Your Stories

Reflections and Memories

Your Stories

Reflections shared by Alumni, Family and Friends for Tusculum’s 225th Anniversary celebration.

Reflection from Ken Bowman ‘70

Tusculum’s difference in my life begins with my dad, Ray L. Bowman ’42. His mother was a college-trained Presbyterian teaching missionary from near Pittsburgh, who relocated to Greene County to teach in the Presbyterian mission schools before 1920. Her commitment to education resulted in three of her four adult children earning degrees.

My dad’s BA in physics was only made possible by Tusculum’s work-study program at the time. This led directly to his commission in the U.S. Army and to a full post-war civilian career in the National Security Agency. Not only did Tusculum change the economic and professional trajectory of our family, it gave me confidence in my emerging abilities and rewarded me with the richest of lifetime friendships that continue to this day.

Dad generously supported many Greene County students who couldn’t afford Tusculum on their own. Jo Ellen and I are fortunate to follow his example in our commitment to Tusculum and her students.

My family and I have indeed been blessed through Tusculum!

Reflection from David Hawk

Tusculum University will always have a special place in my heart and mind.

My time as a Tusculum student prepared me for the important work that I am fortunate to be able to do today. The greatest skill set I acquired was learning how to better communicate my knowledge, thoughts and ideas with my classmates, which I was able to transition into being able to better communicate my knowledge, thoughts and ideas in my world of work. This skill set was honed in Professor David Behan’s public speaking and theatre arts courses, which I took in the Annie Hogan Byrd Fine Arts Center Auditorium. The experiences I had at Tusculum instilled a confidence in me and assisted in my endeavor to become a leader in our community.

Watching Tusculum University’s growth and expansion, which has occurred since I attended in the late 1980s, has given me a great sense of pride. I feel invested in the current students, faculty and staff, as I regularly return to campus to listen to a lecture, speak to a class or attend a sporting event. Tusculum University has my full support, as we guide our current generation of students into the next chapters of their lives.

Rep. David Hawk
Tennessee General Assembly
Serving Greene County, Tennessee

Dr. Scott Niswonger '87 H'06

Reflection from Doug Jones

As I reflect on my time here at Tusculum, it is hard to believe that I’m about to enter my 22nd year. So many positive memories flood my mind when I think about my tenure.

I arrived on campus as a young baseball coach (26 years old) in July of 1996 with expectations of building a baseball program that would make everyone proud.  Dr. Fields, athletic director, and Dr. Knott, president, hugely impacted my decision to join the Pioneer family.  They welcomed me like family, and I knew I wanted to grow here. I’m so thankful they took a chance on a young coach, making my dream of becoming a college baseball coach a reality.

The road hasn’t always been easy though. Just as I was having growing pains, so was the college.  I will never forget the first campuswide staff meeting that our president, Dr. Knott, called. Dr. Knott had a way of making everyone feel very comfortable, and that’s how this meeting began.  However, toward the end of the meeting Dr. Knott made a statement that I will never forget. He said “Folks, I’m not sure we will be able to make payroll this month.” I immediately thought to myself, “What have I gotten myself into?” We had buildings on campus that were not being utilized, and our undergraduate enrollment was extremely low. The athletic facilities were in bad shape, and everyone was operating on a shoestring budget. Over the next couple of years, things started to improve, Mr. Niswonger made a huge investment in the infrastructure of our campus and we made the move into the South Atlantic Conference and the NCAA Division II. We have been fortunate to grow our academic and athletic offerings over the years and even become a university. Time has been good to Tusculum, and I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next.

I never expected this to become our permanent home.  I saw the opportunity as one of many to come.  Then I fell in love with the place. My wife and I lived in the Cogs apartment on campus for over a year until we finally moved into a rental home in town and then onto our current home in the community. Living on campus around the students gave us the opportunity to really soak in the college experience and get to know the people that made up our Tusculum family. The atmosphere around Tusculum has always been very special and tight-knit. We have spectacular scholars and student-athletes. We are fortunate to serve a large population of first-generation students and everyone works together to provide the support that they need. The working environment within the athletic department is also special – a group of coaches and administrators working together to provide the best possible experience for our student-athletes. Our professors are top-notch, and the support staff members all through the university are absolutely wonderful. My motto has always been “It’s not about ME,” but I can’t own it anymore because you can see that all throughout the campus. Leadership truly caring about the people we serve, our students.

My journey here has been amazing, to say the least. This community has been the perfect place for my wife and me to raise our two daughters, and our oldest has chosen Tusculum to continue her education. God has blessed me and given me the opportunity to lead our baseball program for over 20 years. Dr. Moody believed in me enough to give me the opportunity to lead our athletic department, and Dr. Hurley has come in and expanded my role. Tusculum University is not a place of employment for me. It is truly my calling, a place that allows me to pour into our students’ lives. Tusculum is our home, a place that has allowed me to grow, both personally and professionally. I am committed to try and make this place even better because I want others to have the opportunity to experience this very special place, a treasure nestled in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Reflection from Bonnie Parks Brown

I have several great memories of Tusculum. My first would be traveling to London for a study abroad trip in my 18th Century British Literature class. Even though our professor, Sheila Morton, was pregnant and her back went out the day of the trip, she still made the trip one of the best memories I had. While we were on the trip, we saw many of the streets and landmarks mentioned in our assigned reading, as well as very new and modern parts of London.

As an English Literature major, I took classes were we actually spoke pretty extensively about history. For example, in one American literature class, we learned about important figures during the first half of the 20th Century. The picture with this story is from when I dressed up as “Rosie the Riveter” for a project in an American literature class.

I also really loved my time in the theater department! I started out doing two years of my work study backstage with Frank Mengel. The more I worked with Frank, Jennifer Hollowell, and Marilyn DuBrisk, the more I gained confidence to actually audition. I was in two productions, “A, my name is still Alice” and “A Christmas Carol,” where I made friends that I still keep to this day.

The most important lesson I learned while at Tusculum was to be confident in myself and my abilities, which would not have happened without the amazing faculty, staff, and students at Tusculum!

Reflection from Dr. Antônio Bós, Professor of Economics

About eight years ago, on a fine Tuesday morning, I was in my office minding my own business when Luis Zamora, an Economics major from Chile, stopped by and told me – “unloaded” is probably a better word – the craziest idea I had ever heard in my entire career. He and a group of Tusculum students were going to design, implement, and deliver a program to assist small businesses in the region. They were developing the curriculum for a 10-session course, oddly called Help Me Help You (with the odder acronym HMHU). The course would cover all the aspects of developing and improving a business plan. Our students would be the ones teaching the course, interacting with the business owners on an individual basis, and assisting them on how they could improve their businesses. My first reaction was along the lines of “what the heck?” (Although in Portuguese, it was probably something like “Deve ser brincadeira!” or “Pelo amor dos meu pecados, o que é isso?)

These students needed a faculty sponsor/supervisor, and I said yes, although I really didn’t know what I was getting into. As it turned out, that was the best decision I have made in my 25 years with the university. (Besides, of course, being a member of the A&S Committee, but this is a story for another time).

Even more surprisingly, the students did develop the course, with detailed class plans and activities and connected with various international organizations in order to do so. I and other business faculty – most notably Dr. Michelle Freeman, Dr. Tom McFarland, and Ms. Robin Fife – reviewed the course contents, although, on my part at least, there was nothing much to adjust. The students recruited small businesses to attend the program, and the first HMHU occurred in the fall semester of 2011.

As I have noted, the program consisted of 10 sessions, covering all aspects of developing and improving a business plan, including market differentiation, cost administration, pricing, marketing and sales strategies, body language in business, financing, legal issues, negotiation, networking, and business presentations. Over the years, it directly assisted 38 businesses in Greeneville and Morristown, from a variety of fields, including restaurants, landscaping services, engineering firms, and not-for-profit organizations.

Eventually, the HMHU evolved into the Center for Economic Development and Entrepreneurship (CEDE), a fully developed hub of supporting resources for small businesses and entrepreneurs in East Tennessee. In addition to offering the HMHU courses, it provided consulting services for individual businesses and provided personal finance assistance and wider business support to the community and Tusculum students.

HMHU and the CEDE received a substantial amount of attention and support from the local and regional communities. The HMHU course was always featured in The Greeneville Sun and other newspapers, as well as on WGRV and other radio stations. Financial support was received by Dr. Scott Niswonger, Tom Ferguson, ATMOS Energy Corp, and, at a later stage, by Mr. Walter R. Johnson. The program was also supported by a grant from the BBER-NE TN Regional Entrepreneurial Accelerator at East Tennessee State University. We also developed a formal agreement with the Greene County Partnership and, more informally, with other organizations in the region, including Main Street Greeneville. Besides local and regional attention, the program received national – if not international – recognition.

The Clinton Foundation recognized HMHU as one of the most promising student-led programs in the whole world. I am impressed just by typing these words, and I actually witnessed everything!

I wouldn’t be lying too much if I estimated the overall economic impact of HMHU/CEDE in Greeneville and the local region as approaching half a million dollars. (I know I am not lying, but there was no formal study, so take it as a reasonable guess.)

Again, the most unique characteristic of the program is that, as noted above, it was designed, developed and implemented by students. They delivered the contents of the HMHU courses and directly interacted with the entrepreneurs, getting involved in real decisions that had direct impact on those actual businesses. Students and local small-business owners worked and grew together both personally and professionally. Over all the years, 37 students were active in the program. I should mention the original participants and creators of HMHU, in addition to Luis Zamora, were Andres Jarquin, Andrew Goellner, Sam Underwood Harris, David Talley, Paul Bergvin, Matthew McKeever, Steven Hollingshead, and Jordan Ottinger.

From where I am standing – actually I am sitting down, but you know what I mean – I would say that the impact on the students who participated in the HMHU/CEDE over the years was even more significant than the assistance we provided to the businesses. On a personal note, my own teaching was improved by being engaged with these students. To this day, I still use examples and stories from the HMHU/CEDE in my classes.

Anybody who wants to have a real feel for the impact of HMHU/CEDE should visit the Creamy Cup. Ask Eric or Lynette Price how significant the help from our students was to their business, or visit HMHU’s Facebook Page and CEDE’s website https://web.tusculum.edu/cede/.

Reflection from Ryan Munson ‘04

I came to Tusculum in 2000 as a soccer recruit. What I thought would be four years of soccer turned into four years that would forever change my view on life and give me some of the best friends anyone could ask for.

I only played one year of collegiate soccer at Tusculum. After leaving the team, my first thought was to transfer somewhere closer to home (Utah).  Then something amazing happened. My roommate and best friend, Ben Slocum, left the team the next day. In his words: “It just wouldn’t be fun anymore without me there.” I knew then and there I was going to stay and make it the best of the next three years.

I was immediately asked to join the radio station WTPL, as they were in need of a color commentator for football. This is where I met Justin Jeffers, yet another soon-to-be best friend. I also became president of the business club, which at the time was called SIFE. Without leaving the team and being at a small-sized institution, I never would have had the chance at these amazing opportunities.

I truly enjoyed my time at Tusculum and have since been in three separate weddings and invited to numerous others. Brett Wilson even moved to Utah a few years ago, so now we at least have two alumni in the great state of Utah!

Personally I moved home to Utah after graduation and married my high school sweetheart. We have two beautiful children and currently live in the city of Layton, Utah.

Professionally I completed an MBA in 2006 and currently work for one of the best startups in the nation – Duolingo – where our mission is to bring free language learning to the world. None of this could have been accomplished without my time at Tusculum.  It will forever be another home to me.

All the best,

Ryan Munson ‘04

Reflection from Kent Workman ’77

I am retiring this spring after 50 years in college, as a student, as an administrator, a teacher and more. An important part of my journey took place at Tusculum College in the mid-1970s. At Tusculum, I earned a second bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education. I also worked with Upward Bound while at Tusculum.

While working at TC with Upward Bound, I discovered that I wanted to spend my career, my life, working with college students and making sure all students, from all backgrounds, would have the opportunity to be successful at college. During the past 50 years, I have attended and worked at small private colleges and large state universities with enrollments of more than 50,000.

What I learned in my classes at TC I have been able to apply to help college students with special needs who some would say were “not college material.”  Well, they were “college material,” and with the kind help I learned at TC, they were as successful as anyone.

With what I learned through my work with Upward Bound, I have been able to help college students from many different backgrounds – again students who some would deny the college opportunity.  Students of various races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic situations and more are all “college material.”

I thank Tusculum College and the staff and students of Upward Bound for all they taught me that I have been able to apply to my career and life these past years.

Kent Workman ‘77

Reflection from Steve Monsky ’64

I was a catcher on the 1966 Tusculum baseball team that practiced and played on a beat-up cow pasture field but developed well under the tutelage of Coach Dale Alexander, an ex-Major League player for the Detroit Tigers.

We had a strong 12-4 record, which enabled us to get to the championship game in Jefferson City, Tennessee.

I can still smell the fresh cut grass and feel the sunshine that Saturday morning on the home field of the heavily favored Carson-Newman team, led by Clyde Wright, who would later pitch in the big leagues.

TC fought back from a 6-2 deficit to beat Carson-Neman 7-6 to capture the Volunteer Athletic Conference Championship.

The rag-tag band of Pioneer players and very few fans celebrated on the bus ride back to Greeneville and later at the famed Chucky beach. I still get chills thinking about the game and reminiscing with some of the players.

Only Bill “Peahead” Gardner, our great first baseman, who went on to play pro ball with the Atlanta Braves, can tell you why they nicknamed me “Cowman.”

I currently live in Indio, California, enjoying retirement in the desert, where cows and fresh cut grass are in short supply.

Steve Monsky ‘64

Reflection from Stephen Geaghan ’70

Within months of starting my sophomore (1967) year, I met David Behan, head of the theater department, at an audition. The production was “Antigone.” I felt I was a good enough actor to play a dead body on stage. Behan informed me that he didn’t need any dead bodies on stage in this production but he did need live ones back stage. That struck a chord.

It was largely through his guidance that I ultimately majored in theater and after graduation furthered my education in theatrical scenic design at a master’s degree level. The skills and enthusiasm Dave Behan taught have allowed me a 50-year ongoing international career in the film and television industry, where I have designed and produced numerous films.

The four years at Tusculum were the educational underpinnings that allowed me to do that work. Thanks Tusculum!  Thanks Dave!

Stephen Geaghan ‘70

Reflection from Dana Bennett ’72

My experience at Tusculum was unique. I was on the golf team for four years, spending a lot of time at Link Hills Country Club. Even though I had roommates and dorm members, my true relationships were with the local “golf” community.

So many friendships developed during my four years, 1968-72, that, to this day, I still go back to Greeneville, to Link Hills, and am welcomed as if I never left. These “friendships” are genuine.  My best friend, Don McIntyre, and I celebrated our 50-year friendship last year. Don is Greeneville-born and raised. He and I are brothers, as they say, “from other mothers.”

The years at Tusculum were  the best four years of my life, and I’ve been back at least 30 times for vacation, at Link Hills, since 1972.

Dana Bennett ‘72

Reflection from David Twiggs ’79

Memories of Tusculum College are too many to pick just one! Rather, the best thing was the people! Not just students who are lifelong friends but staff and faculty as well!

People in Dr. and Ms. Thomas’ choir have an unshakable bond! Tusculum was an atmosphere of acceptance and freedom of exploration. Everything a college (university) should be! I suppose that is why there are too many stories to tell!

I will always love Tusculum and its people!

David Twiggs ’79

Reflection from Glenn Miller ’65

I fondly remember Dr. Keller, who taught a variety of religion courses and served as a chaplain to the students. He broke the mold I had about clergy persons and those who professed their Christianity.

Unlike a number of the faculty of that time, he did not wear a dress shirt and tie when he taught classes.  His usual attire was a turtleneck. He also enjoyed smoking a pipe.

He helped me to understand the truths found in both the Old and New Testaments in a whole new way. He loved talking with students, and he strolled around campus and attended a variety of activities and sporting events.

I believe his testimony and wonderful role modeling helped me eventually become an ordained minister and Navy chaplain.

Glenn Miller ‘65

Reflection from Kent Workman ’77

I am retiring this spring after 50 years in college, as a student, as an administrator, a teacher and more. An important part of my journey took place at Tusculum College in the mid-1970s. At Tusculum, I earned a second bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education. I also worked with Upward Bound while at Tusculum.

While working at TC with Upward Bound, I discovered that I wanted to spend my career, my life, working with college students and making sure all students, from all backgrounds, would have the opportunity to be successful at college. During the past 50 years, I have attended and worked at small private colleges and large state universities with enrollments of more than 50,000.

What I learned in my classes at TC I have been able to apply to help college students with special needs who some would say were “not college material.”  Well, they were “college material,” and with the kind help I learned at TC, they were as successful as anyone.

With what I learned through my work with Upward Bound, I have been able to help college students from many different backgrounds – again students who some would deny the college opportunity.  Students of various races, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, economic situations and more are all “college material.”

I thank Tusculum College and the staff and students of Upward Bound for all they taught me that I have been able to apply to my career and life these past years.

Kent Workman ‘77

Reflection from Dr. Richard Winant ’69

Dr. Douglas Trout, past president of Tusculum College, in his 1967 letter to the senior class, wrote, “This impact of Tusculum College will be apparent to you and to the world you touch.” His words resonate in my comments as follows:

My name is Dr. Richard M. Winant. While I graduated in 1969, I had come to Tusculum as a freshman in September 1961. I was 17 years old. It was a total culture and life shock. Up until that time, I had not really been away from my family. There were going to be changes. I was fortunate to have a senior roommate, Bob Nielsen, whose nickname was “Brooklyn.” He kept the rat week nuts at bay. I did sane stuff but nothing extreme. My studies were not going very well. Brooklyn and others helped me, but I wasn’t getting it.

On Dec. 7, 1961, I joined the United States Naval Reserve. I was just 18. The only pictures on my grandma’s piano were of those sons and grandsons who served in the military. I got my picture on the piano. But my studies were still not doing well. My parents paid for half my education. At the end of the first semester of my junior year, I was kicked out of college … long story. My grade-point average was really low. My father told me it was up to me from now on. I was 19.

I worked for one year. I had become a member of the United States Naval Security Group and activated myself during the Vietnam War. Tusculum’s education had given me a leg up. I was assigned to an admiral’s staff at the First Naval District in Boston, where I grew up a little, and was promoted to second class petty officer. I went to night school. And I met my wife, Dorcey, who was a legal secretary in the district legal office next door to my office. She was and is a pretty woman and a smart one, too. We discussed the future. With her help and my being a “Jersey Boy,” I went back to Tusculum. I finished my undergraduate education a Charles Oliver Gray Scholar.

There weren’t many jobs available at that time, so I went to East Tennessee State University and got a master’s degree in instructional design while an instructor of history at Tusculum – a great experience. From there, I went to night school at Vanderbilt University and received a master’s in library science; to the University of North Dakota, where I received a master’s in public administration; and finally to Virginia Commonwealth University, where I was awarded a PhD. All while working full time. Dorcey supported with her smarts and typing skills and encouragement all through this experience. I ended up the dean for information access and director of libraries at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn for 28 years. I retired at 74 ½ as dean emeritus. Interestingly, after a shaky high school experience, I became a member of my high school’s hall of fame in 2017.

So, I believe it is clear how Tusculum College/University provided the foundation for my career in higher education. The faculty, my fellow students and my wife were my wings. She worked at the Tusculum College library during my education there, as secretary and administrative assistant to the director of the library, Dr. Michael Keresztesi. My wife has been a big part of my life’s successes. I believe I have served, very well, my country and the communities in the six states we lived, both politically and as a civic activist.

Faculty that positively influenced my life from 1961-1969 and for whom I am forever grateful are: Dr. Richard Griffin, Thomas Overall, Conly Shults, James Yoder, Marion C. Edens, Dr. Donal Sexton, Robert Gaines, George Cooke and Dr. Michael Keresztesi.

Students who influenced me: Robert “Brooklyn” Nielsen, Fred Schaaff, Frank Scarpino and Dr. Robert Pollack.

Dr. Richard Winant ‘69

Reflection from Michael Hall ’74

Tusculum was probably the best choice I made. It suited me perfectly being a small college with a student body on the same scale.

I went after a business administration degree, which, in retrospect, was perfect for my future. I later opened my own business and ran it successfully for 35 years before retiring. I had many good friends that I met there and keep in touch with once in a while.

I think the person I remember the most was my economics professor, whose name escapes me, but I liked his tests because they were not ambiguous and there was only one correct answer.

Michael Hall ‘74

Reflection from Brandon Mosley ’17

It has only been two years since I have graduated from Tusculum and I miss it every day. The friendships and memories I have made during my time at Tusculum will last a life time. I graduated in May 2017 with a degree in history and started working until I decided to apply to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga to complete a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program, which I started in August 2018.

My time at Tusculum helped mold my interpretation of the world and the community, professional work ethics and community service. I was a Bonner Leader all four years at Tusculum while also being a member of the cheer team all four years as well. These two programs helped define my work ethic not only as a team member but also as an individual.

The memories of serving our community through the Bonner program and the schoolwide Nettie Day have created a lasting impression in me that we can always give back to our community, no matter how big or small the return. As for the cheer team, being able to represent Tusculum in a uniform in front of a crowd of thousands of people at multiple sporting events – and my personal favorite: NCA Nationals in Daytona Beach in 2017 – has been such an honor for me, that I have continued to cheer during my post-baccalaureate program at UTC. I will never forget the memories of practices and games and the amount of fun I had in those four years.

As for people who motivated me while I was at Tusculum, there are three professors and one coach I would like to name. The professors are Dr. Joel Van Amberg, Dr. Angela Keaton, and Dr. Travis Williams. The coach is Jessica Inscore.

Dr. Van Amberg and Dr. Keaton were the history professors who helped mold my interpretation of history and the present world today, while making the connections that the world has today with its past. They are amazing people outside of the classroom and wonderful professors inside the classroom. They both care deeply about what they are teaching, teaching without bias and personal opinions. Any student that has them as a professor or an academic advisor will have someone who cares not only about the education they are receiving but them as a person.

Dr. Travis Williams was the professor I had the most classes with for completing my minor in religious studies. Dr. Williams is a very educated professor and teaches his Religion classes with the upmost respect to any student, no matter what his or her religious orientation is. He allows students to be firm in their beliefs or to wander if they choose so. No matter the case, his classes are always interesting, and I would advise anyone taking his classes to be actively involved in the conversations.

The coach I would like to name is Jessica Inscore of the cheer team. Jessica became the head coach at the end of my freshman year in April 2014 and immediately turned the program around, taking us to multiple camps the first couple years to prepare the team for upcoming seasons and competitions. She has been like a second mom to many cheerleaders who have come through the program since she took over. She has always been there for us no matter what was going on either personally or academically. She strives for the betterment of us as a team and as individuals. I think Tusculum is very lucky to have Jessica as a coach there.

For the friendships that I have made, I cannot begin to name everyone that I was friends with while at Tusculum and those I have remained in contact with either after their graduation or my own. The two closest friends that I have remained in contact with since graduation are Chris Dillon (Class of 2015) and West Connor (Class of 2017). The adventures I have had with these two gentlemen have created memories that I will treasure forever. I have been through thick and thin with these guys and have kept up with them since parting at our graduations.

Choosing to go to Tusculum was probably the best choice of my life so far. The education I received from quality professors, the active involvement in a sports team that helped bond us together and being a part of a leadership group that focused on community service have helped mold me into who I am today as a person. Many other people, before me and after me, have come through and have gone on to do great things. We have all been molded by Tusculum in some way that has helped us become the person we want to be and help our own self and our community.

Thank you, Tusculum, for everything.

Brandon Mosley ‘17

Reflection from Jeanne Stokes

My family and I joined Tusculum with Dr. Robert Knott and several other former staff members from Catawba College in Salisbury, North Carolina, in the summer of 1989. By the second year of Dr. Knott’s presidency, there were five administrators from Catawba at Tusculum. The community fondly referred to the group as the “Catawba Mafia.”

One of the first projects this group took on was to pitch in to tidy up our historical campus, which was in need of attention. The admissions office was in Rankin Hall, so the area was painted and carpeted. The in colors during that time were mauve and green. You might still be able to see remnants of those colors on the first floor of Rankin.

The president’s wife and vice president for institutional advancement’s wife wore many hats. They were the decorators, landscapers and the face of Tusculum in the community. You would see them looking at fabrics and paint chips for remodeling, pulling weeds, planting flowers as well as joining and actively participating in community organizations. All the “Catawba Mafia” spouses were encouraged to do the same.

Another of my earliest and fondest memories is of Bruce Batts, my mentor. Bruce served as the director of TRIO programs and had just written a grant to serve middle school Talent Search participants when I interviewed with him. The grant was one of 50 funded in the United States, which attests to Bruce’s ability to write grants. My interview was in his office, which was located in the lower level of Annie Hogan Byrd – a difficult place to find. During the interview, the light began to flicker – a bit unnerving in an interview. I was hired to be the coordinator for the newly funded middle school Talent Search program. That same day was when Bruce received a bad health diagnosis.

I served as the middle school coordinator for about two years, and then Bruce became involved in other activities on campus and I was named director of Special Programs for Educational Development (SPED), which is now TRIO Programs (Talent Search and Upward Bound). Soon after I was named director, I was charged with writing an Upward Bound grant. This is when the grant-writing skills of Bruce Batts were revealed to me. He was an extraordinary grant writer and mentor. Needless to say, the grant was funded and scored very high. I was on my own after that to write the grants. Through his exceptional guidance, Tusculum went from two grants in 1989 to seven grants currently. Unfortunately, Bruce passed away before we were able to acquire more grants, but he is fondly remembered every time it is grant-writing season.

The adoption of the one-course-at-a-time schedule and return of our football team helped enrollment grow. When the football field was built, one of the hiccups was the discovery of a sinkhole on the visitor’s side that had to be filled so that the construction of the field could continue.

The growth enabled us to renovate additional buildings on campus. The President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library, which had been faculty housing, was renovated to house the new museums studies program. Virginia Hall housed only the professional studies program on the bottom floor. During its renovation, some of the early features of the previous women’s residence there were uncovered. There were ironing boards built into the wall, almost like Murphy beds. Simerly Student Union, now Niswonger Commons, was one of the first major renovations, followed by apartment-style residence halls, the sports venues and the library.

Tusculum continues to thrive, and it is a pleasure to watch it grow and recall fondly the dedication of all those who have given of their time, talents and resources over its many years to ensure its future and pursue its mission.