For release: Sept. 11, 2012
News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616 or Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu
MURFREESBORO — It was quite appropriate that Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour spoke at Middle Tennessee State University on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
Armour is an MTSU alumna (class of ’97) and the first African-American female combat pilot. She shared a lively and entertaining personal message to the nearly 200 attendees for the RutherfordCABLE and MTSU breakfast women’s networking event sponsored by Nissan of Murfreesboro and the Manor at Twin Oaks.
RutherfordCABLE is a local organization formed in 2009 to help women widen their professional and personal circles and connect with greater opportunities.
In her “engaging” message, Armour said she tried to key on the break-through mentality.
“Once you have the mentality, you can create breakthroughs in all areas of life,” Armour said after the speaking engagement and then personally signing numerous copies of her book, “Zero to Breakthrough,” that were sold.
Armour, who lives in the Washington, D.C., area, touched on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks briefly, mentioning that when she “heard that the Pentagon had been struck, in that moment, I knew my life would change.”
Armour is not retired from the U.S. Marine Corps, but “transitioned out to follow my dream and help people achieve their goals and dreams.”
For the MTSU talk, which was held in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room, Armour said she “felt connected. This (MTSU) is a great community, and it felt great to be home again.”
U.S. Army Col. Jeff Davidson, an alumnus (’85), armor officer and the inspector general in Tennessee, was one of the invited guests along with Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg and Rutherford County Mayor Ernest Burgess.
“She’s absolutely right on,” said Davidson, an Eagleville, Tenn., resident, whose daughter, Erin, is a junior theatre major at MTSU. “I loved it (the talk). Every soldier has a story like that. It’s all about the attitude you take. Attitude determines altitude.”
Cindy Smith of Nashville and Marriam Nasoori of Murfreesboro were among the many attendees who appeared to be affected by Armour’s talk.
“I liked how she was involved with the crowd,” said Nasoori, a Siegel High School senior. She was very inspiring.” Nasoori added that she plans to invite Armour to speak to Siegel’s Junior ROTC group.
“This is what young people need to see,” said Smith, an independent executive consultant in network marketing. “Academics are great, but life skills and life coaching. … There needs to be classes like this.”
Among the special guests was Liz McPhee, MTSU first lady and wife of President Sidney A. McPhee. Armour later went and spoke to Liz McPhee’s class at Discovery School on Greenland Drive.
Dr. Gloria Bonner, assistant to the president, helped coordinate Armour’s MTSU appearance.
“We’re just thrilled to have her come back to MTSU,” Bonner said. “She’s just so impressed with the impact MTSU had on her life. She talked about how the institution gave her access and exposure, which influenced decisions for her future.”
Armour spent a few special moments with Robbie Snapp, a financial aid assistant director.
“She was one of my students in financial aid,” Snapp said. “She was one of my letters.” (Snapp assists students whose last names begin with “A” or “B” and student-athletes.
Armour, whose website is vernicearmour.com, has appeared on “The Oprah (Winfrey) Show,” CNN, “Tavis Smiley” on PBS and other media outlets. Her office is located in Stafford, Va.
Vernice Armour1.jpg photo caption
Highly animated Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour fully engages her audience during her motivational presentation Sept. 11 in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)
Mayor Bragg w/”FlyGirl”.jpg photo caption
Murfreesboro Mayor Tommy Bragg, left, presents a proclamation from the city to Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour before the MTSU alumna’s presentation. The RutherfordCABLE women’s networking event, hosted by MTSU, was held in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)
Robbie Snapp w/”FlyGirl”.jpg photo caption
MTSU alumna Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, right, the first African-American female combat pilot, shows a photograph of her mother to Robbie Snapp, an assistant director in the MTSU financial aid office. When Armour attended MTSU from 1991 until ’97, Snapp handled Armour’s financial-aid transactions and they became friends. Armour spoke at the RutherfordCABLE event Sept. 11 in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)
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