Monday, August 06, 2018

[040] 2018 MTSU Student Employment Fair seeks area employers

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Prospective employers are invited to register for the upcoming MTSU Student Employment Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 30, in the Student Union Commons. To register, visit is a $75 registration fee.

Produced by the Career Development Center, the event’s mission is to connect students with employers in the area who offer part-time jobs that are flexible to accommodate students’ class schedules and academic commitments.

“MTSU has a student body known by employers for their work ethic and diverse skills in communication, problem solving, teamwork, and technology,” said Dusty Doddridge, interim director for the center. “Many new and returning students will be seeking part-time employment as they return to campus making the Student Employment Fair a great opportunity for employers and students to connect.”

The event is part of Connection Point and is a great opportunity for hundreds of students and employers to interact.

Connection Point provides programming that gives students opportunities to engage in campus life and better “connect” with True Blue Community.

To learn more about the event, future employer-related events and the career center, call 615-898-2500.

MTSU offers more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

[039] MTSU’s True Blue Voter drive registers almost 200 students during CUSTOMS events

University partnering with Rutherford County Election Commission

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Close to 200 incoming Middle Tennessee State University students are now eligible to cast ballots this fall thanks to the ongoing True Blue Voter Initiative.

Announced in mid-June, True Blue Voter targeted the recently completed summer CUSTOMS orientation sessions for incoming freshmen to register them as part of a partnership between MTSU and the Rutherford County Election Commission, which provides expertise about absentee voting and voter registration.

Thus far, 195 students have been registered since mid-May, with more expected this fall as the Election Commission, True Blue Voter, MTSU Student Government Association and MTSU American Democracy Project help students with registration procedures and voting practices during events such as the Sept. 17 Constitution Day activities.

Election Commission Administrator Alan Farley calls the initiative a “model partnership” that actually extends beyond Rutherford County by assisting students in registering to cast ballots, including absentee ballots, in any Tennessee county. Of those registered thus far, 129 live outside of Rutherford County.

“I am very pleased with our initial results. The True Blue Voter initiative was able to engage and start the dialogue for civic engagement for many students,” Farley said. 

“This will grow with each incoming class at MTSU. I look forward to expanding upon the registration process by helping these, and other students already registered to vote, obtain their absentee ballots so they can cast their votes in the November general election.”

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Board of Trustees Chairman Stephen Smith joined Farley in introducing the drive earlier this summer at the Miller Education Center.

“Informed citizenship, followed by a duty and obligation to vote, is the cornerstone of the most free society the world has ever known — and that’s us,” said Smith, an MTSU alumnus. “And so, I am thrilled to witness this dream, and the goal of our students in action and interaction, become a reality.”

McPhee said CUSTOMS “presented a tremendous opportunity to provide an easy and convenient way for students to register to vote,” while the initiative itself “helps mitigate the roadblocks and walks students through the steps of requesting an absentee ballot and casting their vote by mail.” 

True Blue Voter will also provide registration information at the recently announced Sept. 20 Gubernatorial Forum at Murphy Center. Forum details are available at

For more information about the new True Blue Voter Initiative, visit the website at contact Cathy Sgambati, public relations specialist, at 615-898-5348 or

[038] ‘MTSU On the Record’ explores media interpretations of prisons

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program will put the media’s depiction of correctional facilities into focus.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Katie Foss, an associate professor of journalism, will air from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, and from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 12, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and

Foss is the editor of “Demystifying the Big House: Exploring Prison Experience and Media Representations,” a collection of academic essays about various aspects of prison life and the differences between reality and the images projected through movies and television.

“On the one hand, we’re definitely seeing the darker side of incarceration, certainly more about prison violence and some of the issues faced, I would say, by the underfunding of prisons,” Foss said. “But, at the same time, it’s still very much a distorted view that still features prison guards largely as the good guys, like they were in the past.”

Essay topics include death row inmates, prisoners’ wives, breastfeeding in prison, transgender inmates, volunteers who work behind bars and the Netflix program “Orange is the New Black.”

In addition to Foss, MTSU contributors include Clare Bratten, a professor emerita of electronic media communication, and Meredith Dye, an associate professor of sociology.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to

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

[037] Latest MTSU Magazine highlights alumnus and Tennessee Titan All-Pro safety Kevin Byard

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — The July 2018 edition of MTSU Magazineprofiles alumnus Kevin Byard (’15), who traveled a road from poverty to MTSU to All-Pro status in the NFL.

All of Byard’s accolades last season also represented the latest steps in the story of an overlooked overachiever, one who overcame a challenging family background and the doubts of every college that failed to recruit him.

He could have fallen off track as a young teenager, when he was forced to play a father-figure role for five younger siblings. He could have faltered during his senior year in high school, when he was snubbed by nearly every college.

Instead, Byard adjusted and excelled so well that he became an all-conference player at MTSU and now is already recognized as one of the NFL’s best safeties as a key member of the Tennessee Titans defense.

“A lot of people come from a tough background, a tough upbringing, and a tough home life,” MTSU football coach Rick Stockstill said. “Some use that as an excuse. They’ll say, ‘Well, I didn’t have this. I didn’t have that.’ They let their situation define them.

“But Kevin Byard was the complete opposite. He was never going to use his own upbringing — or anything he didn’t have growing up — as a crutch or as an excuse.”

Other articles in the new edition of the magazine include:
·      A look behind the scenes at the innovative, tech-savvy educators transforming MTSU into a national model for student success;
·      A closer look at one of MTSU’s newest educational centers, which demystifies Chinese culture for MTSU students and local citizens alike;
·      A transcript of a recent commencement speech delivered by alumnus and MTSU Board of Trustees Chair Stephen B. “Steve” Smith, which contains an important message for our time.

Printed copies of MTSU Magazine are distributed twice annually to more than 109,000 alumni readers. An electronic, flip-page version of the latest edition is available at MTSU Magazine stories are also available online at

[036] MTSU True Blue Tour kicks off Aug. 21 in Rutherford County

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —The MTSU True Blue Tour, a longtime tradition as the university travels to recruit prospective students, will launch this year right here in Rutherford County on the Blue Raider campus.

MTSU invites potential students from public, private and home schools, to attend a reception from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 21, in the Student Union Ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd., in Murfreesboro. To register, visit find parking, visit

Students and their family members from RutherfordBedfordCannonCoffeeWarrenand other adjacent counties are welcome to attend.

The university plans to make Murfreesboro the first stop for the 14-city tour as the university travels across Tennessee and to Georgia, Alabama and Kentucky to recruit students for 2019 and beyond.

“We are truly excited to be hosting a True Blue Tour stop in Murfreesboro,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee said. “It is quite fitting we launch the tour this year on our campus. I look forward to meeting and talking to another outstanding group of students and their parents as they consider becoming a part of our Blue Raider family.”

At the reception, prospective students and their parents will learn more about MTSU. They will meet and speak to administrators, students and staff, ask questions about financial aid, academic programs, housing, the Honors College and more. Potential transfer students also are welcome.

Attendees can enjoy light refreshments and register to win scholarships, certificates for an iPad, bookstore gift cards and other prizes.

Meanwhile, the Middle Tennessee Counselor/Community College staff luncheon will be held at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Student Union Ballroom. All area high school counselors and community college staff are welcome. To register, visit

Along with upcoming campus preview day information for the fall, the complete True Blue Tour schedule for the other 13 stops will be announced soon. On Thursday (Aug. 2), MTSU mailed out more than 57,000 invitations to prospective students across the nation.

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

[035] MTSU ‘Pigskin’ kickoff scholarship fundraiser brews at Hop Springs Farm

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —A new venue with a growing connection to MTSU’s fermentation scienceprogram will be on tap for Blue Raider fans attending the annual Pigskin Pregame, the kickoff to the 2018 football season.

Steel Barrel Brewery at Hop Springs Farm, 6790 John Bragg Highway, will be the site for the event starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, with tickets now available for purchase. Tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at

“Pigskin Pregame has been a Blue Raider tradition for more than 20 years,” said Blaire Buergler, an Office of Alumni Relationsassistant director. “It comes during an exciting time of the year — where we are preparing to greet students as they return to campus and counting down to football.”

As for the new location, Buergler said the Alumni Association “is thrilled to host this year’s event at Hop Springs. While still working on the space’s finishing touches, they have already been a great university partner. We are hopeful the excitement around this new venue will bring many new faces to the event and have already seen support from new sponsors. We invite all community members to join us in August for this annual celebration.”

Pigskin Pregame is an annual fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, which is awarded to children and grandchildren of MTSU alumni, Buergler said.

The Alumni Associationwill award $1,000 scholarships — $500 in the fall and $500 in the spring semester — to students again this year. Eligible sophomores, juniors and seniors are considered. Pigskin Pregame has raised more than $70,000 during the past eight years.

Party patrons will be among the first in the area to enjoy this property, as its official grand opening has been delayed until sometime in September, Buergler said. Eventually, fermentation sciencestudents will conduct research in the business’s laboratory. 

Fermentation science program director Tony Johnstonsaid he and students will be on hand to answer questions, brochures will be available, there will be a floor plan of the laboratory layout and an opportunity for attendees to participate in a simple sensory science exercise.

“This brief test will demonstrate the type of testing we’ll be able to accomplish in the Sensory Lab when construction is completed,” Johnston said. “I encourage everyone to participate until our supplies run out. Everyone who participates will be given their ‘results,’ which doesn’t normally occur when a person participates in formal sensory testing. It’s going to be a great experience for all.”

In addition to football coach Rick Stockstill, head coaches in other men’s and women’s sports at MTSU are likely to attend the event, which will be held rain or shine.

Music will be provided by alumni Jessilynn Kidd(Class of 2016) and her fiancée Cory Fisher(’17), who met in assistant professor Odie Blackmon’ssongwriting class, Buergler said.

Food will be catered by Slick Pig Bar-B-Q.

Platinum-level sponsors include First Tennessee Bank; J. Harmon, Home Team of Keller Williams; Shalag US Inc.; and Guy and Maggie Wilson.

The Blue Raiders open the season at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 1, against Vanderbilt in Nashville. Their home opener in Floyd Stadium will be at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, against Tennessee-Martin.

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

[034] 850-plus MTSU grads will celebrate new lifetime accomplishment at Aug. 11 summer commencement

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. More than 850MTSU students are preparing to celebrate receiving their hard-earned degrees at the university’s summer 2018 commencementceremony, set next Saturday, Aug. 11, in Hale Arena inside Murphy Center. 

The ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m. Aug. 11, will feature a special commencement address from MTSU professor Joey Gray, the outgoing president of the university's Faculty Senate, director of MTSU’s Leisure, Sport and Tourism Studies Program, and an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

Friends, families and supporters who can’t attend in person can watch the Aug. 11 ceremony live online at university will provide closed-captioning services for the live video stream as well as American Sign Language interpretation at the ceremony.

The live commencement coverage will begin about 15 minutes before the ceremony starts.

The university Registrar’s Office reports that 858 students are preparing to graduatefrom MTSU this summer, including 646 undergraduates and 212 graduate students. The latter number includes 171 master’s candidates, 25 education-specialist degree recipients and 16 doctoral candidates. 

Students from all nine of MTSU’s colleges — Graduate Studies, Basic and Applied Sciences, the Jones College of Business, Education, Behavioral and Health Sciences, Liberal Arts, Media and Entertainment, the University Collegeand the University Honors College— will receive their degrees during the summer ceremony. An official program listing all the graduates is available at

MTSU’s commencement ceremonies are always free and open to the public. A printable campus map with parking details is available at, and a seating chart of Murphy Center, including access for guests who use wheelchairs or have other mobility issues, is available at

Professor Gray, who earned her master’s degree in parks, recreation and tourism management from North Carolina State University and her doctorate in leisure behavior from Indiana University, has been a member of the MTSU faculty since 2006.

Her dedication to students has earned her not only the gratitude of those scholars but recognition from her peers and employers, including the 2017 MTSU Outstanding Teaching Award. Gray has served in MTSU’s Faculty Senate for about six years and is completing her tenure as the group’s president with the end of this 2017-18 academic year. She’s also a member of the University Honors College faculty and College of Graduate Studies faculty and teaches in MTSU’s Experiential Learning Program and MT Engage Program.

The Aug. 11 ceremony may last up to two hours, and all graduating students must remain for the entire event. 

University officials are urging guests to arrive early to ease traffic congestion around Murphy Center and help ensure comfortable seating for everyone inside Hale Arena. Motorists also should avoid Middle Tennessee Boulevard because of ongoing construction; alternate route suggestions are available at

Graduation information — including links to maps and driving directions to MTSU, cap-and-gown information, official photographs and contacts for the Registrar’s Office — is available anytime at

The university’s 2018-19 academic year begins Monday, Aug. 27, with the first official day of fall 2018 classesUniversity Convocation, a public ceremony welcoming new freshmen into the MTSU family, is set for Saturday, Aug. 25, at 5 p.m. in Murphy Center and will feature Bryan Stevenson, author of MTSU’s Summer Reading Selection, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” as guest speaker.

[033] MTSU alumna Heather Knox chosen as state finalist for national teaching award

MTSU alumna Heather Knox has been selected as a Tennessee State Finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. 

According to the Murfreesboro City Schools news release, this award is the highest in the nation for K-12 math and science teachers and is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Knox received her master’s degree in education from MTSU and doctorate from Carson-Newman. She currently teaches at Northfield Elementary and has been teaching at Murfreesboro City Schools since 2012.

“Heather is a gifted teacher who inspires students to achieve their highest potential,” said Linda Gilbert, director of schools, in the release. “She exemplifies the spirit of learning.”

Each year, up to 108 teachers are recommended by a national committee of distinguished scientists, mathematicians and educators to receive the PAEMST award, the release states. 

Awards are given to mathematics and science (including computer science) teachers from each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Department of Defense Education Activity schools, or the U.S. territories as a group (American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands).

As a state finalist, Knox will be recognized by Tennessee Department of Education Commissioner Candice McQueen at an awards ceremony in the fall.

Northfield Elementary principal Gene Loyd praised Knox for her work in the classroom.

“Heather has a talent for teaching and a love for students,” Loyd said.

Award winners travelto Washington, D.C., where they are given networking opportunities, a presidential certificate and also a $10,000 monetary award provided by the National Science Foundation. 

For more information about Murfreesboro City Schools, visit

[032] MTSU students honored for learning by doing in recording, communication fields

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —Two MTSU graduates are being recognized for their exceptional achievements in the Experiential Learning Scholars Program.

The EXL Scholars Committee has chosen Johnsonville, South Carolina, native Ashton Prosser and Nashville, Tennessee, native Katherine McCann as winners of the Outstanding EXL Student Award for the 2017-2018 academic year. Both Prosser and McCann graduated with bachelor’s degrees in May 2018.

Designed to enhance student learning through practical experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting, the EXL Scholars Program at MTSU engages students directly in service learning projects.

Prosser, whose major was recording industry, was the first MTSU student to earn the distinction of EXL Scholar based solely upon her commercial songwriting courses.

“Ashton is an extremely talented singer and songwriter,” said Odie Blackmon, an assistant professor of recording industry. “I witnessed firsthand in my classes how she excelled at ‘hands-on’ learning projects and applied new skills in her work.”

Prosser said that attending studio sessions, working with professional sessions players and receiving their feedback has helped her develop the character traits necessary for her career.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to take on many different classes that have allowed me to express myself while learning,” Prosser said. “These classes require dedication, intellectual skill, work ethic and a desire to grow.”

McCann, whose major was organizational communication, completed an intensive research study on black female playwrights and their underrepresentation in the theatre world.

“With EXL, I have been forced to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and that has been the best thing possible for me,” McCann said.

McCann also audited an organization and created her own proposal to further communication consultation needs within that group.

“I have been able to assist the housing staff in reaching out to residents that wouldn’t necessarily voice concerns of their own,” McCann said. “With experiential learning, I would not have ever felt comfortable making changes in my own organization.”

To learn more about MTSU’s Experiential Learning Scholars Program, go to call the EXL office at 615-898-5542.

[031] Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame to induct seven into 2018 class

Ceremony set for Aug. 7 at Embassy Suites Hotel
MURFREESBORO, Tenn.— The Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame will honor seven outstanding Tennessee journalists, including one posthumously, during induction ceremonies at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 7, during the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters annual Conference at Murfreesboro’s Embassy Suites Hotel. 
This will mark the sixth class to be inducted into the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame located at Middle Tennessee State University. Previous class inductees may be found at
This year’s inductees include Knoxville News Sentinel editorial cartoonist Charlie Daniel; First Amendment advocate and retired veteran journalist Frank Gibson; Grand Ole Opry photographer and publicist Les Leverett; award-winning News 2 anchor Bob Mueller; veteran announcer and sportscaster Randy Smith; Tennessean investigative reporter Jerry Thompson(posthumous); and longtime Midstate journalist and columnist Dan Whittle.
Guest speakers include Ron Fryar, owner and publisher of the Cannon Courier and two-time past-president of the Tennessee Press Association; Whit Adamson, president of the Tennessee Association of Broadcasters; Ken Paulson, dean of MTSU College of Media and Entertainment and president of the Newseum Institute’s First Amendment Center; and Larry Burriss, president of the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame and MTSU journalism professor.
Immediately following the ceremony, a special free musical performance entitled “Freedom Sings: The Music that Changed America” will be presented by The Tennessee Association of Broadcasters and hosted by Paulson.   
The Tennessee Journalism Hall Fame is an independent partner with MTSU recognizing individuals who have distinguished themselves through news or business management, leadership in the industry, or in the ordinary practice of journalism.
Inductees can include reporters, writers, editors, publishers, news directors, and other managers as well as those who have excelled in advertising or public relations, and journalism advertising and PR education. Inductees may be living or deceased, native Tennesseans or non-natives who spent a substantial part of their career in Tennessee.
For more information about the Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame, visit www.tnjournalismhof.orgor contact Hooper Penuel, secretary, at 615-347-1672 or via email at
Here are expanded bios of this year’s class:
• Frank Gibson— A 52-year veteran award winning Middle Tennessee journalist and longtime Tennessean reporter and editor, Gibson has been a statewide advocate for journalists, the First Amendment and government transparency. Gibson was also founder and first director of the Tennessee Coalition for Open Government. 
• Les Leverett— A 36-year photographer and publicist capturing memories of Grand Ole Opry stars, Leverett has been described as the ultimate country music “gentleman photographer” whose images permanently preserves memories of southern Americana music. 
• Bob Mueller— A 10-time Emmy Award winning television news anchor/reporter, Mueller has over 25 years working in broadcast journalism and over 35 years working at WKRN-TV News 2, the ABC affiliate in Nashville. Mueller is also a recipient of the coveted George Foster Peabody National Award for excellence in investigative reporting.
• Randy Smith— Sportscaster for over 46 years, completing over 500 telecasts as an analyst, Smith is a former staff announcer with the Vol Network and is the first sportscaster inducted into the Greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame. 
• Jerry Thompson (posthumous)— Nicknamed “Tub” for having a robust tummy, the longtime Tennessean investigative reporter and columnist has been described as “a role model for how to live life to the fullest.” Thompson won a National Headliner Award, one of journalism’s most prestigious citations, and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his undercover investigative reporting series on the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1980s. He died in 2000.
• Dan Whittle— Co-founder of Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame and 50-year champion of the First Amendment, Whittle was a longtime newspaper reporter, columnist and community activist and currently serves as the popular co-host of “The Truman Show” on Murfreesboro’s WGNS Radio. 

[030] Special awards highlight MTSU Graduating Veterans Stole Ceremony

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —Reflecting on the Journey Award she had just received minutes earlier during the 11thGraduating Veterans Stole Ceremony Wednesday (Aug. 1), MTSU student veteran Jackie Evanspaused briefly.

“It makes me realize I was making a difference in the (Charlie and Hazel Daniels) Veterans Center,” the Florence, South Carolina, native said. “I worked there two years while I was getting my degree. I worked hard to serve others. It’s nice to be recognized.”

David Corlew, who has worked with country music legend Charlie Danielsfor 46 years and is a founding board member with The Journey Home Project, gave the Journey Award to Evans, who was accompanied by her husband, Roderick, a Marine recruiter in Brentwood, Tennessee.

It is awarded to a student veteran that has overcome significant adversity and transitioned into an unsung hero for student veterans and the Daniels Center.

During the ceremony held in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium on Bell Street, the university recognized student veterans for not only their service to their country, but for finishing their dream of obtaining a college degree.

Nine graduating veterans received their red stoles, which they can wear during the upcoming commencement ceremony Saturday, Aug. 11, in Murphy Center. Twenty-seven student veterans will graduate that morning.

Evans was active duty from 2011-15 in the U.S. Marine Corps as an aviation maintenance data specialist, reaching the rank of sergeant with one tour in Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom. She majored in leisure and sport management, will graduate with a 4.0 GPA and plans to pursue her master’s in that concentration and continue working in the veterans center.

“For MTSU to be so invested — with the center and services (offered), it means a lot,” Evans added. “It helps with the transitioning process.”

Deb Sells, vice president of Student Affairs and vice provost for Enrollment and Academic Services, presented the Veteran Leadership Award given to the student veteran that has demonstrated superior leadership, academic achievement and selfless service to MTSU and the community.

Recipient Brooke Snellwas unable to attend because of a Marine commitment at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Snell served 10 years (2004-14) in the Marines as an electrician and ground safety specialist. She deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and achieved the rank of sergeant. She will have bachelor’s and master’s degrees in leisure sport and tourism studies. At MTSU, she helped mentor student-athletes.

Aerospace professional pilot major Colton Gray, 27, of Port Charlotte, Florida, said he “came here for school” after his U.S. Army stint. “I didn’t know anyone in Tennessee.” But he knew about the program.

“The reputation this school has exceeded my expectations,” he said. As for the veterans center, “It’s incredible. A lot of schools say they support veterans. Dr. (Hilary) Miller(center director) will work day or night to take care of you and that means a lot.”

Gray will go to work for Republic Airlines, which works with Delta, American and United, following graduation.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee told the student veterans “the stoles that you receive today symbolize the high regard that we hold for the noble decision that you made to serve this country so the rest of us can live our lives freely.”

“In presenting these stoles,” he added, “we say thank you for your service and for choosing MTSU as the next stop on your career path. You represent the epitome of Red, White and True Blue. I look forward to seeing you in your stole at commencement and awarding your diploma.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber, MTSU’s senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, told the audience “the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans Center is a national treasure. We get calls from all around the world. We want to assist in your transition (from military to student and from graduated student to employed in the workforce). We’re here to serve. 

Representatives from Waffle House, Mission BBQ and other businesses also attended to potentially meet prospective job-seekers.

Suzanne Jene, deputy health system director for the VA Tennessee Valley Healthcare System, and Jennifer Vedral-Baron, director of the Tennessee Valley Health Care System, were among those in attendance. Huber also introduced Jill Shaver, a local quilter who is part of the Quilts of Valor organization making quilts for veterans.

For more on the veterans center, call 615-904-8347 or visit

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

[029] Almost $1.4B in Tenn. exports could be targeted in trade war: MTSU professor

Potentially up to $600M in lost foreign sales next year

Steven Livingston, associate director of MTSU’s Business and Economic Research Center, recently outlined potential impacts on Tennessee exports from a trade war.

According to Livingston, Tennessee exports worth $1.38 billion are on the lists of goods that the EU, China, Canada, and Mexico will retaliate against following President Donald Trump’s recent decisions to impose tariffs on steel, aluminum and several other products.  This equals about 4 percent of all Tennessee trade.  

Whiskey is by far the largest export that will be impacted, though the state’s boat manufacturers, hybrid vehicle manufacturers, cotton growers, solar heater makers, and pulp and paper companies “all will find themselves in the cross hairs,” Livingston notes.

“It is very likely that this first round of the ‘trade war,’ if it continues, will cost these and other affected Tennessee industries some $400 million to $600 million in lost foreign sales next year.”

Read Livingston’s full assessment, which includes graphs and charts, at

[028] MTSU names 2018-19 Distinguished, Young Alumni honorees; five True Blue Citations of Distinction recipients recognized

Awardees will be recognized during Oct. 19 Homecoming Week reception

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State Universityis again recognizing outstanding alumni who represent excellence and distinction through their professional careers, loyal support and service to the broader community. 

From 1960 to present, the MTSU Alumni Associationhas recognized accomplished alumni with the association’s highest honor: the Distinguished Alumni Award

This year’s recipient is Nic Dugger of Nashville, Tennessee, who has enjoyed an extensive career in the broadcasting field since he was 12 years old.

This year’s Young Alumni Achievement Award, given to a graduate age 35 or younger making a positive impact in the world, goes to Casey Pash of Columbia, South Carolina, who has consistently embodied leadership and service from her time as a student to present day.

For the fifth consecutive year, True Blue Citations of Distinctionare being awarded. Categories and this year’s honorees include:

• Achievement in Education (MTSU faculty) —Frank Michello of Murfreesboro, who has exceled at teaching, research and service in a 30-plus year career at MTSU.
• Achievement in Education (non-MTSU) — Mark Hall of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who is one of the nation’s leading scholars in the areas of health care, public policy and bioethics at the Wake Forest University School of Law.
• Service to University —Tom and Martha Boyd of Lebanon, Tennessee, who established the Tom and Martha Boyd Endowed Lecture in Ethical Leadership at MTSU in 2011.
• Service to Community —Whit Turnbow of Murfreesboro, former senior associate athletic director and golf coach, who helped create the True Blue Turnbow Project to provide coats for those who need them in cold weather.

Awards will be presented during Homecoming Week at the Distinguished Alumni Awards Reception, which will be held at 4 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19, in the Sam H. Ingram Building, 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd.

The public is invited. It is a free event, but organizers request RSVPs to plan for food and space. To register, RSVP to find parking at the Ingram Building, visit a printable campus map.

Here are more details about the 2018-19 honorees:

Distinguished Alumnus
Nic Dugger (Class of 2000), College of Media and Entertainment

Dugger began his television career in Jackson, Tennessee. While an MTSU student, he became the student TV station manager as a freshman. While working on countless mobile production and years of production work with MT10, Dugger also worked as a freelance producer and editor.

After graduation, Dugger worked on milestone projects with the Discovery Channel and National Geographic, such as the first live multi-camera production from an active volcano and the first underwater ocean-to-ocean broadcast. In 2004, he founded his company TNDV and completed the construction of his first mobile television production truck. His fleet has grown to eight mobile trucks, which have been used for major television events from presidential inaugurations to awards shows, sporting events and other live productions. It is now the largest mobile television production facility provider in the Southeast. National productions can be seen nightly on PBS, CMT, GAC, ABC and other networks.

Including being an MTSU College of Media and Entertainment Wall of Fame member, 41-time Emmy Award nominee (12-time recipient) and serving on the Dean’s Board of Trust, Dugger has numerous personal honors. He is a continual supporter of the College of Media and Entertainment, including the donation of equipment, providing the use of his production trucks to MTSU students, speaking to classes and mentoring and hiring students and graduates. 

Young Alumni
Casey Pash (Class of 2006), Jones College of Business

While a student, Pash was president of her sorority and grew it to one of the largest on campus and a very active Student Ambassador. She was part of the Student Ambassador group that developed and dedicated the beloved blue horseshoe that has taken on a symbol of tradition in Walnut Grove to this day.

A position with First Tennessee Bank, where she advanced quickly to become a private client relationship manager, helped her hold several board positions within groups such as Cable, Nashville Area Junior Chamber of Commerce, Young Leaders Council and others.  

After making a name for herself in Nashville, Pash was chosen to manage the Governor’s Residence for the Bill Haslam family, which oversaw all daily operations, residence staff and overseeing all projects and more than 100 events per year at the residence. While there, she was also serving MTSU on the Alumni Association board. In 2012, she became one of the youngest National Alumni Association presidents. Upon moving to South Carolina, Pash was chosen by then-Gov. Nikki Haley to be the executive director of The Original Six Foundation, a nonprofit focused on education, quality of life and job readiness initiatives. Pash earned an MBA and now serves as president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Greater South Carolina, serving 34 counties and providing leadership to 11,000 students, managing 500 volunteers and receiving a 5 Star Award from Junior Achievement USA.

True Blue Citations of Distinction

Achievement in Education (MTSU faculty) 
Frank Michello (Class of 1985), College of Basic and Applied Sciences

Michello has deep roots at MTSU. He has excelled at teaching, research and service during a 30-plus year career. He is director of the Master of Science in Finance, of which he founded and developed. Michello is admired by faculty and staff across campus who appreciate his versatility. Having taught effectively across the curriculum from undergraduate to graduate courses, both in the classroom and online, he is adept at teaching everything from introductory level instruction to highly technical specialized master’s course work.

Students praise Michello for being a great advocate for student success and involvement within the Jones College of Business. He is recognized through his teaching evaluations and through student word of mouth as an instructor who has high expectations of students while being fair and who delivers high-quality educational experiences to all. He places high value in preparing and providing students with a foundation of knowledge that will allow them to succeed in the finance world. His impact on the lives of MTSU students is evident from the many alumni who not only keep in touch, but credit Michello with opening doors to their finance careers.

Achievement in Education (non-MTSU) 
Mark Hall (Class of 1977), College of Liberal Arts

An MTSU honors graduate, Hall earned a law degree from the University of Chicago. He is director of the Health Law and Policy Program at Wake Forest’s School of Law. The author or editor of 20 books, including “Making Medical Spending Decisions” (Oxford University Press), and “Health Care Law and Ethics” (Aspen), he is engaged in research in the areas of health care reform, access to care by the uninsured and insurance regulation.

Hall has published scholarship in the law reviews at Berkeley, Chicago, Duke, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Stanford, and his articles have been reprinted in a dozen casebooks and anthologies. He also teaches in the university's graduate programs for bioethics and its MBA program, and he is on the research faculty at the medical school. Hall regularly consults with government officials, foundations and think tanks about health care public policy issues. He has served on the MTSU Honors Board of Visitors, has consistently contributed to an undergraduate fund and has returned to campus to discuss health care.

Service to the University
Tom Boyd (Class of 1972), Jones College of Business
and Martha Boyd (’72 and ’73), College of Education

The Boyds’ vision launched in 2016 with a weeklong inaugural event that involved faculty, students, alumni and business leaders. Tom and Martha Boyd Ethical Leadership Week has grown to engage more than 30 community leaders and hundreds of students speaking candidly about ethics challenges in business. From this vision, a student ethics organization has also been formed.

Tom Boyd, a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council in the Jones College of Business, helped convene a panel of alumni to assist the assistant dean for Assessment and Assurance of Learning in the college to evaluate the program’s success. The Tom and Martha Boyd Ethical Leadership Week is seen as a key initiative that helps MTSU prepare students not just with technical knowledge, but with integrity and real-world skills.

The Boyds also have served MTSU in several other capacities including: former member of the Foundation board, College of Business Advisory Board, speaker at the Executive in Residence program, Walnut Grove Society members, BRAA members and season ticket holders for football and basketball (men and women) for many years. In 2011, he was honored with the Jones College Exemplar Award, which is presented to a Jones College alumnus whose personal and professional accomplishments demonstrate that future MTSU graduates can also achieve at a high level. 

Service to the Community
Whit Turnbow (Class of 2000),
Colleges of Education and Behavioral and Health Science

After seeing a young man waiting at a bus stop in 9-degree weather without a jacket, Turnbow tweeted, asking if anyone knew someone who needed a coat. From there, the True Blue Turnbow Project was born. Calls and donations came pouring in and from there Turnbow partnered with the Murfreesboro City, Rutherford County and Bedford County schools as well as MTSU Murphy Center for collection and distribution. He turned a simple social media post into an annual coat drive keeping thousands warm during winter months, delivering more than 5,000 coats.

After a battle with cancer, Turnbow is now sharing his personal experiences through messages of faith, love and family. His keynote presentations around the community offer words of hope, strength and growth. One particular engagement was viewed more than 75,000 times. Nominator Lori Warise writes, “In my mind, Whit Turnbow is a living representation of the True Blue Pledge!”

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

[027] Public, MTSU community invited to Aug. 1 Stole Ceremony

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. —The general public and MTSU community are invited to the upcoming 11th Stole Ceremonyfor graduating student veterans.

The event, which is coordinated by the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, will be held starting at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 1, in the second-floor atrium of the Miller Education Center, 503 Bell St., in Murfreesboro.

To view a campus map, which includes a special inset for the Miller Education Center near North Highland Avenue, visit

Student veterans will receive a special red stole to be worn during the 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, commencement ceremony in Murphy Center.

More than 40 student veterans are scheduled to graduate in August.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, Provost Mark Byrnes and retired Army Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber, senior adviser for veterans and leadership initiatives, will share remarks. 

Two major awards will be presented during the ceremony.

MTSUhas more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.