JerWayne Gunn of Nashville was honored as the “Student of the Block” for Block Four at Tusculum College for his academic achievement, campus leadership and service to others.
Gunn was presented the honor in a ceremony December 13. He graduated later in the week at the College’s winter commencement with a bachelor of arts degree in art and design with a concentration in graphic design. His future aspirations are to find a position in which he can utilize his graphic design skills or to coach women’s basketball, one of the passions in his life.
The “Student of the Block” award is presented by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize Tusculum students who excel in the classroom, provide leadership in the campus community and serve others. A plaque listing Gunn’s accomplishments will be displayed in the Niswonger Commons and in other prominent buildings on campus.
As a Tusculum student, JerWayne has been an invaluable and memorable member of the community. He served as an assistant basketball coach for the women’s basketball team since his freshman year, was a peer academic leader, served as a Student Government Association representative, was a resident assistant and served as an orientation leader. Gunn also was a member of Black United Students, a participant in Pioneers Preparing for Life and a Student Support Services member.
Pat Stansberry, administrative assistant to the academic resource center, nominated Gunn for the honor “because he exemplified the Tusculum College values of civic responsibilities and virtues.”
Gunn served as a student mentor to a group of conditionally admitted students and worked with staff in the Academic Resource Center and faculty members to coordinate activities and encourage academic success. “He has been the right arm for his mentors during this time: contacting students, tracking students for professors, following their progress, maintaining confidences, referring students for assistance and caring for them in ways both within the job description and in his willingness to go beyond the call of duty to help students, staff and faculty,” Stansberry said in her nomination.
“JerWayne is one of the most responsible and helpful students on the Tusculum College campus,” she continued. “His friendly smile is always ready to greet you and his consistently positive attitude is a joy to be around. He raises the level of all he interacts with, be they athletes, fellow students, staff or faculty. He represents Tusculum College well.”
Dr. Jason Jones, assistant professor of physical education, also nominated Gunn. “He is an outstanding student in the classroom and goes above and beyond his duties while keeping balance with his extra-curricular activities. JerWayne made it possible for me to teach Orientation 106 this year and serves as a role model for those incoming freshmen.”
Gunn was recognized by his peers as the senior class representative on the Homecoming Court and was selected by the College as the Homecoming King during the Homecoming 2010 Homecoming celebration.
Of his involvement on campus, he says, “A lot of these activities helped me grow and mature into the individual I am today. When I first came to school here I wanted to stay active and do something that I would be remembered for and make a difference. So I got involved in several different organizations.”
The son of Keith and Pamela Gunn, JerWayne is twin brother to Lady Pioneers basketball standout, Jasmine Gunn, and an older brother to Jalen. Gunn values his family and enjoys spending time with those who support him the most. The Gunn family was often seen on the sidelines of the women’s basketball games as JerWayne coached and Jasmine played. JerWayne considers the team an extension of his family.
Among those who influenced Gunn during his time at Tusculum were Billie Ann Pace, an academic counselor; Dr. Deborah Bryan, assistant professor of art; Keith Herrin, assistant professor of art, and Dr. Jones. He recalls that he had first visited Pace with several times for freshmen-type questions, but “after awhile I would come by her office just because I enjoyed talking to her about just random stuff. One main reason I would say she was an influence is because of the way she cares for people and does whatever she can to help in any way possible and I feel some of that rubbed off on me as well.”
Gunn’s advice to his fellow classmates and future Pioneers is to heed the good advice from friends. “You may not be in a position to think clearly, act rationally and could do something you may regret,” he said. “Make sure the friends you have are your real friends and wouldn’t let you do anything stupid. Lastly, college is whatever you make it. If you complain all the time about how boring it is, then it will be boring. If you try to find things to do and get involved, then you will always have fun.”