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MTSU alumna donates $100K for new student success ...

MTSU alumna donates $100K for new student success program

Wright Travel Service founder Pam Wright, an MTSU alumna, jump-started the college careers of 11 MTSU students Oct. 7 with a $100,000 donation to the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.

Pam Wright

Pam Wright

The money will fund the Wright Travel Leadership Scholarship Program, an endeavor designed to motivate students through strategic coaching, formal mentoring opportunities and pathways to scholarship money upon completion of specific criteria.

“In addition, during the academic year, they will participate in personal development sessions that will include leadership, networking and honing interpersonal skills,” said Brelinda Johnson, who manages the college’s 16 advisers.

Wright, who graduated from MTSU with a degree in psychology before making a life-altering decision to form her own travel agency, encouraged the scholars to follow their professional passion.

“Find the thing that makes you want to go to your career every day, not to go just to a job that you don’t particularly enjoy going to,” Wright said.

Members of the inaugural class needed a minimum 2.5 GPA, a Middle Tennessee residence and faculty and/or adviser recommendations. During the program’s first year, each student was required to complete a minimum of 60 hours of course work and subsequent years’ minimum of 40 hours’ course work.

Dr. Harold “Terry” Whiteside, dean of the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, center, accepts a $100,000 check from Pam Wright, center right, founder of Wright Travel, to start the Wright Travel Leadership Scholarship Program. Scholars, from left, are, Mary Grace Farone, Tia Pride (partially obscured), Brittany Harris, Kamaria Cross, Faith Metcalf (partially obscured), Cambre Godwin and Smatha Denby. At far right are MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, front, and Dr. Scott Colclough, associate dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dr. Harold “Terry” Whiteside, dean of the MTSU College of Behavioral and Health Sciences, center, accepts a $100,000 check from Pam Wright, center right, founder of Wright Travel, to start the Wright Travel Leadership Scholarship Program. Scholars, from left, are, Mary Grace Farone, Tia Pride (partially obscured), Brittany Harris, Kamaria Cross, Faith Metcalf (partially obscured), Cambre Godwin and Smatha Denby. At far right are MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, front, and Dr. Scott Colclough, associate dean of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Beginning in spring 2016 and each subsequent spring semester, participating CBHS scholars must meet the following requirements to be eligible to apply for Wright Travel scholarships in still-to-be-finalized amounts:

  • a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • completion of personal development workshops.
  • a personal strategic plan developed and on file with the college’s student success officer.
  • a recommendation from a faculty member or professional mentor.
  • active involvement in a community or campus service project.

“I’m going to do everything in the world in my power to save you if you fall out of this boat, but, if you do, you’d better become an active participant in your own rescue,” said Dr. Colby Jubenville, the college’s student success officer and a professor of health and human performance.

“This makes me so excited for my future, actually,” said Smatha Denby, a criminal justice major from Tullahoma, Tennessee.

“I look forward to helping people and giving back, and I’m really grateful for the opportunity to advance in leadership.”

In addition to Denby, the 2015-16 Wright Travel Scholars, their majors and Tennessee hometowns, are:

  • Mary Grace Farone, nutrition and food science dietetics, Murfreesboro.
  • Tia Pride, psychology, Antioch.
  • Cambre Godwin, leisure, sports and tourism, Hampshire.
  • Brittany Harris, social work, Murfreesboro.
  • Faith Metcalf, child development and family studies, Memphis.
  • Kamaria Cross, social work, Memphis.
  • Sheena Collins, pre-nursing, Memphis.
  • Erica Brown, community and public health, Memphis.
  • Ashley Feltner, pre-nursing, Manchester.
  • Alexia Moore, textile and merchandising design, Cordova.

For more information, contact Bea Perdue, development director, at 615-898-2417 or bea.perdue@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)


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