Archive | May, 2008

Tusculum College mourns the loss of a member of its Board of Trustees

Posted on 23 May 2008 by

Tusculum College is mourning the loss of a member of its Board of Trustees, Dr. Donald Henard, who passed away unexpectedly this week.

Visitation for Dr. Henard will be from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday at Greeneville’s Doughty-Stevens Funeral Home.  The funeral service will be at 7 p.m.  Burial will be in a private ceremony on Sunday.

A full obituary for Dr. Henard may be found at

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Tusculum’s Distinguished Service Award goes to two long-time friends: Drs. Larry Brotherton and Ken Bowman

Posted on 19 May 2008 by

dsa.jpgTwo research chemists, friends since college, whose academic and career paths have followed similar patterns were given Tusculum College Distinguished Service Awards (DSA) Friday night at the college’s annual President’s Dinner, held at the General Morgan Inn.

Honored were native Greene Countian Dr. Larry Brotherton and Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman, both 1970 chemistry graduates from Tusculum College. Brotherton and Bowman were close friends as classmates and attended the University of Tennessee together after Tusculum graduation, both earning Ph.Ds in chemistry at the same time. They have remained friends throughout life, and both are members of the Tusculum College board of trustees today.

The 2008 DSA honors marked the first time the award has been given simultaneously to two individuals, except for one case in the 1990s when the award was given to alumni Hugh and Eleanor Jaynes, a married couple who shared the award.

The 2008 award was presented by Interim President Dr. Russell Nichols, assisted by trustee James Durham, a 1979 TC graduate who won the award last year.

Nichols presented Brotherton’s award first, making friendly, humorous references to Brotherton’s life, including his growing-up years in rural Greene County. He mentioned Brotherton’s farming experience of plowing behind a mule, and referenced Brotherton’s home community by noting that Brotherton is a man who is able to answer the question, “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?”

Brotherton grew up in the Romeo community of Greene County and attended the two-room Romeo school, where he passed the fifth and sixth grades within a single school year.

With Brotherton was his wife, the former Carmen Keller of Greene County. She and Brotherton met while attending North Greene High School together.

In 1980, Brotherton founded Ortec, Inc., a custom chemical manufacturing company in Easley, S.C. He continues to lead the company today. He also founded Ortec Racing, LLC and Laughlin Racing Products, both of these NASCAR-associated businesses. He was also an organizer of Community South Bank.

In his brief comments after receiving the honor, Brotherton focused on how his college experience enabled him to develop a vision of a world beyond the limits of his earlier experiences. Before Tusculum, he said, he “didn’t know there was a Mozart.”

Brotherton has a history of strong support of Tusculum College, including a major gift to the capital campaign that allowed the recent renovation and expansion of the library, which on Friday was dedicated and named the Thomas J. Garland Library.

After the dinner, he commented that, in his opinion, one of his best contributions to the college was recruiting his friend and DSA co-winner Ken Bowman as a fellow trustee. Bowman’s award also was presented by Nichols, aided by Durham.

Nichols noted that Bowman’s associations with Tusculum College follow “a family tradition, as his father, the late Ray L. Bowman, was a member of the Class of 1942 and established a pattern of positive involvement in college, community, family and church life that Ken has carried on since his student days at Tusculum.”

Nichols discussed Bowman’s strengths as a trustee and trustee chairman, and declared him to be one of the most committed and hardest-working trustee chairman Nichols has ever encountered in his long career in higher education.

He also made humorous observations about Bowman, teasing him regarding his golfing hobby and describing Bowman, a research chemist with Alcoa Aluminum in Pennsylvania, as someone who “makes beer cans.”

More seriously, he went on that “Ken is a consummate professional and has made his name known in his field of expertise. Working in the aluminum industry with the famous Alcoa company in Pennsylvania, Ken holds 13 U.S. patents in his industry, and is considered an authority in the science of aluminum. He was once engaged by the editors of the World Book Encyclopedia to provide the material in that encyclopedia’s entry for ‘aluminum.’”

In his thank-you comments, Bowman said he would take his lead from the brief comments made earlier in the day by Tom Garland when the Library at Tusculum College was named in Garland’s honor: “A very sincere thank you.”

After the dinner, the two DSA winners greeted friends and congratulators and posed for pictures with their wives. Bowman’s wife is Jo Ellen Bowman.

The President’s Dinner is hosted each spring by Tusculum College as a thank-you gesture to the college’s major donors.

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Tusculum College dedicates library and names it after government and education leader Thomas J. Garland

Posted on 19 May 2008 by


The Library at Tusculum College now is named the Thomas J. Garland Library, honoring a lifelong East Tennessean with a long and illustrious career in state government, higher education and private enterprise.

A plaque proclaiming the name and an oil portrait of Garland were unveiled by business leader, philanthropist and Tusculum College alumnus and trustee Scott M. Niswonger in a public ceremony held Friday afternoon. Niswonger has often said he considers Garland a personal mentor and repeated that thought in his comments Friday afternoon.

As the lead donor in the capital campaign that funded the library project, Niswonger earned “naming rights” to the building, and opted to name it after Garland.

The Garland Library incorporates the Albert Columbus Tate Library section, which dates to 1910, as well as a large, new expansion area.

The crowd to see the event packed the main floor lobby of the library.

Garland, a former Tusculum College interim president now associated with the Niswonger Foundation, was present but had not been told in advance about the honor. Garland reacted by noting his surprise, and giving a “very sincere thank-you” to Niswonger and the 1,074 other donors who supported the library project.

Garland was born in Kingsport, educated in the Kingsport and Oak Ridge school systems, and graduated from East Tennessee State University with a B.A. degree. He received the ETSU Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1973.

His positions in business, education, and government have included chairmanship of the board of Commerce Union Bank (now Bank of America), Greeneville; chancellorship of the Tennessee Board of Regents; the interim presidency of Tusculum College, where he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and is the immediate past chairman of the board.

He holds an honorary Doctor of Law and was awarded the Distinguished Service Award by Tusculum College. He lives near Tusculum College, and has been a Greeneville resident for many years.

He served in the Tennessee Senate from 1964 through 1985, 17 of those years as Senate Minority Leader. He also served on numerous civic and corporate boards and currently is senior advisor to the Niswonger Foundation, chairman of the Tusculum Institute for Public Leadership and Policy, and a director of Atmos Energy Corporation. Garland currently serves on the Tennessee Ethics Committee as an appointee of Gov. Phil Bredesen.

In making the announcement, Niswonger said that Garland was one of the first people he met when he entered the Greeneville community at the age of 21 as a young pilot. Three years later, Garland, then a bank leader helped Niswonger launch his business career.

Also participating in the ceremony were Tusculum College Board Chairman Dr. Kenneth A. Bowman, Interim President Dr. Russell L. Nichols, Tusculum College Life Trustee the Rev. Angus Shaw, Assistant Professor of Business Administration Dr. Michelle Freeman, alumnus Glen Black, Library Director Myron J. “Jack” Smith, and Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement Susan D. Vance.

Major donors to the capital campaign that funded the renovation and expansion were introduced and honored through the unveiling of new plaques associated with named rooms, service desks and collections in the library.

Additionally, a listing of all donors to the $10 million campaign was published in the event program.

The announcement of the Campaign for the Library occurred April 27, 2002. Groundbreaking for the expansion happened Oct. 11, 2003. The grand opening of the library occurred Sept. 23, 2005. Architects for the building were Hecht, Burdeshaw, Johnson, Kidd, and Clark, Inc., and Fisher + Associates. The general contractor was Rouse Construction. The project almost tripled the size of the original building. The original library structure remains and is incorporated into the overall expansion.

Music for the dedication was provided by the Greeneville High School Jazz Band and by harpist Martha Painter.

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Tusculum commencement ceremonies highlighted by honorary doctorate, new civic leadership award

Posted on 12 May 2008 by


Tusculum College’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday were highlighted by the conferring of an honorary doctoral degree upon Dr. Angelo Volpe, a college trustee who served last summer as acting president of Tusculum College.

Additionally, Tusculum’s first-ever Civic Leadership Award was presented to Dr. Edward Kormondy, a 1950 Tusculum College alumnus and trustee who also was an acting president in 2007.

During the second of the day’s two commencement ceremonies, the college’s graduating class also welcomed a dozen special guests: members of the “Golden Pioneer Class,” meaning Tusculum graduates of 50 years ago, the Class of 1958. Clad in robes of yellow, the honored class sat together with the class of 2008 and were applauded when introduced individually during the ceremony.


Volpe’s honorary doctorate, a Doctor of Science degree, was presented by Dr. Kormondy, who heads the committee of the Board of Trustees that oversees honorary degrees and is vice chairman of the board. The decision to grant the honor to Volpe was made by unanimous vote of the trustees in their last meeting in February.

Though best known for his presidency for several years at Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville, Dr. Volpe had a distinguished academic career prior to that.

In the 1980s, Dr. Volpe, a New York native, was vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of chemistry at East Carolina University. He has also been dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at East Carolina and a teacher of chemistry at East Carolina and the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.

He received his doctorate from the University of Maryland and was a research chemist in the U.S. Naval Ordnance Laboratory in the 1960s. He is active in professional organizations and is extensively published in scholarly journals.

He and his wife, Jennette, who was present for Saturday’s ceremony, live in Cookeville. The Tennessee Tech library is named in their honor as the Angelo and Jennette Volpe Library and Media Center.

After his retirement from Tennessee Tech, where he taught chemistry in addition to serving as president, Dr. Volpe joined the Tusculum College Board of Trustees in 2005. His initial interest in Tusculum College rose from his association with Dr. Tom Garland, who headed the Tennessee State Board of Regents at the time Dr. Volpe was hired as president of Tennessee Tech.

Today Dr. Volpe holds the title of president emeritus of Tennessee Tech and still maintains an office on the campus.

Volpe did not address the commencement crowd directly during the ceremony, but afterward privately expressed his appreciation for the honor.


Receiving the college’s first Civic Leadership Award, recognizing him for his own work as an acting president of Tusculum College in 2007. Dr. Kormondy, along with Dr. Volpe, stepped in to act as Tusculum College’s top executives last year when the presidential office became empty, each devoting weeks of time to the task and and often working in consultation with one another.

Kormondy, who already held an honorary Doctor of Science degree from Tusculum College dating to 1997, was given the new Civic Achievement Award as a surprise. He did not address the crowd, but was visibly moved to tears by the honor.

Kormondy lives in Los Angeles. After his undergraduate years at Tusculum, Kormondy earned a master’s degree and doctoral degree, both in zoology, from the University of Michigan. He also served professionally at that university as well as at Oberlin College, the University of Pittsburgh, The Evergreen State College, the University of Southern Maine, and California State University-Los Angeles in various capacities including dean, provost, and vice president for academic affairs.

In the latter portion of his career he was chancellor and professor of biology at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and at the University of Hawaii-West Oahu. After retirement, he served as interim president of the University of West Los Angeles School of Law.

In 2000 his outstanding service to the University of Hawaii system was recognized when the Board of Regents named him chancellor emeritus.

A skillful writer and communicator, Kormondy has written and edited numerous biology textbooks and publications. He has played important roles in several professional organizations, including service as vice president of the Southern California Academy of Sciences from 1995 to 1997, president of the National Association of Biology Teachers in 1981, and secretary of the Ecological Society of America from 1976 to 1978.

In 1978, Kormondy represented the U.S. State Department on a mission to Poland and Hungary to examine environmental education. He has studied higher education in China during five extensive visits, the most recent concerned with education of China’s 56 minority nationalities. He has served as a consultant in the life sciences to some 30 institutions, including the Universidad Simone Bolivar in Venezuela. He also has been involved in civic, scientific, and arts-supporting organizations in his home communities through the years.


Student speakers, representing each of the degree programs, addressed their fellow graduates at their respective students. Speaking in the morning ceremony were Jason Surlas from the Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management program and Vivian Gibbons from the Master of Arts in Education program.

Surlas, of Knoxville, spoke of his experiences as an adult learner, returning to the classroom after years in a career and having begun a family. It was a challenging task to juggle each of his responsibilities, he said, but noted that anything worthwhile requires hard work and dedication.

He said that the Tusculum Graduate and Professional Studies approach — a night of class once a week and another night to meet with a study group — seemed overwhelming at first, but Surlas found the program ideal for adult learners.

He described the Tusculum program as a door of opportunity for him, and challenged his fellow graduates to recognize such doors of opportunity that their own educational path will create, trust God, and go through those doors.

Vivian Gibbons, of Greeneville, shared her three rules of life for achievers. She told her fellow graduates that they were achievers because they had pursued a goal and persevered until it was completed.

Her first rule is “take care of yourself,” not merely in a physical way but also in terms of spiritual and emotional health. Her second rule is to “take care of others,” which includes working to make the world a better place to live in for all. The third rule is to “take care of your spiritual life,” believing in something larger than oneself.

The speakers in the afternoon ceremony were Regina Cole, representing the Bachelor of Arts in Education program, and Tamara Wynn, representing the Residential College program.

Cole recounted her path to her degree, from volunteering in her children’s school to being a substitute teacher, and from there to returning to school herself. Cole said she was encouraged along the way by others to pursue her desire to become a teacher, and she urged those at the ceremony to encourage adults that they may know who want to continue to education to reach for their goal. It is “never too late to listen to your heart,” she said.

Tamara Wynn said she had thought back to the person she was when she came to Tusculum. That person was very protective of her identity and was sure she would be the same person four years later, but just more knowledgeable academically. However, Wynn said, she is very different person now, a person who has grown through support from faculty and her friends.

Dr. Stephen Weisz, the campus minister, delivered the baccalaureate sermon, “The Lord is Your Shepherd.”

“Today, you may feel as you earn your degree, have a job, or a promise of a job that you don’t need a shepherd.” But real happiness is found not from monetary or social success, but from a relationship with God, said Weisz. “If the Lord is your shepherd, you will have a meaningful life,” he said.


Members of the Class of 1958, this year’s “Golden Pioneer Class,” attended both the afternoon commencement ceremony and a preceding luncheon held in their honor on the terrace of the Library at Tusculum College.

In attendance Saturday were Bill Carroll, Bill Davis, Donald Eckelhofer, Norman Hankins, Ben Hankins, “Tippy” Dell’Aquila Corliss, Kathleen Schwartz, Karol Schneckenberg Light, Lyle Ray Smith, Perry C. Crabtree, Margi Maracle Hartman, John Strange and Billy Hutton Horne.

Tusculum College conferred just over 300 academic degrees during the two ceremonies. Though in recent years the college has conducted only one ceremony each commencement day, this weekend two ceremonies were done in order to better accommodate the large crowds that typically attend.

Both ceremonies saw the Pioneer Arena substantially filled, mostly by families and friends of graduates.

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Volpe and Kormondy honored during commencement ceremony

Posted on 12 May 2008 by


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Museums of Tusculum College help ‘Tennessee Johnson’ return to silver screen after 65 years

Posted on 05 May 2008 by

ajmovieposter2.jpgIn April 1943, Japan’s top military commander was killed in an attack by American forces, Jews in Warsaw begin an unsuccessful uprising against their German captors, and the film, “Tennessee Johnson,” made its Greeneville premier.

Sixty-five years after the film of Andrew Johnson’s life was first shown in his hometown, the Museums of Tusculum College are bringing the movie back to the screen of the Capitol Theatre as part of the community’s celebration of the bicentennial of the 17th president’s birth. The screening will be 7 p.m. on Friday, May 16, at the historic Capitol Theatre.

Admission to the movie is free. In 1943, when it was originally screened, admission was 11 cents for the matinee and 30 cents for the evening show.

The MGM production, which was interestingly called “Andrew Johnson, The Man on America’s Conscience” in England, has been provided for the screening through the generosity of Turner Classic Movies. Support for this program has been provided in-part by the Andrew Johnson Bicentennial Committee, which is coordinating the Greeneville community’s celebration of the 200th anniversary of its most famous son’s birth through a variety of events.

The film, directed by William Dieterle, starred Van Heflin as Johnson, Lionel Barrymore as his nemesis, Thaddeus Stevens, and Ruth Hussey as Eliza McCardle Johnson. The screenplay was written by Milton Ginzburg, Alvin Meyes, John Balderston, and Wells Root.

World War II movie news clips will be shown with the film to give viewers the flavor of the times in which “Tennessee Johnson” originally premiered in Greeneville. Also illustrating the nationalistic flavor of 1943 will be a display, created by Tusculum College Museum Studies students, which will be in the lobby of the Capitol for the screening. The display features the movie poster and stills, information about the film, and war effort-related advertising from the era in which the film was produced and shown.

Historian Dr. Robert Orr, an expert on Johnson’s life, will provide commentary prior to the showing of the move, noting the historical inaccuracies found in the film. Those familiar with Johnson’s life will quickly spot these inaccuracies, possibly the result of “Hollywoodization” of some of the events to make them more dramatic for the big screen.

“Tennessee Johnson” depicts the events building up to the impeachment of Johnson. The film traces Johnson’s humble arrival in Greeneville as a runaway tailor’s apprentice and his first foray into politics on the local level.

The film then follows Johnson’s experience on the national level as a U.S. Senator, who refuses to join his Southern colleagues in their exodus from the Senate chambers once the secession began, as Lincoln’s vice president, and as president.

After Lincoln’s assassination, Johnson begins to bump heads with the Radical Republicans who want to punish the South, which differs from Johnson’s policy of reconciliation with the South. The film climaxes with the events surrounding Johnson’s impeachment and subsequent trial.

Volunteers from the Nathanael Greene Museum will be providing support during the screening and offer refreshments during the evening intermission. Commemoration of the Andrew Johnson Bicentennial is a focal point this year for the Museums of Tusculum College. The museums have developed a new educational program for school groups that focuses on the Constitution and Johnson’s life and a special exhibit featuring artifacts from the life of Johnson is on display at the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library. On September 17, the Museums are organizing a special commemoration of the Bicentennial and National Constitution Day with a performance by the 113rd U.S. Army Band from Fort Knox. 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. Orr.

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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