ETSU Today - Winter 2024

Page 1

Page 16

A new era for Lamb Hall

The campus celebrated the grand reopening of Lamb Hall with a ribbon-cutting on September 14, 2023. The building originally opened in 1960. Named for Dr. John P. Lamb Jr., an administrator with more than 40 years of leadership in the field of public health education, the building serves as a hub for the university’s health-related programs, including the College of Public Health and the College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences. In addition to classrooms, laboratories, and offices, it is home to the Joan Dearden Radiologic Science Suite, the Sturgill Family Dental Hygiene Clinic, and the A. Lynn Williams Concussion Management Clinic.

2 President’s Perspective

3 Service Plunge

4 ETSU By the Numbers

6 Bucs Go Beyond: Autumn Lockwood and Shivam Patel

9 Traditions: ETSU Gospel Choir

10 Board of Trustees Spotlight

11 Why I Teach

12 Go Beyond the Classroom

15 Bucs on Parade

#AtTheMartin Crossword

16 ETSU Elevates

22 The Headlines

24 What’s in Your Blood?

27 Leaders in a Booming Field

28 Semester Snapshots

30 Community Music School

31 Saving Lives Through Collaboration

32 A Soccer Star

33 In Their Own Words

34 Interprofessional Education

36 Meeting Health Needs

38 I Give a Buc

39 Five Questions

40 In the Stars

42 2023 Alumni Awards

43 Class Notes

47 ETSU Obituaries

49 Then and Now

Winter 2024
Photo by Larry Smith


Brian Noland


Fred Sauceman


Jess Vodden


Melissa Nipper

Lorraine Vestal


Jeanette Henry Jewell



Pamela Ritter

Whitney Goetz


Kevin Brown

Karen Crigger

Lee Ann Davis

O.J. Early

Yasmeen Elayan

Mike Ezekiel

Jennifer Hill

Rachel Howard

Melissa Nipper

Jonathan Roberts

Fred Sauceman

Joe Smith


Cody Ryans

Briar Worley


Ron Campbell

Matthew Carroll

Dakota Hamilton

Larry Smith

Charlie Warden

East Tennessee State University (ETSU) is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award baccalaureate, master’s, education specialist, and doctoral degrees. ETSU may also offer credentials such as certificates and diplomas at approved degree levels. Questions about the accreditation of ETSU may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (

East Tennessee State University does not discriminate against students, employees, or applicants for admission or employment on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by ETSU. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding non-discrimination policies: Compliance Coordinator, PO Box 70271, Johnson City, TN 37614, 423-439-8544. ETSU’s policy on non-discrimination can be found at: ETSU is an AA/EEO employer. ETSU-PRZ-40764-24


Thispast fall, we welcomed the largest class of first-year students in the history of East Tennessee State University. Celebrating this historic occasion compelled me to reflect upon what it means to be a Buccaneer.

In today’s world, it is easy to become cynical, overwhelmed, and distracted. Amid the noise, it can be challenging to find meaning. So, we must periodically remind ourselves of who we are and what we stand for.

ETSU was founded in 1911 with a singular mission: to improve the quality of life for people of our region and beyond. This is a university community that lives by the principles that people come first, education should be hands-on, and all of us should work toward a purpose greater than ourselves.

This is a place where anyone, regardless of where they came from, can grow, succeed, and compete with the best. Some of our students come from challenging backgrounds, and we all struggle from time to time. But we are adept at turning obstacles into opportunities for growth, and we do not shy away from hard work.

At ETSU, we are invigorated by new ideas but do not rest on theory. We roll up our sleeves, get out into our communities, and put those ideas to work. We earn prestigious awards and play at an elite level — but elitism doesn’t enter our vocabulary.

Our campus is a rich tapestry of diversity, with students hailing from every U.S. state and nearly 60 countries. We have first-generation students. Students from underprivileged backgrounds. Students who are veterans of wars. Parents who are pursuing a degree while raising their children. And some of the brightest scholars from around the world.

Bucs work hard.

Bucs give back.

And Bucs go beyond.

Throughout these pages, you will find stories of these values in action. I hope you will be reminded, as I am, of why you are proud to be a Buccaneer.

Godspeed, and go Bucs!

Brian Noland President

Photo by Charlie Warden


The Preview experience at East Tennessee State University is 42 years in the making. The experience welcomes new students to campus, introducing them to the smiling faces of their peers and the rhythms of college life. The Service Plunge is a core tradition of the Preview experience and allows students to dive deep as soon as they arrive on campus.

The daylong event provides new Bucs the opportunity to engage with local community partners. Last fall, more than 850 students participated in the event and collaborated with 20 nonprofit organizations across the region.

Students who set out to serve in the morning joined Habitat for Humanity, the Washington County Animal Shelter, Appalachian Service Project, and Coalition for Kids. In the afternoon, students completed projects with The Salvation Army and the Boys & Girls Club of Johnson City and tended to the Tree Street Garden Project.

The goal of the day is to make a difference in the lives of those around us and instill in students a desire to make a real-world impact throughout their journey as Buccaneers.

By engaging in such impactful projects during Service Plunge, ETSU’s incoming first-year students begin immediately living out the mission of the institution: to improve the quality of life for the people of the region and beyond.

The annual tradition of Service Plunge paints an evident picture of service to the region, telling the story that Bucs work hard, Bucs give back, and Bucs go beyond.

Tennessee State University has a proud tradition of military service and excellence.
more than a decade,
has received the prestigious “Military Friendly” designation, a badge of honor that signifies our sustained efforts to provide the best possible education and resources to our military-affiliated students and their families. Through our Military and Veteran Services Center, we provide numerous avenues of support for active-duty service members, reservists and National Guard members, veterans, and their families. 951 militaryaffiliated students Alums include 17 generals and flag officers Military-affiliated students at ETSU: 2021-22 . . . . . 750 2022-23 . . . . 859 2023-24 . . . . 951 a 27% increase
by Ron Campbell and Charlie Warden 4 ETSU TODAY
Each year, for

ROTC Highlights

ROUTINELY PLACES IN TOP 3 of local and national endurance events

1st place Mountain Man Half-Marathon heavy ruck run (team)

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes in 2022 Mountain Man Half-Marathon run

1st place in 2022 Pistol Ultra

50K relay race

1st place in 2021 Charlotte, North Carolina, Spartan 5K

131 TOTAL 2023 CADETS (largest ETSU ROTC enrollment in past 20 years)

17 National Scholarship recipients

4 CONTRACTED CADETS were awarded Advance Designee Scholarships

2 nd BEST performing 7BDE ROTC program (38 total host programs, and

6 EXTENSION PROGRAMS with 20+ cross-town relationships) during Cadet Summer Training 2022

10 CADETS attended Air Assault training last summer

2 ATTENDED PROJECT GO (language learning in Jordan / San Diego)


3 ATTENDED CADET LEADER TRAINING (on-the-job training), 1 in Alaska, 2 at Fort Liberty, including 1 with a Special Forces unit

Military-Affiliated Student Resources ETSU TODAY | WINTER 2024 5






Photos courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles

Bucs Go Beyond

East Tennessee State University alumna

Autumn Lockwood has seen a lot of collegiate football bowl games during her lifetime. That’s because her father, David Lockwood, coached in about 16 of them. A graduate of West Virginia University, where he was a three-year starter at cornerback, David tutored defensive backs in several of college football’s most prestigious conferences.

One of his assignments was at the University of Arizona, where he coached the cornerbacks. His daughter Autumn would later earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in psychology there. Her intention was to pursue a career as a special agent with the United States Department of Justice’s Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Division.

But, as she says, “I loved the weight room.”

Although she was required to spend many hours there as a member of Arizona’s women’s soccer team, life in the locker room was more than an obligation. It was where she experienced what she calls her “lightbulb moment.”

Seeking a graduate assistantship in her newly chosen field, she enrolled in the master’s program in sports management at ETSU, a decision that would soon change her life in a major way. She was already familiar with the region, since her father had once coached defensive backs at Appalachian State University in nearby Boone, North Carolina.

She quickly found a place in the Buccaneer athletic program, working with the women’s and men’s basketball teams on strength and conditioning. After earning her graduate degree, she took a full-time position with the women’s program at ETSU.

“I was able to see the sports world run from a bird’s-eye view — everything from operations to budgets to management,” Autumn says.

In 2021, she became Director of Sports Performance at the University of Houston. The very next year, another life-altering moment took place when the National Football League came calling. She joined

the Philadelphia Eagles as a strength and conditioning associate.

Born less than 20 miles away in Chester, Pennsylvania, she was coming home.

“It was such a blessing to be back home around family,” she recalls. “Now I get to watch my baby cousins grow up. And my whole entire family has been Eagles fans since I’ve been born.”

Our whole week is built around making sure the players are ready to go on Sunday.”
— Autumn Lockwood

She joined the Eagles at the right time. The team earned a spot in Super Bowl LVII. And Autumn earned a spot in professional sports history. On February 12, 2023, when the Eagles played the Kansas City Chiefs in Glendale, Arizona, Autumn became the first Black woman to coach in the Super Bowl.

As impressive as all those collegiate bowl games had been, she says the Super

Bowl inspired her with its grandness. Yet amid the pageantry, she had a vital job to perform: setting up the weight room in a new environment and making sure the team could still operate as it normally would back in Philadelphia.

She did her job well. And in the 2023 off-season, Autumn was promoted to Associate Performance Coach.

“Our whole week is built around making sure the players are ready to go on Sunday,” she tells ETSU Today. Her responsibilities include the tight ends and running backs.

Autumn is certified as a yoga instructor, too, bringing that knowledge into the locker room when asked.

“It helps with peace of mind and body control,” she said. “In sports, everything is so heightened all the time.”

On Sundays during Eagles games, Autumn is on the field, helping with pre-game warm-ups and assisting with sideline management.

“People at all levels of the organization are so welcoming,” she says. “I learn something new every single day.”

For Autumn, life has come full circle. As her father often tells her, “It’s so cool for me to be able to watch you do your thing after you watched me do mine for so many years.”



During his time at East Tennessee State University, Shivam Patel earned tremendous accolades and achieved great milestones.

Involved in undergraduate research under the mentorship of Dr. Sean Fox, he spent his spare time volunteering with student organizations on campus and outreach programs in the community.

He served with the ETSU chapter of the American Society of Microbiology, as President of the Student Government Association, and the Preview and Orientation Leaders Organization. He was also a member of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program. Outside of ETSU, he volunteered with the RAM Clinic, United Way, and local political campaigns.

And in 2021, the university named him a member of the 1911 Society, a group of ETSU’s most notable graduates.

In 2023, he did something no other ETSU student or graduate has ever done. He was a finalist for a Rhodes Scholarship, one of the most prestigious scholarships in the world.

“His making it this far as a Rhodes finalist has created an enduring culture and tradition that will benefit everyone connected to ETSU, our community, and our region,” said Dr. Carson Medley, Assistant Dean of the Honors College and Director of Prestigious Awards.

Patel was one of just 16 students who represented District 12, which included Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Tennessee.

“These five states alone have around 275 colleges and universities,” Medley added. “And the committee selected a young

man who graduated from ETSU to compete against the nation’s other top institutions and scholars.”

Though Patel was ultimately not selected, his advancement that far in an intense and arduous process remains deeply impressive, ETSU officials said.

A 2022 health sciences graduate who minored in Culture and Health at ETSU, he is presently in his first year of medical school at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“From the Appalachian Highlands to the global stage, ETSU nurtures potential and celebrates the achievements of our graduates,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs. “We are so proud of Shivam and all he has accomplished.”

ETSU has signaled its commitment to assist students in the process of applying for nationally and globally competitive scholarships.

“The Office of Prestigious Awards is really about scholar development, the transformational process of applying for these awards. Shivam is proof that the process works,” said Medley.

In recent years, students have secured such prestigious awards as a Goldwater Scholarship and one from the U.S. Department of State

Bucs Go Beyond
By O.J. Early  Photo by Charlie Warden


Among the many traditions of ETSU’s Homecoming is the event that closes out the celebration each year – the Gospel Choir Concert. The ETSU Gospel Choir is a student-led, interdenominational ensemble that allows students to share their faith and talents with university audiences and area churches.

Photos by Charlie Warden

ETSU TODAY | WINTER 2024 9 ETSU Traditions


East Tennessee State University stands as a testament to the transformative power of education. Among its staunchest supporters is Tony Treadway, a proud ETSU alumnus and newly appointed Board of Trustees member, whose journey from a first-generation college student to a successful entrepreneur is inspiring a new generation of creative minds.

“My ETSU experience set me up for a successful career that includes ownership of the region’s top advertising firm, Creative Energy, where many of our employees are ETSU graduates,” said Treadway, who was appointed to the ETSU Board of Trustees in 2023 by Gov. Bill Lee. “They’ve helped my firm represent some of the top brands in the world. I’ve worked to give graduates opportunities and guidance to pursue their passions fearlessly.”

Treadway’s story mirrors that of many ETSU students — a tale of determination, hard work, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds. He was the first in his family to attend college, and ETSU provided him with a platform to explore his passion for broadcasting.

His journey at the university laid the foundation for a remarkable career, leading to a decade-long stint in television news and sports at WJHL-TV. His commitment to ETSU didn’t waver, even during the temporary halt of the university’s football program. Treadway, alongside other passionate supporters and President Brian Noland, worked tirelessly to revive it, leaving an indelible mark in the form of the Tony Treadway Press Box at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium.

Treadway’s commitment to ETSU extends far beyond infrastructure, though. He said his role as a Trustee isn’t just a title; it’s a

Meet TreadwayTony

commitment to giving back. His advocacy for ETSU is not just about numbers; it’s about stories — stories of first-generation graduates, of resilience, and the university’s positive impact on the region and beyond through world-class education empowering student success.

“ETSU is in a great position for continued growth in student enrollment during a period when many universities are experiencing declines,” he said. “The university’s overall graduation rate exceeds the average of all Tennessee locally governed institutions.”

Treadway, President and CEO of Creative Energy, founded the advertising agency where dozens of ETSU graduates go beyond the classroom and make their mark in the world.

“There were incredible odds against us. Our vision was to represent top national brands from a region we proudly call home — far from the bustling city lights. With more than 30 years in business at Creative Energy, we turned that ambition into a reality, and we’re living our dream,” said Treadway.

His message to students is clear: Believe in yourself, take risks, and never stop chasing your dreams.

In Treadway, ETSU has found not just a Trustee but a torchbearer of its spirit — a reminder that with determination and unwavering support, dreams can become reality.

“While my blood runs Buccaneer blue and gold, I’m seldom blue myself because I’ve been so blessed,” Treadway added.

ETSU Board of Trustees
Meet the

A member of Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy’s inaugural Class of 2010, Dr. Jessica Burchette is now one of its award-winning faculty members.

Burchette, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice, earned ETSU’s 2023 Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, the highest teaching honor given to an ETSU professor.

She completed her pharmacy practice residency at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville, and afterward returned to Gatton for her internal medicine residency.

She joined the college as an assistant professor in 2012, specializing in pulmonary disorders and basic critical care concepts.

When it comes to the classroom, Burchette’s teaching philosophy is all about meeting the students where they are.

“Every student comes to us with a different background, and each class has a different personality and really a way that they look for things to go,” Burchette said. “My job is to really get to know them as people and to try to use that interpersonal relationship to be able to bring them along in their pharmacy education.”

Why I Teach Advance your career on your schedule @ETSUGradSchool
Photo by Charlie Warden

Go beyond the classroom

��n Inspirin�� Journe��


Her journey has been somewhat unexpected. As a child, ETSU senior Ashlyn Mills had no plans to ever become an educator.

“School was a terrible experience for me, which led to me completing high school online. During that time, I volunteered at the elementary school my mother worked at,” said Mills. “She recommended I volunteer in the education classroom her friend taught, and I reluctantly did. I fell in love instantly.”

Mills is one of many who found a passion working with those with a variety of intellectual, developmental, learning, emotional, and physical disabilities and sensory impairments.

It’s a field that attracts those interested in making a profound difference in the lives of others, as well as those who have a spark for advocacy, innovative teaching methods, and more.

In many areas of the United States, the need for such educators is startling and serious. In the coming decade, the U.S. Bureau of Labor projects more than 33,000 openings each year.

“I regularly receive calls from area school system administrators,” said Dr. John Wheeler, Interim Chair of the Special Education Program at ETSU. “They need professionals trained to teach special education.”

For Mills, the department is preparing her for a vibrant future career in special education. For one, she’s spent the last two years working with Access ETSU, a program housed in the Clemmer College of Education and Human Development that provides critical support to young adults with intellectual disabilities. Access ETSU is nationally renowned and earned a $400,000 grant in 2023 aimed at continuing its mission of serving the university and region. Brad Turner, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, personally traveled to ETSU to congratulate program officials.


Mills’ dedication to special education is not confined to the U.S. Last summer, she spent three weeks teaching at a special education school in Vietnam.

“I was able to do some class projects in Vietnam, which gave me a new perspective and unique challenges that will prepare me for working in a school,” she said. “There are also plenty of required field placement observations and student teaching hours. These give several opportunities to experience the characteristics of many different classrooms and allow you to see techniques and strategies you learn about in action.”

Such experiences match the university’s commitment to providing a hands-on learning approach, helping move students from enrolled to employed.

It’s this commitment to hands-on learning that helps distinguish ETSU. Across scores of disciplines, faculty and staff help students not only figure out their professional paths –they get them critical experience that will provide students a competitive edge on the job market.

With that reality in mind, Wheeler encourages current and potential students to consider a degree in special education, an area of serious national need.

ETSU, he said, is an incredible place to learn.

“We have world-class faculty and a student-centered learning community. Our program graduates have many career options with room for advancement,” he said. “Our department is committed to making a difference in the lives of children with disabilities and in the support and success of our students.”


Cameron Phillips, a 2021 graduate of ETSU, teaches special education at his alma mater, Dobyns-Bennett High School. As a high school student, he engaged in a peer mentoring program called BUDS, short for Buddies Understanding Different Students. It proved life-changing, and now he spends his working hours helping those with disabilities.

How did ETSU prepare you for your career?

I was lucky to participate in many campus-related service organizations like POP Arts and Access ETSU that serve students with exceptionalities. This real-world experience of working with these individuals is unmatched. The professors in the special education department are phenomenal.

What do you hope to impart to your students?

I hope my students will leave my classroom feeling more independent and more confident in themselves as self-advocates. Working with young adults on functional life and job skills is so critical, but if there’s one thing I’d want for them to learn, it’s self-advocacy.

Learn more about Access ETSU

Why is self-advocacy important?

As we continue to strive for a more inclusive world, students having this skill is imperative. Expressing your needs and wants is something that all people, regardless of ability, must be able to do.

Photo by Ron Campbell

New York City, here we come!

Follow their journey

The ETSU Majorettes and Color Guard will perform in the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular on November 27, 2024, the day before the Marching Bucs will march in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Broadway #AtTheMartin


5. One of the 12 apostles

8. Rhymes with “sketch”

9. The Princess who lives in the tower

10. One of the co-creators of “STOMP”

13. Nickname of the Regina et. al. group

14. One of the instruments in “STOMP” (two words)

16. Actress/comedian who wrote “Mean Girls”

18. Place where Jesus retreats


1. “Jagged Little Pill” set to her songbook

2. Number of performers in “STOMP”

3. Mary Jane's nickname

4. Last name of “Jagged Little Pill’s” lead family

6. Place where Fairy Tale creatures have been banished

7. “My Fair Lady” adapted from what play?

11. The ____ in Spain

12. Shrek’s loyal sidekick

15. Actor who originated role of Judas on Broadway in 1971

17. City where “My Fair Lady” takes place

Get ready to test your Broadway knowledge. This crossword puzzle challenges you to unravel the magic of the Martin Center’s 2024 spring Broadway season, featuring Jagged Little Pill, My Fair Lady, Jesus Christ Superstar, Mean Girls, Shrek The Musical, and STOMP. All the clues are hidden gems from these sensational shows — break a leg!

1 2 4 8 3 5 67 9 1011 12 13 14 15 16 17 18
Photo by Ron Campbell
Find the answers to the puzzle here.

See the Elevates recap


Elevate: (verb) toliftupormakehigher: RAISE

What happens when you take nine student teams who have big ideas for improving their communities and mentor and pair them with organizations that share their vision?

You create an incubator for communityengaged learning.

Next, you establish an initiative that invests a total of $25,000 into these community

projects, providing hands-on learning opportunities that allow the students to turn their big ideas into real-world impact.

The result is ETSU Elevates – a pitch competition that kicked off East Tennessee State University’s inaugural Founders Week festivities on October 9.

The pitch competition featured nine projects that paired students with nine different community partners to address a societal issue of their choice. The students presented their pitches in front of a live audience and three judges at the ETSU Martin Center.


“In many respects, ETSU Elevates brings the mission of the university to life in a way in which our students have the opportunity to learn the importance of giving back, the importance of community connection, and the importance of mission,” said ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland.

The ETSU Elevates participants were chosen through a competitive process and worked throughout the summer of 2023 at a civic engagement boot camp, led by Joy Fulkerson and Nathan Farnor, to dig deeply into the issues they identified.

“Through ETSU Elevates, these students were given the resources, support, knowledge, and tools to take these ideas and these beliefs and turn them into something actionable, something real,” said Farnor, ETSU Coordinator of Leadership and Civic Engagement. “And that is something that will go far beyond ETSU.”

ETSU invested seed money into each of the nine projects, and the winners received additional funding to develop their projects.

Three judges selected first-, second-, and third-prize winners, and the audience voted on its favorite project for the Audience Choice Award.

The judges included Bradley Eshbach, owner/operator of The

Generalist and Managing Director, Creative Energy, Johnson City; Melissa Roberts, Executive Director, Appalachian Promise Alliance, Bristol; and Aundrea Salyer, Chief Business Development Officer, Kingsport Office of Small Business Development and Entrepreneurship, Kingsport Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah Mohammed, a sophomore majoring in clinical psychology, earned first place from the judges and the Audience Choice Award for her project focusing on Black mental health care access.

Abby Simpson, a rehabilitative health sciences major, was the second-place winner for her project aiming to prepare high school students for life after graduation.

Leah Loveday, a sophomore community health major, along with Rebecca Pearson and Lillian Hollenbeck, earned third place for their project to educate girls and their families about women’s health and reduce the stigma frequently associated with menstruation.

“All of the pitches were absolutely incredible, and all of the community partners are deserving of the attention and support,” said Dr. Susan McCracken, ETSU

Vice Provost for Community Engagement.

“Each project received funding for a seed project, and you cannot put a price on the hands-on learning experiences gained by our students throughout the process.”

This was not the first time ETSU introduced a pitch competition to elevate community partnerships. ETSU Elevates was originally launched in 2019 but ended abruptly in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The first iteration of ETSU Elevates was nothing short of amazing – from the community response and involvement to the opportunities it provided to our students,” said Noland. “We have been waiting a long time to relaunch a newly imagined ETSU Elevates, and our inaugural celebration of Founders Week was a good fit for an event that so perfectly supports our mission to improve the quality of life for the people of this region and beyond.”

Students are currently working on ideas for 2024 ETSU Elevates projects, and they will submit formal applications in March for seed funding and participation in the fall 2024 Pitch Event. Community partners interested in connecting with ETSU Elevates students may visit for more information.


Black Mental Health Care Access

Sarah Mohammed

Sarah teamed up with the Northeast Tennessee Association of Black Social Workers to mobilize Black communities’ selfadvocacy for mental health.

“The research that I gather in this project will allow me to prove that communities of color deserve quality mental health care, which means allotting resources to think about their concerns and really reach out to them specifically.”


SECOND PLACE Looking Ahead

Abby Simpson

Partnering with Hawkins County Schools, this project seeks to ensure that students have plans for a clear path ahead when they graduate from high school.

“This is going to be an after-school program located at Volunteer High School in Church Hill, Tennessee, that will help high school students prepare for life after they graduate. Whether they’re going straight into the workforce or they’re going to college, it’s going to allow them to gain life skills to help them be successful.”

THIRD PLACE PEER-iod Educators

Leah Loveday, Rebecca Pearson, and Lillian Hollenbeck

This team is working with RISE: Healthy for Life to facilitate comprehensive menstrual health education for adolescents and their parental figures.

“This project involves college-aged students setting up a series of workshops for both elementary school-aged menstruators and their respective parents and educating them on menstruation. The overarching goal of this project is to educate and destigmatize menstruation for both the individuals menstruating and their family units.”


The Aloe Initiative

Kaylie Bishop

Kaylie is working with LXI to create a mentorship program to help youth experiencing the absence of a parent due to incarceration, substance abuse, and/ or death by partnering them with college students having similar experiences.

“My project aims to help the kids feel supported and feel like they have extra backing that they don’t generally have because of the lack of parental support within their own lives because of what their parents are going through.”

Appalachian Veterans Festival

Jeremy Dubhrós

Jeremy is partnering with community veterans organizations and ETSU Military and Veterans Services to increase resiliency in the veteran community by providing networking opportunities.

“I will be working on the Appalachian Veterans Festival, which is an event that will be bringing together veteran service organizations, along with musicians and artists, and hopefully increase community engagement in the veteran community.”

Delivering Eye Care to Appalachia

Muhammad Elahi

In partnership with Appalachian Miles for Smiles, Muhammad is connecting community members in rural Appalachia to comprehensive vision screenings and therapy to prevent blindness and enhance vision.

“There are so many people who aren’t able to have access to basic eye screenings. Because of that, diseases go undetected and more and more people end up losing their vision and going blind. Our goal is to ultimately catch the diseases early and preserve and protect the gift of sight.”


Caring Connection

Grace Ijitade

Grace partnered with Mooresburg Community Association on an effort to reduce social isolation among older adults living in rural communities by connecting them to college students.

“Many older adults feel socially disconnected from their environment and from their community, but this social isolation can actually be addressed if we can bring intergenerational communication between undergraduates and older adults.”

Project Capture It

Jesse Miller

Jesse teamed up with Fairview Housing’s Manna House to help amplify the voices of underrepresented communities as a means to create compassion and reduce stigma.

“My project focuses on homelessness and homelessness stigma in the downtown Johnson City area. I think all people deserve to curate their own story and to define how they’re perceived and how they’re represented, and how they take up space in the world. I want to give people who don’t have the resources to do that a chance to do that.”

The Viola Project Mattie Raza

Mattie is working with Frontier Health’s Willow Ridge to address gaps in care for women with a substance use disorder who are experiencing domestic violence.

“My project focuses on mental health as it relates to substance use disorder and women who have experienced domestic violence. My goal in this program is to make sure that domestic violence programming is made available in substance use treatment programs locally.”



Founders Week

ETSU celebrated its inaugural Founders Week, October 9-13, 2023, commemorating our founding on October 10, 1911. The week included a variety of events that underscored the university’s mission and its ongoing commitment to improve the lives of the people of this region.

A special event was held every day of Founders Week. Those events included the ETSU Elevates Pitch Competition;

Bank of Tennessee Field

The ETSU Board of Trustees approved a proposal to name ETSU’s football field at the William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium the Bank of Tennessee Field. The naming recognizes the invaluable contributions made by the Bank of Tennessee in supporting ETSU Athletics and the Be GREAT program, which fosters comprehensive development for student-athletes.

“We’re excited to continue this partnership with Bank of Tennessee,” said ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander. “I want to thank Mr. William B. Greene, Jr. and Dr. Linda Latimer for their continued support of ETSU Athletics and our entire region.”

Greene said that the Bank of Tennessee is “thrilled for the opportunity to have the naming rights of the field and to continue to support our regional university. ETSU has a massive impact on where we live, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership.”

ETSU Remembers, a ceremony held in memory of faculty, staff, and students who passed away during the prior year; ETSU Heroes, honoring the impactful and extraordinary service of people across

ETSU community; a ribbon-cutting at the newly renovated Gilbreath Hall; and President Brian Noland’s annual State of the University address.

Celebrating Continued Excellence

ETSU is celebrating a milestone that occurs only once every 10 years: reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The reaffirmation announcement was made at the SACSCOC annual meeting on Dec. 5, 2023. ETSU received full reaccreditation status with no findings or recommendations.

As part of the process, ETSU was required to develop a plan to enhance educational quality and student success for the next decade. Driven by the institutional mission to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond and the university’s commitment to preparing students for lifelong success, ETSU’s faculty and staff decided to focus the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on expanding opportunities for students to gain real-world, hands-on experience while making an impact in the community. Dubbed Go Beyond the Classroom, the plan will intensify ETSU’s focus on community-engaged learning.

the Photo by Charlie Warden Photo by Charlie Warden
The Go Beyond the Classroom QEP expands opportunities for students to gain real-world, hands-on experience.

A Groundbreaking Exhibit

Last fall, ETSU hosted the Crafting Blackness panel and exhibition, the first of a series that will eventually be published as a book of essays about the African American Craft History in Tennessee since 1920. It is a significant and unprecedented project initiated by Tennessee Craft with Karlota Contreras-Koterbay of ETSU’s Tipton and Slocumb Galleries.

The ETSU Department of Art and Design’s Slocumb Galleries, along with Tennessee Craft and other partners, presented Crafting Blackness Initiative’s Black Bodies Making Form exhibition series and panel. The exhibitions were co-curated by ContrerasKoterbay and ETSU Advancement Director and Umoja board member Karen LeBlanc Sullivan and featured influential and contemporary Black craft artists from Tennessee. This unprecedented project is touring across Tennessee until 2027, culminating with blockbuster exhibitions and publications.

Acrobatics and Tumbling

Upon approval by the ETSU Board of Trustees, ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander announced the addition of a women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling program to the university’s Athletics Department. The sport is currently recognized as an emerging sport by the NCAA and is expected to achieve NCAA Championship Sport status by 2024.

Fifty-three other colleges currently offer the sport. ETSU has marked out a strategic roadmap for the program, with plans to hire a head coach this spring. Recruitment initiatives will kick off in the summer, and limited competitions are slated for spring 2026. ETSU’s participation in its first championship season is anticipated for spring 2027. This initiative will create 28 new athletic opportunities for ETSU’s female athletes.

The Future of Nursing

The ETSU Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement hosted a two-day summit last fall that brought together key state and regional stakeholders to discuss and plan ways to strengthen the nursing pipeline across the region and the state.

The Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement serves the region and the state of Tennessee by collecting and disseminating data and developing a strategic statewide plan to address nursing workforce needs. It was created in October 2021 thanks to a generous investment from Ballad Health to create a center dedicated to bringing the region’s academic nursing, clinical nursing, and school systems together to increase the pipeline of opportunity and augment the supply of nurses and nursing support in the Appalachian Highlands.

Summit attendees represented a wide variety of organizations and interests, including ETSU, Ballad Health, the Tennessee Nurses Association, the Tennessee Board of Nursing, the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

Photo by Jess Vodden


ETSU Trailblazers


doesn’t stand out much amid the dozens of others that share its architectural style on the campus of the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center at Mountain Home.

Inside, however, Building 6 houses state-of-the-art labs and researchers collaborating with partner scientists who are seeking to unravel the intricate threads of our DNA and decode the secrets within — secrets that could better explain the role our genes play in our overall health and how people respond to treatment for various diseases. It’s called the Biorepository and Integrative Genomics (BIG) Initiative, and it’s more than a research project. It’s a groundbreaking effort to address some of the most critical health care needs across the state.

The initiative is led by the University of Tennessee’s Health Science Center (UTHSC) in Memphis and supported by East Tennessee State University’s Center for Excellence in Inflammation, Infectious Disease, and Immunity (CIIDI). Researchers at both institutions have been collecting de-identified blood samples donated by patients. Scientists at UTHSC then sequence all participants’ genomes and link it to their known disease states.

ETSU President Dr. Brian Noland said the initiative is a testament to the cutting-edge research happening at the university.

“Through this effort, our researchers seek to address the most pressing health care needs in Tennessee, provide enhanced care for vulnerable populations, eliminate health disparities, and engage participating communities through innovative programs,” said Noland.

Part of the Quillen College of Medicine, CIIDI’s research moves past the confines of a laboratory and extends into the realm of patient care to advance education, research, and clinical applications in inflammation, immunology, and infectious disease.

“At the heart of everything we do, we aim to improve the lives of the people in this region and beyond,” said Dr. Bill Block, Dean of the Quillen College of Medicine and ETSU Vice President for Clinical Affairs. “This research is perfectly aligned with that mission, and we are excited to partner with the UT Health Science Center on this critically important work.”

Dr. Robert Davis, founder of the UTHSC Center for Biomedical Informatics and statewide BIG Initiative Director, said the goal is to greatly expand the program.

“Our goal is to continue to expand the BIG Initiative statewide to eventually include 100,000 Tennesseans, and to represent East Tennessee in addition to the Delta region in West Tennessee,” said Davis, who


$70.4 million EXTERNAL AWARDS in Fiscal Year 2023

presented a lecture on the BIG Initiative, and other research projects, at the VA campus in September.

At CIIDI, efforts to improve the quality of life for the people in this region and beyond don’t stop with the BIG Initiative. Numerous other studies are underway at CIIDI, including studies related to cancer, hepatitis, HIV, and COVID-19.

“CIIDI is well-positioned to coordinate a broad array of scientific projects impacting human health,” said Dr. Jonathan Moorman, Co-Director of CIIDI. “Other

ongoing projects range from studies on sepsis, HIV, and hepatitis B, to new approaches and collaborations to understand and treat cancers.”

At ETSU, a robust combination of its five health sciences colleges with more than 40 health sciencesrelated programs offers students a unique opportunity to translate the skills they’ve learned in a classroom to laboratory and clinical settings — opportunities that elevate the interprofessional experience in health care education for our students.

$23.3 million RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT EXPENDITURES in Fiscal Year 2022

67% increase in RESEARCH EXPENDITURES in past three years

Undergrads enjoy tremendous research opportunities




Leaders across the United States have started working collaboratively to make clear that bioindustrial manufacturing is a reliable and growing career path.

East Tennessee State University is at the center of this effort.

BioMADE, a national institute with a mission of helping secure America’s future through bioindustrial innovation, awarded the university $1.3 million in project funding in 2023. The grant total exceeds $3.3 million when including costs shared by ETSU and partners.

“East Tennessee State University is proud to take a proactive role in advancing educational workforce development in the biomanufacturing sector in the Appalachian Highlands,” said Dr. Richard Prince, an Assistant Professor in the Department of Engineering, Engineering Technology, and Surveying

In collaboration with the university’s synthetic biology and engineering research, the ETSU Research Corporation, and the Niswonger Foundation, a key goal of the initiative is to create a comprehensive career pathway to equip both high school students and many others with the skills necessary to thrive in the biomanufacturing industry.

The project should pay quick dividends.

Situated on the work of the BioBuilder Foundation, the ETSU Research Corporation, and the Niswonger Foundation, ETSU will help build a pipeline program training high school students and giving them the tools to jump into the workforce in as little as two years.

In the longer term, ETSU is creating a degree program to foster innovation and expansion, as well as give options to those interested in changing jobs.

“This collaboration with our partners at the ETSU Research Corporation and the Niswonger Foundation allows the university to continue its commitment to serving nontraditional students and those seeking career transitions,” said Dr. Aruna Kilaru, Faculty Fellow for Interdisciplinary Innovation in the Biosciences and an award-winning Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences

The university has been a leader in championing biomanufacturing careers, and giving students hands-on learning

opportunities is at the center of ETSU’s approach to education.

In 2022, the ETSU Research Corporation hosted “Growing the Future: Symposium on Innovation and Education for the Bioeconomy.” The event attracted officials from across the nation, including from the U.S. Department of Defense.

“Ultimately, this groundbreaking program will result in the creation of a versatile and adaptable workforce,” said Dr. Pamela Mims, a Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Grants in the Clemmer College of Education and Human Development.



Memories created during the fall semester at ETSU are like pieces of a scrapbook, each event filling up a new page. Whether it’s the excitement of Preview and Welcome Week, or the traditions of Homecoming, students at ETSU are the authors of their experience, making their time as Buccaneers unforgettable.

Photos by Ron Campbell, Larry Smith, and Charlie Warden

Preview Homecoming
Football Welcome Week Preview Homecoming WATCH NOW! ETSU TODAY | WINTER 2024 29


The Department of Music at East Tennessee State University has long enriched the community. From concerts that pack the ETSU Martin Center for the Arts to recitals that showcase student work, faculty and staff are committed to boosting the arts in the region.

That devotion to the public continued in 2023, when the department launched a Community Music School. It’s a program that provides high-level music training to students of all ages and skill levels.

“Our talented faculty are thrilled to offer this instruction,” said Dr. Roya Farzaneh, Artistic Director of the program. “We can help beginner students lay an excellent foundation as well as offer advanced students challenges that will take their music abilities to the next level.”

The Community Music School offers a range of classes and events. There are comprehensive music lessons that feature faculty providing private instruction for all instruments and voice. These lessons are available to students at most all skill levels, including those who are at the start of their musical journey, as well as more seasoned musicians.

Pre-college programs deliver a music education experience for those prepping for college-level music studies or those who simply want to hone their skills. Adult programs include a supportive environment to grow, as do the youth programs targeted at children whose musical interests have been piqued.

The goal is straightforward: offer high-level music training to community members. And faculty, specializing in a multitude of areas ranging from piano and percussion to voice and trumpet, have considerable experience providing beginner students with a strong start. Advanced students, too, find that the challenges presented in the program will take their musical ability to another level.

All students – regardless of skill – have access to a wealth of music resources. That includes departmental facilities and practice rooms. And perhaps most important of all: It’s an environment that fosters both creativity and growth.

“We believe that music is a powerful force that brings people together, fosters creativity, and enhances personal growth,” said Dr. Alan Stevens, Chair of the Department of Music. “Whether you or your children have a lifelong passion for music or are simply looking to explore a new hobby, our programs are designed to inspire, nurture, and celebrate your musical journey.”

ETSU is home to a vibrant arts community, hosting dozens of concerts, exhibitions, and performances throughout the year.

Join our ETSU Community Music School! 30 ETSU TODAY


When Dr. J. Bracken Burns joined ETSU Health, he was just one of three trauma surgeons at Johnson City Medical Center.

Now, that team has tripled in size to nine trauma surgeons –all of whom are ETSU Health faculty. Burns, JCMC’s Trauma Medical Director and Professor with the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine, was brought in to revitalize the surgical trauma program at JCMC and was eventually tasked with helping build a robust system of trauma care for the region.

Though it certainly has not been easy, Burns said it has been a rewarding experience, and he credited the “essential” partnership among Ballad Health, the Quillen College of Medicine, and ETSU Health for recent success.

“We have seen growth from ETSU Health in many disciplines that impact trauma care,” said Burns. “This, in addition to the support from non-ETSU Health providers, has allowed us to advance trauma care and scholarly activity.”

Burns said collaboration between an academic entity and a health care system can often bridge gaps in the availability of specialty care such as trauma surgery, and that the partnership between ETSU Health and Ballad Health is evidence of it.

Dr. Bill Block, Dean of the Quillen College of Medicine and ETSU’s Vice President for Clinical Affairs, said the partnership between ETSU Health and Ballad Health is one that greatly benefits the region.

“In many parts of the country, there’s a dire lack of access to important services such as trauma care,” said Block. “We are fortunate to have this partnership to expand access to this critically important care here in the Appalachian Highlands. Establishing a trauma care network is about having the right resources in the right places to save lives, and that’s exactly what ETSU Health and Ballad Health have set out to do.”



In the heart of every soccer match, amid the cheers and determined faces, there exists a profound reminder of the strength of the human spirit. For the ETSU Men’s Soccer team, this reminder comes in the form of an 11-year-old teammate named Landon Ward.

Landon was born with spina bifida, a condition affecting the formation of the spine and spinal cord before birth, and organized sports seemed out of reach for him. But sometimes, the true essence of triumph goes far beyond the scoreboard. Landon’s parents, Jason and Sandy, revealed that their son survived 10 surgeries and defied medical odds by learning to walk.

“Landon’s journey has taught us to be grateful for every moment and find strength in adversity,” they said.

Landon’s love for sports is undeniable, and Team IMPACT, an organization connecting children facing serious illnesses with college sports teams, stepped in to make his dream come true. Landon signed a National Letter of Intent in September to become a member of the Buccaneer program and proudly wears the No. 40 jersey.

Landon’s journey has taught us to be grateful for every moment and find strength in adversity.”

Jason and Sandy, Landon’s parents

“Each time we see Landon, we get a big lift, and that resonates with us,” said former coach David Lilly. “There’s always going to be adversity, but we’ve got to keep responding the best way we can. We want to make Landon, the university, and this community proud. The team’s

commitment to each other and what they’ve accomplished both on and off the field is extraordinary.”

In a world often defined by rivalry and competition, Landon’s story serves as a reminder that kindness can be a powerful force.

“Coach Lilly and the men’s soccer team have been so wonderful and gracious. Their willingness to treat Landon with love and respect and letting him spend time as ‘one of the guys’ is something that he, and we, will never forget,” said the Ward family.

That journey reached a pinnacle when the team clinched the regular-season Southern Conference Tournament title. With just three seconds left on the clock and the score tied, the Bucs gave fans a nail-biting finish against Mercer to secure the winning goal, resulting in their first regular season SoCon title since 2017. The Bucs’ season with Landon is a reminder that life’s victories aren’t just measured in wins and losses but in the transformative and profound impact we make on each other’s lives for a greater purpose.

“Sometimes you lose sight of what’s really important in life, and that’s trying to be the best version of yourself,” said Lilly. “We’re blessed to have each other, and there’s a bigger picture here than just wins and losses. It’s taught us to be kind, and we’ve built a culture of compassion where each player looks after the other.”



create a hunger for learning when you see that what you are learning here fulfills a need for somebody else.

Shaina Thompson

Served and learned about homelessness and food insecurity during one of ETSU’s alternative spring break trips in Memphis, Tennessee



Though East Tennessee State University only established the Center for Interprofessional Collaboration in 2022, the university’s commitment to interprofessional education stretches back a decade.

At the helm is Dr. Brian Cross, Associate Vice Provost and Director of the Center for Interprofessional Collaboration. Cross, who joined ETSU in 2010, is a champion for interprofessional education and

practice on campus – his passion for it is evident each time you speak with him.

“When we began this work, we started by asking ourselves, ‘Why?’ There are a lot of places that are not doing this kind of work at all, or not investing in it as much as we have,” said Cross.

Faculty and staff at ETSU label interprofessional care as utterly vital, encouraging collaboration and varying

perspectives among a range of health care professionals, from doctors and nurses to pharmacists and respiratory therapists.

“Our ‘why,’” said Cross, “is decreasing potential negative patient outcomes in our health care systems and creating a new group of graduates who want to be part of the solution.”

ETSU has two models of IPE engagement for students: a two-year program


that students complete together in-person in interprofessional teams and a one-year program that students complete fully online.

By nurturing collaboration and compassion, ETSU is training outstanding health care professionals who can bridge the gap among disciplines, ensuring seamless, quality care by putting patients at the center of their care.

With five health sciences colleges and 40-plus programs, ETSU offers a wide depth and breadth of experiences for students from all backgrounds, better preparing them for the real world.

“When our students leave our program, we don’t just graduate them – we empower them,” said Cross. “After they read their oath and receive their cords, we empower them to be change agents, and we mean that sincerely because they have the ability to make influential changes when they see something that needs to be fixed.”

In March 2023, the Center for Interprofessional Collaboration celebrated its largest graduating class with 161 students, a fitting milestone as the university celebrates the 10th anniversary of its commitment to interprofessional education.

When our students leave our program, we don’t just graduate them –we empower them.”
— Dr. Brian Cross

“I think with these types of endeavors, you have to believe that this is work that must be done, as it is still not the standard in clinical education or practice,” Cross said in 2023. “And so, when you look out at a room like that, it’s validation that, at an institutional level, we seem to be making a difference.”

And at the end of the day, making a difference –making a fundamental change – is at the heart of ETSU’s commitment to interprofessional education.



Dr. Randy Wykoff is a data-driven dean. The leader of the East Tennessee State University College of Public Health since 2006, he knows that behind every number is a human story.

“Each time I meet with our faculty, I go over all of what we call our success metrics,” Wykoff tells ETSU Today

At the top of the list is the number 98. It represents the percentage of College of Public Health graduates over the last two years who would recommend the college to someone else. The college’s vision is to be the school of choice for students who want an exceptional educational experience in a world-class environment. The numbers clearly indicate that the vision is being fulfilled.

Wykoff says the job market for College of Public Health graduates in virtually every field remains strong. “We’re graduating professionals who have the knowledge, the skill, the adaptability, and the flexibility to be successful in the workforce.”

Wykoff provided weekly statistics to the public all through the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes the pandemic significantly raised the profile of public health professions.

“Public health is what we as a society do collectively to ensure the conditions for people to be healthy, so it’s really about populations and communities. Public health has become increasingly important as we have come to understand all of the societal factors that impact our health. Especially during the pandemic, people became more aware of why public health is important.”

The ETSU College of Public Health is organized into five departments. Community and Behavioral Health prepares health educators and others who often work for state and federal health agencies. Health Services Management and Policy prepares graduates for leadership positions in a variety of health settings. Department of Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety Sciences graduates explore the interface between the environment and human health. Epidemiology graduates study diseases and how they spread. And the Department of Health Sciences, which

is largely an undergraduate department, provides a solid foundation for graduate and professional programs.

Indicative of the overall vigor of the college, the Department of Health Sciences has grown from 65 majors when Wykoff became dean to 450 today.

“One of the things that sets ETSU apart from other schools of public health is that we have a large undergraduate program, and we actually started with an undergraduate program, through the leadership of John P. Lamb Jr., the first dean of what was then known as the School of Health,” Wykoff says. “Because of the way we’ve grown, from undergraduate to master’s to doctoral programs, we’ve always had an eye to the job market.”

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”
The World Health Organization

Another attribute that sets ETSU’s college apart is its emphasis on practicality, which is evident at the ETSU/ Eastman Valleybrook campus, where students learn to make water filters and pumps and are taught how to work in low-resource settings.

“Our students know they have great professors, great advising, and great outcomes,” Wykoff says. “That’s the triumvirate of student success.”

And now, those experiences are enhanced by a beautifully renovated building with abundant natural light and plenty of open spaces for students.

“For the first time since I’ve been here, we can use Lamb Hall for student recruitment,” Wykoff adds.

Still posted prominently on the wall just inside the original front entrance are words from the World Health Organization that have guided ETSU students since the college’s founding:

“Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”



In August, the ETSU Athletic Department officially launched the I Give a Buc campaign in support of our Be GREAT initiative. The purpose of the campaign is to provide resources and create a world-class experience for every one of our student-athletes. To do this, we have to focus on new programs including mental health, nutrition, sports psychology, career development, and mentoring.

I Give a Buc is not about better seat location, priority parking, or any other perk associated with donations. The program is solely focused on individuals making a gift to help each of our student-athletes succeed. I Give a Buc is about building a group of individuals who desire to touch the lives of ETSU studentathletes. For us to move forward as an athletic department, we will need our coaches and student-athletes to totally commit to the concept of Be GREAT. To be able to totally implement our Be GREAT Student-Athlete Success Model, we need everyone who cares about ETSU Athletics and ETSU student-athletes to participate in the I Give a Buc campaign.

We are asking every individual connected to ETSU to give a “Buc” a day, $30 a month, or $365 a year. Allocating $1 a day will help our student-athletes to have competitive nutrition availability, a full-time mental health counselor, and a career planning and

placement center. Anyone who contributes can have pride in knowing they helped to make these valuable resources available to student-athletes.

Every dollar we receive will go toward our Be GREAT StudentAthlete Success Paradigm. Your donation will help our studentathletes be successful in every phase of their lives.

With your help, we can do great things. Our head coaches and administrators have pledged to help every ETSU student-athlete by committing to I Give a Buc. Please join all of us in this effort by visiting, and proudly say to all your fellow ETSU friends, “I Give a Buc!”

Campus Conversations:

I Give a Buc


5 Questions 5 Questions with DR . KYLE LEIS TER

Dr. Kyle Leister is one of just 50 professionals in the world with a Ph.D. in orthotics and prosthetics — and he chose to make East Tennessee State University home. Originally from Pittsburgh, his path to Johnson City isn’t the most linear. But his excitement at launching ETSU’s Orthotics and Prosthetics program — the first of its kind in Tennessee — is palpable.

How did you find your passion for education?

Basically, I came to the realization that, if I can do this, anyone can do it – you just need the right people surrounding you to support you through it. I feel like I can be that person for others. Teaching students how to do science well, that’s going to set them up for success no matter what they end up doing – especially in a field like O&P.

With so few of these programs nationwide (ETSU’s will be the 14th), how does it feel to be leading one?

This program has got to be successful and perform at a very high level, and I came here to do just that. There’s no way we’re going to settle for anything less than excellence.

This is, in many ways, a really new program here, and you’re coming in on the ground floor – giving you an opportunity to build it how you’d like. How exciting is that for you?


? ? ? ?

That sunk in after my first interview when I came back to campus, went into our laboratory space, and saw this beautiful blank canvas. I don’t have to build it myself, but I also have a say in how this will shake out. Having been in many different O&P labs, I have an opportunity to improve things I wish I could have improved in other places.

What is it about ETSU that made you feel like it’s the place for you?

It’s a beautiful campus, and the ability to be outside and do so many amazing activities was a huge selling point. Beyond that, there’s a lot of opportunity to collaborate with other colleges and departments on campus. There are all these resources here at ETSU that made coming here a no-brainer decision.

Though you’re not expecting your first cohort of students until May, what do you hope to see from the O&P program in the future?

I hope to see clinicians who are going out into the field, getting good residencies, and having a high first-time pass rate on board exams. Most of all, I want to see the students out there being compassionate clinicians – that’s priority No. 1.

Photo by Charlie Warden


From the Hubble telescope to astonishing photographs of planets captured by researchers, astronomers have made major headlines in recent years.

And in that same spirit of discovery, a team of scientists from around the world launched a groundbreaking study aimed at analyzing the most massive stars near the Milky Way.

A pair of East Tennessee State University professors is part of this international team.

“This study, and all the papers that will follow, will produce scores of scientific insights,” said ETSU’s Drs. Richard Ignace and Christi Erba, who worked on the report.

Both are members of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, which boasts dedicated researchers who regularly win awards and contribute to the region’s understanding of everything from the night sky to solar eclipses.

The department’s work is valued by fellow scholars. In 2022, for example, ETSU’s Dr. Robert Pattie earned a $320,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance the world’s understanding of the universe.

In addition, the department is involved in community outreach, regularly opening its doors to the public for events at both the Harry D. Powell Astronomical Observatory and the ETSU Planetarium.

In this sweeping study featuring Ignace and Erba, collaborating scientists gathered ultraviolet data from the Hubble Space Telescope, famous

for capturing breathtaking images of the cosmos, as well as information taken from the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope, a flagship facility for astronomy in Europe.

So far, the research team has demonstrated that metallicity, an important parameter for understanding how galaxies have changed and evolved, changes key physical properties of stars.

From the start of the universe, the scientists note, metal content –anything in the atmosphere greater than hydrogen and helium – has continuously grown in space thanks in part to supernova explosions.

These interactions have helped create the environment of the Milky Way Galaxy, the home galaxy of Earth. The paper, “X-Shooting ULLYSES (a reference to the Hubble Telescope’s UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards): Massive Stars at Low Metallicity,” was published by Astronomy and Astrophysics

“This paper is the first in a series by this worldwide collaboration of scientists,” the ETSU professors noted. “It is a privilege to be part of such important work.”

From discoveries entirely new to science to books about little-known maladies, Ignace and Erba are members of an ETSU faculty that regularly generate cutting-edge scholarship.

Faculty and staff across an array of disciplines win competitive fellowships and grants, and, in turn, contribute their knowledge to the thousands of students enrolled at the university.



Nine East Tennessee State University alumni and friends were recently honored with 2023 Alumni Awards.

The George L. Carter Award was presented to Lt. Gen. Ronald V. Hite, a member of the Class of 1964. Gen. Hite led a decorated career in the military that spans more than three decades, commanding at every level. He ultimately served at the Pentagon, where he was promoted to the rank of three star general. He held many unique positions during assignments throughout the United States, Germany, Vietnam, and Korea. He retired as Chairman and CEO of Cypress International, an Alexandria, Va.-based company which assists clients in planning, business development, and marketing of defense and aerospace products and services worldwide.

Outstanding Alumni Awards were bestowed upon Dick Clarke and Pauline Douglas. A 1971 graduate, Clarke spent his career working in commercial liability insurance. Following retirement, he taught courses and published two books and numerous articles.

Douglas held numerous leadership roles with the U.S. Department of Energy. Among her many civic contributions were working with the Knoxville Christian Arts Ministry and the Susan G. Komen East Tennessee Board.

The Award of Honor was given to Shirley Holtsclaw Berk and Dr. Joe Moore. Berk holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from ETSU. While living in Johnson City, she was active with numerous local organizations and continued her service upon moving to Texas.

Moore is Director of Athletic Bands at ETSU where he joined the faculty in 2014 and was tasked with revitalizing the Marching Bucs.

Class of 2001 graduate Robert Raines received the Distinguished Alumnus in Public Service Award. Raines serves as Executive Director of the Tennessee Entertainment Commission.

Dr. Cornell Sneed was presented the PRIDE of ETSU Award. He holds three degrees from ETSU and currently is an assistant professor and track and field throws coach at Columbia College in South Carolina.

Honorary Alumni Awards were given to ETSU First Lady Donna Noland and Col. (Ret.) Daniel S. Bishop. Noland has been a champion for numerous campus and community initiatives. Bishop is a retired military leader and now oversees Veterans Services at ETSU.

Tom Tull, President of the ETSU National Alumni Association, is pictured with Lt. Gen. Ronald V. Hite.



Nancy Query Carter, Classes of 1962 and 1990, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degrees are in Home Economics and Educational Administration and Supervision.

Linda Waldrop Bailey, Class of 1964, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degree is in Business Education.

Betty Tilson Tester, Class of 1966, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degree is in Business Education.

 Dr. Benjamin D. Caton III, Class of 1968, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. His degree is in Music.


Holly Tomlinson Scheve, Class of 1971, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degree is in Speech Pathology.

Judge Brenda J. Waggoner, Class of 1971, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degree is in Physical Education.

Mark P. Catron, Class of 1972, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. His degree is in Management.

Rebecca “Becky” Buchanan, Class of 1973, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degree is in Art.

Nancy Jane Earnest, Classes of 1973, 1976, and 2002, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. Her degrees are in English, Art, and Counseling.

Charles “Peck” Gill, Jr., Class of 1973, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. His degree is in Industrial Technology.

Gary M. Mabrey, III, Classes of 1973 and 1974, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. His degrees are in General Psychology and City Management.

Lendward “Lenny” Simpson, Jr., Class of 1973, served as a Class Reunion Agent for the Golden 50s Club Reunion Weekend May 5-6. His degree is in Physical Education.

Dr. Robert W. Robertson, Class of 1974, was named an International Scholar by the Government of Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development. He is President and Chief Executive Officer at the University College of the Cayman Islands and Senior Research Fellow, Commonwealth Institute, School of Advanced Studies, University of London. His degree is in Geography.

Edwin C. Alexander, III, Classes of 1975 and 1981, is a member of the Elizabethton School Board. He worked in the school system for 35 years including serving as Principal of Elizabethton High School and Director of Schools. His degrees are in History and Educational Administration.

Evelyn Head Rafalowski, Class of 1977, has retired as Sullivan County (Tennessee) Director of Schools. She was the first female director or head of the school system and the only person to hold the position of director in two non-consecutive terms. Her degree is in Physical Education.

Anthony “Tony” Treadway, Class of 1977, has been appointed to the ETSU Board of Trustees. He is Founder of The Creative Energy Group, Inc. His degrees are in Mass Communication and Political Science.

Dr. J. Allen Burleson, Class of 1979, was inducted into the 2023 ETSU College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences Hall of Fame. He owns a local dental practice and is a member of both the Tennessee Dental Association and the American Dental Association, as well as the Tennessee First District Dental Society. His degree is in Pre-Dentistry.

Stephen P. Griggs, Class of 1979, has been named one of the Top 50 Healthcare Technology CEOs for 2023 by Healthcare Technology Report. Griggs is Chief Executive Officer at AdaptHealth. His degree is in Business Management.


Jennifer A. Bauer, Classes of 1980, 1986, and 1996, retired after serving for 43 years with the Tennessee State Parks in Carter County. She was a Park Ranger at Roan Mountain State Park for 21 years and served for 22 years as Park Manager of Sycamore Shoals Historic Park. Her degrees are in Biology, Secondary Education, and Elementary Education.

Dr. Donald A. Samples, Classes of 1980 and 1998, received ETSU’s

College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2023. Samples is Dean Emeritus of the ETSU College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences and began his 33-year career at ETSU as Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Therapy program. His degrees are in Business Management and Educational Leadership.

Judge J. Frank Porter, Class of 1982, is Chief Judge of the 20th Circuit, which includes Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Hendry, and Glades counties in Florida. His degree is in Political Science.

Scott Buckingham, Class of 1983, has retired as Washington County, Tennessee Assessor of Property. His degree is in Marketing.

Timothy C. Thomas, Class of 1983, has retired after 40 years of coaching track at Coeburn, Powell Valley, and Union high schools, all located in Southwest Virginia. His degree is in Physical Education.

Col. (R) Gary E. McAllister, Class of 1983, was inducted into the ETSU Army ROTC Hall of Fame. McAllister was in the Buccaneer Battalion for three years and has been a lifelong supporter of the Buccaneer Battalion program. His degree is in Health Education.

Dr. Donna Dodson Brown, Class of 1984, was presented the 2023 Carson-Newman University Alumni Science Award. She recently retired from the Virginia Eye Institute in Richmond. She holds a doctorate in Medicine.

Helene R. Conway, Class of 1984, is working as a Senior Right of Way Agent for Summit Resources. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Phillip J. Pierce, Class of 1984, was inducted into the Carter County, Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. His degree is in Business Management.

J. Daniel Howard, Class of 1985, has been promoted to General Manager of WDEF-TV in Chattanooga. His degree is in Mass Communication.

Richard “Ric” Keller, Class of 1986, wrote the book Chase the Bears, which was named first-place winner in the 2023 Firebird Book Awards in four categories: Self-Help/ Motivational, Audiobook, Gift Book, and Dreams. His degree is in Mass Communication.

 Dr. B.J. King, Classes of 1986, 1995, and 2007, was inducted into ETSU’s College of Business and Technology Hall of Fame and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. She recently retired as ETSU’s Chief Financial Officer. Her degrees are in Finance, Accounting, and Educational Leadership.

Curtis D. Williams, Class of 1986, has been named Vice President of Information Technology at Frankenmuth Insurance. His degree is in Mathematics.

Dr. Teresa Maggard Stephens, Class of 1987, serves as an Advisory Board Member and Committee Chair at the Coalition for Nurse Well Being. Her degree is in Nursing.

Barbara Mentgen Archer, Classes of 1989 and 1992, has retired from the Johnson City Chamber of Commerce after 29 years of service. Her degrees are in Business Management and Business Administration.


Dr. Virginia Holt Bieber, Classes of 1990, 1993, and 2003, is serving as President-Elect for the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for 2023-24. Her degrees are in Home Economics, Clinical Nutrition, and Educational Leadership.

Scotty L. Carrier, Jr., Class of 1990, has been promoted to Major of Administration. He is a 31-year veteran of the Johnson City, Tennessee Police Department. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Deborah S. Clark, Class of 1990, is a Supervisor for External Communications at ElectriCities of North Carolina. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Dr. Sean McAlister, Class of 1990, is Chief Learning Officer and Director of Learning & Development at the U.S. Department of Commerce. His degree is in City Management.

Jeffrey N. Page, Class of 1990, was the Crew Chief for the officiating crew during the 2022 FCS National Championship football game between South Dakota State University and North Dakota State University. Page played football for the Bucs from 1986-89. His degree is in Accounting.

D. Jean Rushing, Classes of 1990, 2011, and 2016, accepted an associate-level position as a Senior Employee Relations & Compliance Investigator for Booz Allen Hamilton in McLean, Virginia. She previously worked as a compliance investigator for Walmart Corporate and ETSU University Compliance. Her degrees are in Political Science, History, and Liberal Studies.

Dr. Brenda White Wright, Classes of 1990, 2005, and 2008, was honored by the Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians at their annual Trefoil Society Luncheon. Her degrees are in General Studies, Reading, and Educational Leadership.

Dr. William B. Greer, Class of 1991, was inducted into the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association’s 2023 Hall of Fame. This accolade celebrates Greer’s 30-year tenure at Milligan

University and the advancement of the university’s mission under his leadership. His degree is in Business Administration.

Robyn Johnson Ivester, Class of 1991, has been elected to serve on the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for a four-year term. Her degree is in Management.

Steve D. Leonard, Class of 1991, was elected the 26th President of the Southwest Professional Golfers’ Association of America by PGA members at the Association’s 65th Annual Meeting. Leonard is the PGA General Manager/Chief Operating Officer at Putting World in Scottsdale, Arizona. His degree is in Mass Communication.

Chancellor John C. Rambo, Class of 1991, received the Judge Pamela L. Reeves Tennessee Professionalism Award from the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee American Inns of Court. His degree is in Economics.

D. Wayne Rose, Class of 1991, is the National Oncology Field Reimbursement Director at GSK. His degree is in Marketing.

Dr. Melanie Steagall Stanton, Classes of 1991, 1995, and 2022, has been elected to serve on the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for a four-year term. Her degrees are in Accounting and Nursing.

Dr. Brian K. Tate, Classes of 1991 and 1997, has been named Principal of Dobyns-Bennett High School in Kingsport. His degrees are in Business Education and Educational Leadership.

Judge Kenneth N. Bailey, Class of 1992, has been elected to serve as Secretary/Treasurer of the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for 2023-24. His degree is in Political Science.

Dr. Steven N. Barnett, Classes of 1992 and 2013, has been recognized as Superintendent of the Year for Tennessee’s First District. His degrees are in Special Education and Educational Leadership.

John L. Doyle, Class of 1992, is Chief Financial Officer of Newberry Hospital in Newberry, South Carolina. His degree is in Accounting.

Lanna Monday-Emmett, Classes of 1992 and 1996, is an Associate Professor at Tusculum University. Her degrees are in Political Science and Mass Communication.

Bruce A. Giles, Class of 1992, has been appointed to the Tennessee Board of Utility Regulation by Governor Bill Lee. Giles is the General Manager of the First Utility District of Knox County. His degree is in Environmental Health.

Steven C. Hendrix, Class of 1992, is an Industrial Sales Engineer for Trelleborg Sealing Solutions. Hendrix will be responsible for growth in


the South Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee industrial markets. His degree is in Business Management.

Ginger Lane Little, Class of 1992, is an ESL (English as a Second Language) Teacher for Kingsport City Schools. Her degree is in English.

Jacqueline Steadman Smith, Class of 1992, was named Senior Vice President for Business and Finance at Milligan University. Her degree is in Accounting.

Col. Shane A. Smith, Classes of 1992 and 1995, completed his Doctor of Education degree at Vanderbilt University on August 11. His ETSU degrees are in Engineering Technology and History.

Christopher C. York, Classes of 1992 and 1995, has been named President of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. His degrees are in Business Management and Business Administration.

Col. Joseph “Scott” Anderson, Class of 1993, is Director of Corporate Strategy at Trillium Engineering. He recently retired from the U.S. Army after 30 years of service. Anderson earned numerous awards and decorations during his career, including the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, and Army Achievement Medal. His degree is in Business Marketing.

Dr. Kellie D. Brown, Classes of 1993 and 2001, is the 2023 recipient of the Arts Achievement Award for Arts Educator given by the Arts Alliance Mountain Empire. Dr. Brown is a Milligan University Professor and Area Chair of Music. Her degrees are in Music Education and Educational Leadership.

 Gregory A. Dennis, Class of 1993, won a gold medal in the National Senior Games Association

Men’s 50+ D2


Playoffs in Pittsburgh. His degree is in Physical Education.

Russell C. Bennett, Class of 1994, was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Andy Beshear of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The Commission of Kentucky Colonel is the highest title of honor bestowed by the state and recognizes an individual’s noteworthy accomplishments and outstanding service to community, state, and nation. Bennett is an Art Teacher at Dobyns Bennett High School in Kingsport. His degree is in Art.

Lisa Gray Goodnough, Class of 1994, is Chief Executive Officer of Recovery Centers of America in Greenville, South Carolina. Her degree is in Health Education.

Kristie Johnston Hammonds, Class of 1994, received ETSU’s College of Clinical and Rehabilitative Health Sciences Distinguished Alumna Award for 2023. She is President and Chief Executive Officer of Frontier Health. Her degree is in Social Work.

Dr. Monique Minor-Hunter Pannell, Classes of 1994 and 2016, is Territory Manager at Heartland. Her degrees are in Criminal Justice and Psychology.

Joseph H. Roberts, Class of 1994, has been promoted to Lieutenant on Platoon 4, where he will serve as Assistant Watch Commander. Roberts is a 27-year veteran of the Johnson City Police Department. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Sociology.

W. Morris Baker, Classes of 1995 and 2014, was inducted into ETSU’s College of Business and Technology Hall of Fame and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award. He is Chief Energy Officer of Goodwill Industries of Tenneva. His degrees are in Business Management and Public Administration.

Bryan T. Daniels, Classes of 1995 and 1997, will be continuing his service on the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors as incoming Past-President for the 2023-24 year. His degrees are in Speech and Engineering Technology.

Christopher W. Hughes, Class of 1995, is a Probation Officer at Community Supervision, Inc. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Eric S. Jenkins, Class of 1995, has been promoted to the rank of Deputy Police Chief. He is a 27-year veteran of the Johnson City Police Department. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Michelle Martindale Jessee, Class of 1995, has been promoted to a Salaried Retail Manager for Walmart. Her degree is in Health Education.

Rory E. Stallard, Class of 1995, is Ulta Beauty’s Director of Loss Prevention, Organized Retail Crime. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Thomas L. Tull, Class of 1995, has been elected President of the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for 2023-24. His degree is in Business Administration.

Larry R. Justis, Class of 1996, has been named 2023 North Greene High School Teacher of the Year and the Greene County Schools District Teacher of the Year. His degree is in Foreign Languages.

Adam M. Campbell, Class of 1997, is Chief of Quality and Patient Safety for Erlanger Health and is responsible for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives to enhance quality, safety, and performance across all aspects of Chattanooga’s biggest hospital. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Psychology.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Howard, Classes of 1997, 2002, and 2014, was selected for the 2023-24 cohort of the UNC Executive Leadership Institute. Dr. Howard is Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, University of North Carolina at Pembroke. His degrees are in Political Science, History, and Educational Leadership.

Christopher W. McCartt, Classes of 1997 and 2007, married Renee Skeen on December 30, 2022, in Kingsport. His degrees are in Geography and Public Administration.

Dr. R. Michele Murray, Classes of 1997, 2002, and 2021, is Principal at Fairview Elementary in Williamson County, Tennessee. Her degrees are in Interdisciplinary Studies, Early Childhood Education, and Educational Leadership.

Dustin J. Duncan, Classes of 1998 and 2000, is Director of Community Engagement with Communities in Schools of Appalachian Highlands. His degrees are in Physical Education.

Dr. Pallavi P. Kumar, Class of 1998, has been promoted to Director of the Alvin & Lois Lapidus Cancer Institute at Sinai and Northwest hospitals and Senior Physician Executive of the Oncology Service Line across the entire LifeBridge Health System. Her degree is in Medicine.

Captain (Ret.) William E. Righter, Classes of 1998, 2008, and 2015, was named Planning and Development Services Director for the City of Johnson City. Righter served as a Field Artillery Captain in the U.S. Army. He has a degree in History and two master’s degrees, in Secondary Education and Public Administration.

Stacy Fine Smith, Class of 1998, is Marketing and Event Services Manager for Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Dr. Nancy B. Young, Class of 1998, has been named Dean of the Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University. Her degree is in Physical Education.

Darrick Andre Early, Classes of 1999 and 2001, was appointed into the Senior Executive Service, within the federal government, as Regional Commissioner of the National Capital Region in the Federal Acquisition Service of the U.S. General Services Administration. Early oversees GSA’s largest regional Federal Acquisition Service operation with a client base of approximately 800,000 users, supported by the Assisted Acquisition and Personal Property business lines; along with business development and policy support offices of Customer Accounts and Stakeholder and Engagement and the Acquisition Oversight Division. His degrees are in Political Science and Public Management.

Dr. Whitney Locke Jarnagin, Class of 1999, co-authored a book

entitled Working with Infertility and Grief: A Practical Guide for Helping Professionals. She serves as Dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences and is a Professor of Psychology at Walters State Community College. Her degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies.


Erskin A. Anavitarte, Class of 2000, is a successful musician and minister based in Nashville. His degree is in Mass Communication.

Dr. Daniel S. Lewis, Classes of 2000 and 2004, is Chief Medical Officer for Greeneville Community Hospital. He is extending his responsibilities to include Hawkins County Memorial Hospital and Hancock County Hospital. His degrees are in Biology and Medicine.

Mary Ellen Plubell Miller, Class of 2000, wrote a book on the international award-winning, $400 million Boone Dam infrastructure project called Fill the Dam Thing Up! Building Connections: Communicating Throughout the Lifecycle of Infrastructure Projects Miller also received the Public Relations Professional of the Year Award from the Public Relations Society of America Tri-Cities Chapter. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree.

Natalie J. Willis, Class of 2000, is among 30 emerging state leaders selected to participate in Leadership Tennessee’s NEXT Program. She is Nuclear Fuel Services Security Director in Erwin. Her degree is in Finance.

 Rebecca “Becky” Buller, Class of 2001, has been elected to serve on the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for a fouryear term. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Wayne D. Brown, J.D., Class of 2001, is Chief Executive Officer and President of Nebraska’s Urban League. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

D. Stokes Piercy, Class of 2001, won the Los Angeles Motion Picture Festival’s 2023 Grand Jury Prize Platinum Award for his film John Dee. This award is known as the Chaplin Short Films Award for Best Documentary. In addition, one of Piercy’s screenplays, Cougar Town, won the Orson Welles Award for Best Unproduced Screenplay. His degree is in English.

 Dr. T. Michelle Byrd, Classes of 2002, 2004, and 2010, has been promoted to Associate

Vice President and Dean of Students at ETSU. Byrd will provide leadership oversight for the departments of Campus Recreation and Disability Services, as well as the University Counseling Center, Student Conduct and Care systems, and University Wellness Initiatives. She will also serve as advisor to the Student Government Association. She received a Distinguished Staff Award from ETSU’s Staff Senate. Her degrees are in English, Secondary Education, and Educational Leadership.

Dr. Joshua B. Davis, Classes of 2002, 2007, and 2015, is Deputy Chief Academic Officer for the Washington County, Tennessee School System. His degrees are in Early Childhood Education and Educational Leadership.

Julie R. Canter, Class of 2002, has been appointed Interim General Sessions and Juvenile Court Judge for Johnson County. Her degree is in Political Science.

Tenisha L. King, Class of 2002, has been named Deputy Human Resource Officer for Signal Centers. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Jennifer Berry Blankenship, Class of 2003, created the Fiddlers’ Convention and oversaw the 2nd annual Fiddlers’ Weekend event in Abingdon. Her degree is in Business Marketing.

Dr. Andrew M. Caldwell, Class of 2004, received the High School Strength and Conditioning Coach of the Year Award from the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Caldwell serves as Director of Athletic Development at Spartanburg High School in South Carolina. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Physical Education.

Dr. Tiffany Collier Love, Classes of 2004 and 2006, received a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work in the social work field. Dr. Love received the honor during a trip to Washington, D.C., where she met with Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn and was also invited to tour the White House. Her degrees are in Early Childhood Development and Social Work.

Bradley G. Ollis, Class of 2004, is System Director of Diagnostic Imaging at Ballad Health. His degree is in Allied Health.

Ashley P. McBee, Classes of 2004 and 2006, has been named ETSU’s Comptroller, a position in which she manages all accounting operations at the university. Her degrees are in Accounting and Business Administration.

Brian T. McCormack, Class of 2005, has been elected to serve on the ETSU National Alumni Association Board of Directors for a four-year term. His degree is in Political Science.


April L. Rainbolt, Classes of 2005 and 2023, is working as a Digital Strategist at RJP Systems. Her degrees are in Interdisciplinary Studies and Digital Marketing.

Matthew S. Smith, Class of 2005, was promoted to Chief Marketing and Analytics Officer at Eastman Credit Union. Previously, Smith served as Director of Project Management and Data Analytics. His degree is in Computer and Information Science.

 Keely Richardson Goodwin, Class of 2006, is Senior Vice President, Commercial at Kemira. Her degree is in Marketing.

Nicholas F. Lingerfelt, Class of 2006, is Special Education Athletic Coordinator for Kingsport City Schools. Lingerfelt will oversee all KCS Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association, Unified Sporting Events, Special Olympics, Tribe Games, and the Sparkle Squad. His degree is in Special Education.

Tanner P. Clements, Class of 2007, is Media and Training Director for Uplift Appalachia. His degree is in Digital Media.

Drew D. Guider, Class of 2007, has been promoted to Lieutenant on Platoon 2, where he will serve as Assistant Watch Commander. Guider is an 11-year veteran of the Johnson City Police Department. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Dr. Emily N. Pace, Classes of 2007 and 2011, was included in the Knox News 40 under 40 Top Young Professionals for 2023. Her degrees are in General Psychology and Physical Therapy.

Dr. Kimberly D. Cassidy, Classes of 2008 and 2016, is an Education Consultant Facilitator at Leading Educators and has been promoted to Associate Professor at Shawnee State University. Her degrees include a Master of Education specializing in Special Education and a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education.

 Keith R. Jennings, Class of 2008, is the Basketball Coach at Culpeper, Virginia High School. He is a former ETSU athletic standout and NBA player. His degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Associate Director, Rural Health Workforce and Center Development, National Center for Rural Health Professions. Her degrees are in Psychology.

Jennifer Nisbett Stroop, Class of 2008, is a physician assistant for Spectrum Medical in Tullahoma, Tennessee. She is also a Certified State Licensed Medical Provider. Her degree is in Dental Hygiene.

Robert C. Anderson, Class of 2009, was inducted into ETSU’s College of Business and Technology Hall of Fame and was given the Horizon Award. He is a Certified Public Accountant and Senior Auditor for the State of Tennessee’s Comptroller’s Office. His degree is in Accounting.

Dr. Jeremy S. Bryant, Class of 2009, has been appointed County Administrator of Amherst County in Virginia. He holds a Master of City Management in Public Administration degree.

Alen Pilipovic, Class of 2009, has been promoted to Site Controller supporting the Wacker Chemical Corporation operations in Charleston, Tennessee. His degree is in Finance.


Dr. Jessica Epley Burchette, Class of 2010, received the ETSU Distinguished Faculty Award in Teaching. She is a pharmacist and associate professor at ETSU’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. Dr. Burchette was a member of the Gatton College of Pharmacy’s inaugural Class of 2010. She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Joshua S. Culbert, Classes of 2010 and 2012, opened the Joshua Culbert CPA firm in Elizabethton. His degree is in Accountancy.

Nathanial L. McConnell, Classes of 2010 and 2012, is a Programmer Analyst at Appalachian State University. His degrees are in Computing and Computer and Information Science.

Dr. Marie F. Jones, Class of 2008, is a Professor and Coordinator of Business and Organizational Leadership at Brevard College. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Dr. A. Brianna Sheppard-Willis, Classes of 2008 and 2014, is

Dr. Deidre R. Johnson, Classes of 2011 and 2020, is an Assistant Professor and Academic Support Counselor for ETSU’s Quillen College of Medicine. Her degrees are in Psychology and Educational Leadership.

Mina McVeigh, Class of 2011, is Director of Behavioral Health for the ETSU Addiction Medicine Fellowship. She holds a Master of Social Work degree.

Brandon G. Mitchell, Class of 2011, received a Distinguished Staff Award from ETSU’s Staff Senate. Mitchell is a Contracts Assistant for ETSU’s Division of Business and Finance. His degree is in Mass Communication.

Colby W. Laney, Class of 2013, is a veteran bluegrass performer and has signed with Sound Biscuit Records. His degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies.

 Judge

Zachary R. Walden, Class of 2013, was included in the Knox News

40 under 40 Top Young Professionals for 2023. He holds two undergraduate degrees in English and Business Management.

Ryan C. Brown, Class of 2016, worked on the animated film Snoopy Presents: One-of-a-Kind Marcie on Apple TV+. His degree is in Digital Media.

Dr. Gregory A. Minton, Class of 2010, has been named Associate Vice President of Workforce Development and Community Education at Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Patricia A. Woodby, Class of 2010, received the 2023 Conservative Leadership Award from the Carter County Republican Party. She currently serves as Carter County Mayor. Her degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Ilene Evans , Class of 2011, presented a dramatic interpretation of Harriet Tubman’s life entitled General Moses: Stories from the Life of Harriet Tubman at the Blennerhassett Museum of Regional History in Parkersburg, West Virginia. She holds a Master of Arts in Reading degree.

 Sander Gille, Class of 2012, reached the 2023 French Open Grand Slam Tennis Final teamed with his doubles partner Joran Vliegen. His degree is in Business Management.

Whitney R. Pearson, Classes of 2012 and 2020, has been named Assistant Principal at Indian Trail Middle School in Johnson City. Her degrees are in Early Childhood Development and Educational Leadership.

Aisha K. Sheikh, Class of 2012, is a Technical Manager at Wacker Chemical Corporation in Knoxville and has completed the requirements to be awarded a Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt. Her degree is in Chemistry.

Dr. Kristen N. Surles, Classes of 2012 and 2023, is a Presidential Management Fellow, a prestigious national fellowship to develop the next generation of leaders in federal government. As part of the fellowship, Surles accepted a position as a Health Scientist with the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Her degrees are in Anthropology and Public Health.

Dr. Kelsey Bailey Walker, Classes of 2012 and 2014, has been named Principal of Liberty Bell Middle School in Johnson City. She holds degrees in English and Elementary Education.

Leeann Kimiko Brothers, Class of 2013, is an Account Representative for the Maryland State Ad Agency. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Dr. L. Alison Davis, Classes of 2013 and 2019, has been named Director of the Counseling Center at ETSU. A licensed clinical psychologist and an active member in several regional and national organizations focused on mental health and wellbeing, Davis will work to improve the ETSU student experience, specifically as it relates to wellness. Her degrees are in Psychology.

R. Tyler Carpenter, Classes of 2014 and 2016, is a Customer Service Officer at the D.C. Department of Employment Services. His degrees are in Public Health.

Zakary H. Lafaver, Class of 2014, has completed a Master of Education degree at Lincoln Memorial University. His ETSU degree is in Biology.

L. Abbigail Jernigan Leitnake r, Classes of 2014 and 2017, participated in the Alumni Return to the Classroom program. She spoke about working with young children with autism and was hosted by Dr. Teresa Boggs. She owns Little Social, a Montessori-style playhouse which will open in early 2024 in Johnson City. Her degrees are in Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology.

Dr. N. Christopher Lopez, Class of 2014, is a pharmacist at Mooney’s Pharmacy of Johnson City. His degree is in Pharmacy.

Kayla D. McCarter, Class of 2014, completed a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree at Lincoln Memorial University. Her ETSU degree is in Psychology.

Dr. Guillermo Ibarra Mendoza, Classes of 2014, 2016, and 2023, is Chief of Staff at Northeast State Community College. His degrees are in Psychology and Early Childhood Education.

Desmond T. Pierce, Class of 2014, is a Director of Development for Athletics at ETSU. His degree is in Mass Communication.

Ashley C. Cavender, Class of 2015, is Program Director for the Appalachian Resource Conservation & Development Council. Her degree is in Early Childhood Development.

Angel Nelligan Horne, Class of 2015, is Human Resources Director at Big Machine Distillery. Her degree is in Business Management.

Tyler K. Hughes, Class of 2015, started a new position as Executive Director of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. His degree is in Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Roots Music Studies.

Dr. Danielle Jones Weston, Class of 2015, is a primary care physician at Holston Medical Group in Bristol. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Foreign Languages and Biology.

Handaa Rentsenkhand EnkhAmgalan, Class of 2016, was invited to share her book, Stigmatized: A Mongolian Girl’s Journey from Stigma & Illness to Empowerment, and its key messages by the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly. She also participated as a panelist in the second highlevel meeting on the fight against tuberculosis during the 78th Session of the General Assembly in New York City. She is a Midway Honors Scholar with a degree in Marketing.

Sarah Baker Ducker, Class of 2016, is an advanced oncology nurse practitioner and a family nurse practitioner at Advent Health. Her degree is in Nursing.

Randy L. Lewis, Jr., Class of 2016, is General Manager at Red Stag Fulfillment. His degree is in Business Management.

Dr. Jessie P. Feathers, Classes of 2016 and 2020, has joined State of Franklin Healthcare Associates as a physician at FirstChoice Internal Medicine. Her degrees are in Biology and Medicine.

Jill Arnold Penley, Class of 2016, has been promoted to Child Care Specialist for the State of Tennessee’s Department of Human Services. Her degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Chelsea D. Taylor, Class of 2016, obtained her private pilot certificate after one year of flight training. Her degree is in Mass Communication.

Amethyst F. Barnes, Class of 2017, is a Petty Officer 3rd Class serving as a Quartermaster aboard the USS Makin Island, a U.S. Navy warship operating out of San Diego. Her degree is in Interdisciplinary Studies.

Trish Adams Caughran, Classes of 2017 and 2020, is Assistant Director of New Student and Family Programs at ETSU. Her degrees are in General Studies and Educational Leadership.

Dr. Morgan Knack Craig, Class of 2017, was inducted into the 2023 Science Hill High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Her degree is in Physical Education.

Katherine E. Cooter, Classes of 2017 and 2019, married McKenly Matthews on May 6, 2023, in Greeneville. Her degrees are in Accounting.

Maj. (Dr.) Travis B. Grindstaff, Class of 2017, is a Flight Surgeon for the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron and is a member of the prestigious U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds Team. His degree is in Medicine.

Landon R. Martin, Class of 2017, started a new position as Sale Team Lead-Business Development Manager at RTS Financial. His degree is in Marketing.

Judge Zachary R. Walden

Heath R. McMillian, Class of 2017, has been appointed by the Tennessee Board of Regents as President of the Tennessee College of Applied Technology - Jackson. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree.

Dr. Sean W. Ochsenbein, Class of 2017, has been named Chief Medical Officer for Johnson County Community Hospital, Sycamore Shoals Hospital, and Unicoi County Community Hospital. Dr. Ochsenbein will assume his duties as Chief Medical Officer while maintaining his responsibilities as a part-time emergency room physician at Johnson City Medical Center. His degree is in Medicine.

Dr. Caitlin R. Olive, Class of 2017, is a Residency Relations Specialist with Team Health. Her degree is in Physical Education.

Lydia Byrd-Singer, Class of 2017, created “The Spring,” a statue installed in “The Destination Mermaids: Tail Trail” project, cosponsored by Florida’s Adventure Coast Visitors Bureau and Hernando County Fine Arts Council. Not only did Byrd-Singer design artwork, she also portrays a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs. Her degree is in Art.

Winona Shue Christiansen, Class of 2018, has been promoted to Assistant Professor at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tennessee. She holds a Master of Arts in Early Childhood Education.

Mohammed S. Al Dhaen, Class of 2018, is Service Account Leader for GE Healthcare. His degree is in Engineering Technology.

Alison Johanna Givens, Class of 2018, and Christian A. Givens, Class of 2017, welcomed baby girl Lucille JoHannah Givens on August 28, 2023, in Ooltewah, Tennessee. Alison’s degree is in Digital Media and Christian’s is in Physics.

Stirling in Scotland. Blankenship was a four-year student-athlete as a member of ETSU’s women’s soccer team, and she also played one season of professional soccer in Skövde, Sweden.

Madison D. Chapman, Class of 2019, is Senior Specialty Sales Specialist, Cardiovascular & Metabolism at Johnson & Johnson. Her degree is in Business Marketing.

Dr. Rachel K. Crabtree, Classes of 2019 and 2022, married Dr. Logan T. Harris, Classes of 2019 and 2022, October 7, 2023, in Greeneville. Their degrees are in Physical Education and Physical Therapy.

Carsen Whitlock Giles, Class of 2019, is Dance Team Coach at David Crockett High School. Her degree is in Marketing.

Bucketneers, a team consisting of former ETSU players competing in The Basketball Tournament league. His degree is in Sports and Recreation Management.

Asia M. Rutherford, Class of 2020, has been promoted to Client Operations Director at Assured Benefits Administrators. Her degree is in Business Management.

Dr. Jessica M Thomas, Class of 2020, has been promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Student-Athlete Support Services at ETSU. Her degree is in Global Sport Leadership.

Consulting in Atlanta. She holds a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Katherine E. Trabalka, Class of 2021, is Dance Team Coach at Science Hill High School. Her degree is in Media and Communication.

Nosa Galahard Woghiren, Class of 2021, is Sales Coordinator - Drayage at Steam Logistics. He holds a Master of Brand and Media Strategy degree.

Capt. Ashley H. Hayes, Class of 2018, returned from a sixmonth CENTCOM deployment to Southwest Asia where she led her first command with the 54th Quartermaster Company of Ft. Lee, Virginia. Her degree is in Anthropology.

Melanie D. Montgomery, Classes of 2018 and 2022, is Human Resource Director for the Salvation Army. Her degrees are in Media and Communication and Brand and Media Strategy.

Oluremi O. Osibanjo, Class of 2018, has been promoted to Operations Manager at Wacker Chemical Corporation USA. He holds a Master of Science in Technology.

Dylan E. Renner, Class of 2018, is Band Director at Sullivan Heights Middle School in Kingsport. His degree is in Music.

Britney D. Rochette, Class of 2018, is Manager of Creative Projects for the Charlotte Hornets NBA team. Her degree is in Media and Communications.

Andrew M. Skeens, Class of 2018, is a Signal Officer for the U.S. Army. His degree is in Criminal Justice and Criminology.

Raymond Thompson, Class of 2018, is Field Sales Manager at Zazmic Inc. His degree is in Digital Marketing.

Abigail Reece Wilson, Classes of 2018 and 2020, was featured on WJHL-TV as Educator of the Week on September 26. Wilson teaches Algebra 2 Honors and college prep classes at Johnson County High School. Her degrees are in Mathematics and Education.

Jazmine Stair Arndt, Classes of 2019 and 2020, is an Internal Auditor at Hilton Grand Vacations. Her degrees are in Accounting.

Rachael Harbin Blankenship, Class of 2019, received a Fulbright Scholarship to study Sport Psychology at the University of

Austin T. Ford, Classes of 2019 and 2021, is Lead Senior Revenue Manager at Rented – a TravelNet Solution. His degrees are in Marketing and Business Administration.

Dr. Tonia W. Hale, Class of 2019, is Chief Executive Officer and Chief Nursing Officer of Blue Ridge Regional Hospital in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. She holds a Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree.

Justin C. Hill, Classes of 2019 and 2022, is Digital Marketing Strategist at Ballad Health and an adjunct professor at ETSU. His degrees are in Media and Communication and Digital Marketing.

Drenushe L. Kelmendi, Class of 2019, is Marketing Tech Coordinator for Professional Photographers of America. She holds a Master of Arts in Brand and Media Strategy.

Shannon O’Conner, Class of 2019, works as a family nurse practitioner. She has founded WNC Healing Collaborative in Marshall, North Carolina. She holds a Master’s in Nursing.

Chayton B. Williams, Class of 2019, is an Integrated Planner at Eastman in Kingsport. His degree is in Business Management.


Hannah Lawson Blanton, Class of 2020, sang the National Anthem at the Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Guardians baseball game June 3. She works as a Flight Attendant for Delta Airlines. Her degree is in Music Education.

Bailey A. DeVore, Classes of 2020 and 2022, is Senior Associate, Alliance Management at The Walt Disney Company. Her degrees are in Media and Communication and Brand and Media Strategy.

Colton J. Fenner, Class of 2020, is Digital Content Strategist for ETSU Online. He holds a Master of Arts in Brand and Media Strategy.

Patrick R. Good, Class of 2020, is the new Head Coach for the ETSU

Madison Herbert Anderson, Class of 2021, and Jesse M. Anderson, Class of 2019, welcomed baby girl Lottie James Anderson on August 20, 2023, in Johnson City. Madison’s degree is in Nursing and Jesse’s is in Engineering Technology.

Haley Mullins Arnie, Classes of 2021 and 2023, is Volunteer Marketing Coordinator at Special Olympics Tennessee – Area 3. Her degrees are in Media and Communication and Brand and Media Strategy.

Andrew C. Bishop, Class of 2021, is an On-Site Specialist at Stryker. His degree is in Finance and Business Administration.

Erin C. Blazer, Class of 2021, is a Student Intern at Village Behavioral Health Treatment Center. Her degree is in Psychology.

Jacob T. Ezell , Class of 2021, is Logistics Consultant for Axle Logistics. His degree is in Media and Communication.

Luke D. Fox, Class of 2021, is Band Director at Sullivan East Middle School in Bluff City. His degree is in Music.

Tatum M. Gouge, Class of 2021, is Assistant General Manager at PHILLIPS Management. Her degree is in Marketing.

Brooklinn T. Hoffman, Classes of 2021 and 2023, married Aaron White on August 4, 2023, in Knoxville. Her degrees are in Criminal Justice, Business Management, and Educational Leadership.

Katie M. Potter, Classes of 2021 and 2023, married Adam Larkey on August 19, 2023, in Abingdon, Virginia. Her degrees are in Rehabilitative Health Sciences and Speech-Language Pathology.

Anne McKay Sandelovich, Class of 2021, captured the title of Miss America’s United States representing Tennessee on August 11, 2023. She is an Admissions Counselor at High Point University and a Cheer Coach at Wake Forest University. Her degree is in Human Services.

Flavio Sanguinetti, Class of 2021, works as an Analyst for Spartan Capital Securities. His degree is in Economics and Marketing.

Dr. Bonnie J. Taylor, Class of 2021, has joined Vantage Leadership

Nathan T. Adkins, Class of 2022, is a rookie Tight End for the Denver Broncos. He made his NFL debut on September 17, 2023, in a game against the Washington Commanders. His degree is in Sport and Recreation Management.

Angelica M. Ares, Class of 2022, is a Graphic Design Instructor at Southern New Hampshire University. She holds a Master of Science in Digital Marketing.

Hayden J. Boles, Class of 2022, is Commercial Account Executive at Beck Technology. His degree is in Kinesiology.

D. Ryan James, Class of 2022, completed research at summer games of the Special Olympics in Berlin, Germany. He worked with the fitness committee in a program called FIT ATHLETES. His degree is in Health Sciences.

Dr. Heather A. Levesque, Class of 2022, has been promoted to Assistant Vice President and Executive Director of Undergraduate Admissions at ETSU. Levesque will provide direct supervision of Undergraduate Admissions and leadership oversight for the Departments of Financial Aid and Scholarships, New Student and Family Programs, ETSU120, and the BIGS Mentoring Program. She holds a Doctor of Education degree in Educational Leadership.

Tiffany M. Noe, Class of 2022, is Sales Marketing Account Executive at SummitMedia Corporation. Her degree is in Marketing.

Becky Pendergraft Parsons, Class of 2022, was promoted to Director of Publicity and Branding at PLA Media. Her degree is in Brand and Media Strategy.

Shaina F. Reins, Class of 2022, is a Fitness and Wellness Coordinator at ETSU’s Basler Center for Physical Activity. She is pursuing a master’s degree and was presented the NIRSA William N. Wesson Student Leadership and Academic Award. Her degree is in Kinesiology.

Casey Mae Riley, Class of 2022, started a new position in Group Experience for the Savannah Bananas. Her degree is in Sport and Recreation Management.

Andrea E. Sarhatt, Classes of 2022 and 2023, is Marketing Coordinator for UT Medical Center. Her degrees are in Business Marketing and Digital Marketing.

50th Anniversary Celebration Department of Social Work February 29-March 1 Save the Date Save the Date etsualumni .org/socialwork 46 ETSU TODAY

Shelbie S. Tester, Class of 2022, married Chance G. Trent, Classes of 2022 and 2023, in July 2023 in Johnson City. Her degree is in Elementary Education, and his degrees are in Sport and Recreation Management.

Dr. JaVonte L. Ashford, Class of 2023, was inducted into King University’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was the first wrestler inducted into



Jean E. Conner; Pigeon Forge, Tennessee

September 17, 2023; BS ’50 English

Janis M. Anderson ; Jacksonville, Florida

July 21, 2023; BS ’51 Home Economics

Anne J. Hager; Fountain City, Tennessee

August 23, 2023; BS ’51 English

Samuel M. Wiles; Kingsport

July 31, 2023; BS ’51 English

Catherine W. Armstrong; Elizabethton

July 16, 2023; BS ’52 Physical Education, MA ’68 Education

Frances S. Grimes; McLean, Virginia May 31, 2023; BS ’52 Mathematics

Peggy B. Rowe; Johnson City

August 8, 2023; BS ’52 Music

Freda A. Smith; Erwin

June 21, 2023; BS ’53 English

Joy S. Allen; Johnson City

June 8, 2023; BS ’54 English

Donald E. Bull; Jonesborough August 24, 2023; BS ’54 History, MA ’66 Educational Administration

Martha D. Johnson; Hilton Head, South Carolina

June 17, 2023; BS ’54 Physical Education

Ann O. Klocke; Edina, Missouri

June 7, 2023; BS ’54 Home Economics

C E. Wilson; Dalton, Georgia

August 29, 2023; BS ’55 Physical Education, MA ’56 Education

Patricia A. Vandyke; Kingsport May 12, 2023; BS ’56 Sociology

Anne L. Wood; Lexington, Kentucky

July 16, 2023; BS ’56 Elementary Education

Josephine M. Kerley; Mountain City August 31, 2023; BS ’58 Music

Kent T. Osborne; Rockville, Maryland

September 5, 2023; BS ’58 Business

Karl Winkle; Johnson City

June 20, 2023; BS ’58 Physical Education, MA ’67 Guidance and Counseling

the program. He holds a doctorate in Global Sport Leadership.

Ruby G. Bickerton, Class of 2023, is Marketing Specialist at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bristol, Virginia. Her degree is in Media and Communication.

Jordan N. Gonzalez, Class of 2023, is Shipping and Receiving Coordinator at Contour Glass. His degree is in Finance.

Norwood A. Barnes; Mount Airy, North Carolina

June 15, 2023; BS ’59 Industrial Arts Education

Clement C. Brown; Conyers, Georgia

October 25, 2019; BS ’59 Speech Pathology, MA ’65

Janice M. Brown; Palmetto, Georgia February 3, 2020; BS ’59 Biology

Paul G. Ellis; Roan Mountain August 17, 2023; BS ’59 Business Administration

James T Mays; Kingsport August 26, 2023; BS ’59 Educational Administration, MA ’74


Ann G. Daggett; Bridgewater, Virginia June 2, 2023; BS ’60 Music

Bobby L. Snyder; Mint Hill, North Carolina

May 31, 2023; BS ’60 Physical Education, MA ’74 Education

Sammy D. Clark; Johnson City August 9, 2023; BS ’61 Speech Pathology

Ann T. Cole; Florence, Kentucky June 27, 2023; BS ’61 Speech Pathology

Bertie J. French; New Market, Tennessee

August 7, 2023; BS ’61 Elementary Education

Robert E. Hamby; Elizabethton July 1, 2023; BS ’61 Physical Education

Nancy S. Hill; Jonesborough August 17, 2023; BS ’62 English, MA ’92 English

Betty J. Hyder; Hendersonville, North Carolina

August 13, 2023; BS ’62 Art, MA ’79 Elementary Education

Doris J. James; Johnson City May 28, 2023; BS ’62 Business Education, MA ’69

Marvin W. Spangler; Valrico, Florida December 16, 2021; BS ’62 Mathematics

Ann Conklin; Gate City, Virginia July 13, 2023; BA ’63 English

James G. Huff; Bristol, Tennessee June 7, 2023; BS ’63 Mathematics

Patricia A. Lee; Pensacola, Florida June 5, 2023; BS ’63 Physical Education

Tommy J. Runion; Flag Pond August 3, 2023; BS ’63 Social

KeiAndra G. Harper, Class of 2023, is an Admissions Counselor at ETSU. Her degree is in Psychology.

Courtney P. Johnson, Class of 2023, has been appointed by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee to serve a three-year term on the Council on Developmental Disabilities. Johnson runs a website, JustKeepStimming. com, to share resources for autistic people and their families. She is also

Science, MA ’66 Educational Administration and Supervision

Jilda C. Kettel; Dahlonega, Georgia May 22, 2023; BS ’64 Social Work

Charles J. Ferrell; Knoxville

June 22, 2023; BS ’65 Speech and Hearing

Charlie R. Jessee; Abingdon, Virginia

June 4, 2023; BS ’65 Chemistry, MEH ’74 Environmental Health

Susan S. Kelly; Johnson City June 3, 2023; BA ’65 English, MA ’69 English, AS ’79 Dental Hygiene

William M. Potter; Morgantown, West Virginia

March 12, 2023; BS ’65 Economics

Jerry B. Chase; Wytheville, Virginia

August 15, 2023; BS ’66 Biology

David C. Holtsclaw; Elizabethton

July 15, 2023; BS ’66 Physical Education

George M. Strickler; Fall Branch August 5, 2023; BS ’66 Accountancy

Robert M. Asquith; Knoxville May 23, 2023; BS ’67 Physical Education, MA ’74 Secondary Education

Robert C. Maska; Mullica Hill, New Jersey

July 30, 2023; BS ’67 Physical Education

Gerald F. Moffitt; North Canton, Ohio

May 12, 2023; BS ’67 Political Science

Linda H. Long; Bristol, Virginia

August 4, 2023; BS ’68 Biology

Mary C. Mayhew; Winchester, Virginia

June 1, 2023; BA ’68 Spanish

Sue H. Moricle; Santee, South Carolina

August 23, 2023; BS ’68 English, MA ’70 Library Science

Ellen K. Spinosa; Morristown September 1, 2023; BS ’68 Biology

William T. Stephens; Elizabethton

July 9, 2023; BS ’68 Chemistry

Martha J. Vanhuss; Gray

August 16, 2023; BS ’68 Elementary Education

Julia K. Wade; Johnson City

August 29, 2023; BS ’68 Biology

William T. Joines; Half Moon Bay, California

August 12, 2023; BS ’69 History

an AAC mentor for the Tennessee Out and About program. Her degree is in Sociology.

Bryson E. Senter, Class of 2023, is a Director of Development at King University. His degree is in Business Management.

Taylor L. Shanks, Class of 2023, is a Care Advisor for the Niswonger Foundation. Her degree is in Human Services.

Granville N. McNish; Oak Park, Illinois

May 12, 2023; BS ’69 History

Joan K. Pierson; Stafford, Virginia

June 26, 2023; MA ’69 Elementary Education

Jerry T. Williams; Morristown

August 1, 2023; BS ’69 Physical Education, MA ’71 Physical Education


Christipher W. Blevins; Vinton, Virginia

June 13, 2023; BS ’70 Biology

Carlos B. Lowrance; Chapel Hill, North Carolina

July 11, 2023; BS ’70 Geography

Susan S. Wiginton; Boulder, Colorado

January 6, 2022; BS ’70 History

Geneva H. Dillard; Bristol, Virginia

September 16, 2023; BS ’71 Elementary Education, EDD ’83 Educational Supervision

Tony A. Isaacs; Fox Island, Washington May 29, 2023; BS ’71 Industrial Technology

Jane A. Jones; Church Hill

August 16, 2023; BS ’71 Medical Technology

Tony O. Masters; Summerton, South Carolina

August 6, 2016; BS ’71 Accountancy

Marion B. McKinney; Jonesborough June 17, 2023; BS ’71 Social Work

James B. Payne; Knoxville March 26, 2023; BS ’71 Political Science

Henry D. Pickle; Lewisburg, Tennessee

September 3, 2023; MEH ’71 Environmental Health

Joseph F. Brooks; Bristol, Virginia June 20, 2023; BS ’72 Management

Rebecca S. Cable; Erwin

September 6, 2023; BS ’72 Elementary Education

Joyce A. Church; Surgoinsville

September 15, 2023; BS ’72 Elementary Education, MA ’79

Marvin S. Harrison; Roanoke, Virginia

August 12, 2023; BS ’72 General Psychology

Theodore F. Odom; Macon, Georgia

September 7, 2023; BS ’72 Physical Education

Jenna N. Stewart, Class of 2023, is a Metals Preparation Chemist at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Her degree is in Chemistry.

Morgan R. Stokes, Class of 2023, is a Medical Administrative Assistant at North Carolina Dermatology Associates. Her degree is in Health Administration.

Charles E. Smith; Elizabethton

December 27, 2019; BS ’72 Biology

James D. Yelton; Weaverville, North Carolina

July 26, 2023; MS ’72 Biology

Darrell G. Baldwin; Kingsport June 23, 2023; BS ’73 Business

Patricia R. Gengozian; Oak Ridge September 9, 2023; ADH ’73 Dental Hygiene

Cecil R. Hamblin; Norton, Virginia August 4, 2023; MBA ’73 Business

Phillip T. Raines; Morristown July 3, 2023; BS ’73 Industrial Technology

Jeffrey W. Thorne; Oakhurst, New Jersey

August 23, 2023; BEH ’73 Environmental Health

Troy L. Tittle; Cumming, Georgia June 10, 2023; BS ’73 Industrial Technology

Prince A. Woolwine; Garland, Texas May 20, 2023; BS ’73 Industrial Technology

David J. Bays; Bristol, Tennessee

September 3, 2023; BS ’74 Accountancy, BS ’78 Accountancy

Warren W. Fureman; Johnson City

December 19, 2022; BS ’74 Finance

Michael A. Neal; Bristol, Virginia September 30, 2009; BS ’74 Criminal Justice

Sharon R. Scott; Kensington, Maryland

August 22, 2023; BS ’74 Business

Carol S. Adams; Hoover, Alabama August 26, 2023; ASN ’75 Nursing

Susan J. Archer; Jonesborough August 25, 2023; BS ’75 English

Frances E. Fulkerson; Kingsport September 1, 2023; AS ’75 Nursing

Ola K. Parham; Knoxville

June 18, 2022; BS ’75 History

Thomas B. Wallace; Jonesborough July 19, 2023; BS ’75 Speech

Pathology, MS ’92 Computer and Information Science, EDD ’04 Educational Leadership

Wayne R. Chaniott; Norris, Tennessee

June 25, 2023; BS ’76 Marketing

Edwin L. Norris; Wylie, Texas

July 23, 2023; BS ’76 Environmental Health

Christopher A. Rennie; Glen Mills, Pennsylvania

October 1, 2016; BS ’77 Industrial Arts Education


Bobbie A. Taylor; Johnson City

September 17, 2023; BS ’77 Elementary Education, MED ’82 Reading

William R. Gott; Blountville

August 18, 2023; BS ’78 Industrial Technology

Ronnie G. Morton; Hampton

September 2, 2023; BS ’78 Industrial Arts Education, MS ’89 Engineering Technology

Robert L. Neff; Knoxville

September 6, 2023; BS ’78 Physical Education

William S. Shaw; St. Pete Beach, Florida

August 12, 2023; BA ’78 General Psychology

David L. Hawkins; Quartzsite, Arizona

September 29, 2020; BS ’79 Industrial Technology

William V. Jackson; Virginia Beach, Virginia

May 23, 2017; BS ’79 Industrial Technology

Mary M. Kendrick; Kingsport

July 14, 2023; BS ’79 Journalism

William E. Osborne; Eden, North Carolina

June 18, 2023; MA ’79 General Psychology

Catherine A. Parks; Knoxville

August 2, 2023; MBA ’79 Business Administration

Gary L. Whitson; Kingsport

March 8, 2023; BS ’79 Social Work


Kim D. Hamby; Roanoke, Virginia

July 29, 2023; BS ’80 General Psychology

Gerald D. Jones; Johnson City

July 11, 2023; BS ’80 Computer and Information Science

Roger C. Mosley; Johnson City

August 9, 2023; BS ’80 Management

Rosemary L. Pargiter; Knoxville

July 13, 2023; BS ’80 General Psychology

William W. Price; Johnson City

June 13, 2023; BS ’80 English

Jackie L. Fulkerson; Kingsport August 31, 2023; BS ’82 Health Education

Doris J. Helton; Kingsport August 10, 2023; AS ’82 Nursing

Freddie D. Lewis; Johnson City

September 14, 2023; BS ’82 Computer and Information Science, MBA ’87 Business Administration

Laura T. Barnett; Elizabethton

June 15, 2023; BS ’83 English, MA ’86 English, EDD ’91 Educational Administration and Supervision

Elizabeth A. McGowan; Linville, North Carolina

September 14, 2023; MA ’83 Reading

Peter L. Doriot; Elizabethton

June 3, 2023; BS ’84 History, BS ’08 Nursing

Billy J. Guinn; Johnson City June 24, 2023; BBA ’85 Accountancy

Randall L. McAmis; Greeneville

June 2, 2023; BFA ’85 Art

Thomas R. Seaver; Johnson City June 11, 2023; BS ’85 Biology

Russell W. Curde; Watauga July 3, 2023; BS ’86 Nursing

Robert R. Rochelle; Charlotte, North Carolina

July 16, 2023; BBA ’86 Management

Mark A. Tipton; Cary, North Carolina

August 28, 2023; BBA ’86 Management

Faye E. Nelson; West Lebanon, New Hampshire

August 4, 2023; BBA ’89 Accountancy


Terry L. Arrington; Hendersonville, North Carolina

August 18, 2023; BSW ’90 Social Work

Lona W. Roberts; Wise, Virginia

July 11, 2023; BS ’92 Nursing

Candice H. Wilson; Nashville August 24, 2023; BBA ’92 Marketing

Donald C. Hutchinson; Knoxville

June 24, 2023; BBA ’94 Finance

Jennifer F. Phillips; Elizabethton

June 22, 2023; BSED ’94 Interdisciplinary Studies

Daniel Paul; Bluff City

December 3, 2022; RES ’96 Family Medicine Residency

Dewey A. Allison; Bristol, Virginia

July 9, 2023; MBA ’98 Business Administration

Donna Y. Lloyd; Erwin

June 5, 2023; BS ’98 Public Health


Karen Lauer-Silva; Fremont, Nebraska

April 1, 2022; RES OB/GYN

Judy A. Webb; Johnson City

August 13, 2023; AAS ’02 Allied Health

Jason R. Wilson; Pearland, Texas

May 27, 2023; MA ’03 Professional Communication

Lexie E. Cobb; Jackson, Tennessee

September 9, 2023; BAAS ’05 Applied Science

Tracy S. McCarty; Bristol, Tennessee

July 11, 2023; MS ’05 Biology

Megan M. Burrows; Chattanooga

July 24, 2023; BS ’06 Biology and Psychology


In Memory of

Dr. Bert C. Bach

Dr. Bert C. Bach passed away on August 14, 2023. Dr. Bach was ETSU’s longest-serving Provost and worked in Tennessee higher education for 43 years, which included leadership roles at the Tennessee Board of Regents and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He retired from ETSU in January 2020.

For over three decades, Dr. Bach’s vision illuminated our institution. Whether in a classroom or a boardroom, his commitment to fostering student, faculty, and staff success was steadfast.

An ardent and passionate supporter of the arts, Dr. Bach played a foundational role in the creation of multiple scholarships and academic programs at ETSU, contributing both his time and personal resources. He created the Bert C. Bach Fine and Performing Arts Scholarship, which helps academically talented students pursue their dreams. He supported the Bach Theatre, which serves as the home for ETSU’s theatre and dance programs in the ETSU Martin Center for the Arts. The Bach Written Word Initiative is among the many celebrated fine arts initiatives that Dr. Bach shepherded during his time at the university.

ETSU and the Bach family gathered to share memories and celebrate his life and career at a memorial service on October 27, 2023, in the D.P. Culp Student Center.

George M. Little; Jonesborough August 10, 2023; BS ’07 Interdisciplinary Studies, MA ’10 Liberal Studies

Ryan D. Wolfe; Johnson City August 22, 2023; BBA ’09 Finance


Sonya D. Astaneh; Johnson City June 2, 2023; BA ’10 Foreign Languages, MAT ’21 Teacher Education

Avonia G. Rubright; Clinton, Tennessee

August 16, 2023; MSN ’11 Nursing Masters

Dylan C. Chambers; Atlanta October 3, 2022; BS ’14 Mass Communication

Kelley E. Thomas; Kingston, Tennessee

September 11, 2023; EDD ’17 Educational Leadership

Kallol K. Saha; Memphis August 7, 2023; MPH ’19 Public Health

Victoria G. Simm; Johnson City July 6, 2023; BS ’19 Chemistry


Thomas A. Faulk; Hixson, Tennessee

September 4, 2023; BS ’21 Psychology

 Philip C. Bagnell; Halifax, Nova Scotia July 25, 2023

 Dr. Steven Berk; Lubbock, Texas May 26, 2023

Gary W. Burgess; Watauga July 31, 2023

Alma S. Davis; Hampton August 22, 2023

Katie T. Driskell; Piney Flats June 6, 2023

Mary L. Hawk; Jonesborough September 12, 2023

Doris J. James; Johnson City May 28, 2023; BS ’62 Business Education, MA ’69

Calvin F. Mercer; Ellicottville, New York May 6, 2023

James L. Miller; Johnson City June 7, 2023

 Janice Randolph; Jonesborough April 28, 2023; BS Education

Daniel Russo; Johnson City June 28, 2023

Frances W. Sills; Johnson City September 4, 2023

Wayne E. Speer; Jonesborough July 6, 2023

Maude I. Stamper; Johnson City June 26, 2023




After a major renovation in 2020, the D.P. Culp Student Center looks much different than it did in 1982. However, it remains the epicenter of campus life, where students come to dine, meet, study, and relax.


Our energetic mascot has changed a lot through the years. Logoed merchandise featuring a new Running Bucky – a modern rendition with a nod to our storied and fun history – hit stores in October.

Photo by Charlie Warden
ETSU TODAY P.O. Box 70709 Johnson City, TN 37614-1710 NONPROFIT ORG ETSU Day of Giving 2024 April 16, 2024 Help send the Marching Bucs to the 2024 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.