Thursday, December 19, 2013

[298] MTSU On the Record’ highlights courageous students at holiday time

MURFREESBORO — “MTSU On the Record,” the public affairs radio program that connects listeners with the campus community, brightens the holidays with stories of two inspiring college students.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Kyla Hallums, whose education was interrupted by a life-threatening condition, will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 23, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Dec. 29, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

Hallums, a 20-year-old business management major from Lebanon, Tenn., was carrying her laundry from her apartment to her car on Sept. 1 when she collapsed.

After being transported to Vanderbilt University Medical Center, doctors found a pulmonary embolism, a blockage of a major blood vessel in the lung, about 15 inches in length in both her left and right pulmonary arteries.

Although she missed the fall semester due to her illness, Hallums is eager to resume her studies with the spring 2014 semester beginning in January.

“God pulled me through this, and I honestly think that’s the only reason that I made it, that and all the support of all my friends and loved ones,” said Hallums.

Logue’s interview with Malcolm Stallard, president of the Blue Raider American Veterans Organization, or BRAVO, will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday. Dec. 30, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 5.

Stallard, a sophomore social work major from Manchester, Tenn., who served in Iraq from 2009 to 2010 and has served in the U.S. Army since 2008, strives to help veterans who are negotiating the transition from military service to college education obtain access to the resources they need.

Speaking about how his military experience has changed him as a person, Stallard said, “I focus more on others. I guess I learned that because of taking care of my soldiers. I want to provide the best training and also the best education for them, and I find myself doing that here at MTSU as well.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

[297] Li’l Raiders show big smiles at Christmas Party

MURFREESBORO — Perhaps nothing warms the heart more during the Christmas season than the smile of a child, making this year’s Li’l Raiders Christmas Party another opportunity to set hearts ablaze.

MTSU Public Safety, MTSU Campus Recreation, the OWLs (Older, Wiser Learners), June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students and Golden Key Honor Society and MT Lambda student organizations jointly sponsored Santa’s Li’l Raiders Christmas campaign to benefit children in need.

Three Christmas trees across campus were decorated with Li’l Raider ornaments that listed a child in need, gender, clothing size and wish list. Revived last year, the effort targets MTSU students with children as well as parents being served by the Domestic Violence Program.

About 30 ornaments were available this year, all of which were adopted by various Secret Santas around campus. A Christmas Party was held Friday, Dec. 13, at the MTSU Public Safety Office on Main Street, including food, fellowship and an appearance by Santa himself (aka dispatcher Cody Travis) to hand out gifts.

“We had a great turnout, lots of fun and the families truly appreciated the support of the MTSU community,” said Sgt. Vergena Forbes, community policing specialist with MTSU Public Safety and a coordinator of the effort. “We truly appreciate the terrific response from the campus to spread holiday cheer to those in need.”

As she watched the excited children eagerly await Santa’s arrival that evening, Deborah Johnson, executive director of the local Domestic Violence Shelter, noted that the university’s police department “has been a real collaborator with us.”

When the local domestic violence program started 27 years ago, other established shelters told local organizers that law enforcement partnerships would be hard to develop, Johnson Said.

“We decided that in Rutherford County that was not going to be the case, and we established relationships with law enforcement right off the top,” she said. “We’re there for each other.”

Several campus police officers, including Chief Buddy Peaster, attended Friday’s party, giving them a chance to interact with the children and their parents in a more relaxed environment.

“It establishes relationships, like the little girl talking to the officer,” said Johnson, pointing to one of the Li’l Raider attendees. “Maybe an officer came to the house and arrested Daddy, but here they can see that these aren’t bad people.”

For more information about the Li’l Raiders program, please contact Sgts. Vergena Forbes or David Smith at 615-898-2424. 

[296] MTSU will close from Dec. 24 to Jan. 2 for holiday break

MURFREESBORO — Middle Tennessee State University will be closed from Tuesday, Dec. 24, to Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014, for the Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays.

With a few exceptions that include Public Safety (campus police), Facilities Services, Housing and Residential Life and other essential personnel, all university offices and departments will be closed during this time.

The closures include the Cope Administration Building; James E. Walker Library; Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center, Health Services and Campus Pharmacy; Student Union; Keathley University Center; ARAMARK/MT Dining food service facilities; and James Union Building.

All MTSU offices and departments will be open from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 2.

The Campus Recreation Center will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Jan. 2-3. For its spring 2014 hours of operation, visit

For the Student Union’s January break hours of operation, visit online and click on “Union Building Hours.” 

Library winter break hours can be found at

Spring 2014 semester classes will begin Thursday, Jan. 16.


Note: In case of emergency, contact Public Safety at 615-898-2424 or News and Media Relations Director Jimmy Hart at 615-962-3984 (cell).

[295] MTSU, Alabama A&M sign pact for scientific research

Memorandum targets aerospace, agriscience, engineering
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The presidents of MTSU and Alabama A&M University signed a memorandum of understanding Friday (Dec. 13) that encourages greater collaboration on faculty and student scientific research in the areas of aerospace, agriscience and engineering.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee signed the agreement with AAMU President Andrew Hugine Jr. following McPhee’s visit to campus as keynote speaker for the commencement ceremony at the historically black university. Hugine also awarded McPhee with the AAMU President Medallion for his career as a higher education administrator.

Under the agreement, MTSU and Alabama A&M will actively seek to participate in and enhance faculty and student research and training programs, as well as provide access for each institution’s students to education and training programs not available at the other.

MTSU will specifically provide AAMU students with access to academic programs in the areas of engineering management, computational science and its nationally recognized aerospace program, while AAMU will provide access to MTSU students in the area of engineering.

“This partnership emphasizes the scientific research strengths within both institutions,” McPhee said. “It gives our students and faculty access to the opportunities they need to enhance their skills and compete in a global marketplace that increasingly demands such expertise.”

Hugine said the agreement was “a wonderful opportunity for our faculty and students” and an expansion of an already strong relationship between the two universities.

Officials said the three-year agreement builds upon two successful collaborations between the two universities: Both are partners in a consortium for a federal Unmanned Aircraft Systems test site as well as a three-year National Science Foundation-funded Partnership for Innovation in Technology grant.

Chance M. Glenn Sr., AAMU professor and dean of the College of Engineering, Technology and Physical Sciences, and Michael Allen, MTSU vice provost for research and dean of graduate studies, are coordinating the effort.

“We are extremely excited about the endless possibilities of this mutually beneficial partnership,” Glenn said. “We have had an enthusiastic team comprised of faculty and staff from both universities working diligently to make this become a reality. We eagerly anticipate the fruits of this relationship.”

The agreement notes that both institutions will ensure that students have access to expert staff and state-of-the-art equipment and software; will mentor and train select students from the other institution in their graduate or undergraduate research; and will provide speakers for institute seminars.

“This MOU creates an opportunity for MTSU and AAMU to work together on proposals for research grants in areas where we have complementary strengths, such as unmanned aerial systems, robotics and precision agriculture,” Allen said. “Groups of the MTSU faculty have already visited with AAMU faculty and are actively working on NSF proposals.”

Founded in 1875 and established as a land-grant institution in 1890, Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University is located just minutes from downtown Huntsville, Ala. With an enrollment of roughly 6,000 students, the university has five undergraduate schools (Agricultural & Environmental, Arts & Sciences, Business, Education, and Engineering & Technology) and Graduate Studies.

Bud Fischer, MTSU dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, said the MOU “creates an outstanding opportunity to bring together faculty and student researchers from both institutions to work together on collaborative, cutting-edge research projects in engineering and aerospace.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

[294] Alumni encourage 1,977 new MTSU grads to ‘get involved’ in community

MURFREESBORO — Launching careers and juggling new responsibilities will be a wonderful challenge, Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed told new MTSU graduates today, but carving out time for community service is critical, too.

"You are leaving this beautiful campus of higher education equipped with the necessary skills to participate in life. You do not have to take a sideline to anyone," the veteran educator told her newly minted fellow MTSU alumni at the morning commencement ceremony for fall 2013 at Murphy Center.

"You have the background to make a difference. MTSU has prepared you for that.

"Find something you're passionate about, something you love, something that will further your philosophy of life. When you find that something, jump in, get involved, step up and take a leadership role."

Reed, who earned her Bachelor of Science in early childhood education from MTSU as well as a master’s and an education specialist’s degree, started her career as a teacher. She has served on the Smyrna Town Council since 2003 and became the town’s first female mayor in August.

"I want you to know that your hometown and your university needs community-minded MTSU graduates to become involved in decision-making that makes an impact on the quality of life for your community,” she said.

Fellow alumnus Bill Ketron, who represents the 13th Senatorial District in the Tennessee General Assembly, also encouraged the new graduates to commit to their communities, but he reminded them to always “remember where you came from” as well.

Saying that he was “going to do something that’s never been done at graduation here,” the state senator told the students at the afternoon ceremony to “stand up, put your phones down in your seats and give it up for everybody who’s been a part of your lives, for everybody that loves you.”

The resulting ear-splitting applause and cheers from the new graduates on the floor of Hale Arena echoed around Murphy Center and was returned by their loved ones in the stands, who waved back and applauded, too.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee asked the new graduates to continue the tradition of excellence exemplified by the 100,000-plus MTSU alumni they’re joining around the world.

"You may feel that your long journey is over, but we … see it as just a comma in your story," he said. "Today is just the beginning of greater things to come.

"We look forward to seeing the far-reaching impact of what you've learned in your studies."

The top of one grad’s mortarboard, where clear sequins spelled out “UT CoP ’18,” provided a glimpse of her future. Accepted to the University of Tennessee College of Pharmacy, biochemistry major Sara Adams of Manchester, Tenn., will begin classes next fall in Memphis. 

“It really hasn’t hit me yet that today is the actual day,” said Adams, who graduated cum laude and became a certified pharmacy technician in August. “Ultimately, what it means is what it means to my mom.”

Her mother, Linda Adams of Manchester, has multiple sclerosis. Also attending the ceremony were grandparents Mitz and Wilbur Gesell and cousin Julie Gesell, all from Manchester, and Sara’s father, John Adams of Murfreesboro.

Among the many nontraditional students graduating was 25-year-old Brandon Myles, a liberal studies major from Pulaski, Tenn.

Myles earned his associate’s degree three years ago from Northwest Mississippi Community College, where he played quarterback on the football team. An injury and two subsequent surgeries changed his perspective and his academic future, and he transferred to MTSU two years ago.

Myles plans either to continue in the parks and recreation field or enhance his education by earning an information technology certification at a local technology center.

“In fact, I’d like to combine both if I can,” Myles said. “What you put into it is what you get out of it.”

MTSU presented 1,977 students — 1,655 undergraduates and 322 graduate students — with degrees in two ceremonies today.

Students from the College of Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, Jennings A. Jones College of Business and the College of Education received their degrees in the morning ceremony. Students in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, College of Liberal Arts, College of Mass Communication and the University College received their degrees in the afternoon celebration.

You can see a gallery of photos from the commencement ceremonies at

Graduation information — including official photographs and DVD purchase details — is available anytime at You also can view a PDF of the complete 40-page Dec. 14 commencement program at