Tusculum College students will demonstrate the college’s commitment to both learning and serving on Wednesday, Sept. 14, 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 involvement.”
This year, Nettie Day participants will fan out into the region helping numerous organizations, including Rural Resources, the Greeneville/Greene County Humane Society, local parks and several schools. Service activities will be conducted at all the Tusculum sites and campus in Greeneville, Knoxville and Morristown.
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.
This year’s Nettie Day is made possible through a gift from the estate of Nancy and Leon Leslie. Leon “Moose” Leslie was a key member of the last football team at Tusculum College prior to it being reinstated in the 1990s. He graduated from Tusculum in 1951 with a major in economics. He married his Westwood, New Jersey high school sweetheart, the former Nancy Hill. Mr. Leslie was elected a trustee of his alma mater in 1990 and served with distinction on the Athletic Committee until his death in 1996. Mr. and Mrs. Leslie served in the Bicentennial Campaign as members of the East Coast Advance Gifts Committee. In recognition of their generous support of Tusculum College throughout the capital campaign, the Leslie Resident Apartment in Craig Hall was named in their honor.