Middle Tennessee State University and the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America signed a partnership that will allow the university to be a greater resource for Scouting programs, particularly in science and technology.
In doing so, the university will gain an opportunity to reach and recruit prospective students from the council, which serves 37 Middle Tennessee counties and Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee joined former Council President J.B. Baker, now a member of the university’s Board of Trustees, and Council Scout Executive and CEO Larry Brown in signing the partnership.
More than 18,600 youths and their families participate in programs conducted by the Nashville-based council. It has grown the fastest of 270 councils across the country over the past two years, charting a 24 percent increase since 2015.
“What a great group of potential students for MTSU,” McPhee said. “I’d like to see MTSU become the undergraduate and graduate choice for not only the Council’s Scouts, but also their parents and leaders who may be looking for a higher education option.”
Baker, a Nashville resident and owner and CEO of Sprint Logistics LLC, is an Eagle Scout who has served on various committees within the organization. He now serves as a council trustee.
“It’s personal for me,” Baker said. “The MOU is great. It’s a well-worded document, allowing the two parties to work together in collaboration and in purpose.”
While the partnership is new, Brown said “hundreds of thousands of Scouts in the Middle Tennessee Council have benefited from a strong partnership with MTSU since 1920.”
“The two iconic organizations have partnered on numerous projects and activities that have benefited many generations of Scouts,” Brown added.
The new pact puts into play the educational resources of the university’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences to engage scouts in science and technology pursuits. The pact is based upon a similar aerospace education partnership the college forged four years ago with the Tennessee Wing of the Civil Air Patrol’s cadet program.
The agreement was signed in the Strobel Lobby, which connects the Davis Science Building and Wiser-Patten Science Hall on the Science Corridor of Innovation. Cub Scouts from Scales and Rockvale elementary schools attended the event.
Also, in a surprise announcement, McPhee recognized MTSU Department of Mathematical Sciences lecturer Carla Adamson with a Silver Column Award for her annual leadership of Merit Badge University.
The program has been held since 1991 at MTSU. This year’s event on Feb. 24 drew more than 300 scouts, leaders and parents.
The President’s Silver Column Award recognizes “individuals who go beyond the call of duty to make this campus a place that is conducive to learning and a caring place.”
Before the signing, McPhee thanked and recognized a College of Basic and Applied Sciences professor for his work in forming an Explorer Scout Post devoted to engineering technology. Explorer posts are open to both young men and women, ages 14 to 20, usually focusing on a single career field.
McPhee praised Dr. Vishwas Bedekar, an engineering technology assistant professor, for his efforts in creating and sustaining the post “to teach young men and women about science and technology” and showcase the MTSU campus.
MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs. Engineering technology, aerospace and mathematical science are three of 11 College of Basic and Applied Sciences departments.
— Randy Weiler (firstname.lastname@example.org)