Tag Archives: Graduation

New Student Registration, why should you go?

27 Jun

New Student RegistrationToday 42 new Lincoln Memorial University students visited campus for New Student Registration (NSR). They came with parents and family for the next step in their journey to college. The LMU Admissions team hosts several of these events throughout the summer to prepare for the start of the fall semester and the influx of roughly 600 new students.

What exactly happens at New Student Registration, and why is it important for you to attend if you are new student? Quite simply, NSR is when the groundwork of your first year of college, and possibly all four years, will be laid. During this day-long event you’ll hear multiple presentations about student activities, residence life and student success. But make no mistake; the most important thing that will happen at NSR will be your advising and registration session.


Faculty advisor

Dr. Tim Williams, a Vet Tech professor, advises an incoming LMU student during NSR.

During this time you will meet with a faculty advisor within your major. They will ask you several questions about your career and educational goals and help draw you a road map to meet them. You’ll have a list of required courses and electives that will make up your degree. The next step is to put together the puzzle of how to balance your course load on your way to your degree program. It is not as simple as high school may have been, when your guidance counselor scheduled your classes and then checked and double checked to make sure you had all the requirements for graduation. The classes you took in high school were available on a regular schedule, so if you missed chemistry as a junior you could still pick it up as a senior. In college there are a lot more options and a lot more forces influencing the availability of a course.


Text book

I was expecting to purchase a book like this one.

Let me share a personal anecdote on the topic of course selection and scheduling. I went to a private Catholic liberal arts college and one of the core/general education requirements was a three-class/9 credit hour cluster of sociology or psychology courses. I had no problem scheduling the first two classes in the cluster but put off the third until the first semester of my senior year because that was when they were offering a sports psychology class as an elective. I was excited about the class when I registered on my way out of town the last semester of my junior year. So you can imagine my surprise when I went to buy my books when I got back to campus that fall and instead of Psychology of Sports the title on my schedule appeared as the Psychology of Human Sex. While I was working my summer away, the faculty of the psychology department changed and the professor who was teaching the sports course left. The new faculty member got to pick her elective based on her area of research. And because I was a senior I couldn’t opt out of the course without delaying my graduation.

Surprise! My sports psychology course changed over the summer to the psychology of human sexuality.

Surprise! My sports psychology course changed over the summer to the psychology of human sexuality.

Now, it was a fascinating course and I fulfilled that requirement and graduated on time, but I never would have picked that course title out on my own. So keep an open mind and be flexible, but also it is important to not procrastinate with the requirements that are outside your major.

Another thing to keep in mind while attending your NSR is the schedule you set in your first semester will color your first experiences at LMU and shape your overall college experience. If you overload yourself with tough classes, you may struggle and wonder if college was the right path for you. Conversely, if you take a lot of less challenging classes you may find yourself lulled into a false sense of brain drain. Like most things in life, the key is balance. Listen to your advisor but don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something that you are not sure about.

If you are a newly minted high school graduate maybe you are looking forward to one more summer of fun before packing up and heading off to college, or maybe you are working hard to save the money that will fund your higher education. Either way it would be easy to say ‘I don’t need to attend NSR until the semester is closer,’ or ‘I’ll just go to the next one.’ Classes fill up quickly, especially the ones not scheduled at 8 a.m. If you truly want to control your own destiny in terms of class schedule, the earlier you register the better. Nobody wants the 8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday class when there is a 10 a.m. option; so the early bird will get the worm, or in this case the later class.

If you haven’t attended a NSR, there are still three more opportunities. There will be two in July, on the 11th and 25th and the final one will take place on Friday, August 15, 2014, just before the start of the semester on August 18. You can register to attend by visiting www.LMUnet.edu/admissions and selecting the events calendar.


A pause to remember, celebrate and be grateful.

11 Nov

Among the founders of Lincoln Memorial University is Civil War General Oliver Otis Howard. Veterans, it would seem, have shaped this University from its very beginning. Throughout LMU’s rich history, war has reared its ugly head calling students to serve.  So on Veterans Day, it is only fitting that we pause to reflect and remember the service and sacrifice of all of our veterans. There are three in particular that I think paint a good picture of character of the servicemen at LMU.


Pat Williams

The story of Patrick McCamy Williams opens like the story of many Lincoln Memorial University students. A native of Cumberland Gap, Tenn., where his father worked as the business manager at LMU, Pat Williams was the third of four children born to Casimir Pulaski “CP” and Annie George McCamy Williams.

A star basketball player at Powell Valley High School, he was an All-State honoree. Also an outstanding student, he enrolled at LMU following high school. Pat Williams played basketball at LMU and was one of six students highlighted in a Who’s Who in American Colleges in 1940. By that time, the campus had become a basic training ground for the military with both the Navy and U.S. Army Air Corps training men. The latter operated a unit of the Civilian Pilot Training Corps.  Pat Williams completed the Civil Pilot’s Training Course and received his pilot’s license in 1940.

When the U.S. entered World War II, Pat Williams was one of the many brave “Lincoln Men” who served his country. He was commissioned following his junior year at LMU. Before he was called to serve, he volunteered for active duty. Pat Williams transferred from the Cavalry to the US Army Air Corps in September 1941. He was inducted at Ft. Oglethorpe. Following training and one term as a flight instructor, Pat Williams was assigned to the 63rd Fighter Squadron of the 56 Fighter Group made up of the famous P-47 Republic Thunderbolts.

Pat Williams flew nine missions with his squadron prior to the fateful tenth mission that would claim his life. Moorsele, Belgium historian and aviation enthusiast Lothaire Vanoverbeke uncovered the details of the mission while researching his bookMoorsele, één dorp, twee vliegvelden (translated: Moorsele, A Village, Two Airports):

“Mission Rodeo 34 was carried out on May 31. Pat Williams was with Lyle Adrianse, Gordan Batdorf, Jack Brown, Sylvester Burke, George Compton, Lucian Dade, Roger Dyar, Joseph Egan, Dan Goodfleish, Walter Hannigan, Frank Peppers, Glenn Schiltz, Arthur Sugas and Edgar Whitley, all from the 63rd, part of the complete 56 FG that left Horsam St. Faith at 11:05 a.m. During the assembly Brown had to land because of a gasoline leak and was immediately replaced by Harry ‘Bunny’ Comstock. Over Hornchurch, Compton thought it safer to land because of engine trouble and did so accompanied by Sugas. To show no favoritism, Commander Hubert Zemke rotate the squadrons he flew in the lead and this time it was the 63rd up front with Pat Williams in his flight, sweeping the Knokke-Kortrijk-Diksmuide area. They entered the continent over the Dutch-Belgian border and turned south. Without seeing any ‘Krauts,’ they came over Kortrijk and now turned west. Suddenly Williams wheeled over and went straight down. Whitley was one of those who saw what happened and thinking of an oxygen failure, he started to scream at him over the radio “Pat, pull out,” hoping that if he was partially conscious, he could get him to respond. The Jug turned into a steep dive and was last seen at 10,000 ft. when it entered the clouds.”

Vanoverbeke’s research would go on to reveal that Pat Williams did regain consciousness and leveled the aircraft out; however he crash landed in a field outside the village of Moorsele. Horrified citizens watched as the pilot perished, not in the crash but in the fire that erupted following the impact. Zemke later wrote about the mission, “It was hard to come home and hear that we lost a crew in a dogfight, but losing a good pilot because of a stupid technical defect was even more regrettable.”

Pat Williams was buried with full military honors by a platoon of Flemish NSKK troopers on June 2, 1943. German authorities identified him immediately, but since all allied aircraft originated from Great Britain, the locals assumed he was an English pilot.

This is when Pat Williams’ story starts to deviate from the path of so many typical LMU students. It’s not the circumstance of his death or even his patriotic service that sets him apart, because many “Lincoln Men” volunteered for and gave their lives in service to their country. Rather, it’s the mark his death left on the village of Moorsele, which makes his story stand out.

Just as he was honored in life, Pat Williams was honored following his death. He was the first member of his famous squadron to receive the Air Medal and by direction of the President of the United States, the Purple Heart. His body was removed from Moorsele in 1946 and now rests at the U.S. Military Cemetery at Epinal, France (Bloc B, Plot 17, Grave 31). LMU held a memorial service in his honor on March 5, 1944, and his family carved a memorial on the reverse of his parents’ tombstone in Benton, Tenn. Perhaps the most striking remembrance of Pat Williams’ sacrifice is a monument erected a world away in a country where not a single soul had the pleasure of meeting Pat Williams.

Because local lore remembered him as an “English pilot” it wasn’t until the late 1980s that Pat Williams’ whole story was retold locally. Vanoverbeke’s research uncovered a photo from the crash that showed a star on the fuselage of the plane. The aviation aficionado immediately realized the star meant that it was not an English pilot who had lost his life near his village. He contacted the U.S. Embassy, the U.S. Air Force archives and eventually Colonel Zemke. Piecing the story together led him to Harrogate, Tenn., LMU and Howard Williams, Pat Williams’ younger brother.

Vanoverbeke’s research, a voluminous 410-page book, was published in 1993 and reissued in 1999. “As there was nothing in the village that reminded of that sacrifice, I felt that the name and history of Pat Williams had to be brought back to Moorsele. In August of 2001, I asked the Wevelgem mayor and town council (Moorsele is a borough of Wevelgem) to erect a monument for this American pilot,” Vanoverbeke said of his quest to erect a monument in honor of Pat Williams. 

The Wevelgem Town Council agreed and on June 2, 2002, the memorial monument was dedicated in the presence two of Howard Williams’ adult children and Whitley, the pilot who cried out trying to pull Pat Williams out of unconsciousness during his dissent. Colonel Marion Tunstall, Air Attaché of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels, represented the American Ambassador at the ceremony.

Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman were among the dignitaries present at the rededication of the Pat Williams memorial.

Nine years later Pat Williams would be honored once again, this time in the presence of Belgium Prime Minister Yves Leterme and U.S. Ambassador Howard Gutman. The rededication was necessary when the monument, which was originally placed between where he died and where he was first buried, had to be moved to accommodate the expansion of a local sports arena.


Ross Carter

Ross Carter and Pat Williams probably either knew or knew of each other, as Carter was graduating cum laude from LMU around the same time Williams left the University to join the war efforts. Carter was born and raised in Scott County, Va., and graduated cum laude from LMU in 1941, where he majored in history. He went on to become a decorated war hero in World War II, as a member of the 82nd Airborne Division, 504th PIR. Carter participated in battles in Africa, Sicily, Italy and at Cassino. For his heroics during the war, Carter was awarded a Silver Star, Combat Infantry Badge, five Gold Stars for Battle, The Purple Heart and his unit earned a Presidential Unit Citation. His Paratrooper Wings bear three stars, one for each combat jump.  He saw 340 days of actual combat. He was one of three survivors from his original forty-four man platoon when the war ended.

After his service, Carter wrote the manuscript for the book Those Devils In Baggy Pants, a memoir of his wartime service.  Shortly after his service he was diagnosed with cancer and battled it throughout the writing process. During his illness he spent many hours with his brother Dr. Boyd G. Carter, briefing him on the editorial work.   His story went on to become a non-fictional best seller when it was released in 1951. A condensed version was published in Reader’s Digest in October 1951. Carter’s memoir is still in print today and is considered the quintessential book on the paratroopers in World War II.

The name for his book was inspired from this quote found in the diary of a German officer who opposed the 504th on the Anzio beachhead:  “American parachutists – devils in baggy pants – are less than 100 meters from my outpost line.  I can’t sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they strike next.  Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere…” –  thus  the title  Those Devils in Baggy Pants.

Ten years after his death, LMU celebrated its sixtieth year as an institution of higher learning. During that celebration two Airborne Infantry master sergeants presented the school with a check for $300, the first gift to the University in Carter’s memory. Carter never lived to see his success, succumbing to cancer on April 18, 1947. Having never married and leaving no descendants, his legacy lives on at his alma mater, where his fellow paratroopers and classmates have established the Ross Carter Memorial Scholarship Fund.

“Ross lives on in the book he wrote and in the lives of the young people who are inspired by his example,” University President Robert Kincaid remarked at that celebration. “From his short life of full achievement and devotion will come inspiration for future writers and future leaders who will add greatly to the priceless heritage he has left to humanity.”

Carter’s legacy lives on, even today, as his scholarship is awarded annually and the English department awards Ross S. Carter writing awards.


David “Mac” McCollum

Nearly 70 years after Williams lost his life in WWII and 65 years after Carter succumbed to cancer, David “Mac” McCollum crossed the stage at Tex Turner Arena in 2012 and became an alumnus of LMU. A decorated Marine veteran, McCollum served two tours of duty in Iraq during his seven years of military service prior to enrolling at LMU.

His path to LMU was born out of frustration with a larger institution. “After my second tour, I knew I wanted to take advantage of the education benefits that come with serving our country. I wanted to do that at UT, but for whatever reason, they couldn’t get me in the classes I needed to graduate within the time frame I wanted to graduate,” McCollum said. “Discouraged, I checked out all the other schools around Knoxville. On a whim, I visited LMU. I literally left campus that day with a clear path to graduation, signed up for classes with financial aid in the works. I couldn’t believe it.”

McCollum stayed on his course and graduated in May. As significant as the 20 or so steps it took for him to cross the stage and pick up his diploma were, what came next may have shaped his life even more. Just two days after crossing the stage at commencement, McCollum embarked on an over-500 mile trek from Knoxville to Washington, D.C. Throughout his “Ruck to Remember” McCollum blogged about his experience to raise funds and awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project

McCollum logged thousands of miles alongside fellow heroes and patriots in extreme conditions and under fire while he served in the Marines. Many of the soldiers he walked alongside never made it home or suffered traumatic and life-altering injuries. It is in honor of his fallen friends that he has mapped out his next path. 

McCollum was inspired to do something after his best friend, Bradley Walker, lost both of his legs during his second deployment. “I really feel like I didn’t and can’t do enough for him,” McCollum said. “We were just kids. Just 23, 24-year-olds and his life has changed. It’s just the right time for me to step up and support all the wounded warriors, like Bradley.”

The idea initially grew out of camping and hiking trips with fellow veterans. “We would sit around the campfire and talk about our experiences. Inevitably the conversations would trail off as we remembered all of the guys we lost or who were injured. We decided we had to do something to honor them.”

McCollum completed his “Ruck to Remember” on Memorial Day in Arlington National Cemetery. His fundraising wrapped up a couple months later with a tally of over $17,000 raised for the Wounded Warrior Project. Now a decorated veteran and college graduate, McCollum hopes to go back to work for the United States of America, this time for the federal government in an agency such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

On this Veterans Day, we pause to remember, celebrate and be grateful for all of our servicemen and women, especially Pat, Ross and Mac.

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 http://www.wate.com/story/16309294/prosecutor-breaks-silence-on-judicial-diversion-for-ex-knox-county-judge. Externship Director Richard Gaines has also weighed in on the topic on WBIR http://www.wbir.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=193868  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?




What’s Happening: PA Graduation

30 Jul

LMU Chairman Autry O.V. "Pete" DeBusk welcomes the graduates.

The Lincoln Memorial University Board of Trustees, President B. James Dawson, Dean Ray E. Stowers and the Faculty of the Physician Assistant Program welcomed friends, family and special guests of the inaugural class of the Physician Assistant Program at Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine (LMU-DCOM) to commencement exercises earlier today.


Dr. J. Dennis Blessing gives the keynote address

The class of 32 new health practitioners gathered at the Sam and Sue Mars Performing Arts Center in the Duke Hall of Citizenship on the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tenn. Dr. J. Dennis Blessing, associate dean for South Texas Programs and chair of the Department of Physician Assistant Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio served as the keynote speaker.






The Lincoln Memorial University Physician Assistant Inaugural Class celebrates following the ceremony.



The Lincoln Memorial University-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine Class of 2011.