Archive | Alumni News


Tusculum sponsors free federal income tax preparation program

Posted on 17 January 2017 by

A new program, implemented through the efforts of Tusculum College, will provide free tax preparation services in Greene and surrounding counties. The IRS-certified tax preparation program will provide three locations in the region where trained volunteers will be available to assist members of the public with the preparation of their tax returns.

Locations will include: Monday nights at Appalachian Community Federal Credit Union ’s community room in Gray, Thursdays at Tusculum and Saturdays at Greeneville Power and Light, starting Jan. 30.

The ACFCU has been a long-time partner with the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program in the area.

Led by Dr. Harold Branstrator, associate professor of management at Tusculum College, the VITA program offers a free alternative to the expensive services of a paid tax professional. The volunteers of the VITA program have completed roughly 1,000 returns annually since 2014, often saving clients $200 or more that they would have spent on payments for alternative, fee-based, services.

Taxpayers eligible for VITA services include: individuals with annual incomes of less than $54,000, individuals over 55 years of age, individuals diagnosed with a physical disability and non English-speaking citizens.

Appointments are required. Sites and days of operation include:

Mondays: ACFCU, 5034 Bobby Hicks Highway, Gray, TN 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.;

Thursdays: Tusculum College, 5:30-8:30 p.m.;

Saturdays: Greeneville Power and Light Boardroom, 110 N. College St., Greeneville, TN 9 a.m. – noon.

To schedule an appointment, call (800) 378-3778 and wait for the operator, or register online at



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Tusculum College students assist with FocusFirst vision project

Posted on 17 January 2017 by

Tusculum College students are working with Impact America to bring vision screenings to pre-school students through a project called FocusFirst.

Beginning in September, students from Tusculum participated in the project through the school’s annual Nettie Fowler McCormick Service Day. According to Dr. Ronda Gentry, director of the Center for Civic Advancement at the college, six different daycares/preschools were visited and volunteers used a special high-tech photo optic scan camera, provided by the program, to identify any  child with vision issues. Those who were identified were then referred to local physicians who treated them at low/no cost.

The goal of FocusFirst is to provide a cost-effective direct response to the vision problems of children living in urban and rural communities. During Fall 2016, Impact America – Tennessee AmeriCorps Members, working with college student volunteers, provided free vision screenings to more than 14,500 children at 414 Head Starts and daycare centers located in low-income communities in 16 Tennessee counties.

Tusculum College became the first to partner with Focus First in the State of Tennessee, now joined by The University of Tennessee. For the spring semester, Dr. Melinda Dukes, professor of psychology, will be working with a group of her students to screen at daycares and preschools as part of a service-learning project for her courses.

According to Dr. Gentry, the plan is to make the assessments a regular part of the college’s service to community efforts.

Since the fall, 2,964 children have been screened in Northeast Tennessee.


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Valentine’s Dinner and Swing Dance to benefit Tusculum College band program

Posted on 13 January 2017 by

The Tusculum College Pioneer Jazz Band will host a Valentine’s Day Dinner/Swing Dance benefit on Tuesday, Feb. 14, at the General Morgan Inn. The reception begins at 6 p.m. and dinner at 6:30 p.m. The event includes dinner and a performance by the Pioneer Jazz Band, along with special guests.

The event is a fundraiser to raise money for much-needed equipment for the entire Tusculum band program, according to David A. Price, director of music at Tusculum College.

“This will be our fourth year for this event and it has proven to be a popular and enjoyable way to celebrate Valentine’s Day,” said Price. “Each year we have had tremendous feedback on the quality of the food, as well as the fun of dancing the night away to the sounds of jazz standards.”

Ticket prices for the event are $55 per person or $400 for a table of eight guests. Ticket or table purchases include dance tickets, free dance lessons, an opening reception, dinner and a special dessert. Please call in advance to request a vegetarian substitution. A cash bar will be available.

There will be dance lessons starting at 5:30 p.m. taught by Dr. Bob and Christine Thorpe the night of the dinner dance. This year in preparation for the event we are also featuring swing dance lessons at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 31 and Thursday Feb. 9, in the Chalmers Conference Center in the Niswonger Commons on the Tusculum College campus. The lessons are free to anyone that has tickets and has signed up to attend the event. Dance lessons only are $10 per person.

Tickets are available for purchase at the General Morgan Inn or by contacting Price at 423-636-7303 or emailing A hotel package special is also available by contacting the General Morgan Inn at 423-787-1000.

Special table reservations are available for larger group seating by contacting Price.

The Pioneer Band Program at Tusculum College began in 2010, with the creation of the Pioneer Pep Band. The Pep Band became a much-enjoyed feature of the 2010 Pioneer football and basketball seasons, as the band performed at the Pioneer Club tailgate parties before each home football game and during pregame and half-time festivities.

Since that time a concert band, jazz band, marching band, handbell choir and several small ensembles have been added to the program. The groups play several events on campus each year, as well as events in the community.



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Old Oak Festival returns to Tusculum College April 21-23

Posted on 13 January 2017 by

The Old Oak Festival will return to Tusculum College campus April 21-23.

Featuring a wide variety of music and food and fun, the Old Oak Festival will span across three days, featuring something for everyone, be it live music, theater, arts and crafts or fabulous festival food.

Throughout the weekend on stage, the festival will present the sounds of the region, with a wide variety of music from bluegrass to jazz featuring local vocalists and instrumentalists.

There are limited spaces still available for artisan and crafter booths. Deadline for reserving a booth is March 31, or until all spaces are filled.

“This year’s festival is looking to be bigger and better, with great arts and crafts, performances and opportunities to enjoy a variety of fine arts experiences,” said David Price, director of Music and Band programs at Tusculum College.

This year’s special events will include an art show at Allison Gallery, student theater productions, literary readings, a student day on Friday and the return of the Lego construction contest.

There is no fee to attend the festival. Art vendor hours will be Friday from noon until 6 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, contact Price at 423-636-7303. Entertainment and food continues into the evening.

Service animals are welcome; however, no pets allowed. Coolers, firearms and alcohol are also prohibited on Tusculum College campus property during the festival. Lawn chairs and blankets are encouraged.

For updates and more information, visit the website at or on Facebook.


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Bill Bledsoe named interim chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Tusculum College

Posted on 12 January 2017 by

William “Bill” Bledsoe has been named interim chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Tusculum College, effective January 1. All academic offerings in art and design (studio art and visual communications design), theatre and music report through the Fine and Performing Arts Department.

“Bill has energy and vision,” said Wayne Thomas, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “Bill is friendly and student-centered. Bill is a staple in our community and a longtime and strong advocate of Tusculum College. Bill is exactly who we need leading Fine and Performing Arts.”

Bledsoe has been an art instructor for 27 years and a working artist for more than 40 years. Prior to coming to Tusculum, he worked in both the Fine Art Department and Digital Media Department at East Tennessee State University, headed the Secondary Art Department at Providence Academy in Johnson City and coordinated curriculum and art instruction for the Mary B. Martin Foundation in conjunction with the McKinney Arts Center in Jonesborough.

Bledsoe’s career highlights include working as an artist for the United State Air Force in Europe, as assistant to art direction for Walt Disney/Pipeline Productions and as a freelance artist/designer with  NFL Properties. He was recognized as one of the 100 Outstanding Artists of Tennessee by the Tennessee Arts Council in 1991-1992 and Outstanding ETSU Alumni in the Arts in 2013.

He won Good Housekeeping Magazine’s award for Outstanding Children’s Book Illustration in 2006. He has illustrated numerous books and publications, created public artworks, contributed artwork for to raise funds and awareness of many charitable organizations. His artwork is in numerous personal and corporate collections nationally and in Europe, China and Japan. He is best known for his artwork commemorating the National Storytelling Festival for 27 consecutive years.

Bledsoe earned his Master of Fine Arts degree in graphic design and undergraduate degree in studio art at ETSU. He resides in Jonesborough, with his wife of 25 years, Jennifer. They have two sons, Will and Greyson, and a daughter, Cassity.


Bill Bledsoe, interim chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts


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Dr. Jo Alison Lobertini named assistant vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College

Posted on 21 December 2016 by

Dr. Jo Alison Lobertini will join Tusculum College in mid-January as the assistant vice president of Academic Affairs and assistant professor of literature.

Dr. Lobertini comes to Tusculum from Clarke University in Dubuque, Iowa, where she served as dean of adult and graduate studies and interim chair of the Department of Accounting and Business Administration.

As assistant vice president for academic affairs, Dr. Lobertini will be responsible for the oversight of the operations of the Graduate and Professional Studies program, including delivery of instruction and support services and facilities at all off-site locations. She will work collaboratively with the vice president of enrollment management and marketing to assure GPS programs are fully enrolled and aggressively marketed.

Additionally, she will ensure compliance with the Principles of Accreditation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and with other accrediting agencies and is responsible for developing and maintaining, while assuring accuracy of all administrative publications and policy documents for the GPS program.

Dr. Jo Alison Lobertini

“We are very pleased that Dr. Lobertini will be joining Tusculum College,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College. “Her experience in working with adult students and their particular educational needs make her a perfect match for this position. We look forward to having her as part of our academic and administrative teams.”

In her career, Dr. Lobertini has served as dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies at Friends University in Wichita, Kansas, and as assistant dean and chair of the School of Continuing Studies and Academic Outreach at East Tennessee State University. She also served as department chair during her time at ETSU.

She has Doctorate of Education, in postsecondary and private sector leadership from East Tennessee State University, a Master of Arts in English from ETSU and a Bachelor of Arts in history from the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Lobertini has served on the Advisory Board for the Unicoi County/Erwin Head Start and for the County Crisis Center. She has also served as a recruiter, mentor and facilitator for the Tennessee Scholars Program and as a mentor and speaker for the Chamber of Commerce Youth Leadership Program.

A native of LaFollette, Tennessee, Dr. Lobertini is married to Paul Mareth and has two children, Leland Davidson and Emily Davidson.


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Tusculum’s Dr. Nancy B. Moody Elected as Chair Southern Association of Colleges and Schools-Commission on Colleges Board

Posted on 15 December 2016 by

Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College has been elected chair of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. She is the first female elected to this position.

Dr. Moody has served on the SACSCOC board since 2012 and was appointed to the Executive Council in 2014. Additionally, Dr. Moody holds the distinction of being the first chair of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association Board of Directors, the first female president of Lincoln Memorial University and the first female president of Tusculum College.

Dr. Nancy B. Moody

As chair of the SACSCOC Board of Trustees, Dr. Moody will preside at all meetings of the Executive Council, the SACSCOC Board of Trustees and the College Delegate Assembly.  She will be responsible for the appointment of persons to fill vacancies on the Board of Trustees and make committee appointments. She remains a member of the Board of Trustees as well.

As president of Tusculum College, Dr. Moody has served the students of Tusculum College since 2009 and has embraced the opportunity to encourage faculty, staff, students and volunteers to push Tusculum College forward through creative teaching and learning, responsible stewardship and a renewed commitment to service and civic engagement. Dr. Moody has led Tusculum College into a new era of growth and expansion, in terms of bricks and mortar, academic programs and fiscal responsibility.

During her tenure, she was instrumental in securing a $45 million Community Facilities direct loan for the construction of two new apartment style residence halls, a science and math facility and to refurbish an existing academic building. Dr. Moody led efforts that secured a $3.875 million gift for the naming of the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math that will be completed in 2016, as well as numerous grants and gifts to support the Tusculum First capital campaign.

Dr. Moody heralds from Middlesboro, Kentucky, where she attended St. Julian’s Catholic School and graduated from Middlesboro High School. She earned associate and baccalaureate degrees in nursing from Eastern Kentucky University, a Master of Science in nursing from Texas Woman’s University (Houston) and a Ph.D. in nursing from the University of Alabama School of Nursing at Birmingham.

She held teaching and administrative appointments at Lincoln Memorial University, East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. Dr. Moody was the inaugural Executive Director of the Tennessee Center of Nursing, funded initially through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (which she co-authored), BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

During her career, Dr. Moody has been recognized by all three of her alma maters, Eastern Kentucky University, Texas Woman’s University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing, where she received the Chancellor’s Alumni Excellence Award. Dr. Moody was also the inaugural recipient of the Founders Award, presented in February 2013 by the Tusculum College Board of Trustees who acknowledged her for distinguished service as an executive leader through her vision, hard work and dedication to Tusculum College.

She is married to Tom Moody, a self-employed public accountant. She and Tom are proud parents of two adult children, daughter, Mykel, and son, Adam.


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Alumni invited to join webinar Wednesday, Dec. 13, about trip to Antartic Circle

Posted on 12 December 2016 by

Alumni are invited to join Tusculum’s travel partners at Cruise Planners for a webinar on Wednesday, December 13, to share information about an adventurous expedition to Antarctica.

To register for the Antarctica 2018 – Polar Circle Expedition webinar, to be presented at 7:00 PM EST, please visit:
Watch the online presentation and learn about an opportunity to sail below the Antarctic Circle – what a bucket list adventure! It’s a journey few ever undertake, and we invite you to travel expedition style with us to Antarctica in February of 2018.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Tusculum has joined Cruise Planners to seek out travel opportunities to offer alumni. Another trip being explored for the future is an excursion in Italy in 2019.

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Used eyeglasses, reading glasses needed for mission trip to Cambodia

Posted on 07 December 2016 by

Prescription eyeglasses, reading glasses and financial donations are being collected at Tusculum College to support a mission trip to Cambodia through the Asia’s Hope organization.

Dr. Patricia Hunsader, dean of the School of Education at Tusculum College, will participate in the mission trip later this month and is working through the college’s Center for Civic Advancement to collect items for the trip.

For Dr. Hunsader, this will be her thirteenth trip to serve the region through work projects such as the medical clinic planned for this trip.

“The people in the area served by the medical clinics do not have access to eye care of any kind,” said Dr. Hunsader.  “We are not medical professionals, we work with the trained personnel in Cambodia, but we can provide energy, organization and financial resources.”

As part of that, Dr. Hunsader will collect the glasses and financial resources and take them with her to the clinic.

Anyone wishing to donate may do so at the drop off location in the Charles Oliver Gray North building on the Greeneville campus. Items need to be received by Wednesday, December 14.

“Our team will host a medical clinic and plan to provide prescription eyeglasses to adults from five slums in Phnom Penh, Cambodia,” said Dr. Hunsader. “All of the items collected will be used for this purpose.”

She added that plans are in the works for a second trip in 2017 that will be organized to include students at Tusculum College.


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LeAnne Anderson named district director for Tennessee Department of Corrections

Posted on 06 December 2016 by

LeAnne Anderson has been promoted to district director of community supervision with the Tennessee Department of Correction. Additionally, she was selected to be one of six representatives from TDOC to be part of LEAD TN in 2017.

LEAD Tennessee is a statewide, 12-month development initiative for current and emerging leaders from all branches of government. It consists of six one-day summits of intense, high impact learning focused on eight leadership core competencies. The goal of LEAD Tennessee is to increase the state’s leadership bench strength by providing agencies a continuous pipeline of motivated and prepared leaders who share a common language and mindset about great leadership.

LeAnne Anderson

Anderson is a resident of Sneedville and is a 2007 graduate of Tusculum College, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in organizational management. She also holds two associate’s degrees from Walters State Community College and she is a graduate of the Police Academy program there as well.

Professionally, she previously served as probation and parole manager for the State of Tennessee and as a 911 dispatcher.

“When I realized I had to go back to school so I could have more options, I began looking for a school that would work with my schedule,” said Anderson. “Needless to say my options were few and far between. I wanted a good education, but I had to continue working. Tusculum was my school. The hours were perfect for me and the classes were awesome.

“I was able to work during the day and do my class at night. I didn’t miss any of my kids activities and finished with my degree really fast.”

According to Lindsey Seal, director of GPS enrollment at Tusculum College, “While the return isn’t always immediate, with dedication the investment in a college education does pay off. LeAnne’s story is proof of that.”


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Heritage Trust makes donation to Garland Library collections

Posted on 01 December 2016 by

At the November 21 meeting of the Greene County Heritage Trust, Museums of Tusculum Director Dollie Boyd accepted a copy of “Civil War Soldiers of Greene County, Tennessee: Vol. I,” a Civil War Sesquicentennial project of the Greene County Genealogical Society. The book was donated to the Tusculum College Library by the Heritage Trust. Its inclusion in the college’s library collection will ensure that it is available to genealogists, researchers, and students.

From left to right are Trust President Tim Massey, Museums of Tusculum Director Dollie Boyd and Trust Board Member Stevie Hughes.

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

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

Posted on 17 November 2016 by

The finishing touches are underway on the construction of the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math at Tusculum College. Interior work continues with flooring, electrical and furniture installation well underway.

According to David Martin, director of facilities at Tusculum College, construction will be completed in the next few weeks and plans are to being moving into the building over the Christmas break. Classes will be held in the new facility beginning in January with the start of the spring semester.

The Meen Center for Science and Math is 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 the Master of Science degree in Nursing.

The facility is possible in part to the late Verna June Meen, whose $3.875 million gift towards funding the facility in memory of her husband, Dr. Ronald H. Meen, allowed the leadership of the college to move forward with plans for the facility.

Much of the laboratory equipment has been installed as the finishing touches are added to the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math at Tusculum College.

The finishing touches on the exterior of the building are under way including sidewalk construction.



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