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.
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.
“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 (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)