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.
In addition to Murfreesboro, other True Blue Tour stops will include Huntsville, Sept. 25, and Birmingham, Sept. 26, in Alabama; Johnson City for an Oct. 1 student reception only; Knoxville, Oct. 2; Williamson County/Franklin, Oct. 8; Clarksville, Oct. 10; Bowling Green, Oct. 15, student reception only, and Louisville, Oct. 16, in Kentucky; Nashville, Oct. 22; Chattanooga, Oct. 29; Atlanta, Georgia, Oct. 30; Memphis/Cordova, Nov. 6; and Jackson, Nov. 7.
True Blue Tour and on-campus True Blue Preview Days and daily campus tours are free to attend for high school, home-schooled and transfer students. To learn more, visit www.mtsu.edu/rsvp.
Tour events include giveaways of scholarships, Phillips Bookstore gift cards and more, light refreshments and opportunities to speak to MTSU representatives about housing, financial aid, academic programs and the university’s nine colleges.
In 2018, MTSU introduced a new Presidential Scholarship — $4,500 per year and $18,000 overall for four years — for students with an ACT score of 25 to 29 and GPA of 3.5 or higher. That’s the largest scholarship for students in that ability range of any public university in the state.
This year, on the first tour stop, McPhee will announce the creation of yet another new guaranteed scholarship that will make a whole new group of high achievers scholarship-eligible for the first time.
For 25 years, MTSU has been hitting the road to recruit prospective students and meet their parents or guardians, taking that effort to another level with the launch of the True Blue Tour in 2012.
“When I came in 1996 as director of housing,” recalls Dr. Deb Sells, now vice president for student affairs and vice provost of enrollment and academic services, “one of the first things I was asked to do was to hop on a bus with admissions and all the deans, and we drove to Knoxville for a recruiting event.”
Twenty-four years later, Sells still takes the bus, now riding up front, as the recruiting events have expanded in scope and depth.
MTSU meets with high school counselors and community college staff for noontime lunches at 12 of the stops and with prospective students and their parents or guardians for two-plus-hour sessions in the evening at every venue.
Led by McPhee, Sells and undergraduate admissions director Linda Olsen, MTSU staff share news about the Murfreesboro university’s 300-plus programs and offerings, facilities and much more as it recruits outstanding students.
“We’re looking forward to another great year on the True Blue Tour,” said McPhee, who began going on recruiting trips in 2001 several months after becoming MTSU’s 10th president. “We enjoy meeting prospective students and their parents each year.”
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to hear firsthand from MTSU representatives in their own backyards and receive important information about admissions and financial aid, and the unique educational experience we offer,” McPhee added.
New event venues include The Westin Huntsville in Alabama and TownPlace Suites in Clarksville.
True Blue Preview Days will be held on campus on the following Saturdays: Sept. 21 and Nov. 2 and Feb. 22 and March 21, 2020.
Fall 2019 MTSU True Blue Tour sites include:
• Aug. 21 — Middle Tennessee student reception at MTSU, Student Union Ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd., Murfreesboro.
• Sept. 19 — Middle Tennessee counselor/community college luncheon at MTSU, Student Union Ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd., Murfreesboro.
• Sept. 25 — The Westin Huntsville, 6800 Governors West, Huntsville, Alabama.
• Sept. 26 — Birmingham Marriott, 3590 Grandview Parkway, Birmingham, Alabama.
• Oct. 1* — Carnegie Hotel, 1216 W. State of Franklin Road, Johnson City, Tennessee.
• Oct. 2 — The Foundry on the Fair Site, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive, Knoxville, Tennessee.
• Oct. 8 — Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin, Tennessee.
• Oct. 10 — TownePlace Suites, 120 Fair Brook Place, Clarksville, Tennessee.
• Oct. 15* — Holiday Inn University Plaza, 1021 Wilkinson Trace, Bowling Green, Kentucky.
• Oct. 16 — Louisville Marriott East, 1903 Embassy Square Road, Louisville, Kentucky.
• Oct. 22 — Millennium Maxwell House, 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville, Tennessee.
• Oct. 29 — Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza, Chattanooga, Tennessee.
• Oct. 30 — Hyatt Regency Atlanta Perimeter at Villa Christina, 4000 Summit Blvd., Atlanta, Georgia.
• Nov. 6 — Esplande Memphis, 901 Cordova Station Ave., Cordova, Tennessee.
• Nov. 7 — Jackson Country Club, 31 Country Club Lane, Jackson, Tennessee.
* — Student reception only.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)