled big photographers. They handled their own shows,” Baldwin recalled. “So I wrote him a letter asking him to come, and he sent me a postcard, saying, ‘I’m going to send you one of the best little shows you have ever seen.’ And I thought, ‘Well, my God!’”

That exhibition, as well as others Baldwin arranged, hung in what is now the Tom H. Jackson Building. At each exhibit, the professor found a way to cobble together funds to purchase a print; some of the artists donated prints to the University.

As a result, Baldwin said, “I just kind of accumulated a permanent collection here.”

While a full appraisal has never been conducted on the collection, which was formally established in 1961, Baldwin recently funded an independent assessment that values it “easily in excess of a million dollars.” In fact, the value could be quite a bit more. One piece of the collection alone—a print of one of Adams’s most famous photos, Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico—is considered quite valuable.

In addition to Adams, other photographers who have exhibited their work at MTSU through the years include Richard Avedon, Sally Mann, André Kertész, Henry Horenstein, and Arthur Fellig (who was better known by his pseudonym, Weegee). Photographers whose work is part of the Baldwin collection though they never exhibited on campus include Edward Weston, Minor White, Paul Strand, and Jerry Uelsmann.

Slowly developing

For many years, works from the collection were shown in a hallway of the McWherter Learning Resources Center, a space that was renamed to honor Baldwin in 2009.

Now a $100,000 donation by Baldwin will support plans to develop a new photography gallery in the John Bragg Mass Communication Building.

The renovated space, to be dedicated in 2013, will become the new permanent home of MTSU’s photography archive—the million-dollar-plus collection that Baldwin pieced together during his decades of service to the University.

In its new home on the second floor of the Bragg Building, the Baldwin Gallery will feature movable walls and contemporary lighting and will also showcase traveling exhibits and student work.

The gallery will be the third specialized media area in the building, which is already home to the Center for Popular Music and the Center for Innovation in Media.

Baldwin’s gift is part of MTSU’s Centennial Campaign. With his commitment, the campaign has surpassed $60 million in gifts and pledges toward its $80 million goal.

“Harold’s gift truly embodies the spirit of the Centennial Campaign,” said Nick Perlick, director of development. “He has been part of this campus family for decades, and now he has chosen to make an investment to enhance the particular aspect of the University that means so much to him. We are extremely grateful for his generosity.”

Worth a Thousand Words

The expanded new gallery will no doubt become a significant cultural asset for MTSU and Murfreesboro.

Harold L. Baldwin

“It’s an opportunity to display what we are doing here, what’s happening, and get the word out. It is a good advertisement for the photography program itself,” said Baldwin, who shifted to teaching photography full-time in 1968 and taught thousands of photographers until his retirement in 1991.

Baldwin said that he hopes his gift will inspire others to donate to the gallery. “Recent cutbacks mean we have only been able to host a limited number of shows in recent years,” he said. “More gifts would help keep that gallery rolling.”

Now 85, Baldwin is busy working with the University to reestablish the gallery. He’s also excited about a trip he has planned in February 2014 to the Galapagos Islands. He and his daughter are two of 30 photographers included in a 10-day trip guided by a National Geographic photographer.

When asked if photos from that trip might be shown in the new campus gallery, Baldwin laughed and said, “I haven’t even thought of that!”

A Way of Saying Thanks

John Lemons pays a little back even as he pays a lot more forward

When 2011 graduate John Lemons received his first paycheck as a brand new special education teacher with the Bedford County School system, he did something few recent graduates do. He wrote a $25 donation check to his alma mater. What compelled him to do it?

“I like the word ‘gratitude,’” Lemons says. “I had been to a few other colleges, but by comparison, the professors at MTSU were very accessible and gave input and feedback and were willing to reward the hard work you put in to getting a degree and trying to better yourself. I felt very convinced about that.”

One year later, like clockwork, although on substitute status, Lemons wrote the University another $25 check.

“It’s important to contribute to things that work,” he says. “There are always going to be personal budget restraints, but it makes me feel like I’m giving back to an organization that invested in me.”

Even a brief conversation with Lemons makes it clear how passionate he is about working with special education students. He is particularly passionate about the inclusion of special needs students in mainstream classrooms, a relatively recent shift in educational protocol that has resulted in classroom atmospheres quite unlike the segregated environments that parents of school-aged children grew up in.

“Inclusion appears to alter that initial judgment when meeting someone, or how kids go about starting conversation with them a great deal,” Lemons explains. “Kids today are more familiar with special needs kids and see them as just another kid, in the same way that they can appreciate that everybody’s different. They just take it in stride.”

A Reporter’s Eye

Alex Hubbard and Lark are budding members of the Fourth Estate

by Amanda Haggard

Alex Hubbard, blind Sidelines Editor, and his seeing eye dog, LarkOn the campus of the largest undergraduate university in Tennessee, faces often go unnamed in the shuffle to make it to classes on time; but those faces do not go completely unnoticed. Alex Hubbard, whom many may have noticed rushing around campus, phone in hand and seeing-eye dog in tow, has become one of those faces frequently seen but not always known. That may change if Hubbard’s journalism career keeps growing.

Hubbard, 22, is news editor for the student-run newspaper, Sidelines. He was born with some vision in his left eye but none in his right. He lost his existing sight before he was old enough to have the percentage of vision measured.

Now, Hubbard is only able to see the sun and major differences in lighting. But that doesn’t slow him down. As he juggles classwork and daily interviews for the paper, he often appears in as much a hurry as the dog named Lark who guides him around campus safely.

“Lark is everything to me. She knows that I’m a total spaz,” Hubbard says, laughing and reaching to pat Lark’s head. “I’m walking across the street. I’m on the phone. I’m sending an email. I’m doing tons of things.”

For instance, Hubbard recently completed a professional assignment for the Associated Press, assisting with election coverage—quite a feat for a budding journalist still in pursuit of a college degree.

Man About Town

But the world isn’t always spinning so fast for Hubbard and Lark. On the day of this interview, the scruffy mix of golden retriever and Labrador crawled under Hubbard’s chair and closed her eyes in the busy campus coffee shop, unexcited by the commotion of students and professors getting coffee before heading to class. Such ease amid the hubbub might be due to the many loud sports events Hubbard has taken Lark to in the past few years during a previous stint as sports editor at Sidelines. That’s in addition to the many Nashville Predators games he and his family have attended. Not unlike on campus, Hubbard is a highly recognizable figure for many fans at Preds home games in Bridgestone Arena.

Hubbard has attended nearly every home game in the last decade. As a result, he became acquainted with Terry Crisp and Pete Weber, the voices of the Nashville Predators. At first, Hubbard and Weber bonded over their mutual love of sports, but eventually a change in seats put Hubbard about six feet from Weber and led to a more mentor-like relationship. Weber’s love for Lark also kept Hubbard visiting.

“When I began getting into the newspaper business, especially sports writing, I showed Pete a lot of what I was doing,” Hubbard says. “I think he was really impressed with it!”

Man About Campus

Hubbard, a senior Mass Comm major ( Journalism) with minors in political science and history, concedes that MTSU is a leader in universities that provide services for blind students, but he says his goal is to use those services as little as possible.

“As a matter of my own philosophy, I want to do as much as I can of my own volition,” Hubbard says, adding that journalism as a profession is not particularly subject to adaptation, and he believes finding a way to perform tasks without alteration will be absolutely necessary.

He insists he never thought he would be a writer, but that his mom played a big part in introducing him to newspapers. She read the paper to him from the time he was five or six years old, he says, “Whether I wanted to hear it or not.”

“But I knew that if I wanted to get out of the trap that most blind people find themselves in—unemployed or underemployed—I needed to learn how to write,” Hubbard says.

While he fields many questions about how he performs his work, it is not as complicated as one might think. He uses nearly the same process as any other writer: a computer, Microsoft Word, and a program that reads the text back to him.

“There is only one way to success, and that is hard work with no shortcuts,” Hubbard says. “It’s not always pretty, and isn’t always idealistic. That has nothing to do with me; it is that way for everybody. Maybe we can’t control our lives, but we can control what our lives will be about.”

A Learning Experience

For some deserving Rutherford County students each year, the Shipp has come in

Ken Shipp

The late Ken Shipp, a 1947 MTSU graduate and NFL coach, was perhaps best known in middle Tennessee for his love of Blue Raider athletics. Soon, however, he will likely be known to future generations for creating a way for deserving students to get a college education.

University officials announced in October that Shipp, who died March 5, 2012, at age 83, decided that most of his estate would benefit the fund he established with the MTSU Foundation in 2007. A $3.5 million bequest to that scholarship fund for Rutherford County students, coupled with earlier gifts, brings the fund’s total to more than $4 million—making it the most generous donation to date for Rutherford County students.

“Starting next fall, thanks to this commitment, dozens of students each year will have the resources needed to pursue their education,” says President Sidney A. McPhee.

McPhee says the fund will help select incoming freshmen from Rutherford County public high schools who demonstrate an ability and desire to excel but for whom tuition is a major barrier.

Shipp was born in Old Hickory in 1928. He played football for MTSU’s legendary Charles “Bubber” Murphy. He was an assistant coach in the National Football League and, during the 1975 season, as interim coach of the New York Jets, he famously (or infamously) benched star quarterback Joe Namath for violating team rules.

Despite his success as a coach and his strong support of his alma mater’s athletic programs, at MTSU the Shipp name will always be most closely associated with scholarships.

Learning from Disaster

A group of MTSU servants see the power of Mother Nature—and the resilience of a people—firsthand.

by Gina K. Logue

The Japanese city of Fukushima Daiichi is still struggling to recover from the massive March 11, 2011, earthquake and resultant tsunami that engulfed the coastal area. Some 16,000 people lost their lives. Thousands more lost their homes and possessions. Fuel meltdowns in three reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant compounded the nation’s trauma, creating a societal ripple effect that is lasting long after the last aftershock subsided.

In June, 2012, ten MTSU students witnessed the results of the disaster firsthand. During ten days of debris cleanup and personal service, the MTSU delegation—chosen on the basis of grades and essays—served hot meals, entertained kindergarten children, and learned about disaster-response procedures. (Dr. Doug Heffington, director of the MTSU Global Studies program, led the trip. No MTSU representatives ventured into unsafe areas.)

One of student Caitlyn Mayo’s most poignant memories is that of an orchard owner, who told the students of his determination to sell his succulent peaches, tart cherries, and crisp apples in Tokyo or wherever he can, despite consumer resistance born of fear. Mayo, a senior speech and theatre major from Woodbury, says the farmer refused to resort to laying off his workers, regardless of his economic situation. He told the group, as they snacked on his wares, that he would rather sell his car than get rid of any of his employees.

“He was willing to give up his own stuff to make sure that his workers didn’t have to go without,” Mayo recalls.

Preston Nalls, a senior electronic media communication major from Franklin, intentionally wore a shirt that says “I Love Fukushima” for a brief side trip to Tokyo to gauge public reaction.

“There was a group of businessmen coming back from a bar, and I passed them along the way,” says Nalls. “They were laughing, saying, ‘Why is he wearing a Fukushima shirt?’”

Yet the resilience of the Japanese people was apparent to everyone. Nalls says the survivors are not reminiscing or moping; they’re looking ahead and getting on with their lives.

“The recovery is definitely going to be a long, ongoing process, because the amount of devastation that we saw in the different areas that were really heavily impacted—you cannot imagine unless you’re standing there and see it firsthand,” Mayo says. “The gravity of what you’re looking at is just enormous.”

Mayo remembers seeing a coffee shop in the middle of an empty field, where a town once stood. The restaurant was open for business.

Even amid the overwhelming ongoing struggle the students witnessed, there was time for friendship and laughter. Julie Vandal, a rising junior and organizational communication major from Fayetteville, says her fondest memory is the hospitality of her home-stay family.

“The daughter had already left for school before I woke up in the morning, and she left me a little letter at the breakfast table,” says Vandal. “It’s my most prized possession now. She was just saying, ‘It was great to meet you’ and ‘It was a great experience.’ They were just so nice.”

“I can honestly say that those were the best ten days of my life so far,” says Nalls.

David Schmidt, MTSU’s vice provost of international affairs, who accompanied students on the trip, said “A special student will want to volunteer, and once they do it, it becomes a lifelong practice.”