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MTSU gears up for 8th True Blue Tour to recruit st...

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.

Now an MTSU freshman, Christan Lee, left, of Christiana, Tenn., and Centennial High School graduate, reacts with emotion after receiving a $2,500 scholarship to MTSU from Provost Mark Byrnes, center, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee while attending the Murfreesboro and Rutherford County True Blue Tour event in August 2018. MTSU kicks off the 2019 True Blue Tour campaign at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, in the Student Union Ballroom, the first of 14 tour stops this fall. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Now an MTSU freshman, Centennial High School graduate Christan Lee, left, of Christiana, Tenn., reacts to receiving a $2,500 scholarship to MTSU from Provost Mark Byrnes, center, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee while attending the Murfreesboro and Rutherford County True Blue Tour event in August 2018. MTSU kicks off the 2019 True Blue Tour at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, in the Student Union Ballroom, the first of 14 tour stops this fall. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

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 HuntsvilleSept. 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.

Grant Hampton, 18, right of Thompson’s Station, Tenn., an Independence High School graduate who is now an MTSU freshman, smiles while holding a large replica of an $18,000 check representing the new expanded Presidential Scholarship announced by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee in early October 2018 during the MTSU True Blue Tour visit to Franklin, Tenn. On the first 2019 tour stop in Murfreesboro, 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. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Grant Hampton, 18, right of Thompson’s Station, Tenn., an Independence High School graduate who is now an MTSU freshman, smiles and holds a large replica of an $18,000 check representing the new expanded Presidential Scholarship. MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, left, announced the increased scholarship in early October 2018 during the MTSU True Blue Tour visit to Franklin, Tenn. On the first 2019 tour stop in Murfreesboro, McPhee will announce the creation of another new guaranteed scholarship that will make a whole new group of high achievers scholarship-eligible for the first time. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

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.

MTSU also expanded its Regional Scholars Program and Academic Common Market coverage areas in 2018.

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.

Deb Sells, left, vice president of Student Affairs at MTSU, advises prospective students from Nashville on which direction to head as they enter the True Blue Tour ballroom in October 2018 at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. The students included Amina Al-Kharsani and Zanah Al-Rabiey of Cane Ridge High School and Fatima Al-Fatlawy of Overton High School. Al-Kharsani and Al-Fatlawy are MTSU freshmen this fall. MTSU and the tour return to Nashville Tuesday, Oct. 22. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

Dr. Deb Sells, left, vice president for student affairs at MTSU, directs prospective students from Nashville as they enter the True Blue Tour ballroom at the Millennium Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville in October 2018. The students included Amina Al-Kharsani and Zanah Al-Rabiey of Cane Ridge High School and Fatima Al-Fatlawy of Overton High School. Al-Kharsani and Al-Fatlawy are MTSU freshmen this fall. MTSU and the tour return to Nashville Tuesday, Oct. 22. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

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.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee

Dr. Sidney A. McPhee

Linda Olsen

Linda Olsen

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.

Students attending the MTSU True Blue Tour event in September 2018 in Clarksville, Tenn., show their approval for President Sidney A. McPhee’s awarding of a scholarship and other giveaways. MTSU will bring the tour and an announcement of another guaranteed scholarship back to Clarksville Thursday, Oct. 10, with a luncheon for counselors and community college staff and 6 p.m. student reception, both at TownePlace Suites, 120 Fair Brook Place. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

Students attending the MTSU True Blue Tour in September 2018 in Clarksville, Tenn., applaud President Sidney A. McPhee’s presentation of a scholarship. MTSU will bring the tour and an announcement of another guaranteed scholarship back to Clarksville Thursday, Oct. 10, with a luncheon for counselors and community college staff and 6 p.m. student reception, both at TownePlace Suites, 120 Fair Brook Place. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

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.

True Blue Tour logo• 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)

Ken Paulson, right, president of the Freedom Forum’s First Amendment Center at MTSU, listens as Teresa McKenzie, second from left, asks questions about the variety of programs within the college. Ryan McKenzie, 17, a junior at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Ga., listens during the MTSU True Blue Tour visit at the Hyatt Regency Perimeter in Atlanta, Ga., in October 2018. Also shown is Rance McKenzie, 9. Ryan McKenzie won a $1,500 scholarship. MTSU and the tour return to Atlanta Wednesday, Oct. 30. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)

Teresa McKenzie, center, asks questions about the variety of programs within the College of Media and Entertainment while then-dean Ken Paulson, right, and Ryan McKenzie, 17, left, then a junior at Arabia Mountain High School in Lithonia, Ga., listen during the October 2018 MTSU True Blue Tour visit at the Hyatt Regency Perimeter in Atlanta, Ga. Also shown is Rance McKenzie, 9. Ryan McKenzie later won a $1,500 scholarship at the event. MTSU and the tour return to Atlanta Wednesday, Oct. 30. (MTSU file photo by Randy Weiler)


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