NASHVILLE and FRANKLIN, Tenn. — Cody Wilson served six years in the military, honorably leaving the U.S. Army as a specialist E-4. In January 2020, he began attending Nashville State Community College on path to earn an associate degree and then pursue business at a university.
A $5,000 scholarship Wilson received from MTSU during the annual True Blue Tour at Nashville’s Millennium Maxwell House will be a financial bonus when he pursues business administration in the Jones College of Business.
This week, MTSU visited Nashville and Franklin, recruiting prospective new and transfer students for 2022 and beyond. They were the fifth and sixth stops on the tour as the university travels across Tennessee and to five major cities out of state to share what MTSU offers in terms of academic programs, financial aid, housing and much more.
Masks are required as a COVID-19 protocol, Admissions officials said. To learn more or to register, go here.
Wilson, 30, attending with girlfriend Jennifer Ruggirello, said the scholarship “means a lot. I was happy when they called my name.” He plans to enroll at MTSU in January.
University officials informed Wilson about the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, a one-stop shop of resources and support for 1,100 student veterans and family members on campus.
Katherine Malpas of Thompson’s Station, a sophomore at Columbia State, has a high interest in MTSU’s exercise science, food and nutrition and horse science programs.
“I’m still deciding (where to go),” said Malpas, who attended the Franklin event at the Marriott Cool Springs with her parents, Jim and Karan Malpas, and who visited campus this summer. “I love the campus and love the atmosphere.” A triplet, her sister, Sarah, and brother, Thomas, also attend Columbia State.
The transfer route
More than 50% of MTSU total enrollment each semester comes from transfer students, said Mark Murphy, Office of Admissions assistant director for undergraduate transfer admissions.
Motlow State, Columbia State, Nashville State and Volunteer State are among the top feeder schools for MTSU.
Linda Olsen, director of undergraduate admissions, stresses two application deadlines at both events: Feb. 15 for guaranteed scholarships for qualifying transfer students and Dec. 1 for high school seniors applying for guaranteed scholarships they will receive as freshmen.
‘One shining moment’ for college recruiter
Columbia State (Franklin campus) enrollment recruiter Stasa Bakliza, a native of Croatia now living in Bellevue, Tennessee, is also an MTSU doctoral student in history. In Franklin, he received $1,500 in scholarships from MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee — two $500 scholarships for Columbia State students and a $500 scholarship for himself when McPhee learned Bakliza is working toward his doctorate.
“It really made my day,” Bakliza said of the scholarships. “It was a wonderful public display of support — one shining moment — and MTSU left a great imprint on me by doing this.”
Alumna helps funnel students to MTSU
MTSU alumna Amy Cowell (’82) has no idea how many high school students she’s sent MTSU’s way in decades of counseling — and even helping students complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA.
Now a college and career choice counselor for Advise TN and based out of Cheatham County High School in Ashland City, Tennessee, Cowell received a $2,000 scholarship at the Nashville luncheon. With students, she “always talks about being an alumnus” of MTSU and the variety of programs the university offers. She was a psychology and sociology double major as a student.
The ‘exciting’ $7,500 scholarship
A lucky break enabled Deron Young, 18, of Thompson’s Station to leave the Franklin event with a $7,500 scholarship. Another registered student left the building minutes before his name was announced. Young’s father, Deron, a former U.S. Marine, had quite the reaction when his son’s name was called next.
“I heard my name,” the teenager said. “It was a feeling of disbelief. My dad grabbed my hand. He was a Marine and a very reserved person. I had never seen him that excited. And, it was a very humbling moment, too. It’s a heavy burden off my plate and my family’s plate.”
The Independence High School senior has interests in aerospace and the medical field. He has a 4.0 GPA (4.5 weighted) and scored a 27 on his ACT. A member of the National Honors Society and school’s German Club, the younger Young said they waited until going home — with proof of scholarship — before sharing the news with his mother, Donna Young.
National Alumni Board President Matthew Hibdon attended the Nashville tour event while Vice President Michael Hogan attended the Williamson County event.
“MTSU changed my life,” said Hibdon (Classes of 2012 and ’14), who is manager of strategic communications for the College of Liberal Arts, sharing at both the student reception and luncheon for counselors/community college staff. “I encourage you to go to MTSU. Come to Homecoming Oct. 30.” He also promoted study abroad and internships. His degrees are in history and a master’s in education (administration supervision).
Hogan (’93), who lives in Murfreesboro, said he had “a great MTSU experience that was a springboard for life.” He is director of driver services with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. His degree was in economics and finance from the Jones College of Business and he is in his second term on the Alumni Board.
“College life was fun,” Hogan said. For prospective students, his advice is to “set your expectations to move forward into secondary education. Have a plan and stick to it.”
On deck: Atlanta, Ga., and Chattanooga, Tenn.
MTSU’s True Blue Tour visits Atlanta, Georgia (The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7 Concourse Parkway NE) Tuesday, Oct. 19, and Chattanooga, Tennessee (Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter St.) Wednesday, Oct. 20. At both, MTSU holds 6 p.m. student receptions and 12:30 p.m. luncheons for counselors and community college staff.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)