When Delanie McDonald enrolls at MTSU this fall, she will be part of a rare occurrence for the University Honors College.
In what is believed to be an Honors College first, McDonald will join older brothers Collin and Connor as Buchanan Fellows in college at the same time.
“I’m very excited about coming to MTSU,” Delanie McDonald, 17, said Monday, Feb. 15, during a break from the Honors College’s annual Presidents’ Day Open House.
“Ever since both of them received Buchanans (Fellowships), my last three years of (home-schooled) education have been devoted to earning my Buchanan.”
The Buchanan Fellowship, limited to 20 students per year, is the highest award given to an entering MTSU freshman. The program is named in honor of the late Dr. James M. Buchanan, an MTSU alumnus who earned a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.
All of the McDonalds were home-schooled by their mother, Lorrie, in Carthage, Tennessee.
An aspiring missionary pilot, Collin McDonald chose aerospace maintenance as his career path and has set his sights on a cross-country trip, following in the footsteps of Cal Rogers in 1911. It will be the basis for his honors thesis.
Connor McDonald is a junior political science major and senator in student government who has ambitions of being an attorney.
Delanie McDonald intends to pursue public relations, but admits she has a strong interest in photography.
She and others who braved a cold, rainy day to attend the annual open house said they thoroughly enjoyed physics and astronomy professor Eric Klumpe’s “Mad Science” demonstration.
Delanie, who’s visited MTSU before, called the Honors College event — a mixture of academic and admissions booths combined with various tours and mock trial and “mad science” demonstrations — “a really good experience that I enjoyed.”
Lorrie and her husband, David McDonald, earned their degrees from Tennessee Tech and the University of Georgia, respectively, but they’re sold on an MTSU Honors College education for their children and for others.
“I’m always helping sell the campus,” Lorrie McDonald said. “The Honors College is a small college within a big college.
“The boys had Dr. Klumpe in class. He had them and other students over to his house and did this on several occasions. You don’t see this happening just anywhere.”
David McDonald added that he finds it “amazing how the entire honors staff is interested in their students succeeding.”
Jiwood “Elina” Park, 17, a junior at Cascade High School in Wartrace, Tennessee, said she liked how the open house “had a lot more to offer. It was very in-depth.”
Park, who plans to pursue microbiology in college, was among more than 100 people attending Klumpe’s physics demonstration in the Student Union Building’s Parliamentary Room.
“The Honors College Open House was an educational and fun day,” said Laura Clippard, the honors staff member who organizes the event.
“Students had the opportunity to talk to academic advisers, financial aid and housing, and we had some really cool tours associated with aerospace and also with (the College of) Media and Entertainment.”
To learn more about daily and special campus tours, visit www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit or call 615-898-2233.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)