Archive | April, 2008

Tusculum honors Student-Athletes at Awards Banquet

Posted on 29 April 2008 by

Carlos Garcia and Vivian Lacy were named the male and female athletes of the year at Tusculum College’s annual athletics banquet Monday night at Pioneer Arena. Over 350 student-athletes, coaches and guests were in attendance at the event, which honors individuals for both on the field and off the field success.

Garcia, a senior on the Pioneer men’s team, was named the 2008 South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year where he posted an 18-1 singles record, including 7-0 in league matches. The Caracas, Venezuela native was also named the SAC Tournament Most Valuable Player, while becoming the first men’s player in school history to post an undefeated SAC career singles record (25-0). He was also a four-time All-SAC selection, leading TC to SAC regular season and tournament titles.

Lacy, a senior outside hitter on the Tusculum volleyball team, was the SAC Player of the Year for her sport as she led the Pioneers with 4.75 kills per game, which were ninth in the nation. The Palm Bay, Fla. product was named the AVCA National Player of the Week and became the first volleyball player in school history to earn Division II All-America honors.

Women’s Basketball coach Missy Tiber and tennis coach Tommy Arnett are this year’s co-recipients of the Art Argauer Coach of the Year Award.

Tiber, who is in her third season at Tusculum, earns this honor for the first time. Tiber led the Pioneers to its first 20-win season in over a decade, posting a 26-5 record and winning the SAC Championship. Three of her players earned All-Conference honors, including Stephany Neptune, who earned All-America recognition. Tiber guided TC to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history, while accounting for the program’s third straight winning season, all during her watch. For her efforts, she was named Division II Region Coach of the Year.

Arnett, who is wrapping up his seventh year in Greeneville, earns the Argauer Award for a second time. Arnett guided the Tusculum tennis program to a combined 40-4 record, including a SAC Men’s Championship, while sweeping both the men and women’s SAC Tournament titles. Eight of his players earned All-Conference honors and both his squads are nationally ranked. Both will also be competing at next week’s NCAA Tournament. Arnett was also named the SAC Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year, marking the third time in his career that he has earned that accolade.

Senior volleyball player Alexis Rowles was the recipient of the Walter T. Dette, Jr. Spirit Award. This award is presented to the graduating senior who has excelled in several areas while making outstanding contributions to Tusculum Athletics. Rowles, a native of Simpsonville, S.C., earned All-SAC Second Team honors in 2006 and was the SAC Scholar Athlete for volleyball in 2007. She was also tabbed to the ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District IV First Team and is the school’s all-time leader in digs.

Soccer player Amanda Tripp was the female recipient of the Duffield Award, which is given to the top male and female student-athlete for academic achievement. Tripp earns this honor for a first time posting a 3.9 cumulative grade point average. There are two male recipients of the Duffield Award with identical 3.94 GPAs. Honored this year are baseball player Dustin Morrow and tennis standout Henrique Rodrigues.

Academic achievement was also recognized with the presentation of the Male and Female Freshman of the Year Academic Awards. Cross country runner Simon Holzapfel is the male recipient, while Blake Thompson of the women’s tennis team was the female award winner.


Athletic Training (Nathan McCoy Memorial Award): Katie Catterall & Kim Coapstick
Cheerleading (Most Spirited): Hannah Smith
Women’s Cross Country: Alicja Dembna
Men’s Cross Country: Simon Hozapfel
Football: Jeremy Thompson
Men’s Soccer: Bruno Conceicao
Women’s Soccer: Danielle Tanner
Volleyball: Vivian Lacy
Men’s Basketball: Jordan Lear
Women’s Basketball: Stephany Neptune
Baseball: Maikol Gonzalez & Boo Morrow
Softball: Ashley Basilicato
Men’s Tennis: Carlos Garcia
Women’s Tennis: Bronwyn Hartley
Men’s Golf: Chris Wynne
Women’s Golf: Mary Ann Vizcarrondo

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Students, faculty recognized during Tusculum Honors Convocation

Posted on 25 April 2008 by

jones.jpgStudent excellence in academics and service were recognized during Tusculum College’s annual Honors Convocation Thursday, April 24.

The two top honors for student presented by the college are the President’s Award and the Bruce G. Batts Award. The President’s Award was presented to Brody Wells, a senior majoring in mathematics education from New Tazewell, Tenn. At Tusculum College, Wells has made himself known largely through his faith-based activities in the college community. He has organized many events and programs for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and also is involved with the Disciple’s Point church services on campus each Sunday.

He works weekly with a disadvantaged youth through a Big Brother program in Johnson City. Wells also works as a tutor on campus with the tutoring services program offered through Student Support Services. A former member of the Pioneer football squad, he has been on both the South Atlantic Conference Honor Roll and the Tusculum College Athletic Director’s Honor Roll. The Bruce G. Batts Award was presented to Sarah Philipp, a senior majoring in athletic training education from Hendersonville, N.C. Philipp has earned academic honors each semester at Tusculum and was selected to join the Alpha Chi National Society when she was eligible. An active student, Philipp has been a member of the Athletic Training Students’ Society throughout her time at Tusculum and has served in the highest leadership positions for the past two years. She has been a lab assistant in the Athletic Training Program at Tusculum, a student representative on faculty position search teams, and a Red Cross First Aid and CPR instructor.

Philipp is an athletic training peer educator and currently mentors three freshman observation students. She is the first athletic training major at Tusculum College to be selected a Bonner Leader, for whom she co-chairs the Service on Saturday program. Jane Sandusky of the Athletic Training department says of Philipp that she is “an excellent mentor and role model for our younger students” and “works well with all personality types. She strives to see the best in people.”

Also presented were faculty, staff, and community awards whose recipients were selected by a student vote. Receiving the Outstanding Service to Students Award, a faculty honor, was Jeff Lokey of Johnson City, Tenn., an assistant professor of management. In presenting the award, Dr. Drucilla Miller, chairman of the Greene County Partnership, said that Lokey has received evaluation comments from his students that any professor would be happy to receive, including, “His class taught me a lot about the world and America.” “Needs no improvement. One of the best classes I have had at Tusculum.” “I learn more in this professor’s classes than any other.”

Lokey has been a part of the Tusculum faculty for more than 20 years, and in that time he has defined the concept of an “engaged faculty member,” Miller said. He has directed Tusculum’s Commons Program and has served on other faculty governance committees.

The Staff Award was presented to Jill Jones of Greeneville, Tenn., director of academic advising. Jones, as an alumnus of Tusculum who experienced the transition from a traditional calendar to the block system, is well suited to advise students in regards to their academic requirements, said Student Government Association President Duane Randolph in presenting the award. Jones returned to her alma mater as an admission representative before taking the position in academic advising. Randolph said that Jones takes the time to make a difference in the lives of students.

The Community Award for exemplary service to students was presented to prominent Greeneville businessman and philanthropist Scott M. Niswonger. At Tusculum, Niswonger has provided leading support in virtually every major project of recent years and is among the college’s “Benefactors,” meaning those whose lifetime giving has equaled or exceeded $1 million. Niswonger, who holds an undergraduate degree and an honorary doctoral degree from Tusculum College, funded the Niswonger Sports Complex, giving Tusculum some of the best athletics facilities of any small college in the Southeast. He was a key supporter of the recent expansion and renovation of the Library at Tusculum College, and his name is enshrined in the name of the Niswonger Commons, the biggest and most diverse campus building.

Niswonger earned a business degree from Tusculum in 1987. His second degree from Tusculum was an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters presented to him in 2006 in recognition for his outstanding support of Tusculum College through not only extraordinarily generous financial contributions, but also his personal service and expertise as a leading member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 1994. In Greeneville he has given support to many worthy community projects, including building the Niswonger Performing Arts Center, which brings many artistic and educational resources into our community.

Academic Honors
Senior Honor Key Awards were presented to students who have earned a 3.25 grade point average or higher in their major, shown achievement and aptitude in the major, and possess strong character. The following are the award recipients and their degree programs:
Athletic Training – Sarah E. Philipp of Hendersonville, N.C.
Biology — Aundrea Gunter of Greeneville, Tenn.
Business Administration – Adam Miller of Hampton, Tenn.
Economics Concentration – Milton Grant, Jr. of Kingston, Jamaica
English — Ashley Douglas of Clinton, Tenn.
Environmental Science — Jason Fortner of Blountville, Tenn.
Field Guide/Naturalist — Ramon Pierce of Morristown, Tenn.
History — M. Duane Randolph of Crossville, Tenn.
Mass Media — Chris Ann Campbell of Clarendon, Jamaica
Medical Pre-Professional – Valerie Mullins of Limestone, Tenn.
Museum Studies — Josh Ashby of Dundee, N.Y., and Sarah Julia Jones of Greeneville, Tenn.
Political Science — Divya Singh of Haryana, India
Pre-Pharmacy – Candace Allwardt of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Pre-Physical Therapy – Kortney McCalla of Cincinnati, Ohio
Psychology – Elizabeth “Libby” Bell of Cleves, Ohio

Recognized as Honor Students for having the highest grade point average of their class (all have a 4.0 grade point average) were Jeremiah John Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn., Danielle Armstrong of Blountville, Tenn., and Simon Dietrich Holzapfel of Nuernberg, Germany.

Senior members of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society were also recognized. Upperclassmen who are ranked in the top 10 academically of their classmates are invited to join the honor society. Recognized were:
Candace Allwardt of Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Elizabeth Bell of Cleves, Ohio
Judith (Jenna) Breckenridge of Greeneville, Tenn.
Chris-Ann Campbell of Clarendon, Jamaica
Amy Carlson of Newport News, Va.
Leslie Carson of Jonesborough, Tenn.
Rachel Collette of Chuckey, Tenn.
Brandy Gilliam of Lake City, Tenn.
Bronwyn Hartley of Del Bonita, Alberta, Canada
Stacy Landers of Afton, Tenn.
Ryan Lewis of Greeneville, Tenn.
Dustin Morrow of Lexington, Ky.
Valerie Mullins of Limestone, Tenn.
Sarah Philipp of Hendersonville, N.C.
Sonya Ramsey of Greeneville, Tenn.
Alexis Rowles of Simpsonville, S.C.
Divya Singh of Haryana, India
Kimberly Wilcox of Chuckey, Tenn.
Tamara Wynn of Hendersonville, Tenn.

The Alpha Chi Academic Excellence Award presented to the highest academically ranked member of the junior class was given to Jeremiah Johnson of Unicoi, Tenn.The Honors Program Award was presented to Divya Singh of Haryana, India, who is the first graduate of the Honors Program of which she has taken a leadership role in addition to her many other service activities and contributions to the Tusculum community.

The Dr. Shirley Beck Award for an outstanding Master of Arts in Education major was presented to Tracy Whitney

The Outstanding Education Student Award was presented to Alexis Rowles of Simpsonville, S.C.

The David Behan Award for outstanding Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management major was presented to John Craft of Greeneville, Tenn. Presenter Dr. Geir Bergvin, the director Tusculum’s School of Business, noted that Craft had entered the program for personal fulfillment, but quickly learned what he was learning could help him professionally as well. An excellent student, Craft has balanced his academics with his career as a fireman in the Greeneville Fire Department, his family responsibilities, and his leadership role in the Greeneville Firemen’s Association.

The E.H. Sargent Award in Science was presented to Sharad Mani of Manchester, Tenn. In choosing the recipient, science faculty members consider overall grade point average, total hours in science and variety of areas covered in the sciences.

The Doug Ratledge Environmental Science Scholarship, which is presented to an outstanding Environmental Science or Field Guide/Naturalist major, was given to Lacey Coile of Greeneville, Tenn.

The Warren Lynn Drain Award was presented to Joshua Hinkle of Mohseim, Tenn. A graduating senior determined most outstanding in Business and Economics is presented the award and GPA and achievement are the criteria for the choice of recipient.

Two Theatre Arts Awards were presented. Heather Dalton of Parrottsville, Tenn., who had roles in both Theatre-at-Tusculum productions this academic year and has been involved in the theater throughout her time at Tusculum. Brian Ricker of Greeneville, Tenn., was also presented the award. Ricker also had lead roles in the two productions this year and has starred in productions since high school.

Emory Cain of Cleveland, Ga., received the TAHPERD (Tennessee Association Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance) Outstanding Major Award. The award winner is also recognized at the association’s annual convention.

Nicole Ferris of Lebanon, Ohio, was presented the NASPE (National Association for Sport and Physical Education) Award. The award winner is also recognized at the national convention.

The Pinnacle Award for highest scores on annual comprehensive examinations taken by athletic training education majors was presented to Jason S. Seaton of Midway, Tenn.

Service Awards
The Service-Learning Award was awarded to David Salinas of Brownsville, Texas. Salinas was part of a group of Tusculum students who went alternative spring break trip to New Orleans to help in the hurricane relief and rebuilding effort. Salinas was so impacted by the experience that he stayed an additional week on his own to help in the effort. During the fall 2007 semester, he re-arranged his class schedule to be able to take a Service-Learning Immersion course that included a trip to New Orleans. Before going on the trip, Salinas was not only a student in the class but also a teacher of his fellow classmates as he shared about the conditions they would find in the city.

The Bonner Leaders Program Award was presented to Jeremiah Peterson of Unicoi, Tenn. Peterson was part of a Service-Learning class trip to Belize in spring 2007, and returned to Belize during the 2007 fall semester break to meet with school and business officials about Tusculum forming a partnership with the small village of San Jose. Peterson returned to Belize in April with another Service-Learning class, completing further research into the business and educational conditions and issues for the village. He is now completing an analysis and business plan for the sugar cane processing industry in San Jose.

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Sarden and Sehler recognized for community service during regional award ceremony

Posted on 25 April 2008 by

characterawards.jpgPatty Sarden and Kathy Sehler of Greene County were recognized for their service to the community Thursday during as recipients of 2008 Civic Responsibility and Outstanding Character awards.

Sarden and Sehler were among the 20 community volunteers from seven counties in Northeast Tennessee recognized for exemplary citizenship and outstanding character with the awards during “Celebrating the Past and Future of Our Civic Heritage” program, hosted by Tusculum College, the First Tennessee Human Resource Agency, and Foundation for Life Principles. Nominations for the awards came from each of the communities involved, and the award recipients are people who often work behind the scenes and may not have gotten much public recognition for their efforts, said Dale Fair, executive director of the First Tennessee Human Resource Agency. “This recognition came from the people in your community,” he told the award recipients. “Someone has been watching what you do. It has nothing to do with titles or halls of fame, but with the little things that people notice. In reading through the nominations, almost every one said that the nominee loves their community.” In announcing the award for Patty Sarden, Fair noted her varied community service using her creative talents to assist others. An amateur artist, she has been involved in Black History Month by displaying her artwork in the Nathanael Greene Museum. She writes and recites poetry in the community, has been involved in a writing correspondence course with children, and writes children’s stories and Christmas skits.

A self-taught pianist, Sarden is minister of music at Jones Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church and volunteers to play at weddings, funerals, and social events. Sarden was the first president of the George Clem Scholarship Foundation, and was involved with the foundation in the 1980s and helped reorganize it in the 1990s. Sarden helped in the fundraising for scholarships and in selecting the scholarship recipients. She was also part of the reunion committee for the George Clem community. Announcing the award for Kathy Sehler, Fair said she was described as the “epitome of ‘super mom’” in her nomination. Sehler has taken a number of foreign exchange students into her home over the years and provided them a warm, caring place to call home during their time in the United States. “She has cared for the foreign exchange students as she cares for her own children,” he added. From the individual award recipients, a person is chosen to receive the overall Balch-Doak Award for the region. This year’s recipient is Kathi Baty of Washington County, who shares her personal battle with breast cancer in efforts advocating regular screenings for the disease.

The Balch-Doak Award is named for Rev. Hezekiah Balch, the founder of Greeneville College, and the Rev. Samuel Doak, a co-founder of Tusculum Academy, the two educational institutions that evolved into the Tusculum College of today. George Collins, director of the college’s Museum Program and Studies, said that as both Rev. Balch and Rev. Doak believed in an education that included the development of good character, they would be pleased with the event that recognizes those who exemplify the type of citizens they were trying to develop through their teaching. Carrie Marchant, vice president of development for the Foundation of Life Principles, recalled discussing with Collins in 2003 a way to recognize adults who serve others and are role models of character in their communities and from that discussion, the awards program was established. Marchant has worked with the CHARACTER COUNTS! and Moral Kombat programs in the region for several years, and CHARACTER COUNTS! is part of the “Quill Mark and Ink Spot” educational program for school children at the Doak House Museum on the Tusculum campus.

“In a world filled with so many other things, it is refreshing to be in a room filled with so much goodness,” she said. In her work with young people, Marchant said she unfortunately finds that many young people are not able to see their values, which is not the case with the award recipients. “The people in this room have stood up and said ‘I am going to do the right thing whatever it costs’,” she added.

The award recipients were welcomed to the college by Dr. Russell Nichols, interim president of Tusculum, who discussed the college’s continuing efforts to provide students an education that includes development of strong citizenship and good character, a mission that dates back to its founders.

“At this historic institution, we celebrate what you are doing and thank you for the work you are doing,” he said. “May God bless you for your efforts.”

State Rep. Eddie Yokley (D-11) also addressed the recipients, thanking them for their efforts to serve others in their communities. The Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library are administered by the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies under the direction of George Collins, director of Museum Program and Studies, and Cindy Lucas, associate director of the department and director of the Doak House Museum. The department also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country.

The Doak House Museum, which was the home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of the college, hosted nearly 10,000 school children from East Tennessee last year for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century and CHARACTER COUNTS! The Andrew Johnson Museum, located in the oldest academic building on campus, houses a collection of books, papers, and memorabilia of the 17th president of the United States. The museum also houses the Charles Coffin Collection from the original college library and the College archives containing documents related to the history of Tusculum. The museums are also two of the 10 structures on the Tusculum campus on the National Register of Historic Places.

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New exhibit at President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library commemorates bicentennial of his birth

Posted on 22 April 2008 by


From his humble beginning as a tailor’s apprentice to his rise as the nation’s top leader, the life of the 17th president of the United States is told through the newest exhibit at the President Andrew Johnson Museum & Library at Tusculum College.

“Andrew Johnson: Heritage, Legacy & Our Constitution,” tells the story of Johnson’s life through a varied collection of artifacts and documents from the different periods of his life. Artifacts, such as White House silver, son Robert’s sewing kit used during the Civil War, and the President’s collar box, which have been rarely displayed publicly, are part of this special exhibit, which is one of the many community events in Johnson’s hometown of Greeneville honoring him in commemoration of the bicentennial in 2008 of the 17th president’s birth.

A number of the items on display are from Johnson’s time in Washington including a rare invitation to the Lincoln and Johnson inaugural ball and an invitation from President and Mrs. Johnson to an event at the White House as well as papers signed by Johnson including a “Proclamation of Amnesty and Pardon” granted to former Confederates as part of his Reconstruction program.

A campaign poster from the election of 1864 shows that political associations and marketing image were as important in the 19th century as they are now as the poster features a portrait of George Washington nestled between those of Abraham Lincoln and Johnson as well as noted Union generals.

The tumultuous time of the Reconstruction and the political struggles in Washington are reflected in a display of editorial cartoons and illustrations from Johnson’s time in office including one called “Uncle Sam’s Circus,” which has Johnson leaping through a hoop labeled “The Tenure of Office Act”.

Several artifacts on display are items that were used by Johnson’s family members including a slipper eye glass case and a colorful fan belonging to his wife, Eliza Johnson, and dresses worn by his granddaughter, and Mrs. Johnson’s rocking chair. The exhibit also has portraits of all five of Johnson’s children and a silhouette of Johnson, Eliza and their two daughters done when they first went to Washington in 1843.

Also on display are a number of items from the funeral for Johnson including a uniform worn by member of the Andrew Johnson Guard in the funeral procession, black lace fingerless gloves and a black and white net handkerchief, and presentation book presented to the family from the Common Council of the City of New York, and the front-page covering article about Johnson’s death from the Greeneville Intelligencer newspaper. The soldier’s uniform is one of the items on loan to the museum for the special exhibit from the Tennessee State Museum.

The exhibit contains information on the U.S. Constitution as Johnson knew it and the issues that surrounded Reconstruction. Also, on exhibit is a book that belonged to President Johnson that includes the Constitution. The room on the Constitution also features a rare image of abolitionist John Brown that was given to Johnson as well as one of his archenemies, Senator Charles Sumner. Also on exhibit is a display about the movie “Tennessee Johnson,” which was created by Tusculum students majoring in Museum Studies. The attractive display includes stills and other information about the 1943 movie, which is being shown on May 16 at the Capitol Theatre in downtown Greeneville as part of the bicentennial. Also part of the display is advertising from the World War II era, illustrating the nationalistic atmosphere in which the movie was produced and shown.

Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday. The exhibit will be on display through the end of the year.

Supporters of the exhibit and the Museums’ educational programs for Johnson’s bicentennial celebration include the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area, the Andrew Johnson Bicentennial Committee, the State of Tennessee and State Rep. David Hawk (R-5), the Bartlett-Patterson Corporation, the Niswonger Foundation, the Tennessee State Museum, the Andrew Johnson Heritage Association, Tusculum College, the National Park Service, Judith Plucker, the Frame Shop – Ed and Betty Davis, Copies Unlimited – Jancie Painter and Randall McAmis, Austin & Company – Betsy Austin, and Turner Class Movies.

Commemoration of the Andrew Johnson Bicentennial is a focal point this year for the two museums at the college. In addition to the special Johnson exhibit, the museums have developed a new educational program for school groups that focuses on the Constitution and Johnson’s life. On September 17, the Museums are organizing a special commemoration of the Bicentennial and National Constitution Day with a performance by the 103rd U.S. Army Band. On September 18, the Museums will host a Symposium exploring Johnson’s life, his impact on his era, the presidency and the Constitution and featuring experts Dr. Paul Bergeron of the University of Tennessee, Dr. Michael Kent Curtis of Wake Forest University School of Law, Dr. Eric Foner of Columbia University and Dr. Robert Orr of Walters State Community College and Washington College Academy.

The Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library are administered by the Tusculum College Department of Museum Program and Studies under the direction of George Collins, director of Museum Program and Studies, and Cindy Lucas, associate director of the department and director of the Doak House Museum. The department also offers one of the few undergraduate degree programs in museum studies in the country.

The Doak House Museum, which was the home of the Rev. Samuel Witherspoon Doak, co-founder of the college, hosted over 10,000 school children from East Tennessee last year for a variety of educational programs related to the 19th century and CHARACTER COUNTS! The Andrew Johnson Museum, located in the oldest academic building on campus, houses a collection of books, papers, and memorabilia of the 17th president of the United States. The museum also houses the Charles Coffin Collection from the original college library and the College archives containing documents related to the history of Tusculum. The museums are also two of the 10 structures on the Tusculum campus on the National Register of Historic Places.

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Tusculum College students learn lessons of service in trip to Belize

Posted on 18 April 2008 by


As members of a service-learning class at Tusculum College prepared for its recent trip to Belize, the students reflected in journal writings about their expectations. 

But what they experienced and learned proved much different. “We were surprised that our expectations for the trip changed dramatically once we got there,” said class member Ryan Lewis.

The Service-Learning Immersion class of nine students, accompanied by instructor Robin Fife, traveled to Belize at the first of April to volunteer at a primary school and in other youth efforts in a community in the northern part of the country. The students made a public presentation about their trip to faculty, staff, fellow students, and community members on April 9.

The trip helped the students gain a better understanding of another culture and the role of their service in that community.

“It wasn’t about us,” Lewis said. “We became partners with the people in Belize. The trip was an opportunity to go to another culture and be put on an equal level working with the people in Belize. It was a chance to gain knowledge from each other. We all took away a lot more from the trip than we expected. It was amazing, just amazing.”

“When you go work with another culture, you can’t deny the differences, but you find there are common things you share,” added class member Jeremiah Peterson.

The Tusculum students volunteered at San Jose Government School, located in the village about 15 miles outside of Orange Walk Town, where the students stayed during the trip. About 400 students attend the school. Many of the schools in Belize are church sponsored, but as a government school, San Jose doesn’t receive any church support and the government support it receives is not a significant amount, the students explained.

The main project for the students was building a fence around a water filtration system, the only source of water for the school. The system, which had been designed and installed by students from another university, had been vandalized and was inoperable, explained Peterson. In addition to building the fence to protect the system, the students were able to repair the filtration system.

The Tusculum students also provided remedial reading tutoring at all grade levels, a need expressed by the San Jose teachers, and worked with character development efforts.

At the San Jose school, character education focuses on such topics as responsibility, self esteem, health awareness, cleanliness, respect for others and respect for authority. The principal, called “Mr. Ku” by the Tusculum students because his name is hard to pronounce, said something to the students that Cheyenne Casteel believes was one of the most thought-provoking aspects of the trip. “He said, ‘you cannot be fully independent in the world’, which is very different than America where we are taught self independence,” Casteel said.

The Tusculum students worked with the Youth Advocacy Movement organization that focuses on character development in high schools. The organization provides 50 hours of training for the young people involved and is a safe event for the teens, said class member Ashley Foust.

The students also learned of the efforts of the Belize Family Life Association. This organization trains about 15 students to go out into schools and share information about healthy life practices with their fellow students.

Another area the Tusculum students addressed at the San Jose School was physical education. “Little attention is given to physical education at the school,” Peterson said. “There is no physical education teacher, so what is done is left up to the classroom teachers who have no special training. The school also lacks basic equipment, so we brought balls to them, and other equipment.”

In preparation for the trip, each of the students selected a topic related to a social issue to research while in Belize. During the report presentation, the students described their chosen topics and what they had discovered through their research. Those topics included the preservation of natural resources, preservation of traditional medicine, economic development, character education, and health education and prevention of disease.

The students also gave overviews of Belize’s people groups, foods, culture, education, and economy. In the area where the Tusculum students served, sugar cane and sugar processing are the prominent industries, while tourism is also important.

Peterson explained that many young people who pass their tests to further their education do not go on to do so because they don’t need the schooling to work in the sugar cane fields, which is low paying, dangerous work, or at the sugar processing plant. In Belize, students are required to go to school until the age of 14. At that age, they take exams, which if they pass, qualify them to continue their education.

Belize has a number of people groups including the indigenous Maya Indians, Mennonites, and the Garafuna, descendants of former slaves and other cultural groups from South American who settled in the country.

“America is called the melting pot, but Belize is a melting pot as well,” said Sarah Philipp, explaining that this diversity is good as different groups have kept their cultural traditions while learning to live together, but increasing pressure to assimilate threatens the loss of the individual groups’ heritage and culture.

This class is the fourth that Fife, assistant professor of social science, has led to Belize. Each trip has had a different destination, she noted, but it is hoped that college classes can return to the Orange Walk Town district and partner with the San Jose Government School.

In organizing the trips to Belize, the college teams with Peacework, an organization that seeks to help alleviate poverty and promote peace in developing countries. Peacework partners with colleges and universities to bring the expertise of their faculty and students to developing countries for projects to help develop self sufficiency in the communities and improve the lives of the residents in those communities.

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High-impact speaker whose life was changed by drunken driving to speak at Tusculum College

Posted on 17 April 2008 by

A young man who learned the hard lessons of the tragedy of intoxicated driving will speak at Tusculum College on Monday, April 21. The college is inviting and encouraging local young people, especially those of high school or college age, to attend.

Mark Sterner, who has spoken at universities and colleges from Duke University to Assumption College, will tell his story in the Annie Hogan Byrd auditorium at Tusculum College at 7:30 p.m. on April 21.

According to his official biography, Sterner was a senior in marketing and accounting at Johnson & Wales University, and a member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, when his life was tragically changed by a bad decision.

Mere months from his graduation, Sterner and four fraternity friends took a spring break trip. Each night, they decided who would be the designated driver for the group, with that person not drinking alcohol that night. On the trip’s last night, they altered the plan and decided that the driver that night would be the person who was the least intoxicated.

The driving task fell to Mark Sterner.

According to the biography, “The next morning, three of the men were dead, and Mark lay in the hospital critically injured and facing three felony counts of manslaughter. Instead of being the first in his family to graduate college, he would be the first to go to prison.”

Sterner’s biographical flyer includes a photograph of him with a bruised face, lying in a hospital bed, holding a Sanibel, Fla., police department card identifying his prisoner number.

Sterner spent nearly three years of his life in a Florida prison as a result of one evening’s poor decisions. The incident changed him dramatically, and since that time he has launched a crusade to “educate, persuade or just plain scare” other young people to be aware of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Even while incarcerated, Sterner voluntarily spoke to more than 100,000 people to share his no-drunken-driving message. Since his prison release, he has spread his message to more than a million people across the nation.

His effective, non-lecturing style and the impact of his story have made him an in-demand speaker who has addressed numerous major conferences and assemblies.

Sterner was named Speaker of the Year by Campus Activities Magazine for both 2004 and 2005 through that publication’s Reader’s Choice Awards. Sterner’s appearances are managed through the Campuspeak program.

David McMahan, dean of students and vice president for student affairs at Tusculum College, said that Tusculum is hopeful that area school leaders will make sure that their students attend the presentation because of the importance of the subject and the impact of Sterner’s approach.

Tammy Kresge, coordinator of health promotion at Buffalo State College, has said of Sterner: “Mark Sterner is by far the best speaker I have ever brought to campus. His program has such a strong message! I feel that everyone in that room could directly relate to him as a person. This is the perfect program to have right before spring break. I will bring him back in the future.”

For more information about the program, or to discuss bringing school or other groups to hear Sterner, contact the office of Student Affairs at Tusculum College at 423-636-7300, extension 5493.

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Alumni Baseball Tailgate rescheduled for Saturday, April 12

Posted on 11 April 2008 by

Due to the threat of inclement weather, the Alumni Baseball tailgate scheduled for Friday, April 11 at 6 p.m. has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 12 at 4 p.m. The tailgate will precede the Pioneer baseball games and the Alumni Baseball Game.

We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!

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Tusculum College hosts regional Honors Conference

Posted on 09 April 2008 by


Representatives from 16 regional colleges attended the Appalachian College Association Honors Conference, hosted by Tusculum College, on April 4th and 5th.

The Honors Conference brought together faculty and staff members who work with honors programs at their individual colleges to address and discuss issues involving the academic programs for the colleges’ top students. Participating in the conference were colleges from Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The conference began Friday evening with a banquet and keynote address by Dr. Robert Knott, president of Catawba College and former president of Tusculum College. Through Dr. Knott’s leadership, the Civic Arts emphasis and the focused calendar of students taking one course at a time were implemented at Tusculum during his 10-year tenure in the late 1980s through the late 1990s.

When he was at Tusculum, Dr. Knott recalled he and faculty members met for discussions about building an identity for the college, looking at the history of the institution and its name. Tusculum is the name of the town outside Rome where the academy of educator and philosopher Cicero was located. From those discussions came the college’s Civic Arts curriculum and calendar. Similarly, those involved in honors programs need to consider the why of those programs, what it is to be ultimately accomplished, he continued.

“I would suggest that a worthy goal for honors programs is the pursuit . . . of theoretical wisdom that leads to transformation of one’s life,” he said.

The term education has lost much of its original meaning in today’s culture, Dr. Knott said. “There is a big difference between informing oneself and getting knowledge,” he continued, adding that the root word for education means to draw out skills that an individual already has.

As Cicero described it, education in its truest sense is drawing out of a student what is already there and helping that individual to develop those skills to build a life around his or her talents and gifts, Dr. Knott said.

Cicero identified three areas of abilities in what he called the liberal arts, Knott continued, describing the three. The first is the art of listening to someone with whom a person disagrees significantly and then responding in writing and oral form to that person. The second is the ability to choose the information relevant to a topic being addressed – the awareness to know where to get the information needed. The third is prudence, to be able to choose what is worthy from what is not, which has a moral component of choosing right from wrong, called “practical wisdom” by Aristotle.

“Practical wisdom is a means to a further end,” he said. “The end of education as Cicero and Aristotle thought is what we call in this day and time, theoretical wisdom. The Greeks called it sophia. Sophia is the wisdom of why things are they way they are.”

Faculty involved in honors programs can lead their students on the path to the development of theoretical wisdom, Dr. Knott explained, and it involves a commitment by the faculty member to be actively seeking theoretical wisdom as well. The faculty member must tell their students, “do as I do and we will learn together,” he continued.

An example of this from popular culture is the tutelage of Luke Skywalker from by Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars trilogy, Dr. Knott said. Obi Wan Kenobi was a strange character in Luke Skywalker’s world. “Good teachers are strange,” he said. “They are strange by introducing us to a world that is strange to us.”

Teaching in this way can bring life changing moments, transforming the lives of students who will never be the same again, Dr. Knott continued. “Honors students and honors faculty on that same journey seeking theoretical wisdom can create experiences that are life transforming.”

Many means exist to seek theoretical wisdom, but what criteria is to be followed for selecting students to join the journey for theoretical wisdom, he asked. Students who are open and capable of taking the journey, have a seriousness of purpose, appreciate the opportunity to learn, possess an intellectual curiosity, and are spiritually aware are among the characteristics that should be considered, he recommended.

On Saturday, workshops were held about gaining perspective from various models of honors programs, global benefits of honors programs, and gathering faculty support for honors programs. Panelists for the workshops included honors program leaders from Bryan College, Campbellsville University, Carson-Newman College, Lenoir-Rhyne College, Maryville College, Montreat College, and Union College. Dr. Melinda Dukes, associate vice president of academic affairs at Tusculum, also served as a panelist. Dr. Nancy Thomas, who heads Tusculum’s Honors Program, coordinated the conference.

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Tusculum Baseball hosting Youth Day 2008

Posted on 09 April 2008 by

Tusculum College Baseball will host Youth Day 2008 this Saturday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Pioneer Park on the TC campus at Greeneville.

Gates will open at 11 and children 12 and under will be admitted free. Players will be available down the first base line from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. to meet young baseball fans and sign gloves, baseballs or other memorabilia.

Door prizes will be given away. Adults as well as kids are encouraged to attend.

At 1 p.m. the Pioneers will take on Wingate in a baseball game.

For more information, contact Rebecca Muncy at 423-636-7303, or by email at

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