Tag Archives: Harrogate

A close call, close to home.

11 Mar

If you have ever visited Kresge Hall or been to a University Advancement event, then likely you know who Angela Jordan is. If not, you are missing out. This remarkable woman puts all of us at UA first. She never ceases to lend a hand, help out or just listen to whatever may be on your mind. Her official title is administrative assistant to the vice president for University Advancement, but she really does so much more than assist for our entire division. More than just an assistant, Angie mothers us all.

No matter how many times she has been recipient of one of my eye rolls when she fusses at me for carrying too much, she still cares enough to chastise me any time I lift more than I should. She often tells me that she doesn’t care if I think I can do it, she knows that I shouldn’t. There is never a day that I leave work without her telling me do drive safe and take care.

When the devastating storms hit Harrogate on Friday, March 2, 2012, Angie’s house was struck by one of the tornados that ravaged neighborhoods across the street from LMU. She and her husband were thankfully unharmed, but the house and property sustained much damage. Angie asked me to help her thank the community who came to her aid. She said that she felt a thank you card wasn’t enough and wondered if I would print something in our University newsletter, CampusLinc, which I assured her I would. I also encouraged her to share with me her story and the following is just that…

 

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Six years & six memorable moments!

15 Sep

Happy Anniversary to me! Six years ago today, I started work at Lincoln Memorial University. It was a glorious day for sure. Not only, did I get to come back to higher education, I managed to stay off unemployment after my last employer was bought out. In honor of my six fun-filled years in Harrogate, I have come up with a list of the six most important or memorable moments since I joined the LMU family.

 

                6.  Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening celebration at LMU-Cedar Bluff (June 17, 2010)

LMU-Cedar Bluff Ribbon Cutting

The University had outgrown its former West Knoxville Extended Learning Site on Hayfield road. Home to the MBA program and graduate education classes, the facility was at capacity and the University was looking to expand its offerings in Knoxville. For months LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk and President Jim Dawson scoured the area for space. The pair kept coming back to a then-vacant former Food Lion location in the Cedar Bluff area. The lease deal became final in January of 2010 and the construction team immediately got to work with the goal of having the facility ready for fall classes.

                The timeline accelerated after it became apparent that the facility would be needed for summer classes. This also meant marketing the new facility and programs would need to be bumped up as well. Pulled together in less than two months, the Ribbon Cutting & Grand Opening kicked off the campaign. Once we started an award-winning advertising campaign promoting the event, the nail biting started as it wasn’t 100% that the facility would be ready on time. Thankfully, all was well that ended well and the day went off without a hitch. Hundreds of people streamed through the open house and now almost a year and a half later the site is a vibrant hub of activity.

                5. COM Announcement (January 18, 2006)

  

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk announces plans to bring a College of Osteopathic Medicine to LMU

              The day that LMU announced its intent to pursue a College of Osteopathic Medicine was an important day for the University, but it was memorable to me as an early test in a new position. Though I had been on the job for four months, it was the first time my writing was really scrutinized. I think we rewrote the press release nearly fifty times and it was frustrating. In the end the announcement was made to a full crowd of media, alumni, local politicians and guests. The press release was pitch-perfect. As much as I stressed about the press release and questioned if I was good enough for the big job I had taken, the day was pretty enjoyable. Though the thought of a medical school on campus was very exciting, the idea of it was pale in comparison to the reality that is now the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine

                4. DSOL Naming (March 27, 2009)

 

The Duncan School of Law Seal

               In February of 2008, University officials signed a lease to take over the occupancy of one of Knoxville’s most historic buildings, Old City Hall. At that time the University didn’t have specific plans for what it would put in the building, though the idea of a law school had been floated. By March 27, 2009, LMU had renovated the facility, received Sothern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and Tennessee Board of Law Examiners approval for a School of Law and hired a dean for its new school. What it hadn’t done was announce publicly the name for the new venture. After months of careful planning, a press conference and reception was held on site. It was the public’s first opportunity to see the multi-million dollar renovation of Old City Hall. Once again, it was an event that I spent a lot of time planning and stressing over. When the day arrived I panicked as the new sign for the school was delivered and installed early in the morning. As the sign was hoisted into its position the covering flew off allowing the morning rush hour traffic at Summit Hill and Henley to see what in a few short hours we intended to announce, that the law school was being named in honor of Congressman Jimmy Duncan. I can still picture myself stomping out to the installation team demanding them to cover the sign. Surely, we couldn’t have our guests driving past a sign declaring the very thing that we had invited them there to announce. Thankfully, a new cover was found. Again, the announcement was made without a hitch and the event was beautiful. Congressman Duncan’s wife, Lynn, went to special lengths to invite many of her husband’s congressional colleagues to be on hand for the announcement.  The surprise guests made the day all the more special.

                3. The Arrival of Amy Drittler (September 5, 2006)

                In my first year on the job it was not unusual for me to be at the office by 6:30 a.m. and work until 6:30 p.m. There were at least six months between the time that my predecessor left and I started at LMU. Catching up and getting a feel for what needed to be done was overwhelming. Handling all the marketing and public relations for the University, which was just 2,802 students strong in 2005, was a big job and I was determined to prove myself. Then at the turn of the new budget cycle, my boss told me that we would be hiring someone to handle the public relations and marketing for the then “proposed College of Osteopathic Medicine.” Prayers had been answered, I was getting help. Unfortunately the search process took another three months.

                My savior, Amy Drittler, started on September 5, 2006. In 2006 the University had under-3,000 students, the medical school had not opened and the school of law wasn’t even a glimmer in the administration’s eye. In the five years that we have been a team, the University has grown rapidly. The PR and Marketing department on the other hand, remains a team of two. As much as we have grown, learned and gained valuable experience from our hard work, I think we would both agree that our friendship has been the grand prize.

                2. DCOM Inaugural Class Graduation (May 14, 2011)

The LMU-DCOM Class of 2011

                The DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine has been the catalyst for LMU’s rapid growth.  I’m not sure event Pete DeBusk would have predicted how much the medical school would change not only LMU, but the surrounding community. Having been there from the very first announcement, the inaugural commencement ceremony was special to witness. From the initial announcement, to the groundbreaking, to the entrance of the first class, I had had been a part of many milestones for the institution, but no one was more poignant that watching that first graduate go up the steps a student and come down on the other side as a DOctor.

                1. The First Remote Area Medical Clinic (August 19 & 20, 2006)

People lined up for the first LMU Remote Area Medical Clinic

WOW! What a weekend. It is something that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. The experience truly changed me. The whole RAM saga started when my boss invited me to join her for meeting about “something health related.” It turned out to be the start of a movement at LMU. The Remote Area Medical Volunteer Corp. provided a wide range of free basic health, dental and optical services to the people of Southwest Virginia, Eastern Kentucky and Northeast Tennessee. At the time the Knoxville-based organization kept thing fairly local, though they now travel across the country and around the world. In this instance they were looking to fill a whole in their schedule. The good news was that LMU could do it. The bad news was we had less than three months to pull everything together. A host of issues compounded matters and in the end I went from attending a meeting to coordinating the entire event. When the weekend arrived we didn’t know what to expect. By the time the doors opened at 6:30 a.m. more than 200 people were waiting in line for the free services. All told, LMU and RAM served over 500 people and provided services in excess of $100,000 to people who may otherwise have not been able to pursue care. Additionally the expedition provided veterinary services to 231 animals. The people we served were so grateful for the services it was overwhelming to be a part of such good works. The University’s mission was so in line with the RAM mission, that we have made in annual event.

               

 

Woefully behind, trying to catch-up

9 Sep

This has been a busy week at LMU. So busy, I have fallen way behind on this blog. I have attempted to catch back up all week, but at the end of the day, it’s the end of the day and I’m out of time. So here we are at 10:26 p.m. on Friday night. So let’s hit the highlights of the week and call ourselves caught-up. I’ll try to start new with the daily posting next week.

Monday brought a rainy Labor Day to LMU. Classes were cancelled and offices were closed and it turned out, the City of Harrogate Labor Day festivities were called on account of rain. The annual celebration which takes place at the Harrogate City Park includes live music, family activities and fireworks. The celebration has been rescheduled for Saturday, September 17 beginning at 3 p.m.

Tuesday, another rainy day, took me to the LMU-Duncan School of Law where everyone is busy preparing for accreditation events. For my part, I arranged a last minute photo shoot to highlight some of the smaller, but no less equipped, study rooms.

 

East Tennessee Foundation grant presentation.

Wednesday, the rain was finally clearing, brought a new session of Staff Senate with a gaggle of new staff representatives including yours truly. The meeting served as an introduction to the organization for us “newbies” as Staff Senate Chair Julie Longmire reviewed the accomplishments of the past year and went over the projects that were being carried over to this year. New officers were also elected. I literally walked out of that meeting and into the next event. The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum had been selected by the East Tennessee Foundation to receive a $2,500 grant and ETF Senior Vice President for Programs and Regional Development Terry Holley travelled to Harrogate to make the presentation (I will share more on this in a future entry). No sooner had I snapped the last picture at the presentation than my phone began to ring. It was Lieutenant Adam Howland with LMU ROTC and they were presenting a huge scholarship to one of our students. It was really a milestone for LMU’s ROTC program which is in the midst’s of a reboot after dropping off the campus landscape for a while (again more on the presentation in another post). I capped the day with a visit to the Math Science Building site to take some photos of the project’s progress. The trip wasn’t exactly planned, so I was dressed appropriately for a construction site. With all the rain, I was lucky to escape without ruining my dress shoes.

 

Marshall Chapman performs.

I started my day on Thursday in Harrogate for a homecoming meeting. I hit the road before noon heading back to DSOL to finish the ABA photo project. Later that evening Writer-in-Residence Darnell Arnoult welcomed Marshall Chapman for the opening of the Appalachian Reading Series. Chapman, a Nashville-fixture, is an accomplished songwriter and essayist. She even stared alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Tim McGraw in the movie Country Strong, she played Paltrow’s road manager. The program was co-sponsored by the Music Department. Chapman performed her music and read from her new book, They Came to Nashville. Afterwards, she met with the crowd and signed books.

 

Marshall Chapman signs Charlie Allen's kindle during the Appalachian Reading Series event on Thursday.

 

And I’m not really sure how Friday got away from me so quickly, but here I am, signing off at 11:11 p.m. (make a wish) whew…. What a week.

 

And then I jumped…

12 Aug

1 – 2 — 3 — Zip! And with that I walked off the plank. What came next was shear exhilaration as I soared over forty feet off the ground spanning the 500 foot valley of Democrat Hollow in about 15 seconds. It was quick, but it certainly qualified as the most fun I have had on the job in a long time. Had I not had important public relations duties to attend to, I probably would have stayed there all day or at least taken the plunge one more time.

The zipline is the final high element of LMU’s High Adventure Ropes Course, which has been a fixture in Democrat Hollow since 2009. The High Adventure Ropes Course combines fun and adventure with team building and leadership development. Designed and built for the University by Challenge Tours, the course consists of six low ropes elements and three high ropes elements.  

LMU’s High Adventure Ropes Course Coordinator Turner Bowling agreed to take a group the University Advancement staff out to the course to experience a few of the elements. The best part, we all got to wear some really cool harnesses that are extremely flattering to our figures (I hope you can feel the sarcasm in that statement). Seriously, the best part was having fun with my co-workers and trying something new. To fully capture, and share, this experience I even rigged my own helmet cam by duct tapping a Flip Cam to the helmet. The result is a pretty shaky video, but you can get a sense of what the zipline experience is from the video.

The zipline is pretty self explanatory. Turner took our group two at a time to the plank, which has been built about forty feet up on one side of the valley. A wire is suspended across the valley attached to poles on each side. For lack of a technical explanation, the “zipliner” zips across the wire, suspended by a rope connected to your harness on one end and a pulley on the other. There is not a lot of team building to this exercise, but some technique is required to successfully “land.” Since Turner was on his own on this outing, he asked for one of our group to volunteer to “catch” for him.

 

LMU High Adventure Coordinator Turner Bowling demonstrating an easy landing.

I wanted to capture some video and photos of everyone, so I volunteered to catch. A successful landing involved landing on your feet and running up the hill building on the momentum off the zipline. It sounded easy enough in theory. Turner demonstrated how easy it should be.

LMU Director of Alumni Services demonstrates a not-so-easy landing.

Once my first team member came crashing into the earth, about 20 feet lower on the hill than I was set to catch him, I realized that it might be trickier than it looked. After three other failed catchings I was relieved of my catching duties and headed to the plank armed with my observations on the landings. My teammate ahead of me, who had also had the benefit of observing other landings, did manage to land on his feet.

When it was my turn, Turner reminded me that I would start to twist after take-off. He said it was important that I throw my weight the way the rope is turning, so that I am square with the ground on the landing. Amazingly, I executed a near perfect landing. After watching person after person slide into the other side of the valley, I was just happy not to be covered in mud.

My group decided, because of time constraints, to skip the ultra scary Pamper Pole. Another high element of the course, the Pamper Pole involves climbing to the top of a pole (picture a telephone pole), standing straight up and jumping off to hit a ball that is suspended about five feet off the pole. It’s the ultimate trust fall, as you have to trust your team, which is managing the belay, to ease your decent.

 I’m not sure if I’m crazy or just still high from the adrenaline from the zipline, but I definitely want to try the Pamper Pole on my next visit to the High Adventure Ropes Course. That’s right, I said next. I’m totally hooked. I wonder why it took me two years to get out there in the first place.


 

 

A graceful take off.

 

 

My smooth landing. Notice the helmet is over my eyes.

 

LMU-DCOM Welcomes Class of 2015

26 Jul

Assistant Director of Financial Aid Amy Arnold helps register the Class of 2015.

Around this time about five years ago, there was a clocking ticking down to the opening of the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine. As the days, hours, minutes and seconds ticked by, the excitement on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University grew. Ushering in the Inaugural Class was a milestone for the University and there was a sense of achievement for everyone involved.

Today, LMU-DCOM opened its doors to 162 new students. There was no clock ticking down. The excitement level for the campus as a whole was considerably less. After five years, welcoming a new class of osteopathic medical students to campus is routine. However, there was no mistaking the crackle of excitement the reverberated throughout the auditorium as the LMU-DCOM Class of 2015 waited to take the giant leap into medical school.

Members of the Class of 2015 listen as Dean Ray E. Stowers welcomes them to LMU-Debusk College of Osteopathic Medicine.

As Dean Ray Stowers addressed the class he reminded them that they had already accomplished so much, just by being there. He said less than one tenth of one percent of students who graduate high school and enter college actually make it to medical school. That accomplishment is a credit to the students’ commitment to their education and their family and friends support.

LMU President Jim Dawson and Chairman of the Board Autry O.V. “Pete” DeBusk also welcomed the students this morning. There were 2,849 applications, or 17 for every one seat, for a spot in the class. The chosen 162 hail from across the country. Seventy-eight are native to the immediate tri-state region of Tennessee, Kentucky and Virginia, accounting for 48% of the class. The class is 47.5% male and 52.5% female.

LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk welcomes students during LMU-DCOM Orientation.

LMU-DCOM’s fifth class of students will spend most of this week in orientation. Today, most of the housekeeping items were checked off the orientation list with forms filled out, ID badges made, parking stickers distributed and financial aid information presented. Spouses of osteopathic medical students were included in the day’s activities. The Student Advocate Association, a spouse and significant other support group, presented its own orientation for spouses in the afternoon. As the week progresses, the Class of 2015 will receive training on the tablet computers each student is issued upon matriculation and meet with faculty advisors. The first anatomy class will be held on Friday.

The excitement will wear off as the Class of 2015 progress into its studies, but the sense of their accomplishment should never go away.