MEMPHIS and JACKSON, Tenn. — For Bennett Ford of Collierville, Tennessee, the $10,000 scholarship award he received this week in Memphis from Middle Tennessee State University wrapped up the college choice decision for he and his parents.
Twenty-four hours later in Jackson, the $10,000 scholarship Anna Bolton of Henderson, Tennessee, received left her mother, Melissa Bolton, in tears and the $10,000 scholarship Louis Cianciolo won — along with a $5,000 scholarship awarded to his girlfriend, Sara Kate Camp — sealed the decision for them.
MTSU’s West Tennessee stops, part of the 14-city True Blue Tour across four states, saw large crowds of prospective students and their parents come to Esplande Memphis in Cordova, Tennessee, and the Jackson Country Club to learn all that the Murfreesboro university has to offer.
University President Sidney A. McPhee shared about MTSU’s varied academic offerings, campus diversity, caring faculty and staff, student success and more during the visits. At each stop, MTSU courts counselors and community college staff at thank-you luncheons.
Ford, 17, wants to study in the Aerospace Department’s professional pilot program. With a weighted 4.3 GPA and 30 ACT, he already will have a Trustees Scholarship.
“I feel very good about how it all went,” said Ford, standing with his parents, Melissa and Brad Ford. “I’ve definitely got to go there now.”
Cianciolo said he plans to study kinesiology at MTSU and added “everything is awesome” after the scholarship turn of events.
True Blue ambassadors
Will Shull of of Jackson, Tennessee, who earned a master’s degree (Class of 2010) in history from MTSU and is director of advising at Jackson State Community College, and Overton High senior counselor Melanie McGuire are true MTSU ambassadors.
“I’m your biggest fan,” said McGuire. “I really enjoy promoting it.” While at the counselors’ luncheon in Memphis, she “shared photos of some of the pop-up images” (MTSU marketing signage all around the room at the luncheon) with her students and reminded parents of the student reception. With MTSU swag items, she turns them into trivia give-a-ways.
Shull said he “loves talking about my experiences at MTSU — the dorms, campus life,” he said. “Many students in West Tennessee are from rural areas. Murfreesboro is a welcoming place. And a lot of our (Jackson State) students have gone there. We’re happy to be a partner.”
Jackson State President George Pimentel, whose academic background includes four MTSU degrees, had Shull, Kara Jones and Oliver Rieger attend the luncheon on his behalf.
This family’s all for MTSU
McPhee and Patrick Collier of Memphis had some good-natured fun in Memphis as the president kept drawing for scholarships.
Wearing an MTSU T-shirt, Collier, who has already seen one daughter, Jasmine Watkins, graduate in 2016 with a degree in secondary education, brought twin daughters Jada and Jalyn Collier to the Cordova venue. Jalyn Collier wants to study psychology; Jada Collier wants to double major in psychology and art education.
MTSU alumna Allison Fouché, chief communications officer for the city of Memphis, spoke at the Memphis student reception.
“I wouldn’t be here (in my current position) without MTSU,” said Fouché, who graduated in 1996 with a recording industry management degree “wanting to break into the industry.” She made the Dean’s List “and graduated with zero college debt.
“… Most of my development was because of MTSU. I was an RA (resident assistant), which put money in my pocket. I learned a sense of community there and it was very diverse then.”
Her son and current student, Christian Fouché, graduated with a degree in media management from the College of Media and Entertainment and owns his own company.
National Alumni Board President Michael Hogan attended the Jackson student reception. Hogan is director of driver services for the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security.
Things to remember
MTSU offers daily campus tours. Its two spring True Blue Preview events will take place Saturday, Feb. 11, and Saturday, March 25. 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.
MTSU travels to Williamson County, Atlanta, Georgia, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, next week to wrap up the 2022 True Blue Tour.
University staff and administrators will visit the Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., in Franklin, Tennessee, Monday, Nov. 14; The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7 Concourse Parkway NE, in Atlanta, on Wednesday, Nov. 16; and the Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza, in downtown Chattanooga, on Thursday, Nov. 17.
At each venue, MTSU hosts 6 p.m. student receptions and 12:30 p.m. thank-you luncheons for counselors and community college staff.
Visit https://mtsu.edu/rsvp for information on all the remaining tour stops.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)