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TABLE OF CONTENTS Advancement Update


We Rise by Lifting Others


A Socially Distanced Spring Semester


Alumni Association Updates


Phoenix Features


Ignite the Vision Update


The Big Payback


Semester in Review


Letter from the President On behalf of the students, faculty and staff, I would like to thank you for your continuous support of Cumberland University.

The Spring 2020 semester has not been conventional for our university. On March 3, tornadoes ripped through Middle Tennessee, including our home of Lebanon. Luckily, our beautiful campus was not harmed, but many of our neighbors and members of our Cumberland family were greatly disaffected.

Some lost homes and possessions, while others lost loved ones. It was an incredibly difficult time for our community and although all the damage has not been forgotten, watching our Cumberland family come together to support one another was incredibly inspirational. Shortly after the tornado, we made the difficult decision to move all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our faculty, staff and students adjusted to teaching, learning and working remotely seamlessly, and I couldn’t be more proud of the struggles our CU family has overcome this semester. While we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, Cumberland will rise, like the Phoenix, and be back on campus stronger than ever in the fall. It is a privilege to share this semester’s memories with each of you. I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy during this challenging time, and I look forward to seeing you all on campus again soon.

Dr. Paul C. Stumb Cumberland University President PHOENIX RISING | SPRING 2020



EVENTS Mark your calendars for these upcoming events!

2020 Commencement

June 20, 2020 Graduates Only To watch the ceremony virtually, please visit commencement.

Patrons' Party July 11, 2020

Party on the Patio October 23, 2020

Staci Galentine

Vice President for Advancement

As the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve daily, I want you to know that wherever you are, you are not alone. We are all sharing this experience together because it is 'The Cumberland Way'. The last few months have been challenging for many of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends. Although the spring semester has been anything but traditional, I am confident that we will get through this together. I’m excited to share with you some stories of hope and resilience that make our CU family stronger. The Spring 2020 issue of Phoenix Rising spotlights the students, alumni, faculty and donors who are making a positive impact on the lives of those around them. I hope you will take the time to read their stories and continue to stay connected and engaged with CU during these times of social distancing. You are a valued member of our Cumberland family and play an important role in ensuring the success of your university.  I thank you for your ongoing encouragement and support.



WE RISE by Lifting Others On the evening of March 3, category three and four tornadoes tore through Middle Tennessee leaving a path of destruction from East Nashville to Cookeville. Hundreds were left without a roof over their heads, thousands went without power for days, and some lost their loved ones. While CU’s campus and students were graciously spared from the storm, several members of our CU family were faced with the devastating loss of their homes and loved ones.

for Coach Hunt. Help came from all over, from athletic teams to school deans and staff members. Coach Hunt had so many volunteers that he sent many to help neighbors who were also in need of assistance. Over the course of the following weeks, students, faculty and staff volunteered their time and funding to help those affected. Through tragedy and destruction, the Phoenix spirit stayed strong and never faltered.

Head Baseball Coach Woody Hunt’s house was in the storm’s direct path, and while he and his wife were thankfully unharmed, his house was destroyed. Members of the CU family and Lebanon community gathered to help in the cleanup efforts





A Socially Distanced Virtual Learning

Cumberland Cares

On March 13, Cumberland University made the difficult decision to move all courses online for the remainder of the spring semester due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, all oncampus events, including athletic events, were cancelled. All summer semester courses were also moved online. Students, faculty and staff had to quickly adjust to a new virtual world of learning and working remotely. Although the spring semester at CU was not what anyone had expected, our Phoenix family came together to support one another and rise above the many challenges we faced.

The pandemic has brought on many hardships for our students, including financial. To help ease some of the financial burden on our students, CU is using the $960,321 received as part of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act from the U.S. Department of Education to directly support students financially impacted by COVID-19.Â

What's Next Although the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, Cumberland has made the decision to continue on-ground courses for the Fall 2020 semester, as well as participate in all sporting events for the 2020-2021 season. University leadership will monitor regulations from officials and advice from the CDC, and the president has appointed a Campus Re-Opening Planning (CROP) Team to determine all necessary operational adjustments in order to make this possible.


In addition to the CARES Act funding, CU extended the scholarship deadline for all students to June 1, 2020. The provost also implemented an alternative grading option for the Spring 2020 semester to ease the stress on students due to unanticipated struggles associated with the pandemic. Lastly, CU is supporting current and prospective students during this time by waiving entrance exams for incoming students for the Fall 2020 semester. Want to be a part of impacting a student's life? Contact the Office of Advancement at 615-547-1269 for more information.


Spring Semester Healthcare Heroes CU women’s golf alumna Dr. K.C. McGinley has been working as a physician in Jackson, Tennessee, during the coronavirus pandemic. In 2012, McGinley was part of the women’s golf program’s first conference championship, winning the TranSouth Conference Tournament. “The huge response of support during this time and all of the people who have come together is incredible," McGinley said.

CU wrestler and nursing grad, Scott Stewart, travelled from his nursing job in Florida to New York City to take on the most highly-populated COVID-19 area in the U.S. He placed 4th in the state wrestling tournament as a junior in 2009 and finished runner-up his senior year in 2010. “The people of New York deserve the most from us healthcare providers,” stated Stewart. Former CU softball player Sarah Murray travelled from her job in Nashville to New Jersey to help with the fight against COVID-19. Murray was a member of the first CU softball team to compete in the NAIA National Tournament in 2013. "Uplifting is sometimes hard to come by while people are alone without their families in the ER," said Sarah. "I’ve FaceTimed numerous families with their loved ones and that has been emotionally fulfilling. That alone really feels like one of the things I can do to help during this time." PHOENIX RISING | SPRING 2020


Alumni Association Alumni and Friends, In the Office of Advancement, we work daily to assist and support our nearly 13,200 alums as well as our current and future students who will soon join the ranks of alumni status. We are ecstatic to see both our students and alums succeed and hope you will keep us informed of all of your successes and achievements. We, too, celebrate your wins and welcome the opportunity to keep in touch! The Cumberland University Alumni Association is a community built to mutually strengthen and support both you and your university. We are here to help you stay in touch while also building upon and enhancing relationships you established with the friends and faculty you met while you were a student at CU. We hope to support you through alumni and networking events, on and off-campus programming and activities, sporting events, career services, communication updates from the university, and our social media channels. Our alumni board of directors continues to advocate for you yearround.

Courtney Vick Senior Director of Annual Giving & Alumni Relations Class of 2015

We are proud of our alumni who represent us both in the U.S. and globally. Thank you for all you do for the university and we hope you will check back often for new and exciting updates.

Meet the Alumni Board

AC Agee Jodway

Troy Simpson

Naaman Stillwell

Katie Wolfe

Class of 2013 President

Class of 2001 Vice President

Class of 2013 & 2015 Events Chairman

Class of 2013 & 2014 Treasurer



Support CU Alumni Alumni-Owned Businesses At CU, we aim to support our alumni in any way we can. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen the impact that social distancing practices have on small businesses. In response to this, we took action by compiling a list of CU Alumni-owned businesses to share with our CU community. You can find the list at Interested in adding your business to the list? Fill out the Alumni-Owned Business Form through the link!

Keep In Touch Update your Alumni Profile by visiting Follow us on social media: Facebook: @CUAlumni Twitter: @CUAlumni Instagram: @CumberlandUniversityAlumni LinkedIn:Â Cumberland University Alumni Association

To Give

Support Cumberland students by giving at

Get your CU gear! Love this CU alumni sweatshirt? You can get yours for 15% off. Use this code at checkout.

SUMMER2020 Valid: June 1- July 31, 2020



Phoenix Features ht Student Spotlig Caroline Osier

Senior Caroline Osier had no idea that she would end her senior year in the midst of a pandemic, let alone as one of many on the frontlines at Vanderbilt Wilson County Hospital. As a nursing student, Osier has continued her work at the hospital as a screener for COVID-19. “I am currently screening all healthcare personnel that are working in the hospital and anyone else that might be allowed to come in the doors,” said Osier.  Osier felt prepared for this abrupt change in our world, noting that CU nursing taught her that healthcare is made up of flexibility, responsibility,

and taking care of others. “Part of it is also taking care of yourself,” added Osier. “It has been vital for me not to let fear take root during this season. I’m following what the CDC has recommended and I am keeping up-to-date with the factually accurate information that comes out each day.” COVID-19 has infected over a million people around the world and has continued to rapidly spread throughout the U.S., making social distancing and stay-at-home practices a key element in flattening the curve. Osier understands that it’s up to everyone to do their part to keep from spreading the novel virus. “My favorite part about being at CU and becoming a nurse is the number of people I get to connect with each day,“ said Osier. “The more that we can keep those people at the forefront of our minds, the more we can realize how large our responsibility is to help control this virus.”  After graduating, Osier has accepted a position as an ICU nurse in Savannah, Georgia.



ht g i l t o p S i Shawn O' Conner Alumn Shawn O’Conner (‘08) knows a thing or two about change. Graduating college during a recession made him very familiar with it. O’Conner studied business administration while at CU and had hoped to begin a job in his field after walking across the stage that May, but the economy had other plans. “Instead of chasing what my degree had to offer, I looked to my passion for teaching and coaching to find a way to not only make an impact, but to make a living,” said O’ Conner. “I was hired as the Athletic Director at McClain Christian Academy in Lebanon and successfully launched soccer, cross country, basketball, volleyball, and football programs at the middle school and high school level.” Two years later, O’Conner was ready for a change. He loved his experience watching the programs he poured his heart into flourish, but he was ready to put his degree to good use. With his sights set on entering the healthcare field, an area of expertise much different than the one he was accustomed to, he looked to one of his CU professors for advice. “One of my favorite parts about CU was the smaller class sizes,” said O’Conner. “It really created a family-like environment and allowed my professors to invest their time in my life and education. My statistics professor, Dr. Paul Stumb, took the time to help guide me through the process of changing careers at a young age and just four years after I graduated. It meant the world to me.” O’Conner began his career with Signature HealthCARE in 2011 and has since grown his career from an administrator-in-training to his current role as Vice President of Operations, which serves 13 locations and has an annual revenue of over $120 million. Nine years later, another unexpected change happened: COVID-19. Since the social distancing and stay-at-home orders were put in place, O’Conner has established the first COVID-19 unit for postacute care in Western Kentucky while managing over 1000 employees remotely. If there’s one thing that O’Conner has learned since his time at CU, it’s that change is inevitable. “The only constant is change,” said O’Conner. “You have to continue to reinvent yourself so you don’t get left behind. You also have to keep yourself accountable and build relationships at the grassroots level. My education at CU laid the groundwork for my career, but it was the investment of the people around me that has led to my continued success. ” “The best advice I can give the graduating class is to be patient, use your connections, find a mentor, and don’t be afraid to go back to the professors you trust and ask, 'Is this right for me right now?' They’ll steer you in the right direction just like they did for me.” PHOENIX RISING | SPRING 2020


Spring 2020 Update Cumberland actively works to enrich the CU experience for all students through opportunities like Ignite the Vision, a major gifts initiative. With a working goal of $1.7 million, this initiative aims to enhance, transform, and inspire Cumberland University. To be a part of the Ignite the Vision Initiative, please visit

Total Amount Raised 

$1.08 Million 129 Total Donors

36% Alumni Gifts

46% Friend Gifts


18% Faculty & Staff Gifts

65 Gifts < $99

52 Gifts $100 - $999

59 Gifts > $1,000


student access

outdoor classroom opportunities

Phillips Dining Hall Expansion

Memorial Lawn Enhancements


scholarships PHOENIX RISING SPRING 2020 Phoenix| Scholars


new uniforms Phoenix Marching Band

To support this initiative, visit


The Big Payback

CU participated in The Community Foundation's Big Payback, a 24-hour online giving event created to help Middle Tennessee nonprofits raise funds vital to continuing their mission and directly improving the community around them. CU placed fourth out of 43 nonprofit organizations for Most Unique Donors & Money Raised in Wilson County. Out of the 988 participating nonprofits, Cumberland placed 44th for number of unique donations. Thank you to all who participated by making donations and cheering CU on.





$19,081 Total Amount Raised

Why I Give "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to give back because at 42-years-old, Cumberland has given me a second chance at higher education. I feel at home on campus and love the atmosphere of learning and selfimprovement. I'm forever grateful for CU."

Andrew Frisch Current CU Student Andrew and Holly Frisch '17 PHOENIX RISING | SPRING 2020



Look Back At The Best Moments Thackston Professorship Dr. Fred Heifner was awarded the Virginia and Guy Thackston Liberal Arts Professorship given by the Thackston Family Foundation.

Athletic Training Program

Frank Rudy Elected to CU Board of Trust

CU will now offer a Master of Science in Athletic Training program beginning in the Fall of 2020. The program will be part of the Rudy School of Nursing and Health Professions.

Frank Rudy was elected to the Board of Trust this past December. Rudy is a partner at the Nashville law firm of Rudy Winstead Turner, PLLC.

New Chemistry Program CU will offer a new Chemistry major within the Bachelor of Science degree program beginning in the Fall of 2020. 9 The program will be part of the Labry School of Science, Business and Technology.




From The Spring 2020 Semester Phoenix Circle

Alumni Hall

The Phoenix Circle, a Memorial Lawn Enhancement Project, was created in remembrance of CU's sixth president, Dr. Winstead Paine Bone. CU is grateful to those who made this project possible.

CU closed on The Journey Church property on the corner of Leeville Pike and South Maple Street. The building has been renamed "Alumni Hall" and will serve as a classroom and meeting space.

Pay It Forward Scholarship The Alumni Association is proud to announce the Pay It Forward Scholarship, which covers the cost of books and fees for students with financial need.

Holocaust Remembrance Day CU hosted a ceremony recognizing International Holocaust Remembrance Day with special guest speaker, and namesake of The Doris and Harry Vise Library, Joyce Vise.


Dr. McKee Receives Prestigious Award

Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs and Professor, Dr. William McKee was awarded the Eldridge W. Roark, Jr. Meritorious Service Award by Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society. Dr. McKee was also elected as a Director on the SACS-COC board.


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Phoenix Rising - Spring 2020  

Flip through to see highlights from the Spring 2020 semester!

Phoenix Rising - Spring 2020  

Flip through to see highlights from the Spring 2020 semester!

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