Clarksville students explore MTSU options during T...

Clarksville students explore MTSU options during True Blue Tour

CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. — Jungjin An of Rossview High School knows exactly what he wants and it’s at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. Wearing an “I Love Middle Tennessee” T-shirt, Yasmin Thornton of Northeast High School isn’t so sure what she wants, but she has applied to MTSU.

During MTSU’s True Blue Tour visit Tuesday (Sept. 25) to Clarksville, Decorius Simpkins of Northwest High School received a certificate for a $2,000 scholarship while he waits to hear if his application has been accepted. Montgomery Central sophomore Cheyenne Douthitt has time to consider her college choice, but MTSU’s recognition of her as a True Blue 100 Freshmen in Tennessee may sway her decision.

Clarksville-area high school students show their approval

Students attending the MTSU True Blue Tour event Sept. 25 in Clarksville, Tenn., show their approval for President Sidney A. McPhee’s scholarship and other giveaways. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

These were among the dozens of personal narratives playing out when the tour visited Clarksville for the first time, courting the area’s high school students with a reception and counselors with a luncheon. Students from Clarksville High, Northeast, Northwest, West Creek, Montgomery Central, Clarksville Academy, Sycamore and other schools attended the event at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center.

On the annual tour, MTSU recruits all across Tennessee and in Kentucky, Alabama and Georgia.

To view video from the Clarksville event, visit​.

MTSU's Deb Sells offers advice to Diamond Bryant

Deb Sells, MTSU vice president of student affairs, offers advice to Diamond Bryant, 16, a Clarksville Academy sophomore, Sept. 25 during the True Blue Tour visit to Clarksville. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

‘Best pilot program’

An, 18, a Rossview High senior, has MTSU’s aerospace professional pilot program in his radar.

“I’m very interested in flying,” said An, who was accompanied by his mother, Choi An. “My whole life has been about planes. I’ve traveled a lot.”

Two years ago, he and his mother visited the aerospace department, which included a trip to Murfreesboro Airport to visit the MTSU Flight Operations Center. It was a great visit and he was hooked.

“It’s the best pilot program that I know,” said An, who is very aware of the recent MTSU-Delta Propel partnership to potentially help qualifying students become pilots in 42 months. “That was an amazing offering. I’m very happy I chose the right place.”

‘Faculty are outstanding’

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, who awarded $2,000 scholarships to Simpkins, 17, a multi-sport athlete, and Montgomery Central junior Alexa Barfield, 16, introduced Cheyenne Douthitt, whose father Blake attended MTSU from 1985-87.

“I really like it,” said Douthitt, talking about MTSU. “The majors are well set. The buildings are up to date. It’s a beautiful campus. The faculty are outstanding. They have great resources and I like how they recruit all across the state.”

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Cheyenne Douthitt

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, asks sophomore Cheyenne Douthitt of Montgomery Central to talk about her background being selected by the university as one of the True Blue 100 Freshmen in Tennessee. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Rick Sluder, dean of the University College, and undeclared major adviser Megan Williams assisted Thornton, answering her questions and offering advice. Thornton said she’s working on her application to attend MTSU.

Among MTSU Clarksville-area alumni attending the student reception and luncheon for counselors were Judge Greg Smith (Class of 1985) and Tommy Bates (’85 and ’92), president and CEO of Legends Bank. Smith is a U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Court of Indian Appeals judge.

On deck for the True Blue Tour: Franklin Oct. 2 and Nashville Oct. 4. The True Blue Tour events are free. To register for the reception or counselor luncheon, visit

Other key dates for students and their parents to consider: Oct. 6 and Nov. 3 MTSU Fall Preview Days and Dec. 1 deadline to apply for guaranteed scholarships.

MTSU has more than 300 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (

MTSU alumnus and Judge Greg Smith and Jesse Carr of Sycamore High School

Posing for a photograph for VIP Magazine, MTSU alumnus and Judge Greg Smith, left, of Clarksville, Tenn., has helped numerous students enter and finish college thanks to scholarship assistance. He is shown with Jesse Carr, 16, of Pleasant View, Tenn., a junior at Sycamore High School, at the Sept. 25 True Blue Tour event in Clarksville at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center. Smith is a U.S. Department of the Interior U.S. Court of Indian Appeals judge. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)