Dining, dancing, parading, picnicking, celebrating a big Pioneer football victory,giving honor to outstanding alumni and friends and lots of other activities were part of Homecoming 2007, “Pioneers Through the Years,” held Oct. 5 and 6 at Tusculum College.
Numerous honors were given out during the weekend. The most visible was, of course, the crowning of the 2007 Homecoming King and Queen at halftime of the Saturday afternoon football game. Dexter Carr of Newport, Tenn., and Tamara Wynn of Hendersonville, N.C., both seniors, were crowned as Homecoming King and Queen. Carr is a physical education major, and Wynn is an English major. Both are members of the Bonner Leader student service organization on campus.
Retired faculty member Wess duBrisk and alumnus Nicholas Hirschy ’02, along with former Director of Athletics Ed Hoffmeyer and his wife, Linda, were among those honored at Tusculum College on Saturday during special Homecoming events, as were alums Roger and Sanda Abramson ’64 ’65.
Other local honorees during the weekend were former TC men’s basketball coach and athletic director Mike Hollowell of Greeneville, who was named to the College’s Sports Hall of Fame, as was All-American golfer and Greenevillian Todd Ricker ’96. Also entered into the Hall of Fame was All-American kicker and punter Paul Czerniak ’03, a Californian.
The Sports Hall of Fame honors were presented in ceremonies held in conjunction with the Sports Hall of Fame/All-Alumni Breakfast in the Niswonger Commons.
The Hoffmeyers were jointly presented the Sports Benefactor Award at the Saturday breakfast. The Sports Benefactor Award was established by the Executive committee of the Alumni Association in 1995 and is presented each year to a friend or friends of the college in recognition of outstanding support of the Tusculum College athletic program.
Ed Hoffmeyer spent nine years as Director of Athletics at Tusculum College until leaving earlier this year to take over the admissions program at Mars Hill College in North Carolina.
Presenting the award, Interim President Dr. Russell Nichols said, “Since their arrival at Tusculum, Ed and Linda attended almost every home athletic eventŠ that’s for all 14 sports, which comes out to almost 1,100 home games, and not including the numerous road contests the couple traveled to in supporting the Pioneers. All this while maintaining two residences, one in Tennessee and the other in North Carolina.
“Many a day or night, Linda would make the trip from Asheville to Tusculum for a football, volleyball or basketball game or attend a college function with Ed, this after a full day of teaching. She would either head back to North Carolina after the game or early the next morning; sometimes in good weather and sometimes not.”
The Hoffmeyers accepted the award together, with an emotional Ed Hoffmeyer praising his wife for her loving support of him and the athletics program he oversaw for nearly a decade.
duBRISK LAUDED AS EDUCATOR
Wess duBrisk, who retired in 2005 after a 22-year career at Tusculum College, was presented the National Living Faculty Award by the Tusculum College Alumni Association, which held its annual meeting on Saturday. Presenting the award to duBrisk was one of his former students, Tusculum College 2004 alumnus B.J. Roberts, now a graduate student at the University of Tennessee.
Roberts described duBrisk’s career in broad strokes, noting his wide range of professional and personal activities, most of them dealing in some way with media or the performing arts.
Roberts further said, “Whatever he does, Wess is always true to the phrase he used to sign off on his radio shows in Southeast Asia during the Viet Nam ConflictŠ ‘Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, do it well, and above all – keep smiling!’”
Roberts, who attended South Greene High School before attending Tusculum, said that duBrisk has become a personal friend and mentor over the years, and has inspired him to become a college professor someday. duBrisk expressed his thanks for the honor to the assembled Alumni Association.
Present to see her husband honored was Marilyn duBrisk, artist-in-residence at Tusculum College.
HIRSCHY WINS MAJOR HONOR
Receiving the Frontier Award of the Alumni Association was Nick Hirschy, a branch manager with American Patriot Bank and a 2002 graduate of Tusculum College.
The Frontier Award was established in 1995 and is presented each year to an outstanding alumnus or alumna in recognition of outstanding or meritorious career advancement. Consideration is given to former students who have been graduated from the college at least five years, but no more than 15 years, and who have demonstrated continuing and loyal service to Tusculum College.
Hirschy moved back to his hometown of Blacksburg, SC after his graduation from Tusculum, but returned to Greene County to enter the banking business. He began as a teller but advanced quickly to his current bank manager position.
Hirschy and his wife, the former Crystal Lynette Codgell ’04, live in Afton. Crystal Hirschy works with the Admission Department of Tusculum College.
ABRAMSONS HONORED WITH PIONEER AWARD
Presented the 2007 Pioneer Award, given to someone who represents Tusculum’s vision on civic service to not only the college but in the community in which they reside, were Roger and Sanda Abramson ’64 ’65, who now live in Antioch. Presenting their award was their daughter, Lauren Abramson ’02 of Nashville.
The Abramson couple met at Tusculum and have been married 41 years. Both have been extraordinarily active in community service.
Roger, a retired regional marketing manager for the Dr Pepper Company, volunteers on the Red Cross National Disaster Team, where in recent years he has traveled to Florida to assist tornado victims and Pennsylvania to help flood victims. He helped Hurricane Katrina victims find new opportunities in Nashville. He volunteers for the Nashville Sports Council and is involved with the Boy Scouts of America, receiving the Wood Badge Award, the Long Rifle, and the Silver Beaver, the highest local council award given to a leader in the Boy Scouts. He currently oversees a cub scout pack at Arlington United Methodist, where he is also a member.
Sanda has been a member the Girl Scouts of the USA for 57 years, and has received the Thanks Badge — the highest award given to an adult leader. She is an assistant leader of a troop at the Tennessee School for the Blind. For the last 28 years, she has been a member of the Boy Scouts of America where to this day she is leading two cub scout packs in Nashville. Her enthusiasm in Scouting has led to 35 young men to receive the Eagle Award as well as a number of Girl Scouts receiving the Gold Award-the highest award in Girl Scouting.
The Boy Scouts have also honored Sanda by giving her the Wood Badge Award, the Long Rifle and the Silver Beaver award, making her one of the few women in the State of Tennessee to receive the highest leader award in both Scouting Associations. She has volunteered with Saddle Up!, a therapeutic horseback riding program. She received the lifetime PTA award and has volunteered with the 4-H clubs in the area. Both Abramsons volunteered for the Nashville Dog Training Club, and are involved in animal rescue. She is a retired Girl Scout Executive.
The Abramsons are charter members of Priest Lake Presbyterian, where Roger is an Elder. Presently, they are members at Arlington United Methodist where each have served on a variety of committees, and are active volunteers.
TRUSTEE BROTHERTON ADDRESSES ALUMNI
Also participating in the Alumni Association meeting was Dr. Larry Brotherton ’70, a member of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees who addressed the Alumni Association on behalf of the trustees. Brotherton grew up in Romeo in Greene County and now is a successful industrialist in South Carolina.
Brotherton discussed his “passionate” belief in his Alma Mater and shared an anecdote from his first meeting as a trustee, which occurred the day after fellow trustee Scott M. Niswonger ’87 H’06 had just announced a major challenge pledge to a Tusculum College capital campaign under way at that time. The chairman of the board when Brotherton joined it was Dr. Stanley R. Welty Jr. ’51 ‘H05, who passed away this year.
Brotherton recalled that Welty, reacting to Niswonger’s gift of the previous day, told the trustees that he had been unable to sleep well the night before, thinking about Niswonger’s challenge. Welty then announced a major pledge of his own. That was the start of a sequence of large pledges made by several other board members present that day, Brotherton said, noting that each of the givers echoed Welty’s comment regarding not having slept well the night before.
“I was sitting there hoping they wouldn’t get around to me, because I’d slept real well the night before,” Brotherton said, drawing laughter.
Brotherton then challenged his fellow alumni to also be passionate about their college and to support it not only through gifts (as Brotherton himself has done as a major donor for many years) but also through giving of their time and personal expertise.
PAXTON SCHOLARSHIP RENEWED
Honored by her daughter and son-in-law during the Homecoming event was Greeneville’s Mary Helen Paxton, who graduated from Tusculum in 1948 and also worked in the college’s business office for much of her life.
Paxton’s daughter, Jackie Rose, and Jackie’s husband, Glen, announced near the close of the Alumni Association meeting that they were renewing the Mary Helen Paxton Annual Scholarship, established last year, with a gift.
OTHER HOMECOMING HIGHLIGHTS
- Presented a certificate of thanks from the Institutional Advancement Office on Saturday were Jeff and Sharon Muncy of Greene County, who have worked as volunteers for Tusculum College Homecoming and other college-related functions.
- Tusculum College alumni who have passed away since Homecoming 2006 were remembered in a memorial service held prior to the meeting of the Alumni Association. Several relatives, classmates and friends of deceased alumni were present.
- Preceding the football game was a Homecoming parade through campus, this year featuring floats made by current students. Winning the float competition was the senior class, whose float closely followed the “Pioneers Through the Years” theme, contrasting a covered wagon with a modern automobile. Serving as grand marshals for the parade were members of the class of 1957, this year’s “Golden Pioneer,” or 50-year anniversary class.Classic vehicles were provided by the Ridgerunners Auto Club for use in the parade.
- Also contributing to the success of Homecoming was Myers Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze in the Bulls Gap area, whose Vera Ann Myers, Tusculum class of 1987, hosted several of her fellow alumni on Friday morning.
- A tea and reception for alumni was held on the terrace of the Library at Tusculum College on Friday afternoon, and alumni dinners were held at the General Morgan Inn and Conference Center on Friday and the Link Hills Country Club on Saturday.
- Also during Homecoming 2007 was an exhibit about college architecture in the Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, a picnic lunch joining alumni and students, an alumni/student tennis tournament, a golf tournament at River Trace Golf Course, an on-campus door decoration contest and a Pioneer Club Tailgate event prior to the football game.