Alumni Summer College experts unravel mysteries (+...

Alumni Summer College experts unravel mysteries (+VIDEO)

A record 72 alumni and friends of Middle Tennessee State University learned “Whodunit?” by attending the sixth annual Alumni Summer College.

The event was held in early summer inside MTSU’s Student Union and off-campus at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Nashville, the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy near Deason, Tenn., and the Bell Buckle Banquet Hall.

Watch a video from the 2013 session of Alumni Summer College below.

“The purpose of Alumni Summer College is to provide opportunity for alumni and friends to connect with programs on campus while learning about interesting subjects,” said Rhonda King, an assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations.

“While alumni benefit from being aware of what is happening at their alma mater, they are blessed by the relationships that can form over the three days that they spend together,” King said.

“Many of the group attend every year and look forward to spending time with their ‘summer camp’ friends.”

The members of this year’s class were lured into solving mysteries, King said, adding that from crime scene investigations to synthetic drugs, they all learned “whodunit,” the theme for this year’s Alumni Summer College.

“The murder-mystery dinner provided much entertainment as class members took on 1920’s gangster personas to find out who killed the mob boss,” King said. “It was surprising to see how many actors were in the class.

“It’s an example of how Alumni Summer College gives you the chance to cut loose and have fun. Whether an attendee is an alumnus or a spouse or friend of an alumus, it’s an inclusive atmosphere where all share a Blue Raider bond.”

Some of the state’s finest experts provided knowledge and expertise for this year’s event, including:

  • MTSU sociology and anthropology professor Hugh Berryman;
  • Mike Breedlove, an MTSU alumnus and TBI special agent;
  • TBI deputy director and alumnus Ed Jones (and other TBI employees, many of them alumni);
  • Office of the Tennessee Attorney General investigator and alumnus Trey King;
  • Alumnus and crime/mystery novelist Ken Vanderpool;
  • Fire service academy executive director Roger Hawks; and
  • Gary West, state Department of Commerce and Insurance fire prevention division assistant commissioner.

Jim Dunlap, 2013-14 MTSU National Alumni Association board president, was attending his fourth Alumni Summer College and said the event is “great and educational, in addition to all the enjoyment we have.”

Alumna Marilyn Peters of Manchester, Tenn., brought her daughter, Ami Bird of Manchester, and a granddaughter, Katrina Peters, who is a nurse from Nashville, to the event.

First-time attendee Shirley Neece, a retired first-grade teacher from Fayetteville, Tenn., said she plans to invite family and friends to future Alumni Summer Colleges.

Next year’s program and theme are already in the works, King said.

“As always, it promises to be a great time,” she said. “Look for information to be posted to around the first of the year (January 2014).”

To learn more about alumni activities, visit

— Randy Weiler (

MTSU alumna Faye Brandon peers into her Alumni Summer College tote bag to see what may be coming up next in the 2013 event. She and her fellow attendees were gathered in the Parliamentary Room of the new Student Union. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU Alumni Summer College “students” visit with Tennessee Bureau of Investigation special agent Mike Breedlove, an alumnus of the university. (photo submitted)