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Traveling this summer? Don’t forget Flat Abe.

24 Jun

Balloons released with postcards.There are time honored traditions that every elementary student takes part in. I remember tying a postcard to a balloon and letting it fly, hoping whenever the flight ended someone would find my postcard, note where it landed and send it back to me. Some kids send out messages in bottles or the more traditional chain letter. The lesson in these exercises is to expand the worldview of the student. To show a child that there is so much more than their small insulated community. Similarly, the beloved children’s book Flat Stanley (by Jeff Brown in 1964) has evolved to the Flat Stanley project. In the Flat Stanley children’s books, Stanley travels the world in envelopes. Students who read the books send the paper doll and written notes to students in other parts of the world through conventional mail and e-mail. Children exchange ideas, photographs, questions and culture with students overseas. Once again, a world view is expanded and connections are made.

LMU’s Flat Abe project is aimed at providing a way for LMU students and alumni to share their blue and grey pride and document their travels. Flat Abe can be requested through the LMU Alumni page ( and getting started is as easy as:

  1. Request Flat Abe
  2. Receive Flat Abe
  3. Take Flat Abe pictures
  4. Share Flat Abe pictures
Flat Abe in Zimbabwe.

Flat Abe visited Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe with Bill Hoffard.

As the alumni page explains, “Abe represents all of the LMU family and our impact on the world, because we represent LMU no matter where we are. Whether we are relaxing on the beach or volunteering our time on mission trips to underserved communities, we are carrying LMU’s legacy with us. And who better to bring with us on those trips but Abe himself?”

Since the program began Flat Abe has had some interesting journeys. He has celebrated important milestones including births, marriages and more. He has made it to quite a few locations including Labadee, Haiti; Cozumel, Mexico; Falmouth, Jamaica; George Town, Cayman Islands; and US cities in Florida, California, Texas, Nevada, and Tennessee. Flat Abe also hung out with some famous people like Clare Bowen from ABC’s Nashville.

Clare Bowen and Flat Abe.

Flat Abe and LMU Alum Jamie Mihalko met Clare Bowen of ABC’s Nashville, where else? In Nashville at a Predator’s Game.

So if summer adventures are on your horizon, don’t forget to pack Flat Abe and share your journeys with the LMU community. LMU Director of Alumni Services Donnie Lipscomb did just that earlier this week when he landed in Shannon, Ireland on his way to Galway with the current LMU Alumni Travel trip to the Emerald Isle.


Honest Abe in the Emerald Isle.

Flat Abe arrived in Ireland earlier this week.


Take us out to the ballpark…

2 Jul

The boom, pop and crackle of fireworks should be filling the air throughout the country later this week as July 4th celebrations spread coast to coast, sea to shining sea. Here in the southeast, we are anticipating more of a fizzle than sizzle because of rainy forecasts. In fact, most counties in the LMU service area are under a flood watch through Friday evening. Thankfully, celebrating the birth of this great nation is not always limited to Fourth of July fireworks, barbeques and picnics.

Scot Shields

Scot Shields

Anyone who has uttered the words “as American as apple pie,” knows there are a slew of American institutions that fit that billing. Baseball is certainly one of them as America’s favorite pastimes. LMU’s love affair with competitive baseball can be traced back to within 11 years of the University’s founding. LMU has boasted a baseball team since 1908. The 105 years that have followed brought LMU banner seasons, conference and league titles, All-Americans, future pros and even a World Series Champ. One of our most notable alumni, Scot Shields, won a World Series with the Angels back in 2002.

Tennessee Smokies

Tennessee Smokies

The love affair continues as LMU is a corporate sponsor for the Tennessee Smokies, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs that plays in Sevierville, Tenn. This is the third year of our partnership, which began as a marketing effort to help LMU garner more attention for what was then a new extended learning site in Sevier County. However, the partnership has resulted in one of the University Community’s favorite outings – “LMU Night at Smokies Park.”

Set for a Fireworks Friday on July 19, this year’s event promises fun for the whole family. The Tennessee Smokies will take on the Jacksonville Suns at 7:15 p.m. The University will participate in various promotions during the game. The LMU Cheerleaders, Dance Team and Abe will join Diamond and Slugger, the Smokies’ mascots, for pregame entertainment. Additionally, LMU admissions will be on hand with recruitment materials and give-aways. It will be Kenny Chesney Theme Night at the park featuring the country music star’s greatest hits. Following the game, a free fireworks show will take place.

It’s not too late to join the fun. Discounted tickets are available for faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. The ticket package is $11 apiece and includes admission to the game and a meal voucher good for a hotdog, a soft drink and chips. Follow this link to order online.

Hopefully Mother Nature will cooperate for our celebration of the American institution of baseball and our Fireworks Friday will be more sizzle than fizzle. However, if Mother Nature does deal us another bad hand, rainchecks will be available.

It’s Homecoming Week

10 Oct

It’s homecoming week at LMU and that means lots and lots to do. In addition to the full slate of homecoming releases, currently tracking at nine with all the halls of fame inductees and alumni awards, there are special events to attend and photos to take. No matter how busy the week gets, Homecoming will always be one of my favorite times at LMU.

I love that it always falls in Fall, which is when our fair campus is at its most beautiful.  I love the camaraderie that oozes from the University Advancement crew. When you put together as many events in such short period of time as this group does, you have to work together. Plus the UA staff is known for dropping everything to assist each other and not only get the job done, but get it done the right way. And of course when you are working as many hours over a short period of time as Homecoming requires, at some point someone is going to get slap happy, and comedy will ensue. I can’t wait for that!

Perhaps, the best part of Homecoming is seeing LMU’s proud alumni return to Harrogate. It’s amazing to see all the relationships that began right here and to hear all about the shared history of this academic learning community. It’s also inspiring to see what our alumni have been up to since graduation.

This could possibly be the biggest and best Homecoming yet. The Governor of Tennessee is going to be here to help us dedicate the Math and Science Building; retired MLB pitcher Scot Shields will be on campus for the first time in five years; and the weather forecast is looking perfect.

Bring on Homecoming.  We’re ready and waiting.


LMU Family Day at Dollywood in Pictures.

16 Jul

LMU family day at LMU was too fun to put into words, so I’ll let a few photos tell the story. Enjoy, we sure did.


It’s time to go to Dollywood!

14 Jul

The countdown is over! Tomorrow is the day. Dollywood is the place. And family fun is the name of the game! LMU’s Director of Alumni Services Donnie Lipscomb organized LMU Family Day at Dollywood several months ago with the goal of providing a day of fun for LMU faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends. It’s a way to celebrate another successful year and to build community good will and thank faculty and staff for service.

The University offered discounted tickets which could also be upgraded to a season pass. The discounted ticket and fee to upgrade actually adds up to less than a regular priced single day ticket, so LMU folks can enjoy a who season of Dollywood fun for less than price of one day. Additionally, President Dawson is hosting a buffet lunch for all LMU guests.

Donnie started with the goal of selling 300 tickets to the event. A goal, he far surpassed as we are expecting around 500 people for the lunch and have sold more than 300 tickets.

Dollywood is a theme park owned by Dolly Parton and the Herschend Family Entertainment Corporation. In addition to the park’s thrill rides (including four rollercoasters). Dollywood features traditional crafts and music of the Smoky Mountains. NEW for 2012, The WILD EAGLE is the first Bolliger & MabillardWing Coaster in the United States and it is the biggest investment in Dollywood history. It’s sure to be a great day. Check back tomorrow for photos and more!


Homecoming:Saturday in Pictures

18 Oct

Homecoming Photo Show: Friday

16 Oct


Friday was a wonderful day with family and friends at LMU!