One student flew from Colorado, most of the high school students came from Tennessee, and the rest came from surrounding states in the South and Midwest.
With sunny, mid-70 degree weather prevailing outdoors for Presidents’ Day when most were out of school for the holiday, more than 700 people attended the MTSU Honors College open house Monday, Feb. 20.
MTSU’s University Honors College fosters the academic excellence and nurturing environment of a small, select, private liberal arts college within the setting of a major university. It also provides expert faculty, unique curricular and extracurricular experiences and “Collage,” an award-winning arts and literary magazine.
Attending a mock trial demonstration by MTSU students for the roomful of visitors and their parents, Cate Farone “loved the courtroom atmosphere. If I come here, I’m definitely going to be on the mock trial team.”
Farone, 18, of Murfreesboro, is a Father Ryan High School senior. This marked her “first official college visit,” though her parents, researchers and faculty members Tony and Mary Farone, each have worked more than 20 years on campus.
Cate Farone is one of the newest recipients of a Buchanan scholarship from the Honors College, the top award an MTSU undergraduate student can receive.
“Coming today, I definitely want to come here,” added Farone, who had an opportunity to talk with Student Government Association vice president Connor McDonald, a senior majoring in political science, the field she wants to pursue. “He was very interesting and helpful. I want to be a lawyer, and he told me about the law school process.”
Visiting MTSU with her mother, Zeinab Ali, Antioch High School senior Sunaya Ali of Nashville said she “didn’t know what the Honors College had to offer and details regarding the thesis. The 18-year-old is still deciding on a major; an older brother, Ayuub Ali, is a junior majoring in business in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business.
Making his first visit to campus, Juan Escobar, 17, another Antioch High senior from Nashville, has received a Provost Scholarship, but said he’s “looking at a couple of options with other schools.”
“I met a friend (Natenael Belete) who used to go to my high school,” added Escobar. “He told me some good things about the university. The Honors College has smaller classrooms, giving you a sense of community.”
Farone said she liked the university’s diversity, adding that she’s glad to see “different backgrounds and parts of the country and the world coming together at MTSU.”
Honors College Dean John Vile was more than pleased with the turnout.
“The Student Union ballroom was filled,” he said. “It’s been a great day.”
The university Admissions Office joined the Honors College in hosting the event. All of the university’s colleges, MTSU Housing and Residential Life and the MTSU Parent and Family Association shared information with the visitors.
The visit included tours of the James E. Walker Library; the Department of Aerospace’s air traffic control simulator; and the Department of Recording Industry, Center for Innovation in Media, Department of Electronic Media Communication Mobile Production Lab and more in the College of Media and Entertainment. The prospective students also observed “mad science” physics experiments and mock trial demonstration and had the option to hear the afternoon spring Honors Lecture Series talk by Keel Hunt of The Strategy Group, who brought “Political Speech: How Candidates Win and Leaders Lead” to the classroom.
More than 200 people attended a separate Celebration of Scholars event Feb. 19 at the home of MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and his wife, Liz.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)