SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — For four years, the Middle Tennessee Education Center has brought university classes closer to Midstate residents who don’t live close to a college.
The joint project of MTSU, Motlow State Community College and Bedford County government will celebrate its four-year anniversary with a coffee from 10 a.m. to noon Thursday, Feb. 20, at the center at 200 Dover St. in Shelbyville.
The event is free and open to the public.
“We’re very proud of the progress we’ve made in bringing higher education to the citizens of Bedford and surrounding counties, making it far more readily accessible and affordable,” said center coordinator Wayne Dillingham.
Dillingham said the center’s value stands out even more when placed in the context of the latest study from the Pew Research Center.
Pew’s research shows that people with a college degree now make $17,500 more per year, on average, than those without a degree. It also indicates that people without college degrees are four times more likely to be jobless.
“Through on-site faculty instruction and through videoconferencing, we want to offer complete academic programs that lead to MTSU baccalaureate degrees,” Dillingham said.
MTEC currently offers on-site MTSU programs from the Department of Elementary and Special Education, the Department of Management and Marketing and the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, in addition to graduate degrees in education.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved the center as an instructional site in February 2009, but Dillingham marks the Feb. 18, 2010, ribbon-cutting ceremony at MTEC as its official birthday. He also is marking his anniversary as the center’s coordinator.
“The lion’s share of the credit will always remain with Bedford County Mayor Eugene Ray,” said Dillingham. “MTEC is truly his brainchild. He realized that communities that grow and prosper almost always have a college campus.”
Refreshments available at the event will include MTSU-made chocolate milk as well as scones, Danish pastries, assorted fruits, coffee and birthday cake.
For more information, contact Dillingham at 931-685-4444 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
— Gina K. Logue (email@example.com)
UPDATE: To view the Shelbyville Times-Gazette’s photos and video of Middle Tennessee Education Center’s fourth anniversary party, go to www.t-g.com/gallery/mtecbirthday.