Special ceremony highlights 20 freshman scholars

Special ceremony highlights 20 freshman scholars

The top scholars in MTSU’s 2012-13 freshman class — a “strong and diverse” group, according to University Honors College Dean John Vile —have been formally recognized on campus.

The Honors College’s 20 newest Buchanan Fellows participated in the sixth annual inauguration ceremony Sept. 28 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College at MTSU, jokes with the new Buchanan Fellows, including, from left, Keaton Davis, Jacob Goza, Morgan Hunlen, Zachary Hutcherson, Michele Kelley, Evan Lester and Chloe Madigan, during their Oct. 1 inauguration ceremony in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. Also pictured at Vile’s right is senior Buchanan Fellow Kelsey Wells, who entertained with fiddle music. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

“This class is as strong and as diverse as any,” Vile said. “I consider it a tribute to MTSU and to the Honors College that we have succeeded in attracting such an auspicious group of scholars.”

Vile said the incoming students include band, choral and choir members; thespians, Advanced Placement Scholars, National Achievement Scholars and athletes; a member of the Civil Air Patrol, a recipient of a Presidential Volunteer Service Award and yearbook editors.

The Honors College awards the Buchanan Fellowship, named in honor of alumnus James M. Buchanan (Class of 1940), the recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. The fellowship is the highest academic award given to an entering MTSU student.

This year marks the university’s sixth class of Buchanan Fellows.

The 2012-13 class of Buchanan Fellows includes five graduates of Murfreesboro’s Siegel High School and three from Riverdale. The Buchanan scholars come from all across Tennessee as well as from Georgia, Washington state and Mississippi. Four are aerospace majors, and pre-law, pre-med and early childhood education are a sampling of other majors in the group.

This year’s Buchanan student’s average ACT score was 31.1, Vile said. The new scholars’ average high school GPA was 3.915.

MTSU’s newest class of Buchanan Fellows, including, from left, Emily Ball, Keaton Davis, Jacob Goza, Chelsea Harmon, Morgan Hunlen, Zachary Hutcherson, Michele Kelley, Evan Lester and Chloe Madigan, await the start of their Oct. 1 inauguration ceremony.

Notable Buchanan Fellows alumni include Adam Emerson, a Fulbright Scholar; Evan Craig, a Goldwater Scholarship winner; Lauren Rigsby, a Goldwater honorable mention; Jennifer Johnson, winner of the Omicron Delta Kappa Foundation Scholarship; and Taffy O’Neil, who has written two book, including a second novel that was her thesis.

“In terms of future achievement, the sky is truly the limit for our Buchanan Fellows,” Vile said.

MTSU junior Katelyn Stringer of Smyrna, Tenn., and sophomore Nick Myhre of Murfreesboro delivered the welcome on behalf of previous Buchanan classes. MTSU Provost Brad Bartel provided welcoming remarks during the ceremony, and senior Buchanan Fellow Kelsey Wells of Murfreesboro provided fiddle music for the entertainment.

The 2012 Buchanan Fellows include:

  • Emily Annette Ball of Christiana, Tenn., a graduate of Riverdale High School and an accounting major;
  • Keaton Alexander Davis of Murfreesboro, a graduate of Siegel High School and a construction management major;
  • Jacob Charles Goza of Cleveland, Tenn., a graduate of Walker Valley High School and a political science major;
  • Chelsea Rebecca Harmon of Johnson City, Tenn., a graduate of University School and a science major;
  • Morgan Gregory Hunlen of Decatur, Ga., a graduate of Chamblee Charter High School and an aerospace major;
  • Zachary Kent Hutcherson of Greeneville, Tenn., a graduate of Greeneville High School and an aerospace major;
  • Michele Kelley of Murfreesboro, a Siegel High graduate whose major is undeclared;
  • Evan Michael Lester of Columbia, Tenn., a graduate of Hampshire High School and an aerospace major;
  • Chloe McKenzie Madigan of Murfreesboro, a Siegel graduate and an English major;
  • Kailey Dawn McDonald of Murfreesboro, a Siegel graduate and a mathematics major;
  • Yusra Fatima Mohammed of Murfreesboro, a Siegel graduate and a science major;
  • Erin Grace Paul of Smyrna, a Smyrna High School graduate and an early-childhood education major;
  • Linton Gene Prieskorn III of Murfreesboro, a graduate of Heritage Covenant High School and undeclared;
  • Matthew Thomas Lyles of Everett, Wash., a graduate of Henry M. Jackson High School and a music major;
  • Mason Trent Riley of Christiana, a Riverdale graduate and science major;
  • Trevor Dillon Smith of McKenzie, Tenn., a graduate of McKenzie High School and forensic science major;
  • Nathan Scott Tilton of Brookhaven, Miss, a Hinkson Christian Academy graduate and aerospace major;
  • Logan Johnson Whiles of Blountville, Tenn., a graduate of Tennessee High School in Bristol and a biology major;
  • Trevor James Wiemann of Murfreesboro, a Riverdale graduate and finance major; and
  • Larissa Christina Wolf of Murfreesboro, a Blackman High graduate and biology major.

Prospective Buchanan Fellowship recipients must apply for undergraduate admission to MTSU by Dec. 1 of the year before full enrollment. They also must have a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher and a composite score of 29 on the ACT, provide an official transcript and write an essay of 500 words or less.

For more information, call 615-898-2152 or visit

— Randy Weiler (