The 2010-2011 academic year was officially welcomed Thursday, September 2, at Opening Convocation, an annual ceremony that marks the beginning of the new year.
The auditorium in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Building was packed with students, faculty and staff for the ceremony that begins with an academic procession of the senior class and the faculty members.
Tusculum President Nancy B. Moody welcomed new and returning students. Reminding them of Tusculum’s rich history as a first in many areas, she challenged the students to make the most of their opportunities during the coming year.
Two faculty members, Dr. Bill Garris and Dr. Melanie Narkawicz, addressed the students. Both had received the Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award for 2009-2010.
Dr. Garris, assistant professor of psychology, compared Tusculum to a base camp for a mountain-climbing expedition. Like a base camp, Tusculum gives its students the skills and tools they will need for wherever their life journey takes them, he said.
Dr. Narkawicz, associate professor of research and director of research for Graduate and Professional Studies, told of the many things that surprised her about Tusculum from its history to where education had taken some of its graduates, challenging the students to discover what the College had to offer.
Erika Witt, a junior majoring in museum studies from Roanoke, Va., was installed as president of the student body by Dean of Students Dr. David McMahan. Speaking after the installation, Witt challenged the new students to get involved on campus whether it was in various clubs and organizations or in the Student Government Association.
New faculty members were introduced by Dr. Kim Estep, provost and academic vice president. The new faculty members include John Branscum, associate professor of English; Suzanne Byrd, visiting assistant professor of physical education; Eva Lynn Cowell, assistant professor of management; David Frazier, visiting assistant professor of computer science; Chris Jacek, assistant professor of film and broadcasting; Jason Jones, visiting assistant professor ofphysical education, and Clay Matthews, assistant professor of English.
A number of faculty, staff and administrative personnel were recognized with longevity awards.
Dr. Bob Davis, professor of biology, was recognized for 40 years of service to the College with a certificate and gift. A native of East Tennessee, he has taught field and pre-medical courses since joining Tusculum in 1970. Dr. Davis grew up on the family dairy farm in Jonesborough and he currently farms a 150-acre beef operation known as Grandview Farms. He enjoys observing the dichotomy between practical, real-life problem solving techniques in agriculture and the hypothetical techniques practiced in academia, as well as sharing these with his students. Dr. Davis said it has been his honor to be associated with an institution such as Tusculum for 40 years and he was looking forward to many more years with the College.
Dan Barnett, associate professor of chemistry, was recognized for 25 years of service to the College. During his tenure at Tusculum College, Professor Barnett has focused on environmental chemistry, water and air quality as his main interests in teaching and research. He has also served as faculty moderator and on several other faculty governance committees. In the classroom, Dan has embraced the active learning culture of the block program at Tusculum College and is often mentioned by graduates as being an important influence on their future career plans and on their life.
Recognized for 20 years of service were Dr. Melinda Dukes, professor of psychology and associate vice president for academic affairs; Jeff Lokey, assistant professor of management and director of the commons program; Jack Smith, director of the Thomas J. Garland Library; Jeanne Stokes, director of the TRIO programs, and Mark Stokes, director of facilities and church relations.
Those recognized for 15 years of service included Deborah Davis, associate athletic director; Jill Jones, director of academic advising; Dr. Kirpal Mahal, professor of physical education, and Dr. John Paulling, professor of mathematics and chair of the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Computer Science.
Ten-year honorees were Geri Aguilar, payroll clerk; Sandi Bible, high school educational advisor in the Talent Search program; Lora Bryant, academic advisor for the Graduate and Professional Studies program; Dom Donnelly, athletic media relations director; Robin Fife, assistant professor of social science; Karen Hartman, assistant director of the Upward Bound program; Chris Lenker, head athletic trainer; Betsy Long, academic support coordinator for the Graduate and Professional Studies program; Tonya Moreno, advisor in the Talent Search program; Dr. Rhonda Smith, director of the School of Business and professor of management, and Jane Sandusky, assistant professor of athletic training.
Recognized for five years of service to the College were James Archer, warehouse specialist; Jonathan Ballinger , coordinator of library tech services in Knoxville; Dr. Geir Bergvin, associate professor of marketing; James Boone, head men’s basketball coach; Lillian Burchnell, faculty clerical assistant; Bobbie Clarkston, coordinator of student records; Bette Dowd, assistant certification officer and COG office supervisor; Colleen Everett, director of Bachelor of Arts in Education program and coordinator; Dr. Dale Gibson, professor of physical education; Robert Hall, housekeeper; Keith Herrin, assistant professor of art; Rondon James, head cheerleading coach; Dr. David McMahan, dean of students;
Kathy Munson, clerical assistant; Larson Norton, housekeeper; Gary Quinton, instructional technology specialist; Lynn Reeves, assistant professor of economics; Michael Robinson, head volleyball coach; Caleb Slover, assistant football coach; Teresa Smith, administrative assistant; Kimberly Squibb, enrollment representative for the Graduate and Professional Studies program; Pat Stansberry, faculty clerical assistant; Wayne Thomas, assistant professor of English; Hollie Toth, communications coordinator; Dr. Joel Van Amberg, assistant professor of history; Amanda Waddell, director of career development; Bonnie Weston, senior student life coordinator, and Kevin Weston, assistant football coach/defensive coordinator.