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Johnson City, Knoxville True Blue Tour crowds capt...

Johnson City, Knoxville True Blue Tour crowds captivated by MTSU programs, Honors College

JOHNSON CITY and KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Prospective Middle Tennessee State University students came out in large numbers to attend the MTSU True Blue Tour events this week in East Tennessee.

Near-capacity crowds — among the best this fall for tour events as MTSU recruits future students across Tennessee and in Georgia, Kentucky and Alabama — visited MTSU staff and administrators at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City and The Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville.

Potential students showed a strong interest in MTSU academic programs including animation, nursing, psychology, aerospace professional pilot and more at both venues.

John Burchfield, right, associate dean for the MTSU University College, talks to two prospective students attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)
John Burchfield, right, associate dean for the MTSU University College, talks to two prospective students attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Prospects discover Forensic Science

Mckenna Layman may be the first student from Northview Academy in Kodak and Sevier County to attend MTSU, school counselor Carolyn Davis said.

Layman, 17, a senior from Kodak, plans to study Forensic Science and apply for the prestigious Buchanan scholarshipoffered by the Honors College.

“I always strive for greatness,” said Layman, who has a 4.0 GPA, scored 31 on her first ACT and attended the Knoxville event with her mother, Brandi Layman. “The Honors College is the best place to achieve that greatness.” She added she’s “always liked criminal justice and science. MTSU is my first choice. I like their campus and the (forensics) program. (MTSU’s) most likely where I’m going to go.”

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee awarded a $1,000 book scholarship to Davis at the luncheon for counselors and community college staff. Davis gave it to Layman at Northview Friday morning. 

Another promising forensics student in Knoxville was Amy Gilpin, 16, a junior at Oak Ridge High School. Attending with parents Linda and Jeff Gilpin, the 4.0-plus GPA student “was really impressed” with what she learned about the Murfreesboro university and plans to visit.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee talks to the crowd attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee talks to the crowd attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Carnegie Hotel in Johnson City, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Students flying to aerospace

Ryan Taylor of Jonesborough was among several students in both cities planning to pursue the aerospace professional pilot concentration. He has applied, been accepted, visited campus in May and plans to pursue a Buchanan fellowship.

“It looks very promising,” Taylor, 17, a David Crockett High School senior, said of the Buchanan. “I’m excited for the opportunity.”

Transferring to pursue nursing

David Hall of Jonesborough attended the True Blue Tour in 2021, but chose another university because he graduated two years early at only 17. He plans to transfer to MTSU to pursue a nursing degree.

McPhee heard Hall’s story and asked him to speak to the Johnson City audience.

“I’ve seen the buildings and (nursing) simulators,” Hall said. “I really liked it. I thought the person leading the tour was very knowledgeable.”

Alicia Abney, right, advising manager for the MTSU College of Education, talks to two prospective students attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 20, at The Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)
Alicia Abney, right, advising manager for the MTSU College of Education, talks to two prospective students attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 20, at The Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

True Blue givers

Representing the Akard family, longtime educators from Sullivan County, alumnus Curtis Akard attended the Johnson City tour event one year after they established an endowed scholarship providing three scholarships a year for College of Education majors.

“My dad was a career public school teacher, my mother was a substitute teacher and first female bus driver in Sullivan County,” Akard said. “I grew up around education. I know how important good teachers are and how much more we need them now more than ever. I’m glad to be able to help some teachers get their certification so they can get out and teach in the school systems.”

College of Media and Entertainment alumna and WBIR-TV reporter/anchor Katie Inman told the Knoxville audience she is “a proud Blue Raider and graduate” and “to consider MTSU because it’s a very special place.”

National Alumni Board President Michael Hogan and board member Gordon Irwin attended the Knoxville event.  

I Am True Blue logo

Things to remember

MTSU offers daily campus tours, its final fall True Blue Preview will be Saturday, Nov. 5, the deadline to apply for guaranteed scholarships for qualifying first-year students is Dec. 1 (Feb. 15, 2023, for qualifying transfers) and the start of the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) process began Oct. 1.

On deck

The tour travels to Kentucky next for Tuesday-Wednesday, Nov. 1-2, visits to Lexington and Louisville, respectively. Both events, which are free, feature 6 p.m. student receptions and 12:30 p.m. luncheons to thank counselors and community college staff for their support.

The Lexington stop will be at the Origin Hotel Lexington, 4174 Rowan. The Louisville visit will be at the Louisville Marriott East, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd.

Visit https://mtsu.edu/rsvp for information on all the remaining stops of the tour.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses the crowd attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at The Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses the crowd attending the True Blue tour event Wednesday, Oct. 19, at The Foundry on the Fair Site in Knoxville, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

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