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Princeton Review ‘Best,’ $8B economic impact, MT Blvd. opening among top MTSU 2019 news stories

Middle Tennessee State University wraps up 2019 following a year full of successes — named among the nation’s best colleges; an $8 billion alumni impact statewide; national recognition as a ‘Grammy factory’; the long-awaited reopening of an upgraded Middle Tennessee Boulevard; and a disaster relief effort to aid student families.

These were among a few of the top news stories of the year for the Blue Raider campus.

After years of enhancements to curriculum, research efforts and facilities, MTSU was named over the summer to the 2020 “The Best 385 Colleges” guide by the Princeton Review, an honor given to roughly 13 percent of the nation’s 3,000 or so four-year institutions.

In past years, MTSU has been included in the review’s list of top schools in the Southeast, and remains on that regional list by virtue of its inclusion on the review’s top national list.

“The university continued to make tremendous strides this past year in enhancing our campus in numerous ways to provide a great educational experience for our students while supporting our dedicated faculty and staff with the resources they need,” President Sidney A. McPhee said.

“We take pride in producing thousands of ready-to-work graduates each year, most of whom stay in this community and region to give back to their communities.”

A study released at the beginning of the year by the university’s Business and Economic Research Center revealed just how much of an impact its alumni are having.

Key findings from the BERC study include: MTSU alumni and their employees generated over $8 billion in business revenue within Tennessee in 2017; and over $3 billion in total business revenue was generated within Tennessee that year by the added value of MTSU degrees earned.

BERC had previously found that MTSU itself creates $1.2 billion and roughly 8,400 jobs in economic impact annually across the state.

Part of the reason for the university’s growing national profile can be attributed to its well-regarded Department of Recording Industry programs. NBC Nightly News visited campus early in the year in advance of February’s annual Grammy Awards telecast to do a news feature about the Grammy successes of numerous MTSU alumni.

NBC anchor Kate Snow interviewed MTSU alumnus and rising producer BryTavious “Tay Keith” Chambers, who was a nominee this year and continues working with some of the industry’s hottest artists; and MTSU alumnus and Grammy-nominated songwriter/producer Luke Laird, who would win his second Grammy this year. The story aired before the Grammy telecast, with one news anchor referring to the university as a “Grammy factory.”

Journalist Kate Snow, anchor of NBC Nightly News Sunday and senior national correspondent, interviews MTSU alumnus and rising music producer BryTavious "Tay Keith" Chambers inside a recording studio at the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building in late January. The segment about MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, its successful alumni and annual Grammy Awards outreach will air Sunday, Feb. 10, before the Grammys telecast on CBS. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Journalist Kate Snow, anchor of NBC Nightly News Sunday and senior national correspondent, interviews MTSU alumnus and rising music producer BryTavious “Tay Keith” Chambers inside a recording studio at the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building in late January. The segment about MTSU’s Department of Recording Industry, its successful alumni and annual Grammy Awards outreach will air Sunday, Feb. 10, before the Grammys telecast on CBS. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

An exciting new academic program celebrated a milestone this fall when university leaders were joined by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee for a special ceremony at the state Capitol.

MTSU and Meharry Medical College in Nashville solidified a unique academic partnership to address the state’s shortage of rural doctors by formally recognizing the inaugural class of students who have embarked on an accelerated path to become primary care physicians.

Six MTSU freshmen who have been accepted into the Medical School Early Acceptance Program were introduced and presented special certificates at the ceremony. The innovative partnership allows students to become medical doctors in seven years — the first three in pre-medical studies at MTSU, followed by four years of medical school training at Meharry.

“We can drastically improve our outcomes through programs like this,” Lee said. “I’ve been to those communities, I’ve talked to those folks, I’ve seen the situations that they’re in. This is a great opportunity for us to begin addressing that great need in this state.”

The university’s True Blue spirit came to the fore this past year in response to the devastating Category 5 Hurricane Dorian struck parts of the Bahamas, greatly affecting the families of several Bahamian students.

McPhee, a Bahamian native, restarted the university’s Raider Relief disaster fund that raised tens of thousands of dollars used to buy emergency supplies as well as address longer-term needs of those families.

McPhee led multiple trips to the island to deliver supplies, getting assistance from Board of Trustees Vice Chairman and alumnus Darrell Freeman and Chip Crunk, CEO of R.J. Young Co. in Nashville, who lent their private aircraft for the missions.

Tiara Ashley Brown, president of MTSU’s Bahamian Student Organization, flew on one of the trips to deliver supplies that the student group collected to her parents and others devastated by the powerful storm.

“It’s been a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” said Brown, a senior in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and a senator in MTSU’s Student Government Association.

MTSU Trustees Vice Chair Darrell Freeman, left, and President Sidney A. McPhee unload supplies from aircraft that flew to the Bahamas as part of the second wave of Raider Relief on Sept. 11. (MTSU Photo by John Goodwin)

MTSU Trustees Vice Chair Darrell Freeman, left, and President Sidney A. McPhee unload supplies from aircraft that flew to the Bahamas as part of the second wave of Raider Relief on Sept. 11. (MTSU Photo by John Goodwin)

Another highlight for the year was a special ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the finished upgrades to Middle Tennessee Boulevard, the major thoroughfare along the west edge of campus. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and former U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon were among officials on hand for the early August ceremony.

The $18.2 million project turned the .8-mile stretch between East Main Street and Greenland Drive into a four-lane, divided road with a landscaped median, MTSU-branded gates, new bike lanes, improved sidewalks and lighting, new traffic signals, decorative crosswalks, and underground utilities.

Traffic flows south Friday, Aug. 2, along the upgraded Middle Tennessee Boulevard toward Bell Street at MTSU. The .8-mile stretch between East Main Street and Greenland Drive features four lanes, a landscaped median as well as upgraded crosswalks and traffic signals. MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro hosted a ribbon-cutting Friday to celebrate the completion of an $18.2 million renovation project to Middle Tennessee Boulevard. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Traffic flows south Friday, Aug. 2, along the upgraded Middle Tennessee Boulevard toward Bell Street at MTSU. The .8-mile stretch between East Main Street and Greenland Drive features four lanes, a landscaped median as well as upgraded crosswalks and traffic signals. MTSU and the city of Murfreesboro hosted a ribbon-cutting Friday to celebrate the completion of an $18.2 million renovation project to Middle Tennessee Boulevard. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)


Here are summaries and hotlinks to the full stories for some of the other top MTSU stories from 2019 in chronological order:

JANUARY

MTSU Hack-MT reveals ‘brilliant’ tech projects, student talent [+VIDEO]

College and university students from across the region and South wrapped up the fourth annual MTSU Computer Science Hack-MT Sunday, Jan. 27, in the Science Building.

Twenty teams and more than 200 students that MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee called “really brilliant kids” completed projects in the 36-hour hackathon, which gathers software developers, visual designers, programmers and computer science/computer information systems students from universities to form teams to invent new web platforms, mobile apps and electronic gadgets.

MTSU MLK vigil reflects on legacy, call to ‘moral and fair society’ [+VIDEO]

MTSU junior Jael Ward of Atlanta joined hundreds of other MTSU students Monday night, Jan. 21, in reflecting on the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The 90-minute ceremony inside the Student Union featured speakers, music and multimedia in celebration of what would have been the slain civil rights leader’s 90th birthday.

Ward and her sorority sisters of the Eta Psi Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority led the celebration and candlelight vigil.

Motivational speaker Anthony Burton recites portions of the “I Have a Dream” speech at MTSU’s 2019 MLK Candlelight Vigil held Monday night inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Motivational speaker Anthony Burton recites portions of the “I Have a Dream” speech at MTSU’s 2019 MLK Candlelight Vigil held Monday night inside the Student Union Ballroom. (MTSU photo by Eric Sutton)

Insurance company IGA funds $100K sponsorship for new Professional Sales Office at MTSU

Insurance Group of America has given a significant boost to MTSU’s new professional sales program with a $100,000 sponsorship that funds a new office to increase student outreach and internship opportunities.

The IGA Office of Professional Sales within the Jennings A. Jones College of Business will benefit from a yearly $20,000 commitment for the next five years from Jamie Noe, founder and owner of Nashville-based IGA, who said he hopes the office’s enhanced student outreach efforts attracts top scholars and builds the sales concentration “into a nationally recognized program.”

Jamie Noe, left, owner and founder of Insurance Group of America, is pictured with MTSU junior Christine Owens, the first student in the Professional Sales Concentration, at the February MTSU Professional Sales Program Advisory Board meeting at Jonathan's Grille in Murfreesboro. Noe was honored for IGA’s five-year, $100,000 contribution to the program. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Jamie Noe, left, owner and founder of Insurance Group of America, is pictured with MTSU junior Christine Owens, the first student in the Professional Sales Concentration, at the February MTSU Professional Sales Program Advisory Board meeting at Jonathan’s Grille in Murfreesboro. Noe was honored for IGA’s five-year, $100,000 contribution to the program. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

FEBRUARY

Alumnus Laird calls 2nd Grammy ‘unbelievable’; MTSU celebrates all 9 alumni nominees

MTSU alumnus Luke Laird’s creative partnership with country superstar Kacey Musgraves continues to blossom, earning the pair and their co-writer another Grammy Sunday night, Feb. 11, this time for the year’s best country song.

Laird was the only winner among MTSU’s nine alumni nominated for their work on pop, rap, Americana, gospel and country albums, but their efforts still earned plenty of praise plus a pre-ceremony feature on NBC Nightly News.

Recognized for their work on multiple projects during the weekend’s Grammy festivities were nominees Michael Anderson, better known by his stage name, Anderson East; BryTavious “Tay Keith” Chambers; Torrance “Street Symphony” Esmond; Jason A. Hall; Wayne Haun; Jimmy Mansfield; Daniel Rowland; and F. Reid Shippen.

MTSU recording industry alumnus Luke Laird, left, celebrates his second Grammy win connected with country superstar Kacey Musgraves Sunday night, Feb. 11, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as he accepts the best country song Grammy for "Space Cowboy" with co-writer Shane McAnally. Musgraves also was a co-writer on the song, part of her multi-Grammy-winning album "Golden Hour." Laird, a 2001 MTSU graduate, earned his first Grammy in 2013 for co-producing Musgraves' debut CD, “Same Trailer Different Park,” and has been nominated for three previous songwriting Grammys as well as for producing Musgraves' second album, "Pageant Material." (Photo courtesy of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards)

MTSU recording industry alumnus Luke Laird, left, celebrates his second Grammy win connected with country superstar Kacey Musgraves Sunday night, Feb. 11, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles as he accepts the best country song Grammy for “Space Cowboy” with co-writer Shane McAnally. Musgraves also was a co-writer on the song, part of her multi-Grammy-winning album “Golden Hour.” Laird, a 2001 MTSU graduate, earned his first Grammy in 2013 for co-producing Musgraves’ debut CD, “Same Trailer Different Park,” and has been nominated for three previous songwriting Grammys as well as for producing Musgraves’ second album, “Pageant Material.” (Photo courtesy of the 61st Annual Grammy Awards)

Civil rights trailblazer provides spirituality, inspiration at MTSU Unity Luncheon [+VIDEO]

“That James Meredith was a bad dude, wasn’t he?” That was the immediate reaction of James Meredith himself to an introductory video encapsulating the events of his life, shown Thursday, Feb. 14, at MTSU’s 23rd annual Unity Luncheon in the Student Union Ballroom.

The annual tribute to local “unsung heroes” of color honored five people who have made notable contributions in the areas of community service, excellence in sports, black arts, education and advocating civility.

Meredith, who became the first African-American student at the previously all-white University of Mississippi in 1962, delivered the keynote address.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, chats with civil rights trailblazer James Meredith, clad in white suit and red ball cap, the keynote speaker at the 23rd annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 14 at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, chats with civil rights trailblazer James Meredith, clad in white suit and red ball cap, the keynote speaker at the 23rd annual Unity Luncheon Feb. 14 at MTSU. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MARCH

New MTSU tourism/hospitality degree to prep grads for dynamic careers in booming industry [+VIDEO]

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — MTSU is poised to become one of the premier institutions for furnishing personnel to a burgeoning industry that is critical to the Midstate economy and in need of skilled professionals.

The university announced the creation of a Tourism and Hospitality Management degree Thursday, March 21, in the Grandview Terrace area of one of its partners, the Omni Nashville Hotel.

The degree will become available in the fall 2019 semester and is the only such degree program in Middle Tennessee.

Civil Air Patrol national commander motivates MTSU students with leadership wisdom [+VIDEO]

Though he considers himself an introvert who grew up in a camping trailer in the middle of the desert behind a garage and experienced a tough upbringing, Civil Air Patrol Maj. Gen. Mark Smith’s extroverted side brought motivation and inspiration to an overflow Middle Tennessee State University classroom.

The national commander of the U.S. Air Force auxiliary group spoke of mentorship, servant leadership and “rising from the ashes and learning from failure” Friday, March 22, as he talked to more than 100 students, faculty and staff in the Business and Aerospace Building.

Smith’s lecture, sponsored by the University Honors College and Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honor society, came in front of primarily aerospace students and a group of young CAP cadets.

MTSU’s Keith M. Huber, left, Civil Air Patrol national commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith and MTSU Provost hold a commemorative plaque presented to Smith honoring the partnership between the university and the CAP. The event was held Friday (March 22) at the MTSU Veterans Memorial outside the Tom H. Jackson Building.

MTSU’s Keith M. Huber, left, Civil Air Patrol national commander Maj. Gen. Mark Smith and MTSU Provost hold a commemorative plaque presented to Smith honoring the partnership between the university and the CAP. The event was held Friday (March 22) at the MTSU Veterans Memorial outside the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

APRIL

Gov. Lee celebrates MTSU’s Ready-to-Work majors, Siemens partnership [+VIDEO]

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee joined Middle Tennessee State University’s president and trustees Wednesday, April 3, to underscore several of the institution’s ready-to-work degree programs that have been tailored to fit the needs of the state’s workforce.

Students in one of those programs, Mechatronics Engineering, are getting state-of-the-art training through an in-kind grant from Siemens Digital Industries Software, one of the corporate partners of MTSU’s College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

The software gives students access to the same technology that companies around the world depend on every day to develop innovative products in a wide variety of industries.

MTSU media students enjoy ‘incredible opportunity’ to learn at 2019 ACM Awards [+VIDEO]

LAS VEGAS — Students and faculty from Middle Tennessee State University got some behind-the scenes instruction at rehearsals before Sunday’s 54th Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas.

It’s the second year that ACM CEO and MTSU alum Pete Fisher and telecast director Glenn Weiss invited the university to use the event as a learning lab for College of Media and Entertainment students.

MTSU student and faculty representatives from the College of Media and Entertainment again enjoy a working trip to Las Vegas for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards show broadcast Sunday, April 7. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Bob Gordon, media arts professor; Beverly Keel, Department of Recording Industry chair; MTSU student Ryan Tyler; Dr. Mark Byrnes, university provost; MTSU student Madison Stewart; Billy Pittard, Department of Media Arts chair; Pete Fisher, MTSU alumnus and CEO of the Academy of Country Music; Ken Paulson, College of Media and Entertainment dean; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; and MTSU students Austin Forsberg and Kevin Henkels. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU student and faculty representatives from the College of Media and Entertainment again enjoy a working trip to Las Vegas for this year’s Academy of Country Music Awards show broadcast Sunday, April 7. Pictured, from left, are Dr. Bob Gordon, media arts professor; Beverly Keel, Department of Recording Industry chair; MTSU student Ryan Tyler; Dr. Mark Byrnes, university provost; MTSU student Madison Stewart; Billy Pittard, Department of Media Arts chair; Pete Fisher, MTSU alumnus and CEO of the Academy of Country Music; Ken Paulson, College of Media and Entertainment dean; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; and MTSU students Austin Forsberg and Kevin Henkels. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU’s WMOT Roots Radio celebrates 50th anniversary with live special [+VIDEO]

It went live 50 years ago Tuesday as a student-run “educational radio station,” and MTSU’s WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 is still focusing on informing its audience about great music and local, national and international news.

The 100,000-watt National Public Radio charter member station celebrated its 50th birthday Tuesday, April 9, with a three-hour live broadcast enjoyed by a host of supporters inside the Cyber Café on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, which launched WMOT on April 9, 1969.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee applauded WMOT’s staff for its dedication in shepherding the station through periods of transition over the years, including its most recent switch to Americana music, the brainchild of Ken Paulson, outgoing dean of the College of Media and Entertainment.

MTSU Stock Horse Team earns Division II national championship

Nine riders have helped the MTSU Stock Horse Team earn a Division II national championship for the second time since 2016.

The Blue Raider team, which is coached by Andrea Rego, earned the title in early April at the American Stock Horse Association Collegiate and National Show in Sweetwater, Texas. Students and their horses competed in cow horse, pleasure, reining and trail events, Rego said.

MTSU Equestrian Team members and coaches pose for a group photo after the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association semifinals in Ocala, Fla., in March. Four team members will be in Syracuse, N.Y., this weekend, May 2-5, for the ISHA National Championships. From left are team member Kylie Smalls, Equestrian Team coach Ariel Herrin, team members Jenna Seal, Mary Catherine Wade, Kailey Vande Kamp, Kaylee Hayes, MTSU Stock Horse Team coach Andrea Rego and Equestrian Team member Sarah Kozuszek. (Photo submitted by Andrea Rego)

MTSU Equestrian Team members and coaches pose for a group photo after the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association semifinals in Ocala, Fla., in March. Four team members will be in Syracuse, N.Y., this weekend, May 2-5, for the ISHA National Championships. From left are team member Kylie Smalls, Equestrian Team coach Ariel Herrin, team members Jenna Seal, Mary Catherine Wade, Kailey Vande Kamp, Kaylee Hayes, MTSU Stock Horse Team coach Andrea Rego and Equestrian Team member Sarah Kozuszek. (Photo submitted by Andrea Rego)

MTSU, Campus School celebrate 90 years, ‘generations of family ‘ [+VIDEO]

Almost a century of service in educating generations of students produces a lot of cherished memories for those with connections to Homer Pittard Campus School, the K-5 teaching laboratory school owned by MTSU and operated by Rutherford County Schools.

Dozens of former students, parents, teachers, staff and community supporters returned for the annual open house held Tuesday, April 16, and hosted by the Friends of Campus School organization at the Lytle Street campus. Among those attending was 94-year-old alumna Evelyn Turney.

MTSU unveils Baldwin Gallery archive to preserve, study immense photographic collection

MTSU’s Baldwin Photographic Gallery now has a new state-of-the-art, temperature-controlled archive on campus that will allow faculty, staff and students to gain access to its extensive collection while also allowing the university to determine a more definitive value of a rich trove of visual art.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee joined Department of Media Arts faculty, staff and a host of gallery supporters recently to cut the ribbon on the home of the new Baldwin Photographic Collection and Archive located in Room 2300 on the second floor of the Miller Education Center at 503 E. Bell St.

MTSU hosted a March 20 ribbon-cutting for the new Baldwin Photographic Collection and Archive on the second floor of the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Pictured, from left, Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; Baldwin Photographic Gallery curate Jackie Heigle; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; Mary Alice Rouslin, widow of longtime gallery curator and professor Tom Jimison; Professor Emeritus Harold Baldwin; and Department of Media Arts Chair Billy Pittard. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

MTSU hosted a March 20 ribbon-cutting for the new Baldwin Photographic Collection and Archive on the second floor of the Miller Education Center on Bell Street. Pictured, from left, Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; Baldwin Photographic Gallery curate Jackie Heigle; MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee; Mary Alice Rouslin, widow of longtime gallery curator and professor Tom Jimison; Professor Emeritus Harold Baldwin; and Department of Media Arts Chair Billy Pittard. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

MAY

Hop Springs, MTSU fermentation science program celebrate grand opening with ribbon-cutting [+VIDEO]

Some 150 agritourism, music and food and beverage enthusiasts helped Middle Tennessee State University’s fermentation science program and partner Hop Springs celebrate a ribbon-cutting at the beer park’s operations just off John Bragg Highway Thursday, May 23.

Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron, venue founder and co-owner Mark Jones, MTSU fermentation science program director Tony Johnston and others proclaimed Hop Springs, which had a soft opening in late December, officially open. The crowd then ventured outside for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony.

McClinton, Crowell headlining inaugural ‘895 Fest’ by WMOT Roots Radio

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Delbert McClinton will join Rodney Crowell as headlining acts for the inaugural 895 Fest, a two-day outdoor Americana music festival to be held the weekend of May 31 at Hop Springs Beer Park in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

MTSU alumna, advocate Liz Rhea remembered philanthropy, support

Beloved community stalwart Dr. Elizabeth “Liz” Rhea, often called Middle Tennessee State University’s biggest cheerleader, died Thursday, May 30, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville following a lengthy illness. She was 85.

Rhea, a retired radiologist, was perhaps best known for her love of the Blue Raiders and, along with her late husband, Dr. Creighton Rhea, her devotion to philanthropic causes in Rutherford County.

One of MTSU’s most loyal alumni, Dr. Liz Rhea proudly displays hwe “I AM true BLUE” sign during a university Capital Campaign luncheon. The Murfreesboro resident and Eagleville, Tenn., native died Thursday, May 30. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

One of MTSU’s most loyal alumni, Dr. Liz Rhea proudly displays hwe “I AM true BLUE” sign during a university Capital Campaign luncheon. The Murfreesboro resident and Eagleville, Tenn., native died Thursday, May 30. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)
Dr. Liz Rhea, alumni.

JUNE

MTSU signs aerospace partnership with Kenyan university

ELDORET, Kenya — The global demand for professional pilots helped propel a partnership approved Monday, June 24, between Middle Tennessee State University and Moi University of Kenya.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Isaac Kosgey, Moi’s chief executive officer, signed a five-year pact that will allow their respective aerospace faculty to collaborate on teaching, research and student exchanges.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee congratulates Moi University student Linda Cheruto Tapkokwa, who delivered a presentation for him on her ambition and work to become a professional pilot through the School of Aerospace Sciences. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee congratulates Moi University student Linda Cheruto Tapkokwa, who delivered a presentation for him on her ambition and work to become a professional pilot through the School of Aerospace Sciences. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Veteran Impact Celebration raises $150K-plus for MTSU Daniels Center [+VIDEO]

A late-afternoon thunderstorm didn’t dampen the spirits or enthusiasm for those attending the second MTSU Veteran Impact Celebration at The Grove at Williamson Place Thursday, June 27.

Dodging the downpour, veterans appeared along with local business owners, musicians, MTSU staff and administrators and even three local mayors. The event raised more than $150,000 for the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center on the MTSU campus.

JULY 

MTSU to open ‘Chris Young Café’ this fall to ‘encourage students to dream bigger’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A new live entertainment venue on the Middle Tennessee State University campus will be named the Chris Young Café to honor the multiplatinum Nashville entertainer’s continued support of his alma mater.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, at an event Tuesday, July 9, at the Country Music Association headquarters on Music Row, thanked Young for lending his name — and giving $50,000 for renovations.

The cafe, located in a standalone dining building and surrounded by residence halls, will be a teaching and practice place for student performers and technicians during the day and a performance venue at night for music, radio broadcasts, comedy and other entertainment.

Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student, center right, joins President Sidney A. McPhee, center left; College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, right; and Department of Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel Tuesday, July 9, to announce the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Multi-platinum country artist Chris Young, a former MTSU student, center right, joins President Sidney A. McPhee, center left; College of Media and Entertainment Dean Ken Paulson, right; and Department of Recording Industry Chair Beverly Keel Tuesday, July 9, to announce the Chris Young Café, a live performance venue on the Murfreesboro university’s campus. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU Alumni Summer College’s 75 grads experience true ‘Entertainment’

MTSU’s 12thannual Alumni Summer College recently drew 75 attendees from eight states for three days of nonstop events.

Attendees experienced “That’s Entertainment”-themed activities from the College of Media and Entertainment’s Media Arts program, the Colleges of Liberal Arts and Basic and Applied Sciences and Murfreesboro Center for the Arts.

Nearly 80 people attended the 2019 MTSU Alumni Summer College. It was the 12th annual summer college and featured a “That’s Entertainment” theme. (MTSU photo by Lynn Adams)

MTSU-China cultural exchange makes ‘hearts bigger … world smaller’ [+VIDEO]

About 40 visiting Chinese middle school students were treated to an all-American picnic — and welcomed by cheerleaders and scouts — on Sunday, July 14, at the home of Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee.

McPhee and first lady Elizabeth McPhee hosted the picnic for the delegation from Hangzhou Normal University’s Dongcheng Education Group, aided by cheerleaders and soccer team members from MTSU, cheerleaders from Murfreesboro’s Blackman High School and Central Magnet School and members of Scouts BSA and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

MTSU aerospace lands in Wisconsin for ‘World’s Greatest Aviation Celebration’ [+VIDEO]

OSHKOSH, Wis. — Middle Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Department of Aerospace has set up base at EAA AirVenture, a massive weeklong celebration of aviation expected to attract more than 500,000 visitors from 80 countries.

The annual signature event of the Experimental Aircraft Association, this is the annual convention and fly-in for the 200,000-plus member aviation organization. AirVenture, celebrating its 50th year in this east-central Wisconsin city, is billed by EAA as the “world’s greatest aviation celebration.”

MTSU’s Jackson Dalton, left, Elizabeth Keller and Charles Greenfield pose in front of a sculpture celebrating the 50th year that the EAA AirVenture event has been staged in Oshkosh, Wis. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU’s Jackson Dalton, left, Elizabeth Keller and Charles Greenfield pose in front of a sculpture celebrating the 50th year that the EAA AirVenture event has been staged in Oshkosh, Wis. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

AUGUST

MTSU gears up for 8th True Blue Tour to recruit students

Middle Tennessee State University is about to embark on its eighth annual True Blue Tour — its signature admissions effort covering 14 stops in four states to meet prospective students, their parents, high school counselors and community college staff.

President Sidney A. McPhee and other administrators and staff from throughout campus travel thousands of miles and make five overnight trips to recruit students for 2020 and beyond.

This year’s True Blue Tour kicks off for the second year in Murfreesboro. A student reception in the MTSU Student Union Ballroom  is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21. The tour resumes a month later in full-speed-ahead mode as the team prepares for 13 more stops across Tennessee and in the border states of Alabama, Georgia and Kentucky.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee learns about a prospective student’s interest in coming to MTSU during the recent fall 2019 True Blue Tour kickoff event in the Student Union Ballroom. Rutherford County was the first stop on the 14-city tour, and the president announced a new scholarship incentive. (MTSU photo by Cat Murphy)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee learns about a prospective student’s interest in coming to MTSU during the recent fall 2019 True Blue Tour kickoff event in the Student Union Ballroom. Rutherford County was the first stop on the 14-city tour, and the president announced a new scholarship incentive. (MTSU photo by Cat Murphy)

McPhee touts campus plans, ready-to-work grads at MTSU Fall Faculty kickoff [+VIDEO]

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee kicked off the university’s new academic year Thursday, Aug. 22, with a call to develop more ready-to-work graduates and begin work on bold ideas to increase success in, around and beyond the classroom.

McPhee’s remarks came during his traditional State of the University Address (click for full text) at the Fall Faculty Meeting inside Tucker Theatre. The annual gathering drew hundreds of new and returning faculty and staff, Board of Trustees members as well as local and state officials just ahead of the return of thousands of students for the start of classes Monday.

Career Achievement honoree Robertson praises MTSU physics colleagues for his award

MTSU physics professor William M. Robertson, honored Thursday, Aug. 22, with the university’s highest faculty honor for his teaching, research and service to students, said his colleagues are equally responsible for his accomplishments.

“Getting an award for a career that has brought me such joy seems almost a little embarrassing, but don’t let that notion in any way diminish the enormous gratitude I feel, both for the award itself and for all the folks who helped make my career possible,” Robertson, the 2019 recipient of the MTSU Foundation’s Career Achievement Award, said during the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting in Tucker Theatre.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, congratulates physics professor William Robertson, center, on winning the MTSU Foundation’s 2019 Career Achievement Award as Foundation President Ron Nichols watches on the stage of Tucker Theatre Thursday, Aug. 22, at the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting. During the gathering, the MTSU Foundation honored 15 professors with awards for their service and recognized new faculty emeriti and newly promoted and/or tenured professors, and McPhee presented his annual State of the University address. MTSU begins its 108th academic year Monday, Aug. 26, when fall 2019 classes begin. Details on Robertson’s and his colleagues’ accomplishments are available at http://bit.ly/MTSUFacultyAwards2019. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, right, congratulates physics professor William Robertson, center, on winning the MTSU Foundation’s 2019 Career Achievement Award as Foundation President Ron Nichols watches on the stage of Tucker Theatre Thursday, Aug. 22, at the university’s Fall Faculty Meeting. During the gathering, the MTSU Foundation honored 15 professors with awards for their service and recognized new faculty emeriti and newly promoted and/or tenured professors, and McPhee presented his annual State of the University address. MTSU begins its 108th academic year Monday, Aug. 26, when fall 2019 classes begin. Details on Robertson’s and his colleagues’ accomplishments are available at http://bit.ly/MTSUFacultyAwards2019. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU, SCORE sign teacher preparation partnership focused on K-12 innovation [+VIDEO]

Middle Tennessee State University announced Wednesday, Aug. 28, a first-of-its-kind partnership focused on bringing research-supported innovations to how the university prepares students to become K-12 teachers.

MTSU and the State Collaborative on Reforming Education, also known as SCORE, have signed a three-year renewable agreement to develop an innovative strategy for the MTSU College of Education to continue to improve and evolve the program to ensure graduates from the college receive excellent teacher preparation.

A signing ceremony was held Wednesday at Homer Pittard Campus School, a K-5 teaching laboratory school owned by MTSU and operated by Rutherford County Schools. MTSU was founded in 1911 as a normal school to train classroom teachers and remains one of the top programs in the state.

SEPTEMBER

MTSU, area officials dedicate Blue Raider Bridge, praise ‘town-and-gown’ link [+VIDEO]

For years known locally as “Bridge Over Broad,” Murfreesboro’s multimillion-dollar urban interchange took on a distinctly MTSU flavor when it officially became Blue Raider Bridge on Thursday, Sept. 5, during a dedication ceremony attended by university, city, county and state officials, and community supporters.

“Today, we reunite to celebrate a relatively new structure, this amazing bridge over Broad Street, and to confer upon it a name that further cements the strong and vibrant ‘town-and-gown’ relationship that MTSU enjoys with the county of Rutherford and the city of Murfreesboro,” MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee told the crowd gathered on the northeast corner of the interchange in the city-owned lot next to Wilson Bank & Trust, which provided parking and refreshments to attendees.

Former state House speaker Harwell named MTSU Distinguished Visiting Professor [+VIDEO]

A trailblazing former state lawmaker with a passion for education is bringing her vast political experience and academic background to Middle Tennessee State University as a Distinguished Visiting Professor in political science.

Former state Rep. Beth Harwell, the state’s first female speaker of the House of Representatives, was formally introduced in her new academic role Tuesday, Sept. 24, by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee during a campus news conference attended by local and state lawmakers and university leaders.

Former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, right, chats Tuesday, Sept. 24, with MTSU College of Liberal Arts Dean Karen Petersen, left, and Matthew Hibdon, strategic communications manager in the College of Liberal Arts, inside the Student Union Building prior to the university’s announcement that Harwell has been named a Distinguished Visiting Professor in political science. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Former Tennessee House Speaker Beth Harwell, right, chats Tuesday, Sept. 24, with MTSU College of Liberal Arts Dean Karen Petersen, left, and Matthew Hibdon, strategic communications manager in the College of Liberal Arts, inside the Student Union Building prior to the university’s announcement that Harwell has been named a Distinguished Visiting Professor in political science. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Gore reflects on father’s political legacy, climate crisis at MTSU forum [+VIDEO]

Former Vice President Al Gore’s passion for environmental issues rose to the fore at a tribute to his late father, Albert Gore Sr., before a capacity audience Monday, Sept. 16, at MTSU’s Tucker Theatre.

Gore, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, along with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, connected the worldwide climate crisis to Hurricane Dorian, at one point a Category 5 storm that devastated portions of MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee’s native country, the Bahamas.

Suffragists panel celebrates voting, urges vigilance at MTSU Constitution Day 2019 [+VIDEOS]

MTSU’s 2019 Constitution Day celebration was highlighted by a lively panel discussion about the battle for women’s suffrage and the modern challenges and obstacles to accessing to the ballot box.

The university’s annual observance of Constitution Day was held Tuesday, Sept. 17, as students, faculty, staff and visitors marked the 232nd anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution by reading the historic document aloud, in its entirety, and registering voters at multiple sites across MTSU throughout the day.

The celebration culminated in the public panel discussion, “Suffragists and Citizenship,” in Tucker Theatre, where moderator and New York Times opinion writer Margaret Renkl guided a panel discussion featuring state Rep. London Lamar of Memphis and University of South Carolina historian Marjorie Spruill. The trio examined Tennessee’s pivotal role in giving women the right to vote in the United States and how those votes have played a crucial part in American history in the last century.

OCTOBER

MTSU geosciences students will benefit from Petex’s nearly $2.2 million software donation

An in-kind donation of nearly $2.2 million by Petroleum Experts Limited, an Edinburgh, Scotland-based company, will help MTSU geosciences undergraduates become more adept at geomapping and, in turn, enhance their career prospects.

With the donation, Petex is granting access to the educational licenses of “Move Suite,” an industry-leading software, allowing current and future MTSU students to use its applications on campus.

MTSU geosciences professor Mark Abolins’ structural geology class with 11 students is an MT Engage course to foster a culture of engaged learning. The students will benefit from the Petex Move Suite software. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU geosciences professor Mark Abolins’ structural geology class with 11 students is an MT Engage course to foster a culture of engaged learning. The students will benefit from the Petex Move Suite software. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU alumna Keel takes reins of College of Media and Entertainment as new dean

Beverly Keel, chair of MTSU’s top-ranked Department of Recording Industry, will take the reins of the university’s College of Media and Entertainment as its new dean, University Provost Mark Byrnes announced to campus Wednesday, Oct. 23.

Keel, a six-time honoree in the Nashville Business Journal Women in Music City Awards and a member of its Hall of Fame, will begin her new role Jan. 1.

Beverly Keel, Chair, Department of Recording Industry on Nashville's Music Row at the Owen Bradley Park

MTSU Panhellenic Council receives national honor for campus sororities’ excellence

MTSU’s Panhellenic Council has been recognized by its national governing body as one of the most outstanding groups of its kind in the country.

The National Panhellenic Conference, a member-supported sorority advocacy organization based in Indianapolis, Indiana, presented its College Panhellenic Excellence Award to MTSU earlier this month.

To be chosen for the honor, MTSU’s Panhellenic had to demonstrate excellence in academics, judicial procedures, community impact and relations, programming, structure, recruitment and communication with its NPC area adviser.

Sara Sparks, right, MTSU College Panhellenic Council president, and Leslie Merritt, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, pose with the College Panhellenic Excellence Award from the National Panhellenic Conference. MTSU is one of only 26 institutions in the country to receive the honor from the sorority advocacy organization. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Sara Sparks, right, MTSU College Panhellenic Council president, and Leslie Merritt, director of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, pose with the College Panhellenic Excellence Award from the National Panhellenic Conference. MTSU is one of only 26 institutions in the country to receive the honor from the sorority advocacy organization. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

NOVEMBER

MTSU employees pledge record $133K-plus for 2019 Charitable Giving Campaign

Middle Tennessee State University employees again showed their True Blue spirit with a record $133,266.57 pledged during this year’s Employee Charitable Giving Campaign.

The pledge total represented 102.5% of the $130,000 goal, with 908 participants taking part in the annual tradition.

MTSU’s annual Charitable Giving Campaign is a monthlong effort by faculty and staff to support worthy causes. The campaign is fueled largely by monthly payroll deductions from employees over the next year but also allows one-time, lump-sum gifts at the donor’s discretion.

MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes, left, presents the 2019 Provost Cup to the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, represented by Teena Young, center, operations administrator for the college, and Dean David Urban. The Provost Cup is a friendly competition between academic units that is awarded to the college with the highest percentage of employee participation. The Jones College won the cup for the seventh straight year. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU Provost Mark Byrnes, left, presents the 2019 Provost Cup to the Jennings A. Jones College of Business, represented by Teena Young, center, operations administrator for the college, and Dean David Urban. The Provost Cup is a friendly competition between academic units that is awarded to the college with the highest percentage of employee participation. The Jones College won the cup for the seventh straight year. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Autism, animal science expert Grandin has quite an MTSU following

People arrived before 5:30 p.m. on a rainy Monday, Nov. 11, and they kept coming for a 7 p.m. event inside Tucker Theatre. They wanted to meet and hear Temple Grandin, a rock star in the worlds of animal science and autism.

The event sold out in September not long after it was announced Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, author, livestock industry consultant and autism spokeswoman, would be speaking. Dozens stood in line for her autograph and photograph, and she graciously accommodated everyone.

Grandin, who was diagnosed with autism at an early age, used slides as she talked about her specialties and genetic selection of animals as part of the MTSU Distinguished Lecture Series visit open to MTSU students, faculty, staff and the community.

Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, author, livestock industry consultant and autism spokeswoman, entertained a sold-out crowd inside Tucker Theatre Monday, Nov. 11, with a science-related research talk regarding animal science and autism. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University, author, livestock industry consultant and autism spokeswoman, entertained a sold-out crowd inside Tucker Theatre Monday, Nov. 11, with a science-related research talk regarding animal science and autism. (MTSU photo by Cat Curtis Murphy)

‘Pull together,’ Urban urges fellow faculty-staff veterans at new MTSU Stole Ceremony [+VIDEO]

As dean of the MTSU Jones College of Business, Dr. David Urban is the highest-ranking veteran on the academic side of the university. Urban served in the U.S. Navy and has spent 35 years in academia. The last six have been at MTSU, overseeing explosive growth in his college.

Because of his military connection, Urban was asked to deliver remarks at the inaugural MTSU Faculty/Staff Veterans Stole Ceremony Friday, Nov. 15, in the Miller Education Center’s second-floor atrium.

The ceremony is a way for the university to recognize all of those who have served in the various branches of military.

MTSU, Ascension Saint Thomas create ‘Nursing Corps’ pipeline of student veterans [+VIDEO]

Martinna Young, a senior nursing major, is the inaugural member of the Ascension Saint Thomas Nursing Corps, a partnership with MTSU that seeks to create a robust pipeline of strong registered nurse candidates who are also military veterans.

With hospital and university officials looking on, Young signed with Ascension/Saint Thomas Health Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center in a special ceremony in the Keathley University Center.

The Nursing Corps is a collaboration between Ascension Saint Thomas, MTSU’s Daniels Center, and MTSU’s School of Nursing. The Daniels Center will direct student-veterans early in their academic career to the nursing corps for work opportunities and paid internships with the eventual goal of being hired upon graduation and successful completion of the National Council Licensure Examination.

MTSU student veteran Martinna Young, left, received congratulations from Keith M. Huber for being the inaugural Ascension Saint Thomas Nursing Corps member Tuesday, Nov. 26, at the MTSU Daniels Veterans Center during a special ceremony. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

MTSU wins top spot for 2019 Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett announced recently that Middle Tennessee State University, Northeast State Community College and Carson-Newman University are the winners of this year’s Tennessee College Voter Registration Competition.

More than 2,000 students registered to vote at the 48 schools participating in the September contest, according to a news release from Hargett’s office. MTSU registered 381 new voters during the competition.

The competition took place during September in honor of National Voter Registration Month. Every college and university in the state had the chance to compete by registering the most students to vote and to spread awareness of the campaign on social media using the hashtag #GoVoteTN, along with their school-specific hashtag, the release states.

This voter registration table was among multiple locations set up Tuesday, Sept. 17, across campus as part of MTSU 2019 Constitution Day celebration. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Professional Selling Concentration hosts inaugural Stole Ceremony for first graduates

The first seven MTSU students graduating from university’s Department of Marketing Professional Selling Concentration were honored recently at an inaugural stole ceremony in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Five of these students will be able to wear the special academic regalia when they graduate at the Dec. 14 commencement at Murphy Center. These students include Christine Owens of Knoxville, Tennessee; Forrest Mason of Murfreesboro; Kayli Jones of Chattanooga; Faith Rodgers of Madison; and Drew Christiansen of Murfreesboro. The remaining two students, Caleb (Tate) Huffman of Rockvale and Amanda Post of Smyrna, will be graduating in May 2020.

MTSU’s Department of Marketing Professional Selling Concentration held its inaugural Stole Ceremony on Nov. 19 at the Tom H. Jackson Building for graduating students who enrolled in the new concentration within the Jones College of Business. Pictured, from left, are students Caleb (Tate) Huffman, Drew Christiansen, Faith Rodgers, Forrest Mason, Kayli Jones, Christine Owens and Amanda Post. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU’s Department of Marketing Professional Selling Concentration held its inaugural Stole Ceremony on Nov. 19 at the Tom H. Jackson Building for graduating students who enrolled in the new concentration within the Jones College of Business. Pictured, from left, are students Caleb (Tate) Huffman, Drew Christiansen, Faith Rodgers, Forrest Mason, Kayli Jones, Christine Owens and Amanda Post. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU is 7-time ‘blood battle’ winner; competition with WKU helps 28K-plus since 2010

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — MTSU proudly accepted the annual “blood battle” challenge trophy for the seventh time Saturday, Nov. 30, in its nine-year competition with Conference USA rival Western Kentucky University.

But the true winners, once again, are the 2,300-plus neighbors across several states whose lives may be saved by the 775 total pints of blood donated this year by the universities’ supporters.

MTSU donors rolled up their sleeves to give 397 pints of whole blood at the Campus Recreation Center Nov. 18-20. WKU collected 378 pints on the Bowling Green campus over the same three-day period.

Ray Wiley, left, associate director of MTSU Campus Recreation and a longtime American Red Cross volunteer, joins MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro to hoist the annual “blood battle” challenge trophy aloft Saturday, Nov. 30, at at the MTSU vs. Western Kentucky University football game in Bowling Green. Cheering behind them are members of the MTSU Band of Blue. MTSU won the annual blood drive contest for the third straight year and the seventh time since it began in 2010. (Photo submitted)

Ray Wiley, left, associate director of MTSU Campus Recreation and a longtime American Red Cross volunteer, joins MTSU Director of Athletics Chris Massaro to hoist the annual “blood battle” challenge trophy aloft Saturday, Nov. 30, at at the MTSU vs. Western Kentucky University football game in Bowling Green. Cheering behind them are members of the MTSU Band of Blue. MTSU won the annual blood drive contest for the third straight year and the seventh time since it began in 2010. (Photo submitted)

DECEMBER

MTSU Greeks extend giving spirit to military families’ children with donation

Money raised by MTSU students during the fall semester is going to help the children of fallen military members in December.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life handed a check for $6,864.40 to A Soldier’s Child Foundation Dec. 3 in the Student Union Building. Students raised the funds during the Crash the Commons “Change Wars” Sept. 3-5 on the Student Union Commons.

Leslie Merritt, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life, said Greek organizations and residence halls competed over a three-day period to top their rivals in raising money for a worthy cause.

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at MTSU celebrates the donation of a check for more than $6,800 to the A Soldier’s Child Foundation. From left are Jordan Borchert, coordinator, Fraternity and Sorority Life; Nate Parris, president-elect, Interfraternity Council; Terranny McLean, vice president of programming, National Pan-Hellenic Council; Daryl Mackin, founder and executive director, A Soldier’s Child Foundation; Alyssa Marchman, president-elect, National Pan-Hellenic Council; and Leslie Merritt, director, Fraternity and Sorority Life. (MTSU photo by Gina Logue)

The Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life at MTSU celebrates the donation of a check for more than $6,800 to the A Soldier’s Child Foundation. From left are Jordan Borchert, coordinator, Fraternity and Sorority Life; Nate Parris, president-elect, Interfraternity Council; Terranny McLean, vice president of programming, National Pan-Hellenic Council; Daryl Mackin, founder and executive director, A Soldier’s Child Foundation; Alyssa Marchman, president-elect, National Pan-Hellenic Council; and Leslie Merritt, director, Fraternity and Sorority Life. (MTSU photo by Gina Logue)

Record crowd of 11K-plus keeps MTSU No. 1 nationally for Education Day attendance [+VIDEO] 

MTSU athletics and Murfreesboro City Schools’ Education Day partnership continues to soar — and keeps MTSU No. 1 in the nation for Education Day women’s basketball game attendance.

The announced crowd of 11,415 people attending the Wednesday, Dec. 4, Lady Raiders game in Murphy Center included 7,345 students and established a national Education Day single-game record. MTSU has the top-five single-game attendance totals and seven of the top-10 nationally.

Students from Scales Elementary School had fun making faces and cheering on the MTSU Lady Raiders during their 63-42 Education Day victory against visiting Lipscomb University in Murphy Center Wednesday, Dec. 4. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Students from Scales Elementary School had fun making faces and cheering on the MTSU Lady Raiders during their 63-42 Education Day victory against visiting Lipscomb University in Murphy Center Wednesday, Dec. 4. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

‘You’ve got what it takes’ to succeed, speakers tell MTSU’s 1,759 new grads [+VIDEO]

MTSU celebrated 1,759 new graduates Saturday, Dec. 14, during two fall commencement ceremonies inside Murphy Center. The university’s final graduating class of the decade included 1,502 undergraduates and 257 graduate students.

Country singer and former MTSU student Chris Young (photo courtesy www.chrisyoungcountry.com)

Chris Young

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and afternoon speaker for MTSU’s fall 2019 commencement Saturday, Dec. 14

Dr. Belle Wheelan

Country music entertainer and former MTSU student Chris Young told graduates at the morning commencement event that the skills and effort they used to earn their degrees will be useful again and again.

“On the hard nights where you operated on little to no sleep, getting things done, putting in the work that no one is aware of? That’s all on you,” he said. “And you should be incredibly proud of that. All of the work that you did that no one sees? That’s the thing that will separate you from everyone who didn’t do it,” he said.

Dr. Belle Wheelan, president and CEO of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, spoke during the afternoon ceremony.

“There will be days you will wake up and say, ‘Oh, no, I cannot face this another day,’” she said. “Then when you look in the mirror, you say, ‘Yes, I can do this. I have proven it, because I’ve gotten through Middle Tennessee State University, and there is nothing and nobody who’s going to keep me back.’”


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