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Tusculum named to Top Military-Friendly School List

Tusculum named to Top Military-Friendly School List

Posted on 21 November 2017 by

For the eighth year in a row, Tusculum has been named to the Military Friendly Schools® list. The 2018 list honors the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and dependents and to ensure their academic success. Schools on the list earn the right to use the Military Friendly School logo.

Schools on the list range from state universities and private colleges to community colleges and trade schools. The common bond is their shared priority of recruiting students with military experience.

“Tusculum strives to help our veterans find the right program and format to best suit them in completing their college degree in both our residential and Graduate and Professional Studies programs,” said Dr. Paul Pinckley, vice president for enrollment management, marketing and financial aid.

He added, “It is a priority of Tusculum to provide access to any veteran who is seeking higher education opportunities and to make that access as simple and affordable as possible. We are pleased with the number of veterans who choose Tusculum because of the personalized program that helps them every step along the path to graduation.”

The Military Friendly Schools list is a key resource in letting veterans know which schools will offer them the greatest opportunity, flexibility and overall experience. Dr. Pinckley added that this is especially important now with so many schools competing for military students.

Tusculum College started participating in the Yellow Ribbon program in August 2009. Under the program, the school matches dollars put in by the Veterans Administration so veterans or their spouse or dependents can work toward their advanced degree, as well as qualify for money to help with housing. There are more than 60 students enrolled in Tusculum degree programs who are eligible to receive the Yellow Ribbon benefits.

“Through the Yellow Ribbon program the college acknowledges the commitment of those who have served our country by providing them with financial support to complete their education,” said Tusculum College President James Hurley. “With the variety of locations, programs, majors, degrees and scheduling options offered at Tusculum, we are uniquely suited to serve those whose educational path was interrupted or who are considering beginning or continuing their higher education.”

The Yellow Ribbon program is applicable towards all Tusculum College degree programs, which include traditional undergraduate programs, as well as the Graduate and Professional Studies programs. Tuition benefits under the program are also available to both full and part-time students.

In addition, Tusculum College has a long standing relationship with the United States Navy through its partnership with the U.S.S. Greeneville submarine. Since its christening, Tusculum College has partnered with the crew members, offering an annual scholarship to crewmen and/or members of their family.

Tusculum College has long offered assistance to veterans returning to higher education, and Veteran Services Director Dale Laney is available to specifically support veterans with their admissions and financial aid questions. For more information on the Yellow Ribbon program or other assistance provided by the college, contact Laney at 423-636-7300.

Criteria for making the Military Friendly Schools list included efforts to recruit and retain military and veteran students, results in recruiting military and veteran students and academic accreditations.


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Regional school administrators, counselors hear about future-focused Tusculum

Regional school administrators, counselors hear about future-focused Tusculum

Posted on 14 November 2017 by

The future-focused plans for Tusculum were presented to regional school administrators and counselors from eight school systems on Thursday, Nov. 9 at Tusculum’s Greeneville campus.

Dr. James Hurley, newly-named 28th president, presented his plans and strategies for growing the institution and increasing enrollment in the next 20 years.

“We appreciate your service in education preparing our future students,” said Dr. Hurley. “I also appreciate this opportunity to share with you my vision for Tusculum and how we can strengthen our partnership with K-12 leaders, like you, to create a brighter future for our region’s students.”

Dr. Hurley joins Tusculum with more than 20 years’ experience in higher education and told the group about his excitement in outlining how this historic institution can continue to pioneer the way forward for education in the region. He told the group that Tusculum now has students representing 35 countries which “enhances the learning experience for all students,” and offers 70 majors and minors, as well as six master’s degree programs.

He told the group that student success will be a number one priority for Tusculum moving forward, and to that end, one of his first actions was to hire Doug Jones as vice president for student success and athletics.

“Mr. Jones has more than 20 years of Tusculum experience and will work tirelessly to ensure student success for all of our students. Student success is a priority for Tusculum as we continue to grow and advance the mission of this great institution,” said Dr. Hurley.

Jones has served as Tusculum’s athletic director since February 2016 and will continue in the role as Tusculum’s head baseball coach, a position he has held since 1998, through the end of this season.

Additionally, Dr.  Hurley said that work is underway on enhancing the dining options at the school and to develop a full-service campus wellness center.

Moving to the future, Dr. Hurley told the group that the Board of Directors had approved making the change from college to university at its last meeting in October.  This is necessary to provide a differentiation from community colleges, which today are robust and well-funded, but decidedly different that a four-year baccalaureate program. Additionally, Tusculum will began organizing itself by undergraduate, graduate and professional programs, several of which Dr. Hurley hopes to add in the next few years.

Priority programs include dental, optometry and physician’s assistant degree programs. In addition, he added that Tusculum will continue to explore the market needs in the area to determine where other degree programs might meet a need.

“We ultimately plan to recruit the best and brightest from our region – and to keep them here,” he said.

Educators were pleased with the opportunity to learn about Tusculum’s new direction.

“I believe it is imperative that we keep communications open between our colleges, universities, and K-12 school systems open in order to impact our economic growth within the region,” said Reba Bailey, assistant director of schools for the Hawkins County School System. “It was exciting to hear about the plans for Tusculum.”


Dr. James Hurley, president of Tusculum, shares his future-focused plans with regional school administrators and counselors.

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Tusculum Student Nurse’s Association hosts baby shower for local agency

Tusculum Student Nurse’s Association hosts baby shower for local agency

Posted on 13 November 2017 by

The Tusculum Student Nurse’s Association, with support from the Student Government Association, held a baby shower to collect donations for the Hope Center in Greeneville. The students were able to donate $400 worth of items to the crisis pregnancy center. Students got to know the work of the Hope Center during a clinical opportunity there earlier this year.

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Tusculum Commencement ceremony to feature Dr. Belle S. Wheelan

Tusculum Commencement ceremony to feature Dr. Belle S. Wheelan

Posted on 09 November 2017 by

Dr. Belle S. Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, will be the speaker at Tusculum’s winter commencement exercises on Saturday, December 9.

Dr. Wheelan will deliver her address at both the morning ceremony, which begins at 10 a.m. in the Pioneer Arena in Niswonger Commons on the Greeneville campus, and the afternoon ceremony, which will begin at 2 p.m.

Dr. Wheelan has held numerous titles over the course of her 40-year career including faculty member, chief of student services officer, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education. She has been the first African-American and the first woman to serve in both her current role of president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the majority of the aforementioned roles.

She earned her bachelor’s degree from Trinity University in Texas in 1972, double majoring in psychology and sociology, her master’s degree in developmental educational psychology is from Louisiana State University. She earned her doctorate in educational administration with a focus in community college leadership from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984.

Dr. Belle Wheelan

Dr. Wheelan has received numerous awards and recognition including six honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from both Trinity University and the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin. She has been named to the Washingtonian Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, D.C. and received the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award in 2002.

Other awards include the Suanne Davis Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s Distinguished Lecturer Award, the John E. Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development’s International Leadership Award, the AACC Leadership Award, the John Hope Franklin Award from Diverse Issues in Higher Education for outstanding leadership in higher education and the Educational Testing Service Terry O’Banion Prize in Education from the League for Innovation in Community Colleges.

Dr. Wheelan currently holds and has previously held membership in numerous local, state and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc. Board of Directors; American Association of Community Colleges Board of Directors; the Lumina Foundation for Education Board of Directors; the President’s Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs; the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Board of Directors; Excelencia in Education Board of Directors; National Society of Collegiate Scholars Community College Honorary Board; Next Generation Learning Challenges Advisory Panel; Project GOALS (Gaining Online Accessible Learning Through Self-Study) and the National Student Clearinghouse Board of Directors.

In addition to her array of professional achievements, Dr. Wheelan has also raised her son, Reginald. She attributes her success to hard work, endurance, tenacity and being in the right place at the right time. She acknowledges that prayer and support from family and friends make anything possible.


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Tusculum College’s Student Support Services’ Peer Mentor program receives national certification

Posted on 08 November 2017 by

Pioneering Connections, a peer mentoring program coordinated by Student Support Services at Tusculum, has achieved certification from the College Reading and Learning Association.

College Reading and Learning Association is a professional organization of student-oriented professionals active in the fields of reading, learning assistance, developmental education, tutoring and mentoring at the college/adult level. The International Mentor Training Program Certification offers colleges and universities the resources necessary to develop and improve existing mentor training programs.

Jeremy Jones, a Tusculum graduate and former Tusculum College Student Support Services staff member, first established the Pioneering Connections mentor program. Jones said the impetus of the program came from his desire to build community across the entire student body.

“As an alumnus of Student Support Services, a mentor, resident assistant and student-athlete at Tusculum, I wanted to bring a cross-campus mentoring program to bring students together. Hence the name ‘Pioneering Connections.’”

The Pioneering Connections Peer Mentoring program is designed to provide a connection for first-year, underrepresented students transitioning to the Tusculum College community by providing support and resources to increase success and engagement at the institution. A priority of the Pioneer Connections program is to provide peer support for students who are navigating their way through a new collegiate experience.

The outcome of extra peer support, along with connection to the program, is to promote retention and develop positive life and college success skills.

“I wanted to be a mentor because I wanted to encourage others to be the people they are meant to be. I want my protégés to know that they have someone that cares how they are doing, academically and emotionally,” said current mentor Amber Loggains, who also serves as a house mentor for the SSS Living-Learning Community.


Mentor Dallas Kuykendall, who also works with the Living-Learning Community, is proud of the progress that Pioneering Connections has made. “Getting certified is important because it shows the people on campus we are serious about our program, and we are putting in the work to make the program grow.”

The certification of Tusculum’s program authorizes Pioneering Connections to certify individual mentors at Level 1 – Mentor Certification or Level 2 – Advanced Mentor Certification.

The program requires mentors receive mandatory training in subjects such as conflict resolution, mentoring boundaries, cultural awareness, academic advising and professional ethics.  Mentors are obligated to meet with protégés a required number of hours each year. Mentors must meet these benchmarks to receive personal certification.

Chuck Sutton, Student Support Service’s multicultural retention specialist, manages the Pioneering Connections Peer Mentoring program. Mentors report to Sutton via weekly communication, both verbal and written. He also requires periodic one-on-one meetings with each mentor. Additionally, Sutton implements evaluation standards for both protégés and mentors. He has worked with campus stakeholders and other college personnel to provide relevant trainings for all mentors.

Pioneering Connections currently consists of 12 trained mentors who work with 30 protégés.

For more information about the Pioneering Connections Peer Mentor program, please contact Student Support Services at (423) 798-1635 or


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C. David Taylor Retrospective Art Exhibition begins at Tusculum College on Nov. 10

C. David Taylor Retrospective Art Exhibition begins at Tusculum College on Nov. 10

Posted on 03 November 2017 by

Tusculum College will host “David Taylor-Retrospective Art Exhibition 2006-2016” beginning Friday, Nov. 10, at the Shulman Center on the Greeneville campus.

Taylor is a Jonesborough native and a self-taught artist. The focus of his work is East Tennessee waterfalls, but there are aspects of the show that will exhibit figurative and still life subject matter.

According to Bill Bledsoe, visiting assistant professor of visual communications and design at Tusculum, like many amateur artists, David’s early work was very basic, but he had reached a high level of execution that resulted in accomplished artwork. He was in the process of putting together his first one-man show when he died in September of 2016.

In honor of his artistry and commitment to excellence in his work, Tusculum College is enthusiastically supportive of hosting this show, said Bledsoe.

The opening will be on Friday, Nov. 10, with an opening reception running from 5-7 p.m. The exhibition and reception are free and open to the public. The show will be available for viewing Mondays through Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon, and private viewings by appointment are available in the afternoons through Friday, Dec. 1. For appointments e-mail or call 423 948-8927.



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Doug Jones named vice president of student success and athletic director

Doug Jones named vice president of student success and athletic director

Posted on 01 November 2017 by

Dr. James Hurley, president of Tusculum College, has appointed Doug Jones as vice president of student success and athletic director. Jones has served as Tusculum’s athletic director since February 2016. Jones will continue in the role as Tusculum’s head baseball coach, a position he has held since 1998.

“I am excited to announce the promotion of Doug Jones to vice president for student success and director of athletics,” said Dr. Hurley. Mr. Jones has more than 20 years of Tusculum experience and will work tirelessly to ensure student success for all of our students. Student success is a priority for Tusculum as we continue to grow and advance the mission of this great institution.”

In his new role Jones will supervise student housing, student activities, campus life and the commuter student experience.

Doug Jones

“I would like to thank Dr. Hurley for this opportunity to serve our great institution,” said Jones. “The vision that Dr. Hurley has set for Tusculum is exciting, and I am grateful to be able to serve alongside him.  I look forward to working with our entire student population. My staff and I will work hard to provide them a memorable experience that will last a lifetime. Our students are the most important part of our jobs, and we will make sure that their interest are at the forefront of all that we do.”

As athletic director, Jones oversees the day-to-day operations of the Tusculum athletic department and the 20 sports that the college sponsors, including men’s and women’s track and field and STUNT, which were added during his term as athletic director.

Jones served on the NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Committee for four seasons, including three years as national chairman.

Jones is in his 21th season guiding the Tusculum baseball program and is the winningest coach in school history. Jones has guided Tusculum to 17 consecutive winning seasons, while posting 680 victories in his 20 campaigns in Greeneville.



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Theatre-at-Tusculum’s ‘Oliver!’ opens Nov. 10

Theatre-at-Tusculum’s ‘Oliver!’ opens Nov. 10

Posted on 27 October 2017 by

Consider yourself one of us! Tickets are now available for Theatre-at-Tusculum’s production of Lionel Bart’s beloved musical, “Oliver!”

The musical, based on the novel “Oliver Twist” by Charles Dickens, will open Friday, Nov. 10, at Tusculum’s Annie Hogan Byrd Theatre on Tusculum’s Greeneville campus. Audiences will have seven opportunities to see Theatre-at-Tusculum’s fall production, which is under the direction of Artist-in-Residence and Tusculum Arts Outreach Director Marilyn duBrisk and Assistant Director Brian Ricker.

Show dates are November 10, 11, 16, 17, 18 at 7 p.m. and November 12 and 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be reserved by contacting Jennifer Hollowell, box office manager, at 423-798-1620 or by e-mail at When reserving tickets please include name, a contact telephone number, the date to reserve the tickets, the number of tickets, and the type of ticket. Prices are: Adults – $15, Seniors (60+) – $12, Children (12 and under) – $5.

Tickets may be picked up and paid for at the box office the day of the performance, or any time at the Tusculum Arts Outreach office. Cash or check only for payment, as credit/debit cards are not accepted. The Box Office, located in the lobby of the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building, will open an hour and a half before each show time with the house opening an hour before curtain. Audiences are reminded that seating is not assigned and will be first come, first served.

duBrisk, along with her creative team, has assembled a cast of more than 70 to bring the tale of “Oliver Twist,” his adventures and misadventures, to life. The show features all of the well-known characters from Dickens’ novel portrayed by a host of local talent.

The story centers on a young orphan boy, Oliver Twist, who is played by Doak Elementary fourth grader Aden Moore, as he is sent away from the Workhouse Orphanage by the wicked Widow Corney, portrayed by Sandy Nienaber. The boy is then sold by Mr. Bumble, the Beadle of the Workhouse, played by Tom Sizemore, to Mr. Sowerberry, the undertaker and his cantankerous wife. The Sowerberrys are played by Matt Hensley and Sara Claiborne, respectively.

After fleeing the oppressive undertaker, Oliver joins up with a band of pickpockets led by the Artful Dodger, portrayed by Caedmon Oakes. The pickpockets are trained and cared for by the greedy and cunning Fagin, who is being brought to life by local favorite Chris Greene. As he is welcomed into Fagin’s den of pickpockets, he meets the kind-hearted heroine Nancy, played by Linda Barnett, who is returning to the Tusculum stage, and her abusive lover Bill Sikes, played by Parker Bunch in his first villainous role on the Tusculum stage.

Drama and chaos ensue as Oliver is arrested for stealing. However, he is then then taken in by the kind-hearted Mr. Brownlow, played by Ricker. and his housekeeper, Mrs. Bedwin, played by Amanda Harmon.

Supporting characters include; Dodger’s sidekick Charlie Bates, played by Zach Wallin and Nancy’s protégé Bet, played by Jorja Ward, both of whom are sixth graders at Greeneville Middle School. Charlotte Sowerberry is played by Greeneville High School freshman Madelynn Wedding, and Noah Claypole is played by Tusculum sophomore, Maxwell Reed. Rounding off the support cast are Zach Gass, as Dr. Grimwig, and Allison Craft, as Old Sally.  “Oliver!” is a story full of comedy, drama, suspense, and many thrilling moments.

The show features all the well-known musical numbers, including: “Food, Glorious Food,” “Oliver,” “Consider Yourself,” “I’d Do Anything” and “Who Will Buy?” The score, which won Lionel Bart the Tony Award for Best Original Score after its Broadway premiere in 1963, is being overseen by Angie Clendenon, long-time Theatre-at-Tusculum musical director, and Kasie Shelnutt, the accompanist, with Kim Berry as the show’s choreographer.

With a breathtaking and inspired set design by Frank Mengel and backdrop by Garry Renfro, audiences will be transported to mid-19th century London with the help of a slew of Victorian costumes carefully curated by Erin Schultz, costume director. Trenda Berney, a long-time Theatre-at-Tusculum volunteer, will be the show’s make-up director, and all the behind-the-scenes action will be organized by stage managers Suzanne Greene and Jim Holt.

Theatre-at-Tusculum is under the auspices of Tusculum Arts Outreach, which is led by duBrisk, Ricker, Hollowell, Mengel and Schultz. It is supported in part by a grant from the Tennessee Arts Commission, “Hearts for the Arts,” as well as many generous donors and volunteers.

For information about Theatre-at-Tusculum or other Arts Outreach programs, please call 423-798-1620, visit, or via Facebook at TC Arts Outreach.

At front is Zach Wallin as Charlie Bates. Middle, left to right are Tom Sizemore as Mr. Bumble, Sandy Nienaber as Widow Corney, Aden Moore as Oliver Twist, Linda Brimer as Nancy and Jorja Ward as Bet. Back, left to right are Brian Ricker as Mr. Brownlow, Chris Greene as Fagin and Parker Bunch as Bill Sikes.


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Tusculum College offering full-tuition scholarship opportunity

Posted on 27 October 2017 by

Tusculum College is now offering a full-tuition scholarship opportunity for exemplary academic students. Through the Tusculum Trustee Honors Scholarship, academically motivated students have a new opportunity to eliminate tuition expenses.

Qualifying, interested and academically motivated students, may apply for the Trustee Honors Scholarship, which is awarded annually. This is a highly competitive, full-tuition scholarship which will be awarded to no more than two students in each incoming class.

“Through the Trustee Honors Scholarship, students with high academic achievement have the opportunity to attend Tusculum College with no out-of-pocket tuition expenses,” said Dr. Paul Pinckley, vice president of enrollment management, marketing and financial aid.

To be considered for this prestigious scholarship, perspective students will need to complete the following steps: maintain a high school grade-point average of 3.5 or higher; attain a composite score of at least 25 on the ACT or 1150 on the SAT; rank in the top 10 percent of high school graduating class; complete the general Tusculum application for admission and submit supporting documentation for that application;

Complete the Trustee Honors Scholar application found at, including submission of a resume that reflects their achievements, activities and civic involvement; submit an essay on “What does Civic Arts mean to you and how do you plan to exemplify Civic Arts in your daily life;” provide two letters of recommendation, one each from a teacher and a community leader; and submit all of the above by the Trustee Honors Scholarship submission deadline of Thursday, March 1. If chosen as a finalist, students will visit the campus to participate in a personal interview.

Qualifying students will also participate in Tusculum’s Honors Program, which focuses on promoting cross-discipline dialogue between students and allowing participants to create a personalized plan of study that will lead to unique experiences designed to benefit students’ individual goals.

For more information, contact Melissa Ripley, executive director of enrollment management and traditional admission at 423.636.7374 or email


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Tusculum College to host Veterans Day Ceremony

Tusculum College to host Veterans Day Ceremony

Posted on 25 October 2017 by

The Tusculum College Office of Veterans Services will host a Veterans Day Service at the Thomas J. Garland Library on Friday, Nov. 10, at 3:45 p.m. on Tusculum College’s Greeneville campus.

The event will include a brief history of Veterans Day, why Veterans Day is celebrated and a special guest speaker, retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel Jim Secrist, who has been awarded the Purple Heart twice for injuries received in combat.

Lt. Col. Secrist is an estate planning attorney and vice president for development at The Holston Home for Children in Greeneville. He has held similar positions in the past 15 years in various places around the country.

He is a retired U.S. Marine with 22 years of service as an infantry officer, a Marine Corps pilot and a Marine Corps attorney. He is a Vietnam War veteran, having served two combat tours as an infantry platoon commander and then as a Marine Corps pilot.

According to Dale Laney, director of Tusculum College’s Office of Veterans Services, “I think it is important to recognize those who served because they don’t ask to be recognized—but should be—and it helps those who did not serve to understand and appreciate what veterans have done for them.”

Retired LtCol Jim Secrist

The purpose of Veterans Day, according to the Veterans Administration, is “a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.”

November 11 marked the end of World War I for the United States. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and November 11 became a national holiday beginning in 1938. Veterans Day, like Memorial Day, pays tribute to all American veterans, living and deceased, but also gives thanks to veterans who served their country honorably both during war and times of peace.

Laney added that it is important to “recognize those who raised their hand when they didn’t have to or went when they were called and then served their country with honor and courage.”

The event is free and open to the public.

For more information about the event, contact Dale Laney, director of Veteran Services at or call 423.6367300. Ext. 5371.


By Taylor Rose, junior journalism and professional writing major from Clarksville


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Tusculum versus Carson-Newman Blood Drive set for Oct. 24-26

Tusculum versus Carson-Newman Blood Drive set for Oct. 24-26

Posted on 25 October 2017 by

Fans of the Tusculum Pioneers and Carson-Newman Eagles may support their team while contributing to the East Tennessee MEDIC Regional Blood Center in the 16th annual “Battle of Mossy Creek” blood drive competition.

There will be several opportunities to donate.

On Thursday, Oct. 26, Tusculum students, faculty, staff and fans may donate on the Greeneville campus at the Niswonger Commons from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Blood donations may also be given during the week at the MEDIC Regional Blood Center at the Knoxville Regional Center (1601 Ailor Ave.) during the following hours: Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Please let the screener know your donation should count towards Tusculum College.

The event is part of the festivities leading up to Saturday’s football game between the Pioneers and Eagles, which kicks off at 1 p.m. from Burke-Tarr Stadium in Jefferson City.

Tusculum has been the top donor in nine of the previous 14 drives, including seven of the last nine.

The winning school will be announced at halftime of the Tusculum/Carson-Newman football game at Pioneer Field. The Pioneers won the inaugural title in 2003 and again in 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2016. Carson-Newman has captured bragging rights five times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2013, 2015).

Donors should bring a valid driver’s license or other official photo ID in order to give blood. Medical prescreening and a free cholesterol test (no fasting necessary) will be provided at the sites. One donation a year exempts donors and their IRS dependents from paying blood supplier processing fees at any U.S. hospital.

Students who donate will receive a free copper tumbler complete with the Tusculum logo or a choice of a t-shirt, a coupon for a free Texas Roadhouse appetizer and a free ice cream from Dairy Queen. In addition, one lucky donor will win two tickets to the Country Cool Comedy Tour at the Niswonger Performing Arts Center in January 2018.

In addition to the Mossy Creek Blood Drive, MEDIC Regional Blood Center is offering a $500 scholarship to any student who hosts a successful blood drive.

For more information, contact the MEDIC Regional Blood Center at (865) 524-3074 or at


By Sydney McCallister, English and history major from Greeneville



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More than 300 attend Tusculum College Homecoming activities

More than 300 attend Tusculum College Homecoming activities

Posted on 25 October 2017 by

Groups of alumni could be seen walking around campus, reminiscing on their college life and exploring the new Ronald H. and Verna June Meen Center for Science and Math and campus tours were held on Friday. Old and new joined together at the lunch with students, in which alumni could meet with student leaders currently attending Tusculum.

Alumni of all different ages met and talked. Old friends embraced each other, and young graduates learned the history of Tusculum from the older alumnus. While some may have graduated far before others, their reason for returning was similar. Ryan Barker, class of 2015, said that Tusculum was his home for four years, and homecoming is exactly that: coming home. When asked about their fondest memory, many gave the same answer; their fondest memory was meeting their spouse.

One alumnus, Jane Lavorne Morse ’77, recalled one time when her dormmates and she were lured into a water fight with one of the other dorms.

Friday night, a pep rally was held in the quad. Students and friends played cornhole, roasted marshmallows, and listened to the band play songs. The bonfire continue to burn until late in the night, and everyone around enjoyed the companionship it brought with it.

Saturday morning, tempted by the smell of breakfast, alumni gathered in the Chalmers Conference Center. When the chatter had died down, the new alumni were inducted into the Tusculum Sports Hall of Fame: Eric Claridy ’95, Jasmine Gunn ’11, and Kyle Moore ’10.

Claridy accounted for the greatest football playing career by a Tusculum tailback and has held the program’s all-time rushing and scoring records for more than 20 years. Claridy holds seven career, season, and single-game school records. His 278 career points scored are the most by a pioneer, which included 110 points in 1994, the most by a non-kicker and second-best in a Tusculum College season.

Gunn produced one of the finest playing careers in the history of Tusculum women’s basketball. Gunn helped Tusculum to four 20-win campaigns, which included three South Atlantic Conference Championships, two SAC Tournament titles, and four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Gunn was also named Tusculum Female Athlete of the Year for both the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 academic seasons.

Moore accounted for the greatest scoring career during the NCAA Division II era of the Tusculum men’s basketball program. Moore holds the school record with his 447 made free throws. From 2007-2010, Moore poured more than 1,813 points, which are fourth in the Tusculum record book and eighth most in the South Atlantic Conference history. Following his career at Tusculum, Moore signed a contract to play professionally in Germany for the SOBA Dragons in the Pro A League.

The Alumni Awards followed the Hall of Fame inductions. The National Living Faculty Award is presented each year to an outstanding member of the Tusculum College Faculty. This award recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the College’s academic programs.

This year’s award went to Dr. Lois Ewen, dean of nursing, health sciences and human services. Dr. Ewen joined Tusculum College in 2012. She earned her Ph.D. degree in curriculum and instruction with majors in adult education and measurement and statistics from the University of South Florida and a Master of Science in nursing degree from Barry University. Her career in academics includes dean’s positions are at Tallahassee and Columbia State Community Colleges and faculty positions at Hillsborough, St. Petersburg and Miami-Dade Colleges.  She also has extensive experience in various nursing positions, including assistant director of nursing, director of education, and nurse manager.

Dr. Ewen teaches nursing classes where she engages and challenges students to develop their critical thinking and decision making skills.  Her research interests are primarily with enhancing critical thinking and indicators of success in nursing programs.

The Pioneer Award was established by the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association in 1962 and is presented each year to an outstanding alumnus or alumna, in recognition of outstanding or meritorious achievement in his or her chosen field; for distinguished service to church, community, country and humanity; and for continuing and loyal service to Tusculum College.

This year’s recipient, Beverly Roberts is a 1990 graduate of Tusculum College. When the University of Connecticut defeated Syracuse University, on Tuesday, April 5, during the NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship game, a Tusculum College alumna was right in the middle of the action. Roberts was selected to serve as one of the game officials at this year’s Women’s Final Four, held in Indianapolis. Roberts was one of the three referees working the national title game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, shown on ESPN. Serving as referee in big games is not new for the Kingsport native.

She officiated the 2008 NCAA Final Four in Tampa, FL, and has worked in 10 consecutive NCAA tournaments. This was her first national championship game. Roberts officiates women’s games in the Big Ten, Big 12, Missouri Valley Conference, Southeastern Conference and Conference USA. Officiating runs in the family. Beverly’s father, Garry Roberts, is a basketball official in the South Atlantic Conference.

The Frontier Award was established by the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association in 1995 and is presented each year to an outstanding alumnus or alumna in recognition of outstanding or meritorious advancement in his or her career. Consideration will be given to former students who have been graduated from the College at least five years, but no more than fifteen years. Consideration for this award should include continuing and loyal service to Tusculum College.

This year’s recipient, Dr. Jessica Epley Burchette is a 2006 graduate of Tusculum College. She went on to be a proud 2010 graduate from the inaugural class at ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. Upon graduation, Dr. Burchette obtained further post graduate training with a Pharmacy Practice residency at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, TN followed by an internal medicine residency with a secondary focus in academia at ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Burchette joined the faculty at ETSU Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy in August 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice. She maintains practice sites at Johnson City Medical Center and Holston Valley Medical Center working with interdisciplinary inpatient family medicine teams. In addition to her practice, Dr. Burchette also coordinates and teaches several courses within the curriculum. She enjoys teaching students about pulmonary disorders and basic critical care concepts in the classroom.

In the fall of 2013 Dr. Burchette was honored to become a faculty advisor for Kappa Psi and the Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Recently, she also became a board certified pharmacotherapy specialist. She holds memberships in ASHP, ACCP, AACP, Rho Chi, Phi Lambda Sigma, Kappa Psi, TPA and TSHP.

The National Alumni Recognition Award was established by the Executive Committee of the Alumni Association in 1996 and is presented each year to an outstanding member of the Tusculum College Community. The purpose of the National Alumni Recognition Award is to bestow recognition on those individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the college.

This year’s recipient was Roxanna Jaynes, catering director for Sodexo, the food service provider for Tusculum College.

Jaynes has been a familiar face at Tusculum College since her arrival on campus in 2001, when she joined the staff of Sodexo as a card swiper and greeter in the cafeteria. Jaynes has become one of the most well-known and most-hugged people on campus as her job places her in contact with everyone involved with Tusculum College, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, Board members and special guests to the College.

Students she has tended to, long gone from campus and now alumni making their way in the world, stay in touch with Jaynes. She gets phone calls, texts and the occasional wedding announcement. Her relationships are strong, lasting, and she has shed many a tear on commencement days. Jaynes is the lady who takes care of everything and everyone at luncheons, celebrations, sports gatherings, meetings and just about anywhere on campus where food is served.

Shortly after, the “State of the College” began with an introduction by Kristopher Adams, the Student Government Association President. Newly-appointed college President James Hurley spoke on the State of the College. “We’re pioneers,” said Hurley, “Tusculum has been the pioneers for 224 years. Greeneville College was that pioneer and as we move forward, we have to think about what’s next.”

Alumni gathered outside to watch the parade, lining up from the Niswonger Commons to the football field. The Homecoming court drew loud cheers from the gathered crowd.  Members of the homecoming court of 2017 could be seen getting pictures with alumni, some of whom had won homecoming in their years at Tusculum.

Inside the slowly-filling stadium, people gathered their food and prepared for the game. Cheerleaders practiced and soon enough, the band played the national anthem and the game began. Homecoming itself was full of excitement as the homecoming court was introduced and rewarded.

The King and Queen of Homecoming 2017 were Jesse Harrell, a senior sports management major from Bulls Gap and Katie Odoms, a senior creative writing major from Bristol. The prince was Carlos Duarte, a junior criminal justice major from Cordova and the princess was De’Erica Garrett, a junior business major from Greeneville.

Homecoming 2018 has been set for October 11-13.



By Sydney McCallister, English and history major from Greeneville

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