Tag Archives: knoxville

Is Facebook the cure for the World School Blues?

8 Nov

Five days ago I attended the World School International Forum 2012 closing banquet. It was the last event on a packed schedule for delegates from 21 countries around the world and while I expected it to be emotional for the nearly 100 high school students and teacher chaperones that had spent two weeks forming friendships and unbreakable bonds, I wasn’t prepared for the abundance of tears.

The mission of World School is to create a truly borderless entity for the purpose of helping the participants create their image of an ideal educational program. The program is designed to train students to adopt a global perspective by becoming receptive to differences and to enable them to form lasting friendships. It will also prepare them to excel in a globalized society. To accomplish this, a forum has been held once a year since 1997 to give students from around the world an opportunity to come together and learn from each other. These forums were held in Tokyo, Japan, from 1997 – 2001, then LMU became the first institution to host the event outside of the founding country in 2002. Ten years later, it was the University’s turn to host the event again.

It’s no wonder the students, and teachers too, shed some tears on their last day, because in the 11 days that came before life changing friendships were made, borders were torn down and a truly global community built on respect was created.

Hailing from Australia, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, Indonesia, South Africa, Turkey, Romania, France, Russia, Italy, United Kingdom, Japan, Thailand, Germany, India, Sri Lanka, China, Finland and Macau the delegates all landed in Knoxville before boarding buses and vans to take them to the Cumberland Mountains that LMU calls home. After settling into LMU residence Halls and celebrating the opening of the Forum with the Opening Ceremonies, the international contingent was on the road again for an excursion to Washington, D.C.

Things didn’t slow any on their return to Tennessee, as home stay would greet them. The students and teachers were split among community members to get a taste of home life in America. They returned to LMU for an intense second week of more academic pursuits. The education theme for the forum was Environment: Housing and Volunteerism and the students spent a lot of time preparing for a debate on the topic. The second week also included booth day and country performances where they shared information about their country with over 1,000 community members and school children.

The country performances included everything from –

the evolution of dance in the United States:

To the international sensation that is South Korea’s PSY Gangham Style (check it out around the 3 minute mark).

To the Aussies sharing a holiday favorite from Down Under.  Jingle Bells with no snow?

I had a very limited role in World School, mainly to photograph selected events as my schedule permitted. My family also played host for a pair of students during home stay (more on that in another post). Even as an outside observer, it was clear that special bonds were formed every step of the way.

During the closing banquet the delegates were warned of the “World School Blues” that could greet them when they returned to their home countries. At first, I was skeptical. I thought, these kids have been away from home and their families for nearly two weeks, surely they will be happy to have the comforts of home. They have been staying in institutional residence halls without the benefits of customizing them like college students do. They had been eating strange food and kept on a tight schedule with little down time to just chill. Surely, home was calling. But then I watched as they shared memories throughout the banquet and at its conclusion began moving around in small groups alternately hugging, crying and snapping pictures and I knew home was far from their minds.

 In that moment, as an adult who has said goodbye to my fair share of friends over the years, I was envious of their connections.  I remember crying over friends as I said goodbye every summer at the end of summer camp. I cried because I knew that I was not likely to see or hear from until the next summer. These World School delegates weren’t crying over that. They may never be in the same room again, but they would always know what was happening in Montreal, Paris, New Zealand or even Harrogate. Technology has changed everything. Facebook is now a conduit to maintaining these friendships. While the delegates may get the “World School Blues” longing to sneak out of a residence hall to meet up for midnight talks or miss a certain delegate’s unforgettable laugh, they’ll always be just a few clicks away from seeing their friends.

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Where in the world is the world?

8 Jul

Checking out the nearly completed Math and Science building earlier this week, I couldn’t help but notice that there was something missing. Actually, there are a lot of things missing at this point, but amid the dust and debris of building crews putting the finishing touches on the main lobby, my eye was drawn to what’s not there. At the center of the lobby area, across from where crews have taken great care to install stately marble, stands an area that is clearly waiting for something. The marble, which was reclaimed from the walls of the former Baptist Hospital in downtown Knoxville, adds opulence to the building even in its unfinished state yet there is still a gaping hole.

 

The Math and Science Building lobby.

The tiled floor lays the ground work for what is to come. If you were to walk in the main entrance of the Math and Science Center today, you would see a large square with three poles waiting for something. What in the world are we waiting for? Well actually, it’s the world.

Months ago, LMU Chairman Pete DeBusk commissioned Top Stone to create a four-foot rolling sphere fountain and it’s to be installed in the lobby as soon as it arrives. The globe etched sphere can be turned, spun and stopped by hand. However, if left alone the North Pole goes back to the north position. The 5,500 pound sphere floats on a thin layer of water. Top Stones uses unique technology in their fountain. It’s surely a lesson in physics, which is only fitting for the Math and Science Center.

A globe etched stone fountain similar to this on is on its way to LMU.

Top Stone announced the shipment of the LMU fountain in a press release on May 29, 2012. The completed work has been en route every since. The extreme spring and early summer weather and storms have slowed its journey. Approximately two weeks ago, University officials were notified that it had arrived in the New York Harbor and was sitting on a shipping vessel.

We can only assume that it is now on its way to Harrogate, Tenn., by truck. With just over three weeks until LMU-DCOM Class of 2016 orientation is slated to take place in the large auditorium on the first floor of the Math and Science Building, let’s hope the world is here to greet them.

 

 

 

 

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.

               

 

Another day, another orientation: Welcome MSN Students

11 Aug

 

LMU's first year MSN Students

 

Still more than a week away from the official start to the school year at LMU and we have already welcomed our new classes of physician assistant, osteopathic medical and law students to orientations. The Class of 2013 PA students have been in session since May and the DCOM Class of 2015 has nearly an entire month under its belt, while the Duncan School of Law newbies are finishing up bridge week with classes starting next week.

 

LMU's newest Family Nurse Practitioner students

Today, another group of students were oriented with the arrival of the Caylor School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing program’s newest class. The future family nurse practitioners and nurse anesthetists gathered for a whole day of activities. They were toured through the DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, met their faculty and posed for group photos.  For the first time, this will not be the only MSN orientation this year. LMU announced earlier this summer that the FNP concentration, which originated at the LMU main campus in Harrogate, Tenn., in 2006, would be added to LMU-Cedar Bluff to join the Psychiatric/Mental Health concentration already offered at the site.

LMU's newest Nurse Anesthesia students

 

The addition was a natural progression for the CSON as enrollment has quadrupled over the last four years. In addition to the FNP and PMHNP concentrations, the CSON also offers a Nurse Anesthesia concentration in its MSN program. The CSON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is also offered at LMU-Cedar Bluff.

The CSON is still recruiting for the January cohort at LMU-Cedar Bluff. LMU will host three Open House sessions for prospective applicants during the month of September at the LMU-Cedar Bluff extended learning site in Knoxville (421 Park 40 North Blvd.).

Sessions will be held September 1, 15 and 29 from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Pre-registration is not required. Information about the PMHNP and FNP MSN concentrations as well as information about the undergraduate programs will be presented. The new classes of PMHNP and FNP students will begin in January 2012. Applications for theses classes at LMU-Cedar Bluff will be accepted during the open house sessions.

Orientations at LMU will continue in the coming weeks. Undergraduate classes begin Tuesday, August 23.

 

 

 

Is Mary Todd haunting the LMU-Duncan School of Law?

19 Jul

At any law school you would expect to see stacks of dusty legal books, students feverishly studying and pockets of distinguished faculty engaged in debate. At the Lincoln Memorial University-Duncan School of Law (LMU-DSOL), you’ll see all of those things. Walking through the halls of Knoxville’s historic Old City Hall you’ll also catch a glimpse of Mary Todd.

However, it is not a portrait, statue or even the ghost of the University’s namesake’s wife you’ll spy, but an Indian peahen that has made a courtyard at LMU-DSOL her home.  The unofficial mascot of the law school, Mary Todd, arrived on the scene during the renovation of Old City Hall. The commotion of a multi-million dollar renovation never scared her away and as the inaugural class of law students arrived in August of 2009, it became clear that the peahen was here to stay. It was the inaugural class who named her.

Indian peafowl are native to South Asia, however semi-feral fowl are not uncommon around the world. The peafowl are polygamous by nature with one male nesting with multiple peahens, though females do not appear to favor specific males. Contrarily, some research has shown the peafowl to be more monogamous, with a surviving mate being outcast from a group following a death or disappearance of their mate. This along with abandoned pets and wandering peafowl can account for the origins of the feral population. Just a couple months ago, a wily peahen escaped from the Bronx Zoo and Twitter buzzed with peahen sightings and tales of her roaming the streets and dodging zookeepers. After three days on the lam, the peahen returned to the zoo.

Peahens are omnivorous, feeding on seeds, fruit, insects, snakes and small mammals. Mary Todd forages for food around the LMU-DSOL courtyard where the students have erected a shelter for her. LMU-DSOL students, faculty and staff also supplement her diet, leaving food periodically. She spends her days peeping through a glass wall outside the second floor hallway outside one of DSOL’s largest lecture halls, so most students pass her every day. Occasionally, Mary Todd wanders to the roof for a bird’s eye view of the City of Knoxville.

Mary Todd has even inspired Halloween costumes and has been used in marketing for the University. Already a media darling, she is often cited in news articles about the school.