Tree dedication ceremonies will celebrate the extraordinary service of two longtime Tusculum University faculty members

GREENEVILLETusculum University will dedicate trees to two longtime, highly respected faculty members during ceremonies that will enable attendees to reflect on these men’s significant impact on the university and the development of their students.

Ronald Conley

Dr. Donal Sexton

The celebrations for Dr. Donal Sexton and Ronald Conley will take place at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., respectively, Saturday, Aug. 26, in the grass between the Old College building and Gilland Street. This is the location where the trees were planted earlier this year.

Dr. Sexton, a history professor, who passed away Aug. 13, 2022, served at Tusculum for 40 years. Among his many distinctions were holding the Janet Anderson Lunstedt Professorship and co-authoring the bicentennial university history “Glimpses of Tusculum” in 1994. In retirement, he served as faculty marshal at graduations in a ceremonial role.

Conley, who passed away Jan. 3, 2023, was a faculty member for 30 years and retired an associate professor of mathematics. Conley contributed to Tusculum’s success in other ways, serving as Mathematics Department chair and as a member of numerous governance committees, search committees and task forces.

Both men were granted emeritus status after their retirement.

Each event will feature remarks from Dr. Scott Hummel, Tusculum’s president, and testimonials from university faculty and staff members as well as alumni. The Rev. Todd Jenkins, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Greeneville, will deliver a benediction at Dr. Sexton’s tree dedication. Dr. Chris Shumate, Tusculum’s campus minister, will take care of that blessing during the ceremony for Conley. Family members of Dr. Sexton and Conley are scheduled to attend.

Everyone is invited to attend these free events, which multiple people at Tusculum have planned. Light refreshments will be served.

“We are honored to recognize these two men’s extraordinary service to Tusculum and their students,” said Dr. Joel Van Amberg, Tusculum’s faculty chair; chair of the History, Museum Studies and Religion Department; and professor of history. “They represented Tusculum with distinction during their teaching years and remained active in the community after their retirement. We were fortunate to have them as faculty members and are pleased we will be able to memorialize them in such a meaningful and enduring way.”

Anyone with questions can email Dr. Van Amberg at More information about the university is available at