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MTSU True Blue Tour: Prospective Memphis, Jackson ...

MTSU True Blue Tour: Prospective Memphis, Jackson students fill MTSU event venues

JACKSON AND MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Jackson (Tennessee) North Side High School senior had just had her name drawn by Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee for a $3,000 scholarship during the Oct. 18 True Blue Tour event at the Jackson Country Club.

Jackson was the sixth stop on the 12-city True Blue Tour as MTSU travels all across Tennessee and out of state to Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama, recruiting students for 2018 and beyond with nighttime student receptions and luncheons for counselors and area community colleges.

Samaria Yarbrough discusses her goal to study criminal justice.

Samaria Yarbrough, right, talks about her ambition to study criminal justice in college and eventually become a criminal lawyer as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee listens Oct. 18 during the True Blue Tour visit to Jackson, Tenn. McPhee drew Yarbrough’s name and offered her a $3,000 scholarship. She is a North Side High School senior. Also pictured is admissions recruiter October Henson, (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

“I’ve been praying hard, hoping I’d get a scholarship,” said Yarbrough, who wants to study criminal justice and eventually become a criminal lawyer. She added she has applied but not been accepted, and plans to attend MTSU’s second Fall Preview Day Saturday, Nov. 4.

One hundred students and 165 guests attended in Jackson, but one of the largest crowds ever for an MTSU True Blue Tour event — 359 students and almost 600 guests — nearly filled event venue Esplande Memphis in Cordova, Tennessee, to capacity Oct. 17.

At the Memphis event, Aaqilah Dearman, 17, a senior at Bartlett (Tenn.) High School, said MTSU is her first choice for a college.

“I have visited and I liked it. I felt like it was a good fit for me and fell in love with the campus,” said Dearman, who has a 4.0 GPA and plans to study psychology. “I’m really interested in learning about human behavior … how people think.”

MTSU Media Arts Chair Billy Pittard admires photos taken by Central High's Christian Fouche.

Christian Fouche, left, a senior at Central High School in Memphis, Tenn., shows MTSU Department of Media Arts Chair Billy Pittard some photographs he has taken. The exchange occurred Oct. 17 during the MTSU Memphis True Blue Tour stop in Cordova, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Steven Pettigrew, 17, a White Station High School senior with a 3.6 GPA said his interest was in MTSU’s aerospace program. McPhee drew Pettigrew’s name and offered him a $2,000 scholarship.

“Ever since I was a kid, I have always wanted to be a pilot,” said Pettigrew, who plans to apply soon to MTSU. “Seeing planes in the sky really inspired me. I can’t fly like Superman, but I can fly an airplane.”

While in Jackson, McPhee and Jackson State Community College President Allana Hamilton signed a memorandum of understanding to reaffirm their partnership in easing the transition of prospective transfer students from the college to the Murfreesboro university.

Next up for the MTSU recruiting team are back-to-back Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 25-26, visits to Johnson City and Knoxville, Tennessee. The 6 p.m. ET student reception in Johnson City will be at The Millennium Centre. MTSU will have an 11:30 a.m. ET luncheon for counselors and community college staff and 6 p.m. ET student reception at The Foundry at the Fair Site in Knoxville.

The True Blue Tour events are free. To register, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php.

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

An enthusiastic crowd in Jackson, Tenn.

An enthusiastic crowd in Jackson, Tenn., listens as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee draws for scholarships and iPads Oct. 18 at the Jackson Country Club. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

One of the largest-ever True Blue Tour crowds attended Memphis event.

One of the largest MTSU True Blue Tour crowds ever covers nearly all of the event room area at the Memphis stop Oct. 17. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)


Kentucky students discover programs, fee options

LOUISVILLE and BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Prospective Middle Tennessee State University student Grayson Thurman came to the university’s True Blue Tour event in Louisville, Kentucky, from Frankfort, the state capital. Others came from Fairdale, Shelbyville and other local communities.

Clayton Karsner, 16 drove to Bowling Green with his mother and father, Ramona and Steve Karsner, from about two hours away in Danville. Others came to Bowling Green from other adjacent counties and from Gallatin and Greenbrier, Tennessee.

They came from near and far to learn about the higher education opportunities available to them at MTSU. In addition to Kentucky, the tour visits Atlanta, Georgia, and Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama, and seven Tennessee cities from Memphis to Johnson City. MTSU hosts student receptions and counselor luncheons.

Madeline, Lana and Michael Campbell listen to MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee talk about the university.

Madeline, left, Lana and Michael Campbell of Fairdale, Ky., listen as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee discusses the university’s offerings and opportunities Oct. 12 during the True Blue Tour visit to Louisville. Madeline Campbell, 16, is a junior at Oldham County High School in Buckner, Ky. (MTSU photo by David Foster)

“We appreciate you all coming here (to Louisville),” said Amy Medley, a counselor at duPont Manual High School, and mother of Jackson Medley, 16, a sophomore at Christian Academy of Louisville, whom she brought to the student reception. Her son is interested in the Department of Aerospace professional pilot program.

In both Louisville and Bowling Green, Peter Cunningham, vice provost for academic programs, shared about the Regional Scholars Program and Academic Common Market for qualifying students from the Bluegrass State.

Academic Common Market programs available to Kentucky students include aerospace’s unmanned aircraft systems (drones), Concrete Industry Management, animation and recording industry’s audio production, commercial songwriting and music business.

Students interested in these programs, which are not offered at Kentucky colleges or universities, may qualify for in-state tuition at MTSU.

MTSU administrator Petter Cunningham, left, talks to the Michael Karsner family of Fairdale, Ky., about the university's Academic Common Market.

Peter Cunningham, left, MTSU vice provost for academic programs, shares information about the Academic Common Market, with Clayton Karsner and his parents, Ramona and Steve Karsner, Oct. 11 during the MTSU True Blue Tour visit to Bowling Green, Ky. Clayton Karsner, 16, is a junior at Boyle County High School in Danville, Ky. His older sister, Madi, is a sophomore in the MTSU College of Education. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

The Regional Scholars Program allows select Kentucky students living within 250 miles of the Murfreesboro campus and meeting specific academic requirements to attend MTSU at a greatly reduced rate (about 48 percent) as well as qualify for freshman academic merit scholarships.

For more on the Academic Common Market, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/acm/. To learn more about the Regional Scholars Program, visit

http://www.mtsu.edu/financial-aid/scholarships/regional-scholars.php.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Linda Olsen, undergraduate recruitment director, also promoted the Saturday, Nov. 4, Fall Preview Day and Dec. 1 deadline to apply and be considered for major scholarships.

To register for other tour events, visit www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php. 

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

Adviser Irina Novohilova, left, gives information to Terence Pettus Jr. as Terence Pettus Sr. listens during True Blue Tour event in Louisville.

MTSU College of Basic and Applied Sciences adviser Irina Novohilova, left, shares the name of a fellow adviser with Terence Pettus Jr., 15, a junior at Shawneed High School Magnet Career Academy, as Terence Pettus Sr. observes. The exchange took place Oct 12 during the True Blue Tour visit to Louisville, Ky. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Josh Sampson provides Jones College of Business information to Cameron Harrison and his mother, Octavia Pendleton.

MTSU Jones College of Business adviser Josh Sampson, left, explains about the variety of programs — accounting, finance and more — offered by the college to Cameron Harrison, right, his mother, Octavia Pendleton, and sister Cameera Harrison, Oct. 11 at the True Blue Tour event in Bowling Green, Ky. Cameron Harrison, 16, is a junior at South Warren High School. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)


MTSU True Blue Tour makes ‘amazing’ Nashville visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Taylin Meneese likes the idea of studying abroad some day as a Middle Tennessee State University student. The East Literature Magnet School senior also is interested in MTSU’s internationally recognized video and film production program in the College of Media and Entertainment.

University President Sidney A. McPhee made life a lot more interesting for Meneese when he drew her name, offered her a $1,000 scholarship and presented her with an iPad Thursday, Oct. 5, during the MTSU True Blue Tour Nashville event at the Millennium Maxwell House.

Mother and daughter Shavonne and Taylin Manesse celebrate with a selfie.

An excited Shavonne, left, and Taylin Meneese, take a mother-and-daughter selfie after MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee offered Taylin a $1,000 scholarship and presented her with an iPad during a drawing Oct. 5 during the True Blue Tour visit to Nashville at the Millennium Maxwell House. Taylin Meneese, 17, is a senior at East Literature Magnet School. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Nashville was the second stop on the tour, as MTSU travels from Memphis to Johnson City in Tennessee and then out of state, to Louisville and Bowling Green, Kentucky; Atlanta, Georgia; and Huntsville and Birmingham, Alabama, interacting with thousands of prospective students for 2018 and beyond.

“It’s crazy and amazing,” said Meneese. “If I had not come here for the event, I wouldn’t have won a scholarship and an iPad. It’s really big. I’m really excited and really shocked. I wasn’t expecting it.”

Meneese, 17, took an MTSU campus tour last spring.

“I really like the campus,” she said. “It’s the perfect size. I like the diversity, and it offers a communications program. It’s right up my alley.”

The young woman attended with her mother, Shavonne Meneese; brother, Paul; sister, Mylah; and friend Savion Davis, who also is a senior at East Literature.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee visits with seniors at Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, visits with a group of friends and senior classmates at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School in Nashville Oct. 5 during the True Blue Tour visit at the Millennium Maxwell House. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Trinity Payton, 17, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet School, has visited MTSU’s Murfreesboro campus multiple times. His interests are in theater in the College of Liberal Arts and visual art in the College of Media and Entertainment.

“We look forward to getting you to campus permanently,” McPhee said during a conversation with Payton and his mother, Darlene Payton. Trinity Payton’s name later was drawn for an iPad.

Earlier in the day, MTSU entertained area high school counselors and community college staff with a luncheon. McPhee offered several thousand dollars in scholarships the counselors and community college staff can award to their students.

Next up for the MTSU recruiting team is a Wednesday, Oct. 11, visit to Bowling Green. Both the 12:30 p.m. luncheon and 6 p.m. student reception will be held at the Sloan Convention Center/Holiday Inn University Plaza, 1021 Wilkinson Trace.

To register for other tour events, visit www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php. 

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

Trever Thomas offers advice to Trinity Payton at Nashville True Blue Tour event.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment adviser Trever Thomas, left, consults with Trinity Payton, 17, a senior at Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School Oct. 5 during the MTSU True Blue Tour student reception at the Millennium Maxwell House Nashville. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Nashville-area students learn about MTSU study abroad opportunities from Lisa Eddy.

Lisa Eddy, right, coordinator with the MTSU Education Abroad program, shares the many possibilities students have to study overseas as an attentive group of prospective Blue Raiders and their families listen. The exchange occurred Oct. 5 during the annual True Blue Tour visit to Nashville at the Millennium Maxwell House.

Prospective students attend the 2017 Nashville True Blue Tour.

A crowd of prospective students attends the MTSU True Blue Tour event Oct. 5 at the Millennium Maxwell House Nashville, the second stop on the 12-city tour to recruit in Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Alabama.


MTSU True Blue Tour: University leaders’ visit thrills Williamson students

FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Sporting an MTSU T-shirt saying “Everyone Looks Better in True Blue,” Christan Lee of Franklin, Tennessee, attended her third consecutive True Blue Tour event, virtually confirming her status as sold-out for Middle Tennessee State University.

Logan Sizemore of Nolensville, Tennessee, attended the prospective student recruiting reception Tuesday, Oct. 3, wanting to learn about MTSU’s Engineering Technology Program, particularly mechatronics. He and his father, Les, were among the first to arrive and happened to walk in with university President Sidney A. McPhee.

Williamson County high school students show enthusiasm at the Oct. 3 MTSU True Blue Tour in Franklin, Tenn.

High school students from Williamson County show enthusiasm as MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee awards scholarships, iPads and other items Oct. 3 during the True Blue Tour visit at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs. (MTSU photo by David Foster)

Those were just two of many individual stories from the event held at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, the first of 12 True Blue Tour events to be held in seven Tennessee and five out-of-state cities. MTSU goes on the road each year across the South to recruit undergraduate, transfer and graduate students.

Lee, 16, a junior at Centennial High School, has visited the Murfreesboro campus before, attending previous Expanding Your Horizons in Math and Science conferences. They feature STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — experiments and inform girls and young women about career opportunities in those areas.

Lee’s mother, Genia Lee, also wore a True Blue Tour T-shirt she won at a prior event. “I have seen the progress of the campus and it blows my mind and how the university invests in students,” she said.

Centennial High junior Christan Lee learns about College of Behavioral and Health Sciences programs.

Christan Lee, 16, left, a junior at Centennial High School in Franklin, Tenn., learns about the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences from adviser Natalie Neel. Their discussion took place Oct. 3 during the annual True Blue Tour at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, the first of 12 such visits across the South. It marks Lee’s third straight tour event in Franklin. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

“They are always adding something new on campus and make you feel that ‘it’s all about you,’” Genia Lee said. “They make it better. It’s how you can get there and accomplish your goals.”

Lee added that College of Education Dean Lana Seivers “has been so supportive in relation to dual enrollment. Any questions you have, they are very prompt in answering.”

In addition to one-on-one time with McPhee, Logan Sizemore and his father talked with College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer and adviser Susanna Wassom.

“It’s really interesting, very informative and made me think about what I want to plan for my future,” said Sizemore, 16, a Nolensville High junior who moved to Tennessee from Florida about a year ago.

“I definitely want to keep an open mind. MTSU is a good option.”

Les and Logan Sizemore learn more about the engineering technology and mechatronics programs at MTSU.

Father and son Les, left, and Logan Sizemore listen and learn more about the MTSU engineering program from College of Basic and Applied Sciences adviser Susanna Wassom. The interaction occurred Oct. 3 during the True Blue Tour recruiting visit to Franklin, Tenn. Logan Sizemore, 16, is a junior at Nolensville High School. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

He’s fascinated with mechatronics, a design process that includes a combination of mechanical, electrical, control and computer engineering.

McPhee made MTSU an even sweeter option by awarding young Sizemore a scholarship, as he did for Caitlyn O’Brian, 19, a Columbia State Community College sophomore planning to study occupational therapy, and several other prospective students.

MTSU parent Jennifer Behling of Brentwood, Tennessee, the mother of current MTSU physics student and University Honors College Buchanan Scholar Max Behling, informed the crowd her son “told me recently he’s never been so happy in his life.”

“Hearing it from a parent, you cannot put a value on it,” McPhee said.

The president took a few minutes to address concerns about campus safety, noting that “very few issues happen on campus” and mentioning the $1.2 million MTSU has invested in safety measures and equipment to keep students, faculty, staff and guests more secure.

Earlier in the day, MTSU entertained high school counselors and community college staff with a luncheon. McPhee offered about $4,500 in scholarships the counselors and community college staff can award to their students.

Next up for the MTSU recruiting team is a Thursday, Oct. 5, visit to Nashville. Both the luncheon and 6 p.m. student reception will be held at the Millennium Maxwell House, 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

To register for other tour events, visit www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php. 

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

MTSU School of Music faculty members share about the program with prospective students and parents.

MTSU School of Music professor Jennifer Vanatta-Hall, left, talks with a prospective student and her mother Oct. 3 during the university’s True Blue Tour event at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs. (MTSU photo by John Goodwin)

Steven Madanat discusses his son's love for flying.

Steven Madanat, left, discusses his son’s interest in becoming a pilot as his wife, Angel, son, Sami, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee listen. The visit took place Oct. 3 during the True Blue Tour stop at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs. (MTSU photo by David Foster)


MTSU True Blue Tour headed to Franklin, Nashville soon

Sept. 28, 2017

Middle Tennessee State University’s admissions team, administrators and staff from multiple departments will kick off the 2017 True Blue Tour with stops in Franklin, Tennessee, and Nashville.

MTSU goes on the road to recruit prospective undergraduate, graduate and transfer students Tuesday, Oct. 3, in Franklin and Thursday, Oct. 5, in Nashville.

The Franklin/Williamson County True Blue Tour event will be held at the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd. It features a 12:30 p.m. luncheon for area high school counselors and community college staff and a 6 p.m. reception for students and their families.

MTSU then ventures to Nashville, where an 11:30 a.m. luncheon for counselors/community college staff and 6 p.m. reception for students and families will be held at the Millennium Maxwell House, 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Provost Mark Byrnes will join other administrators and deans from the university’s eight academic colleges, advisers and counselors from the admissions and financial aid offices on the tour. They will be on hand to answer questions from prospective students, potential transfer students and their parents at the events.

The events are free. To register, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/schedule-a-visit/special-events.php. 

The True Blue Tour expands to 12 cities across Tennessee and the region. MTSU added Birmingham, Alabama, as a recruiting stop — Wednesday, Nov. 8, the final destination as the university prepares for 2018 and beyond.

Other out-of-state locations include Bowling Green (Wednesday, Oct. 11) and Louisville (Thursday, Oct. 12); and Atlanta, Georgia (Thursday, Nov. 2).

MTSU promotes its Regional Scholars Program and Academic Common Market in Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

In Tennessee, MTSU also visits Memphis Tuesday, Oct. 17; Jackson Wednesday, Oct. 18; Johnson City Wednesday, Oct. 25; Knoxville Thursday, Oct. 26; and Chattanooga Wednesday, Nov. 1.

Linda Olsen, director of undergraduate recruitment, encourages prospective students and their families to “plan to join MTSU as we visit a city near you. We will be traveling from our campus in Murfreesboro to share our True Blue spirit with those who want to learn more about MTSU.”

“The True Blue Tour is a great opportunity to come out and meet President McPhee, our college deans, departmental advisers and enrollment staff who can help show you how to join our MTSU family,” Olsen added.

McPhee calls the True Blue Tours “the highlight of our recruitment events.”

Last year, MTSU’s contingent “traveled to these tour stops to present information about admissions, scholarships, financial aid and academic programs to nearly 3,000 prospective students and family members,” he said.

McPhee said alumni and friends of the university from across Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky are welcome.

For more information, call email admissions@mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2233.


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