KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Middle Tennessee State University’s True Blue Tour events held in Knoxville and Johnson City this week and in Chattanooga on Sept. 17 have proven to be a huge success.
With a scenic view of the nearby mountains, the 27th-floor Club LeConte in Knoxville, Tenn., was overflowing with 136 students — more than doubling last year’s student attendees — and nearly 300 people attending the special Sept. 24 event. Earlier that day, 80 high school and community college counselors were guests for a luncheon reception.
Forty-seven high school and transfer students were a part of a crowd of about 150 people attending the True Blue Tour event Sept. 23 in the Mountain States Ballroom at The Millennium Centre in Johnson City.
The Knoxville, Johnson City and Chattanooga visits were three of six recruiting events held this fall across Tennessee, where prospective students hear all that MTSU to offer.
University President Sidney A. McPhee, Provost Brad Bartel, Student Affairs Vice President Deb Sells and college deans have been leading MTSU’s contingent of admissions, financial aid, housing, advising and other personnel who share information and answer questions from students and their parents or guardians.
“We are thrilled with the success of all three tour stops so far — in Chattanooga, Johnson City and Knoxville,” Sells said.
“We have broken attendance records at each of these events, and there is no doubt that excitement among prospective students is growing.”
Sells said the excitement is due to a number of factors, including:
- the continuing growth in campus facilities, including the College of Education Building and new Student Union;
- anticipation of the new Science Building, opening January 2015;
- the addition of new deans and other members of the senior leadership team and faculty, including “a great deal of enthusiasm … regarding our new dean in the College of Mass Communication, Ken Paulson, former USA Today editor”;
- continued recognition in national publications of the high quality and excellent value of an MTSU education; and
- a growing appreciation for the kind of individual, one-to-one support for success that is available to every MTSU student from the moment of their acceptance as a new student through their graduation.
Paulson told the Knoxville audience “how excited I am to be a part of this remarkable university.”
“MTSU is a great choice. Come and check out MTSU,” he added.
MTSU senior Liz Whittle of Oak Ridge, Tenn., said she fell in love with MTSU “the moment I walked on the campus.” She told the students about the “great amount of opportunities” such as study abroad and student organizations.
“With small class sizes, it’s easy to get personal relationships and business relationships after college,” said Whittle, a political science major who plans to attend law school and eventually become an ambassador.
As part of the True Blue Tour, McPhee is inviting alumni from each area to hear an update on campus happenings and to visit and share their MTSU experiences.
At the Knoxville stop, Terri Roberts of Maryville, Tenn., joined the fun. She entered MTSU as a freshman art education major in 1965, met her husband, Herb, and left school, eventually completing her degree in general studies in 2010 at age 62.
Herb Roberts retired after 40 years with the Tennessee State Parks, and they tailgate at every MTSU home football game.
The Roberts’ children, Cassie Sweeny of Maryville and Dan Roberts, an Air Force lieutenant colonel stationed at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, also are MTSU alumni.
Other MTSU alumni attending the East Tennessee tour stops included Larry Cox, Scott Griswold, Paul Martin Jr., Elaine Pearce, Jeff Bateman and Jeremy Poynter of Knoxville; Mindy Corum and Jessica Fine of Powell, Tenn.; and Patrick Morrison of Whitwell, Tenn.
Poynter is a second-year law student at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Morrison is in his first year of law school.
Martin and his brother, H. Lee Martin of Knoxville, donated $2 million to help build the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building in the early 2000s. Lee Martin is head of the UT School of Engineering.
— Randy Weiler (firstname.lastname@example.org)