Olivia Porter, senior at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, was overcome with emotion when she received a surprise scholarship from MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee at the Sept. 28 True Blue Tour event.
“She’s an honor roll student,” said Cardella Reed-Smith, Porter’s grandmother who accompanied her to the event. “She’s interested in business administration and real estate.”
Excitement and big feelings like this abounded on Wednesday, Sept. 28, at the Wilma Rudolph Event Center in Clarksville, the second stop on the university’s annual recruitment tour across the state and into Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky. McPhee and top university deans, advisors and staff gather to share about the programs, scholarships and opportunities MTSU offers with prospective students, their families and local school counselors.
“We are one of only four universities in the state of Tennessee to be named, for the fourth consecutive year, one of the top universities in the country by the Princeton Review,” McPhee said in remarks to attendees at both the counselor lunch and evening student reception. “You know that when attending MTSU, no student has to compromise on quality of staff, programs, facilities, safety, environment, alumni association and more.”
Tony Strode, associate director of undergraduate admissions, highlighted MTSU’s brand new scholarship opportunities.
“We just increased our True Blue Scholarship to $3,500 a year for students with an ACT score of 22 to 24 and a 3.5 GPA,” Strode said. “This is the highest amount of scholarship money that is awarded to students with these ACT scores in the state, and it is guaranteed.
“Plus, we are offering a new top-tier, guaranteed scholarship — the $8,000 a year Centennial Scholarship for students with an ACT of 34 to 36 and a 3.5 GPA, and it is stackable with other scholarships.”
Top-notch programs close to home
Keynu Rau, senior at local West Creek High School, attended the event with her classmate, Elener Pelik, to learn more about the nursing and business programs.
“I got accepted into MTSU a week ago, and I want to be a sonogram nurse,” Rau said. “I think the campus is beautiful, and I plan on going in person for a tour.”
Rau also wanted to learn about housing and scholarships.
Jared Meeks, senior at Clarksville’s Rossview High School, walked around the venue with his mom, Monica Meeks, and said he visited the Blue Raider campus back in February, which made him want to learn more.
“My first interest is computer science, but after learning about the media program, I’m interested in that, too,” Meeks said, “(specifically) photography or sports media. I used to pretend a while back that I was a sports broadcaster.”
Daisy Guzman, junior from West Creek, was accompanied by her parents and said her mother, Rusty Guzman-Bowe, was a first-generation college student who inspires Guzman to follow in her mom’s footsteps.
“I’m looking for a school that I can go to closer to home and feel accepted in,” Guzman said. “My school counselors said they really like MTSU and to check this out. I want to learn about the medical programs and about the band. I’m very much into the arts.”
Clarksville High School sophomore Abigail Boepple had a long conversation with Rick Vanosdall, interim dean of the College of Education, with mom Rebecca Boepple by her side, about the university’s teacher training program.
“I’d like to go into special education in the middle school grades,” Boepple said. “I had a really good experience with that when I was in middle school.”
She ended the night on a high note when McPhee drew her name as a winner of a $4,000 scholarship.
Another scholarship winner and Clarksville High student, Luis Edmurria, won a $5,000 scholarship and was cheered on by his classmates when McPhee announced his name. His mother Melissa Edmurria joined him on stage to accept his award.
“I couldn’t be more proud,” she said of her son.
Looking to pursue a business degree, Edmurria has already visited the campus twice. His mom went along on one of the visits, a band competition.
“The campus felt secure and welcoming,” she said.
Bethany Erb, school counselor at local Montgomery Central High School and True Blue graduate alumna, had a full circle moment when she saw McPhee at the event, calling it a “really cool” experience.
“It was 14 years ago when I walked across the stage at commencement, and you handed me my diploma,” Erb said to McPhee, who also awarded Erb’s school with a scholarship.
Greg Smith, a local judge and alumnus, spoke to the crowd of prospective students and their families about his MTSU roots.
“What I found when I went to college, I found home,” Smith said of his alma mater. “You can walk around (campus) and not have to look around to find a friend. I found my wife there…. I attended Harvard, but when asked where I went to school, I say, ‘I went to MTSU.’”
The True Blue Tour heads to the Millennial Maxwell House in Nashville, Tennessee, next week on Wednesday, Oct. 5. All attendees can register to attend at https://www.mtsu.edu/rsvp or register the day of on-site to make sure they are entered into the giveaways for scholarships and prizes done at every stop.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)