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Earn credits at May 1 Accounting Alumni Appreciation Day

The 23rd annual Accounting Alumni Appreciation Day at Middle Tennessee State University will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 4:50 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The event targets those interested in accounting, taxation and computer training. The fee will be $125 for MTSU alumni and $175 for all others. Net proceeds will be earmarked for accounting scholarships. Lunch will be provided in the Student Union.Dept of Accounting logo web

Participants will earn eight hours of Continuing Professional Education credit and have the opportunity to visit with alumni and former professors and see how the campus is changing. Seating is limited, so participants should register early at www.mtsu.edu/accounting/appreciation_day.php.

Scheduled speakers and topics include:

  • MTSU alumnus Phil Williams, an award-winning investigative reporter with NewsChannel 5 in Nashville, who will speak on fraud.
  • L. Rene Brison, assistant director with the Tennessee Comptroller of the Treasury, Special Investigative Unit, who will present a session on accounting and internal controls.
  • MTSU professor Paula Thomas, who will present a Financial Accounting Standards Board update to finish the morning sessions.

During the afternoon general sessions, Matt Kefauver with LBMC Technologies LLC will discuss cloud computing. David Tiller with the Small Business Administration will end the conference with a session on “Tennessee Small Business Issues.”

Breakout sessions and leaders will include:

  • Advanced Excel and Microsoft Access — Tammy Bahmanziari, MTSU associate professor.
  • Professional Skepticism — Rebekah Heath, MTSU assistant professor.
  • Issues in Taxation — Kim Honaker, MTSU assistant professor.
  • Governmental Accounting Standards Board Update — G. Robert Smith, chair, MTSU Department of Accounting.

For more information, call the MTSU Department of Accounting at 615-898-5306.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU to honor military alum, China leader at May 10 commencement

An Army three-star general from Bell Buckle, Tenn., and a top education official from China will receive honorary doctorates from MTSU and will address graduates during commencement exercises May 10.

MTSU alumnus Lt. Gen. William Phillips, who was most recently stationed at the Pentagon as director of the Army’s Acquisition Corps, will be honored and speak at MTSU’s afternoon commencement.

Madam Xu Lin of China, a vice minister of education and director-general of the worldwide network of Confucius Institutes, will be honored and speak at the morning ceremonies.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (left) meets with Lt. Gen. William Phillips during a visit to the Pentagon’s offices for the Army Acquisition Corps. Phillips will be the afternoon speaker for the May 10, 2014, commencement ceremony and will be presented with an honorary doctorate degree. (MTSU photo)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee (left) meets with Lt. Gen. William Phillips during a visit to the Pentagon’s offices for the Army Acquisition Corps. Phillips will be the afternoon speaker for the May 10, 2014, commencement ceremony and will be presented with an honorary doctorate degree. (MTSU photo)

“We are proud to recognize and welcome these accomplished individuals,” said President Sidney A. McPhee, who announced the honors during a speech Tuesday at the Murfreesboro Rotary Club.

“General Phillips, a proud member of the Blue Raider ROTC battalion, charted a career in service of our nation that found him responsible for billions of dollars of purchases to equip and ready our soldiers across the globe,” McPhee said.

“And Madam Xu has been a committed partner and friend to our university’s efforts to create academic partnerships and cultural exchanges between China and our country.”

This will mark only the third and fourth honorary doctorates presented by MTSU, with the first two presented last year to former U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon and the late Nobel laureate James M. Buchanan, both MTSU alumni.

From February 2010 to this month, Phillips served as the principal military deputy to the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. He will retire from the Army later this summer after 38 years of service.

“Bill’s tremendous vision, leadership, and dedication to excellence has ensured our beloved soldiers fighting on behalf of the nation have always had and will continue to have well into the future, the most technologically advanced and reliable equipment whenever and wherever they need it most,” said U.S. Rep. John Carter in a House speech honoring Phillips.

Carter, R-Texas, a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, called Phillips “a true champion for soldier’s and their families … His efforts have proven to be exponential and his example unwavering.”

Phillips graduated from MTSU in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree. He received a master’s degree in procurement and materials management from Webster University and a master’s of personnel management from Troy State University. He is a graduate of Command and General Staff College, Defense Systems Management College, and Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

In this 2013 file photo, Confucius Institute CEO Xu Lin, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discuss some of McPhee's photos from China displayed inside MTSU's Confucius Institute at Peck Hall. Xu will be the morning speaker for spring 2014 commencement and will receive an honorary doctorate degree from MTSU. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

In this 2013 file photo, Confucius Institute CEO Xu Lin, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discuss some of McPhee’s photos from China displayed inside MTSU’s Confucius Institute at Peck Hall. Xu will be the morning speaker for spring 2014 commencement and will receive an honorary doctorate degree from MTSU. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

His awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal and Army Staff Identification Badge. In 2001, he was named the Army’s Acquisition Commander of the Year.

Xu leads the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and serves as chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters in Beijing. During Xu’s tenure, the organization has experienced tremendous growth. Since 2004, it has expanded to more than 120 countries with more than 440 Confucius Institutes and 650 Confucius Classrooms. The organization has reached more than 850,000 students across the world.

“Under Xu’s leadership, Hanban has been committed to making Chinese language and culture teaching resources and services available to the world, meeting the demands of overseas Chinese learners, and contributing to the formation of a world of cultural diversity and harmony,” McPhee said.

Xu received her undergraduate degree in chemistry from Fudan University in Shanghai, China, and a master’s degree from Beijing Normal University. Following her graduation from Fudan University, she taught at Shanxi University, worked at the Higher Education Bureau of Shanxi Province and the Central Educational Film Studio, China.

Xu has received numerous awards, including the International Education Award from the College Board (U.S.); the Order of Academic Palms–Officer’s Grade from the Government of France; the Medal of Friendly Cooperation from the Government of the Kingdom of Cambodia; the Outstanding Worker Award from the Ministry of Education (China); and National May First Labor Medal (China).

She has been awarded honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona and Western Kentucky University in the U.S., the University of Edinburgh in the United Kingdom, the University of St. Thomas in Chile, Babeş-Bolyai University in Romania, Chulalongkorn University in Thailand, Veliko Turnovo University in Bulgaria and J.F. Oberlin University in Japan.

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

Graduating MTSU seniors invited to Alumni Networking Night

MT alumni logo webMTSU seniors approaching graduation in about three weeks will join young alumni and university graduates of all ages for the next Alumni Relations Networking Night.

Career Development Center Assistant Director Dusty Doddridge will serve as guest speaker for the networking night, which will be held starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame on campus.

Parking will be available in the Greenland Drive lot. A printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

The event is free. Reservations are requested by either calling 615-898-2922 or email alumni@mtsu.edu. Everyone is welcome even if they do not RSVP, said Paul Wydra, an alumni relations assistant director.

Dusty Doddridge

Dusty Doddridge

Wydra said Doddridge will be speaking about developing the professional resume and interview skills, along with other topics related to finding a job in today’s work environment.

“Dusty will talk about resume writing, but a little bit of networking will be going on as well,” Wydra said. “It goes along with the Alumni Networking Night series and ties in with Senior Day, which was held Monday (April 14). We thought a lot of seniors would get a lot of it.”

Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be served.

Commencement ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 10, in Murphy Center. About 2,300 degree candidates will be earning their diplomas. This includes more than 1,900 undergraduate students and nearly 400 graduate students.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Gay ex-MTSU football player lauds ‘open mind, open heart’ (+VIDEO)

Choking is something an athlete doesn’t want to do, but Alan Gendreau’s voice was unashamedly choked with emotion when he returned to his alma mater.

The former Blue Raider placekicker was the first major speaker at MTSU’s inaugural LGBT+ College Conference in the Student Union ballroom April 10. You can watch a video excerpt of his talk below.

The conference is hosted by the MT Lambda student organization and the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences with support from Deloitte Services LLC, Nissan North America, the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the MTSU National Women’s History Month Committee and the Tennessee Equality Project.

With the theme of “The Advocate in You!,” student organizations from more than 30 colleges and universities along with corporate and community leaders are slated to be in attendance through Saturday, April 12.

MT Lambda President Joshua Rigsby poses with former MTSU football player Alan Gendreau and Dr. Terry Whiteside, Dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Science, at the LGBT+ College Conference at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MT Lambda President Joshua Rigsby poses with former MTSU football player Alan Gendreau and Dr. Terry Whiteside, dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Science, at the LGBT+ College Conference at MTSU. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Gendreau revealed himself as gay to his parents when he was in high school and to MTSU head football coach Rick Stockstill when he was a freshman in college.

Stockstill, who introduced Gendreau, called the young man “one of my all-time favorite players. I’m proud of him for what he is as a man and how he represents his university, our football program and his family.”

Gendreau said he first began to notice certain feelings when he was 13 years old, but he repressed them for years because he didn’t know what else to do.

Inaug LGBT+ conf logo graphic webAn Orlando, Fla., native who grew up playing soccer with his three brothers, Gendreau switched to football in high school and ultimately received a full athletic scholarship to MTSU.

He also exercised his passion for music, majoring in recording industry and singing in the Schola Cantorum Honors Choir. Today, Gendreau is a regular performer for Hardrive Productions musical events in Orlando, Fla.

By the end of his collegiate career, however, he had become the all-time leading scorer in Sun Belt Conference history and in MTSU football history as well. 

Gendreau said he found a “comfort zone” in his freshman year in speaking freely about being gay with members of MTSU’s women’s volleyball team. This was especially important to him, he said, because it was the year his parents divorced and he “felt helpless.”

Former MTSU football player accepts a token of appreciation from Cathy Lively of Nissan North America, a corporate sponsor of the LGBT+ College Conference at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Former MTSU football player Alan Gendreau accepts a token of appreciation from Cathy Lively of Nissan North America, a corporate sponsor of the LGBT+ College Conference at MTSU.

After his football teammates learned of his sexual orientation, Gendreau said it was not an issue with them. He referred to his teammates as his “brothers.”

“Coach Stockstill was like my second dad,” said Gendreau. “I could talk to him and he was always there for me.”

In answering questions from the audience, Gendreau said he didn’t encounter much trash talk from opposing players, but he would hear homophobic remarks from fans occasionally.

“The reason I told my story originally was because I wanted to help kids who were struggling,” said Gendreau, referring to the high rate of suicide among youngsters who self-identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

“It’s not even about being gay,” Gendreau said. “It’s about surrounding yourselves with family and unconditional love.”

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Alan Gendreau, former MTSU football player, speaks on the opening day of the inaugural LGBT+ College Conference in the Student Union ballroom. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Alan Gendreau, former MTSU football player, speaks on the opening day of the inaugural LGBT+ College Conference in the Student Union ballroom.

MTSU recognizes mass comm alumni, students with annual honors

MTSU’s College of Mass Communication celebrated students past and present with its recent Wall of Fame alumni induction ceremony and presentation of student scholarships and awards for the soon-to-end academic year.

Journalism alumna Angie Boyd Chambers, electronic media communication grad Margaret Comeaux and recording industry alumnus Michael Knox joined 75 fellow mass communication leaders on the college’s Wall of Fame, while more than 100 current students were recognized for their scholastic accomplishments.

“There’s a special joy in knowing your son or daughter is successful doing exactly what they want to do,” mass comm dean Ken Paulson told the crowd, which included dozens of parents along with faculty, staff, students and alumni, in MTSU’s Student Union Ballroom.

The program for the celebration, which includes a complete list of all student honorees as well as full bios of the Wall of Fame inductees, is available at http://ow.ly/vpiW6.

The Wall of Fame honor began in 2000 as a way to both honor successful mass-communication graduates and inspire current students to continue working toward their goals.

Each year, each of the college’s departments solicits nominees from faculty, chooses an honoree and submits his or her name to the dean. The Wall of Fame ceremony then becomes a part of the college’s annual Awards Day for students.

Angie Boyd-Chambers

Margaret Comeaux

Michael Knox

Boyd-Chambers recently was promoted to managing director of communications for Saint Thomas Health in Nashville, which employs more than 6,500 associates in nine hospitals.

The 2001 MTSU graduate previously served as the public relations director for Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and was responsible for marketing and communications for the 286-bed Murfreesboro facility.

Comeaux, who is senior director of music and events production for CMT, oversees the creation, development and production of music and live-event specials for the network.

The 1995 MTSU grad serves as executive producer in charge of the annual “CMT Music Awards,” the critically acclaimed “CMT Crossroads” series and “CMT Artists of the Year.”

Music producer Knox has worked with some of the biggest names in country music but is perhaps best known for his production work with country superstar Jason Aldean.

Along with forming a production management company, Music Knox, with three of his clients, Knox, a 2001 MTSU graduate, also serves as senior creative director for peermusic Group in Nashville.

During the afternoon celebration, MTSU’s School of Journalism also honored newcomer Dr. Joonghwa Lee with its top teaching award after barely two years at the university.

Dr. Joonghwa Lee, center, a second-year advertising professor in MTSU’s School of Journalism, accepts the Ed Kimbrell Excellence in Teaching Award from the former dean for which it was named, right, and journalism director Dr. Dwight E. Brooks, left. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“This man, as they say in baseball, is a natural,” said Dr. Ed Kimbrell, the longtime professor and former dean for whom the award was named. “He cares about students. He listens to them. He wants them to be engaged. And they are.”

Lee, who came to MTSU in 2012 after earning his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia, quietly expressed his thanks for the honor.

“My dad also was a professor,” Lee explained, “and I never understood why he loved his job so much and hung out with the students, but now, after starting at MTSU, I understand.”

One of the largest communication programs in the nation, the MTSU College of Mass Communication offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from journalism to digital media and media management to recording industry management — and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

The college also is home to the new Tennessee Journalism Hall of Fame at MTSU, which was officially unveiled in 2012 after four years of planning and inducted its first six honorees last year.

For more information about MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, visit www.mtsu.edu/masscomm.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

38 events spice up Alumni Spring Weekend April 10-13

Alumni Spring Weekend 2014 events at MTSU can be found at http://www.mtalumni.com/.

Alumni Spring Weekend 2014 events at MTSU can be found at www.mtalumni.com.

MTSU graduates from the past will have nearly 40 events to choose from when they attend the upcoming Alumni Spring Weekend. Events begin Thursday, April 10, and run through Sunday, April 13.

For a complete schedule, visit the MTSU alumni home page, www.mtalumni.com, and click on the “Spring into Middle” flash item.

To locate parking near the various events, a printable campus map can be found at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

Music, theater, art, baseball, tours and more are on the agenda. One event, an alumni group outing to Nashville to attend the play “Wicked” at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, is sold out.

However, tickets remain available for the Thursday through Sunday production of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which opens Wednesday, April 9, in Tucker Theatre. For more information on that production, visit http://mtsunews.com/the-drowsy-chaperone-2014/.

Paul Wydra

Paul Wydra

“Our main goal for Alumni Spring Weekend is to get alumni, family and friends back to campus to see everything that MTSU has to offer and all the changes that have taken place over the years,” said Paul Wydra, assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations.

“We know that many alumni are extremely busy during Homecoming Weekend in the fall so we wanted to sponsor a weekend in spring where different departments on campus could really showcase themselves.

“We want alumni to come back to campus and see all the changes, the new buildings and learn about all the new programs that various departments have now,” he added.

For more information, visit the alumni home page or call 615-898-2922.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU alumnus Williams leads Peabody Award-winning news team

MTSU alumnus Phil Williams and the “NewsChannel5 Investigates” team have won another George Foster Peabody Award, this time for their ongoing investigative report “NewsChannel 5 Investigates: Questions of Influence.”

One of broadcast journalism’s highest honors, this coveted award based at the University of Georgia marks the third such career honor for Williams, who graduated from MTSU in 1985 and joined WTVF-TV in Nashville in 1998.

Phil Williams

The award, which was one of a record 46 Peabody honors chosen from among almost 1,100 entries, recognized WTVF-TV’s reports about Tennessee officials’ involvement in questionable business deals, including Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration’s awarding of hundreds of millions of dollars in state contracts and his business relationship with a powerful Capitol Hill lobbyist.

You can watch the reports online here.

Williams is the chief investigative reporter for the “NewsChannel5 Investigates” team, which includes investigative reporter Ben Hall, photojournalists Bryan Staples and Iain Montgomery, and producer Kevin Wisniewski. News director Sandy Boonstra and assistant news director Michelle Bonnett supervised this investigation.

In addition to the Peabody Awards, Williams has earned three Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards, the George Polk Award for TV Reporting, a National Headliner Award and three IRE Awards, including the IRE Medal, from the Investigative Reporters and Editors organization.

Click on the photo above to see a complete list of the 2014 George Foster Peabody Award winners.

In his days as a print reporter, he was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

In 2003, Williams was inducted into the MTSU College of Mass Communication’s Wall of Fame. The Columbia, Tenn., native returns to MTSU on occasion to speak to students and conduct master classes.

In addition to the WTVF team’s win, local-news Peabody recipients announced April 2 included CBS-owned WBZ-TV and WBZ Newsradio for their extended coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings and the ensuing dragnet; KING-TV in Seattle for its revelations about nuclear-waste leaks and mismanagement at a Hanford, Wash., storage facility; and an exhaustive investigation of Louisiana political contributions that combined the resources of New Orleans station WVUE-TV, The Times-Picayune and NOLA.com.

Other Peabody recipients include a pair of high-profile political melodramas, Netflix’s “House of Cards” and ABC’s “Scandal”; “Burka Avenger,” an animated Pakistani series aimed at empowering girls; and two distinctive probes of the dangers of brain injury in professional football, FRONTLINE’s “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis” and ESPN’s “Outside the Lines: NFL at a Crossroads: Investigating a Health Crisis.”

A complete list of winners is available at www.peabodyawards.com.

Grammy-winning alumnus Luke Laird returns for campus visit

(MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Award-winning songwriter/producer Luke Laird listens to a question during a return trip to his alma mater April 2 to talk with MTSU students about his booming career.

Laird’s appearance in MTSU’s John Bragg Mass Communication Building was sponsored by the MTSU student chapter of Nashville Songwriters Association International.

Laird, a 2001 alumnus of the College of Mass Communication’s recording industry program, co-produced Kasey Musgraves’ “Same Trailer, Different Park,” which took the 2014 Grammy for Best Country Album in January. The release also won Album of the Year honors at the Academy of Country Music Awards April 6.

Laird is up for the ACM’s Songwriter of the Year as well. That award will be announced Sept. 9 at the eighth annual ACM Honors in Nashville.

Laird has had 14 No. 1 singles since he signed his first publishing deal in 2002 and has written for some of music’s biggest artists, including Tim McGraw, Eric Church, Lady Antebellum, Jason Aldean, Blake Shelton, Hunter Hayes, Ne-Yo, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, John Legend and others.

Alumni spring back to campus on ‘MTSU On the Record’ (+VIDEO)

A recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program highlighted the many facets of this year’s Alumni Spring Weekend, which is slated for April 10-12.

Paul Wydra

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Paul Wydra, assistant director of alumni relations, aired earlier this month on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Click on the graphic above for more details about Alumni Spring Weekend 2014 events at MTSU.

Alumni Spring Weekend is an annual event that welcomes graduates and former students back to MTSU to see how the campus has grown and to revisit familiar venues that evoke fond memories of their own collegiate experience.

“We wanted them to have another chance to walk around campus, look at the new buildings, look at the new scenery and really get a feel for how much their school has changed over the years,” Wydra said.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

A video clip of the interview is available below.

MTSU grad plans more career excitement after ‘The Voice’ exit

MTSU grad Austin Ellis isn’t letting an early exit from the NBC singing competition “The Voice” slow his career path.

The 2009 recording industry alumnus already has a Kickstarter campaign underway for a new album after his reality-show experience ended in his first “battle round,” ironically singing Pharrell’s ubiquitous “Happy” with fellow contestant Josh Kaufman.

Austin Ellis

They were two of 12 singers chosen by Maroon 5 frontman/judge Adam Levine to be mentored as part of his “team” for the show’s sixth season. The “battle rounds” force the mentor to cull his team by choosing only one of the singers, but the show’s other celebrity judges can “steal” the one not chosen for their teams.

The judges praised Ellis’ vocals and enthusiasm — Blake Shelton called him a “solid singer” and Usher enthused over his “powerful” voice — but Levine ultimately chose to keep Kaufman.

NBC The Voice graphic web“Celebrating an incredible moment! So much to look forward to! Thank you @NBCTheVoice for giving me the stage to launch my career. All Love!!” Ellis tweeted minutes after the decision aired Monday night.

He then tweeted, “We are launching a KickStarter Campaign to raise funds for my new album! I’d really appreciate the support!”

The episode was recorded last fall; live performance shows don’t begin airing until later in the season. You can watch Ellis and Kaufman perform here.

Ellis, a native of Maryland, focused on commercial songwriting with a minor in entrepreneurship during his MTSU tenure and was on the Dean’s List. He’s continued his music career since graduation, becoming a finalist in the Mountain Stage Newsong Contest and Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and touring the United States and making some international stops to support his independent CD releases, “Coming of A.G.E.” and a self-titled EP.

He made his “The Voice” debut March 10 singing Dobie Gray’s classic “Drift Away” during the show’s first “blind audition,” when the celebrity judges can only hear, not see, the contestants. You can see Ellis’ audition for “The Voice” here and learn more about him at his website, www.austinellismusic.com.

This marked the second year that “The Voice” has chosen an MTSU alumnus from among thousands of hopefuls to compete for $100,000 and a recording contract.

Kris Thomas

Kris Thomas

Kris Thomas, a 2008 MTSU graduate with a degree in psychology, surprised the celebrity judges during “blind auditions” for NBC’s “The Voice” fifth season with his smooth tenor rendition of the Whitney Houston classic “Saving All My Love for You.”

Thomas made it to the show’s top 10 in 2013 before he was voted out by the viewing audience. The Memphis native returned to MTSU last fall to sing the national anthem before MTSU’s football game against the University of Memphis.

Curtis Holland

Jonathan Allen

Ben Briley

Another MTSU alumnus, advertising/public relations grad Ben Briley of Gallatin, Tenn., made it to this season’s top 11 artists on Fox’s “American Idol” before the audience and judges sent him home March 13.

MTSU vocal performance major Jonathan Allen sang himself into the 2013 semifinals of “America’s Got Talent” at Radio City Music Hall before that opportunity ended.

Recording-industry major Curtis Holland tap-danced his way past hundreds of other hopefuls to make the Top 20 of Fox’s 2013 “So You Think You Can Dance,” but a shoulder injury eliminated him from the competition.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU alumnus Austin Ellis, left, sings “Happy” with fellow contestant Josh Kaufman during a “battle round” on NBC’s “The Voice” airing Monday night. (Photo courtesy of Tyler Golden/NBC © NBC Universal, Inc.)