Archive | December, 2011

It’s time for a break.

20 Dec

I may have mentioned before that there are few slow times in the LMU PR and Marketing Department. I am happy to report that this is one of them! As I am mere hours away from a nine-work day break, I will leave you with Holiday Greetings from LMU!

I will also leave you with a photo recap of Winter Commencement. It was a marvelous day and a landmark event for the University with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood receiving the Lincoln Diploma of Honor. Not since 1939 when former president Herbert Hoover was the commencement speaker has such a high ranking government official spoke to our graduates.

Most offices at LMU will remain open for a portion of day throughout the break. Offices will return to normal hours on Tuesday, January 3. Classes will resume January 10. Though I am taking the break to recharge my batteries and do not plan to update the blog, I am always on-call and will be looking for new and fun ways to get LMU’s story out.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


Nursing Convocation tweet, tweet…

16 Dec

Among the nearly 300 graduates who will cross the Tex Turner stage on Saturday will be 133 students from the Caylor School of Nursing, including the inaugural class of the generic BSN program at LMU-Cedar Bluff, ASN students from the Physicians Regional Medical Center Site and MSN grads from both LMU-Cedar Bluff and the Main Campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Thursday the group crossed another stage at the University of Tennessee.

Having grown tremendously over the past decade, the Caylor School of Nursing opted to hold a Winter Convocation ceremony to celebrate its December graduates for the first time. The event was patterned after the Nurses Pinning Ceremony that has traditionally been held in May on the Thursday before Spring Commencement. During the program the BSN and ASN students were pinned by faculty and the MSN students were presented their graduate hoods, which they will be hooded with at Saturday’s Commencement Ceremony.

A first for the CSON, it also marked a first for the LMU PR and Marketing department as I tweeted live updates throughout the ceremony. A late adapter of the social media site, my tweeting is still a work in progress (you can follow me at lmukate). And though I only have 33 followers right now, I looked at it as an opportunity to work some of the bugs out. For instance, I’m still not real consistent with my use of hash tags and mentions and I had never tweeted during an event before so my play-by-play was rusty.

At the end of the day, I’m still not consistent with the use of hash tags, but now I can say that I tweeted an event. I can also say that it is really hard to do that while being the official event photographer. It seemed every time that I had something to tweet, I didn’t have time to collect and organize my thoughts and type out 140 characters. Or if I needed to look up a name or something from the program it was across the auditorium with my camera bag.

Another challenge for me is using my iPhone to tweet. If I’m a late to the tweeting party, I’ve almost missed the smart phone party all together, only getting one when the University issued me an iPhone a couple months ago. I find the touch screen very hard to maneuver and my typing is atrocious. And that makes tweeting from an event without a computer or keyboard hard.

Although it wasn’t pretty, I did manage to send 22 into the Twitterverse during the Convocation. And get some pretty good photos too!


Free to Tweet

15 Dec

One of the greatest legacies our founding fathers left the United States were the ability to adapt and change the very foundation this country was built on. Two hundred and twenty years ago today the Bill of Rights were added to the U.S. Constitution.

Among the first 10 amendments in the Bill of Rights were important laws to protect the natural rights of liberty and property. They guarantee a number of personal freedoms, limit the government’s power in judicial and other proceedings, and reserve some powers to the states and the public. Perhaps the most influential of bunch is the very first one. For over two centuries, U.S. citizens have been guaranteed the right to speak freely thanks to the First Amendment. No doubt, our forefathers could not have predicted the new world of communications that has evolved over time. With every generation, the First Amendment has preserved free expression and empowered the American people.

Today, there are many planned celebrations to honor this great anniversary. Yesterday on Twitter I found one that I feel embodies the legacy of the First Amendment in this new world of communication advances. It’s an online contest that will award 22 – $5,000 scholarships. Dubbed “Free to Tweet,” the contest encourages high school and college students nationwide to celebrate their First Amendment rights on Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.

Below is a summary of the contest –

Beginning at midnight on Dec. 15, students ages 14 to 22 can tweet their support for the First Amendment with the hash tag #freetotweet, which will enter them in the “Free to Tweet” scholarship competition. Students are encouraged to freely express themselves in their entries, which can be posted on any publicly viewable social media platform, including blogs. The Free to Tweet contest takes place throughout the day, Dec. 15, 2011, on National Bill of Rights Day. The First Amendment was born in the 18th century but it’s your ticket to expressing yourself in 21st century ways. It guarantees your right to write, tweet, blog, read, sing and perform. It protects you at school and in church, allowing you to be you. What’s the point? To help spread the word about the importance of the First Amendment. In a digital world, free speech is more important than ever. Go to Twitter and use the hashtag #FreeToTweet. It’s really simple. So tweet away, and encourage others to do the same. Read more, and if you’d like a reminder to tweet on Dec. 15, sign up for an e-mail reminder here.

It’s amazing how forward thinking the founders of this country were. Certainly, freedom of speech is something celebrated today and every day.


Secret Service, pizza boxes and Santa hats? All in a Day’s Work

14 Dec

To say my job is varied is sometimes an understatement. Today for example, I have pondered the Secret Service, a judicial scandal, the Board of Professional Responsibility, Santa hats and pizza boxes. It may seem very random, but it’s a typical day in LMU PR and Marketing. Actually, it was a pretty light day. As finals are upon us and graduation looms on Saturday, we are getting to the ONLY slow time that my office experiences during the year.

One of my favorite parts of my job is handling media relations. It’s a part that I don’t get to do as much as I would like, but it always adds excitement to my day when I pick up the phone or open an email with an interview request for one of our administrators or faculty members. Lately, my phone has been busy. As the fallout continues from the Judge Richard Baumgartner’s official misconduct charges, faculty from the LMU-Duncan School of Law have been “go-to” legal experts for both WBIR and WATE. Visiting Professor of Law Chuck MacLean was featured in this report for WATE Externship Director Richard Gaines has also weighed in on the topic on WBIR  and has been quoted in the Knoxville News-Sentinel’s coverage. It is always my goal to get reporters exactly what they need when they come to us. This is vital to make sure that LMU becomes their first stop when they are looking for experts, and mine is the first number they call. Plus if we take good care of them, they are more likely to take care of us when we have an announcement to make, etc.

Pulling into the LMU-DSOL parking lot this morning, I was reminded of how nice our facilities at the Law School are. What reminded me was our student receptionist who was acting as a bouncer of the parking lot. This brings us to that Board of Professional Responsibility I mentioned earlier.  The Tennessee Supreme Court initiated the Board with the mission to make lasting contributions to society – by assisting the legal profession to maintain high standards of skill and conduct, a commitment to the rules of professional conduct and a desire to render useful and efficient legal services at affordable costs in a manner which is accepted as decent behavior. Earlier this fall, LMU-DSOL hosted the Tennessee Supreme Court while they heard arguments. The State’s highest court must have liked our hospitality, because its Board asked for us to host a disciplinary hearing today. The proceedings were open to our faculty and students and offered a great learning experience for both groups. The case they were hearing was actually pretty high profile and that is why I rearranged my schedule to be here. We expected to see some media at the hearing, but it must have been a busy morning for news because no one came.

 Sometimes, that is just how the cookie crumbles in PR, which brings me to the Secret Service. Without getting too deep into our preparations for the arrival of our esteemed Winter Commencement Speaker, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, I will have my first brush with the Secret Service this week. Should be interesting, but that is all that I’m at liberty to say!

Now, onto the pizza boxes and Santa hats… You might have heard that our Railsplitter basketball team is undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the nation. It’s big news for us and our community has been great in coming out and supporting our team when it plays in Tex Turner Arena, but LMU students will be going home for the semester break soon and we have over 5,000 seats to fill, so we could always use more support. Athletic Director Roger Vannoyand Coach Josh Schertz have worked out a deal with the local Papa John’s Pizza franchise to put flyers on all of their boxes. They asked me to help them come up with the flyer. This also covers the Santa hat, as I am ashamed to say it took me way too long to figure out how to put a Santa hat on Coach Schertz. But I finally got it.

What do you think?



A day that will live in infamy

7 Dec

 I have a brother who serves in the U.S. Coast Guard. For three years he was stationed in at the Barber’s Point Air Station on Oahu, Hawaii. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to visit paradise in January 2006. Though the beaches and scenery were spectacular, it was the visit to Pearl Harbor that left the biggest impression on me.

The history lessons and Hollywood movies painted a picture in my mind, but actually visiting the site where so many American service men and women lost their lives moved me beyond words. The experience was profound.

So today, on the70th anniversary of the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt so fitting decreed “a day that will live in infamy,” I reveled in the many accounts of the attack on Pearl Harbor published in virtually every newspaper in the country. So many of those papers delivered to their readers unique and localized stories related to the events of that day. It made me wonder how many LMU stories could be linked to that one event in history. My interest was piqued enough that I sought out my favorite historian to provide some information.

Dr. Charles Hubbard, professor of history and Lincoln historian, never fails to deliver. Our discussion eventually got to the stories of LMU graduates at Pearl Harbor, but not before he reminded of one of the most somber and striking stories of the U.S.S. Arizona.

If you have or ever will visit the U.S.S. Arizona memorial you know or will see pretty quickly what I mean. No tourist destination, this National Park which is supervised by the same National Park Service that manages the Cumberland Gap National Historical Park, is a memorial. The mood can only be described as somber. The day we visited was gloriously sunny with few clouds to dull the sunshine and yet there was no joy in our visit.

The reverent boat ride over to the U.S.S. Arizona memorial site was the chilling as you pass sunken ships and can clearly see oil that continues to come to the surface some 70 years later. At the Memorial itself, there is a great marble wall with the names of the one we have lost engraved. Toward the bottom is another set of names set off on their own. A tour guide explained to me how they are survivors who chose to have their remains entombed with their fellow shipmates.


Sights and sounds of the season

2 Dec

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the Christmas Festival last night. What a great way to kick of the  Holidays! The Knoxville Symphony Chamber Orchestra sounded great as did the LMU Concert Choir and DCOM Ensemble at the Tree Lighting. If you missed it, here is a photo recap –