Robert Arrowood of Unicoi has been recognized as the “Student of the Block” for the second block at Tusculum College.
Arrowood, a junior majoring in psychology, was honored for his academic excellence, activities and leadership on campus, strength of character and his service to others with this award whose recipients are nominated by faculty and staff members. He was presented the honor during a ceremony in the Living Room of Niswonger Commons, where a plaque recognizing his accomplishments will be displayed.
The Office of Student Affairs established the award to recognize students for their academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community.
Dr. David Key, assistant professor of history, nominated Arrowood for the honor. While he is an excellent student academically, “grades alone do not prompt me to write this glowingly of a student,” Dr. Key said in his nomination. “Instead, I admire Mr. Arrowood’s character.”
In the first course Key taught this semester, Arrowood was one of a few upperclassmen in the class. The professor noted that Arrowood spent time with the freshmen in the class, making certain they were adjusting to their new surroundings. He also commented about Arrowood’s switch to a new instrument in the college’s Band Program this year without any complaint when asked to do so. Dr. Key also noted his choice of a job serving the severely disabled because it not only is preparation for graduate school but also because the severely disabled need his help.
“I cite these as instances in which Mr. Arrowood has literally and physically gone out of his way to improve his communities simply because he could and because there was a need – not because he was told to,” Dr. Key said. “I believe Mr. Arrowood is among the best of all of us; not just ‘student of the block.’ but what we strive to see in every student. I believe that we should honor his work, his character, his ethic in any way we can. I cannot recommend him highly enough.”
Arrowood came to Tusculum in 2010 and quickly immersed himself in activities, making a large network of friends, associates and supporters, all of whom provide motivation to keep up his strenuous schedule. Those activities include the college’s marching, concert and jazz bands, Psi Chi psychology honor society, Alpha Chi national honor society and Original Copy, a rock band comprised of Tusculum students. He also plays drums for his church choir.
“Playing in the marching, concert, and rock bands has allowed me to support my school and give visitors to the campus entertainment,” Arrowood said. “I have also represented the college at SEPA (South Eastern Psychological Association) with my research this year.”
Participation in the various bands has also provided opportunities for growth as a person for Arrowood. “Mainly music has been my entire life,” he said. “Before coming to Tusculum and playing the tuba, guitar, and being vice president in the Tusculum Marching Band, I was a proud tuba and baritone player in [my high school – Unicoi County High School] band. Each of these groups allowed me to come out of my shell. If not for these activities, mainly band, I would still be the quiet, shy person who stayed away from almost anything that involved other people.”
While one of his favorite memories is playing with his rock band at the Old Oak Festival last spring, Arrowood has also enjoyed his time in Dr. Key’s courses, noting that the professor is the only person “who could make a course about politics enjoyable” and he is an instructor that he can also call a friend. He also credits Dr. Tom Harlow and Dr. Brian Pope, both assistant professors of psychology, as significant influences on his academic career.
Arrowood is the son of Diane Gentry, the grandson of Bud and Virgie Clark and brother of Ashlynn Gentry. He counts his mother and his grandfather as his greatest role models. He admires his mother’s perseverance when she was told that a woman would never be able to be a paramedic and worked hard to earn her degree. Of his grandfather, he recalls his strong Christian character and that he went through life with a smile and a good word to say to everyone. “The greatest compliment that I can receive is for someone to say that I remind them of him,” he said.
After he earns his degree at Tusculum, Arrowood plans to attend graduate school at a large research institution to obtain his doctorate in either counseling or clinical psychology with a goal of working at a psychiatric hospital and teaching psychology at the collegiate level.