Volume 12, Number 1
In this issue 4
The ‘interview’ of a lifetime
When Ben Alford stepped foot on this campus in the fall of 1954, the college – and the world – would be forever changed. Now, nearly five years after his death, the publication of his personal journal spanning 50 years reveals a remarkable man living a remarkable life.
Students challenged to lead
The 144th academic year began with a record enrollment of 1,140 students and a challenge by Byron Trauger, chairman of the Board of Trustees, to take the opportunity to develop leadership skills during the coming weeks and months.
Four new academic programs
The four newest academic programs at Martin Methodist reflect the college’s published mission “to provide challenging educational programs grounded in the liberal arts and sciences.”
Reality . . . in the fast lane 17
Rising senior Tyler Miles had a rather unusual career experience during the summer. The Dean’s List student and gifted race car driver was one of nine finalists in a national talent search by Michael Waltrip Racing that resulted in his participation in a reality television show.
The President’s Honor Roll
The donors who helped Martin Methodist College reach its fundraising objectives during the 2012-13 fiscal year are listed in one of six giving levels.
Also in these pages . . .
President’s Message Alumni Notes Postscript
2 26 36
On the cover . . .
For those who knew him, those crinkled, laughing eyes and exuberant smile are vintage Ben Alford enjoying life. In photos provided by his wife, Sheri (pictured with Ben at the top of this page), and children Julie and David, readers can get a glimpse of Ben (from left along the red strip): enjoying the desk of former Gov. Ned McWherter; as a 16-year-old essay winner; seated on his tractor; preaching as senior pastor at Brentwood (Tenn.) United Methodist Church; with his parents, Martha and Carmack, and little brother Mack; and as Groucho Marx in a high school talent show.
The bond between Ben Alford and his college
en’s days as a student were transformational in terms of his world view and his understanding of God’s call on his life.
Dear friends, Ben Alford loved Martin College. And it was by no means an unrequited love affair. Martin College loved Ben Alford. It may seem odd to talk about an institution this way, but there is something about the nature of this college, the ideals that are at its very center and the values that were closest to Ben’s heart that caused an extraordinary bond to grow between this man and his beloved college. That connection is one of the things we are celebrating in this issue of The Columns. The occasion for this celebration is the publication of Ben Alford’s journal, Naming a Love, that will soon be published by Martin Methodist College Press. A companion volume will be released later entitled The Dance of the Holy Nobodies, a selection of Ben’s sermons and other writings edited by his son, David Alford, who currently serves as a member of the drama faculty at MMC. Ben Alford came to Martin College in the fall of 1954, and his enrollment was no small feat in itself. He was a farm boy at heart. He was a first generation college student – as so many have been and continue to be at Martin. Ben’s days as a student were transformational in terms of world view and his understanding of God’s call on his life. As he has said in his journal, the Martin experience opened him to the profound relationship between faith and learning; something that was never far from his consciousness throughout the rest of his lifetime. Ben Alford faithfully served Martin Methodist several times in his career – as an administrator and member of the faculty, and as a trustee and eventually chair of the board. Then in 1999 he came back to serve as the founding director of the Center for Church Leadership, an imaginative program that serves as the centerpiece of the college’s vision to become a model of church-relatedness. Ben helped to conceive and shape the work of the Center for Church Leadership, but he also helped me convince Cal Turner Jr. to invest not only his resources, but his ingenuity and insight to assure its permanence. Without question, the Cal Turner Jr. Center for Church Leadership is one of the most important ingredients in Martin Methodist College’s bright future. For the incredible breadth of his contributions and the truly remarkable accomplishments of his life, Ben Alford was honored by his college with the President’s Medallion in 1997 and with the honorary doctor of humane letters degree in 2008. Then in the waning days of his life, I had the privilege on behalf of the Board of Trustees to inform Ben that our Church Leader Scholarship would forever be known as the Ben Alford Church Leader Scholarship. For those who are not aware, this is a program that provides each year on a competitive basis two full scholarships (tuition, fees, room and board) for students who hold great promise for future professional or lay church leadership. I cannot imagine anything more hopeful for this college than to recognize that at any given moment there are eight talented and inspired Alford Scholars on this campus preparing for future service to the church. I know you will want to watch the college’s website (www.martinmethodist.edu) in future weeks for the availability of Ben Alford’s journal, Naming a Love, and later the collection of his sermons and writings, Dance of the Holy Nobodies. As this issue of The Columns celebrates the enormous contributions of Dr. Ben Alford, it is fully appropriate that we also publish here the college’s Honor Roll of Donors for 2012-13. You will see evidence throughout this magazine of the impressive progress that is being made at Martin Methodist, along with the names of the people who are enabling that advancement, our benefactors. It is with a heartfelt sense of gratitude that we offer this tribute to those who love this college and make it a priority in their charitable giving. Without their influence, it would be impossible to celebrate such a meaningful past and consider such a vital vision for the future.
Magazine stirred fond memories Editor Grant Vosburgh
Director of Communications
Managing Editor Dr. Kayla Wiggins Professor of English
Contributors Edna Luna ’06
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Director of Sports Communications
Guy Schafer Photographer
MMC Executive Council Dr. Ted Brown President
Dr. James Murrell
Vice President for Academic Affairs
W. David Jones
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Robby Shelton ’85
Vice President for Campus Life and Enrollment Management
To the editor: Such a wonderful surprise to receive the Summer-Fall 2012 issue of The Columns. I was a part-time instructor at MMC in the early 1990s and assisted with the school’s move to granting the four-year degree in teacher education. In fact, I attended that first graduating class commencement. Dr. Dora Ashford (now deceased) and Dr. Azalea Frances played a significant part in that process, along with Dr. Ann Chandler, who became chair. Dr. Chandler has since retired from the Prattville public school system in Alabama. I made and kept pictures of the “investiture” luncheon of our new student teachers and their supervising teachers from the area public schools. My husband passed away while I was there in February 1994. The outpouring of love from the college and attendence at the wake by the academic dean was heartwarming to me and my family. Write us at: Names and faces I Letters, The Columns remember from my past c/o Grant Vosburgh experience at MMC that were in this issue of The Columns: Royce Martin Methodist College 433 W. Madison St. Hughes, Dr. Kayla Wiggins and Robby Shelton. Pulaski, TN 38478 Congratulations on all of the wonderful accomplishments of the Or e-mail us at: college and students.
Barbara J. Anthony, Ed.D. Huntsville, Ala.
Please include a mailing address and a daytime phone number
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Director of Athletics
Dr. Ed Trimmer
Executive Director of The Cal Turner, Jr. Center for Church Leadership
Dr. Dennis Haskins
Vice President for Planning and Effectiveness
Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Operations
Dr. Daniel McMasters
President of the Faculty Senate
Edna Luna ’06
Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement
College makes community proud To the editor: Having just finished reading through the Summer 2013 issue of The Columns, I was compelled by the editor’s challenge to respond. As someone who loves being involved in our community, it’s wonderful to have a magazine like The Columns to keep us informed of the many accomplishments of MMC. Martin is such a foundational center of our community that I see Martin’s progress as progress for us all. I love to be able to introduce Pulaski as the home of Martin Methodist College and quickly put a positive impression in someone’s mind toward our hometown. Keep shining for all to see! Ricky Keith Pastor, Pulaski Assembly of God Pulaski, Tenn.
The ‘Interview ’ of a Lifetime Perhaps no single person had more of an impact on Martin Methodist College over the last half of the 20th century than Ben Alford, a 1956 graduate who would spend the next 50 years serving his alma mater in various ways – as an administrator, as a professor, as a chaplain, as a trustee, and, when not on campus, as a United Methodist pastor in the Tennessee Conference. After his death in December 2008, it was revealed that he had also been doing something else during those 50 years . . . he had been recording his thoughts nearly every single day in a written journal. Martin Methodist College has joined with the Alford family in publishing this remarkable 680-page memoir, Naming a Love, and the managing editor of The Columns finds that this beautifully written journal reveals a beautifully lived life by one of this college’s true favorites sons.
By Kayla McKinney Wiggins
barely knew Ben Alford. Despite the fact that for a time during the 1990s we both worked at Martin Methodist College, I as a professor of English and he as a consultant working to establish the Center for Church Leadership, our paths only crossed a handful of times. Two of those meetings stand out vividly in my memory. On one occasion, I happened to be standing in the doorway to my office in Martin Hall when Rev. Alford passed by, probably on his way upstairs to the Center for Church Leadership. He stopped to chat briefly. I don’t remember what we said to each other, but I do distinctly remember my impressions. I can still see his bright, penetrating gaze and his kind, inviting smile. I responded warmly to his friendly demeanor, his obvious intellect and his gentle wit.
Ben Alford’s Journal The second memorable encounter marked the only occasion when I was lucky enough to hear Ben Alford preach. I don’t recall the date, and I’m not even sure of the venue, but I do remember how profoundly I was impacted not only by his message but by his phenomenal presence. Alford was the kind of minister I admire most, a teaching pastor. He was the kind of man who challenged the intellect of his listeners as much as he bolstered their faith. I left that service with a profound regret that he was retired and no longer actively serving a congregation. I would have gone anywhere to hear him preach, and teach, the gospel. Interviews are often eye-opening. Sitting across a desk from someone asking questions, Ben Alford celebrates his doctor of ministry degree at Columbia Theological Seminary in you receive a multitude of impressions: modDecatur, Ga., in May 1998 with daughter Julie, wife Sheri and son David. ulations in voice, body language, a smile or a I wish that I had been wise enough to create such a record of the laugh, a gesture, all characterizing a person and creating a sense of world. I know, however, that even if I had, my account would never individuality. Over the course of the last several months, I have had have been as profound as what Alford penned. the opportunity to “interview” Ben Alford through the pages of his The journal begins during his time in seminary and ends shortly journal. As I read and re-read the 680 single-spaced pages of the before his death. It is divided into sections that chronicle Alford’s life journal, which Alford titled Naming a Love, I truly felt that I was and work history as he journeyed from divinity school through various meeting the man for the first time and conducting an interview that pastoral, academic and public service positions. Along the way, in spanned 50 years, the timeframe of the journal. addition to serving the church and community, he worked as both an administrator and professor at Martin Methodist College and throughThursday, November 19, 1959 out his life continued the work that he had done as a boy, farming in both Giles County and on the family farm near Adams, Tenn. Wesley Hall, Vanderbilt Divinity School The earliest entry is dated Thursday, Nov. 19, 1959, and reI need to get up early tomorrow, go to class, borrow someone’s counts a day at Wesley Hall in Vanderbilt Divinity School. The third notes from two classes I’ve missed, and visit some church folks. entry, written on Nov. 21, is illustrative of themes Started this journal today. Am anxious to continue. that will emerge Saturday, February 27, 1960 throughout the journal. In reading the journal, I have learned that like all complex Nashville It records the preaching individuals, Ben Alford was many things. He was a son and brothThere was chaos in downtown Nashville today. commitments that Alford er, a husband, a father and a grandfather. He was a friend and a Numbers of black students were involved in has for the next day – lunch counter “sit-ins” as they continued to leader. He was a farmer, a public servant, a pastor, a preacher and protest racial segregation. Dozens were arrested. all five of them – and a teacher. He was, like most of us, at times a creature of paradox. Students from seveal schools and colleges were asks that God help him He was intuitive and insightful, observant and thoughtful, an honest involved. Jim Lawson, one of our students at the be equal to the task of critic of public and church policy who pulled no punches, but never Divinity School, is one of the leaders. It is clear that they have a point and they’re right. If they preaching the messages a cynic. He was ultimately a child of God, a student of the human can shop and purchase at downtown stores, why that the people on the condition and a son of the soil. can’t they eat lunch? What’s the harm? circuit need to hear. Alford did something that I both admire and envy, something Throughout the that may, in fact, be nearly unique: he recorded his life and his journal, Alford explores his own human limitations and doubts, response to events both near and far for 50 years. The journal always relying on God to help him give his best to others. Early in covers world issues, public and religious controversies, politics, the journal, he says, “I have a hunger to express myself. To write. To Alford’s public and personal life, his family, friends and ministry, as write well.” He did. He also thought well, spoke well and lived well. well as his own tragedies and triumphs, his doubts and his joys. It is And throughout the journal, Alford records a work ethic that is incisive and honest to a fault. It is a record of one man’s adult life, nothing short of inspiring. Ben Alford could never have been bored; but also a chronicle of our times. he wouldn’t have given himself a chance to be. If he wasn’t working, As I read I found myself wishing, a generation removed from he was traveling and learning. If he had a little downtime, he found Alford, that I had recorded my responses to the public events he a project to fill the void. There was always a bathroom that needed recounts, many of which also impacted my life in profound ways.
Ben Alford’s Journal remodeling, a crop to be Later, on Dec. 25, 2001, on the very eve of planted, a barn to be rebuild, his formal (but far from ultimate) retirement, he a trip to be planned, or a writes: “I increasingly crave privacy friend or parishioner who and solitude. Is this a by-product of aging, or of needed his support. being in a profession where such things were very Alford was truly a driven rare?” man, driven to give of himself. Alford was keenly aware of the potential However, he was also a futility but, for him, also the absolute necessity person who understood the of journaling, of recording his view of the world. value of peace and solitude. On Feb. 10, 2007, he observes that when “a Throughout a busy career that thought is written down, it is no longer private, would culminate in his pobut public” and goes on to question his own sition as senior pastor to the impetus to write: “I’m struck by the sheer waste largest church in the conferof such an activity. Still I am driven to do it. To ence and, later, the establishkeep doing this journaling thing. I even wish for ment of the Center for Church more time to write. It seems to me as I record Leadership at Martin Methodthoughts and events, that the process is a kind of ist College, Alford learned to authentication.” carve out time for meditation, He was also aware that his journal was not prayer and writing, the things necessarily a monologue for his ears only. Late in that fed his soul. his life, he took the time to transfer his 50 years of Many journal entries journaling from notebooks where he had written speak to the precious gift of by hand day after day, and week after week, to a Some of Ben's most cherished memories came when spiritual nurturance, but none he was working the land at his family farm in Adams, computer so that his journal would be of easier more than those he wrote to access to those who might want to read it in the Tennessee. Many of his journal entries spoke to his toward the end of his active future. love for the homestead. service in the ministry. Writing Writing on April 1, 1980, from the Alford from his home in Brentwood, Tenn., on Nov. 7, 1996, Alford dehomestead in Adams, he acknowledges the presence of an unknown scribed the beauty of the morning: “Still, earth-home cares for us reader: “The thought just occurred to me – DEAR READER – that . . . It is not difficult to sense in all of this the hand of Providence. you exist. I don’t know why I’d never God is the Great Provider. With God there is always enough. Does considered the idea before. You really this mean that because of you, O God, I can relax into your caring do exist. You are reading this. Why else Providence? Even me? May it be so. Thank you, O Lord, for the should anything be written? There has morning.” to be a reader. And here’s a twist. Even though I’m embarrassed by the thought that you, dear reader, will be able to Sunday, March 21, 1965 size me up by noting what and how I Madison write; will be able to see my character I am surer than ever of my vocation. I am a pastor. I may flaws, observe my human frailties, change the form of “tent-making,” as Elbert Jean says, but I will stay a pastor. I do have some quarrels with the and know my limitations; still I’m glad institutional church. I love it, but I do not worship it. you’re there. Admittedly, you’re fuzzy in my mind. I don’t know anything about A later entry, dated Dec. 3, continues the theme: “Solitude is you, whether you’re old or young, rich a physical thing that enables deeper things, things of the spirit, to or poor, male or female, stranger or happen. Maybe an opportunity to hear the still, small voice.” kin. If you’ve read this far, you’re very patient, so you must be kin. So I like you. In any event, I hope that reading A 16-year-old Ben Alford Sunday, July 20, 1969 this will be meaningful, and I hope traveled to Columbia, Mo., Pulaski you’re happy. I also hope you’re real in 1953 for the national At about 3:15 p.m. today, the first humans landed on the – in the best sense of that word. If you Future Farmers of America moon! We watched Apollo 11 touch down in the “Sea of aren’t, think what an April Fool’s joke Tranquility” area on the lunar surface. There are no words to convention after winning express the wonder of it all. on me this will be!” a speech competition. Clearly Ben Alford did not make Even at that tender age, he obviously had a gifted way the mistake of taking himself too A special thanks to the Alford family – Sheri, Julie with words. and David – for providing the wonderful photos. seriously. In a lengthy entry written on
Ben Alford’s Journal Wednesday, December 13, 1972 Pulaski
changing climates in politics, finances and social attitudes. He comments on elections and governmental policy, on economics and on war, opting always for policies and actions that aid and protect The Bucks and the Alfords have talked endlessly about the people, that promote peace and establish a social agenda that farm move. We hope to have a wholesome place for the children where they will learn about nature, and animals in a guards the poor, the powerless, the disenfranchised. natural way. We’d like this experiment in rural living to be a Early in the journal, he records the momentous events of the little like Israel’s “kibbutz” movement where we share and Civil Rights Movement and worries throughout his life that his own work for the common good. And we’d like to live as organically actions in the movement – defending a fellow student who stood as possible. I guess we’ve been influenced by the “back to the land” movement launched in the sixties. up for the rights of black Americans, carrying messages for those conducting sit-ins and protests, marching for civil rights – were not proactive enough. th his 46 birthday, Oct. 18, 1982, he takes time to analyze his own Alford speaks honestly, too, personality, saying of himself that “All in all, I’m not a bad person. of the changes that he observes I don’t think I’m boring, or stingy, or lazy, or mean-spirited. I’m in religious ideology and orgaa catalyst. I cause things to happen, and I affirm others.” He notes nized religion, worrying that the that he is atypical for American males in that he prefers cultural stresses of the modern world and artistic expression to sports. He says that he is a Democrat who have moved religion too far in loves his country, moderate to conservative in social concerns, and the direction of conservatism. liberal to moderate in theological matters. He notes that he loves Regarding his attitude toward nature and growing things, that he is a bridge-builder rather than a the church, he says early in the wall-maker. journal, “I may have a reputation Throughout the journal, Alford comments on both political and for being somewhat of a rebel. historic events. He comments with heartfelt sorrow on tragedies like I am critical of our leadership the assassination of President John Kennedy, calling him “my pressometimes, but it’s a lover’s ident” and remembering a time when Sen. Albert Gore asked him quarrel.” to offer the invocation for a rally for Kennedy’s campaign. Alford Late in his career, his own complied, despite the refusal of other Protestant ministers to openly ideology shifted to a more liberal support a Catholic candidate, and was proud of his choice. position, and he put himself One constant theme throughout his on the line to stand up for journaling is the love of family, whether issues that he saw as matters Friday, February 6, 1981 he is writing about his wife, Sheri of justice, like the question of (above), their children, Julie and David, Springfield the role of homosexuals in the A little socialism is necessary. I don’t mean that we should or their grandchildren (below). forsake private enterprise and individual ownership. church. Originally siding with Individual initiative cannot be removed from economics, for the conservative faction – the that’s a doorway to declining productivity. Communism’s majority – on this issue in the failures are clear. But, there are some things that are better done by all for the good of all. interest of unity, Alford, after much study and thought and The journal records Alford’s grief at the assassinations of Martin prayer, switched his vote to stand Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy, as well as other tragedies like with the minority in support of the 1986 space shuttle disaster, the Oklahoma City bombing, and, of homosexuals in the church. course the attacks of 9-11. Writing of the King and Kennedy assas“I have made up my mind sinations, he says, “I can’t avoid the questions that haunt me these to liberalize my stance on the homosexuality issue,” he writes in days. What is to become of a people that produce and tolerate such April of 2000. “I’ve come to the conclusion that I may have allowed violence? Will a nation marred by murder and mayhem continue my concern for the institution to override my concern for justice to sustain itself in a civilized manner?” Later in the entry, he says, and compassion.” A month later he would write: “This has become “Sometimes I am even pessimistic about the church. Does it really a justice issue for me and one of compassion for people who have make a difference? I have seen prejudice and callous indifference been marginalized. Someday, I really believe, the church will fully within its walls. We seem to take one step forward and two back. accept persons with a same-sex orientation because it is right and Immortal God, forgive us and heal our brokenness. Forgive and honorable.” heal me.” In many ways, this selfAlford professed small-town farmer Friday, May 23, 1986 reacts to natural from Tennessee was a citizen Pulaski disasters around of the world. He traveled I love this place. Always have, always will. A young, wide-eyed, farm boy, the world and throughout his life, physically I matriculated here in the autumn of 1954. I began to receive knowledge, comments on as well as spiritually. In encounter truth, and learn about the world. Faith was deepened, and I was given wonderful friends. I’ve always believed those years were some of Martin’s best. They were some of my finest. Good memories. And no less good are the memories from later years as an administrator and faculty member. This place has long cast a spell over me. Like magic.
Ben Alford’s Journal Saturday, April 17, 2004 rooted in his faith. mission trips, On Tuesday, March 9, church trips Water Color, Florida In a land of excess and plenty like ours, we unconsciously and consciously 2004, writing from his home and personal act as if we are the only ones at the table. Here at this wonderful resort, in Adams, Alford observed that trips, he visited being the guests of generous and good friends, it is easy to grow accusthe “earth is too beautiful. When the Holy Lands, tomed to such luxury, to take it for granted. As a right. A possession of some kind. It is easy to ignore the fact that privilege is always at someone the time comes, I shall hate to Jamaica, 49 of else’s expense. leave it. Close observation of a the 50 states, few acres is all one needs to and Europe, confirm the goodness, mystery, and wonder of God.” writing copiously of the things he saw, the people he met and the Toward the end of his life, while awaiting the outcome of tests lessons he learned. While he was deeply rooted in the soil of the that would confirm life-threatening cancer, he would write: “I am home place in Adams, Tenn., he was an adventurer who was always [a] happy and fortunate man. A blest man. A grateful man. Whatever willing to seek out another horizon. comes, I am God’s servant.” And when the diagnosis was confirmed In writing of a 1982 trip to the Middle East, he comments poand he had made the decision not to prolong his life with additional etically that “somewhere over the Atlantic, we flew into Saturday.” medical treatments, he expresses, as always, his absolute and humLater in the journey, viewing the pyramids of Egypt, he writes of his ble faith: “Now, O Lord, I am in your hands. Nothing has changed fortune in being able to see these “remnants of the seven wonders there. I will be grateful for all the days I have left and I am grateful of the ancient world. Kings, queens, presidents, generals, the for the many yesterdays you have provided.” famous, the wealthy, and a farmer’s son from Adams have all stood In his very last entry, written in Adams on Nov. 19, 2008, when awe-struck at the same place.” Alford knew that he was dying of cancer and felt that he had become Despite occasional doubts too weak to continue journaling, he would once again regarding his calling to the minexpress his keen sense of the connection between the istry, Alford expresses throughout earth, God, humanity and the needs of the spirit. his journal his deep and abiding “O lord,” he writes, “you know that the greatest satisfaction in his life of service mystery in my life is the fact that you called me into and his trust in God. During your service. And while I have never felt deserving, I seminary, Alford worried over the have finally come to accept it in gratitude. Just a few nature of his calling to serve the weeks before she left this earth, my grandmother Ma church, but in 1962 while he was and I were talking one day. I said, ‘Ma, please serving at Aldersgate in Madison, don’t die. I love you too much.’ She put her arm Tenn., he wrote, “Aldersgate has around me and said, ‘And I love you, Bobby. You know taught me a lot. I am beginning to what? I’m going to ask the good Lord if he’ll let me think now that the ministry scoop out a tiny little piece of cloud so that every day, really is for me. I’m happy to have right after supper, I can sit and look down on you and finally come to that. I don’t need see that you’re okay. And that way, every night, when to search for the place of service, you look up and see the stars, you’ll know one of them or the type of service. I think I’ve is me, looking down at you.’ O Lord, I know how childHis final journal entry recalls a conversation found it.” ish that sort of thing is. I also believe you understand young Ben Robert (known as Bobby to how much comfort it has given me across the years. Just as his life was rooted to his family) had with his beloved Ma, his Thank you.” Sugartree Farm, his soul was grandmother Lela, shortly before her death.
‘A Kind of Companion Piece’ In an interview several years ago, David Alford was asked what person most influenced his acting career, and he was a bit surprised to hear himself give the answer: his father, Ben Alford. But, he would later say, while not a professional actor, his dad was a gifted public speaker, stirring preacher and marvelous storyteller. In what the younger Alford describes as “a kind of companion piece” to his father’s journal, he has edited a 175-page manuscript entitled The Dance of the Holy Nobodies: Sermons, Articles and Other Writing by Rev. Ben Alford, D. Min.
Ben Alford’s Journal
His wonderful words keep his love alive By John Westenberger
Among the countless people who considered Ben Alford a good friend is John Westenberger, whose father served as president of then-Martin College from 1961-70, and who, himself, was serving as a consultant to the college’s advancement office when Naming A Love first came to the college for publication. John Westenberger, who, through the years, developed a deep respect and admiration for the college’s devoted alumnus, wrote the following column after reading Ben Alford’s journal.
o highlight the many events and progressions in Ben Alford’s life is to write a love story. First and foremost, Ben loved the Lord his God with all his heart, mind, soul and strength … and his neighbor as himself. He loved his parents who prayed, exemplified, taught the Holy scriptures and guided him to walk in love. Their example introduced Ben to God, whose name and nature became the most meaningful search of his life. He dearly loved his wife, Sheri. He met her at a summer Methodist youth camp at Beersheba Springs when they were teenagers, and it was love at first sight for both of them. Their ties remained strong and deep, and they were truly a partnership throughout their marriage. Ben felt the marriage was the truest thing in his existence, and that it was brought into being by the power of God. Many a time he would say, “Oh … how I love that woman.” Of course, Ben also adored and admired his highly accomplished and talented children, David and Julie, their spouses, and his five grandchildren. A good friend of the Alford family, Bonnie Bell of Springfield, Tenn., once said: “If you ever met Ben Alford … you became his friend and you loved him. He had the best laugh of anyone I have ever known. His face crinkled up, his body shook, and he just laughed all over. Ben was a wonderful person and a joy to be around.”
Another strong and lasting love in Ben’s life was Martin Methodist College. As a young, wide-eyed farm boy, he entered Martin in the autumn of 1954. There he received knowledge, encountered truth and learned more about the world. His faith was deepened, and he made wonderful friends. Two of his closest were his Martin classmates Bob Lewis and Garie Taylor, both of whom would become his ministerial colleagues in the United Methodist Church. “Ben was a very good communicator as a speaker, writer and listener,” Taylor said. “When you talked to him, he would listen intently, probe for more information and insight, internalize what you had said, and then let you know that he clearly heard and understood you. He was also a good storyteller with great punch lines, some of which made you laugh until you cried.” Lewis has similarly rich memories of his friend. “Ben could really wing it when he had to,” he recalled. “Once in seminary he forgot that he was scheduled to speak at chapel that morning. After we woke him and reminded him he was on the agenda, he somehow got up, dressed and was seated in the chapel in 10 minutes. He had not prepared his remarks, but you never would have known it.” Ben not only had good memories about his years as a student, but also the times he served as an administrator and faculty member of his alma mater. In particular, he remembers his tenure as director of public relations back in the 1960s when the enrollment was down and the college was struggling financially. He was constantly on the go, promoting the college and trying to recruit students. “Without a doubt, these past eight years have been the busiest, most informative, exasperating, creative, and joyous years of my life,” he wrote. “I have traveled over 125,000 miles, met hundreds -– perhaps thousands – of educators, parents, and youth. I have attended dozens of
camps, conferences, committee meetings, and conventions. I’ve read, studied, created, interviewed, spoken, planned, directed, invented, explored, thought, and thought some more, entertained, preached, interpreted, and even hosted a radio show. There has probably been more personal growth in me than at any other time in my life including seminary.” This experience for Ben was somewhat saddened by the retirement of the Rev. Dr.
Classmates at Martin College, fellow Methodist ministers and lifelong best friends, Ben Alford, Garie Taylor and Bob Lewis never missed a chance to share a laugh or make a memory.
W.C. Westenberger, president of the college, who had just suffered a massive coronary occlusion. “I feel sorry for him and will miss him,” he wrote. “He was good to me, and is one of the most respected clergymen of our Conference. When I went to Ashland City in 1955 to get a local preacher’s license at the District Conference, he was scheduled to preach that day. The Committee asked me a few questions. After some discussion,
Rev. J. Dallas Bass said, ‘Come on friends, let’s give this boy a license. I don’t want to miss Westenberger’s sermon.’ That’s the way Westenberger was viewed. He always had something to say, and he said it well. He was bright and courageous. However, his illness had taken its toll. I know it is time for a change here, but it still makes me sad.” Ben later served the college as campus minister, religion professor, founding director of the Center for Church Leadership, and chairman and member of the Board of Trustees. In 2008, he received the college’s highest recognition, an honorary doctorate of humane letters. One of his final remarks about Martin Methodist College may have best summed up that particular love affair: “This place has long cast a spell over me … like magic.” In the beginning while in seminary, Ben was not certain of his calling to be a minister. That thought was obviously short-lived, because what followed was 50 years of dedicated leadership and service to the Tennessee Conference of the United Methodist Church. During his ministry he served 16 churches, beginning with the four-point Kingston Springs circuit and later as senior minister of the largest church in the conference, Brentwood United Methodist, whose current membership is 7,700. He also led the conference delegation to the General and Jurisdictional conferences. And, somehow by 1998, Ben Alford found time to earn the doctor of ministry degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. He obviously loved the ministry but, at times, became disillusioned with the institutional church. “The Tennessee Annual Conference sessions are mostly about ourselves (pensions, insurance, salaries, staff, property, and organizational issues.),” he wrote. “We never seem to discuss important theological issues, or controversial, cutting-edge issues such as racial equality … as though unity is more important than truth and justice.” The General Conference, a mostly conservative body, again voted down same-sex orientation by a two-thirds majority; Ben had
neighbors, there has been a reciprocal exchange that has taught all of us who live here how to love and to appreciate, and to mourn. “Maybe by holding on to this old place I can help keep family bonds strong. Those ties seem to be enhanced when land is involved, as Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind illustrates. I guess Six generations of Alfords have enjoyed the peace I see my role as trying to and beauty of Sugartree Farm in the quiet crossroads community of Adams in Robertson County. keep this heritage, this place, and these ties, from ‘going with the wind.’” since liberalized his stance on homosexuality. Gardening satisfied a deep urge in Ben. According to Ben, a poem by Carlo CarHe loved to create things, especially of beauty retto read his heart: and coming from the ground up. How baffling you are, O Church, and yet “I know I actually create nothing – God how much I love you. does that – but I participate in the process. How much you have made me suffer and It gives me great pleasure.” yet how much I owe you! More than once Ben adjusted the time I should like to see you destroyed and yet I need your presence. he spent with the ministry to devote more You have given me so much scandal and time to farming at Sugartree. He pastured yet you have made me understand sanctity. dairy cows and grew millet, corn, hay, wheat, I have seen nothing in the world more alfalfa, potatoes, beans, tobacco, fruit trees, devoted to obscurity, more compromised, tomatoes, greens, radishes and more. Of more false, course, his family and good friends helped And I have touched nothing more pure, him with some of the gardening chores. more generous, more beautiful. During holidays and special events, the How often I have wanted to shut the doors front door at Sugartree was wide open to of my soul to your face, friends and neighbors. As many as 30 to 40 And how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. people at a time would come to dine, share No. I cannot free myself from you, because and express their love and caring for each I am you, although not completely. other. These were truly good ol’ fashioned And where should I go? country homecomings. During his ministry, Ben presided over One of the last things Ben did on the hundreds of weddings and funerals, and farm was to convert the old burly barn into probably preached more than a thousand a meeting facility/gathering place to accomsermons; one particular Sunday he preached modate additional guests. He installed new six sermons. The number of close, loyal and siding, insulation and central heat and air. admiring friends that came his way during On his 70th birthday, he threw a party for his his ministerial career is countless. family and friends in that barn and hired five There was another deep and abiding musicians from the Nashville Symphony to calling for Ben throughout his lifetime … provide the entertainment. his homeplace in Adams built in 1899. In the last page of his journal, Ben prayed: “I suppose there is one other great love “Oh Lord, you know that the greatest mystery of mine,” he wrote. “I cannot leave out this in my life is the fact that you called me into old six generation farm which we have named your service. And while I have never felt Sugartree. This is where I grew up, and it has deserving, I have finally come to accept it in always been home. I am pretty sure my Dad gratitude.” would prefer to live out his years and die on On Dec. 9, 2008, at age 72, The Rev. Dr. Ben this farm. So would I … if God deems it so. Alford – a husband, father, grandfather, minister Here, through countless seasonal changes, and good friend – died … leaving a wonderful losses and gains of pet animals, friends and legacy. And so, the love story lives on.
he challenge for you as new students is to become a leader – to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more.”
Trauger challenges students to lead Trustee chairman speaks at opening convocation
he 144th academic year officially began on Friday, Aug. 30, with Opening Convocation in the Curry Christian Life Center with a record enrollment of 1,140 students. And the chairman of the Board of Trustees could not be more excited at what’s in store for these young minds, especially the 350 freshmen and 80 transfer students. “I love Martin Methodist College!” Byron Trauger said as he addressed the gathering of students, faculty and staff. “I love Martin Methodist College because of what the people in this room do. The studying, competing and growing that you students do. The teaching and nurturing that you faculty do. The hard work that you in the administration do. You have achieved much, and it is impressive. “But I love Martin Methodist College for a much more important reason: I love it because of what the people in this room are going to achieve – as leaders.” Trauger quoted John Quincy Adams: “You are a leader if your actions
Byron Trauger, chairman of the Board of Trustees, addresses the students, faculty and staff during the opening convocation that officially started the 2013-14 academic year. At left, Lisa Smith, director of admissions, presents the list of new students to Dr. James Murrell, vice president of academic affairs, as Robby Shelton (center), vice president for campus life and enrollment management, looks on. Below, the Student Government Association president, Taylor Parks, a senior from Whitehouse, Tenn., offers his welcome to his fellow students. PHOTOS BY JOHN RUSSELL
inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” And then he repeated it for emphasis. “Because leadership,” Trauger said, “is not defined so much by what you do as by what you inspire others to do . . . the challenge for you as new students is to become a leader – to inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more.” Robby Shelton, vice president for campus life and enrollment management, described the freshman class as one of the strongest – if not the strongest – in the college’s history, in terms of academic performance, as well as involvement and excellence in high school athletics, arts, leadership and service. The addition of these 430 new students, Shelton said, means that the overall enrollment at Martin Methodist represents 25 states, 27 countries and five continents. The new students arrived on campus on Saturday, Aug. 24, and went through five days of orientation and activities, including class sessions with their First Year Experience mentors. Highlights of the week included signing of the Honor Code on Sunday, the Martin Pride Concert and Fireworks Celebration on Tuesday evening, and
PHOTOS BY JOHN RUSSELL
Dr. Ted Brown presides over the opening convocation on Friday, Aug. 30, in the Curry Christian Life Center. The ceremony officially opened Martin Methodist College's 144th academic year.
the annual Beach Party on the Square on Thursday evening following the first full day of classes.
Orientation ‘13 It was a full week when new students arrived for the new academic year, from Move-in Day and the Talent Show to The WannaBeatles concert and the annual Beach Party on the Square.
Photos by Guy Schafer and staff
Historic step MMC named a 2014 ‘Military Friend’ school
artin Methodist College has been named among the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools in the nation that are doing the most to embrace America’s military service members, veterans and spouses and ensure their success on campus. Victory Media, the premier media entity for military personnel transitioning into civilian life, has named Martin Methodist to its 2014 Military Friendly Schools list. “Inclusion on the 2014 list of Military Friendly Schools shows Martin Methodist College’s commitment to providing a supportive environment for military students,” said Sean Collins, vice president at Victory Media and a nine-year Navy veteran. “The need for education is growing and our mission is to provide the military community with transparent, world-class resources to assist in their search for schools.” The 1,868 colleges, universities and trade schools on the list exhibit leading practices in the recruitment and retention of students with military experience. These schools have world-class programs and policies for student support on campus, academic accreditation, credit policies, flexibility and other services to those who served.
Luna joins executive council in new role
dna Luna, who has served as Martin Methodist College’s director of alumni affairs for the past six years, has been promoted to the position of assistant vice president for institutional advancement and joins the college’s executive council. “I’m excited, honored and humbled to take this professional step and to join such a strong leadership team as the executive council,” she said. “I look forward to playing a part in the continued growth of the college, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to
First-ever graduate program to begin when new MBA degree enrolls in 2014
historic milestone took place at the summer meeting of the Martin Methodist College Board of Trustees on July 18 when President Ted Brown formally announced the college’s first-ever graduate degree program. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) has given full approval to Martin Methodist to begin a Master of Business Administration degree program. Brown said that the first class of MBA students is expected to enroll in May 2014. “This is an enormous vote of confidence on the part of our accrediting agency,” Brown said. “I believe this move up to a Level III institution will be even more significant than Martin Methodist’s change to baccalaureate status back in 1995, especially as we consider the focus of our Martin 2020 plan on service to our south central Tennessee region. To have a local MBA
believe this move up to a Level III institution will be even more significant than the change to baccalaureate status in 1995.’ – Dr. Ted Brown program is an important asset for business and industry across our region.” The MBA program becomes one of the first significant academic initiatives of the Martin 2020 long-range plan, which was approved by the trustees in April 2012. College officials will be looking at other graduate degree programs in other disciplines as the plan progresses, especially in areas that will serve the 13 counties of south central Tennessee.
Certificate program created for business professionals
ith constant challenges facing the business world in today’s ever-evolving economy, any advantage can mean a better bottom line, and a new certificate program at Martin Methodist College in negotiations and sales will offer that edge. The Certificate Program in Negotiations and Professional Selling, which begins on Oct. 1 of this year, is the initial offering of continuing and professional educational opportunities. This inaugural certificate program is a four-course sequence aimed at business-to-business salespeople, with the participants meeting each Tuesday night on the Martin Methodist campus. There will also be an on-line component to the program. The first course in the sequence will be “Negotiations and Conflict Resolution,” designed to benefit a broad audience, not just business development professionals. “We expect it to be helpful to attorneys, real estate agents, union officials and anyone else who needs to enhance their negotiation skills,” said Dr. Dennis Haskins, vice president for effectiveness and planning. It is that hands-on approach, in fact, that Dr. James Murrell, vice president for academic affairs at Martin Methodist, believes will make this certificate program so invaluable. “The Certificate Program in Negotiations and Professional Selling will be taught in a highly interactive way, with an emphasis on cutting-edge management practices, skill development, teamwork, and communications,” Murrell said. “We are designing the schedule to be convenient for working people, combining on-line content delivery with all-important classroom experience and interaction. On-line content takes care of the ‘book learning’ aspect, but effective management is a combination of skills, that is both people skills and communication skills, and knowledge. You can’t develop skills by sitting in front of a screen. You have to be interacting with actual people to develop management skills.” In its long-range plan, known as Martin 2020, Martin Methodist College has targeted the south central Tennessee region to offer its resources to assist in such areas as leadership development and economic development, and President Ted Brown sees this certificate program as a perfect example of the role that the college can play. “Business growth and success depends upon capable management as much as it does on a proficient workforce,” Brown said. “Our region has many opportunities for workforce development, but none for cutting-edge management training. The Certificate Program in Negotiations and Professional Selling will provide a much-needed source of advanced preparation for the executives, managers, and professionals throughout southern middle Tennessee. ”
help make a difference in students’ lives at a college about which I am so passionate.” Luna, a longtime Giles County resident who earned her degree from Martin Methodist in 2006, has developed the alumni program through a variety of initiatives since joining the Advancement Office in August of 2007, including establishing the Alumni Association and conducting alumni and friends receptions in counties and communities throughout the region. She also spent the Edna Luna '06 2012-13 academic year as the interim director of the annual fund, exceeding the goal for that fundraising initiative and coordinating the 2012-13 Giles County Campaign. Her new responsibilities include serving as permanent director of the annual fund, as well as continued direction of the alumni
program. She will also continue serving, on behalf of the college, as executive director of Gattis Regional Leadership, which consists of 13 counties in south central Tennessee. She also is a board member of the Tennessee Association of Community Leaders (TACL) and serves on the Leadership Giles steering committee. “Edna has done a superb job as director of alumni affairs,” said President Ted Brown. “Last fall she volunteered to take on direction of the annual fund as well, and as the annual fund drive came to a close on June 30, the goal had been surpassed by more than $6,000 under Edna’s leadership.” The executive council – the top administrative officers of the college – expands to 11 members, including the president.
Redesigned website offers new look, navigation
artin Methodist College has a completely new cyber-presence with the redesign of its website. The internet address remains www.martinmethodist.edu, but that is about the only thing that is not new and improved. It marks the fifth redesign and function update in the last 13 years, as the college attempts to stay current with both style and substance of the technology. Among the new features are a completely new graphic design, an upgraded event calendar, reconfigured news section, and a pictorial staff and faculty directory. A major improvement is that this website is mobile responsive for complete function on tablets and smart phones. This overhaul was the work of Abbie The newly redesigned website includes Stofel, who joined the college’s staff in the also includes a mobile version new position of director of digital marketing for tablets and smart and webmaster earlier this year. Since her phones. arrival in February, she has been working on the project, and she says the new look and navigation is in keeping with the college itself. “Martin Methodist is a dynamic and robust academic institution, and we wanted our new website to represent that,” she said. “Our design partner, Luke Flener of Prolific, not only provided us with a striking design, but one that was also functional with a focus centered around the user experience.” She also praised the work and continued support of Sitemason, a Nashville-based website development firm that has been Martin Methodist College’s content management system software partner since the fall of 2001.
Magazine now also in digital format
he magazine of Martin Methodist College has moved into the everevolving digital age. The Columns, published by the college’s Office of Communications, debuted in digital form on social media in July. By using the digital publication website, Issuu.com., the 36-page Summer 2013 issue, which was mailed to alumni, donors and friends of the, appeared on the Martin Methodist Facebook page shortly after its printed publication. “This is really a significant advancement, not only for The Columns, but for the entire communications and marketing effort of the college as a whole,” said Grant Vosburgh, director of communications and editor of the college’s magazine. “It’s another way for us to introduce Martin Methodist College to new audiences and to cater to those constituents of ours for whom digital is their format of choice. “Of course, this won’t replace the printed, coffee-table version of The Columns. In fact, maybe it’s just because I’m one of those ‘old, grizzled, veteran journalists’ at heart, but I think there will always be a place for those colorful, glossy publications you can hold in your hands and pass along to others. But this certainly offers another option to readers, and, more importantly, it’s an extremely easy way to share the magazine with friends and family anywhere in the world, whether by computer, tablet or smart phone,” Vosburgh said. The digital version, coordinated by Abbie Stofel, who joined Martin Methodist in February in the newly created role of director of digital marketing, can either be read on-line or downloaded. W. David Jones, vice president for institutional advancement at Martin Methodist College, praised the new technology and said that individuals who currently receive the printed version of The Columns will have the opportunity to choose how they wish to get future issues of the Martin Methodist’s magazine – whether in print, in digital format or both.
Five scholars join faculty for 2013-14
ive new scholars have joined the faculty at Martin Methodist College for the 2013-14 academic year, and two familiar faculty members have new assignments.
PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
Joining the faculty for the 2013-14 academic year are (from left): Charlotte Brown, Amy Huff, Dr. Melissa Martiros, Dr. Michelle Meinhart, and Dr. Melissa Bruninga-Matteau.
Dr. Michelle M. Meinhart, assistant professor of music. She holds a bachelor of music degree in piano performance from Eastern Illinois University, the master of music degree in music history and the Ph.D. degree in musicology from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She has had prior teaching experience at Northern Kentucky University, the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University.
Dr. Melissa Martiros, assistant professor of music. She holds a bachelor of arts degree with a concentration in piano from Westfield State College, a master of music degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University; a master of science degree in special education and a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance and pedagogy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has taught at Bluffton University, the University of Wisconsin-Fond Du Lac, Silver Lake College and the Lindeblad School of Music in New Jersey.
Dr. Melissa Bruninga-Matteau, assistant professor of history. She holds a bachelor of arts in English from Gustavus Adolphus College, a bachelor arts degree in history from the University of Montana, and the master of arts and Ph.D. degrees in history from the University of California, Irvine. She has prior teaching experience at Irvine Valley College, Yavapai College and at the American Public University.
Mary Charlotte Brown, instructor and assistant director of the Warden Memorial Library. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in English from Athens State University and a master of library and information science degree from the University of Alabama.
Amy L. Huff, instructor of nursing. She holds an associate in nursing degree from Motlow State Community College and the bachelor of science in nursing and master of science degree in nursing from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has taught at Middle Tennessee State University and at Motlow State Community College and for the past three years has served as director of nursing and allied health programs at Motlow.
Two current faculty members have new assignments. •
Andrew Brown, instructor of communications and coordinator of international studies. He served as registrar during the 2011-12 academic year and taught on a parttime basis last year while pursuing graduate work at the University of Memphis.
Dr. Fern Greenbank, assistant professor of media and cultural studies. She has served as director of the Story Center and has worked with student media over the past several years. She is program coordinator for this new academic major.
MMC receives National Shooting Sports grant Newest RedHawk team gets $10,000 for start-up
artin Methodist College has received a $10,000 grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) for the RedHawks’ newest intercollegiate program, the shooting sport team. Zach Snow, manager of shooting promotions for the NSSF, said the grant is part of the Collegiate Shooting Sports Initiative and is presented as start-up funding for new college teams and clubs in their first year of competition. Over the past five years, CSSI has funded 75 teams, and in 2014, the foundation will offer a total of $200,000 in grants such as the one that Martin Methodist College has received. There are five clay target sport competitions: trap, skeet, sporting clays, international trap and international skeet. Martin Methodist announced in April
PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
The new RedHawk shooting sport intercollegiate program received a $10,000 start-up grant from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
that it would be establishing a varsity sport and then, in May, hired Mark Payne as the program’s first coach. “Being selected as a 2013 recipient of the NSSF-CSSI grant,” said Jeff Bain, RedHawk director of athletics, “Martin Methodist College will most certainly have
instant credibility as we prepare to launch our 15th intercollegiate sport. It is our full intention to become one of the premier shooting sport teams in the Southeast. We are very proud, honored and thankful to be recognized by the NSSF. We intend to be excellent stewards of this grant.”
New members of the administrative staff
PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
Attending an employee orientation luncheon in August were members of the administrative staff who have joined the college since the start of the previous academic year. Pictured (from left) are: David Jones, vice president for institutional advancement; Mark Payne, coach of the new shooting sport team; Jessy Christopher, assistant women's basketball coach; Abbie Stofel, director of digital marketing and webmaster; Ashley Smith, coordinator of the new Student-Athlete Enhancement initiative; and Maegan Sanders, admissions counselor.
New academic programs at MMC
Reading, Writing and Arithmetic . . . (and Arias and Asides) Stories by KAYLA McKINNEY WIGGINS Photos by GUY SCHAFER
As a liberal arts institution, Martin Methodist prides itself on offering its
students a broad range of educational opportunities. The four newest program offerings – dramatic arts, music, mathematics and Media and Cultural Studies – reflect MMC’s published mission “to provide challenging educational programs grounded in the liberal arts and sciences.” “It gets me fired up.”
David Wilkerson and the dramatic arts program Theatre and music are not new to the Martin Methodist campus. The school enjoys a long history of dramatic offerings and of choral performances. However, until the 2012-2013 school year, theatre was largely avocational at Martin. Students majored in other disciplines and performed in plays on the side. When the administration decided to take theatre to the next level, Martin Methodist alumnus David Alford was hired to plan a theatre program and begin teaching theatre classes. The program Alford designed officially began with the 2012-2013 academic year under the leadership of the new dramatic arts program coordinator, David Wilkerson. Wilkerson was selected from more than a hundred applicants for the position. He holds bachelor of fine arts and master of fine arts degrees in theatre. He worked professionally as an actor for five years in New York City, where he also co-founded a theatre company before deciding to relocate in search of what he calls “a more normal life” when his daughter was born. Wilkerson says that when he and
David Wilkerson joined the Martin Methodist faculty in the fall of 2012, and, as program coordinator, has quickly had a positive impact on the new dramatic arts major.
his wife were looking for a new home, he literally closed his eyes and put his finger on the map; Nashville became their new home. In Nashville, Wilkerson has worked in a variety of venues, including the Tennessee Rep, the Nashville Shakespeare
Festival and Mockingbird Theatre. In addition to acting, he has worked extensively as a professional stage manager, a role that he says necessitates “always being calm in the face of crisis.” Wilkerson is also a certified “fight master” and has extensive
New academic programs at MMC experience with fight choreography and workshops. These workshops fueled his passion not just for theatre, but also for teaching, saying that he loves working with students and talking to kids about theatre. When David Alford suggested that he apply for the new position at Martin Methodist, he saw it as a chance to not only teach but to create something new, to get onto the ground floor of a new venture; he also was excited that MMC wanted a new theatre major at a time when other institutions are eliminating the arts. “Everyone is so supportive here,” he says. “People don’t say ‘no’ at Martin; there is a spirit of growth at this institution.” Full-time teaching is a challenge, Wilkerson says, but he loves prepping his classes and working with the students. He includes directing as a form of teaching, especially when working with students. “It gets me fired up,” he says. He equates his administrative duties to stage-managing, staying organized and remaining calm no matter what. The new program reflects the hard work of both Alford and Wilkerson. Because many of the classes had been offered under
Alford’s tenure, two students graduated with dramatic arts degrees at the May 2013 graduation. Twelve students are currently declared majors, and seven more are minoring in dramatic arts. And then there are all the other students who still do plays for fun and take classes as electives to learn about the intriguing world of theatre. Although he is currently acting fulltime as a recurring character in the ABC primetime drama, “Nashville,” Alford continues to work in the program, teaching one class each semester and directing one play a year. Between the two of them, Wilkerson and Alford have 50 years of professional theatre experience, and they are delighted that Martin Methodist encourages each of them to continue to work professionally. In fact, professional experience is the foundation of the dramatic arts program and is what makes the program unusual in the world of academic theatre. Wilkerson and Alford plan to continue to foster a strong relationship with the Nashville theatre scene, bringing in guest directors so that the students can work with different directors, learn different styles, and network in the professional theatre community. The first guest director was Greg Wilson, artistic
“Being an All-Steinway institution is such a benefit.” Mark Hagewood and the music program
Music classes have been a staple of the MMC curriculum since the advent of the first four-year degrees in 1993. The initial church vocations degrees included several areas of emphasis, including church music. Then, the dedication of the Gault Fine Arts Center in the fall of 2009 gave the long-standing choral program a permanent home, and plans began to create a separate music major. Although the music program has only been formally in place for two years, the program saw its first two graduates in May of 2012 and two more in 2013. There are currently 10 students majoring in music, and the church music major has now been moved to the music department. Mark Hagewood, coordinator of the music program and choral director, says one of the strengths of the music curriculum is the
Mark Hagewood, a 2000 MMC graduate, now serves as program coordinator of the music program at his alma mater.
director of Actors Point Theatre Company, who directed a live radio version of “It’s a Wonderful Life” in December. The pragmatic approach to teaching and the small size of the program, Wilkerson says, give students the chance to be active in theatre during their four years at Martin Methodist, pointing out that there is no substitute for “live experience” and stresses that, unlike theatre programs at large universities where students often have no opportunity to perform until their junior or senior year, drama majors at Martin can be on the stage from “day one.” And live experience pays off. Of the two May graduates, Dakota Shouse has already served an internship at the Nashville Children’s Theatre and Jaye Phelps has had the opportunity to act professionally with a repertory company and with Actors Point Theatre Company, as well as performing in the Nashville Shakespeare’s 2013 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Wilkerson says this new program “casts a wide net,” offering students interested in performance a wide range of classes. He also says that the program prepares students to work in production, to acquire and employ all of the skills necessary to producing their own work. As for the future, Wilkerson says he and Alford want the program to continue to grow, but there is currently no space on campus dedicated to theatre. Eventually, the college leadership hopes to build a black box theatre.
New academic programs at MMC rather unique opportunity students have to perform in high-quality ensembles and as solo artists from the very beginning of their college career. Majors are required to study two instruments, one of which must be voice. They receive private lessons in their instruments, sing in the concert choir, and have the opportunity to audition for the prestigious chamber choir. In addition to these performance opportunities, students participate in the annual Majors and Minors Concert under the leadership of voice teacher Christine Brosend. In the final semester of their senior year, students also present a senior recital to demonstrate their talent and to present research about the work they are performing. “The small classes at Martin are a real plus for the students, allowing faculty to tailor course content and the pace of delivery to the needs of individual students,” says Hagewood, who graduated from Martin Methodist in 2000 with a bachelor’s degree in church music and earned a master’s degree in music from Belmont University. He cites the faculty investment in the students as a foundation of the program, and expresses his appreciation for the work of Dr. Albert Hughes, who taught music classes and directed the choral program at Martin Methodist for 25 years before retiring earlier this year. When the Gault Center opened, it did so with 11 new Steinway pianos (and a 12th located on the stage in Martin Hall Auditorium), resulting in Martin Methodist College becoming the 96th All-Steinway institution in the world – and that has figured in significantly to the new music major. “Being an All-Steinway institution is a huge benefit,” Hagewood says. “Being able to have those instruments in every practice and performance space is something that very few colleges have. We also have a beautiful performance space in our recital hall. That can be a challenge in a small college, and we are very fortunate to have it.” When asked about plans for the future, Hagewood cites the recent addition of two new music professors who were among 130 applicants for the positions following the departures of Hughes and guitar professor T.G. Engel. “I am very excited about the energy and expertise that will come with new faculty allowing us to grow the program,”
Two new faculty members have joined the music department for 2013-14. Both Michelle Meinhart (left) and Melissa Martiros are accomplished in piano performance and pedagogy, which will add to the benefit of the college's All-Steinway designation.
he says of Dr. Michelle Meinhart and Dr. Melissa Martiros. Meinhart, who will teach classes in music history and accompany the Concert Choir, holds a bachelor of music degree in piano performance and pedagogy from Eastern Illinois University, and a master of music degree in music history and a doctorate in musicology, both from the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music. Martiros will teach music theory and piano, as well as accompanying the Chamber Choir. She holds a bachelor of arts degree in piano performance from Westfield State College, a master of music
degree in piano performance from Bowling Green State University, a master of science degree in special education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a doctor of musical arts degree in piano performance and pedagogy, also from Wisconsin-Madison. Hagewood says that he would love to see the program double its numbers in the next five years and believes that to be a reasonable target that might even be exceeded. Contributing to that optimism is the work he is doing with Dr. Kerbe Lee, program coordinator for secondary education, to establish a K-12 music licensure program in vocal music.
“Math is a beautiful thing.”
Jac Cole and the mathematics program
It might be tempting to say “and now for something completely different,” if it weren’t for Dr. Jac Cole’s impassioned comments on mathematics. Cole says that math’s connection with science is almost an accident of history. He talks of the aesthetics of math and its relationship to other arts, calling it “a beautiful thing.” His own academic background prepared him well for a career at an institution like Martin Methodist, receiving his bachelor’s degree from Hendrix College, a small, liberal arts institution in Conway, Ark., before moving to Vanderbilt University to complete his education. His plan, he says, was to go back to a small, liberal arts college to teach. His academic journey eventually brought him to Martin to create a new math program. Cole was attracted to the position because he believed that his experience in teaching at two other institutions had given him the experience necessary for the creation of a math program, and because it would give him a chance to “have his voice heard and to be able to build something in the way he would want it to be built.” He says that the program is going well, though they have had to make some adaptations from his original plans and that, at
New academic programs at MMC about the five-year mark, they will assess the results and adjust as necessary. While one student graduated with a math degree in May 2013, the first class of students to graduate with a mathematics degree from Martin Methodist will walk across the stage in May of 2014. Cole anticipates three graduates in that first class, two who are pure math and plan to go on to graduate school, and one with secondary licensure who plans to teach. The mathematics program at MMC is a fairly standard one structurally, Cole says, but what makes it stand out from other math programs is the nature of the institution itself. “Because we are such a small school, and because our program is so new,” he says, “all it takes is a student convincing one professor that something is a good idea for us to be able to run with it.” Cole is an innovative professor who is extremely student-centered. Other changes he has fostered in math requirements in the core curriculum include a recitation (tutorial) class to supplement college algebra for those students who struggle with math, a language support course for ESL (Education as a Second Language) students who are taking math, and a modern mathematics course – what Cole refers to as a math class for poets – that he describes as “conceptual, not computational” to bring theories and the ideas of math to a more general level of understanding.
Dr. Jac Cole is excited about the new mathematics major at Martin Methodist College . . . not to mention being excited about mathematics, in general.
“You need a really good moral compass.”
Fern Greenbank and the media and cultural studies program The newest major, media and cultural studies, kicked off officially this fall, but like the other three new programs, many of the classes have been previously offered. If there is one word to describe the attitude of Fern Greenbank, the program coordinator, toward this subject, it would be “passionate.” Her passion for the role that media play in shaping and defining culture in the world today is evident in her own scholarly journey and in her plans for this new major. Greenbank describes this program as “highly interdisciplinary and flexible,” focusing on the study of the impact of media on culture and of culture on media. “It involves studying the impact of messages on different areas of culture, from gender and race, to violence to international relations to economics, civic duty, democracy,” she says.
The program stresses an awareness of the context of culture in communication, allowing students to take courses that will apply to their career goals whether they want to become journalists, make documentary films, become communications officers, or go into an anthropological or sociological field. Students can also use the training from the core of media courses to complement other fields of study. “I have chosen to make this program highly practice-oriented as opposed to theoretical, not because I don’t think students should focus on theory, but I think they should be blended,” Greenbank says. “With this generation of students who really come from a media-saturated world, I see media production and media literacy as tools for critical thinking. I am able to take a critical thinking tool, which is media production, and apply it to any subject matter.”
Greenbank sees the media program as a resource to every academic discipline because of its product-oriented approach. As students write or make videos about the world around them, they have to consider the impact of their words and images, and how that impact shapes reality, she says. “When students actually produce something they have to consider who is going to use it, what they are going to say to them, whether it is going to harm them,” she says. “If they are being guided properly, they have to ask difficult questions about the impact of their actions. “Media and Cultural Studies is a pretty blanket term because it is applied differently at different schools,” she says, referring to similar programs that are springing up around the world. The Martin Methodist program, she says, is designed to offer practical skills to
New academic programs at MMC students whether they want to leave Tenstudents who are interested in becoming Since this is an interdisciplinary pronessee and go into the foreign service or filmmakers, so there is a lot of practice with gram, the implementation of skills will go return to their local county and work for editing, and I get to monitor the content, so beyond the media studies classroom. Once the Chamber of Commerce. I get to walk them through that.” the students have completed the course The five core classes not only require She says she hopes to have a student on media writing, they will be expected that they learn traditional journalism, filmmagazine next year that will allow a more to use the skills learned in that class in making and photography skills, but that in-depth look at social issues. other cultural studies courses. She sees the they put those skills into practice through “We can self-publish now, so that gives program as a resource to other disciplines, nine hours of practicum credit. students another skill,” she adds. teaching communication skills across the As a result, this program should foster Greenbank will encourage student curriculum to improve the damaged comboth an awareness of culture and of the production of marketing materials and the munication skills in our cyber world, and impact of media messages and an empadevelopment of the kind of sophisticated layshe hopes to provide the context for methy for others, something that Greenbank ered-thinking that is necessary in marketing. dia-impact discussions in other courses, as learned firsthand in her own study in “My hope is that they are going to be well as producing students who, as a result cultural programs. able to create their own new website apart of being required to seek out information, After completing an undergraduate from the media website so that they can will for the rest of their lives be seekers – degree in magazine journalism, she took become adept at blogging with purpose,” and not just consumers – of information. a master’s degree in cross-cultural media she says. In the media studies courses, students education from the University of Alaska, In addition, plans include gallery study attribution of sources, ethics and the Fairbanks. In the course of her study, shows for student photography and field nature of truth so that they learn to investishe worked with eight different Alaskan work in the documentary tradition, with gate media messages and determine what groups, focusing on the way the villagers published student work. is true and what is not. The foundation of were being depicted in the press. For her “We are going to experiment a lot and the whole program, Greenbank says, is the doctoral work, Greenbank traveled across the world to South Africa and another media and cultural studies program that specialized in the media’s impact on black/white relations. Her goal, as in Alaska, was to gain knowledge and understanding from people of a different culture who had struggled with impactful (and often hurtful) media images. “What students learn from other cultures,” she says, “is that they adapt.” She wants her students to learn to work with people who don’t see the world the way they do, and she wants them to recognize the harm that can be done by manipulative public images. She worries that students Dr. Fern Greenbank (center) has put together the curriculum for the media and cultural studies major won’t gain these skills on which stresses the connection between theory and practical application. She also hopes the courses will their own in a world that foster an awareness of the impact of media messages and an empathy for others. reduces communication to the environment of social media sites. use our campus community and the Giles course, Documentary Tradition, unique to “We are fortunate that we actually have County community as a big focus group,” Martin Methodist, which takes students back a working media lab,” she says. “We have she says, “so that students can determine to the 1930s and considers the work of the ability now to create video. We have whether or not their product worked.” researchers, writers and artists who, sanc-
New academic programs at MMC tioned by the government, documented the Great Depression. These people, she points out, were not trained journalists, and to work in the field of media and cultural studies, you don’t need to go to journalism school. Instead, she says, one needs “a really good moral compass” and the ability to think critically and with compassion. “The students who are going to be interested in this program,” Greenbank says, “are the students who are interested in many, many different areas of study.” Most media studies programs are 90 percent theory, she says, but because this program stresses the connection between theory and practice, it is geared toward the production of media and not the analysis of media product. Students will be required to interact with other people; they will get to
produce; they will have a portfolio of work when they leave Martin Methodist College. There are currently two students who are declared majors in the Media and Cultural Studies program, and Greenbank says that they know – and like – that they are akin to academic “guinea pigs.” “There is pressure on them because I want them to be producing material. They are going to get a lot of production,” she says, “because I need things to show.” And what will a Martin Methodist graduate do with this degree? “The biggest open market is in the field of communication and public relations,” Greenback says, emphasizing that the ability to understand an audience and to demonstrate that understanding through a portfolio of work could move students
into the world of marketing, public relations and advertising. “This is the kind of program that connects the dots,” she says. “Those jobs are available at a community level, at a regional level, at a national level and at an international level, depending on the interest of a student.” In a competitive world where everyone is fighting to get the message out first, communication skills are at a premium, Greenbank points out, and graduates can go back to their hometowns and become communications specialists for factories or work in creative fields like filmmaking or photography or writing. “There is a way to make that into a living while you are writing the great American novel,” Greenbank says.
A ‘novel’ approach to the Senior Thesis New majors aren’t the only signs of an evolving academic program. This spring, four seniors literally wrote a new ending to the traditional English capstone thesis requirement.
allegorical tale that began as entertainment for young members of her family. Each of the works of contemporary realism is directed to a young adult audience and reflects the difficult social environment of modern teenagers. Cofie Toy’s novel resulted from a media account of a young girl who announced her impending suicide in a blog post on the Internet. Utilizing a mixture of blog posts, notes, letters and scenes, the novel explores a world of escalating violence and despair. Rebecca Moore’s novel also deals with difficult relationships in the modenior Thesis has been a requirement for the English degree from ern world as it follows the journey of a teenage girl who travels to England in the very beginning of the program in 1997. Conceived as a major an attempt to unravel the last months of her father’s life only to find herself research project, the course was designed to demonstrate the refollowing messages and clues from beyond the grave as she completes the search, writing and critical-thinking abilities of English majors as a prelude scavenger hunt he designed for her before he died. to the work that would be required of them in graduate school and careers. In addition to having explored similar themes of the human condition, these Over the years, most students have completed fairly traditional research young authors share other things in common. Most of them have been writing for projects. However, there has always been a “creative” option in the project, and a long time. King, the a few students have taken advantage author of the adult of that option, writing poetry, short ttending college has been fantasy, A Scattered stories or sections of novels. Wind, confesses that In the spring of 2013, four the biggest influence on my he has been writing of the 13 students in the Senior since first or secCapstone course chose to write fullwriting. . . . my writing style is ond grade, beginning length novels. Of the four students, virtually unrecognizable from with pencil or crayon two wrote fantasies and two wrote and progressing to contemporary realism. Three of the what it was in high school.’ the typewriter and works were directed to a young adult – Cofie Toy computer. Mary Elizor adolescent audience, and one was abeth Moore, who is intended for an adult audience. a Christian fantasist heavily influenced by the work of C.S. Lewis, says that she While the projects varied in their content, they shared many things in has been “writing” since she could “put two words together” but that she began common. Each of the fantasy novels is set in an alternate realm that involves putting her stories down on paper around the age of 8. Toy also began her some element of magic. However, one of the fantasist, Austin King, was conwriting career with fantasy, working on a complex series of novels from sixth cerned with creating a realistic world modeled on the North American contigrade throughout middle school, when she became interested in the suspense nent, and with breaking the quest tradition of high fantasy which he feels has and horror genres and shifted her focus to psychological novels culminating in stagnated and stalled the genre in recent years. Mary Elizabeth Moore, on the her blog-centered young adult novel. Rebecca Moore also began writing creatively other hand, was interested in marrying fantasy elements with philosophical in middle school when, as she put it, she “realized that all books were someone’s concerns and Christian ideology as she completed an 22
"To Kill a Mockingbird" was the most influential book to shape the writing of Rebecca Moore (right), and Harper Lee's classic also plays a significant role in her own first work, while Austin King (far right) looked to the works of Stephen King for inspiration for his science fiction novel, "A Scattered Wind." For Mary Elizabeth Moore (below), her young adult fantasy was inspired by C.S. Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia."
internal ideas put on paper.” While all of these young authors identify different influences on their writing, most of them credit college with shaping their literary interests and opportunities. “It sounds strange to say that attending college has been the biggest influence on my writing,” Toy says, “but in many ways it has; whether through individual classes or professors or just the general collegiate environment, my writing style is virtually unrecognizable from what it was in high school.” Rebecca Moore was influenced, certainly, by Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, the novel that serves as background for her story and offers the clues to the scavenger hunt that provides the quest element of her realistic tale. However, she also says that she was heavily influenced by young adult writers like John Green, Maureen Johnson, Stephanie Perkins and Maggie Stiefvater. A visit to England first provided the germ of her novel, but a second trip to England in the fall of 2012. as part of the contingent of Martin Methodist students from the W. Garie Taylor Honor’s Program who attended Harlaxton College, allowed her to flesh out the details of her setting. She says the research requirement of Senior Thesis which led to her research To Kill a Mockingbird allowed her to “reevaluate the real influence the novel could have on the story,” and the demands of the course gave her the motivation to finish the novel she had been working on for two years. Mary Elizabeth Moore, who notes that she got her first official training in writing in college, says that she was influenced by C. S. Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia series, an influence that is evident in the style and format of her young adult fantasy set in an alternate world where humans and dwarfs clash over cultural differences and biases. She also notes the impact, however, of the philosophy of Lewis’ Screwtape Letters and of the “sprawling development” of the novels of Charles Dickens with their “shadows and gradations.” Toy, interested as she is in “exploring the warped perceptions of characters exhibiting some form of abnormal psychology,” notes the influence of Edgar Allan Poe on her writing. “I enjoy his macabre portrayals of characters and their predicaments,” she says. “Also, more and more I have begun to see the genius behind the stress he placed on composing stories that can be read in a single sitting, especially after completing this novella.” King credits another writer of horror fiction, Stephen King, as being a big influence on his work, but also references Stephen Crane, Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway as influences. King also says that he “would never have gotten into fantasy if it hadn’t been for J. R. R. Tolkien.” King credits his mother, Dawn King, who is also a Martin Methodist graduate and a poet, with influencing his writing career by teaching him to read and write even before he began kindergarten.
PHOTOS BY GUY SCHAFER
“She and my dad, Aaron, also bought the typewriter, computer and all the paper and ink I used for my writing for about 20 years of my life, so without them, I’d probably still be writing in crayon,” says King. College also introduced King to a collaborator and publication. With English professor B. J. Keeton, King co-authored Nimbus: A Steampunk Novel, a book that was published last year on Amazon.com, where the book went to number one in the science fiction category, remaining there for two weeks, and has been in the top 10 for more than a month. He has now completed a novella set in the same universe and is also working on a sequel to his fantasy novel, which is part of a planned nine-novel series. Currently employed as a writing tutor in Martin Methodist’s Student Resource Center, King is a prolific writer, completing as a student an average of 2,000 words a day during the school year and 5,000 words a day during the summers. Like the other students involved in these projects, he hopes to have a career as an author. He says that overall he just writes for fun, but “getting paid to have fun is always nice, and I hope to write full-time in the next 10 years. But if I’m 60 before I can write full-time, I’ll still take it. You’re never too old for your dreams, right?” Rebecca Moore is completing her final semester of college and will be graduating in December. She hopes to have a career in the publishing industry, and, of course, will continue to write. Both Cofie Toy and Mary Elizabeth Moore are currently enrolled in graduate school, but hope to have careers that include writing. Toy, who is working on a master of fine arts degree in creative writing at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, says that ideally she “would love to be a novelist or even a writer of short stories” although she is also “planning on being an English professor.” Mary Elizabeth Moore, who recently returned from her second trip to China where she taught English as a Second Language, is working on a master’s degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). An accomplished singer, she sees herself as “a writer, a troubadour, a communicator of the spoken word.” Whether that communication comes through writing, music or acting, she says that she wants to reach people, to speak to their hearts, to communicate a message of hope and to encourage other people to share their stories. — KAYLA McKINNEY WIGGINS
Reality ... in the fast lane MMC senior Tyler Miles took his considerable racing skills to the Charlotte Motor Speedway . . . and reality television.
By Grant Vosburgh Photos by Rayma Miles ike many college students, Tyler Miles spent the summer before his senior year doing anything he could to further his career plans. Unlike many students, his summer included appearing on a reality television show. Miles, a senior from Pulaski doublemajoring in business management and sport management, is a talented race car driver with aspirations of one day competing at the highest level of NASCAR. So it was the chance of a lifetime when he was one of nine young drivers selected as finalists from 700 contestants in the Peak Stock Car Dream Challenge. The finalists – ranging in age from 18-23 and hailing from Indiana, Florida, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Texas and Tennessee – spent three days at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C., in July competing to become Michael Waltrip Racing’s next developmental driver. A TV crew taped each and every moment of the experience, and the result was a one-hour show, “Finals From Charlotte,” that aired on the Speed Channel in August. At the conclusion of the show, Waltrip – a two-time Daytona 500 winning driver and owner of MWR – and two representatives of Peak automotive products lined up the nine finalists and, one by one, eliminated all but one – in
At left, Miles visits with Clint Bowyer, a member of the Michael Waltrip Racing team and one of the guest judges in the Peak Challenge. Above, he gets some last-minute encouragement from his dad, Mark.
patented, suspenseful reality TV style. The bad news for Martin Methodist College? Tyler Miles was not that last driver standing. The good news? As MMC President Ted Brown later quipped, “There were two higher education institutions mentioned on that national TV show: Martin Methodist College . . . and Harvard University. So Tyler may not have won, but I did.” (For the record, the driver who was a doctoral student at Harvard was selected as the winner of the Peak Challenge.) But there’s a huge difference between not winning and actually losing, and Miles certainly returned to Pulaski with a big smile on his face . . . and plenty of life lessons in his pocket. First and foremost: reality television is anything but. “It was a very, very good experience,” he said. “I have absolutely no regrets.
There were 700 people who entered, and 691 of them did not get picked to go to Charlotte. But I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the way the show turned out, because they portrayed me as not doing as well as I actually did.” Miles was one of the first three drivers eliminated toward the end of the show, and during all the various skill challenges, only once did Waltrip or the guest judges (including NASCAR drivers Clint Bowyer, Brian Vickers, Martin Truex Jr., Mark Martin and Danica Patrick) even mention his name. Truth be told, however, he was in the top three or four of every test conducted on the track and in the classroom. “I knew I was as competitive as any of the other eight drivers, but, as we went through it all, I didn’t know where I stood because I didn’t know exactly what they
For three days, the nine Peak Challenge finalists went through various driving skill tests to determine who will be selected to be the next Michael Waltrip Racing developmental driver.
were looking for,” he said. Just the fact that he made it to the televised finals, however, pretty much defied all odds. In fact, it all came to pass as the result of a rained-out race on May 4 of this year. Miles began driving go-karts at the age of 8 and eventually moved up to Pro and Super Late Model competition. He was named 2007 Huntsville (Ala.) Speedway Pro-4 Track Champion, the 2010 Show Me The Money Rookie of the Year, and the 2011 Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway Track Champion. It was at Nashville, in fact, where he was scheduled to compete on that rainy day in May. “We were supposed to race in Nashville that Saturday,” he said, “but we got rained out. We were already at the track practicing when they called it off. So we went back home and started watching the Nationwide Series race at Talladega on TV, something we don’t often get to do because we’re racing ourselves. “During the race, we saw a Peak commercial, and at the end we heard, ‘Enter for a chance to become a developmental driver for Michael Waltrip
Racing . . .’ and my dad and I looked at each other and said, ‘What was that?’ We proceeded to look into it, and that’s the first time we knew anything about the contest. “Normally we don’t like rainouts, but in that particular circumstance, we were very happy with a rainout, because we would have never heard about the contest if we hadn’t gone home and been watching that race,” he said. Contestants not only had to apply, but they had to submit a video that addressed the question of why he or she should be selected, and then they had to get as many “likes” for the video as possible . . . by the May 31 deadline. “We jumped right in, got with (Martin Methodist videographer) Guy Schafer and (student assistant) Nate Harber for what turned out to be a great video, and submitted everything on May 20, 11 days before the deadline. In those 11 days, we got 38,000 ‘likes’ for the video. We were pretty proud of that; we had so many people sending it on to their friends. I know I heard from a lot of Martin Methodist students who were encouraging all their friends to ‘like’ the video,” Miles said. On June 3, he received a call from a representative from Peak, who told Miles he was being considered to be one of the finalists. “He asked me if I would be at this particular phone number if Michael Waltrip were to call in 30 to 60 minutes, and I told him I would. Then I sat there
Tyler Miles posed with other Martin Methodist students from Giles County in this 2010 photo. His May video for the Peak Challenge gained plenty of Facebook support from his fellow MMC RedHawks. PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
with my cell phone in my hand, just staring at it . . . for 54 minutes . . . 54 minutes on the dot,” he said. When the call came, the voice on the other end of the line identified himself as Waltrip, and he informed Miles that the Martin Methodist College Dean’s List student would be one of the finalists receiving an all-expense paid trip to North Carolina for a life-changing, three-day whirlwind of an experience. “By the way, you know how people say to let your phone ring a few times so you don’t sound too eager? I answered that call on the very first ring,” Miles said with a big grin. Five weeks later, he was in North Carolina, driving a stock car 170 miles per hour around one of the storied tracks in all of NASCAR . . . and his future career plans shifted into high gear. “It was the fastest I’ve ever driven,” said Miles, who previously had reached top speeds of 120 m.p.h. at the Nashville track. “I was really comfortable with it, and I look forward to driving a heavier car like that on a superspeedway someday. It fits me well. That challenge (in which the nine finalists actually drove at full tilt around the Charlotte Motor Speedway track) was one of my stronger modules.” While that may not have been reality television’s spin, it was, in fact, reality. And , after all, reality is what careers are built upon.
When alumni lead, just imagine the possibilities! Have you ever heard that students win when educators work as one? What if we take it one step further and replace the word “educators” with “alumni?” When alumni work as one, we all win – students, educators and alumni. We pave the future! Hmmm … let’s think about that. If every Martin Methodist alum made at least a $25 per month donation, based on approximately 12,000 Martin alumni, that would be a yearly contribution of $3.6 million. Yes, the math is correct. Your $25 per month is in that wonderfully huge number. Do you see it? Can you picture yourself being a part of it? It just goes to Edna Luna ’06 show that a little can go a long way and make a big impact. The key? Pulling together and working as one. Imagine the possibilities. This would cover the annual fund needed for day-to-day operations, help keep tuition costs down, provide funds for renovations, scholarships and additions, and give our students (our leaders of tomorrow) the best education ever . . . just to name a few. Then there are the benefits as alumni that we achieve: tax deduction, a warm feeling of satisfaction and, most importantly, knowing that we are a part of making such a huge difference at our alma mater . . . all with such little effort. I hear so often, and it’s true for me as well: “If it hadn’t been for Martin, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” or “Martin changed my life,” or “My years at Martin were the best years of my life” or “I met my spouse at Martin.” Are you one of these alumni? How would you feel knowing that your contribution is making that powerful an impact in others’ lives, each and every year? As your assistant vice president for institutional advancement, but, more importantly, as your friend, I invite you to join the alumni team that is already making a difference. If you are not giving back, would you consider starting your contribution today? It’s living made better. All my best,
Edna Luna, Class of 2006 Assistant Vice President for Institutional Advancement
James T. (Jimmy) Cox (center), senior officer of First National Bank of Pulaski, receives a plaque commemorating his induction into the Leaders in Banking Excellence program from Tennessee Bankers Association Chairman Jeff Agee (left) and TBA Executive Vice President Colin Barrett at an Aug. 15 ceremony.
James T. Cox ‘58
Longtime bank executive honored as a ‘Leader in Banking Excellence’ in Tennessee
Martin Methodist College graduate has been named a Leader in Banking Excellence by the Tennessee Banking Association during ceremonies held Aug. 15 in Nashville. James T. (Jimmy) Cox, who serves as senior officer of First National Bank of Pulaski, was among three Tennessee bankers honored by the TBA at the Leaders in Banking Excellence ceremony, where commemorative plaques highlighting the careers of each honoree were unveiled at the TBA headquarters building. Cox is among an elite group that represents Tennessee bankers past and present who have excelled in the areas of banking, community service and civic involvement. The ceremony featured remarks by TBA Chairman Jeff Agee, president and CEO of First Citizens National Bank in Dyersburg, and each of the three honorees. A Giles County native, Cox began his banking career in 1961 with First National Bank of Pulaski after graduation from then-Martin College in 1958 and Middle Tennessee State College. He completed the School of Banking at Lousiana State University and in 1969 joined Union Bank in Fayetteville, Tenn., eventually becoming president. Cox returned to First National Bank in 1991 as vice president and manager of the Fayetteville office. He ultimately rose to president, chairman and CEO. Dedicated to community banking, he has served Pulaski and Giles County through organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Boy Scouts and 4-H. Cox has been active with the Tennessee Bankers Association, the Plateau Group executive board, Motlow Foundation and Weatherford Chair of Finance at MTSU. “The Leaders in Banking Excellence recognizes those who have made a difference, and we hope it will be an inspiration to other bankers across the state,” said Colin Barrett, TBA executive vice president.
Class Notes Have you changed jobs or received a promotion? Moved to a new city or even just a different street? Gotten married or had a baby? The Columns welcomes the news of the Martin Methodist College alumni. You can write, call, or e-mail . . . just let us know, so we can let your classmates know! Address: Alumni Office, Martin Methodist College, 433 W. Madison St., Pulaski, TN 38478 Phone: 931-363-9824 or 1-800-467-1273, ext. 3824. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Grace Parsons Coley of Rainsville, Ala., survived the April 27, 2011, tornadoes that
ripped through DeKalb County. “There were more than one,” she writes, “but the largest, an EF5, almost came in my back door. I remembered the scripture where Jesus said: ‘You shall do the works that I do,’ and I spoke to the tornado, saying ‘Lift up!’ It did! Of course, everyone who saw it was praying. We are grateful to be alive.” Grace is the retired secretary and receptionist for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Fort Payne, Ala., and church secretary at Fyffe Church of God in Fyffe, Ala.
The Rev. Dr. Garry Duane Speich of Nashville, Tenn., is a first-time grandfather –
twice – with the birth of twin granddaughters, Harper Grace Speich and Kendall Paige Speich, in July. “Each weighed a little under six pounds. They are cuties,” says the proud granddad, who is retired in Crossville, Tenn., after serving as pastor in United Methodist churches in Sparta, Gallatin, Old Hickory, Mt. Juliet, Clarksville and Hermitage as well as serving as superintendent of the Nashville District of the UMC. Following his associate’s degree at Martin, Garry went on to earn a bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University and master of divinity and doctor of ministry degrees from Vanderbilt Divinity School.
MMC Alumni Council for 2013-14 year The following individuals are guiding the activities of a busy Martin Methodist College Alumni Council during this academic year. President Samuel Holden ’74, Nashville, Tenn. President-elect L. Overton Campbell ‘75, Franklin, Tenn. Secretary Reba Seals ’68, Fayetteville, Tenn. Treasurer Darlene Baxter ‘66, Columbia, Tenn. David Patrick Blackburn ‘88, Clifton, Tenn. Brenda Ogilvie Brown ‘71, Chapel Hill, Tenn. Jerry W. Burlison ‘70, Centerville, Tenn. J. Brad Butler ‘05, Pulaski, Tenn. Jerry W. Campbell ‘69, Murfreesboro, Tenn. Margaret Campbell ‘91, Pulaski, Tenn. Siron “Si” Culp ‘68, Clifton, Tenn. Mark W. Durm ‘70, Athens, Ala. Gailand Osburn Grinder ‘68, Waynesboro, Tenn. Royce Springer Hughes ‘60, Pulaski, Tenn. Joy Lewter ‘65, Chapel Hill, Tenn. Debbie Denson Lloyd ‘71, Antioch, Tenn. James Marion Malone, Jr. ‘67, Fayetteville, Tenn. Nancy Allen Pruitt ‘70, Lewisburg, Tenn. Monica D. Tucker ‘02, Flintville, Tenn. The Rev. Thomas E. Vann ‘59, Centerville, Tenn. Carol Hamlett Wade ‘06, Lynnville, Tenn. Terry M. Whitt ‘69, Ardmore, Tenn. Doug Williamson ‘67, Columbia, Tenn. R. Taylor Parks ‘14, White House, Tenn., SGA PRESIDENT
For the third year in a row, Loaded Otis, a classic rock group from Sparta, Tenn., has been voted “Best Band in Cumberland County” by the Readers Choice Awards of the Crossville Chronicle. Playing bass guitar for Loaded Otis is John Brewster Powell, a former radio personality for Clear Channel radio in Sparta.
Alumni Council meets in new sports facility John Powell
The new men’s tennis coach at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., is a former Most Valuable Player at Martin Methodist College. John W. Dotson Jr., an independent tennis professional for the City of Fairhope, Ala., for the past three years, has also served as volunteer coach at Fairhope High School for the past four seasons and was the owner/director of The John Dotson Club at Rock Creek from 2004-2010. After earning his associate’s degree at MMC, John went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Birmingham Southern College in 1984, where he earned a national tennis ranking among NAIA players. He later worked as a tennis pro in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., Norcross, Ga., Roswell,
The Alumni Council met in the just-completed field house at the East Campus athletic complex for its September meeting, and among the topics was planning with new RedHawks shooting team coach Mark Payne (below, left, with Overton Campbell, center, and Sammy Holden) for the Trap Shooting fundraiser set for Oct. 26.
Ga., and Clinton, Miss., before moving to Alabama. As head coach at Spring Hill, John will get plenty of opportunities to coach against his alma mater with both Martin Methodist and Spring Hill being members of the Southern States Athletic Conference.
Joseph R. Greany, strength and conditioning trainer
PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
College classmates reunite and marry, 55 years later
Sara Birchett Reid and William E. (Bill) Reid, both in the Class of 1954, reunited 55 years later when they married in 2009. While students, they were crowned Their Majesties King and Queen Martin III (below); now as husband and wife, they have endowed a scholarship in memory of their parents, Cornelia Climer and William Selby Birchett and Margaret Eads and Robert Crawford Reid. On a summer visit to MMC, they met with (standing, from left) President Ted Brown and advancement officers Edna Luna and David Jones.
for the Lexington Legends, a Class A baseball team in the Kansas City Royals organization, has been named the South Atlantic League’s strength and conditioning Coach of the Year for 2013. The selection was made by the Professional Baseball Strength and Conditioning Society. This was Joey’s sixth season in the Royals system. He earned Texas Joey Greany League Strength and Conditioning honors in 2011 while with Northwest Arkansas. Before joining the Royals, he was a sports performance coach at Velocity Sports Performance in Mahwah, N.J. He was a standout shortstop for the RedHawks, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education. He earlier played collegiately at Alfred (N.Y.) State College and was inducted into Alfred’s Hall of Fame in 2012. He earned his certification from the National Strength and Conditioning Association as a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) at the end of 2007 and received his master’s degree in exercise science in May 2008 at California University of Pennsylvania.
Russel W. Clines of Ardmore, Tenn., one of two music degree recip-
ients during this spring’s commencement ceremonies, has been selected for the Nashville Symphony Chorus. For nearly half a century, the Nashville Symphony Chorus regularly has presented significant works from the clasRussel Clines sical choral repertoire, from Baroque to contemporary. Now numbering more than 160 voices in concert, the chorus performs at least twice each season as part of the Nashville Symphony’s SunTrust Classical Series, in addition to Handel’s Messiah each December. Every year the chorus also takes the spotlight at Voices of Spring, a special concert of choral works. In 2013-14, the Nashville Symphony Chorus celebrates its 50th anniversary.
Learie Sandy ‘08
RedHawks’ assistant women’s coach accepts NCAA Division I position
fter spending the past six seasons as the lead assistant for the Martin Methodist women’s basketball team, Learie Sandy has been named an assistant coach at NCAA DivisionI Northwestern State University in Louisiana. At Northwestern State, he will serve as assistant to co-head coaches Brooke and Scott Stoehr, who previously worked at Texas Tech and Florida State before accepting their current posts in 2012. The Lady Demons compete in the Southland Conference and rank among the top 40 winningest programs in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history. “Coach Learie has been a very commited and loyal coach,” said RedHawks head coach Jamy Bechler. “I am very happy that
Learie Sandy is the new assistant women's basketball coach at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La.
he is getting the opportunity to work at the NCAA Division I level. He has been an exceptional recruiter for us through the years and should continue to utilize that strength at the next level. We thank him for his tireless service to the RedHawk program.” Sandy, a 2008 MMC graduate, is a native of Trinidad and Tobago and played for his country’s national team from 1992-96.
Deaths Carrie Will Malone Smithson ‘33 of Lawrenceburg, Tenn., died July 20, 2013, at the age of 99. Anna Ruth McCormack Kamack ‘45 of Alpharetta, Ga., died June 6, 2013, at the age of 88. Ann Rutledge Ball Dunn ‘51 of Murfreesboro, Tenn., died Aug. 15, 2013, at the age of 81. Peggy Joyce Waters Vann ‘59 of Centerville, Tenn., died July 7, 2013, at the age of 73. William Keith Bledsoe ‘60 of Pulaski died June 4, 2013, at the age of 60. Dr. Betty Masters Alexander ‘81 of Hendersonville, Tenn., died Aug. 20, 2013, at the age of 72. William Thomas Suddarth ‘69 of Elkton, Tenn., died June 19, 2013, at the age of 83. Hal Merton Caudle Jr. ‘99 of Pulaski died June 22, 2013, at the age of 81. Linda Faye Bonds Horne ‘05 of Lynnville, Tenn., died June 3, 2013, at the age of 73. Daphne Alexandria Lazenby ‘06 of Thompson’s Station, Tenn., died Aug. 20, 2013, at the age of 51.
Former president of Martin Methodist dies at 76
Harry D. Wagner, former president
r. Harry Douglas Wagner, former president of Martin Methodist College, died June 28, 2013, at his home in Murfreesboro, Tenn., at the age of 76 after an extended illness. Dr. Wagner had been a teacher and coach at Sequatchie High School in Dunlap, Tenn., and a professor and administrator at Middle Tennessee State University when he became president at then-Martin College from 1970-71. He later became the second president of Motlow College and then Chattanooga State Technical Community College. Active in community affairs, the Methodist Church, and an avid fisherman, he received his bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University, a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee, and and his doctor of education degree from George Peabody College.
Valued trustee remembered for service to MMC
ne of Martin Methodist College’s most dedicated members of the Board of Trustees, James A. Rainey of Gallatin, Tenn., died Aug. 22, 2013, at the age of 84. Mr. Rainey, who spent 43 years at Commerce Union Bank, retiring as chairman, was a longtime member of First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville, and, through that connection, joined the board of trustees at Martin Methodist College in 2000, serving as chair of the finance committee. In that role, he gave invaluable guidance as college administrators moved Martin Methodist to a strong, expanding financial position and through a successful $43 million Campaign for Martin 2010. “Quite simply, Mr. Rainey was a mentor to me,” said David Stephens, College trustee James Rainey MMC’s vice president for finance and administration since 2004. “His quiet confidence was a reflection of his many years as a successful businessman. Never one to waste words, he would only ask two or three questions – but they were the most important ones. When satisfied with the answers, he’d smile and nod. “Of course, he will be missed, but I am confident his impact will live on for many years to come. Over time I’ve had the honor of working with many wonderful board members, and Mr. Rainey ranks up there with the best of the best.”
For all the saints who from their labors rest
The 2012-13 President’s Honor Roll of Donors
“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” – Winston Churchill
with a purpose
inston Churchill never visited Martin Methodist College . . . that we know of, at least. But had he done so, he would have seen a community of giving that illustrates his profound insight. Donors to this college have always had a purpose in mind when making their gifts – to advance this 143-year-old institution another step. That was certainly the case during the 2012-13 fiscal year, which ended June 30, when the generous supporters of Martin Methodist contributed $1,496,175. To each person and every organization listed on the following pages, we offer a sincere “thank you,” and commend one and all for the lives you have made – for yourself and for so many others. PHOTO BY GUY SCHAFER
Gold Circle of the
$10,000 and Above Mr. and Mrs. Julian B. Baker, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Michael W. Barton Bigbyville United Methodist Church CIC Foundation Council of Independent Colleges Estate of Frank B. Jackson, Jr. Estate of Herberta Grissom Mr. W. Frank Evans First National Bank of Pulaski Mr. and Mrs. George W. Frey Mr. Kenneth D. Funger Estate of Thomas G. Gault General Board of Global Ministries of the UMC Dr. Grace G. Grissom Dr. William E. Harmon Mr. and Mrs. Waymon L. Hickman Dr. and Mrs. Albert C. Hughes, Jr. Mr. Steve B. Ingram Mr. and Mrs. D. Doran Johnson Mr. and Mrs. Wendell Ketchum Magneti Marelli MMC Alumni Association The Hermoine & Glen Nelson Foundation Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth H. Pinkston The Rev. and Mrs. Charles H. Poole Bill and Sara B. Reid Scholarship America Sodexo, Inc. Tennessee Conference United Methodist Church TranSouth Collegiate Athletic Conference, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Byron R. Trauger United Methodist Higher Education Foundation United States Bowling Congress Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Walker Mr. William G. West Lettie Pate Whitehead Foundation
SilverCircle of the
$5,000 to $9,999 Alcoa Foundation Alsup & Associates Insurance Mr. and Mrs. Raymond A. Bellgrau Blackman United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. Marshall E. Brown Dr. and Mrs. Theodore R. Brown Mr. William A. Bryant Mr. Gary D. Cannon Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Cantrell Mr. Randolph H. Fields Mr. and Mrs. John D. Finch General Board of Higher Education & Ministry Mr. and Mrs. James W. Granbery Mr. Dan W. Johnston, Jr. Dr. John W. Lancaster The Rev. Larry C. Layne Lawrence County Education Foundation
Dr. and Mrs. Mack S. Linebaugh, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Bob Luna Dr. and Mrs. Roy Nicks Mr. and Mrs. William G. Norrie Powell Building Group, Inc. Pulaski Broadcasting, Inc. Pulaski Publishing, Inc. Pulaski Publishing, Inc.(HPI) Sharp Motor Company Bishop and Mrs. Robert H. Spain Mr. Claud Sulcer Ms. Lisa Welch
The President’s Society $1,000 to $4,999 ACT Adams Family Foundation AIG Matching Grants Program Drs. Ben and Betty Alexander Mrs. Sheri D. Alford Mr. and Mrs. Ernest W. Allen, Sr. American General Life & Accident Co. American Legion Auxillary Dr. Joyce Anderson AT&T Tennessee Mr. and Mrs. Jeffrey N. Bain Rosie Baker Scholarship Fund Bank of Frankewing Mr. and Mrs. Harold W. Bass The Rev. and Mrs. Horace C. Bass Mr. and Mrs. Michael Bassett Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Batchelor Baulch Family Foundation Miss M. Darlene Baxter Bedford County Laity Club, United Methodist Church Mrs. Margaret B. Berglund Bert-Co Industries, Inc. Mrs. Elmo Birkhead Mr. and Mrs. Michael W. Boyd Brindley Construction, LLC Mrs. Helen Brown Mr. Jerry W. Burlison Mr. and Mrs. John W. Burns Mr. and Mrs. Jerry W. Campbell Mr. and Mrs. L. Overton Campbell Mrs. Sue E. Cardin Cardin Distributing Company, Inc Mr. and Mrs. W. Hill Carlen Carter’s Drug Store, Inc. CB&S Bank Centerville Church of Christ Chestnut Grove United Methodist Church Chiles Propane City of Winchester Capt. and Mrs. Dan Clements Coca-Cola Bottling Works Dr. and Mrs. Clyde E. Collins Columbia Rotary Club Comfort Inn of Pulaski Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee Dr. and Mrs. Thomas M. Cooper Cornersville Leo Club Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy T. Cox Mrs. Marie G. Craighead
Mr. and Mrs. Robert Crigger Crosslin & Associates, P.C. Culleoka School The Hon. John P. Damron Mrs. Adelaide B. Daniel Diana Methodist Church Dickey’s Florist & Nursery Mrs. Corbette Doyle The Rev. and Mrs. Luke N. Dunn Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Earle Ebonite Recreation Centers, Inc. Education Training Voucher Program Mr. and Mrs. J. Ronald Ellis Mr. and Mrs. Joe S. Evans Miss Mildred O. Fariss The Rev. George Ferguson Mr. and Mrs. Peter Ferguson First Farmers & Merchants Bank Mr. Patrick L. Ford The Rev. and Mrs. William J. Fowler Mrs. Janice S. Franklin The Rev. and Mrs. Denman E. Frazer Frito Lay, Inc., Fayetteville Frito Lay, Inc., Pulaski Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Gallaher Dr. and Mrs. Stacey A. Garner General Board of Higher Education & Ministry Giles County Chamber of Commerce Ms. Linda S. Gill Goodlark Education Foundation Grace United Methodist Church Dr. and Mrs. H. Lynn Greer, Jr. Dr. and Mrs. Jack L. Gregory Mrs. Grissom’s Salads, Inc. Mrs. Jacquelyn D. Guthrie Mr. and Mrs. Richard Hammer Dr. and Mrs. Charles D. Haney Mrs. Caneta S. Hankins Mr. and Mrs. Joe Hardin Hartselle Scholarship Foundation Mr. Morris Ed Harwell Dr. and Mrs. Dennis E. Haskins Helping Hands Ministries, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Joe W. Henry, Jr. Henry County Medical Center Auxiliary Gift Shop Hermitage United Methodist Church Hickman County High School Highland United Methodist Church Capt. David O. Hill Hillside Hospital Auxiliary & Gift Shop Mr. James D. Ingram Dr. and Mrs. Roger W. Ireson Jackson Conference Center Mr. and Mrs. H. Neil Jobe Dr. Frances L. Johnson Mr. and Mrs. T. David Johnson, Sr. Mr. and Mrs. T. D. Johnson, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. W. David Jones Mr. Francisco N. Jung La Fuente Mexican Restaurant of Pulaski Mrs. Ann B. Lannom Legends Restaurant The Rev. and Mrs. Robert H. Lewis, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Lipman Mr. and Mrs. William S. Luna Mrs. Faye Lynch Mrs. Mary Lynch Lynnville United Methodist Church
Madison Street United Methodist Church, UMW Maury Regional Healthcare Foundation Martin & Company Advertising McBurg United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. Michael McCroskey The Rev. Laura K. McMasters and Dr. Daniel McMasters Ms. Raetta Miller Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Miller, Sr. Miss Tennessee Scholarship Foundation Dr. and Mrs. Charles A. Mitchell Mr. and Mrs. Donnie E. Moore Ms. Mary L. Moore The Rev. and Mrs. Maurice B. Moore Mt. Pleasant Community Foundation Dr. and Mrs. James T. Murrell, Jr. Murrey Chevrolet Dr. and Mrs. W. Harwell Murrey Mr. W. P. Murrey, Jr. Nashville Ad Co-op of Sonic Drive Ins Mrs. Ann Nelson NHC HealthCare of Pulaski Mr. and Mrs. John M. Nickell Mr. Walter S. Nunnelly III Mr. and Mrs. James E. Orgain Mr. and Mrs. N. Houston Parks Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Paysinger PES Energize Pinnacle Industrial, Inc. Pisgah United Methodist Church Ponchatoula First United Methodist Church Mr. Shirley Poole Horace O. Porter Scholarship Association The James & Venie Ann Powell Memorial Fund Professional Benefit Solutions, LLC Pulaski Exchange Club Pulaski First United Methodist Church Pulaski First United Methodist Church, Louise Henry/Open Door Pulaski Rotary Club PVH Corporation Richland Inn Mr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Ritter, Sr. Riverside United Methodist Church Ms. Edith F. Robertson The Scholarship Foundation of Robertson County Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Roe Saundersville United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. Gert Schumann Shawn Promotions Shelbyville First United Methodist Church, UMW Shelbyville Optimist Club Shipps Bend United Methodist Church Mrs. Louise Short Judge Muriel Robinson and Mr. Irby C. Simpkins, Jr. The Rev. R. Frank Smith SMTAR Scholarship Foundation, Inc. Mrs. Twila J. Snell The Rev. Garry D. Speich Stegall Charitable Educational Foundation Mr. and Mrs. David J. Stephens Student Nurses Organization Mr. Bobbie Swinea The Rev. W. Garie Taylor Teamsters Local 480 Tennessee Conference of the UMW Tennessee Elks Benevolent Trust Tennessee Grocers Education Foundation Tennessee Independent Colleges & Universities Assn.
Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association Timken Company Charitable Trust Dr. and Mrs. Ed Trimmer Trimmer Education Foundation Trinity United Methodist Church, Pulaski The Rev. and Mrs. L. C. Troutt Valley Packaging Corporation The Rev. E. T. Vann Mr. and Mrs. Grant Vosburgh Mr. and Mrs. William E. Wakefield Mr. and Mrs. Paul Walker Mr. and Mrs. J. Roy Wauford, Jr. Wayne County Laity Club, UMC Waynesboro First United Methodist Church Dr. and Mrs. Pat Whittemore Joe Wibel III Scholarship Mr. Donald E. Williams
Scholars Circle $500 to $999
Mr. and Mrs. Jerry L. Akins Mr. James G. Alexander Ms. Virginia W. Alexander Mr. and Mrs. Joe H. Allen American Legion Auxillary, Unite 39 Belmont United Methodist Church, UMW Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Butler Cancer Care Center of Jackson, Dyersburg, Paris & Union City Mr. and Mrs. Fred Cassetty Mr. and Mrs. Dan M. Cimbaro Ms. Ica L. Coggin Cookeville First United Methodist Church Cornersville Booster Club Culleoka FFA Alumni Association Mr. and Mrs. T. Gwyn Derryberry Dickson First United Methodist Church Fayetteville Lions Club Forest Hills United Methodist Church Dr. and Mrs. Armando C. Foronda General Supply Corporation Giles County Educational Foundation Good Hope High School H & H Communications H.C. Blake Company Ms. Brenda M. Hackney Mrs. Jeanette M. Hardin Henry, Henry, and Underwood Hillside Hospital Mr. Samuel Wesley Holden II J & J Heating and Cooling, LLC Kiwanis Club of Giles County La Vergne First United Methodist Church Leadership Bedford County Lewter’s Wholesale Supply, Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Ken Lowry Macedonia Baptist Church Mr. Randy Mauldin Marine Corps League Mr. and Mrs. Joe W. McBee Mr. and Mrs. Mark McNeely Dr. Grace A. Meier Mrs. Betsy Bass Miller Minor Hill Saddle & Walking Horse Club Miss Mitzi Memorial Scholarship Fund
Mr. and Mrs. William J. Morefield, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Morris Nashville Senior Care, LLC Nemak Alabama The Rev. and Mrs. Michael D. O’Bannon Phi Chapter, Delta Kappa Gamma Society Pulaski Exchange Club Pulaski First United Methodist Church, United Methodist Men Quinco Mental Health Center Mr. and Mrs. Joseph M. Rackley III Rutherford County Laity Club, United Methodist Church Mr. Guy Schafer Shoney’s of Fayetteville Southhaven High School St. Andrew Memorial United Methodist Church State Farm Insurance Companies Sun Trust Bank, Tennessee Valley SunTrust Foundation Mrs. Anne G. Townes Vietnam Veterans of America Mr. and Mrs. Mike Ward Waynesboro Rotary Club White County Laity Club, UMC Mr. Wade Wilburn Helen Zuccarello Nursing Scholarship
Columns Club $100 to $499
Mr. and Mrs. Billy W. Adams Mrs. Gwen Adams American Development Corporation Andrews Cadillac Miss Martha F. Andrews Mr. and Mrs. Dave C. Atchley Atlantic Coast Marketing, Inc. Mrs. Becky D. Augustine Mr. and Mrs. Alec G. Badger Mr. Lawrence E. Baggett The Rev. Vincent Baker Bank of Lincoln County Mr. and Mrs. Billy G. Bass Mr. and Mrs. James L. Bass Bass, Berry, & Sims, PLC Mr. and Mrs. John Beard Mrs. Lila C. Beasley Mr. Jamy Bechler Bedford County Education Association Ms. Anita A. Beecham Bennett-May and Giles County Funeral Home Berry Plastics Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Bevill Mr. and Mrs. Mitchell Birdsong, Jr. Dr. and Mrs. C. Edward Blackburn Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Blanton Mr. and Mrs. Tom E. Bondurant Ms. Brenda Boyd Mr. and Mrs. John J. Boyett Mr. and Mrs. David Bracey Mrs. Debbie Braden Brandon Rippy Insurance Mrs. Mary F. Brantley Brentwood United Methodist Church, Robert I. Moore SSC Brentwood United Methodist Church, Encounter SSC
Mr. and Mrs. Joe S. Britton Dr. Gregory Brown Mr. and Mrs. Larry G. Brown Mr. and Mrs. Harry E. Bryan, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Burns, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Don Burton Mr. Brad Butler Mr. and Mrs. Clay W. Buttrey Mr. Len H. Callahan Mr. and Mrs. James Callane Mrs. Margaret R. Campbell Ms. Myra Hammond Campbell Campbellsville United Methodist Church Caney Spring United Methodist Church Mrs. Jean S. Carr Dr. Charles and Mrs. Ruth Latimer Carr Mr. and Mrs. Carlton R. Caruthers Carvell Realty Mr. and Mrs. Michael Cesarini Mr. Glen Chaffin Mr. Wayne M. Chaffin Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Charlotte-Fagan United Methodist Church Cheatham County Laity Club City Road Chapel United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. F. M. Clark, J.D. Ms. Rhonda Clinard The Rev. and Mrs. John H. Collett, Jr. Columbia District United Methodist Women Dr. and Mrs. David P. Comperry Mr. David W. Cook, Jr. Cook’s United Methodist Church, Seekers Mission Fund Mr. and Mrs. Hugh F. Cooper Mrs. Mary B. Cooper Core Healthcare and Physical Medicine PC Cornerstone Baking Company, LLC Mr. and Mrs. William E. Cortner Mr. and Mrs. Jay Cossentine Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Cox, Jr. Dr. and Mrs. Malcolm A. Cox Crievewood United Methodist Church Crievewood United Methodist Church, Builders Class Crossville First United Methodist Church, Fellowship Class Dr. Edward L. Crump, Jr. Ms. Angella P. Current-Felder Mrs. Eugenia Curtis Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Dahn Davis & Eslick Supermarket Ms. Dana Davis Mr. and Mrs. Frank Davis Mr. and Mrs. William H. DePaul The Rev. and Mrs. Thomas V. DeRamus The Rev. and Mrs. Neil R. Dobson Dodson Chapel UMC, UMW Ms. Janie E. Domico Mr. Jonathan A. Donnelly Mr. and Mrs. Philip C. Dotts Dr. Ferdinand Balatico and Dr. Erisvita Balatico Dr. Dalton Drennan Mr. and Mrs. James E. Driver Mrs. Rebecca B. Drone Ms. Lavada Duffield Mr. and Mrs. Donald Dunnavant Mr. and Mrs. Steve Dunnavant Dr. and Mrs. Mark Durm Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Elliott
Mr. and Mrs. Rodes Ennis Epworth United Methodist Church, United Methodist Women Mrs. Dorothy P. Evins Ms. Virginia Ezell Fairfield Glade United Methodist Church, Friendship SSC Mr. Ben M. Falls Farley Church Fund Fayetteville College of Cosmetology Fayetteville First United Methodist Church First Realty Group Flat Creek United Methodist Church Dr. Jack E. Forrest Frankewing Lions Club Mrs. Melanie D. French Mrs. Lillian Gardner Mrs. Ann P. Gass Gattis Leadership Foundation The Rev. and Mrs. John H. Gebhart Mr. and Mrs. Harold Gibson Mrs. Terri N. Glasgow The Rev. and Mrs. W. Neal Glass Mrs. Kim Goldinger Mr. and Mrs. Kerry L. Gossett The Granite Guyz, LLC Mrs. Martha L. Grant Dr. and Mrs. Frank Gulley, Jr. Dr. John C. Gunn II H.G. Hill Realty Company, LLC Mr. and Mrs. Harry W. Haberthear Mr. and Mrs. Jerry F. Hall Mr. and Mrs. William J. Hamlett Ms. Dorothy Harper The Rev. and Mrs. Bernie M. Harris Mr. and Mrs. Terry W. Harrison Dr. and Mrs. Brant Harwell Ms. Sharon Harwell Dr. Robert P. Hay Mr. and Mrs. Ed B. Hayes, Jr. Mrs. Geneva Hayes Mr. and Mrs. Rogers N. Hays Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Henry, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. John E. Herd Mr. and Mrs. Lawrence C. Hewgley Ms. Suzanne M. Hillhouse Mrs. Martha R. Hitt Mrs. Sally S. Hobbs Mr. and Mrs. Alan Hoeper Hooper Photography Dr. and Mrs. James G. Hughes, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Terry Hughes Mr. and Mrs. Fred Hyde The Rev. and Mrs. John C. Ives Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Jackson Mr. and Mrs. Stephen B. Jett Mr. and Mrs. Edward V. Johnson Mr. and Mrs. Jack N. Johnson Johnson’s Chapel United Methodist Church The Rev. and Mrs. George Jones Mr. and Mrs. Cory Jordan Dr. and Mrs. Harold W. Jordan Ms. Judy S. Kennedy Mr. and Mrs. William R. Kimes Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy King Ms. Eileen Koltowich Mr. F.C. Kramer Mr. and Mrs. Tyler R. Kumpf
Mr. and Mrs. Leon F. Lamson Jr. Dr. J. Michael Law Dr. Shai Lawit Dr. and Mrs. Thomas L. Lawrence Lawrenceburg First United Methodist Church Dr. and Mrs. Kerbe Lee Mrs. Naomi T. Lee The Rev. Robert E. Lee Lewisburg First United Methodist Church, Fellowship Class Mrs. Joy Lewter Dr. and Mrs. William D. Liddle Mrs. Debra J. Lloyd Ms. Nell E. Logan Lones Electric Co., Inc. Mr. and Mrs. Randolph L. Lowry Mr. and Mrs. John R. Lyne Madison Street United Methodist Church Ms. Mary A. Maguire Mr. and Mrs. Harold L. Martin Dr. James E. Martin Martin Methodist College Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. Massey Mr. Edward B. Maupin III Maury Regional Medical Center May Oil Company Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McCormack Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. McCullough Mr. James R. McDowall Mr. Keith McIntosh McKay’s Service Center McMinnville First United Methodist Church, UMW McNeese Enterprises Mr. Julius E. Meriwether Mr. and Mrs. Joe M. Merrell Mr. and Mrs. Carl D. Miller Miscelleanous Gifts Miss Butler’s Bed & Breakfast MMC Rotaract Club The Reverend and Mrs. Harold Montgomery Mr. and Mrs. Edwin D. Moore Mr. and Mrs. Jim Moore Mr. Joe H. Moore Mr. Herbert O. Morice Ms. Marjorie A. Nance Mr. M. Donnell Newman Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Newton Dr. and Mrs. Domenic Nigrelli Ms. Emily S. O’Brien Mr. and Mrs. Joe R. Oliver Pancoast & Associates, Inc. Dr. and Mrs. James L. Paul Ms. Claire C. Payne Bishop Joe E. Pennel, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. Johnny M. Phelps Ms. Audene W. Phillips Mrs. Lynda S. Phillips Mrs. Kathy T. Pigg Mr. and Mrs. Luther E. Pinegar Pioneer Matching Gifts Program Pleasant Grove United Methodist Church Mr. and Mrs. John W. Potts, Jr. Mrs. Anne Primm Pulaski First United Methodist Church, The Forum Class Pulaski Jewelry Co. Mr. James W. Pylant Rapid Care Clinic, LLC
Mrs. Betty R. Ray Mr. and Mrs. John K. Rayburn, Jr. Ms. DeDe Read Mrs. Paulette G. Reed Mr. and Mrs. Francis J. Ripp Ms. Karen S. Roberts Rost Jewelers Ms. Mia V. Rummage Mr. and Mrs. William E. Rutherford Mr. and Mrs. Donald E. Rutledge Dr. and Mrs. Richard Sailors Ms. Anna F. Sanders Sands Restaurant Santa Fe Charge Activity Fund Mr. and Mrs. Peter D. Sauerbrey Ms. Sara B. Schulz Mrs. Reba J. Seals Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Shelton Mr. Mark Shepard Dr. and Mrs. Charles A. Shivers Mr. Joe Sibbitt Mrs. Vivian Sims Mr. and Mrs. Wilson Sims, Sr. Slaters Chapel United Methodist Church Mrs. Bryant Smith Ms. Kathy Smith Mrs. Lisa C. Smith Ms. Wanda Smith Mr. and Mrs. Bob J. Snell South End United Methodist Church, UMW Southern Scratch Junior Bowling Association Mrs. Beth Speer Mr. and Mrs. Dan M. Speer St. Mark’s United Methodist Church St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, Minerva Harrell SSC Mr. Kim H. Stancil Mrs. Rosemary Starnes Mr. Zachary B. Stephens Mr. and Mrs. David R. Stine FICF Subway Restaurant SunTrust Bank of South Central TN Sundrop Bottling Company Sunshine Cleaners Mr. and Mrs. Gregory D. Surbaugh Mr. James H. Tabor Mr. John R. Tate Mr. and Mrs. Gordon Thayer The Bank of Nashville Mr. Raymond T. Throckmorton, Jr. Mr. John Todd Phillip Townsend Memorial Scholarship Mr. and Mrs. Bill Trebing Mr. Kirk Treible Trinity United Methodist Church, UMW Trinity United Methodist Church, Loyal Builders SSC Mrs. Monica Tucker Mrs. Helen G. Underwood United Methodist Foundation for the Memphis & Tennessee Conferences Mr. and Mrs. Karl Vandevender Dr. and Mrs. Kenneth Vickers Mr. Stephen M. Vinsavich Mr. and Mrs. Tom W. Von Weisenstein Ms. Jo Ellen Walden Walnut Grove United Methodist Church Waverly First United Methodist Church, Hart Class Dr. and Mrs. Ed Weakley
Dr. and Mrs. J. K. Webb Ms. Willodean Weldon Dr. Steve West Westminister Presbyterian Church Dr. and Mrs. John L. White Mr. Terry Whitt Mr. Rhet Wierzba Mr. Michael Wiggins and Dr. Kayla M. Wiggins Mrs. Ruth B. Wikle Dr. and Mrs. J. Kenneth Wilkerson Mr. and Mrs. Julius Williams Mr. and Mrs. Douglas W. Williamson Willie Mae Stone English Scholarship Mr. and Mrs. Hal E. Wilson Mr. Price B. Womack Ms. Peggy Wooten Mr. and Mrs. Bill J. Yancey III Ms. Ramona W. Yates Dr. and Mrs. Thomas S. Yow III Mr. Barry Yuhas
Martin Friends $1 to $99
Mrs. Rebecca S. Abernathy Mr. David Agee Mrs. Ann-Ellen P. Akeley Mrs. Marjorie G. Akin The Rev. and Mrs. B. G. Allegood Arlington United Methodist Church, UMW Ms. Bertty J. Arnold Ms. Martha Arnold Mr. and Mrs. Ron Atkisson Mr. and Mrs. Allen N. Aymett Dr. and Mrs. William H. Balch Mr. and Mrs. James Banks Mrs. Nettie Barkstrom Dr. and Mrs. David L. Barnhart Mr. and Mrs. Neal Barnhill Mr. and Mrs. Jerald L. Bass Ms. Berthadel Beebe Mrs. Anita J. Belew Ms. Margaret Birdsong Dr. and Mrs. James L. Bledsoe Mr. and Mrs. Jeffery W. Blum Ms. Sarah Bolling Mrs. Elaine Brindley Mrs. Brenda O. Brown Ms. Lucile C. Brown Mrs. Robbie B. Brown Ms. Bess Bryan Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Bryant Mr. and Mrs. Frank S. Campbell The Rev. and Mrs. John M. Carpenter Mr. Del Carraher Mrs. Lila B. Carter Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Chiles City Road Chapel United Methodist Church, Prog. Christians Ms. Betty J. Coleman Mrs. Grace P. Coley Mr. and Mrs. Jack G. Cooper Mr. and Mrs. James E. Cooper Ms. Mable Corbett Mr. and Mrs. Ralph E. Covington Mr. Joseph G. Crabb Mr. and Mrs. Michael H. Craig
Mr. and Mrs. Scott Cross Mr. and Mrs. Thomas R. Cummings Mr. and Mrs. William A. Curtis Mrs. Hilda S. Dailey Mr. David Daniels Mr. and Mrs. Richard Daugherty Mr. Mack David Ms. Gertrude S. Davidson Mr. and Mrs. Johnie E. Davis Mr. Tim Dempsey Mr. and Mrs. Michael Dixon Mr. and Mrs. Donald Dority Mrs. Morilla B. Dorr Ms. Eula G. Dowdy Ms. Joan C. Driver Mr. and Mrs. J. M. Duncan Gov. and Mrs. Winfield C. Dunn Ms. Patricia Eckel Ms. Wanda J. Ervin Mrs. Susan M. Ewald Mr. and Mrs. Bob Farnsworth Mrs. Parks Farrar Mr. and Mrs. Hector Fernandez Mrs. Ruby Fisher Mrs. Betty H. Fitzgerald Mr. and Mrs. Robert C. Foglesong Mr. and Mrs. James L. Fullerton Mr. W. Neil Fussell Dr. and Mrs. Don D. Gala The Rev. and Mrs. Randall C. Ganues Mr. and Mrs. Ben Gary Mr. and Mrs. James P. Gary Ms. Julie Gary Mr. George Gianikas The Hon. Julia S. Gibbons and Mr. William L. Gibbons Mr. John Gilbert Mrs. Alice A. Gooch Mrs. Elizabeth L. Gourieux Mr. David H. Graham Mrs. Martha H. Graves Judge and Mrs. Thomas E. Gray Mr. and Mrs. Mark F. Hagewood Ms. Kimberly C. Hammond Ms. Martha B. Harder Dr. Joel T. Hargrove and The Hon. Stella Hargrove Mrs. Patty Sue Harper Dr. Dan D. Harris, Jr. Ms. Ruth L. Hessey Mrs. Virginia W. Hill Mrs. Josephine D. Hoffses Mr. and Mrs. Charles B. Hooper The Rev. Charles G. Hosay Mr. Edward D. Huff Mr. Daniel Hyatt Mr. and Mrs. James H. Ingram Mr. and Mrs. Tom Ingram Mr. and Mrs. Ben Jackson Mr. and Mrs. Tandy Jackson Ms. Gladys H. Jacobs Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Jenkins Mrs. Margaret A. Jordan Mr. and Mrs. Timothy Keen Ms. Janice A. Kelly Mr. and Mrs. Joseph A. Kennedy, Jr. Mr. and Mrs. George F. Kersey, Jr. Mrs. Verna A. Kieffer Mr. and Mrs. Soren Kiilerich Mr. and Mrs. Stephen J. Kirsch
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The formula for greatness in higher education includes a first-rate faculty, state-of-the-art facilities and teaching resources, ample scholarship funds and a strong operating budget. And the common denominator in that formula is a vital annual giving program. If you’ve already made your gift for 2013-14, thank you so much. And if you haven’t, we’d love to have you join us! The Martin
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‘Dramatic’ changes would make Ben happy
omewhere Dad is beaming with pride at all the growth at Martin Methodist College. I know he would be especially proud of Martin’s new dramatic arts major.
David Alford Class of 1985 David Alford is a 1985 graduate of Martin Methodist College who went on to earn degrees at Austin Peay State University and then the prestigious Julliard School. For more than 20 years, he worked in theatre in Nashville, first operating his own Mockingbird Theatre and then serving as artistic director of the Tennessee Repertory Theatre before returning to his alma mater as a faculty member in 2009 to begin developing a major in dramatic arts. Along with his teaching at MMC, he is also currently cast as a recurring character in the ABC primetime drama, “Nashville.”
The author of this Postscript is the son of the Rev. Dr. Ben Alford, whose 50year journal is featured in two articles beginning on page 4 of this issue of The Columns.
ne of the entries in Dad’s journal mentions a performance of The Terrible Meek at Madison Street United Methodist Church. It was, I think, the only time he and I ever acted together on stage: a cool moment for me. He was pretty good, as I recall. In fact, Dad had a lifelong interest in drama, even appearing in a couple of undergraduate productions while he was at Vanderbilt. He was embarrassed, though, by a review for A View From The Bridge, in which he played the character of Rodolpho. He told me he was singled out for being the only Italian immigrant in history with a southern accent. He was mortified. But his love of the performing arts never waned. Somewhere Dad is beaming with pride at all the growth at Martin Methodist College. I know he would be especially proud of Martin’s new dramatic arts major (see page 17). We began work on the new curriculum four short years ago, and we’ve already had two graduates! Our program is focused on getting students ready for careers in the entertainment industry. With that in mind, we regularly bring in working professionals to teach, lead workshops and direct the department’s productions. Our program coordinator, David Wilkerson, (a professional thespian as well) is directing the upcoming A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Campus Green. After that Mark Hagewood and I will bring the groundbreaking musical Next To Normal to the stage in Martin Hall. I hope you’ll consider making the trip to campus to see our talented majors – future professionals – in these challenging, delightful and inspiring shows. You won’t be disappointed. The only thing we need right now to take the next step as a department is our own dedicated theatre facility. So if you happen to have a large pile of money lying around and want your name on a building, please let me know. (Our development staff is cringing as they read this: hope they forgive me). I hope you’ll forgive me as well for all the crowing. I come by it honestly, though. Martin Pride runs in the family.