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MTSU Celebration of Scholars brings major academic...

MTSU Celebration of Scholars brings major academic scholarship recipients to campus

Middle Tennessee State University recently entertained nearly 120 prospective students who have been awarded major academic scholarships to attend starting this fall.

Students from across the state and region received invitations to attend the annual Celebration of Scholars, held Feb. 20 and for the first time in the Student Union Ballroom instead of the President’s Home. The event marks a recognition for students who have received Trustee, Presidential, True Blue and Buchanan scholarships, which are $5,000, $4,000, $3,000 and full-tuition annual awards, respectively.

The high school seniors, who were joined by their parents, had either accepted the scholarship offers or must accept by May 1.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee greets visitors at Celebration of Scholars event.

On the blue carpet, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, greets major academic scholarship recipients and their parents attending the Feb. 20 Celebration of Scholars event in the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The Buchanan Fellowship is the highest academic scholarship, covering full tuition, books and more, and is offered to 20 incoming freshmen. All four major scholarships are renewable annually as long as students maintain the academic requirements.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee called the honorees “blue-chip academic athletes,” adding that the “quality of the students has sky-rocketed” and noting how the 2017-18 freshman class ranks No. 1 in university history in terms of entering GPA and ACT and SAT scores.

“MTSU is second fiddle to no one,” McPhee said. “You are the future of our country and our future leaders.”

The president recalled how $1 billion in new and renovated facilities has taken place in the past 10 to 12 years, including the $147 million Science Building and renovated Wiser-Patten Science Hall and Davis Science Building.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses Celebration of Scholars crowd.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee speaks to the crowd gathered for the annual Celebration of Scholars Feb. 20 in the Student Union Ballroom. More than 100 major academic scholarship recipients attended. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

“We have a family atmosphere and are working to make sure you are successful,” he added.

McPhee invited the 265 guests to the President’s House following the program, adding that he would have preferred to keep the event at his and first lady Elizabeth McPhee‘s residence at the intersection of East Main Street and Middle Tennessee Boulevard. The increasing crowd size forced event organizers to seek a larger venue.

University Provost Mark Byrnes and Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost for enrollment and academic services, also spoke to the incoming scholarship recipients; Sells welcomed the visitors while Byrnes introduced the university’s deans.

Students received copies of this year’s Community Summer Reading Program book, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson. Many students and parents also attended the Honors College Presidents Day Open House, held the day before the Celebration of Scholars.

MTSU features more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

Copies of 2018 Summer Reading Book were given to major academic scholarship recipients.

Major MTSU academic scholarship recipients — students who will be part of the class of 2022 — wait to pick up copies of the summer 2018 reading book, “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,” by Bryan Stevenson Feb. 20 while attending the annual Celebration of Scholars event in the Student Union. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU first lady Elizabeth McPhee conducts tour of President's House.

MTSU first lady Elizabeth McPhee, second from left, conducts a tour of the President’s House with prospective incoming students Matthew Penny, left, and Taylor Gregory, and their mothers, Amy Penny and Michelle Gregory. Celebration of Scholars events have been held in the home of Sidney A. and Elizabeth McPhee until this year. Crowd size forced a move to the Student Union Ballroom, but the McPhees still invited visitors to their home after the event ended. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

The Hendricks family of Lebanon, Tenn., checks out the Summer Reading Book.

Rochelle, left, and Stephen Hendricks of Lebanon, Tenn., watch their son Andrew sift through the 2018 MTSU summer reading book required for incoming 2018-19 freshmen. The family attended the Celebration of Scholars event Feb. 20 in the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU first lady Elizabeth McPhee welcomes those visiting the President's Home as part of the Celebration of Scholars event.

Attendees at the Feb. 20 Celebration of Scholars event at MTSU listen as first lady Elizabeth McPhee, center, welcomes them and discusses some of the home’s features. The students are major academic scholarship recipients for 2018-19. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)