Tusculum University celebrates students during finals week with President’s Midnight Breakfast

Dr. James Hurley, Tusculum University’s president, cooks pancakes during the President’s Midnight Breakfast.

As the end of the fall semester nears, Tusculum University students are poring over their notes, reviewing their text books and working intently on their computers to obtain the best grades possible in their courses.

Final exams are in full swing at Tusculum’s three locations in East Tennessee. It’s an important time of academic year for students as they progress toward graduation. Naturally, the stress level might be at a high level for some.

Dr. James Hurley, Tusculum’s president, recognized students might need an opportunity to decompress during this period. He called a time out for them to have some fun at a time of day when many students still have plenty of energy. He hosted the President’s Midnight Breakfast, which started at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 11, and lasted an hour in the university’s cafeteria.

“Our students dedicate an incredible amount of time during the semester and throughout their enrollment at Tusculum to achieve excellent results with their grades,” Dr. Hurley said. “They are also outstanding representatives of our university and embrace our civic arts focus as part of their studies. The breakfast is a great way to celebrate them for their vibrancy and intellect and thank them for helping Tusculum be a first-choice university.”

Dr. Hurley did not merely host the breakfast. He was busy in the kitchen, demonstrating his fine culinary skills by making delicious batches of pancakes. Joining him were members of his executive cabinet and other staff members, who showcased their cooking and serving talent.

When the doors opened, students filled the cafeteria and lined up to pick from a menu of pancakes, bacon, eggs and sausage. The first in line was Sarah Jean White, who said she attended because the food is delicious and she thought the event would be enjoyable. She had her photo taken with Dr. Hurley and was pleased she had a chance to speak with him.

She and John Bivens, who is graduating Saturday, believe the late-night breakfast is a good activity.

“I feel like the way that they do this, it really shows that they support the students,” Bivens said of administrators. “Throughout the whole semester, we work so hard and we put so much effort in and spend all those late nights. It’s these kinds of things that they put on that make it all seem like it’s all worth it – like what we’re doing is really being appreciated.”

The lighthearted atmosphere in the cafeteria gave Dr. Hurley, the cabinet and other staff members another way to connect with the students. As Tusculum’s president, Dr. Hurley has paid considerable attention to the students’ needs and speaks with them regularly.

Cabinet, faculty and staff members also interact with the students and inspire them to achieve their career ambitions.

“Our students will be leaders in the community and will positively impact people’s lives when they graduate,” Dr. Hurley said. “Their final exams are designed to prepare them for this eventual role, and we are confident they will move our region and nation forward. We are proud of them and look forward to their contributions as students and in the next phase of their lives.”