MTSU’s Bozeman, Van Patten among spellers in Celeb...

MTSU’s Bozeman, Van Patten among spellers in Celebrity Bee fundraiser Nov. 3

Middle Tennessee State University will be well represented with two True Blue spellers at the upcoming Read to Succeed “Celebrity Bee” set for Thursday, Nov. 3.

Greg Van Patten, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, and Amelia Bozeman, director of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center at MTSU and adjunct professor in the Jones College of Business, will be among the 10 local “celebrities” raising funds for the nonprofit, which has a mission to improve lives in Rutherford County by offering free literacy programs and events for adults, families and children.

The annual event is set for Thursday evening, Nov. 3, at the Cooper Ridge Event Center, 3597 Betty Ford Road, Murfreesboro, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and the bee starting at 6:30 p.m. 

Tickets are $75 each and are available at Those unable to attend can visit the RTS Celebrity Bee page to see the full roster of spellers and click the “donate” button next to their image in support of one or more spellers.

Amelia Bozeman, director, Tennessee Small Business Development Center at MTSU, adjunct professor, Jones College of Business, alumna
Amelia Bozeman
Dr. Greg Van Patten, professor, Chemistry; interim dean, CBAS
Dr. Greg Van Patten

“I love the mission. Literacy is the key to so much in life,” Bozeman says in a video testimonial on the RTS website. “It is the key to education, it’s the path to success, it’s the path to independence, and literacy opens up a world of adventure.”

In his video testimonial, Van Patten expressed his excitement to support RTS as well as some tongue-in-cheek confidence that he has “a good shot of winning this thing” despite “being a math and science guy.” (Watch to learn the source of his great confidence.)

“Reading is critical to learning, education, knowledge and communication,” a more serious Van Patten shared in a testimonial posted beneath his video. “It is important for basic function and survival in today’s world, but it is also important for learning about any topic, including current events, for documenting and preserving history, and for clearly sharing ideas. Reading brings us together through communication, and it provides cheap and efficient entertainment and pleasure.”

MTSU Alumni logo web

In addition to Bozeman and Van Patten’s participation, several MTSU alumni are also serving as celebrity spellers: Trey Duke, director of Murfreesboro City Schools; Mark Gonyea, principal of Plainview Elementary; Kedrick Howse, business development officer at Redstone Federal Credit Union; Romel McMurry, health care liaison at Change Healthcare; and Vonchelle Stembridge, facility director of the Bradley Academy Museum and Cultural Center.

Read to Succeed was established in the summer of 2003 through the collaboration of Rutherford County educators, social workers, agency directors, community helpers and volunteers. Funding came through the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation.

Since then, Read to Succeed has developed Reading in the Schools Day, Read To Bee, Imagination Station, UNPLUG and Read!, One Book, ELL classes, and a one-on-one tutoring program for adults.

For more information, email, phone 615-738-READ (7323) or visit

— Jimmy Hart (

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