Archive | January, 2011

Tusculum professor published in Journal of American Culture

Posted on 28 January 2011 by

An article by Dr. Angela Keaton, assistant professor of history at Tusculum College, has been published by the Journal of American Culture.

Dr. Keaton’s article, “Backyard Desperados: American Attitudes Concerning Toy Guns in the Early Cold War Era,” was printed in the fall 2010 volume of the journal. The Journal of American Culture combines studies of American literature, history and the arts with studies of the popular, the taken-for-granted and the ordinary pieces of American life to produce analyses of American culture with breadth and holism.

The article describes how child’s play with toy guns was not only accepted but also encouraged by parents, psychologists and other experts and society at large in the early period of the Cold War in the 1950s, Keaton said.

The article explores the popularity of children playing “cowboys and cowboys” with the toy guns. Investigated in the article are the prevalent attitude of psychologists and other experts who described toy gun play as a good way for children to vent aggression and to reinforce strong masculine traits and the reassurance that the toy gun play gave parents as they saw their children mimicking a symbol of patriotic, American heritage in a time of great uncertainty as the nation faced the rise of Communism.

The marketing and business side of toy gun play are also described as television and movies popularized cowboys and westerns and gave rise to a demand for toy guns and holsters. The article also notes the decline of popularity of toy gun play in the 1960s as parents began to be distrustful of experts and “G.I. Joe” was introduced, a toy that concentrated not on America’s past but on what was the country’s contemporary battle against Communism.

Keaton presented the paper a few years ago at the American Cultural Association Conference, where it received an award for best paper.

The article is from Dr. Keaton’s doctoral dissertation, which she is working to turn into a book for publication.

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Vizcarrondo honored as ‘Student of the Block’ for Fourth Block

Posted on 27 January 2011 by

vizcarrondo_ceremonyAdriana Vizcarrondo, a senior business management major with concentrations in general management and economics with a minor in international business, has been named “Student of the Block” for Block Four of the 2010-11 academic year.

The Student of the Block Award is presented each block by the Office of Student Affairs to recognize students for academic achievement, leadership on campus and contributions to the college community.

During her time at Tusculum, Vizcarrondo, a native of Anaco, Venezuela, has amassed a stellar resumé of achievements and as a member of the Pioneer Golf Team personifies the ideal student-athlete. She maintains a 3.66 grade point average, has been listed on the college’s Dean’s List and Athletics Director Honor Roll for the past four years and has been named a South Atlantic Conference Scholar All-American and to the National Golf Coaches Association Division II All-Scholar Team for the past three years.

Vizcarrondo has served as president of the Tusculum College Business Club and was a member of the Pioneer Student Athletic Advisory Council in 2009-10. She volunteers for the Gifts for Kids program at Landair Inc. and is a mentor at Chuckey-Doak High School.

Vizcarrondo was nominated for the award by Dr. Antonio Bos, professor of economics. “Adriana is a dedicated and capable student, as demonstrated by her high grade point average and honor roll membership,” Dr. Bos wrote in his nomination.

“Her international background and experience enrich the courses and the lives of fellow students,” he continued. “Her dedication, energy and positive attitude motivate, and probably without realizing, she becomes a leader and a role model in the classroom. She had a significant impact within the Business Administration department, given her participation and leadership in the Business Club.

“Most significantly, she personally and explicitly challenged me to break from conventional, stale, textbook-based teaching and, instead, she urged me to develop innovative teaching methods and assignments.  … Her challenge re-energized my own approach to teaching and it allowed me to recall, very clearly, the purpose and the sheer joy of being a teacher.”

Vizcarrondo’s older sister, Mary Ann, is a 2010 graduate of Tusculum and was also a member of the golf team. To be close to her sister is one of the reasons that Vizcarrondo chose to attend Tusculum. She take prides in what she has been able to accomplish in college. “It has not been easy to be away from my family, but thanks to the staff, faculty and students at Tusculum College, the transition has been smooth and I have been able to accomplish my goals,” Vizcarrondo said.

vizcarrondo4Classroom experiences in her business courses are among what she counts among her favorite memories of her time at Tusculum. She particularly enjoyed business law and ethics, international business and international economics under her favorite professor, Dr. Bos, who is also her advisor and mentor. “His perspective on business has broadened my knowledge and helped me understand the difficulties of economics and business.”

“Dr. Michelle Freeman (associate professor of business administration) is also one of the nicest professors I’ve ever had and at the same time one of the most challenging,” Vizcarrondo continued.

Also having a great influence in her life have been Golf Coach Bob Dibble and Brandon Conner, director of freshman services and student success. “He (Coach Dibble) has been a person who I can count on no matter what situation I am in,” Vizcarrondo said. “I consider him my dad in the United States and Brandon has been a great influence in my life – he was my supervisor for my internship in the Office of Admission, is the leader of the church on campus I attend and is a great friend of mine who has helped me excel not only academically and pursue my career but also spiritually.”

Her dedication and hard work in the classroom is matched by her zeal for knowledge and greatness on the golf course. “I am honored to play a collegiate sport and be a part of the Tusculum College Golf Team,” she said. “The efforts I have put forth since a very young age are worth every single minute. If it wasn’t for my participation in this sport, I would have never gone to Tusculum. It has not only financially benefited me to play a collegiate sport, but it has also allowed me to meet a lot of great teammates and other golfers in the South Atlantic Conference. We are so blessed to play amazing golf courses all over the region, including one of the best golf resorts in the world, Kiawah Island.”

Vizcarrondo counts among her role models, her parents and her aunts and uncles, including her uncle Juan Ronderos, who works for the World Bank and influenced her decision to enter the business field.

With her intense work ethic and goal-setting, she has become a mentor and role model to many others in the Tusculum community. Her advice to other students in achieving her goals and dreams is “to get on task right away, don’t wait for someone else to take the first step for you” when in pursuit of a goal and also to strive to discover what it is “that you have a passion for … what you love. Life will be much easier when you do something you enjoy.”

At Tusculum, Vizcarrondo has built many relationships that she will cherish for the rest of her life. “My friends have been there for me not only for the good times, but also for the hard times, and the golf team has always been there for me,” she said. “It’s such a great feeling to have that sense of comfort that comes from knowing that I have people to be with me in the darkest times.”

Vizcarrondo will graduate from Tusculum in May. Her long term career goal is to pursue a master’s degree abroad in international business and help improve relations between countries and increase globalization.

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‘Pickin’ at the Doaks’ to resume Friday at Doak House Museum

Posted on 27 January 2011 by

“Pickin’ at the Doaks,” the traditional music jam session, will resume at the Doak House Museum on Friday, Jan. 28.

Traditional musicians and music lovers are invited to the jam session from 6-8:30 p.m. in the Academy building at the Doak House Museum on the Tusculum College campus.

Hot cocoa and coffee will be available as well as limited seating. Attendees are welcome to bring their own chairs.

The “Pickin’ at the Doaks” program began last summer and its growing popularity led to its continuation into the colder months. The program was originally intended to be only scheduled during warm weather and take place on the lawn of the Doak House. The music program takes place the last Friday of each month.

The Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library are operated by the Department of Museum Program and Studies of Tusculum College. In addition to the museums, the department is responsible for the College Archives and offers one of the few undergraduate Museum Studies degree programs in the country. The two museums are also part of the National Historic District on the Tusculum College campus. Follow the museums on Facebook and Twitter to learn the latest news and upcoming events or visit its Web site at to learn more about the variety of programs offered at the museums.

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English Department event celebrates life and poetry of Robert Burns

Posted on 26 January 2011 by


On Tuesday, January 25, the Tusculum College English Student Organization hosted its fourth annual Burns Supper to celebrate life and poetry of Scottish poet Robert Burns on his birthday. More than 40 students and English Department faculty enjoyed a traditional Scottish meal while students read selections of Burns’ poetry. Burns, an eighteenth century Romantic poet, is widely considered the national poet of Scotland and is celebrated worldwide. The Tusculum event followed the order of a traditional Burns Supper that begins with the reading of Burns’ “Selkirk Grace,” includes the “piping in of the haggis” and concludes with the singing of perhaps Burns’ most well known work, “Auld Lang Syne.”

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Colleen Cox assumes coordinator of alumni relations position

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

colleencoxColleen Cox is the new coordinator of alumni relations at Tusculum College. Cox started in her new position in early January.

Cox was formerly manager of marketing and corporate development for Free Will Baptist Family Ministries prior to taking a few years to spend time with her young daughter, Kennedy.

“We are thrilled to have Colleen join the advancement team at Tusculum College. Colleen’s skills and background are a great match for the mission of the college,” said Susan D. Vance, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement and a 1991 graduate of the college.

In her new role, Cox will be the primary liaison for alumni of the college, planning alumni events, coordinating Homecoming and serving as a liaison for the Alumni Executive Board. She brings experience in fundraising, marketing and event planning.  She also has a high level of energy and enthusiasm for the mission of Tusculum College.

She will be working in a part-time position and will have office hours at the college from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

“I am very excited to be starting with Tusculum College and working with the alumni of the institution,” said Cox. “This is a wonderful opportunity for me to connect with people I have known for years and to meet new people who have long-standing relationships with the college.”

While at Family Ministries, Cox’s responsibilities included coordinating and overseeing a retention program for Ministry supporters and developing relationships with new and existing donors.  She worked closely with community leaders throughout Greeneville and the region. Cox also oversaw major fund-raisers for the Family Ministries organization.

Prior to working at Family Ministries, Cox worked with People’s Community Bank in Johnson City as a customer service representative and prior to that served as Marketing and Compliance Manager for WealthWise, Inc. in Greeneville.

Cox, her husband, Eddie and their daughter live in Jonesborough.

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Tusculum alumna takes on the challenges of leadership in healthcare

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

traciwillis_featureTraci Willis ’97 may be a long way from her roots in Kingsport, Tenn., but the Tusculum College alumna is making an impression in her new home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Willis has taken over as chief executive officer of Lovelace Rehabilitation Hospital, overseeing 260 employees and managing the specialty hospital that provides physical rehabilitative services, both inpatient and outpatient, for many different diagnosis groups, including physical, occupational and speech. Willis’s responsibilities include management of the operations of the 62-bed facility and four outpatient therapy clinics.

Previously, Willis was chief executive officer of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Hospital in Memphis and has worked at the head position at hospitals in Arkansas and in South Carolina. She earned her organizational management degree from Tusculum College and believes her degree has propelled her to excel in healthcare management and to reach the senior executive levels.

“By giving me the management stepping stones to build on, Tusculum College really provided me with the beginnings of my career in management,” said Willis. ”My instructors were professionals who allowed me to build on my work experiences to expand my knowledge.  We didn’t just complete coursework from a textbook; we used current workplace events to learn.”

It was this hands-on, real world learning environment that Willis says is helpful in her management role today. But learning to be a good communicator has also been important, along with planning and organization.

“Because my job is heavily focused on communication with all customers – patients, staff, physicians, community leaders and representatives – effective communication skills are key. My job involves providing key resources to patients and the community, so listening skills to determine their needs are equally as important. Planning and organization are also important.”

Learning management skills have been crucial, and Tusculum’s business program was a big part of that. She appreciated how “realistic” the instructors at were and the individualized attention she could get with the small class sizes.

“By allowing students to utilize their life experience and work knowledge in each class, I received a more well-rounded education.  I feel I was much more prepared to begin my management career than if I had attended a larger university.”

In particular, two classes during her program have made an impact on her management style.

“Psychology helped me understand that you have to listen to people in order to better understand them, and my human resources class taught me how to communicate with people based on their individual needs and personalities. These classes really helped me focus on listening and communication.”

As far as moving into the healthcare field, Willis said the first thing she would advise for those seeking a similar career path would be to gain experience in all aspects of healthcare before moving into management.

“I knew nothing about physical rehabilitation when I started my career 1991.  I worked in the therapy gym for two years before I moved into administration. As with any management position, you can manage much more effectively if you understand what the people you manage have to do each day.”

In addition, she would advise preparation for change and a willingness to accept it. But most importantly, “never lose sight of your number one priority in healthcare – the patient.  No matter what area of healthcare someone chooses to work in, their top priority should always be to provide the highest quality of care to their patients.”

Willis is happy with her new home in New Mexico, finding it to be a happy, friendly area. She has settled into the new position and is beginning to make connections in the community. She has a cat, Bourbon and dog, Moses, both adopted from rescue organizations, and she is enjoying exploring the Southwest and opportunities for outside activities such as walking and landscaping and antique shopping. She also works with several professional and charitable organizations.

She is a member of Women in Philanthropy, an organization part of the United Way of Central New Mexico dedicated to inspiring, educating and encouraging women to make a difference in their community; co-chair of the New Mexico Hospital Association Rehabilitation Sub-Committee and an American Hospital Association Long Term Care and Rehabilitation Governing Council Member.

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Download the ‘Pioneer Fight Song’ ring tone

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

You can enjoy the Pioneer Pep Band’s version of the “Pioneer Fight Song” on your own cell phone. A ring tone of a performance of the fight song is now available online.

Visit to download a MP3 file that can be saved as a ringtone on supporting phones. Learn more about the band program at and at its Facebook page.


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Check out the latest happenings with your fellow alumni

Check out the latest happenings with your fellow alumni

Posted on 26 January 2011 by



Dr. Alexander R. Doberenz ’58 of Hockessin, DE, has been named professor emeritus at the University of Delaware. He retired from the university as Dean of the College of Education and Public Policy.

Rev. Donald F. Garrett ’59 of Akron, NY, and his wife, Sharon, celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in August 2009.


Gene King ’60 of Greeneville, TN, has retired from a career in education in the Greeneville School System. He was serving as principal of Greeneville High School at the time of his retirement.


Moe Malala ’71 of Pago Pago, Samoa, is searching for his 1968 classmates. You can e-mail Moe at

Sidney and Claudia (Strohmaier) Courtney ’72 ’73 of Dover, DE, celebrated their 40th anniversary on August 22. The Courtneys were among the few married couples attending Tusculum during the early 1970s. They recall that they lived just behind campus in one of the five Russell Trailers and could easily walk the back road and reach campus near the science building road. When they last visited campus in 2005, the lot was overgrown but they still have fond memories of their time at Tusculum. Prior to marrying, they lived on campus. Sidney lived in Haynes Hall and Charles Oliver Gray East. Claudia lived in Katherine Hall. “They changes on campus and beyond have been extensive since 1973, but many things remain the same,” they write and wish all alumni and current students the best for the new year.


Nancy Goral Luciani ’01 of Goose Creek, SC, continues to recuperate from her kidney transplant operation. Her husband, Anthony, who donated his kidney to Nancy, has been cleared to return to work for the U.S. Coast Guard and is feeling great.  While she is healing well, Nancy has to remain cautious around people because of the depression of her immune system by her anti-rejection medications. She has not been yet cleared to be around large groups of people or return to work as an emergency medical technician. Nancy says she is so grateful and happy to have been given this second chance and to be able to watch her two children grow up. Her recovery will take the better part of a year. At Tusculum, Nancy was a member of the soccer, softball and cross country teams. To help the family with medical and living expenses, a fund has been set up to accept donations. Donations can be made to The Luciani Kidney Fundraiser, 136 Wilton St., Goose Creek, SC  29445. To learn more about Nancy’s recovery please visit

Eric Clemons ’07 of Knoxville, TN, has been selected as one of the Knoxville Business Journal’s “40 under 40″ listing of young business leaders in the area. Clemons manages U.S. Cellular retail stores in Alcoa and Sevierville and serves as co-leader of the company’s regional Diversity and Inclusion Council. He has also taught call center management and strategies courses at ITT Technical Institute. Clemons is working on his second master’s degree in human resources from Western Carolina University. He has also given back to the community, helping the Knoxville Area Urban League to launch an after-school program designed to introduce at-risk middle school students to high-tech careers and improve their technology skills.

Valerie Mullins ’08 of Limestone, TN, graduated in December from South College with a master of science physician’s assistant degree.


Wayne Hughes ’90 and his wife, Pamela, of Afton, TN, celebrated the birth of their third child, Ava Marie, on December 19, 2009.

Tim and Kristen (New) Dalton ’02 ’02 of Stone Mountain, GA, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Katelyn “Kate” Blair on November 24, 2010. Kate was 7 lbs and 7 oz and 18 inches long. Their son, Tyler, is now a proud big brother.

Brad Hawks ’05 and his wife, Mallory, of Galax, VA, celebrated the birth of their daughter, Rylee Kathryn, on November 10, 2010.



Dr. George Moore  ’43 of White Stone, VA, passed away on September 11, 2010. Dr. Moore was a retired physician.  He received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine, a degree in public health from the University of Michigan and was certified in 1956 by the American Board of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. Dr. Moore served in the U.S. Army from 1943 through 1946 and was commissioned in the U.S. Public Health Service in November 1950. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal in 1967 and retired in 1972 with the rank of captain. His service career included tours at Fort Bragg, NC; Durango, CO; Battle Creek, MI; Charlottesville, VA, and Kathmandu, Nepal.  After retiring from the Public Health Service, Dr. Moore became director of the Thomas Jefferson District Health Department in Charlottesville and taught at the University of Virginia. In 1977, he accepted an appointment as associate professor of the Department of Preventive Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. In 1980, he was appointed as director of the Northern Neck Health District and retired from state employment in 1984. During his professional career, Dr. Moore published numerous articles on preventive medicine in scientific journals. He was a member of the Association of Military Surgeons, the Commissioned Officers Association of the Public Health Service, the Northern Neck Medical Society and the Retired Officers Association. He served both as register and past president of the Richard Henry Lee Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution. In March 2009, Dr. Moore was presented with the Surgeon General’s Lifetime Exemplary Service Award. He was a member of Campbell Presbyterian Church.  His guiding principle was: “Happiness comes from within and is based on work well done, on serving others, and in remembering the dignity and worth of human life” (from Thomas M. Durant MD, Professor of Medicine at Temple Medical School, 1947).

John S. Maine ’48 of Lancaster, PA, passed away January 3, 2011. Mr. Maine was a retired library director for Millersville University.  A native of East Tennessee, he served as a radio operator on the USS Nevada during World War II. After earning a degree from Tusculum, Mr. Maine earned a master’s degree in library science from the Peabody College of Vanderbilt University in 1951. He served as library director and a faculty member of Tusculum from 1954-1957 and then served in the same roles at Shepherd University in West Virginia from 1957-1961. He joined Millersville University in 1961 and served as the library director until his retirement in 1985. As director, he oversaw the design, construction and opening of the Ganser Library at the university. He was a member of the First United Methodist Church of Millersville and a lifelong member of the American Library Association and the Millersville Lion’s Club. His survivors include son and Tusculum alumnus Douglas L. Maine ’70.

James Edwin Birdwell, Jr. ’49 of Clinton, TN, passed away December 16, 2010. Mr. Birdwell served in the U.S. Navy during World War II in the Pacific Theater. After the war he returned home and graduated from Tusculum. He later earned a master’s degree in economics from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University. Mr. Birdwell was recalled to the Navy during the Korean Conflict and served in the Middle East and London. He retired as a commander from the Naval Reserve after a long and distinguished career in the military. In civilian life, Birdwell started a career in banking in Nashville, later working in Norfolk, VA, before moving to Clinton, where he served as chief executive officer and president of Union Peoples Bank and retired as vice chairman of First American Bank. Active in the community, he served on the Industrial Development and Coal Creek Companies boards. He was chairman of the finance committee of the Methodist Holston Conference and served on the administrative board of the Methodist Church. He served on the Oak Ridge Hospital Foundation Board and was president of the Civitan.

Robert E. Keasling ’49 of Greeneville, TN, passed away December 15, 2010. Mr. Keasling was a retired educator having served as a teacher and principal. Mr. Keasling began his teaching career at Greeneville High School, where he taught mathematics and was chairman of the math department for 20 years.  He was then named principal of EastView Elementary School, a position he held until his retirement in 1988. That year, he was named “Teacher of the Year” by the Greeneville-Greene County Area Chamber of Commerce. During his career, he also served as an adjunct faculty member of Tusculum, Greeneville’s Vocational School, East Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. He also served as a trustee on the board of the Greeneville City Schools Education Foundation. Mr. Keasling enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1943, serving in World War II as technical sergeant in the Headquarters Detachment 492D Port Battalion. Two years of his service was spent overseas on Guadalcanal, the Philippine Islands and Japan. He was awarded the World War II Victory Ribbon, the Good Conduct Medal, the American Theatre Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, one Bronze Service Star, the Philippine Liberation Ribbon and the Army Occupation Medal. After returning home from the war, he enrolled at Tusculum, where he earned a degree in mathematics and economics with a minor in education. In 1952, he became one of the first students to receive a master’s degree from East Tennessee State College, now East Tennessee State University. He earned master’s degree in supervision and administration. Active in church, he served as the last Sunday school superintendent at Reaves Memorial Evangelical United Brethren Church and the first superintendent in the new Trinity United Methodist Church after the Evangelical United Brethren Church merged with the Methodist Church in 1968 to form the United Methodist Church. He served on a number of committees for the church.


Murrell Davis Weesner  ’50 of Morristown, TN, passed away January 7, 2011. An active alumni and supporter of his Alma Mater, Mr. Weesner was a member of the Tusculum College Morristown President’s Advisory Council and the Tusculum Alumni Association. Mr. Weesner and his wife, Joan Faulkner Weesner ’51, have been regular attendees of alumni and college events in Morristown and on the Greeneville campus. He was honored for his dedication and support of the college with the Pioneer Award, the highest honor presented by the Tusculum Alumni Association, and the Sport’s Benefactor Award. A retired educator, Mr. Weesner served 37 years in the Morristown-Hamblen School System as a teacher, assistant principal and in the central office assisting with the school newspaper, student organizations and athletics. He also worked for the U.S. Bureau of the Census, as city editor for the Morristown Sun, a newscaster for WCRK radio and a reporter for the Knoxville Journal. In addition to his degree from Tusculum, Mr. Weesner earned a master’s degree from Duke University and completed doctoral work at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.  He was a lifetime member of Centenary United Methodist Church, where he served on the administrative board, as a Sunday school teacher and on the church history committee. Mr. Weesner always claimed that he was a Methodist before he was born since his maternal grandfather was a Methodist circuit rider and his paternal grandfather was an original member of Centenary. Active in the Morristown community, he and his wife were recognized in 2009 as “Mr. and Mrs. Morristown.” He served a number of local organizations including Hamblen County Foundation for Educational Excellence (board member), Morristown Cemetery Restoration and Preservation Committee (treasurer), Hamblen Adults Working for Kids, Hurricane Alumni Association, Morristown Housing Authority Appeals Hearing Board, Morristown Employees Credit Union (treasurer for 20 years), Literacy Council, Tennessee Bicentennial Committee exhibit at Rose Center, Hamblen County Retired Teachers Association, the Boy Scouts (leader) and the Civil Air Patrol. Mr. Weesner enjoyed working with theater productions in college and at Morristown East High School. His most recent appearance was in “The Nick of Time,” a pageant of Morristown’s history. He enjoyed traveling across the United States and abroad, including leading senior class school trips. His favorite hobbies were collecting and reading books, maps and crossword puzzles. His personal library totaled more than 5,000 books. Among his many honors over the years were the 1950 “Morristown Young Man of the Year,” the Jaycees Service Award, Hurricane Alumni Hall of Honor, Wall Street Journalism Medal and Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. He is also honored on a plaque in the Burke-Toney Stadium press box, located at Morristown East, commending his service to school activities. His standing in the community was recognized through a memorial service held in the auditorium of Morristown East. In addition to his wife, his survivors include daughters and Tusculum alumni Becky Jo Moles ’79, Mary Ellen Horner ’82 and Winn Ann Seals ’90 and son-in-law Kirk Horner ’80.

Ellen Shelton McNiff ’55 of Texas, formerly of Aberdeen, MD, passed away on May 16, 2010. Mrs.McNiff was a retired tax preparer, who was known for her sense of humor. As her health had declined, she moved to Texas where her son could care for her.


David Carroll Kiker ’62 of Greeneville, TN, passed away December 24, 2010. Mr. Kiker was retired from Delfasco of Tennessee after many years of service and was a member of Love’s Memorial United Methodist Church.  Mr. Kiker enjoyed coon hunting and was past president of the Greene County Coon Club.

William Strockbine ’64 of Portsmouth, RI, passed away December 20 from injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Mr. Strockbine was register and director of records for 30 years at State University of New York at Stony Brook. He earned a master’s degree from the university as well. Strockbine had numerous interests including English grammar, poetry and limericks, crosswords, baseball, fine automobiles, clock collecting, cutlery grinding and metal polishing. He was known for his generous and caring nature, his sense of humor and his laughter. His survivors included former wife and Tusculum alumna Penelope (German) Strockbine ’64.


John F. Wade ’76 of Biddeford, ME, passed away  January 8, 2011, following a long battle with bladder cancer. Wade was instrumental for many years in the local politics of the Upper East Side in New York City. Serving as campaign manager and chief of staff, he strategized an underdog campaign for Democrat Carolyn Maloney in 1992 to defeat a 15-year Republican incumbent to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. “John Wade was an inspirational and loving friend and colleague whose political genius and personal courage truly changed my life,” Maloney said in a statement following Wade’s passing. “His innate intelligence, irreverent wit and superb organizational skills made him a unique and uniquely qualified individual, and we shall not see his like again.” He also played a critical role in the successful campaigns of several Manhatten figures from assemblymen to civil court judges. Over the period of a decade, an area that was once predominantly Republican became one that was represented entirely by Democrats, and Wade was credited by many as the man behind the historic shift.  A native of Dublin, Ireland, he came to America with his family as a young boy and grew up in Manhattan and northern New Jersey. His first experience in politics was working on the staff of Congressman John B. Anderson in Illinois in 1979 and then as a senior staffer on Anderson’s unsuccessful  presidential campaign as an independent candidate in 1980. Mr. Wade then returned to New York City and joined the staff of Maloney. He also worked as director of education for the Bronx Borough President and as a consultant for major political candidates in New York and Maine. Mr. Wade was also a LGBT activist throughout his career.


Reid A. Brogden ’81 of Nashville, TN, passed away on December 29, 2010. Mr. Brogden served as an attorney for the State of Tennessee for 20 years and was serving as general counsel to the State Health Services and Development Agency at the time of his untimely passing. He was a graduate of the University of Tennessee and Cumberland College of Law. He was a member of St. Henry Catholic Church. His survivors include his parents and Tusculum alumni Frank and Rolien (Brown) Brogden ’50 ’51. Mr. Brogden was the fifth generation of the Rhea/Brogden family to attend Tusculum.

Jean Van Wyck ’84 of Oviedo, FL, passed away December 28, 2010. Ms. Van Wyck had graduated from Tusculum with a degree in elementary and special education and earned her master’s degree in education from Grand Canyon University in 2008. She was an intensive reading teacher at Lawton Chiles Middle School in Oviedo. Earlier in her career, Ms. Van Wyck had worked in several elementary schools in Ocala, Orlando and Oviedo, providing training to enhance social, emotional and academic learning for autistic and severely emotionally challenged students. She was chosen as the 1991 “Teacher of the Year” at Ocala Springs Elementary School. Ms. Van Wyck was known for her brilliant smile, infectious laugh and effervescent personality that endeared her to family, friends and co-workers. Extremely active in her children’s academic careers and extra-curricular activities, she was an active supporter of the Oviedo High School Booster Club and the ROTC. An avid sports fan, she had recently coached the Lawton Chiles Middle School Girls’ Volleyball Team to a county championship. In addition to sports, Ms. Van Wyck also loved the beach, spending her leisure time with family and friends at New Smyrna Beach. Her greatest joys in life were her two sons, Kevin and Kyle, and spending time with her extended family and friends.


Leonard Blaine Lawson, Jr. ’05 of Greeneville, TN, passed away January 18, 2011, due to injuries suffered in an automobile accident. Mr. Lawson was a member of the Pioneer men’s golf team during 2001-03. Upon learning of his untimely passing, Golf Coach Bob Dibble said, “Blaine was a fine young man and we are all saddened by this tragic news. We all loved Blaine very much and the Tusculum family extends its deepest sympathy to the Lawson family during this difficult time.” Mr. Lawson was a member of Asbury United Methodist Church. He was known for his sense of humor, strong laugh, big hugs and love animals, especially dogs.  Following college, Mr. Lawson worked with his father, Greeneville businessman Lennie Lawson. His survivors include his mother and Tusculum alumna Terri (Nelson)  Lawson ’80.

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Tusculum on cutting edge with teacher education programs

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

studentteachingWith its focus on clinical hours and practical experience, the Tusculum College teacher education programs are in the limelight as national publications have recently called out for more programs at institutions of higher education like the ones offered at Tusculum College.

Recent articles in the “Wall Street Journal” and the “Chronicle of Higher Education” have addressed teacher training and more focused on clinical instruction and hands-on experiences in the classroom.

“Students in the Tusculum College education programs have the opportunity for field experience from the very first course they take,” said Dr. Lisa Johnson, director of the College’s School of Education and assistant professor of education.

In the November 15 edition, the “Chronicle of Higher Education” ran an article by writer Kevin Kiley calling for teacher-training programs to be “revamped to focus more on hands-on, clinical instruction, similar to how doctors are trained.” A related article in the November 16 issue of the “Wall Street Journal” announced a panel of education experts’ assessments that that teacher education programs should “operate more like medical schools, which rely heavily on clinical experience.”

At Tusculum College, the new model is already in place, with a program that provides more than 200 clinical hours of hands on experience in a classroom before a student even reaches the point of doing their student teaching, according to Johnson.

“With the development of the unique block program offered at Tusculum College, the teacher education programs evolved as well,” said Johnson. “Because of the way our classes are taught, we are able to get our students inside a classroom sooner, more often and with excellent success rates.”

Johnson added that there is a clinical aspect to every education course taught in the Tusculum education program and that because of this, advisors and supervisors are much more easily able to determine if a student is actually ready for their student teaching program.

The road to developing the program has not been easy, partnerships with local and regional schools systems have been essential, and those partnerships must be maintained constantly, said Johnson.

“With the large number of students we have in both our Residential and adult education programs, maintaining relationships with the local school systems that provide learning opportunities for our students is vital,” she added. “We have been continually blessed to have worked out relationships that benefit our students as well as the schools in which they serve.”

According to Pauletta Johnson, director of field experience and assistant professor of education, presently Tusculum College’s School of Education has partnerships with more than 20 area school systems, totaling 93 schools. The relationships with the schools are fostered by the school administrator’s willingness to allow Tusculum students to participate in the learning process within the school setting.

“This is a reciprocal partnership as it allows additional support to the learning environment, while allowing Tusculum students to gain valuable experience and knowledge,” said the field experience director. In addition, she said, field experience supervisors complete regular visits to ensure the school is pleased with the progress of each practicum student and student teacher.

Sandy Williams, principal of Keplar Elementary in Hawkins County, has worked with students through the Tusculum College program for several years and has great appreciation for the effort the program makes to provide clinical, hands-on classroom hours for its students prior to their going into their own classroom as a student teacher.

“Those extra clinical hours are hands-on and students learn how to teach,” said Williams. “It’s so important, not only that students find out where their heart is, but that they get to work with a variety of age groups, in various school districts, various subject areas and it can refine their skills.”

In addition Williams said that when it came to interviewing for teaching positions, she will always pull out resumes of those students who went to Tusculum College and review them first because she knows the amount of actual classroom experience these candidates have already had.

“It’s a real advantage over those candidates whose only classroom time has been a student teaching position.”

One of the criticisms of the teacher education program is that in most programs, students spend only about 10-12 weeks observing teachers or student-teaching themselves, according to the “Wall Street Journal” article.

At Tusculum College, students are required to complete a minimum of 198 hours of practicum in the classroom before the student teaching semester. In addition, student teachers are required to complete full school days for a minimum of 15 weeks. This results in over 800 hours of teacher preparation time before obtaining a license.

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More than 250 earn degrees in winter commencement

More than 250 earn degrees in winter commencement

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

gradapplausepm_gradwebFamily and friends of more than 250 new graduates celebrated as they watched family members walk across the stage to receive their degrees during Tusculum College’s winter commencement ceremonies on Saturday, December 18.

One hundred and eighteen earned Bachelor of Science degrees in organizational management during a morning ceremony. During an afternoon ceremony 60 earned Master of Arts degrees in education and 73 received Bachelor of Arts degrees.

The new graduates were addressed by Dr. Nancy B. Moody, the 27th president of the college. Moody encouraged the students “to keep Tusculum College in your thoughts, prayers and in your heart.”  Adding, “You have forever changed the direction of your lives.”

pklee_gradwebPaul K. “P.K.” Lee of Newport and Ethan Brewer of Knoxville, who both earned bachelor of science degrees in organizational management, were chosen by the faculty as speakers to represent their classmates in the morning ceremony.

Lee talked about how he excelled as an adult student when he could not have as a young adult. He said that while he matured through work, “he was stuck in my career path because of a lack of a college degree.”

Lee said that returning to school not only developed his business acumen, but also gave him confidence and improved him as a person.

ethanbrewer_gradwebBrewer talked to the group about how his need for a degree became more apparent when he opened and began running his own business. He realized he needed tools to be able manage and lead his employees.

“The change in me is subtle, but even I can’t deny the boost in my own sense of self-esteem. My business is running more smoothly, and I have more confidence to meet the challenges that come my way, like speaking to you all here today.”

In the afternoon ceremony, Carolyn Tallman of Limestone, who received her master’s of arts in education, spoke about her decision to return to school despite being well into her career as an educator.

“The thoughts that plagued me were what if some family crisis occurs, and I can’t finish. I took the plunge, and I faced some my worst fears,” said Tallman. “My family dealt with several family crises. I struggled with emotions that I have never had to deal with before. What I feared the most had happened, but what I did not expect was that the masters program would be what pulled me through. The battles I faced were long-term, and knowing that I had class every Tuesday night and had homework before then kept me focused and moving forward.”

tallman_gradwebTony Fairbanks of Oak Ridge, who received a bachelor’s of arts in education, encouraged his peers to be more than teachers in the classroom, to be a mentor “all day, every day.”  In addition, he encouraged continued unity as he had found in the Tusculum College program. “As educators, we need to rely on one another.”

Zach Smith of Granville, Ohio, was selected to speak as the representative of the Tusculum College residential college.  He spoke to his peers about their shared experiences on campus and set out a challenge to them to do more and be more as is expected of a Tusculum graduate.

“I want to take this opportunity to implore you invest in the lives of others,” said Smith. “Wherever you may end up in the next few years, there will be high schools, middle schools and elementary schools teeming with children who need our help and teachers who want them to take that help. Tutor, mentor, inspire. Become the influence for another young life like the ones we have had on ours. Perpetuate the investment in others.”

fairbanks_gradwebAlso speaking was Mr. Mark Stokes, director of religious life, church and community relations at Tusculum College. Stokes presented a sermon titled, “Trail Mix.” Stokes said that while trail mix is nourishment that strengthens the body, we also need nourishment for the soul and that comes from God.

“Time with God is soul food. God provides our spiritual nourishment.”

He added that that nourishment can come from any time with God, through worship, prayer life, study of the Word or through creating a strategy for quiet time and reflection.


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Future of the church worldwide and mainline Protestants role to be explored in 2011 Theologian-in-Residence lecture series

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

The future of the church worldwide and how mainline denominations in the United States can be faithful and creative during a time of change will be explored in the 2011 Theologian-in-Residence lecture series in February at Tusculum College.

Rev. Gradye Parsons, current stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian (U.S.A.), and the Rev. Dr. Clifton Kirkpatrick, his predecessor as stated clerk, will lead the annual lecture series, co-sponsored by the Holston Presbytery and Tusculum College.

parsons_theologianThis year’s series will take place on February 1, 8 and 15 in the Chalmers Conference Center of the Niswonger Commons on the Tusculum campus. Dr. Kirkpatrick will lead the first two sessions with the concluding session led by Rev. Parsons.

A native of Tennessee, Rev. Parsons joined the Office of the General Assembly in 2000. Previously, he served congregations in Newport and Bristol for 15 years before becoming the executive presbyter and stated clerk of Holston Presbytery in 1994. He was elected stated clerk in 2008.

Rev. Parsons graduated from the University of Tennessee and received his Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He did post-graduate work at Columbia Theological Seminary, with Edwin Friedman and with the Alban Institute. He was ordained in 1979 by Holston Presbytery.

Dr. Kirkpatrick is a visiting professor for ecumenical studies and global ministries at Louisville Seminary. He is one of the major leaders in the global ecumenical movement having just completed a six-year term as president of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC) – now the World Communion of Reformed Churches.

kirpatrick_theologianAn ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he served from 1996-2008 as Stated Clerk of the General Assembly. His service as stated clerk was preceded by 15 years of service as the director of the Worldwide Ministries Division of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

On Feb. 1, Dr. Kirkpatrick’s topic will be “The Changing Center of Gravity of Christianity from the Global North to the Global South.” Explored in this session will be the transformation of Christianity over its 2,000 year history as its cultural home has moved form the Middle East to the Hellenistic world to Europe and the Americas and now to Africa and other parts of the “global south.” The implications for Americans to be faithful as the “minority” expression of the Christian faith and how to maintain vital partnership with the new “majority” in Africa and Latin America will also be explored.

Dr. Kirkpatrick’s topic for Feb. 8 will be “The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Other Mainline Churches in North America in the 21st Century.”  To be explored will be the dramatic changes that have happened in the religious landscape in North America in the last fifty years and the impact of those on the ministry of mainline churches (with a special focus on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The series will conclude on Feb. 15 with Rev. Parsons’ session, “Trends Beyond the Mainline Protestants.” Drawing on insights from Phyllis Tickle, Brian McLaren and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, the future for church experience will be considered. There are no concrete answers to where the church is going but there is the adventure of walking by faith into the future.

Each session will begin at 10 a.m. and conclude at about 1:30 p.m. Lunch is included. There is no admission fee to the sessions but reservations are required.

To make reservations or for more information about the series, please contact Eugenia Estes in the Office of Church Relations at 423-636-7304 or e-mail her at

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Two professors published in national journals

Posted on 26 January 2011 by

Two Tusculum professors, Dr. Antonio Bos and Dr. Michelle Freeman, have work featured in national publications.

Dr. Bos’ research involving the effects of a low-fat diet in prevention of breast and ovarian cancer is included in this month’s Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Dr. Freeman’s article documents her experiences with “Teaching Circles” at Tusculum and their effects on professors’ classroom instruction.

Bos’ research

Research by Bos indicating that using a low-fat diet could be more cost effective in preventing breast cancer and ovarian cancer compared to what health insurance companies would otherwise pay to treat the diseases, is published in the January 2011 issue of the  “Journal of the American Dietetic Association.”

antoniobosThe research paper, titled “Cost-effectiveness Analysis of a Low-fat Diet in the Prevention of Breast and Ovarian Cancer” is authored by Dr. Bos, professor of business administration at Tusculum College.

“This is my most important scholarly work of date,” said Bos. “It has taken a substantial time commitment over the last few years. Needless to say, I am very pleased to have it published in such a prestigious journal, and I am appreciative of the support I received from Tusculum College during this project.”

Bos was the lead author of the research paper, along with co-authors Dr. Barbara Howard of Georgetown University; Dr. Shirley Beresford of the University of Washington; Dr. Nicole Urban of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Dr. Lesley Tinker, also from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; Dr. Hugh Waters of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Dr. Angelo Bós, from the Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, and R. Rowan Chlebowski, from the Harbor/University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center.

The researchers assessed how cost effective the Women’s Health Initiative Randomized Controlled Dietary Modification Trial (WHI-DM) would be if implemented as a public health intervention and under the sponsorship of private health insurers and Medicare.

According to the paper, breast and ovarian cancers were the health outcomes of interest. Two groups of WHI-DM participants formed the target population for this analysis: (1) participants with more than 36.8 percent of energy from fat at baseline and (2) participants at high risk for breast cancer with 32 percent or more of energy from fat at baseline.

The Journal of the American Dietetic Association is the premier source for the practice and science of food, nutrition and dietetics. The monthly, peer-reviewed journal presents original articles prepared by scholars and practitioners and is the most widely read professional publication in the field. The Journal has been ranked 16th in Impact Factor in the Nutrition and Dietetics category of the Journal Citation Reports 2010, published by Thomson Reuters, with an impact factor of 3.128. The impact factor is a measure of the frequency with which the “average article” has been cited in a particular period.

Freeman’s article

Dr. Freeman, associate professor of business administration,  was recently notified that she will be published in the February edition of “The Teaching Professor.”

michellefreemanThe article, “Teaching Circles: A Low-Cost, High-Benefit Way to Engage Faculty,” will be the second article that Freeman has had  published in the journal.

The article details Freeman’s work over the past three years directing The Teaching and Learning Initiative at Tusculum College. The program has become more commonly known as Teaching Circles.

Freeman, who directs the program, works with four to six faculty members at the beginning of each academic year to select topics and relevant reading materials for groups that will be available to all faculty to become a part of for the year.

“The goal of these circles is enjoyable scholarly exchange between peers,” wrote Freeman. “Sometimes the focus is on pedagogy; other times it is a topic simply for knowledge expansion.”

The costs of implementing such a program are minimal, according to Freeman, who reports that the main investments are associated with books and materials, as well as a closing banquet and one dinner per group.

According to Freeman, the initiative has generated a number of benefits, including providing in-house faculty development, serving as a community builder across disciplines and serving as a way to ease new faculty into the college community.

In addition, the program has assisted other college programs, including the college’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which is a campus wide effort to implement the skills of critical thinking with reflective judgment into a cross section of campus curriculum, as well was in other key areas of the college. The program also provides peer incentives among professors to continue to improve.

“As faculty members learn together, they are challenged to make changes in their classrooms. Faculty participation in these circles offers evidence of ongoing interest in scholarship,” said Freeman.

“The Teaching Professor” is a targeted professional publication that focuses on educational teaching methods.

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