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Tusculum students explore politics, history and economy of Malta

Tusculum students explore politics, history and economy of Malta

Posted on 10 April 2014 by

Six Tusculum College students had the opportunity to explore some of the oldest known free-standing structures on earth, talk to business leaders about their experiences in the European Union and learn about international law during a trip to Malta in March.

The six students were accompanied by Dr. Troy Goodale, assistant professor of political science, for the trip to the small island nation south of Italy on March 8 -15. This is the third year for a group of Tusculum students to travel to Malta and the second trip that has included both students from the Residential College program and the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) program for working adults.

The trip’s purpose was to give the students an insight into international law, economics and history of Malta, said Dr. Goodale Tuesday evening during a presentation by the students about the trip to the campus community.

“It was an awesome trip,” said Christian Grumbach of Oak Ridge, who encouraged those attending to study abroad. “It is a great opportunity. I would highly recommend going on a study abroad trip. You can learn a lot.” Grumbach is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration through the GPS program.

The students stayed at the University of Malta, where they attended a class about international law. Grumbach said that the class focused on laws regarding search and rescue on the high seas, which he found interesting because of his background in the military.

Malta’s rich history was the focus of several of the excursions by the students, including to prehistoric temples that are considered to be some of the oldest free-standing structures on Earth and pre-date the Egyptian pyramids.

Describing the temple of Hagar Qin, Heather Hammack noted that it was built so that the light from the summer solstice strikes an interior stone. Hammack, who is from Maryville, is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in organizational management in the GPS program.

In the Mnajdra Temple, located about 500 feet down the hill from the Hagar Qin, the students discovered that it was built in such a way to not only mark the summer solstice but also the spring and autumn equinoxes. A museum at the temple sites contained objects found inside the temples, including statutes that are believed to be related to fertility beliefs of the builders of the temples.

The third temple the students visited was Ggantija, which gets its name for the Maltese word for “large.” Hammack said they had a long walk to reach the temple, which has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

While the students did much walking in their visits to the temples, they enjoyed a boat ride to travel to historic Birgu, which was an earlier capital of the nation. “The ocean was so beautiful, and the history is so rich,” said Grumbach. “I learned a lot and the culture was awesome.”

The students also visited the Domus Roman, a Roman villa that was unearthed during a construction project. The students said a museum was literally built around the villa, giving visitors an idea what it would have been like to be inside the villa.

Tusculum students Hannah Lefler, Christian Gumbach, Ryan Norton, Christina Murrell, Heather Hammack and Debbie Smith (from left) explore the Domus Roman, the remains of a Roman villa.

The students also visited Mdina, one of the oldest cities of Malta, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, named in honor of the Apostle Paul, who was shipwrecked on the island on his travels to Rome. The island’s people are primarily Roman Catholic, said Christina Murrell of Maryville, who is pursuing a business administration degree. The island has a church on almost every street corner, the students noted.

The striking Blue Grotto was one of the highlights of the trip for Ryan Norton, an art design major from Greeneville. Some of the students took a boat ride through the series of sea caverns. “The water is so blue,” Hammack said. “And it is so clear you can see to the bottom.”

The students noted that while they saw incredible architecture, the country is in an almost constant state of renovation because of the damage caused by the winds and salty air on the island.

As a student with a background in business, exploring the economic side of the nation was fascinating, said Debbie Smith of Knoxville, who is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration. The students visited the Malta Financial Services Authority, which is the agency that regulates all aspects of financial for the nation.

There they learned more about Malta’s entrance into the European Union. The European Union was established following World War II initially to foster cooperation between nations in Europe, explained Smith.

Malta joined the European Union in 2004. During their visit to the Attrans, an international transport company, the owner told them that joining the European Union helped them as previously they had to go through the differing customs processes and tariffs in each country but now it is uniform, Smith noted.

“They are also very frugal, recycling and repurposing all they can,” she said. “Nothing is ever wasted.”

A trip to Gozo, one of the three islands that make up the nation, provided insights into history, business and culture. The island can only be reached by a ferry, said Hannah Lefler, a psychology major from Chapel Hill, and this lack of access has been debated for years as it limits commerce on the island. A bridge between the main island of Malta and Gozo is proposed, but so far not much progress has been made toward its becoming a reality, she added.

Victoria, the main city on Gozo, was first fortified in the Bronze Age and inside its walls are very narrow streets. The students visited three museums – one dedicated to forklore, another to archeology and the third to natural science.

The students also discovered a thriving jewelry trade in the city. The jewelry was made by hand and was inexpensive. Gozo is also known for its glass production and the glass items were much more expensive, the students noted.

A visit to the U.S. Embassy allowed the students to talk to employees about what they do and the life of a diplomat.

As they ended their presentation, they encouraged the students in attendance to travel to Malta or other international destinations for study. “If you have the opportunity, just go,” said Hammack. “It is the best money you’ll ever spend.”

Additional opportunities for study in Malta may be offered soon as the college is entering an exchange relationship with the University of Malta, which will allow Tusculum students to study there as well as University of Malta students to study at Tusculum, said Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of the Center for Global Studies.

The students traveled by boat to both the city of Birgu and the island of Gozo.


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Spring Commencement: what do parents and families need to know

Spring Commencement: what do parents and families need to know

Posted on 10 April 2014 by

May 10 is a date circled on the calendar of more than 300 Tusculum College students who will reach the successful completion of an educational journey by earning degrees during the Spring Commencement Ceremony that day.

Two ceremonies are planned and both will take place in the Pioneer Arena of the Niswonger Commons. The first will be at 10 a.m. and will include students earning degrees from the Residential College program, from master’s degree programs in education and the Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) bachelor’s degree program in education. The second will be at 1:30 p.m. and include Master of Business Administration graduates and the students earning degrees from the GPS bachelor’s programs in organizational management, business administration  and psychology.

Tusculum College applauds the graduates for their hard-earned achievements and is preparing for May 10 as a day of celebration for the newest alumni and their families. The College is busy making preparations to make the day a memorable one and you can help.

With the construction last year of two new residence halls, the number of parking spaces available on campus has been reduced. Family members are asked to carpool if possible rather than bring multiple cars to the ceremony to help lessen congestion on campus. As you arrive on campus, security personnel will direct you to a parking area.

If you are any of your family members or guests requires special handicapped seating accommodations, please contact Bobbie Greenway no later than December 13 at 423-636-7300 ext. 5154 so your needs can be addressed. There will be handicapped parking available in the large parking lot at the Niswonger Commons. Please let the security personnel directing traffic and parking know that you need handicapped parking if it is needed and they will direct you to the lot. Please note that Tusculum will not be able to provide wheelchairs. Those with special seating accommodations are asked to arrive at least 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.

You can also help by helping your graduate be at the Pioneer Arena in time for graduation practice. For the morning ceremony, practice begins at 8:45 a.m. and it begins 12:15 p.m. for the 1:30 p.m. ceremony. Graduates who arrive prior to the practice times are asked to report to the cafeteria.

Graduates are not allowed to have personnel items such as purses and cameras with them during the ceremony. You can assist them by obtaining these items from them prior to graduation practice and holding them.  Prior to the practice is a good time for this and other communication between you and your graduate because after graduation practice, the graduates go to the cafeteria where they placed in order for the procession and for the ceremony. It is easier for the College staff getting the graduates in line if they stay inside the cafeteria during this period.

The Pioneer Arena will open for guest seating after completion of the rehearsal. Guests are asked to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.

No tickets are required for graduation and there is no limit on the number of guests per graduate. However, to help provide seating for all, guests are asked to not hold seats for others in the last 45 minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony.

Programs will be placed on the seat of each graduate and they will be distributed to guests at the Pioneer Arena primary entrances. For graduates unable to attend the ceremony, diplomas will be mailed to the graduates’ home addresses after Commencement Day provided all academic and financial obligations are satisfied.

To help preserve the prestigious decorum of the commencement ceremony, guests are asked to observe the following:

  • As a courtesy to other attendees, please consider making alternative arrangements for very young children.  Due to fire marshal regulations, no baby carriers or strollers will be allowed in the auditorium.
  • Cell phones are to be turned off or switched to the silent operating mode during the ceremony.  Do not speak on a cell phone or carry on a conversation during the ceremony as this prevents others from hearing and enjoying the ceremony.
  • Commencement is both a joyous and solemn event.  Please express your excitement in ways that will not prevent others from hearing the speaker and enjoying the ceremony.  Use of air horns, yelling or stomping are disruptive.
  • Please refrain from taking pictures until after your graduate receives his or her diploma.  This will allow the ceremony to flow smoothly and reduce the distractions and disturbances to other audience members as they try to see and hear ongoing presentations.
  • As a courtesy to and out of respect for your fellow graduates, you and your family are requested to remain in the auditorium until the conclusion of the ceremony. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the faculty traditionally forms a gauntlet and applauds the graduates as they recess from the auditorium.  We ask that your family and friends be respectful of this tradition and remain in the auditorium until the graduates have exited the auditorium.



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Voting continuing to help Tusculum qualify for $5,000 grant

Voting continuing to help Tusculum qualify for $5,000 grant

Posted on 06 April 2014 by

Your vote is needed! First Tennessee’s 150 Days of Giving continues and Tusculum College is seeking to be one of the recipients of one of the $5,000 grants that are being awarded as part of the event.

To commemorate First Tennessee’s 150th anniversary and to  celebrate its long tradition of serving communities, the First Tennessee Foundation is giving away $5,000 to a different nonprofit every day for 150 days as part of its “150 Days of Giving.”

To help Tusculum College be one of the 150 non-profits to receive a grant, All you have to do is vote! Please vote each day throughout the 150 Days of Giving. You will be able to vote for up to ten different nonprofits a day from any device at once a day until Tusculum wins or the 150 days ends.

Winners are announced daily at, and you can join the conversation using #FTB150.

Tusculum College is happy to celebrate with First Tennessee and is honored to be among the nonprofits eligible to participate in “150 Days of Giving.”


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Borden and Menken win 2014 Owens Literary Prize competition

Borden and Menken win 2014 Owens Literary Prize competition

Posted on 04 April 2014 by

Tusculum College students Joseph Borden and Britany Menken  are the winners of the 2014 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Prize, which is given annually to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s creative writing students.

Menken, a senior from Maryville who won the competition’s nonfiction category, submitted a work titled “A Girl, Not the Girl.”

Borden, who won the competition’s fiction, poetry and scriptwriting categories, submitted a fiction piece titled “Hell or High Water” and poems titled “We Should Have Rained,” “Clockstop Blues,” “Down in the Valley,” “For Austin, Long Age,” “It’s Seasonal,” “Like Clockwork” and “On the Line.” He also submitted a script titled “Backover.” Borden is a senior from Lyles.

Of the four categories, fiction, nonfiction, poetry and scriptwriting, four students received an honorable mention for the works they each submitted. Madilyn Elliot, a sophomore from Johnson City, was recognized for “Lenses” in the fiction category, Ginny Lay, a senior from Laurel Bloomery, was recognized for “Snake, Drop, and Roll” in the non-fiction category, Melissa’s Mauceri, a senior from Pigeon Forge, was recognized for “Madness is Genius” and “I Pray to the Lord My Soul to Keep” in the poetry category and Caitlin Hobgood, a sophomore from Greeneville was recognized for her script, “Losing Face.”

The winners’ works will be included in a publication to be released during the 2014 Old Oak Festival, April 25-27.

The literary award was established by Curtis Owens, a 1928 graduate of Tusculum College who went on to a teaching career at what is now Pace University in New York, and his wife, Billie.  He and his wife established the Owens Award at his alma mater to encourage and reward excellence in writing among Tusculum College students.

The announcement of the winners was made during a reading by scriptwriter David Muschell. Muschell served as the judge for the final round of competition. The reading was part of the annual Humanities Series, sponsored by the Tusculum College English Department.

Muschell has won awards for his plays from MultiStages in New York City, Stage 3 Theatre in Sonoma, Calif., Feedback Books in Bloomington, Ill., The Southeast Playwright’s Project, The Deep South New Play Contest, The Beverly Hills Theatre Guild and The Alleyway Theatre in Buffalo, N.Y.

Thirteen of his plays have been published, including “The Jesus Trip” by Baker’s Plays of Boston, “Mixed Emotions” by the Dramatic Publishing Company and “The Invisible Princess” by Brooklyn Publishers. His work has been produced in 23 states, Canada and Japan.

From left to right, Madilyn Elliot, Caitlin Hobgood, Britany Menken, Playwright David Muschell, Ginny Lay, Joseph Borden and Melissa Mauceri.


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Study abroad trip to Ireland scheduled for Block 1 of 2014 fall semester

Study abroad trip to Ireland scheduled for Block 1 of 2014 fall semester

Posted on 04 April 2014 by

The first study abroad trip of the 2014-15 will begin just days after the start of the academic year.

Students in ENGL 337-10 Literature Abroad will be traveling to Dublin, Ireland, for 10 days of touring some of the important sites in Dublin and the surrounding regions. The trip is scheduled for Aug. 24 through Sept. 3. The itinerary for the trip is designed to explore the history, politics and literary tradition of Ireland from a home base in Dublin, according to Dr. Desirae Matherly, assistant professor of English, who is teaching the course.

During the trip, students will explore sites that tell the story of Ireland through pre-history to modern times. The itinerary includes visits to Newgrange, a pre-historic site outside Dublin that is a World Heritage site, and to the Sixth Century monastery at Athlone, where one of the texts that students will read for the course, “The Tain,” was found.

As part of the course, students will be reading from the earliest Irish literature through the modern era. Other literary-related sites that will be visited include Trim Castle, which is the site of the Swift Satire Festival; the Royal Irish Academy, which houses early Irish manuscripts; the Trinity College Library, where The Book of Kells is housed; the Dublin Writers Museum, the James Joyce Center, and Abbey Theatre, which was founded by W. B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory and is the first ever state-subsidized theater in the English speaking world.

The students will explore St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Green, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Glasnevin Cemetery, the resting place for over 1.5 million people. The Glasnevin Museum tells the story of modern Ireland through interactive exhibitions and cemetery tours.

A view of the natural landscape will be provided during a trip to the Glendalough Monastery and a hike through the Wicklow Mountains National Park.

Exploring the political history of the nation, students will visit the Kilmainham Gaol, where leaders of various rebellions were detained, and the General Post Office, the site of the Easter Uprising.

The cost for students for the trip is $1,650. This amount covers a round-trip airline ticket, ground transportation in and around Dublin and trips to and from the airport in the U.S. Lodging and excursion costs are also included in the overall cost.

Not included are food expenses during the trip, the cost to obtain a passport, health and medical insurance, course materials and miscellaneous costs for souvenirs.

Interested students are encouraged to contact Kristi Dalton in the Financial Aid to learn about what financial assistance may be available to qualified students.

It is important for students do this as soon as possible because payment for the trip is due by May 10. Space is also limited on the trip with 12 spots available for students. The first 12 to pay will be allowed to take the trip.

If you are interested in the trip or have any questions, please contact Dr. Geir Bergvin, director of the Center for Global Studies, at or by phone at 636-7300 ext. 5012.


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Students travel to Barcelona for English study-abroad course

Students travel to Barcelona for English study-abroad course

Posted on 18 March 2014 by

On January 14-25, 12 Tusculum College students studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain, alongside Heather Patterson, chair of the Tusculum College English department and associate professor of English, as a part of Tusculum’s global studies program.

As part of the course “Seminar in Literature and Society,” the class focused on how writers respond to or take the lead on topics of global importance, the complexity of world issues and the diversity of perspectives internationally.

Students participating included Meagan Talley, a junior math education major from Fairview; Jessica Kagias, a junior education major from Middlesboro, Ky.; Melissa Mauceri, a senior journalism major from Pigeon Forge; Herchell Bridges, a junior athletic training major from Fairview; Destini Wingerter, a senior English major from Bristol; Katie Capel, a senior digital media major from Waverly; Carnes White, a junior creative writing major from Montgomery, Ala.; Andrew Hollingshead, a sophomore graphic design major from Tellico Plains;  Jeffery Peck, a junior business management major from Tazewell; Trenikia Shelton, a senior journalism major from Memphis; Andrea Wilcox, a junior athletic training major from Knoxville, and Amanda Grempel, a senior athletic training major from Blakeslee, Pa.

Andrew Hollingshead of Tellico Plains visits the National Catalan Museum of Art in Barcelona, Spain. He was one of 12 Tusculum College students who participated in a study abroad English course earlier this semester.

Students visited several sites and went on many tours in Barcelona, including the George Orwell walking tour. For the class students had been assigned to read Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia. On the tour they visited the Museum of the History of the City, as well as a cathedral during the walking tour of the Gothic Quarter. They took an excursion of Montserrat, home to the Virgin of Montserrat, and a tour of La Sagrada Familia. Other stops included a visit to the National Museum of Catalan Art and tours of Eixample, which gave students a chance to learn about Modernista architecture, and El Borne.

“Barcelona was the most beautiful place I have ever been,” said Talley. “Learning about a place while actually being there was an experience I will never forget,” added Wingerter. “Barcelona was by far the most incredible journey I have ever experienced. The city was beautiful, and I hope I get a chance to visit it again someday.”

The students all seemed to be struck by Barcelona’s beauty. Hollingshead said, “My favorite part of Barcelona was relaxing and reading in the garden and the beautiful photogenic opportunities of the city.”

After returning to Tusculum the group shared their experience with a photo presentation of their academic trip for the campus population. The students described all of the tours and talked about Barcelona’s history and culture.

Students in Tusculum College’s “Seminar in Literature and Society” course visited several sites in Barcelona, Spain that were influential to the writers they were studying, including the Cathedral at Montserrat.


By Melissa Mauceri, senior journalism major from Pigeon Forge


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Psychology students and faculty participate in professional conference

Psychology students and faculty participate in professional conference

Posted on 17 March 2014 by

Students and faculty members of the Tusculum College psychology department recently participated in the Southeastern Psychological Association’s 60th annual Conference in Nashville, Tenn.

Participating were students Thomas Bitner; a junior from Chuckey; Taira Peters, a junior from Rogersville; Theo Oing, a senior from Chattanooga; Melinda Franklin, a senior from Concord, N.C.; Jade Bussell, a senior from Harrogate, and Robert Arrowood, a senior from Erwin. Faculty included Dr. Brian Pope, professor of psychology; Dr. Bill Garris, associate professor of psychology, and Dr. Stephen Nettelhorst, associate professor of psychology.

Tusculum students and faculty presented five posters based upon original research conducted during the 2013-2014 year. The topics they researched and shared included Bitner, Dr. Pope, Peters and Dr. Tom Harlow’s work on the relationship between stereotype threat, positive emotions and athletic performance.  Harlow is associate professor of psychology at Tusculum College.

According to their research, the expectation was the stereotype threat “your group does poorly on this task” would impair athletic performance.

A second project by Oing, Dr. Pope, Franklin and Lawson considered the effect of ego depletion on videogame performance.

The research reported that the expectation was that as people experienced a frustrating situation, their performance on a videogame task would decrease.

Dr. Nettelhorst presented two studies pertaining to consumer psychology. The first examined how individuals use customer reviews and ratings to evaluate products on online marketplaces such as The second investigated whether individuals’ decisions to skip an advertisement on online streaming sites (e.g.,, etc.) were influenced by factors such as the actor’s attractiveness and the viewer’s choice to view or not view the ad.

Arrowood and Dr. Garris explored how thinking about one’s own death might influence his or her sexual interest.

The theory and prior research predicted that contemplating death would increase an interest in sex, similar to the intense romantic feelings one might feel before being called off to war. However, there was a mild dampening of sexual interest, which could be attributed to the religious values the subjects may have that were elevated when the subjects thought about “meeting their maker.”

“This conference is always an important experience for our students because of the opportunities for professional growth and networking within the discipline,” said Dr. Pope.

While Arrowood, Franklin, Bussell and Dr. Garris did not find results that supported their theory, a number of other researchers at the conference said they had also experienced a failure to replicate in the same research area, which led to engaging conversations and networking about common interests.

Dr. Pope said that the psychology department strongly encourages its students to pursue research. He added, that by conducting research, students develop skills in data collection and data analysis that will help them not only in graduate school but also in their chosen professions.


Tusculum College students and faculty participating in the annual Southeastern Psychological Association Conference included from left, Theo Oing, Jade Bussell, Melinda Franklin, Thomas Bitner, Taira Peters, Dr. Stephen Nettelhorst, Dr. Brian Pope, Robert Arrowood and Dr. Bill Garris.


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The Old Oak Festival is returning to the Tusculum campus April 25-27

The Old Oak Festival is returning to the Tusculum campus April 25-27

Posted on 14 March 2014 by

The Old Oak Festival is returning to the Tusculum College campus April 25-27.

The arts and music festival will span three days and will feature something for everyone, including music, art, theater and creative writing, as well as gallery and museum exhibits.

“Details on the artisans and musicians scheduled to participate are being finalized, but the dates have been confirmed, and many of the arts events are officially on the calendar,” said David Price, director of music at Tusculum College and festival coordinator.

In addition to artist vendors and music performances throughout the day on Friday and Saturday, there will be three performances during the festival of “Twelve Angry Men,” presented by Theatre-at-Tusculum under the direction of Frank Mengel, the technical director of the Arts Outreach program. Show times are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Performances will be held in the Behan Arena Theatre in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center.

In addition, the college’s Allison Gallery will be open throughout the weekend, featuring top student work in a “best of” show for student painting, sculpture and photography.

The festival is being coordinated by a committee of college and community representatives who are working to promote arts and music in the East Tennessee region.

“We are expecting a wide variety of artists, including painters, craftsmen and sculptors, whose work will be available for purchase. Arts will include pottery, woodcrafts and folk art,” said Price. Demonstrations will also be conducted on pottery, blacksmithing and cooking.

There are limited spaces still available for artisan and crafter booths. Deadline for reserving a booth is Monday, March 24 or until all spaces are filled.

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

Pickin’ at the Doaks, which is a bluegrass music jam session, will be held at the Doak House Museum on Friday at 6 p.m. and Saturday at noon. Saturday’s performance will be a special session with a surprise guest.

Woodcarver Jimmy Rader is one of the more than 70 artisans that will participate in the Old Oak Festival on the Tusculum College campus April 25-27. The weekend will feature arts and crafts, live music, theater, literary readings, craft demonstrations, festival food and non-stop entertainment.

Both the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library and the Doak House Museum will be open on Friday and Saturday to visitors during the festival and will have special activities planned for adults and children.

At 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, there will be a lantern-lit tour of the Tusculum College buildings listed on the National Historic Register.

From 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library will feature the “Reaper: Nettie Fowler McCormick and the Machine that Built Tusculum College” exhibit. This exhibit explores the changes wrought by the mechanical harvest and explores the context through which Mrs. McCormick viewed her philanthropic mission.

At 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 27, the festival will conclude with a 5K race. This beautiful, easy to moderate course will start and finish at the Tusculum Linear Trail Head. Pre-register by Friday, April 18, at

The festival will feature children’s activities on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and again on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Throughout the weekend there will be storytelling performances on stage and around the festival grounds.

The Ayers llamas, previous favorites of the festival, will visit the Tusculum College campus over the weekend.

A Sunday highlight will be an outdoor chapel service beginning at 11 a.m. designed to re-create the feel of the frontier church experience. The service is open to the public and will be followed by traditional and contemporary gospel music performances throughout the day.

Food selection will include festival favorites, such as homemade strawberry shortcake, Philly cheese steak, and Amish doughnuts.

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 1-4 p.m. For more information, contact Price at 423-636-7303.

Service animals are welcome; however, no pets allowed. Coolers and alcohol are also prohibited during the festival.

For updates and more information, visit the website at or on Facebook at www.facebook/OldOakFestival.


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Restoration of Tusculum College Arch underway

Restoration of Tusculum College Arch underway

Posted on 10 March 2014 by

Work has begun on repairs and restoration of the Tusculum College arch.

The landmark, which is on the National Register of  Historic Places, is getting a full restoration after water damage began to cause some failure in the existing mortar, according to David Martin, director of facilities for Tusculum College.

“The arch is getting a full restoration,” said Martin, who added that all the old mortar is being removed, new mortar added and some minor repairs made. There will also be some ground lighting installed to light the arch in the evening hours.

Martin said the work is being done by WASCO, a commercial masonry company out of Knoxville that is certified in historic masonry preservation.

Work is expected to be completed in the next few weeks, depending on weather conditions.

Built in 1917, the Arch has come to symbolize Tusculum College. The architectural form is present throughout the campus. Costing $400, the Arch was built by one of Tennessee’s foremost stonemasons, J. T. Ponder. The construction of the Arch was a project conceived in the patriotic fervor that swept the Tusculum College campus and the rest of the country after the United States entered World War I.


The Tusculum Arch at Tusculum College, which is on the National Register for Historic Places, is getting a facelift and new lighting.


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Tusculum Board approves floor plans for new facilties

Tusculum Board approves floor plans for new facilties

Posted on 10 February 2014 by

Floor plans and construction budgets were approved by the Tusculum College Board of Trustees for both the Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Math and Science and the Tusculum environmental resources and facilities center. The Board held their winter meeting at the Greeneville campus Feb. 7-8.

In other action, the Board heard reports on the state of higher education from both Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, and Dr. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.

“Higher education is in the midst of whitewater change,” said President Nancy B. Moody. “During these times, institutions that rely solely on current or past success for their future may well become extinct. We are continuing to look into the future to consider new majors, using new technology and creating environments that foster human interaction to support the learners’ efforts.”

The Meen Center for Science and Math will be a four-story structure of approximately 88,000 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 larger general classroom spaces and classrooms equipped for distance learning programs. A large lecture hall will also be included on the ground floor.

The Tusculum Environmental Resources and Facilities Center will be located adjacent to the wetlands area and will become home to the facilities staff on campus, provide work bays and a place for the college’s vehicle pool. In addition to office, work and storage space, the facility will feature a classroom, space for employee training and additional dedicated space for use by the environmental science and geology programs on campus.

“Every time we visit campus we continue to see visible signs of growth,” said Dr. Ken Bowman, chair of the Board of Trustees and a 1970 graduate of Tusculum College. “In addition to the construction, Tusculum is also growing in enrollment, academic programs and offerings to the community, such as through our dual enrollment efforts.”

The Board heard a report on competency-based education approaches in higher education from Dr. Melinda Dukes, vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum College, and the state of higher education from Dr. Claude Pressnell, president of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association.

Dr. Dukes’ report provided an overview of the major components of competency-based education programs, why competency-based education is of current interest in higher education and the strengths and limitations of developing academic programs using the competency-based education model.

Dr. Pressnell’s report looked at threats and pressures in higher education both at the state and national level. Pressnell discussed the Tennessee Promise plan announced this past week by Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam, as well as other pressing issues and changes in higher education. TICUA has publically announced that while supporting the goals of Tennessee Promise, does not support funding it through shifting Hope Scholarship funds away from students attending four-year colleges.

In other action, Dr. Dukes announced that a reverse transfer agreement had been signed with Northeast State Community College, allowing students who have transferred to Tusculum from Northeast State without completing their associate degree to use their Tusculum credits to complete their associate degree.

Dr. Dukes reported that 46 applications were submitted for seven courses for the NETCO dual enrollment program with regional high schools for the spring semester. Five courses were also offered in the fall semester, with 32 students.

The Board also approved graduates for May Commencement, the engagement of Blackburn, Childers and Stegall to perform the college’s 2014 audit and conducted discussions of the year’s and next year’s budgets.

The next meeting of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees is May 16-17.


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Cordell recognized by Board of Trustees

Cordell recognized by Board of Trustees

Posted on 10 February 2014 by

Tusculum College quarterback Bo Cordell, a 2013 graduate of the college, was recognized on Friday, February 7, by members of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees.

Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman, chair of the Tusculum Board and a 1970 alumnus of the college, presented Cordell with a signed resolution recognizing his accomplishments in the classroom, on the field and in the community during his time at Tusculum. Cordell is currently working on his MBA in the Tusculum College Graduate and Professional Studies program.

According to Bowman, Cordell, during his time at Tusculum College, distinguished himself athletically, academically and as a citizen in the community.

“Bo Cordell has been a record setter on the football field and has excelled in the classroom, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration in 2013 and currently working on his MBA,” said Bowman. “More than that, Bo has given back at a level not often seen, being recognized on a national level not only for his athletic success, but for his service to community.”

Cordell was named to the prestigious American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team, one of only 22 collegiate football players in the nation to be recognized in 2013.  Off the field, Bo has been very active on campus and in the community. He volunteered with the Tusculum Mentors Program, Earth Day, Tusculum Lunch Buddies program, Boys and Girls Club Youth Football Clinic, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Adopt-a-Highway

program, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Cordell, the first quarterback in Tusculum College program history to earn the All-American distinction in two separate seasons, was recognized in 2013 and 2010 by and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette and was the 2013 Daktronics Region Two Player of the Year.

He finished fourth for the second time in the national voting for the Harlon Hill Trophy that honors the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year, and was a national finalist in 2010.

Cordell has had one of the most prolific careers ever by a collegiate signal caller in 2013, currently owning 15 NCAA Division II records, including career passing yards (16,265 – 4th all NCAA divisions), career completions (1,397 – 3rd all NCAA divisions), career pass attempts (2,187 – 3rd all NCAA divisions), career total offensive yards (16,432 – 4th all NCAA divisions) and total offensive plays in a career (2,572 – 2nd all NCAA divisions).

He was also named the 2013 South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year, becoming the first Tusculum player to earn the honor multiple times in his career (2010 and 2013). He is one of only four players in league history to earn Offensive Player of the Year distinction on more than one occasion and was named a semifinalist for the 2013 William V. Campbell Trophy presented by the National Football Foundation.

While at Tusculum, Cordell participated in activities of the Tusculum College School of Business as a member of the Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, was named to the Tusculum College Dean’s List, and was a Capitol One Academic All-District Player. Bo also served as a representative with the Pioneer Student Athlete Advisory Council.

“While we, the Tusculum College Board of Trustees, recognize Bo Cordell’s successes at Tusculum College, we also extend a formal expression of appreciation along with best wishes to him in all future endeavors,” said Bowman.


Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman. Chair of the Tusculum College Board of Trustees, left, presented a resolution of appreciation to Bo A. Cordell, right, in recognition of his success as a student, athlete and citizen during his time at Tusculum College.


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Hilarity to reign in ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’

Hilarity to reign in ‘The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)’

Posted on 07 February 2014 by

Brian Ricker, Chris Greene and Parker Bunch, from left, perform all the roles in Theatre-at-Tusculum’s upcoming production of “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged),” a lively, comedic romp through the great Bard’s catalog.

Theatre-at-Tusculum’s upcoming production promises to bring lots of laughter from audiences, but perhaps not much illumination of the works of the great Bard as the title may suggest.

“The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)” will come to the Theatre-at-Tusculum stage Feb. 21-23, 28 and March 1-2.

Written by three actors, Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, the hilarious comedy was first performed by the authors in 1987 in California, and subsequently at the 1987 Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. Receiving rave reviews and playing to enthusiastic audiences in London and off-Broadway, this tongue-in-cheek, and sometimes foot-in-mouth two-act play has garnered a devoted following of enthusiastic theatergoers.

Director Marilyn duBrisk, has cast three talented local actors to perform all the roles in this lively and irreverent gallop through Shakespeare’s works – Chris Greene, Brian Ricker and Parker Bunch.  Fans will remember Chris Greene’s roles as Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet,” Jeff in “Brigadoon” and The Cat in the Hat in “Seussical the Musical”;  Brian Ricker’s notable performances as Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” Bill Sykes in “Oliver,” and Sir Andrew Aguecheek in “Twelfth Night” and Parker Bunch’s roles as Bob Cratchit in “A Christmas Carol,” Peter in “The Diary of Anne Frank” and the crazy monkey in “Seussical the Musical.”

All performances will take place in the David Behan Arena Theatre on the lower level of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building (side entrance).  Show times are 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Feb. 21, 22, 28 and March 1. Sunday matinees at 2 p.m. are scheduled for Feb. 23 and March 2.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (age 60 and above) and $5 for children age 12 and under. To make ticket reservations or for more information, call Tusculum College Arts Outreach at 423-798-1620 or email



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