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Auditions for Theatre-at-Tusculum’s production of ‘The Odd Couple’ Dec. 8-9

Posted on 24 November 2015 by

The Odd Couple are moving to Tusculum College.

Neil Simon’s award winning comedy, “The Odd Couple” will be the spring production of Theatre-at-Tusculum, and actors and actresses are being sought for the play to be directed by Marilyn duBrisk.

Open auditions will be held Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Wednesday, Dec. 9, in the David Behan Arena Theatre in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum campus.

Registration will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the auditions beginning at 6 p.m. on both days. No prepared audition pieces will be required. Auditions will consist of readings from the script.

The comedy has six roles for men and two roles for women of varying ages. The female roles are those of the giggly Pigeon sisters, Cecily and Gwendolyn, who are upstairs neighbors to Oscar and Felix.

Performance dates will be Feb. 26-28 and March 3-6 in the Behan Arena Theatre.

Theatre-at-Tusculum Technical Director Frank Mengel and Director Marilyn duBrisk discuss props and pause for a photo with the audition poster for the spring production of Neil Simon's comedy, “The Odd Couple.”

“The Odd Couple” follows the lives of two distinctly different best friends, Oscar Madison and Felix Unger. The tightly wound, hypochondriac Felix is forced to move in with the slovenly and brash Oscar. Hilarity ensues as they try to make peace with their opposing personalities. They are supported by their poker buddies – the police officer Murray, the gruff and sarcastic Speed, the henpecked Vinnie and the dry-witted Roy.

The play premiered on Broadway in 1965 with Walter Matthau and Art Carney portraying Oscar and Felix. The production was awarded several Tony Awards including Best Actor (Play) for Matthau and Best Author for Simon, and was nominated for Best Play that year. The play spawned the 1968 film of the same name, starring Matthau and Jack Lemmon, and also the hit 1970s television show featuring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. A remake of the series premiered on CBS in February 2015 starring Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.

“The Odd Couple” helped Simon become one of the best known American playwrights of the 20th Century, and the play has become culturally iconic and an American theatre staple, leading The New York Times to opine, “There is scarcely a moment that is not hilarious.”

For more information regarding auditions please call Tusculum College Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620.


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Christmas tree lighting and Christmas band concert set for Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Tusculum College

Posted on 20 November 2015 by

Get into the holiday spirit Tuesday, Dec. 1, at Tusculum College with a Christmas tree lighting and the annual holiday concert by the College’s Band Program.

The local community is invited to the celebration and concert, which are both free and open to the public.

Festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with the lighting of the tree and caroling in front of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on campus. Wassail and cookies will be served in the lobby of the Byrd building following the lighting.

The Christmas Band Concert will follow at 7 p.m., featuring the Concert Band, Jazz Band and Handbell Choir.

The Concert Band and Jazz Band’s repertoire will include “Celtic Bell Carol” arranged by Robert Smith, “Christmas Pipes” arranged by Michael Brown, “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)” arranged by Larry Kerchner, “Bring a Torch” arranged by David Shipps, “Jing Jing Jingle” arranged by Chris Sharp, “Go Tell It On the Mountain” arranged by Roy Phillippe, “Let It Snow” arranged by Mike Lewis, “White Christmas”  arranged by Roger Holmes, “Jingle Bells” arranged by Carl Strommen, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” arranged by Matt Amy and “A Chili Pepper Christmas” arranged by Doug Beach.

The Handbell Choir will be performing “The Huron Carol” arranged by Jason Krug, “The Bells of Morgan Square” arranged by David Price, “The Twelve Days After Christmas” arranged by Tammy Waldrop and “In the Bleak Midwinter” arranged by Martha Lynn Thompson.

The band program began in 2010 with the formation of a pep band and has grown to include a Marching Band, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Handbell Choir and various small ensembles.

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Dr. Ron May to continue as vice president of academic affairs

Dr. Ron May to continue as vice president of academic affairs

Posted on 20 November 2015 by

Dr. Ron May, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, has extended his tenure to serve through the 2016-17 academic year. Dr. May had originally accepted an invitation to serve Tusculum College through June 30, 2016.

Dr. May, a 1968 graduate of the college, has had a distinguished career in higher education, retiring in June 2014 as president of Ancilla College in Donaldson, Ind. In his career he has taught public school, as well as served as a college professor, department head, dean, vice president and twice as a college president, at Ancilla and at Louisburg College in Louisburg, N.C.

Dr. Ron May

“Tusculum is in the process of transformation in our academic program, and we are delighted that we will continue to have the leadership of Dr. May as we move forward with a number of significant changes approved by the Board of Trustees in the past year,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College. “His professional background provides a vast experience in higher education administration and will be invaluable as we move forward. We look forward to the continued service and presence of Dr. May and his wife, Joan.”

While his primary responsibilities include leading the academic programs of the college, Dr. May also holds faculty rank as professor of education.

In his career, Dr. May has been recognized by numerous organizations, including by the Leadership Marshall County program with their Leader of the Year Award in 2011. He served Tusculum College as dean of faculty from 1985 to 1988. He also served for a time as the president of the Tusculum College Alumni Association.

Dr. May earned a Doctorate of Education from Indiana University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from East Tennessee State University and an Associate of Science from Vincennes University.

He returned to serve as interim vice president of academic affairs in June 2014. He previously served Tusculum College as dean of faculty from 1985 to 1988.

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Tusculum College Center for Civic Advancement director presents research in Spain

Posted on 18 November 2015 by

Dr. Ronda Gentry, the director of Tusculum College Center for Civic Advancement, recently returned from Barcelona, Spain, where she presented her research on first-generation Appalachian college students.

Dr. Gentry, along with two peers, gave the presentation in Barcelona for the International Leadership Association. The presentation was based on her dissertation research on first-generation, Appalachian college students. Her dissertation was titled, “Cross-Cultural Conversations and Community Leadership: Creating Pathways for First-Generation Appalachian Students and Colleges.”

The presentation examined the need for cross-cultural conversations between local communities and colleges in the development of student-strategies post cultural trauma. According to Dr. Gentry, the study brought together members of the Appalachian community, first-generation Appalachian students and members of the college community in cross-cultural conversation with the goal of the collective community discovering ways they could work together to improve college graduation rates of first-generation Appalachian college students.

Dr. Ronda Gentry

“The cross-cultural conversation resulted in new ideas for needed student services,” she said. “More important, however, is that this conversation demonstrates a process for community leadership in educational settings where power balances are restored and cooperation comes forth.”

According to Dr. Gentry, the presentation opportunity presented itself through her doctoral program at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio. It was then decided to develop the trip into an eight-day study aboard opportunity, which included 12 students and Dean of Arts and Sciences Wayne Thomas.

In addition to touring the city of Barcelona, Dr. Gentry’s presentation gave the students access to the conference, with opportunities to volunteer, as well as to attend lectures and interact with leadership experts from around the world.


By Kayla Freeman, freshman business major from Charleston, S.C.

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New science and math building coontinues to take shape

New science and math building coontinues to take shape

Posted on 18 November 2015 by

The Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math continues to take shape as upper decks were poured in November, from the lab section through the lecture hall and to the north retaining wall. Concreting should reach the half way point this week, said David Martin, director of facilities at Tusculum College.

Additionally, Martin said that two-thirds of the building has the steel work completed.

The other trades, plumbing, HVAC, electrical, fire protection and metal framing will be completed soon.

Work on the roof trusses will start the Monday after Thanksgiving with roof blocking, HVAC curbs and roofing following immediately

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.


Sections of the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math on the Tusculum College campus are reaching structural completion.

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Doak House Museum to host popular “Storytelling and Gingerbread” education program in December

Posted on 18 November 2015 by

The Doak House Museum’s most popular program for school children, “Storytelling and Gingerbread,” is returning in December.

The program will begin Tuesday, November 24. Students from local schools visit the Museum on the Tusculum College for a taste of a traditional Christmas from the 19th century. Home schooled students are invited to enjoy the program at 1 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 7.

The annual program teaches children about how people in the 19th century observed the Christmas holidays and features storytelling, traditional crafts, cookie decorating and traditional celebrations.

“Our ancestors celebrated the season much differently than we do,” said Dollie Boyd, director of museum program and studies. “Decorations would have been minimal and homemade. The focus would have been more on a good meal and time with family. When students come to this event, they get a glimpse of history through engaging activities.”       Volunteers are also needed for “Storytelling and Gingerbread.” Volunteering requires a three-hour commitment plus training.

Volunteers are need in the following areas: reading a story book to school children, mostly in grades K-3rd; interpreting a 19th century kitchen. Serving cookies to children, helping them decorate the cookies; craft station leader, making a paper craft that incorporates a short architecture lesson; prep work before and after programs; assisting storyteller with shadow puppet show; storyteller, needs to be willing to do extra training and prep.

Reservations are required as space is limited. For more information, to volunteer or to make reservations, call 423-636-8554 or email

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Thank-a-donor Week a success

Posted on 17 November 2015 by

On Friday, Nov. 13, more than 200 Tusculum College students participated in Thank-a-Donor Day at Tusculum College in order to show thanks for all donors who contribute to the College.  Students engaged in activities such as signing poster boards of thanks, creating thank you cards, creating sidewalk art of notes of thanks and videotaping messages saying thanks to all those who support the College. Students also uploaded messages and pictures to social media using #PioneersGiveBack, as well as enjoyed music, popcorn and icees throughout the event.

Thank-a-Donor Day is an event held in conjunction with National Philanthropic Day celebrated on November 15.  National Philanthropy Day began in 1986 with President Ronald Reagan calling for communities to “recognize activities of donors, volunteers, foundations, leaders, corporations, and others engaged in philanthropy” according to the Association of Fundraising Professionals’ website.

The 2015 Tusculum College Thank-a-Donor Day event was sponsored by Wal-Mart Distribution Center, Big Lots, Tusculum College Bookstore, Tusculum College Cafeteria, Wal-Mart retail store, Cinema Town Crossing 8 Movie Theatre, Monterrey Commons Mexican Restaurant, Papa Johns, Bojangles, YMCA and the Brights Zoo.

From the Office of Institutional Advancement at Tusculum College, thank you to all donors, volunteers, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners who support the Pioneers.


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Tusculum College begins spring enrollment for adult day and evening programs

Posted on 06 November 2015 by

Tusculum College is currently accepting applications for the 2016 spring semester for the Graduate and Professional Studies program.

“Continuing your education is a good investment in your future,” said Lindsey Seal, director of Graduate & Professional Studies enrollment. “Contact one of our admissions counselors today to learn about how to make your dreams come true.”

Spring semester classes begin in January for the Gateway, bachelor’s degree completion and master’s degree programs and are available at each of Tusculum’s four locations in Greeneville, Morristown, Kingsport and Knoxville.

“The GPS program is tailored for the average working adult or parent to earn a college degree quickly,” said Seal. “Anyone interested in beginning or completing a degree should give us a call or apply online for our focused and flexible Graduate and Professional Studies program.”

Colleen Cox, who graduates with a degree in management this spring, said the time and effort has all been worth it at Tusculum College. “The individualized experience and attention I received in the Bachelor of Science in Management program was exactly what I needed to be a successful student while juggling my work and family responsibilities.”

In 1984, Tusculum created the Graduate and Professional Studies program to combine the values and ideals of its founders with the needs of today’s busy adult learner. This uniquely focused and practical program has enabled thousands of men and women to obtain the degrees they need to succeed professionally and personally. More than 90 percent of our new students come to us because someone they know recommended the program.

“I love the pace of the program,” said Marcus Blair, who will graduate with a degree in business administration in 2016. “I also appreciate that each course includes practical application of how that subject can be used in my everyday work experiences.”

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Tusculum College to host Family Weekend Nov. 6-7

Posted on 06 November 2015 by

Family members will be the special guests at Tusculum College this weekend as a variety of activities for  students and their families are planned for  Family Weekend, scheduled for Nov. 6 and 7.

“Family Weekend is a great event to bring families back for their kids,” said Blake Cantrell, associate director of constituent relations. “We are very excited about it. We are trying to reach out to the students and their families and get them  involved in activities with the faculty and staff.”

Some of those activities on this year’s schedule include a tour of the newly-instated Tusculum College Arboretum, an ice cream social, a cornhole tournament, building of the set for the fall musical “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and a tailgate celebration preceding the football game against Catawba College.

The weekend will also play host to a home volleyball game and Pioneer Fest, which will feature carnival games for all ages, prizes, music and a bonfire for S’mores and other activities.

However, these activities are not exclusive to current students and families. The weekend also provides a chance for alumni to come back and experience the events on campus.

“A lot of legacies get a chance to come back,” said Cantrell. “Alumni, parents, family members love stepping back on campus, because it’s changed so much.”


By Haley Klages, junior journalism and professional writing major from Franklin

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Tusculum’s Museum Director published online

Posted on 04 November 2015 by

Finding ways to recreate history through the stories of women is a widespread problem among museum curators and history enthusiasts, particularly in light of how rarely women are mentioned in historical documents.

With this in mind, Dollie Boyd, director of museums for Tusculum College was recently published in an online blog for the American Association of State and Local History on the topic of “5 Ways to Get a Woman Out of the Kitchen.”

The blog submission was requested by AASLH after Boyd presented at a summer conference for the Tennessee Association of Museums.

“When I first came to the Doak House Museum, one of my first tasks was to learn the tour script. The couple who built the home in 1830 were strict Calvinist Presbyterians – Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak and his wife Sarah McEwen Doak,” said Boyd. “The tour script covered Rev. Doak’s education, teaching career, ministry, the ledgers he left behind and family folklore. Mrs. Doak was mentioned only in relationship to the 13 children she bore.”

Boyd began to consider how to interpret the life of Mrs. Doak with a measure of fairness and to look at ways to give her equal time in the tour script.

“Despite the lack of historical data on her specifically, there were other pieces and clues in the history that we could use to find her,” said Boyd.

Tips for better depiction of the lives of historical women addressed in the article include  considering important dates, reviewing correspondence, talking to historians about the period, studying the home environment and conducting archeological digs. The complete article may be found at

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

Posted on 03 November 2015 by

The Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math is beginning to take shape, as this week the majority of the Lecture Hall and its section have the steel work completed, according to officials at Tusculum College.

According to Director of Facilities David Martin, in addition to the steel work, electricians and the plumbers are working on underground rough in on the east side of the building, which includes the main electrical room on the first floor, floor drains and the main sewer and acid waste lines.

Construction is still on schedule for a fall opening of the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math on the Tusculum College campus.

“The plumber and HVAC guys have been roughing in overhead on the main and second floors, and next up is drywall for the exterior framing package and exterior walls on third, second and main floors,” said Martin.

This week is the expected completion of the concrete floors, which will allow work to begin simultaneously across the whole building for finishing work.

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.

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Tusculum Fishing Club receiving national attention

Tusculum Fishing Club receiving national attention

Posted on 02 November 2015 by

The Pioneer Fishing Club at Tusculum College has received national recognition for ranking 19th in the nation in collegiate fishing.

The team achieved this ranking attending only five out of 14 qualifying events due to limited resources. To improve further, the club is now seeking community support to compete in all 14 competitions, with an ultimate goal of reaching a number one ranking and becoming an NCAA team sport at the college.

“This semester, we’re focusing on raising money and becoming more visible on campus,” said Nick Hatfield, a senior business major from Greeneville and president of the Pioneer Fishing Club. “With more sponsors, we can attend more qualifying events and make fishing at Tusculum a big deal.”

Their mission is to provide students at Tusculum College with the opportunity to learn about fishing and expand their skills, as well as compete in collegiate fishing tournaments.

“Fishing has become a very important part of my life ever since joining the Pioneer Fishing Club,” said Justin Reagan, a business administration major from Johnson City and secretary of the club. “I’ve been able to meet a great group of people and have been able to also enjoy some time on the water with these guys, and the fact that I get to represent my school at the same time makes it that much better. It’s hard to really say what fishing means to me, but I can’t imagine where I’d be without it.”

Corban Rood, a senior environmental science major from Knoxville and vice president, said, “Fishing is everything to me.”

Established in 2012 as a recreational club, the team began competing in 2014. As a student organization responsible for their own expenses, members of the Pioneer Fishing Club sought help from the community and received support from Hometown Reality, Snapps Ferry Packing, Affordable Roofing and American Emergency Response Training, Inc.

“Without the help of the local community, we wouldn’t have been able to compete at all,” said Rood.

The team competed in five qualifying events, placing first out of 200 teams at Kentucky Lake and typically placing within the top 40 in other competitions.

“After last year’s successes, we’re looking into having Tusculum recognize fishing as a sport,” said Dr. Jason Jones, assistant professor of physical education and advisor of the Pioneer Fishing Club. “We’ve already had prospective students contacting us about scholarships through fishing, but we don’t offer one yet.”

The team is focused on more than just fishing. As a part of the club’s commitment to give back to the community, each member is required to complete at least eight hours of community service each semester.

Hatfield said, “It’s not just about competition. We like to just go out for a day on the water, too. If you are interested in fishing, we’re interested in you. You don’t even need a fishing rod.”

The Pioneer Fishing Club meets every Tuesday at 11:30 a.m. in the Niswonger Commons on the Greeneville campus, Room 401. For more information, contact Hatfield at 423-341-9832 or Dr. Jones at



By Stephanie Turner, senior journalism and professional writing major from Shelbyville

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