Archive | Alumni News


Tusculum College announces Greeneville campus arboretum

Posted on 09 October 2015 by

The Greeneville campus of Tusculum College will offer the community its first official arboretum, after recently receiving certification for a Level 1 Arboretum from Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

The announcement was made on Thursday, Oct. 8, at a ceremony in which the college was presented its official Tennessee Urban Forestry Council arboretum designation sign. The sign was presented by Tom Simpson, regional urban forester with the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

According to Kim Carter, science laboratory assistant and instructor at Tusculum, an arboretum is a garden devoted to trees. Arboretums are classified into four levels by the number of different species featured in the arboretum.

A Level 1 arboretum, Tusculum College’s arboretum features more than 30 species of trees, most of which are indigenous to the area. Featured will be the historic Tusculum Old Oak tree, which measures 102 feet in height and has a 124-foot average spread. Among the other trees featured are dogwood, pecan, hawthorn, blackgum, maple, beech, sycamore, mulberry and Japanese Zelkova.

The arboretum is being coordinated by the college’s science department and will be used primarily by students of the natural sciences, but will be open to the public and area school programs through a self-guided walking tour.

“Each tree chosen to be housed in this arboretum has signage indicating the scientific name and the common name,” said Carter, and a campus map has been developed to indicate the location of each featured tree.

There are more than 35 existing arboreta in the East Tennessee area, including the Knoxville Botanical Garden and Cherokee Trail in Chattanooga. According to Carter, the college hopes to promote and preserve the natural environment that has existed in the area for hundreds of years.

“The arboretum will hopefully keep us mindful of the great resource we have on this campus and provide a way to share that with the community,” said Dr. Melissa Keller, assistant professor of biology. “Our educational programs utilize our outdoor environment in numerous other ways, and this project has been a meaningful community service experience.”

“Visitors for years to come will have a wonderful opportunity to learn about trees, enjoy the beauty and appreciate their many differences,” said Jill Smith, Tennessee Urban Forestry Council arboretum Certification coordinator.

Members of the Arboretum Application Committee include Carter, Melissa Keller, chair of the science department and assistant professor of biology, Dr. Michael Bodary, assistant professor of English, former faculty member Aurora Pope, Jeff Hayes, of facilities management, Wayne Thomas, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, Dr. Ron May, vice president of Academic Affairs and Suzanne Richey, director of College Communications.

For more information on the arboretum, contact Carter at


On Thursday it was announced that Tusculum College has been named a Level 1 Arboretum. From left are Dr. Melissa Keller, associate professor of biology, Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody, Tom Simpson, regional urban forester with the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council and Kim Carter, science laboratory assistant and instructor.

Tree tours were given on the Tusculum College campus on Thursday of the more than 30 trees designated as part of the arboretum. Tour participants inspect a sycamore tree near Virginia Hall.


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Alumni dinner, museum exhibit and local excursions highlight Tusculum College’s Homecoming activities

Posted on 25 September 2015 by

Tusculum College students, staff, faculty, alumni and friends will be celebrating Homecoming 2015 with an activity-filled, two-day event October 9-10. Several additions have been made to this year’s schedule, including “Keeping your Keepsake” workshop, where participants will learn about keeping keepsakes and take home an acid-free box for safe storage.

Those wishing to participate in any or all of the events and activities can register for Homecoming online at or by calling the Office of Alumni Relations at 423-636-7303.

Registration kicks off Friday, Oct. 9, at 8 a.m. in the Living Room of Niswonger Commons and will last until 4 p.m. Also hosted in the Living Room from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. will be the “Memory Lane” display, where visitors can view outfits, yearbooks, slideshows, newspapers and pictures of Tusculum’s past.

A trip to Bright’s Zoo is scheduled at 10 a.m. on Friday. Located in Limestone, Tenn., Bright’s Zoo is home to a variety of rare species. Transportation and a boxed lunch will be provided. Those staying close to campus can enjoy a picnic lunch with Tusculum College students at 11:30 a.m. on the terrace of the Thomas J. Garland Library.

At 1 p.m., the President’s Society, a group of elite residential students, will provide a guided tour of the campus to give visitors a chance to rediscover their alma mater.

Also scheduled for Friday afternoon is the Homecoming 2015 Golf Tournament at Link Hills Golf Course. Scramble format will be used with handicap system for a net division and gross division. Registration is at noon with shotgun start at 1 p.m. Alumni, spouses, faculty, staff and friends are invited to participate.

Dinner will be provided for participants in the golf tournament as well as those who may want to join them following the tournament. There is a $20 fee for dinner for those not participating in the tournament. Reservations are required.

For those not participating in the golf tournament, the Doak House Museum will be hosting a free make and take workshop in the Pioneer Perk called “Keeping your Keepsakes” at 2 p.m. Attendees will learn about caring for important documents, such as old photographs and books. Additionally, participants will take home an archival acid-free box for their own keepsakes.

A buffet dinner will also be hosted at Link Hills on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m. Reservations are required. Friday night’s activities will conclude with a bonfire with current students.  The bonfire will begin at 8:30 p.m.

Saturday begins with a Memorial Service at 8 a.m. in the lobby of the Thomas J Garland Library. Join family and friends in honoring alumni who have passed since Homecoming 2014. Alumni breakfast is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Learn the latest about the Alumni Association and hear an update on the college at the annual Alumni Association Meeting at 10 a.m. The Sports Hall of Fame Induction, begins at 9:00 a.m., celebrating the newest Sports Hall of Fame award honorees.

Class photos will be taken at 11 a.m. outside the Niswonger Commons. Alumni who were in the Student Support Services program or ARCHES program are invited to the Student Support Services Luncheon. A cookout and other festivities will be hosted at the Patton House (near Pioneer Park).

The 12th Annual Homecoming Parade will begin at noon on Saturday along the route between the Charles Oliver Gray Complex and Pioneer Park featuring the Homecoming Court and the Tusculum College Pioneer Band, as well as a variety of entertainment. The Golden Pioneers, those alumni celebrating their 50th reunion year, will serve as Grand Marshals.

At 12:30 p.m., enjoy a Tusculum College Pioneer Tailgate Party. The marching band and cheerleaders will entertain during the meal. The Homecoming Game begins at 2:30 p.m. Cheer on the Pioneers as they take on Wingate University at Pioneer Field. Game tickets can be purchased at the gate.

The weekend will wrap-up with the Alumni and Friends Social Hour, which starts at 6 p.m. Saturday evening at the General Morgan Inn, followed by the Alumni and Friends Dinner at 7 p.m. DJ Donnie Bunch will be providing music beginning at 8 p.m.

Alumni are invited to attend First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville (110 N. Main Street), the mother church of the college, on Sunday morning. Early service will be held at 8:30 a.m., Sunday School will follow at 9:30 a.m., and the traditional service will begin at 10:45 a.m.

Sunday afternoon, the Tusculum soccer teams will be hosting Coker at the Pioneer Field. The women’s team plays at 1 p.m., followed by the men’s team at 4 p.m.

For more information on the specifics of events or to make your reservations, contact the Office of Alumni Relations at 423-636-7303.


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Park Overall entertains with advice to students during lecture at Tusculum College

Posted on 25 September 2015 by

Park Overall, a 1981 Tusculum College alumna, returned to campus on Thursday, Sept. 24, to discuss how college affected her life and career.

Peppering the mostly student audience with life lessons dowsed in humor, Overall encouraged them to make use of their time in college to learn about music, art, law and other humanities topics that will help them to develop in to well-rounded citizens who can participate in the conversation of community.

“Do you think you’re here to learn something? You’re not,” she told the students. “You’re here to become a well-rounded person.” She added that it was critical to be able to carry on a conversation in the intellectual world about something other than their phones.

“You’ve got to learn to think critically. The world is not black and white. The world is as gray as gray can get. You’ve got to be able to talk about many different things.”

Her advice ranged from topics such as what poetry to read, the importance of knowing a second language and thinking for oneself and making one’s own decisions about what to believe and support.

She told the group that they needed to rely on themselves for finding information and deciding how to act on it. “Knowledge is power and power is knowledge.”

She credited her time at Tusculum with exposing her to a world other than her own, which she said helped her when she left Greeneville for more diverse, metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles. She credited the diversity among the students and faculty at Tusculum College with helping to develop her awareness that there was more beyond her small community.

She also set forth to the students a challenge. “Every one of you has to go back to your own communities and ask, ‘Am I a part of the village?’ The future is on you.” She encouraged them to not be indifferent, but to also not be zealots. She challenged them to be active participants in their world. “Take this education and become a useful member of your community. Carry your share of responsibility.”

The lecture was part of the Tusculum College Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum College English Department. Overall was introduced by Tusculum student Emily Waryck, a junior creative writing and literature major from New Concord, Ohio.

After graduation from Tusculum College, Overall left Greeneville for Hollywood, finding success in movies and television, including the award-winning movie “Biloxi Blues” and the long-running NBC sitcom, “Empty Nest.”

She is also well-known in the region as a dynamic environmental and women’s’ rights activist and former candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In addition to her time here as a student, her mother, Frances, a 1940 graduate of Tusculum, returned to her alma mater as an English professor for many years and her father also taught courses at the school. She is also a descendent of one of the original board of directors at Greeneville College, the forerunner to what is now Tusculum College.

Park Overall '81 talks to students during her visit to her alma mater


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“Folksongs and the U.S. Labor Movement” to be presented in singing lecture at Tusculum College

Posted on 23 September 2015 by

“Folksongs and the U.S. Labor Movement” will be the topic of a singing lecture planned for Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Tusculum College. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the Behan Arena Theater in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center on the Greeneville campus.

The event is free and open to the public.

Dr. Corey Dolgon

The unique lecture will be presented by Dr. Corey Dolgon, a folksinger and American culture and sociology professor at Stonehill College in Massachusetts, and will focus on the role that folksongs play in the U.S. labor movement, with Dr. Dolgon’s words and music bringing both history and theory to life.

Dr. Dolgon is a long-time labor activist and community organizer and has used folk songs to build solidarity on the line and engage students in the classroom. This singing lecture covers labor history from a multicultural perspective and examines the function of folk songs in workers’ lives, labor, and organizing.

Dr. Dolgon is the author of five books, including the forthcoming “Kill it to Save it: How American Common Sense is Killing Us.” He has also written numerous articles and book reviews which have appeared in anthologies, journals and magazines.


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Park Overall to discuss “Life After Tusculum” during lecture at Tusculum College

Posted on 21 September 2015 by

Park Overall, a 1981 Tusculum College alumna, returns to campus on Thursday, Sept. 24, to discuss how college affected her life and career.

The lecture is part of the Tusculum College Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum College English Department and will begin at 7 p.m. in the Chalmers Conference Room in Niswonger Commons on the Greeneville campus.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

Park Overall '81

Overall will speak for approximately 30 minutes about how Tusculum College and in particular, the arts program, helped shape her life after graduation. She will then open the floor to a question and answer session with the audience.

Overall left Greeneville for Hollywood, finding success in movies and television, including the award-winning movie “Biloxi Blues” and the long-running NBC sitcom, “Empty Nest.”

She is also well-known in the region as a dynamic environmental and women’s’ rights activist and former candidate for the U.S. Senate.

In addition to her time here as a student, her mother, Frances, a 1940 graduate of Tusculum, returned to her alma mater as an English professor for several years.


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Tusculum College’s Dr. David Smith receives Dissertation of the Year award

Posted on 17 September 2015 by

Dr. David Smith, director of Student Support Services at Tusculum College, has been recognized as the 2015 Dissertation of Year winner by the Southern Association for College Student Affairs.

Dr. Smith’s dissertation, “Unintended Consequences of Collegiate Living-Learning Community Programs at a Public University,” was the top selection from numerous entries from candidates across the southeastern United States.

Dr. David Smith

As winner, Dr. Smith will present his research at the 2015 SACSA conference in Greenville, S.C. this fall. His research is unique in that most scholarship focusing on collegiate living-learning community programs documents intended and largely positive outcomes. Dr. Smith’s research, however, chronicles occurrences of unintended and sometimes negative consequences of living-learning community programming—a phenomena heretofore largely absent from research literature.

The Southern Association for College Student Affairs encourages and supports dissertation research. “Scholarship and research are cornerstones to increasing the understanding of issues impacting students and the student affairs profession,” said Dr. Mary Alice Varga, research Committee Chair for SACSA

Dr. Smith joined Tusculum in 1997. In addition to his doctorate, he holds an associate’s degree from Mountain Empire Community College as well as a bachelor’s and master’s degree from East Tennessee State University.


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Constitution Day marked on Tusculum campus

Posted on 17 September 2015 by

Constitution Day 2015 was marked on the Tusculum College campus with the kick off of a voter’s registration drive.

Members of the Tusculum College Student Government Association manned a booth in the Niswonger commons student center on Thursday, Sept. 17, to assist students and others who were interested in registering to vote.

“Today’s activities kick off a week-long drive to get as many people registered as possible,” said Michael Fernando, Student Government Association president and a senior accounting, general management and international business and economics major.

Following Thursday’s kick-off, students in Professor Jeff Lokey’s “Political Traditions of the West” course will pick up the efforts, going class to class to assist students who wish to register to vote.

Fernando said that on Friday, Sept. 25, there will be a wrap up celebration event in which they will hopefully be able to report significant numbers of new voters registered.

Additionally, resources and activities related to Constitution Day are currently available on the Tusculum College website at

Resources include a direct link to the Constitution of the United States of America document, as well as resources for learning more about the Constitution and about Constitution Day.

In 1956, in order to encourage all Americans to learn more about the Constitution, Congress established Constitution Week, to begin each year on September 17, the date in 1787 when delegates to the Convention signed the Constitution. In 2004, September 17, officially became Constitution Day.



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Dr. Desirae Matherly has work featured in anthology

Posted on 16 September 2015 by

Tusculum College’s Dr. Desirae Matherly, associate professor of English, will have an essay featured in “After Montaigne, Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays.”

The anthology focuses on the work of Michel de Montaigne and will be available in September in both hardback and ebook from the University of Georgia Press.

Each of the 28 contributors to the collection has selected one of Montaigne’s 107 essays and written his or her own essay of the same title and on the same theme, using a quote from Montaigne’s essay as an epigraph.

Dr. Matherly’s essay is titled, “On the Power of the Imagination.”

Dr. Desirae Matherly

The collection is edited by David Lazar, professor in the nonfiction program at Columbia College Chicago, and Patrick Madden, associate professor of English at Brigham Young University.

Dr. Matherly teaches writing at Tusculum College and serves as nonfiction editor for “The Tusculum Review.” Her most recent essays appear in “Hotel Amerika,” “Descant” and “Red Holler: An Anthology of Contemporary Appalachian Literature.” Four of her essays have made the Notable List in “The Best American Essays,” and one essay was anthologized in “The Best Creative Nonfiction.”

Dr. Matherly earned a Ph.D in creative writing, nonfiction as well as a Master of Arts in creative writing, nonfiction both from Ohio University. She received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and English from East Tennessee State University and was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago.


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Tusculum College students to provide a day of service in the community as part of campus tradition

Posted on 15 September 2015 by

Tusculum College students will demonstrate the college’s commitment to both learning and serving on Tuesday, Sept. 15, as they spend a day helping others and improving the community.

All freshmen and first-year transfer students will participate in Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day as part of the Tusculum Experience course. Many other students, faculty, staff and alumni have also made plans to volunteer. Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day is one of the longest-held traditions on the Tusculum campus and involves students spending time in service to others. Some of the projects that the students will undertake include working with local non-profit organizations and schools.

“Community engagement is a key element of the Tusculum College experience,” said Ronda Gentry, director of the Center for Civic Advancement and coordinator of the event. “Nettie Day serves as an introduction to our new students and a reminder to our entire community of the importance and value of community involvmenet.”

This year, Nettie Day will be part of the Orange Rush activities on campus, which include a variety of activities to engage new students and encourage them to get involved on campus and in the community. Service activities will be conducted at all the Tusculum sites and campus, including Greeneville, Knoxville, Morristown and Kingsport.

Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day, which is conducted under the auspices of the Center for Civic Advancement, honors the memory and altruistic way of life of Nettie Fowler McCormick, widow of reaper inventor Cyrus McCormick, who was a 19th century supporter and advocate of Tusculum College. The McCormicks, staunch Presbyterians from Chicago, learned of Tusculum College through Tusculum graduates who attended their McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago and became some of the most significant donors in the college’s history.

Nettie McCormick is recognized as the college’s first Benefactor, a term that in Tusculum usage denotes a donor whose cumulative gifts total at least $1 million. Nettie McCormick funded construction of several of Tusculum’s historic structures, including Haynes Hall, Rankin Hall, Welty-Craig Hall, Virginia Hall and McCormick Hall, which is named after the McCormick family.

McCormick Day, now often informally called Nettie Day at the college, began as a day of cleaning the campus in reflection of Nettie McCormick’s insistence on clean living environments. The day has evolved to take on a more generalized community service emphasis.


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Update on construction of the new Tusculum College science and math building

Posted on 11 September 2015 by

Construction continues on the Dr. Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Mathematics on the Tusculum College campus.

According to David Martin, director of facilities for Tusculum College, the crews are continuing to set steel and the walls are set to be poured this week. The water lines have been approved by the Greeneville Water Department.

“The masonry is completed for now with the exception of a few loose ends,” said Martin. He added, “That part of the project is done until the bricking begins.”

Anyone interested in watching construction progress for the Meen Center for Science and Math may do so via web cam feed on the Tusculum website

The Meen Center for Science and Math will be a four-story structure of approximately 100,000 square feet. Interiors include wings for biology, chemistry, mathematics, computer science and environmental science. There will also be lab space and research areas for both faculty and students.

The ground floor features the environmental science wing with a loading dock, as well as large general classroom spaces and classrooms equipped for distance learning programs. A large lecture hall will be included on the ground floor. Space is also allocated to house the bachelor of science degree program in nursing and at least one other graduate level health-related program.

The contractors, Rentenbach Constructors Incorporated, began work in early May.

The building’s construction is part of the Tusculum First Campaign, which seeks to provide students with the best possible living and learning communities, innovative and responsive academic programs, and expanded opportunities for students to become engaged as global citizens. For more information on how to contribute to the campaign, contact Heather Patchett, vice president for Institutional Advancement, directly by calling 423-636-7303 or 1-800-729-0256 ext. 5303 or by emailing


Construction continues on the Dr. Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Mathematics on the Tusculum College campus.


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Office of Admission seeking individual for open position

Posted on 10 September 2015 by

Tusculum’s Office of Admission is looking for someone enthusiastic about the College to help educate prospective students about Tusculum and its programs. Alumni interested in working in higher education are encouraged to consider the position of full-time admission representative and campus visit coordinator.

Below is the description of the position:


Full-Time Admission Representative and Campus Visit Coordinator: The primary responsibility is to educate prospective students and families about Tusculum College and its programs. Candidates are required to develop a rapport with a variety of other constituents including counselors, faculty, Tusculum staff, alumni and current students to organize, plan and implement successful campus visit days and open houses. Fairly extensive overnight fall & early spring travel (3-5 weeks) will be to high schools and college recruitment programs in selected Eastern and Southern states additional primary duties include significant telecounseling, reviewing applications, interviewing future Tusculum Pioneers, and assisting with all recruitment events.


Qualifications for the above position: Prior recruitment experience with a four-year college or university, preferred. Effective oral and written communication skills, an outgoing personality, the ability to work independently, and as part of a team, a flexible attitude, and a willingness to work frequent evenings and weekends is required.


This is a comprehensive position and requires a strong work ethic to be successful.  Extensive knowledge of computers and a good driving record are also required.  A Bachelors degree is required.


To apply, send a cover letter, current résumé and three references to: Human Resources, Tusculum College, P.O. Box 5093, Greeneville, TN 37743 or
Review of applications will begin immediately and continue for two weeks.

Tusculum College is an equal opportunity employer.



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Tusculum College student represents Sri Lanka at United Nations summit

Posted on 10 September 2015 by

Michael Fernando, a senior Tusculum College student from Sri Lanka majoring in accounting, general management and economics and international business, attended the 12th annual Youth for Human Rights International Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York City on August 27-28.

Fernando served in his official capacity as youth ambassador of Sri Lanka. On Friday, Aug. 27, he delivered a speech about his work with the Youth for Human Rights International organization and the concept that freedom should be free.

Fernando said, “Freedom should be free; however, in most parts of the world it isn’t. Because of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we shouldn’t have to fight for freedom. We shouldn’t have to argue and we shouldn’t have to convince someone else of our rights. As soon as we are born into this world, we should have those rights, and they are protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s important that governments are held accountable to those rights.

“Had the fundamental rights of the Sri Lankan people, all our people, been preserved and had the 30 inherent human rights been respected, we wouldn’t have entered a civil war, and 100,000 people wouldn’t have lost their lives. It started because one person thought they could oppress someone else. Whereas, there is a human right that says we are all born free and equal. Had we been respectful of those rights, we could have avoided a 25-year long war. That was all man-made.”

Fernando spoke about the accomplishments of the Sri Lanka model nations, including giving 300 bicycles to areas of need in Sri Lanka, so that children would have a way to go to school. He was also part of starting One World Volunteers, a program that connected students, who wanted to volunteer, to people who needed them. He participated in many fundraisers and awareness programs, and additionally, his group broke the Guinness world record of the largest human word formation by forming the word “youth.”

“Despite our differences—different schools, races, casts, religions, countries, socioeconomic classes, nationalities, languages — we were able to understand the importance of community service through civic engagement and be different but be together in order to spread the message of peace, freedom, love and unity.”

Youth ambassadors and delegates from all around the world attended the summit, as well. Several spoke about the accomplishments in their country, such as awareness walks and volunteer campaigns for those in need.

“We learned about what they had done in their own countries, in their own communities to further the cause of human rights. It was amazing. The statistics show that the organization alone through their extensive volunteer network throughout the world conducted at least three events a day. That’s a tremendous feat,” said Fernando. “It was a great weekend, and I was just so privileged to be a part of that audience.”

Also in attendance was the former aid of Eleanor Roosevelt, Ella Torrey. Torrey gave a keynote address of when Roosevelt presented the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. At the summit, Torrey received a human rights hero award.

He added that the world needs someone who will defend their rights no matter what. “That is our responsibility. I was standing in a room full of people who are the beacon of hope to a society whose voices were stolen and think that freedom isn’t free,” said Fernando.

He added, “There are many people who go to prestigious schools identify that as their accomplishment. The beauty of Tusculum College is that there is a staff, faculty and student body that will support you and want to help you accomplish more than just schoolwork.”

“I would like to thank the administration and the school for supporting me in my journey to New York. I want to think the donors, the administration, the faculty, the student body and the community here that supported me in that journey. I would like to thank Dr. Mary Shuttleworth for inviting me, and Dr. (Bruce) Ferguson for sponsoring my stay in New York.”

“I want to specially thank Dr. (Nancy) Moody for doing everything that is within her power to ensure us, the students, can surpass even our own expectations. She puts opportunities in front of us, and we have to go take them.”


Story by Stephanie Turner, senior journalism and professional writing major from Shelbyville


Tusculum College student Michael Fernando, center, represented his home country of Sri Lanka on the floor of the United Nations in New York as part of the Youth for Human Rights International Summit.


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