[+VIDEO] MTSU unveils plaque, establishes scholars...

[+VIDEO] MTSU unveils plaque, establishes scholarship in memory of political science professor

MTSU will offer a new scholarship in memory of a respected political science professor so his work can continue to inspire future political scientists and attorneys.

A celebration of the life of Dr. Clyde Willis was held Saturday, March 24, in Cantrell Hall in MTSU’s Tom Jackson Building. During the ceremony, organizers unveiled a plaque that will designate Room 211 in Peck Hall as the “Dr. Clyde Willis Symposium Room.”

Family, friends and colleagues spoke during the ceremony, which was followed by a reception.

Dr. Clyde Willis, political science professor

Dr. Clyde Willis

Willis, who was a lawyer for 25 years before entering academia, taught in the Department of Political Science, now the Department of Political Science and International Relations, in the College of Liberal Arts from 1999 until his retirement in 2015.

Cover of “Student's Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on the First Amendment” by MTSU political science professor Clyde WillisHe also served as a coach for the student mock trial and mock mediation teams.

After earning his law degree from the University of Tennessee in 1969, the Rogersville, Tennessee, native worked as an attorney for the Federal Trade Commission in Chicago. He later returned to Rogersville to practice law in a partnership and in solo practice and served as mayor of Rogersville from 1975 to 1977.

While working at the law firm of Harwell, Baumgardner and Willis in Knoxville, Willis earned his doctorate in political science at the University of Tennessee in 1991 to embark on his second career. After teaching political science at Valdosta State University in Valdosta, Georgia, for several years, he joined MTSU.

In 1996, Willis served as visiting professor on the law faculty of Syktyvkar State University in Russia. The following year, he received a Fulbright Distinguished Award as a law faculty member at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, where he also served as a consultant for the Ethiopian Ministry of Justice.

Among his publications was his book “Student’s Guide to Landmark Congressional Laws on the First Amendment,” which has become a popular and highly recommended textbook for law students.

Willis died July 24, 2017, at his Murfreesboro home at the age of 74. His widow, Irina, is an adjunct professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and LiteraturesYou can learn more about Clyde Willis at his MTSU web page: Science & International Relations logo

Eligibility requirements for the new Willis scholarship include: a minimum 3.0 GPA; a declared major in political science or international relations; and a classification of sophomore or higher

Failing to maintain academic requirements or changing to a major outside political science or international relations forfeits any unpaid balance of the awards. The deadline to submit applications is Sunday, April 1.

To make a tax-deductible gift to the Clyde Willis Scholarship, visit and type “Clyde Willis Scholarship” in the “other giving preferences” box. For more information on the scholarship, contact Meredith Kerr, development director in the College of Liberal Arts, at 615-898-5223 or

— Gina K. Logue (