MTSU professor, student earn statewide ‘Love...

MTSU professor, student earn statewide ‘Love’ for their community service work

Two members of the MTSU community will be celebrated this week for their service to their fellow citizens.

Dr. John Vile, a constitutional law scholar and dean of the University Honors College, and Robert L. Owen, a physiology major who is minoring in chemistry, are two of 10 statewide recipients of the 2018 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Awards.

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

Robert L. Owen, senior physiology major, recipient of a 2018 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award and a member of Phi Kappa Phi

Robert L. Owen

The honors will be presented at 1 p.m. Friday, April 27, in Conference Room D on the eighth floor of the Cordell Hull Legislative Offices Building, 425 5th Ave. N. in Nashville.

A prolific author of scholarly texts, Vile is a scholar of the Founding Fathers and of the process for amending the U.S. Constitution. He is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and received the MTSU Foundation Distinguished Research Award in both 1993 and 1999 and the Career Achievement Award in 2011.

“As a political scientist, I believe that public service is part of good citizenship,” Vile said. “There are numerous ‘little brigades’ that consist of social, religious, public service and other groups that often provide services, especially of a spiritual and emotional nature, that governments cannot.”

Vile’s public service activities have included moderating area political forums, teaching Sunday school classes in three different churches over a period of 30 years and leading a Bible study for immigrant families for more than 10 years. He has served as a pastor and adult Sunday school teacher at Beech Grove Cumberland Presbyterian Church since November 2001.

Tennessee Higher Education Commission logoOwen, a senior from Murfreesboro, participated in a medical mission to rural Kenya to help lepers and a mission to Beirut, Lebanon, to assist more than 700 Syrian and Iraqi refugees. This summer, Owen plans to participate in another medical mission in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

He is a volunteer minister at his church, New Song Christian Fellowship in Nashville, and aspires to attend medical school to continue to help the underserved at home and abroad. On April 23, officers of the MTSU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society voted him to the chapter board as student vice president.

“I am humbled to be honored in the name of the great man, the late Rep. Harold Love Sr., whose compassion and sacrificial generosity greatly inspire me to pursue the same,” Owen said.

The Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award was established in 1991 in honor of the late former Metro Nashville councilman and longtime state legislator who championed K-12 and higher education throughout his tenure.

Both academics and the general public helped to select the five student and five faculty/staff recipients. Each honoree will receive a $1,000 stipend from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

For more information about the Love Awards, contact Brittany L. Mosby, director of historically black college and university success for THEC, at

— Gina K. Logue (