Archive | December, 2009

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More than 300 receive degrees Saturday at Tusculum College

Posted on 20 December 2009 by srichey@tusculum.edu

Countless hours spent studying textbooks, writing papers and doing research came to fruition Saturday for 315 individuals who received degrees during Tusculum College’s winter commencement ceremonies on Saturday.

One hundred and seventy four earned Bachelor of Science degrees in organizational management during a morning ceremony. During an afternoon ceremony 49 earned Master of Arts degrees in education and 92 received Bachelor of Arts degrees.

The new graduates were addressed by Dr. Nancy B. Moody, participating in her first commencement ceremony at Tusculum College. Moody encouraged the students “to keep the College in your heart and in your mind.”  Adding, “You have made a commitment and stuck with it to the point that you have forever changed the direction of your life.”

Tammy Meadows of Bristol and Leslie England of Oliver Springs, who both earned Bachelor of Science degrees in organizational management (BSOM), were chosen by the faculty as speakers to represent their classmates in the morning ceremony.

England focused on her classmates, calling them “profound, memorable and inspirational.”  She added, “Tusculum is a good program, and excellent College and gave us the opportunity if we worked hard. We have a degree we can be proud of and that is respected by the business community.”moodyfirstdegreecutline1

Meadows recognized her fellow graduates as “hard-working adults who endeavored to make their lives better. She spoke of the various reasons many of them returned to school – to improve their job position, to open doors of opportunity or to serve as an inspiring example to others. She encouraged them to continue their journey and to “recognize their accomplishment as one that no one can ever take away from them.”

In the afternoon ceremony, Robbie Mitchell of Greeneville, who earned her Masters of Arts degree in education, encouraged her classmates to “remember who you are.” Mitchell told her fellow graduates that they now bear another name – Tusculum College graduate. “Spend some time reflecting on who you are and recognize that you have a sphere of influence that is unique to you.”

Brian Hand of Morristown thanked his classmate for their support and encouragement. “We have worked together to accomplish our goals.” He also thanked the faculty and staff who helped him to reach this point. After a career in law enforcement and service as a United States Marine, Hand plans to begin a new life as a teacher in Hamblen County. “It’s a chance for me to inspire and influence the future.”

Jarrell NeSmith of Russellville, Ala. was selected to speak as the representative of the Tusculum College residential college.  As one of the most decorated scholar-athletes in the College’s history, the pre-med major talked about the difficulties he found starting out and the tremendous support he found at Tusculum that helped him succeed.

“The faculty and staff here truly cared about their students,” he said. “We leave here equipped with the necessary skills to enter society and make a difference.”

Also speaking was Dr. Stephen R. Weisz, chaplain and associate professor of religious studies. Weisz presented a sermon titled, “The Heartlessness of Greed.” Weisz said that “wealth in and of its self is not evil. It’s what you do with it.” He encouraged the graduates to be successful, but to think of others and not just accumulate possessions and wealth for oneself.”

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Information on end-of-year gift giving to Tusculum College

Posted on 17 December 2009 by srichey@tusculum.edu

 If you intend to make a gift to Tusculum College before the end of the tax year, the Office of Institutional Advancement would like to remind you of a few things to keep in mind.

 Online giving is both easy and efficient. However, for your gift to be accepted as a 2009 calendar year gift, please submit your online gift no later than 3 p.m. Eastern time, on Thursday, December 31, 2009. Because IRS laws dictate that gifts must be in our control by December 31 for same-year tax credit, provisions will be made to ensure that on-line gifts are processed on the day they are received. Gifts made after 3 p.m. on December 31 will be posted to your record as of January 1, 2010. Online gifts can be made with VISA, MasterCard or Discover Card (Tusculum College does not accept American Express) at <http://www.tusculum.edu/giving>.pointsettiabouquet

 If you are sending your gift through the United States Postal Service, it will need to be postmarked no later than December 31, 2009. We do not suggest using Federal Express or UPS since gifts that come from these carriers are not considered in our control until we actually receive them, whereas a postmark on US Post is the point where the IRS considers a gift in the recipient’s control.

 If you would like to drop your gift off in person, the Institutional Advancement offices will be open on December 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30 from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and someone will be available to accept your gift.

 If you have any questions or concerns regarding your gift to the College, please call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 423-636-7303.

 We are grateful for your support of Tusculum College and thank you for your consideration of making a year-end gift as Tusculum depends on contributions of all sizes from alumni, parents and friends in order to sustain and enhance her excellence in liberal arts education.

 And remember, regardless of the amount you give, it is the act of giving that truly matters. Giving participation helps to increase the College’s standings in national ratings, like U.S. News and World Report. Even small gifts will help us maintain and improve our standing, ensuring that we continue to attract the best and brightest students.

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Hidden Treasure: Tusculum College Costume Shoppe is where the “magic” happens

Posted on 17 December 2009 by srichey@tusculum.edu

Rows of ribbons, shelves of hats, stacks of shoes and a colorful burst of fabrics delight the eye when entering the Arts Outreach Costume Shoppe on the campus of Tusculum College.

More than 20 years of dramatic history unfolds along the walls of the Costume Shoppe, with costumes from “The Wizard of Oz” snuggling next to the silky fabrics used for the eye-popping costumes of “The Mikado.”  A lion head towers over the room and a bejeweled crown sits by waiting on the next King Lear or King Midas.crowns

Now bursting at the seams, the Costume Shoppe got its start in 2002 and is funded in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. In addition to serving the College and its annual theatre and music productions, the Costume Shoppe also strives to meet the mission of the Arts Outreach program and offers its unique service to local schools and community groups.

The costumes are not rented, but are loaned out to schools and groups who use them for school plays, special events and community productions. The Costume Shoppe offers a wide assortment of costumes for Arts Outreach programs and any school performance, from full-scale musicals to single-student presentations. The only fees involved are that the garments must be cleaned before they are returned.

Last year there were 10 area schools that participated in the costume lending program, as well as the Jonesborough Reparatory Theater, Central Ballet Theater and a community group in Johnson City who borrowed several Civil War costumes, according to current Costume Director Barbara Holt.

But the marvel of visiting the Costume Shofabricsppe is the history of the past and the heart and soul of years of costume-makers who have brought the fabric to life in productions ranging from the “Bye Bye Birdie” to “Guys and Dolls,” and according to Holt, many of the pieces have be used, repurposed and used again. “It is not uncommon for some of these pieces to have been a part of two or more productions through the years.”

The Costume Shoppe allows for the storage of past costumes as well as donations that come in from local individuals and businesses that support the Arts Outreach program at the College. There are walls of thread and zippers, patterns and zebra prints that have been purchased, donated or reused for other garments through the years.

“This is a labor of love for me,” said Holt. “I love working with fabrics, and I love to sew. I am energized by the actors and have met some of the most amazing people. My life is enriched by just being part of the Arts Outreach program.”

Holt has been with the Arts Outreach program for the past 16 years in one capacity or another and took over as costume director in 2008. She has worked tirelessly to catalogue and organize the materials they have amassed through the years.barbarawithcostumescutline

“There are some amazing pieces here from people like Judith Plucker, Ann Birdwell and Debbie Close. There were such amazing people involved here through the years,” said Holt.

And while they do reuse many of the costumes in each production, each year the call comes for new costumes to be made. According to Holt, each production may take 1,000 or more hours in costume production. Much of the work is done by Holt and her army of volunteers (more than 90 on a production such as “The Wizard of Oz”), but in some cases outside help is needed.  Holt said it took upwards of 60 hours to make one kilt used in the production of “Brigadoon.”

“Barbara has been with me for more than 16 years when I first came to know her through her son, Seth, one of our performers,” said Marilyn duBrisk, artist-in-residence and director of arts outreach. “She is an absolute joy to work with and Tusculum College is so lucky to have her.”

She added, “There have been so many times when in the middle of production and she has literally 100 or more cast members to costume and she just manages to stay calm and inspire her volunteers.”

The Costume Shoppe and its many wonders are part of the magic of Tusculum College’s Arts Outreach programs and productions. And to make it all come alive, in the words of Peter Pan, all you need is “faith, trust and pixie dust” and maybe a zipper and a snap and a bolt of shiny, gold fabric.

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Seniors pass their legacy to underclassmen in Lantern Festival

Posted on 17 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

lanterndec1One of Tusculum College’s oldest traditions was renewed on Tuesday (December 15) as seniors passed on their legacy of campus leadership to underclassman in the Lantern Festival.

The evening also included one of the College’s newest traditions, the Golden Lantern presentation, in which the graduating seniors recognize the professors who made the most significant impact on their lives at Tusculum. Both ceremonies were held in the lobby of the Thomas J. Garland Library.

The Lantern Festival derives part of its significance from the College’s motto of “Sit Lux,” (Let There Be Light) and the lantern as a symbolic representation of that motto. The Lantern Bearers are selected from senior students who attain the honor through their leadership on campus, and the Lantern Festival gives those seniors the opportunity to pass the honor of being a Lantern Bearer to another upperclassman who will continue student leadership on campus.

The graduating seniors were welcomed by Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of the College, who commended them for all their hard work in reaching their educational goal. She also encouraged the students to use the occasion as a time to reflect on their friends who had helped them reach their goals as well as the faculty and staff members who assisted and mentored them.

Each of the graduating seniors then had the opportunity to pass their lantern and robe to a fellow student and briefly tell how that individual had made a difference in their lives at Tusculum.

Together the seniors and their chosen recipients placed their lanterns with others displayed at the ceremony to form a “T.”

lantern_newtonHeather Newton of Greeneville, Tenn., then addressed her fellow graduating seniors and the underclassmen in attendance. She encouraged the underclassmen to not give up even when the challenges look insurmountable and to seek help from those around them on campus because they will find friends, staff and faculty who are willing and want to help.

The ceremony then turned to the Golden Lantern pinning, in which the graduating seniors shared about the professor (s) who had had the most impact in their lives at the College. Recognized by the students were Dr. Angela Keaton, assistant professor of commons and history; Dr. David Key, assistant professor of history; Jeff Lokey, assistant professor of management; Dr. Debra McGinn, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Stephen Weisz, assocciate professor of religious studies. The faculty members received a golden lantern pin and a card written by the student expressing why he or she was chosen for the recognition.

A reception for the seniors followed the ceremony.

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Student finds career path through internship at Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

Posted on 17 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

webb_internshipInternships can help college students discover their specific area of interest in their career field or be instrumental in securing employment after graduation

For Kayla Webb, a museum studies major at Tusculum College, her senior internship has done both.

To fill a major requirement, Webb served this fall as an intern at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend. Webb, who is from Hartford, said she choose the Heritage Center as the place to complete her internship because “I grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains and wanted to know more about my heritage, and the center looked like a place where I could fit.”

And she did in many ways. Early in her internship, she worked in the collection storage area of the Heritage Center, which works to preserve, present and promote the heritage of East Tennessee mountain communities through gallery exhibits, demonstrations, festivals and special events.

Working in the Heritage Center allowed Webb to integrate what she had learned previously in the classroom and her experiences in museums outside of the classroom, she said.

In the storage area, she had the opportunity to learn more about the proper care to preserve the exhibit items and a chance to add to her previous classroom experience using the Past Perfect software package for museum data collection, record keeping and other operational functions.

Webb also assisted with special events at the Heritage Center. Preparing for the Blue Ribbon County Fair, Webb was able to use her art talent and skill to make signs for the event. She has minored in art at Tusculum.

However, on the day of the event designed to give children hands-on experience of what it was like to live on a farm long ago, it rained almost the whole day.  “That torrential downpour taught me a lot about flexibility,” she said.

Assisting with children’s programs that were originally supposed to be outside, Webb and the other staff members quickly organized events the children could do under a covered tent at the site.

The value of flexibility – not panicking but finding a solution when a problem arises – was the most important lesson Webb said she learned during her time at the Heritage Center. Working with the many educational programs that the center provides for children also helped emphasize that lesson, she said, as plans had to be changed at the last minute because groups arrived early or late, changes in program scheduling were wanted or students did not show up at all.

At first, Webb assisted the educational director with the children’s programs, but then taught on her own. In one program, she taught children three Native American games designed to improve basic counting skills and also introduce them to the lifestyle of the region’s earliest inhabitants. She then taught a clay pottery program that guided children through the steps of making a Native American clay pot of their own.

Using her art skills, Webb helped the education director improve the targets used in programs demonstrating Native American hunting methods. The target used for the blowgun demonstration was a traditional bull’s-eye. “I wanted to give the students an idea about what the Native Americans would be hunting with blowguns so I drew pictures of a squirrel, rabbit and pheasant that can be copied and used as targets.”

Her experience teaching at the Heritage Center has helped her decide that museum education is the area in which she would most like to work. When she sought the internship, “I wanted to do a little bit of everything because I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to pursue for a career,” she said.

The experience teaching, however, answered that question. “When you’re teaching and a student gets that spark in his or her eye from learning something new, that is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.”

Pleased with her artwork, the staff also asked Webb to make safety and directional signs fashioned from wooden shingles to replace existing laminated signs in its Historic Village.

Webb’s main project was to completely revise the center’s docent (tour guide) manual. The existing manual contained a great deal of information, she explained, but it was cumbersome to use.

Organizing and compiling a new manual, Webb’s objective was to make it easier to understand and use. She re-organized the information using a bullet-point format and added a new section of four appendices containing photos of each object on exhibit and its name.

In her experience in museums, Webb said she has noticed that the most frequent question asked by visitors is the name of an object in an exhibit, and the appendices will help guides be able to quickly identify the object and find something about it.

Web also added a resource section that included information about communicating at the appropriate age level of an audience, maps of the facility and a recommended reading list for those who wanted to learn more about areas covered in the manual.

Webb’s next step after graduation is also an opportunity that came to her through her work at the center. The directors of the center learned about a position at the Ramsey House Plantation historic house museum in Knoxville and told her about it. She applied for the position and the directors wrote letters of recommendation for her.

She now has a part-time position at the Ramsey House, which will become a full-time position in February. “I wouldn’t have gotten that job except for my internship.”

Webb also plans to continue her schooling in the future, most likely focusing on the area of museum education.

The college’s Museum Studies program is one of the few undergraduate museum studies programs in the nation, and its graduates have been successful in the museum field. Webb is the third graduate in a row that has a secured a position in the field prior to graduation.

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Wonder what you fellow alumni are up to? Check out these Class Notes

Posted on 17 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Wondering what your fellow class mates are up to? Who has gotten married or who has had a bouncing baby boy or girl?

Check out these listing of Class Notes. The College has received notes from alumni ranging from the 1930s through the 2000s. In this new feature of the Alumni E-newsletter, we will add updates monthly to the Class Notes, nuptial and birth announcements and the memorial section, where we remember those alumni who have passed away.


classnotes



30s

Dr. Morris Katz ’37 of Sarasota, FL, celebrated his 95th birthday on October 28, 2009. Dr. Katz is a retired physician.

40s

Anne Coriell Fee ’45 of Omaha, NE, writes, “Keep up the good work. I’m so proud of my Alma Mater.”

Jean-Marie “Jimmy” Mahon Barnes ’46 of Yarmouth Port, MA, shares the sad news that her husband, Norman, passed away in 2007. He had served for 35 years in the U.S. Foreign Service and then enjoyed 24 years of happy retirement on Cape Cod.

Morelle Swift Sweet ’46 of Basking Ridge, NJ, teaches two hours of fitness to seniors five days a week. One class is called “Fitter Sitters,” where her pupils sit. She also teaches aerobics, stretches, balance, weights and floor exercises.

50s

Constance Parker Sinkway ’52 of Glen Rock, NJ, is enjoying retirement, visiting the Adirondack Mountains and playing golf. She writes she has appreciates friends and the Class of 1952 and loves coming back to campus for Homecoming weekends.

Melvin Kinslow ’57 of Americus, GA, has retired after 50 years in education as a teacher, coach and administrator, all in Americus.

The Rev. Donald F. Garrett ’59 of Akron, NY, attended the Golden Pioneer 50th anniversary celebration of his class in May 2009, which included a luncheon and the opportunity for the class members to lead the procession of graduating students into the commencement ceremony. He and his wife, Sharon, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in August.

60s

Peggy Hayes Ottinger ’62 of Greeneville, TN, writes that she and her husband have spent much of the past year traveling to and from Nashville for treatment for her husband, Dallas. After Dallas’ cancer returned, he was referred to Vanderbilt University Hospital for stem cell replacement. After weeks of chemotherapy, Dallas had his own stem cells harvested in December and was in the hospital for nearly six weeks. Their children and in-laws helped take care of his needs. The couple stayed at a Hope Lodge during their stay in Nashville. Recently, the doctors told Dallas he could return to Greeneville for his next check-up. “What a blessing for all of us,” she writes.

Buddy Hawk ’65 of Greeneville, TN, was elected in June as an alderman for the Town of Greeneville. Hawk will serve a two-year term.

Henri Weems ’66 of McLean, VA, traveled in February with a team to New Orleans to assist Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) in the rehabilitation of houses damaged by Hurricane Katrina flooding. This year’s house, located in the lower Ninth Ward, belonged to a resident of New Orleans for the past 35 years. The team completed numerous tasks such as completing siding, installing kitchen cabinets, adding a new wall, and re-casing all the windows and front doors complete the siding. The team was able to accomplish all of these tasks and more. The team also learned that the PDA will be conclude its operations in the city in probably another year and half and move on to another location to help people rehabilitate homes. When its operations in New Orleans are complete, the PDA will have completed approximately 100 homes. For more details and photos of trip see Philadelphia Presbyterian Church: http://www.philadelphiachurch.org/philanola.cfm Henri can be reached by his classmates at hweems07@gmail.com.

James H. Cerven ’69 of Elberon, NJ, writes that he enjoyed Homecoming 2009 with his friends from the 1960s.

70s

Larry Brotherton ’70 of Easley, SC, has bee named the chairman of the board of CommunitySouth Financial Corp., the parent company of CommunitySouth Bank and Trust. Brotherton helped found the bank and has served on the board since 2004.

Jerry Giglio ’71 and his wife, Helen  (Lokken) ’68, are saddened at the recent loss of their son. Captain Nick Giglio, an Air Force F16 pilot, was killed after his aircraft collided with another F16 during night exercises on October 15.  Nick leaves a wife and one child. The family appreciates everyone’s thoughts and prayers, and anyone wishing to get in touch with the family can reach Jerry at train49man@aol.com.

Wayne Eichele ’73 of Ventura, CA, writes “It is hard to believe it has been 36 years since graduating from Tusculum College. They say your college years are some of the best years of your life. That certainly is true for me. The time spent living in Craig Hall and learning from all aspects of campus life prepared me for my overall life’s journey. I made many friends and have even many more fond memories of my college years at TC. I had the additional experience and honor of being a former Trustee which provided me with the opportunity to return to the campus several times a year for a few years. The many changes I witnessed were absolutely amazing and rewarding. Knowing that I participated in helping make a few of those changes was very gratifying. I have not been able to return to the campus since moving to California 11 years ago. I appreciate the many forms of communication which are available to the alumni to help keep us informed about the ongoing changes and events going on at TC. Current friends and hopefully new friends can contact me at: weichele@sbcglobal.net or 805- 653-2628 or 3143 Breaker Dr, Ventura, CA 93003.”

Laurie Gentinne ’77 of Dearborn, MI, would like to hear from everyone she knew while she was at Tusculum College and those who she met while teaching in Hawkins County. Her e-mail address is lgentinne@sbcglobal.net.

80s

Janet Sullivan Sabaka ’85 of St. George, GA, would love to hear from her old friends from Tusculum. Her e-mail is jsabaka@baker.k12.fl.us.

Reggie Bernard ’86 received a master’s of business administration degree in public administration from the University of Phoenix on June 30, 2009. Reggie earned his degree during a difficult time for his family as his ailing mother passed away on March 2, 2009, after fighting over 10 years with Parkison’s Disease.

Mike Fulkerson ’88 of Kingsport, TN, has been named principal of Roosevelt Elementary School in the Kingsport School System. He had been serving as an assistant principal at Dobyns-Bennett High School in the school system. Mike has more than 21 of experience education including 14 years as a teacher at Sevier Middle School and four years as assistant to the principal at the school.

90s

Diane McKeehan Mitchell ’90 of Athens, TN, has received the statewide Tennessee Technology Center Outstanding Administrative Staff Award. Mitchell is assistant director of the Tennessee Technology Center in Athens. She was nominated by her co-workers for the award, which is selected by a special committee appointed by the Tennessee Board of Regents. After teaching third grade in the Athens city school system for nine years, she jointed the center as a business systems technology instructor. She was then appointed student serves coordinator and became assistant director in 2002.

Dr. J. T. Vogt ’90, his wife Karen, and their children Samantha and James have moved from Leland, MS, to Fort Mill, SC.  Dr. Vogt spent eight years as a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Mississippi.  He now serves in a more applied role as technical and quality control director for Black Pest Prevention, Inc., headquartered in Charlotte, NC.  Dr. Vogt can be contacted at jvogt@blackpest.com.

Teresa Allgood Jones ’96 of Kingsport, TN, is the new principal at Joseph Roger Primary in the Hawkins County (TN) School System. Jones was Hawkins County Schools’ Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2008.

Jonathan Greene ’97 of Mohawk, TN, was appointed this summer as the Tennessee Region I International Trauma Life Support Coordinator. In this position, Greene is charged with improving patient care in eight Northeast Tennessee counties through the education of health care providers and instructors. He is a paramedic and training coordinator with the Greeneville-Greene County Emergency Medical Services.

Tim Parrott ’97 of Clinton, TN, has been named director of career and technical education for Anderson County (TN) Schools. Parrott began his career in the Anderson County school system as an instructor in machining in 1993, served as assistant principal at Clinton High School from 2002 to 2008 when he was named principal of the Anderson County Career and Technical Center. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Tusculum, Parrott earned his master’s degree and doctorate in instructional leadership from Tennessee Technological University.

00s

Michael Blakely, Sr., ’03 would love to hear from his classmates and learn what they have been doing since graduation. After earning his master’s degree, Blakeley has been very active and on the road frequently in a variety of geographic and diverse locales. He joined the Federal Disaster Team provided victim assistance following hurricanes, tornados, flooding, etc., in 2004. Blakely retired from the Tennessee Army National Guard (2/278th ACR) in 2005. He can be reached at MCBSR51@yahoo.com.

Josh Ealy ’07 has joined the Carson-Newman men’s basketball coaching staff as an assistant coach.  Ealy has spent the last two seasons at Appalachian State University as a graduate assistant and then an assistant coach. During his tenure with the Mountaineers, Ealy served as the team’s academic liason, coordinated film exchange and video editing and oversaw the expansion and development of Appalacian State’s summer camp program in addition to his on-court duties.

Rachel Barnard ’09 is teaching sixth grade science and social studies at Carpenter’s Middle School in Maryville, TN.

nuptials

Susan Starnes ’97 ’99 and Matt Brown ’97 were married March 21, 2009 in Hot Springs, NC.

Matt Riggs ’05 and Stephanie Blaylock were married on November 14, 2009. They are residing in their home town of Dayton, TN.

Michael James McClendon ’07 and Binta Naima Martin were married June 20, 2009. Following a wedding trip to Pigeon Forge and Atlanta, the couple is at home in Knoxville, TN. Michael is working for Whirlpool Corp.

Brandy Gilliam ’08 and Duane Randolph ’08 were married June 6, 2009 in a ceremony at the Doak House Museum on the Tusculum College campus. Brandy is working as a radiological control technician for the Safety and Ecology Corporation. Duane is an internal auditor at Security Finance Corporation.

births

leahedensJoe Case ’95 of Dandridge, TN, and his wife, Retha, celebrated the birth of a son, Noah Jefferson Case, on June 19. Noah weighed 9 lbs. and 1 ounce and was 20 and one-half inches long.

Brad Whitfield ’96 and Angela Massengill Whitfield ’97 of Toccoa, GA, celebrated the birth of a son, William “Baylor” Whitfield on June 8, 2009. Baylor weighed 4 pounds and 9 ounces and was 18 1/2 inches long.  Brad and Angela also have two girls, Emma, 8, and Erin, 5.

Sasha Catron ’06 and Beth Bryant Catron ’07 announce the birth of a daughter, Brylee Elizabeth, on June 5, 2009.

Josh Edens ’08 and his wife Ashley welcomed a daughter, Leah Faith Edens, on June 6. She weighed 6 lbs. and 11 ounces and was over 19 inches long. Ashley began working in the Financial Aid Office at the College in July. Leah’s proud grandmother, Kelly Edens, works in the Graduate and Professional Studies Office on the Greeneville campus.

memorials

40s

Elsie Zepht Young ’42 of Cardinal Village, NJ, formerly of Linden, NJ, passed away October 6, 2008.

Dorothy McAmis Linebarger ’44 of Greeneville, TN, passed away August 4, 2009. Mrs. Linebarger was a retired teacher with the Head Start program and was a homemaker. She was an active member of Reformation Lutheran Church and a charter member of “The Bridge Club,” having been a member since 1950.  Her survivors include Tusculum alumni sister Mary McAmis Smith ’53, sister and brother in-law Dick and Betty (McAmis) King ’51 ’50, and sister-in-law Phyllis Pierce McAmis ’50.

Sylvia Elizabeth Palmer ’44 of Greeneville, TN, passed away June 3, 2009. Miss Palmer was a cartographer, beginning her career with the Tennessee Valley Authority in Chattanooga. She later moved to Washington, D.C., where she joined the U.S. Army Map Service from which she retired as head of the relief map division. After her retirement, she returned to Greeneville. She was active at Asbury United Methodist Church in Greeneville, serving for several years as a teacher of an adult class. Miss Palmer was an accomplished organist and served as organist at First Baptist Church during her college years.

Christian Seidorf ’47 of Peoria, AZ, passed away September 27, 2009. He was an engineer and was a veteran of the U.S. Army.

Jean Martenis Gilland ’48 of Fairless Hills, PA, passed away March 8, 2009. She was an Avon sales representative.

Elwood P. Hastie, USA (Ret.) ’49 of Talbott, TN, passed away April 16, 2008. Mr. Hastie was a retired environmentalist, who had worked at the University of Tennessee.

50s

Thomas M. Head ’51 of Amherst, NH, passed away April 18, 2009, after a courageous battle with pulmonary fibrosis. Mr. Head had moved to Amherst with his family in 1963 when he joined the New Hampshire Insurance Company. As an officer of the company and director of research and development, he pioneered the programming of the newly introduced personal computer for automated issuance and servicing of insurance contracts. He later founded TMH Associates with his wife and son to continue programming the personal computer for insurance and other applications. Mr. Head was an active member of the community, serving on the Amherst Ways and Means Committee, as co-chairman of the Souhegan Budget Committee, and as a trustee of the Amherst Town Library. He was also a dedicated volunteer with the Amherst Emergency Medical Services, serving as an ambulance driver and then later as a certified emergency medical technician. Mr. Head pursued a lifelong interest in the theater, acting in and directing plays for the Concord (MA) Players and the Amherst PTA. He was chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Stage Festival when the theater group was founded. Mr. Head was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Milford where he served on the Church Council, as chairman of the Finance Committee, and as chairman of the Nominating Committee. Music was a very important part of his life, and he brought musical talent and energy to the church as a member of the choir and co-Chairman of the Music Committee. Mr. Head enjoyed spending time and was proud to be able to summit 4,500 foot Mt. Garfield in the White Mountains in his mid-70s.

Harry Leonard ’51 of Cookeville, TN, passed away September 3, 2009.  A native of Greeneville, TN, Mr. Leonard was an U.S. Army veteran who served in post-World War II Japan. He worked a number of years as a plant engineer and area manager for Tennessee Gas Transmission Company. He later retired as area superintendent for East Tennessee Natural Gas Company. Mr. Leonard was a member of Cookeville First United Methodist Church where he served faithfully in many capacities for more than 40 years, including as church treasurer, chair of the Staff-Parish and Finance Committees and a member, teacher and president of the Backsliders Sunday School class. He was a founding member of the Tennessee Tech University College of Business Administration Foundation, board member for many years for the Cookeville Housing Authority and a charter member and past-president of Cookeville Noonday Lions Club. Mr. Leonard was known as a fine golfer, tennis player and a student of history and of landscaping and horticulture.

Thomas L. Rankin ’51 of North Miami, FL, passed away in June 2009.  Mr. Rankin was active in the American Legion, Florida Post 67. He was the son of Lynn M. Rankin ’17 and grandson of Samuel Rankin, who was a professor at the College for 45 years and is for whom Rankin Hall is named. His survivors include cousins and Tusculum alumnae Anne Beeson Gouge ’41 and Betty Beeson Helms ’44.

Grace Fawver Ellis ’52 of Knoxville, TN, passed away July 21, 2009. Mrs. Ellis was a retired rural mail carrier. She was a trustee of Barbara Abernathy Memorial Park, member of Mascot United Methodist Church, member of the Dime Girls of Knoxville, member of Mascot Eastern Star and a member of the Blaine Red Hatters.

John J. Leitner ’52 of Barnegat, NJ, passed away November 27, 2009. Mr. Leitner was retired from ITT. He was a U.S. Army veteran, having served in World War II. Mr. Leitner was a member of the VFW Post 10092 and BPOE Lodge 2340.

Dr. Don T. Van Dam ’52 of Chatham Township, NJ, passed away September 4, 2008. Dr. Van Dam began his medical practice in Wayne, NJ. He served as medical director at Kate Mancy Ladd in Far Hills, NJ, from 1969-1982. In his later career, Dr. Van Dam worked as a consultant nursing home administrator in various facilities. He was an U.S. Army veteran, having served in the medical corp. Dr. Van Dam attended St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and was a member of the American Medical Association. He enjoyed skiing and was a member of the National Ski Patrol, serving as a regional medical advisor into the mid-1980s.

Phyllis Mary Farrell Wanger ’53 of Fairfield, OH, passed away February 16, 2009. Mrs. Wanger attended Tusculum College for her first three years of undergraduate study prior to marrying and moving with her new husband, Robert Wanger. She always valued her years at the College and the friendships she formed. Her funeral services were conducted by the Rev. Richard Waddle ’57.

Dr. Joe A. Campbell, Jr.  ’56 of Clarksdale, MS, passed away April 6, 2009. A physician in Clarksdale, Dr. Campbell had earned his medical degree at the University of Tennessee.

Mrs. Mary Ann Platt Pippin ’57 of St. Petersburg, FL, passed away on October 17, 2009, after batting lymphoma. At Tusculum, Mary Ann met and married her college sweetheart, Hal Pippin ’59. Their son, Craig, was named for the residence hall in which he lived. The couple raised their family in St. Petersburg, FL, where she spent 26 years with the Pinellas County School System. She is remembered for her beautiful smile, her positive outlook and her devotion to her students.

60s

Robert W. “Coach” Elco ’69 of Narrowsburg, NY, passed away on September 12, 2009. Mr. Elco was a retired athletic director, coach and drivers education instructor of the Narrowsburg Central School. He was also a member of the Tusten Volunteer Ambulance Corps and a Narrowsburg volunteer fireman, a former Town of Tusten constable, a Lion’s Club member and AARP driving instructor, a member and former president of the Western Sullivan League and a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. He received the New York State Athletic Administrator Association Award and the Western Sullivan League Athletic Director Service Award, both in 1996.

Karen Lee Soop ’69 of Hoschton, GA, passed away September 6, 2009. She was executive vice president of Dugco Supply Company. She was a member of New Canaan Baptist Church, where she touched many lives through her gifts of teaching, encouraging and her tireless endeavors with the W.M.U.

70s

Kathy Van Buskirk Meredith ’71 passed away on November 24, 2009. She had battled cancer for the past 17 years. Her husband, Woody Meredith ’71, shared the news of her death with this note, “It is with a profound sense of loss and yet a profound sense of victory that I inform you of the passing of my wife, Kathy Van Buskirk Meredith ’71 on November 24, 2009. After battling cancer for the past 17 years her body and her spirit had enough. She passed away at home and pain free. She is at peace, with her loved ones, and now can watch over both family and friends. So let us celebrate her life, her laughter and her unbelievable spirit. Thanks to our many friends for your love and support over the years.”

Katherine “Kay” Lamons Rhea ’71 of Greeneville, TN, passed away June 15, 2009. Mrs. Rhea had been the co-owner of the Rhea Floral Company and Comanche East Pottery with her late husband, David V. Rhea. She has also served on the staff of the Greene County Election Office. Mrs. Rhea served for a number of years as the organist for the Greeneville Cumberland Presbyterian Church as well as the children’s choir director, a chancel choir member and a Cumberland bell-ringer. She was a former president of the Greene County Republican Women and the Tuesday Book Club and was a member of the Andrew Johnson Club and the Andrew Johnson Club Chorus. She was also a member of the “Dashing Duets,” the Wednesday Breakfast club and a tap-dancing group. She also volunteered at the YMCA.

Ava Sue Solomon ’71 of Midway, TN, passed away June 19, 2009. Miss Solomon was a retired teacher. She taught 30 years as a first-grade teacher at McDonald Elementary School in Greene County. Miss Solomon was a member of Hartman’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

Mrs. Nancy Lay Gilmore ’76 of Fredericksburg, VA., passed away on September 30, 2009. A journalist, Mrs. Gilmore started her career as an editor with Aviation Daily in Washington, D.C. She was a freelance writer and photographer for several years as her family grew. From 1998 through 2009, she held several positions at The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, including copyediting and travel-feature writing. She was a member of Virginia Press Women. She was an active member of the Unity Church in Fredericksburg. In recent years, she had discovered her talents as a watercolorist. In addition, she employed her artistic talents in creating popular handmade beaded jewelry in a home-based business, Gem Dandy.

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Service learning class raises awareness for homeless

Posted on 16 December 2009 by srichey@tusculum.edu

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Students in Tusculum College’s Service Learning class in Block 4 have been working with the homeless as their class project all term and wrapped up their efforts with a homeless awareness display in Niswonger Commons on Tuesday, December 15.  Pictured are Emily Palenkas a junior from Maryville, Travis Heath a sophomore from Union Point, Ga., Ryan Huff a senior from Chuckey and Matthew Poff a sophomore from Copper Hill, Va.  The entire class worked with and researched homeless issues as part of the course and spent three days a week volunteering at the Melting Pot, a soup kitchen in Johnson City that serves more than 100 people a day from children to the elderly.  Robin Fife ’99, assistant professor of social science, is the instructor for the course.

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Can you help in search for 1960s baseball and basketball information

Posted on 16 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

baseballDid you play baseball or basketball for Tusculum College during 1960-1964 or do you have some information about Pioneer athletics during this period?

If so, Roger Abramson ’64 wants to hear from you. Abramson is interested in filling in some gaps in the college’s basketball and baseball history and is concentrating on the 1960-64 period. He is looking for schedules and statistics from those years and is asking his fellow Pioneers for some help. If you have any data that may be of help in re-creating this information (i.e., yearbook clippings and/or memorabilia), please give Roger a call at 615-367-1825 or e-mail him at rogerabramson@hotmail.com.

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Hidden Treasure: Tusculum College Costume Shoppe is where the “magic” happens

Posted on 16 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

costume_dressesRows of ribbons, shelves of hats, stacks of shoes and a colorful burst of fabrics delight the eye when entering the Arts Outreach Costume Shoppe on the campus of Tusculum College.

More than 20 years of dramatic history unfolds along the walls of the Costume Shoppe, with costumes from “The Wizard of Oz” snuggling next to the silky fabrics used for the eye-popping costumes of “The Mikado.”  A lion head towers over the room and a bejeweled crown sits by waiting on the next King Lear or King Midas.

Now bursting at the seams, the Costume Shoppe got its start in 2002 and is funded in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission. In addition to serving the College and its annual theatre and music productions, the Costume Shoppe also strives to meet the mission of the Arts Outreach program and offers its unique service to local schools and community groups.

The costumes are not rented, but are loaned out to schools and groups who use them for school plays, special events and community productions. The Costume Shoppe offers a wide assortment of costumes for Arts Outreach programs and any school performance, from full-scale musicals to single-student presentations. The only fees involved are that the garments must be cleaned before they are returned.

Last year there were 10 area schools that participated in the costume lending program, as well as the Jonesborough Reparatory Theater, Central Ballet Theater and a community group in Johnson City who borrowed several Civil War costumes, according to current Costume Director Barbara Holt.

But the marvel of visiting the Costume Shoppe is the history of the past and the heart and soul of years of costume-makers who have brought the fabric to life in productions ranging from the “Bye Bye Birdie” to “Guys and Dolls,” and according to Holt, many of the pieces have be used, repurposed and used again. “It is not uncommon for some of these pieces to have been a part of two or more productions through the years.”

The Costume Shoppe allows for the storage of past costumes as well as donations that come in from local individuals and businesses that support the Arts Outreach program at the College. There are walls of thread and zippers, patterns and zebra prints that have been purchased, donated or reused for other garments through the years.

barbarawithcostumes“This is a labor of love for me,” said Holt. “I love working with fabrics, and I love to sew. I am energized by the actors and have met some of the most amazing people. My life is enriched by just being part of the Arts Outreach program.”

Holt has been with the Arts Outreach program for the past 16 years in one capacity or another and took over as costume director in 2008. She has worked tirelessly to catalogue and organize the materials they have amassed through the years.

“There are some amazing pieces here from people like Judith Plucker, Ann Birdwell and Debbie Close. There were such amazing people involved here through the years,” said Holt.

And while they do reuse many of the costumes in each production, each year the call comes for new costumes to be made. According to Holt, each production may take 1,000 or more hours in costume production. Much of the work is done by Holt and her army of volunteers (more than 90 on a production such as “The Wizard of Oz”), but in some cases outside help is needed.  Holt said it took upwards of 60 hours to make one kilt used in the production of “Brigadoon.”

“Barbara has been with me for more than 16 years when I first came to know her through her son, Seth, one of our performers,” said Marilyn duBrisk, artist-in-residence and director of arts outreach. “She is an absolute joy to work with and Tusculum College is so lucky to have her.”

She added, “There have been so many times when in the middle of production and she has literally 100 or more cast members to costume and she just manages to stay calm and inspire her volunteers.”

The Costume Shoppe and its many wonders are part of the magic of Tusculum College’s Arts Outreach programs and productions. And to make it all come alive, in the words of Peter Pan, all you need is “faith, trust and pixie dust” and maybe a zipper and a snap and a bolt of shiny, gold fabric.

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Dr. Mahal: Journey from India to Tusculum

Posted on 16 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

mahal3Dr. Kirpal Mahal, professor of physical education, has been an active and distinguished member of the Tusculum College faculty since 1994. But, have you ever wondered about how his life journey brought him to a small, private college in East Tennessee from his native India?

His life story is a series of unexpected turns, some daunting challenges and help from many people along the way that has shaped his teaching philosophy that focuses on helping students learn and grow.

The assistance he received from his teachers and the special interest they had in his success has led Dr. Mahal to give that same interest and help to his students. “When you see a student or students grow, it makes you feel so good,” he says.

Dr. Mahal often receives calls from former students asking him for advice or just to let him know what a difference he made in their lives. In one such instance, a former student called to thank him for taking an interest in him and making him go to class, because without that interest he would not have graduated. Dr. Mahal recalled that the student, a football player, was a good person, but had a bad attitude toward his studies. However, with the attention from Dr. Mahal, that attitude began to change and he graduated.

“That is what we get from teaching,” Dr. Mahal says of educator’s motivations. “There is no price tag to that. That is why I teach.”

But, all the students whose lives have been touched by Dr. Mahal would not have had that opportunity had he pursued his career aspiration as a young boy in India – he wanted to join the nation’s air force and be a pilot. However, his older brother entered the Indian Army, and his father had other aspirations for his younger son – to become an elementary school teacher. It was a government policy that teachers’ assignments would be near their hometowns, which would make it possible for Dr. Mahal to help with the family farm.

Dr. Mahal, who is of the Sikh religion, was born in Pakistan, and his family moved to the Indian province of Punjab once that country gained its freedom from Great Britain. The family lost all they had in making the move, including some money his father had hidden away that was stolen during the moving process.

As a youngster, Dr. Mahal received one of his first helping hands. A bright student, his teacher encouraged him to take an exam to qualify to receive a scholarship to attend middle school. The trip to take the exam would cost 25 cents each way, but Dr. Mahal’s father did not give him the money.

Distraught, the youngster ran to where the other students were gathering for the trip and told the teacher that he would not be able to go because he did not have the money for the trip. The teacher told him he would take care of the cost, and Dr. Mahal took the test and was awarded a scholarship.

A top student throughout school, Dr. Mahal earned his teaching certification and became an instructor in an elementary school near his family’s farm. Teachers were only one of two careers that were allowed to “home school” themselves in continuing education, and Dr. Mahal’s independent efforts earned him certification as a middle school language teacher.

Another of those unexpected turns came at the middle school where he had begun teaching. Just prior to a school assembly to celebrate “Children’s Day,” the headmaster of the school directed Dr. Mahal to give a speech during the program. However, when Dr. Mahal rose to speak, he froze and sat back down after telling the crowd he couldn’t deliver the address.

Later in the day, the headmaster told Dr. Mahal that if he continued his education, he would be a headmaster in the future and would need to be able to speak in public. To meet this challenge, Dr. Mahal enrolled in drama classes and soon was writing his own songs and poetry.

Around this time, the Indian government opened a film institute in Bombay, and Dr. Mahal decided he wanted to attend with a new aspiration of becoming a screenwriter and director. As he was leaving to go take the entrance exam, the headmaster asked Dr. Mahal to seek his certification as a physical education teacher if he was not accepted into the film institute.

Although he ranked 18th among the applicants to the institute, it was not high enough as only those with the top 11 scores were accepted. Dr. Mahal then fulfilled his pledge to his headmaster by seeking his certification as a physical education teacher. This step in Dr. Mahal’s life also was realized by the help of another – the headmaster paid for his first year of education toward physical education certification.

After earning a master’s degree in physical education in India, Dr. Mahal decided he wanted to continue his education in the United States. However, in the early 1970s, it was a challenging task for a person from India to come to America to go to college.

Relations between the two countries were strained because of the United States’ relationship with Pakistan, and a student from India had to have $3,000 in U.S. dollars in an account for their education before they would be allowed to enter the country. Dr. Mahal also had to take an English test, which he not only passed but also set a record high score.

But, that was not the only hurdle. The Indian government also had financial restrictions in place for students unless the person showed academic promise. That hurdle was also cleared by Dr. Mahal through his excellent academic performance.

Dr. Mahal was accepted into Howard University in Washington, D.C. to begin work towards his master’s degree. Once arriving in this country, finances continued to be a challenge as foreign students were not allowed to work off campus for at least a year, a measure put into place to ensure foreign students had the financial means to pay for their education. Living off campus in an apartment, Dr. Mahal was able to find a job at the university’s bookstore. As a student in the U.S., he found another helping hand in the form of a friend at the Indian Embassy in Washington who helped him adjust to the new culture.

How then did Dr. Mahal get to Tusculum? In the early 1990s, he was teaching at Kentucky State University and discovered a position was open at Tusculum. He did some investigation of the College and liked what he learned about the civic arts focus. During his interview, Dr. Mahal asked faculty members whether what was on paper was what he would experience day-to-day and was told it was. Once he came to Tusculum, Dr. Mahal said that promise was delivered. He has since become a respected member of the faculty, known for his commitment to student achievement and success.

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Tusculum student earns national recognition for academics, athletics

Posted on 16 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

nesmith_trophyTusculum College has received national recognition through the achievement of one student in the classroom and on the football field. Jarrell NeSmith of Russellville, Ala., has been the recipient of countless college, conference, regional and national honors in the past few months.

NeSmith, who will graduating in commencement exercises this weekend, was the only NCAA Division II representative on the 2009 National Football Foundation National Scholar-Athlete Team, which includes Heisman Trophy candidates Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy. The 16 student-athletes were finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, which recognizes college football’s National Scholar Athlete of the Year. Each of the finalists, including NeSmith, received an $18,000 post-graduate scholarship.

The Campbell Trophy is one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership.

“It has been a really great opportunity to be here,” said NeSmith after attending the award ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York City.  “I want to thank the National Football Foundation for considering me for the award.  This group is the best of the best, and being honored with student-athletes such as this is truly an honor. I want to thank Tusculum College and everyone who has pushed me there. I have been truly blessed and I’m grateful to my family, friends, coaches and teammates who have been such an important part of my life.”

NeSmith, a 6-2, 225-pound senior has closed out one of the most decorated football careers in Tusculum history, both on and off the field.  NeSmith, who is majoring in pre-medicine with a biology concentration, has a 3.86 cumulative grade point average and is a member of the Tusculum President’s List, Dean’s List, Charles Oliver Gray List, South Atlantic Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the TC Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

“We are all excited for Jarrell for this tremendous honor,” said Tusculum head coach Frankie DeBusk.  “He is the leader of our football team that every player respects and appreciates.   He is an outstanding representative of Tusculum College, but also collegiate athletics in general.  He leads by example and is the type of student-athlete that we hope all of our players will emulate.  I’m very proud of him.”

NeSmith was named “Student of the Block” for Block Three, which gave some members of the campus an opportunity to further express what makes this student so special.

The “Student of the Block” award recognizes students for academic achievement, campus leadership or community service, but it is difficult to decide for which of these three areas that Jarrell NeSmith should be recognized because he has excelled at all three, said Dr. David McMahan, dean of students at the college, during the award ceremony.

NeSmith came to Tusculum College as a football recruit with a goal of high achievement in the classroom and hard work on the gridiron. “It was a chance to get away from home and experience something new,” says NeSmith of his college choice. “The campus was small in size, quiet, had a great community and held a great deal of diversity.

His interest in the medical field was born from watching his mother’s love for her 20-year nursing career. Always placing academics as his first priority, NeSmith has been an exemplary example of perseverance, action and hard work in the classroom, earning the praise of each professor he encounters.

Robin Tipton ‘98, assistant professor of chemistry, said, “There are two things that really stand out when I think back to Jarrell in my classes. The first item is Jarrell’s smile and easygoing personality. He always came to class with a positive attitude and kept the upbeat mood throughout the class period.

“Jarrell has a natural ability to work with others, and students in class were always asking him for assistance. The second item is a song he wrote in organic chemistry I about alkanes, alkenes and alkynes. The song was not an assignment, but was actually written as a way to relive some stress of studying for his first test. It is not very often that I have a student who goes out of his way to put time and energy into a class-related activity that has no effect on his grade, but that is the type of student Jarrell is.”

Tipton, as well as biology professors Dr. Robert Davis and Dr. Debra McGinn, are whom NeSmith counts as the professors who had the most influence on him during his time at Tusculum. “They were all very helpful throughout my collegiate career and made sure of my general learning. They were truly concerned about my learning success after Tusculum College.”

Among his favorite classes in addition to biology and physiology were physical fitness and wellness and service-learning, he says, because they allowed him “to learn in a hands-on style about the human body and to get out and help people in the community, getting a true feel for community service.”

NeSmith has a desire to serve those in both the campus and greater communities. He enjoys his community service opportunities such as working with Habitat for Humanity and being a “Big Buddy” to an elementary school student and relishes his influence with younger students, advising them to focus on academics and continue to maintain academic excellence as their priority.

As he graduates, NeSmith says he will miss all these opportunities for engagement. “The people are who I will truly miss. I’ve made more than friends; these people are my family. I will also miss the faculty and staff who have supported me and the atmosphere of the campus.”

A modest and humble individual, NeSmith takes his accomplishment and honors in stride, always giving thanks to those who have helped him garner the accolades. “It’s a great honor that people thought highly enough of me to nominate and select me for ‘Student of the Block.’ I’m glad to be able to represent the school to the best of my ability.”

Deborah Davis ’97 ‘99, associate director, senior women’s administrator and NCAA compliance officer for the college, spoke of his personality and character in her nomination. “Whether it is the flash of his Hollywood, camera-worthy smile or the way he carries himself with poise and dignity, Jarrell is a natural born leader in both the academic and athletic realms . . . Jarrell has accomplished so much in such a short span of time. If I were lucky enough to have a son of my own, I would want him to embody the character and qualities of this fine young man.”

NeSmith has garnered numerous honors for both his academic excellence and athletic achievement on the football field.

Earlier this fall, he was also a Southeast Region representative for the 2008-09 Division II Commissioner’s Scholar Athlete Award and was a national semifinalist for the American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team.

He was selected as the 2008-09 recipient of the South Atlantic Conference President’s Award, becoming only the second football player in the history of the award to earn the conference’s most prestigious honor. He is also a three-time recipient of the SAC Scholar Athlete Award, becoming the first football player in league history to receive the honor three times.

NeSmith also earned a spot on the 2009 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America® Football First Team.  He was an Academic All-America® Second Team selection last year, marking the first time a Pioneer football player has garnered Academic All-America® honors twice in his career.

NeSmith has also received the E.H. Sargent Science Award, which is given to the top science major at the college; the Duffield Award, presented to the student athletes at Tusculum with highest grade point average; and the Tusculum Academic Freshman of the Year Award, which recognizes the member of the freshman class with the highest GPA.

On the football field, he is a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference First Team selection, including this year when he led the league in receiving yards per game, averaging 67.8 yards per contest.  The senior tight end posted 56 catches for 678 yards and three touchdowns.  He earned All-America honors in 2008 from three organizations as he posted 67 receptions for 635 yards and seven touchdowns and was also an All-Conference and All-Region selection.

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Tusculum student finds career path through internship at Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center

Posted on 16 December 2009 by eestes@tusculum.edu

webb_internshipInternships can help college students discover their specific area of interest in their career field or be instrumental in securing employment after graduation. For Kayla Webb, a museum studies major at Tusculum College, her senior internship has done both.

To fill a major requirement, Webb served this fall as an intern at the Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center in Townsend. Webb, who is from Hartford, said she choose the Heritage Center as the place to complete her internship because “I grew up in the Great Smoky Mountains and wanted to know more about my heritage, and the center looked like a place where I could fit.”

And she did in many ways. Early in her internship, she worked in the collection storage area of the Heritage Center, which works to preserve, present and promote the heritage of East Tennessee mountain communities through gallery exhibits, demonstrations, festivals and special events.

(Alumni can help the college find these type of internship opportunities. If you know of an internship opportunity for a Tusculum College student, please contact Amanda Waddell in the Office of Career Development at awaddell@tusculum.edu).

Working in the Heritage Center allowed Webb to integrate what she had learned previously in the classroom and her experiences in museums outside of the classroom, she said.

In the storage area, she had the opportunity to learn more about the proper care to preserve the exhibit items and a chance to add to her previous classroom experience using the Past Perfect software package for museum data collection, record keeping and other operational functions.

Webb also assisted with special events at the Heritage Center. Preparing for the Blue Ribbon County Fair, Webb was able to use her art talent and skill to make signs for the event. She has minored in art at Tusculum.

However, on the day of the event designed to give children hands-on experience of what it was like to live on a farm long ago, it rained almost the whole day.  “That torrential downpour taught me a lot about flexibility,” she said.

Assisting with children’s programs that were originally supposed to be outside, Webb and the other staff members quickly organized events the children could do under a covered tent at the site.

The value of flexibility – not panicking but finding a solution when a problem arises – was the most important lesson Webb said she learned during her time at the Heritage Center. Working with the many educational programs that the center provides for children also helped emphasize that lesson, she said, as plans had to be changed at the last minute because groups arrived early or late, changes in program scheduling were wanted or students did not show up at all.

At first, Webb assisted the educational director with the children’s programs, but then taught on her own. In one program, she taught children three Native American games designed to improve basic counting skills and also introduce them to the lifestyle of the region’s earliest inhabitants. She then taught a clay pottery program that guided children through the steps of making a Native American clay pot of their own.

Using her art skills, Webb helped the education director improve the targets used in programs demonstrating Native American hunting methods. The target used for the blowgun demonstration was a traditional bull’s-eye. “I wanted to give the students an idea about what the Native Americans would be hunting with blowguns so I drew pictures of a squirrel, rabbit and pheasant that can be copied and used as targets.”

Her experience teaching at the Heritage Center has helped her decide that museum education is the area in which she would most like to work. When she sought the internship, “I wanted to do a little bit of everything because I wasn’t sure what area I wanted to pursue for a career,” she said.

The experience teaching, however, answered that question. “When you’re teaching and a student gets that spark in his or her eye from learning something new, that is the most rewarding experience I have ever had.”

Pleased with her artwork, the staff also asked Webb to make safety and directional signs fashioned from wooden shingles to replace existing laminated signs in its Historic Village.

Webb’s main project was to completely revise the center’s docent (tour guide) manual. The existing manual contained a great deal of information, she explained, but it was cumbersome to use.

Organizing and compiling a new manual, Webb’s objective was to make it easier to understand and use. She re-organized the information using a bullet-point format and added a new section of four appendices containing photos of each object on exhibit and its name.

In her experience in museums, Webb said she has noticed that the most frequent question asked by visitors is the name of an object in an exhibit, and the appendices will help guides be able to quickly identify the object and find something about it.

Webb also added a resource section that included information about communicating at the appropriate age level of an audience, maps of the facility and a recommended reading list for those who wanted to learn more about areas covered in the manual.

Webb’s next step after graduation is also an opportunity that came to her through her work at the center. The directors of the center learned about a position at the Ramsey House Plantation historic house museum in Knoxville and told her about it. She applied for the position and the directors wrote letters of recommendation for her.

She now has a part-time position at the Ramsey House, which will become a full-time position in February. “I wouldn’t have gotten that job except for my internship.”

Webb also plans to continue her schooling in the future, most likely focusing on the area of museum education.

The college’s Museum Studies program is one of the few undergraduate museum studies programs in the nation, and its graduates have been successful in the museum field. Webb is the third graduate in a row that has a secured a position in the field prior to graduation.

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