Archive | August, 2015

Make plans to attend Homecoming 2015, Oct. 9-10

Make plans to attend Homecoming 2015, Oct. 9-10

Posted on 31 August 2015 by

Homecoming 2015 is coming very soon, and  many exciting events planned. A schedule for Homecoming weekend is below.

Register online today and be sure to let us  know where you are staying!

Thursday, October 8

All Day – Alumni Care Package Deliveries – Bring a goody basket or snacks to deliver to the current student(s) living in your old dorm room or apartment.  Call the Office of Alumni Relations at 423-636-7303 for details prior to October 2.

Hotel Crawl – College staff will be stopping by the local hotels to welcome alumni back to Greeneville.

  • Noon – General Morgan Inn
  • 12:30 – Days Inn
  • 1:00 – Econo Lodge
  • 1:30 – Hampton Inn
  • 2:00 – Quality Inn
  • 2:30 – Knight’s Inn (formerly  Charray Inn)

*Be sure to let us know where you are staying.

6:00 pm – 1960’s Alumni Party – Hosted by Ann ‘Butch’ Van Buskirk ’61 at her home.  For address and directions, please contact the Alumni Office at 423-636-7303.

Friday, October 9

8 am – 4 pm – Registration – Living Room of Niswonger Commons

9:00 am – 4:30 pm – Memory Lane  – Living Room of Niswonger CommonsTake a walk down memory lane as the staff of the Museums of Tusculum display outfits, slide shows, pictures from TC’s past, yearbooks and newspapers.

10 am – Bright’s Zoo – $30 – Located in Limestone, TN, Bright’s Zoo is home to many rare species.  Transportation will be provided.  To learn more, visit   A boxed lunch will be provided.

11:30 am  – Lunch with students – $10 – Enjoy lunch with students on the terrace of the Thomas J. Garland Library.  Reservations required.

1 pm – Campus Tours – Revisit and Rediscover.  The tour will showcase our growing and changing campus, and offer you the chance to experience Tusculum with the President’s Society, a group of elite residential college students.  Tours will depart from Garland Library lobby.

1 pm – Golf Tournament – $50 – Enjoy some friendly competition on the Link Hills Golf Course.  Scramble format will be used with handicap system for a net division and gross division.  Registration is at noon pm with shotgun start at 1 pm.  Alumni, spouses, faculty, staff and friends are invited to participate.  Dinner will be provided for participants in the golf tournament as well as those who may want to join them following the tournament.  The cost for dinner will be $20 for those not participating in the tournament.  Reservations are required.

2 pm – Keeping your Keepsakes – no charge – Will take place in the Perk.  Fun make and take workshop.  Learn to care for family photographs, documents, and old books like family Bibles. Participants will take home an archival acid-free box for safe storage of family keepsakes.

6 pm – Dinner at Link Hills – $20 – Join us for a buffet dinner.  Reservations are required.

Evening – Individual Class Gatherings

8:30 pm – Bonfire – Enjoy the annual Homecoming Bonfire with current students.

Saturday, October 10

8 am – 10 am – Registration – Living Room of Niswonger Commons

8 am – Memorial Service – Garland Library Lobby – Join us in remembering alumni who have passed away since Homecoming 2014.

8:30 am – Alumni Breakfast – $15 –Chalmers Conference Center – Come enjoy breakfast with alumni and friends.

9:00 am –Sports Hall of Fame Induction – no charge – Chalmers – Come celebrate the newest sports hall of fame award honorees.

10 am – Alumni Awards and Alumni Meeting – Old Gym –no charge Celebrate the newest alumni, learn the latest about the alumni association, and hear an update on the College.

11 am – Class Photos – $10 – In front of Niswonger Commons

11 am – Student Support Services Luncheon – $3 – Alumni who were in the Student Support Services program or ARCHES are invited to a cookout and other festivities at the Patton House.

Noon – Homecoming Parade – Watch the 12th Annual Homecoming Parade along the route between the Charles Oliver Gray Complex and Pioneer Park.  The Golden Pioneers will serve as Grand Marshals.

12:30 pm – Tailgate – $10 – Enjoy a Tusculum College Pioneer Tailgate Party.

2:30 – Tusculum Pioneer Football vs. Wingate – Cheer on the Pioneers as they take on Wingate at Pioneer Field.  Tickets can be purchased at the ticket booth preceding the game.

6 pm – Alumni and Friends Social Hour – General Morgan Inn

7 pm – Alumni and Friends Dinner – General Morgan Inn – $40 – Join us at the General Morgan Inn for dinner.  A cash bar will be available throughout the evening.

8 pm – Alumni and Friends Music and Fellowship – $10 (no dinner) DJ Donnie Bunch will provide music.

Sunday, October 11

Attend the church of your choice.  First Presbyterian Church of Greeneville (110 N. Main Street) is the mother church of the College.  Early service at 8:30 am, Sunday School at 9:30 am, the traditional service at 10:45 am.  Learn more at

1 pm – Tusculum Women’s Soccer hosts Coker at Pioneer Field.

4 pm – Tusculum Men’s Soccer hosts Coker at  Pioneer Field.

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Pioneer Club football tailgates scheduled

Pioneer Club football tailgates scheduled

Posted on 31 August 2015 by

The Pioneer Club, which provides scholarships for scholarships for student-athletes and program support for Pioneer Athletics, has announced its football tailgate schedule for each of the home games during the 2015 season. For more information about the Pioneer Club, contact Blake Cantrell in the Office of Institutional Advancement at 423.636.7303 or

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2015 Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame class announced

2015 Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame class announced

Posted on 31 August 2015 by

The 2015 Tusculum College Sports Hall of Fame class has been announced and three new members will be inducted during Homecoming 2015.  This year’s inductee class includes two-time All-American and Academic All-America® tight end Dr. Jarrell NeSmith, 2008 All-American quarterback Corey Russell and Tusculum baseball’s all-time hits leader Josh Wolff.

The induction ceremonies will take place Saturday, October 10, during the College’s Homecoming festivities.  The ceremony is part of the alumni breakfast, which will be held at the Chalmers Conference Center in the Niswonger Student Commons on the Greeneville campus.

The 2015 induction class will also be honored prior to the homecoming football game against Wingate University.


Dr. Jarrell NeSmith ’09

Jarrell NeSmith

NeSmith becomes the first football tight end to be selected for induction to the Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame and is one of the most decorated student-athletes for his accomplishments on the field and in the classroom in the College’s history.

On the field, NeSmith was a two-time All-South Atlantic Conference (SAC) first team selection, where he amassed 1,670 career receiving yards, which are the ninth-most in school history and the most ever by a Tusculum tight end.  His 158 career receptions are eighth in the Pioneer record books, while his 12 career touchdown catches are tied for 10th.  Both are school records by a Tusculum tight end.

In 2009, he led the league in receiving yards per game, averaging 67.8 yards per contest. He posted 56 catches for 678 yards (fifth in Tusculum history) and three touchdowns. His 5.6 catches per game average tied for 43rd in the nation. He was named to the Daktronics NCAA Division II All-Super Region 2 first team for a second straight year and was selected to the Associated Press Little All-America Team.  He was also selected to participate at the 2010 Valero Cactus Bowl, the NCAA Division II All-Star Game in Kingsville, Texas.

The Russellville, Alabama native was a consensus All-America choice in 2008 by Daktronics, and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette as he posted 67 receptions for 635 yards and seven touchdowns as Pioneers finished the season with a 9-4 record to capture the program’s second SAC football title, while advancing to the NCAA II Playoffs for the first time in school history.

NeSmith is a two-time Academic All-America® selection, including 2010 where he was a first team choice.

NeSmith was named the South Atlantic Conference Scholar Athlete for Football on three occasions, becoming the first three-time recipient of the award in conference history.

NeSmith is also a two-time recipient of the SAC Presidents Award earning the honor in 2008-2009 and again in 2009-2010, becoming the football player in the history of the award to earn the conference’s most prestigious honor twice. He was also a two-time Southeast Region representative for the Division II Conference Commissioner’s Scholar Athlete Award and was a national semifinalist for the 2009 American Football Coaches Association’s Good Works Team.

In 2009, he was named to the National Football Foundation Scholar Athlete Team and was one of only 16 national finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, one of college football’s most sought after and competitive awards, recognizing an individual as the absolute best in the country for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary community leadership. NeSmith was the only NCAA Division II player amongst the honorees that included Campbell Trophy winner Tim Tebow of Florida and fellow Heisman Trophy candidate Colt McCoy of Texas.

NeSmith graduated from Tusculum in 2009 as a pre-medicine major with a 3.87 cumulative grade point average.  He was a member of the Tusculum President’s List, Dean’s List, Charles Oliver Gray List, South Atlantic Conference Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the College’s Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

After graduating from Tusculum, he moved onto medical school and graduated from Lincoln Memorial University’s DeBusk College of Medicine in 2014 with a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine.  Dr. NeSmith is serving as a resident physician at the Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in Spartanburg, S.C.

He is married to Dr. Brittany Bible NeSmith, a 2010 Tusculum College graduate.


Corey Russell ’09

Corey Russell

From 2005-2008, Russell accounted for one of the best playing careers ever by a Tusculum quarterback.  He led Tusculum to three straight winning seasons as a starter, including the 2008 campaign as the Pioneers captured the South Atlantic Conference Championship, while making their first-ever trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs.

During his career, he guided Tusculum to 22 victories as the starting signal-caller, including a 21-14 record in his final three seasons combined.  His 11,315 career total offensive yards are the second-most in school history, third in the conference record book and 27th in NCAA II history.  He passed for 9,887 yards (second in Pioneer  history/fourth in SAC history), while also rushing for 1,428 yards, the fifth-most in program history and the most by a Tusculum quarterback.  Russell accounted for 103 career touchdowns (82 passing, 21 rushing), the second-most in Tusculum history and the third-most in SAC history.

The Speedwell, Tennessee native smashed the school record books in 2008 with the finest season ever posted by a Pioneer signal caller as he led Tusculum to a 9-4 record, a SAC title, advanced to the second round of the NCAA II Playoffs and ended the year with a No. 16 national ranking.

He was named to three All-America teams – Daktronics (second team),, and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette (third team) becoming the first Pioneer quarterback to garner All-Region or All-America honors. He was a national finalist for the Harlon Hill Trophy, which recognizes the Division II National Player of the Year as he finished sixth in the national voting.

The 2008 South Atlantic Conference Offensive Player of the Year and Daktronics Region Player of the Year peppered his name throughout the Tusculum, SAC and NCAA II record books. Russell established 15 Tusculum records in 2008, including a pair of NCAA Division II bests. He recorded 300 or more total offensive yards on 11 occasions, which were the best in DII history. He recorded 674 total offensive plays for a new NCAA II record. The All-SAC first team selection established league single-season records in total offensive yards (4,907), passing yards (4,097) and touchdown passes (37). He also set Tusculum season records for completions (301) and pass attempts (505).

Russell was selected to play in the 2009 Valero Cactus Bowl, the NCAA II Senior All-Star game, which was held in Kingsville, Texas. In that game, he rushed and passed for a touchdown as he accounted for over 170 total offensive yards, splitting time at quarterback for the East squad.

For his efforts he was named the South Atlantic Conference Male Athlete of the Year and the Tusculum Male Athlete of the Year for the 2008-2009 academic term.

Russell graduated from Tusculum in 2009 and later earned his post-baccalaureate teacher certification from Lincoln Memorial University.  He currently teaches world history at his prep alma mater Cumberland Gap High School where he is also the head football coach.

He and his wife Paige Johnson, who is a medical laboratory scientist – microbiology at Parkwest Medical Center, reside in Speedwell.


Josh Wolff ’06

Josh Wolff

Wolff amassed one of the finest hitting careers ever by a Tusculum baseball player.

The Louisville, Kentucky product still owns 11 school records and is ranked in the top 10 of 19 statistical categories.  During his career he led the Pioneers to a 151-76-1 record (.664), which included two South Atlantic Conference championships in 2005 and 2006, two trips to the NCAA Division II Tournament (2003, 2005) and the 2005 SAC Tournament crown.

Wolff currently holds school career records for hits (262), at-bats (782), runs scored (180), games played (211), games started (205) and stolen bases (51).   He is also second all-time in career total bases (368) and career hit by pitch (29), and third in career triples (14).  For his career, he boasted a .335 batting average with 114 RBI and a .399 on-base percentage.

He recorded 20 doubles each in back-to-back campaigns in 2005 and 2006 which are tied for the fourth-most in a Tusculum single-season.

In 2003, he batted .324 as a freshman in his 54 contests (52 starts) in the outfield.  He recorded 56 hits with eight doubles two triples, four home runs and 35 RBI, while establishing a Tusculum single-season record when he was hit by a pitch 18 times.  The Pioneers posted a 34-21 record and advanced to the championship game of the SAC Tournament.  Tusculum’s strong postseason showing earned it an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament in Lakeland, Florida, where the Pioneers finished third in the regional.

The 2004 campaign saw Wolff’s batting average slip to .291 in his 53 contests, as he led the team in triples (5) and went 19-for-19 in his stolen base attempts.  His 19 stolen bases are tied for the eighth most in Tusculum history.

Wolff and the Pioneers bounced back in 2005 with one of the best seasons in Tusculum baseball history.  The Pioneers rattled off a 44-17 record to capture the program’s first SAC baseball title.  He garnered All-SAC second team accolades while also being named the SAC Baseball Scholar Athlete of the Year.  Wolff batted a robust .362 with 71 hits, including 20 doubles (37th in NCAA II), three triples, one home run and 29 RBI.

Tusculum, who served as the host venue for the 2005 SAC Tournament, was upset in its opening game.  But the Pioneers rebounded by winning six straight elimination games, including a doubleheader against rival Carson-Newman in the championship to become the first team in league history to win the SAC Tournament title after losing its opening game.  The Pioneers earned the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and finished third once again at the South Regional in Lakeland, Florida.  The Pioneers ended the year with a No. 13 national ranking.

In 2006, Wolff and the Pioneers posted a second straight 40-win campaign as Tusculum went 40-14-1 and captured the SAC regular-season title for a second straight year.  Wolff earned a spot on the SAC All-Tournament Team as Tusculum went 1-2 in the conference postseason.  On the year, Wolff batted .357 with 80 hits, including 20 doubles, four triples, three home runs and 31 RBI as the Pioneers ended the season ranked 26th in NCAA II.

Wolff graduated from Tusculum in 2006 with a degree in history education.  He was a member of the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and the Tusculum Athletic Director’s Honor Roll.

Wolff is on faculty and serves as the head baseball coach at his prep alma mater at Butler Traditional High School in Louisville.  Previously, he also served as the head baseball coach at DuPont Manuel High School in Louisville.

He is married to the former Meghan Williams and they are the parents of one son, Easton.


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Support Tusculum through Amazon Smile

Support Tusculum through Amazon Smile

Posted on 31 August 2015 by

You can now support Tusculum College by shopping online at

Do you shop on Amazon? Support Tusculum College through Amazon Smile and a donation will be made to Tusculum College at no cost to you. Use your normal Amazon user ID and password. Make sure that Tusculum College appears at the top of your Amazon screen under ‘Supporting Charity.’

When you shop at AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.5% of the purchase price to Tusculum College. Bookmark the link and support the College every time you shop.


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Learn the latest happenings with your fellow alumni

Learn the latest happenings with your fellow alumni

Posted on 31 August 2015 by








John C. Pavlik ’74 recently retired from New Jersey state and local government where he served in administrative and financial positions. John earned a master’s degree in administration in 2001. He was recognized in 1997 by then New Jersey Governor Christine Whitman as well as the state’s Senate and General Assembly for being the first mayor in 50 years to merge two municipalities. He and his wife, Martha, are now living in Virginia on the eastern shore and enjoying the Chesapeake Bay. John writes he often reflects on his days on campus – Dean Hurley, Luther Lawson (economics) and good friends.



Ron Scalf ’92 has been named the member services director for the Savannah, GA, Tourism Leadership Council. He also just released his latest book, “Bristol Motor Speedway, Racin’ The Way It Was,” which is available on and at Barnes & Noble.


Ginger Morelock Frembling ’97 of Archdale, is the 4-H agent at Davidson County Cooperative Extension. Ginger’s husband Jeff is serving in the U.S. Army in logistics and is stationed at Fort Bragg. The couple have a two-year-old son, Willis. After earning a degree in museum studies at Tusculum, she earned a master’s degree in folk studies from Western Kentucky University.



Joy Frazier Herman ’03 purchased Interstate Graphics of Morristown, Inc., in May 2015. She was previously employed at Morrison Printing of Morristown and Courier Printing in Smyrna, TN. She joined with Interstate in 2012 and has become the company’s owner.



Kimberly McCuiston ’10 has joined the faculty of Francis Marion University as an assistant professor of education. She has a Ph.D. in education/literary studies from the University of Tennessee, an M.A. in curriculum and instruction from Tusculum College, a B.A. in English from Maryville College and an A.A. in elementary education from Pellissippi State Community College.


Melissa Batson ’14 of Greeneville, TN, has accepted the position of chief human resources officer for the Greeneville City School System. Melissa previously served as director of human resources for Signature HealthCARE of Greeneville. She began working in education in 2001 and served 14 years with the Greene County School System working with personnel, purchasing, certified payroll/human resources and in secretarial duties for the board of education. Melissa is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management.







Jalen-Ryan Shuffler ’15 and Jenna Ruth Shaw were married on July 18 on Runion Farm in Limestone. Groomsmen included Taylor Foster ’14 and Tusculum student Nick Rodriquez. Following a wedding trip to Kiawah Island, S.C., the couple is living is living in Nashville. Jalen is employed by True Green of Nashville and she is a student at Belmont University.





Sarah (Chait) and John Clarke ’12 ’12 welcomed a baby girl, Anne Haines Clarke, on December 19, 2014.






Katejean “Kay” Allerton Borneman ’42 of Bend, OR, passed away March 12, 2015. Mrs. Bornerman earned a nursing degree from Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City after graduating from Tusculum. She served in the U.S. Army Nurse Corp during World War II, and met her late husband, Don, while he was serving in the Merchant Marines during the latter part of the war. After the war, the couple moved to Oregon, where he eventually became a partner in a local grocery business. The couple loved to travel and had the opportunity to visit places around the globe including Antarctica, the Arctic, Africa and China.




Rev. Kenneth Verran ’52 of Greeneville, TN, passed away August 10, 2015. Rev. Verran was a retired U.S. Air Force chaplain and paratrooper, serving with the 11th A/B Division, U.S. Army, and in the 278th National Guard. He was also a retired United Methodist minister and educator, having served in the Greene County School System and as an adjunct professor for his Alma Mater. He had served as minister of New Ebenezer Presbyterian Church for the past 14 years. In addition to his degree from Tusculum, Rev. Verran also earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees of divinity from Emory University, a master’s degree from East Tennessee State University and a doctorate from Greenwich University of Oxford in England. Survivors include his wife and Tusculum alumna Louise Mays Verran ’87.



Betty L. Calhoun Phaler ’72 of Blackwood, NJ, passed away on June 13, 2015. Mrs. Phaler was retired substitute teacher and school bus driver.




Dr. James T. “Jim” Davis of Kingsport, TN, passed away July 27, 2015. Dr. Davis was a professor at Tusculum in the 1990s, teaching primarily education and history courses. In addition to Tusculum, Dr. Davis taught at East Tennessee State University and in Virginia. He also served as an editor for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.



Louis DeBusk

The Tusculum College community suffered a tremendous loss August 6, 2015, with the passing of long-time volunteer assistant football coach Louis DeBusk. DeBusk, one of the most beloved members of the Tusculum athletic family, passed away in Bristol, TN, following a lengthy illness.

DeBusk, affectionately known by many as “Big Coach”, served the Tusculum football program for the last 17 years, assisting the Pioneers in a variety of roles.  Over the years, DeBusk has mentored and been a part of the lives of 627 different football players during his time with the Pioneers. He coordinated game-day preparations for the Pioneers, especially when Tusculum was on the road. He was responsible for transporting the vast amount of equipment needed on game day. He was usually the first to the game site and the last to leave. DeBusk was also responsible for leading the Pioneers onto the field before each home football game, toting the Tusculum flag from the back of his beloved golf cart, a tradition which has taken place for the last 17 seasons.
DeBusk’s eldest son, Frankie, is beginning his 18th season as head football coach and his ninth as athletic director at Tusculum. His younger son Doug ’95 is a member of the Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame following a stellar basketball career with the Pioneers in the 1990s. The coach, staff and players of the Pioneer football team have dedicated this season to the memory of “Big Coach.”

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Community Chorus to begin practice Monday, Sept. 14

Posted on 25 August 2015 by

Practice will begin Monday, Sept. 14, for the Tusculum College Community Chorus.

New members from the community as well as Tusculum students are invited to join the Community Chorus. No audition is required to join the chorus.

Chorus practice will begin at 7 p.m. in the choir room on the lower level (side entrance) of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building on the Tusculum College campus.

The chorus will be practicing material for the Chorus’ annual Christmas concert, which will be on Monday, Dec. 7.

For more information, please contact chorus director Kathy May at or

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President’s Society members partner with two local agencies to help family

Posted on 24 August 2015 by

Members of the President's Society work to repair a handicapped ramp at the home.

On a recent hot August day, students from the Tusculum College President’s Society partnered with Greene County Habitat for Humanity and the Area Agency for Aging and Disabled to help a local elderly couple, the Hensleys, with a few tasks outside their home.

“The Tusculum students from the President’s Society were enthusiastic and very willing to lend a helping hand,” said Vicki Culbertson, executive director of Greene County Habitat for Humanity. “They rallied together working as a team helping with yard clean up, cleaning out flower beds, creating a play area under a large 30-year-old tree for the Hensley’s grandchildren and helping repair part of a handicap accessible ramp. It appeared they all had a good time, and we so appreciate their interest in helping people in our community.”

“I am sure the Hensley’s were very appreciative in having the help, and they enjoyed the company.  Hopefully this was a good learning experience for the students to work with our ‘Habitat Hearts’ program.”

The President’s Society is a small group of selected students that represent the college as a whole to alumni, board members and any other official event Tusculum College hosts. The members help with guide tours to all families that come to visit Tusculum. They also help with other dinners and events on campus including Homecoming, graduation and Arts Outreach plays and other performances.

To be considered for membership in the President’s Society, students must be nominated by faculty or staff members. Nominated students complete a two tier interview process before selections are made. Students’ grade point averages GPA in addition to their interview skills play a role in their selection. Members attend a retreat that includes classes and a service project, which this year was through Habitat for Humanity. Once they are selected they have to attend a retreat that includes classes and a service project.

The President’s Society chose this year to work with Greene County Habitat for Humanity, which is a Christian housing ministry that brings people together from all walks of life to help families with special needs. Habitat chapters across the country build decent, affordable houses that carry a 0 percent, 20-year mortgage turning “hope into a home.”

Members of Tusculum College’s President’s Society work to make yard improvements for a local elderly couple in partnership with Greene County Habitat for Humanity and the Area Agency for Aging and Disabled.

The Greene County Habitat Chapter also provides a minor exterior repair program to families who  need to replace rotting porches, steps, decks, railing and siding or assistance with yard cleanup and handicap accessible ramps. The Habitat ReStore takes donations and the sales help fund Habitat’s mission in Greene and Greene County.

“It was a pleasure working with the President’s Society,” Culbertson said. “These students represent their college well and we wish them great success in their studies and careers.  We would also like to thank Heather Blanton, the President’s Society program advisor, for contacting us to work on a project together and to thank Angela Roberts with the Area Agency for Aging and Disability for working with us to help find a family that could use a helping hand.”

“We have worked with this agency for several years now,” Culbertson said. “Its mission is to aid older citizens of Greeneville and Greene County in remaining in their own homes as they age.  The agency supports seniors in our community with daily, nutritious meals, through the Meals on Wheels program, and arranges personal care and homemaking assistance to those who are no longer able to do these things for themselves. Our team efforts plus volunteers giving their time and talents from our community have given us opportunities to help many families in need.”

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Tusculum student to speak at the United Nations summit

Posted on 24 August 2015 by

Michael Fernando

Tusculum College student Michael Fernando, a senior accounting, general management and economics and international business major from Sri Lanka, has been invited to speak at the 12th annual Youth for Human Rights International (YHRI) summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

He will speak on the topics of freedom, post-war Sri Lanka and youth involvement.

“The purpose of YHRI is to teach youth about human rights, specifically the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and inspire them to become advocates for tolerance and peace,” said Dr. Mary Shuttleworth, founder of YHRI.

YHRI is a global movement that includes hundreds of groups, clubs and chapters across the globe. The organization teaches human rights education in traditional and nontraditional educational settings.

“We are honored to have YHRI Youth Ambassador Michael Rukshan Fernando participate in our 12th International Human Rights Summit that will be held at the United Nation,” said Dr. Shuttleworth. “Michael will participate at the United Nations on both August 27 and 28 in his official capacity as YHRI Youth Ambassador.”

He will be sponsored by Bruce Ferguson, founder and executive director of Ferguson Humanitarian Foundation International, Inc., who is also co-sponsoring the summit.

Fernando began his journey with YHRI in 2009, when he reached out to the nonprofit organization. He was invited to the 2009 YHRI summit in Geneva, Switzerland, where he delivered a speech that received a standing ovation.

Dr. Shuttleworth said, “Michael touched the hearts and minds of young and old during our summit in 2009 with his closing remarks: ‘All my life I have been waiting for an opportunity to inspire the world. I have been searching for a platform on which I can be heard. I believe that this summit serves my purpose, and I am determined to be that beacon of hope. There will be no more suffering. I will bring hope to the hopeless. But above all, I will take the message of love, peace and unity to the world.’”

Following the 2009 summit, Fernando was offered the position of undersecretary general for the Sri Lankan Model United Nations.

Fernando said, “Through that delegation, we brought about a simulation of the United Nations, where youth all across the country and South Asia could attend. We saw about 2,000 delegate participants from India, Pakistan, Malaysia and some from the Middle East as well.”

Later, he served as secretary general, when he and other Sri Lankan delegates started an organization called the One World Volunteers.

“One World Volunteers streamlines the development of a national youth-volunteer network of more than 2,000 high school students in Sri Lanka to help them find volunteer opportunities,” said Fernando. “Sri Lanka did not previously have this.”

At the 2015 summit, Fernando will deliver a speech about what he has accomplished and contributed to the human rights cause since his 2009 speech. He will also be speaking about the concept of freedom having to be free, post-war Sri Lanka and what youth have accomplished since 2009.

“Speaking at the United Nations is a tremendous honor,” said Dr. Nancy B. Moody, president of Tusculum College. “Michael is accomplished in many ways and a shining star at Tusculum. We are proud of him and know he will represent us well.

“Michael has a clear path set ahead of him and has taken every measure to give him the best opportunity to be a successful businessman after graduation. His leadership on campus has benefited the student body, the administration and the college community. He is successful now and will be far into the future.”

Majoring in accounting, general management and economics and international business, Fernando is a recipient of Charles Oliver Gray, Nellie Caldwell and Clements-Mays scholarships. He is also pursuing college honors and business departmental honors.

At Tusculum College, he is the president of the Student Government Association, the Business Club, the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature and the Study Abroad and Global Awareness club. Additionally, he is chairperson of the Student Philanthropy Council, director of Student Entrepreneurship at the college’s Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship, a member of the Alpha Chi National Honor Society, a recipient of the 2015 Honors Olympian Award, a residential assistant and a tutor.

“In high school, I was involved with anything and everything but my education, but that all changed when I was offered an opportunity through Tusculum College. I used it as a clean slate. Ever since my first class, it’s been nothing but As,” said Fernando. “I like to take every opportunity that comes to me and continue to perform to the best of my ability so I can prove myself to those who took a chance on me.”

He added, “I am very thankful to the college and its donors for supporting me and everything so far, and in my journey to New York.”


By Stephanie Turner, senior journalism and professional writing major from Shelbyville

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Tusculum College wins fundraising award

Posted on 21 August 2015 by

Tusculum College has been recognized with the 2015 Educational Fundraising Award in the category of Overall Improvement in United States educational fundraising programs by The Council of Advancement and Support for Education (CASE).

Educational institutions that have completed the Council to Aid Education’s annual Voluntary Support of Education survey for past three years are automatically eligible for the consideration. The winners are recognized for overall performance, overall improvement or both.

Of the 571 eligible institutions this year, 42 won an award for overall performance in fundraising, 39 for overall improvement and nine for both categories.

“This is an incredible honor,” said Heather Patchett, the vice president for institutional advancement. “We work hard to engage our students, alumni, community and friends, and more than anything else, this recognition reflects their generosity.”

Founded in 1974, CASE serves educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf by helping its members raise funds, build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors and foster public support of education. According to its website, CASE includes a network of more than 3,600 colleges and universities, primary and secondary independent and international schools and nonprofit organizations.

Last October, Tusculum College launched its capital campaign, Tusculum First. Designed to improve and expand Tusculum College and its program for both its internal and external communities, Tusculum First’s goals include a new center for science and math and the growth of academic program, endowed scholarships and student life.

“It is with great pride that I congratulate our staff, alumni, community and friends for this achievement,” said Patchett. “Tusculum College’s continuous growth would not be possible without them.”


By Stephanie Turner, senior journalism and professional writing major from Shelbyville

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Tusculum’s Andrew Starnes named as assistant director of admissions

Posted on 21 August 2015 by

Andrew Starnes has been named assistant director of admissions at Tusculum College. His new duties will include oversight of daily operations of territory management, application reviews, managing the telecounseling program and planning and coordinating admissions staff travel.

Starnes will recruit and market Tusculum College to prospective students through travel, telecounseling and personal counselor communication; attend college fairs/nights and make individual visits to high schools in targeted geographical areas. He will be responsible for arranging and conducting individual interviews with prospective students.

Andrew Starnes

“Andrew has proven himself as a true team player. His desire to see Tusculum as the premier college in the south and his work ethic have made him a natural in this new role. I am very excited to see Andrew accept this new challenge in his career,” said Melissa Ripley, director of operations for admissions.

Starnes joined the college in 2012 and has previously served as admission representative. He is a native of Greeneville and a graduate of the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism/electronic media and a minor in political science.

He previously served as an intern to Congressman Phil Roe.

Starnes said that this is a career progression that he has been working toward. “I’m very excited and it’s a great fit for me. In this role I will be able to contribute more, assist co-workers in their jobs, as well as help future students of Tusculum College.”

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More than 100 attend Interfaith Candlelight Prayer Service at Tusculum College

Posted on 20 August 2015 by

More than 100 people braved the stormy weather to participate in an Interfaith Candlelight Prayer Service held at Tusculum College on Wednesday, Aug. 19.

Each person was asked to light a candle during the service to symbolize the college’s commitment to community, to one another and to efforts to maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

According to Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody, the event was the first of several planned to kick off the Individual Wellness through Community Engagement Initiative. The prayer service was planned as a campus-wide program with the primary purpose of encouraging the Tusculum community—including students, faculty, staff and alumni—to lead and maintain a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

The program included several religious leaders from a variety of faith traditions who spoke and prayed to promote spiritual health among all people.

“Wellness is a lifelong pursuit and often requires peer encouragement,” said Wayne Thomas, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and one of the architects of the new program. “As such, our aim is to indoctrinate its importance and approaches on our campuses through continuous communal activities that reach our entire population and focus on social, physical, intellectual, emotional and/or spiritual health.

“Additionally, we recognize that people succeed better if every aspect of their lives is attended to, thus addressing our students’ wellness and satisfaction significantly improves retention.”

Participating in the program were: Mark Stokes, chaplain of the Presbyterian-affiliated Tusculum College; Rev. Linda Bass, pastor, Christ United Methodist Church; Rabbi Arthur Rutberg, of the B’nai Shalom Congregation in Blountville; Taneem Aziz, president of the Islamic Center in Johnson City; Dr. Nancy Thomas, English professor at Tusculum College and a member of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and Marina Munjal, president of the Appalachian Dharma and Meditation Center in Johnson City.

Each of the participants offered a prayer or blessing and encouraged those present to walk in friendship and unity.

“There is far more that unites us than divides us,” said Rabbi Rutberg.

Rev. Bass offered prayers for guidance, love, protection and grace and the ability for all to use their gifts to change the world.

Aziz told the group that in today’s world, we are “shoulder to shoulder in our uniqueness” and added that everyone, given the opportunity to do good, should do so without qualification or the expectation of receiving anything in return.

Munjal, who is Buddhist, said that she sees her religion as kindness and offered a traditional Buddhist blessing, “The Metta Prayer,” which is a prayer for the well-being and happiness of all beings.

“The spiritual, however it is practiced, is a part of each of us,” said Dr. Moody. “For some, it is how one finds peace, for others it is how they find meaning and purpose in life. Meditation, prayer, study, exercise and fellowship can all be part of our spiritual caretaking and, tonight if you have not already, I hope you will begin your journey to find how to nourish your spiritual self.”


Participants in the Tusculum College Interfaith Candlelight Prayer Service each lit a candle to symbolize the college’s commitment to community.

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Tusculum’s Brad Allen named as military liaison

Posted on 20 August 2015 by

Brad Allen has been selected to act as Tusculum College’s enrollment representative military liaison. His new duties will include the recruitment and marketing of Tusculum College to active duty military, veterans and their dependents.

Allen will serve as a point of contact for all military personnel, coordinating with other departments to provide academic and financial advice for current and prospective students. As a component of the position, he will be responsible for representing Tusculum throughout the region at veteran related events and helping to foster and grow military related groups and community on Tusculum’s campuses throughout the region.

Brad Allen

“Brad is a valuable part of our recruitment team, and we are confident that he will continue to excel at providing service to our veterans, active duty service men and women and their families,” said Lindsey Seal, director of Graduate and Professional Studies enrollment.

Allen is a native of Greeneville, where he attended Greeneville High School. He served as a noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. He received numerous awards and commendations for his service, including being selected as the Atlantic Fleet’s Sailor of the Quarter.

After completion of his service, he attended East Tennessee State University as an honors student, where he double majored in history and English. He went on to complete the Master of Arts program in history at Appalachian State University, and he is currently pursuing his master’s degree in mental health counseling at Lincoln Memorial University.

Allen has been with Tusculum College since 2012, when he began as an admissions representative for the residential college. He transitioned to become an enrollment representative for Tusculum’s Graduate and Professional Studies Knoxville campus in fall of 2014. Allen currently resides in Knoxville.

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