Focus Magazine Spring 2016

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Publication for Maryville College Alumni and Friends




S P R I N G 2 01 6
VOL. 112 | NO. 1

Farm Fresh
Alumni pursue agriculture

A P U B L I C AT I O N F O R A L U M N I &

A Publication for
Alumni & Friends of Maryville College

Dr. Tom Bogart


from our


agriculture, we thought it would be appropriate
to highlight a time when Maryville College had a
farm. In 1918, treasurer and 1907 alumnus Fred
Proffitt established the College Farm, which was
extended in 1934 by the addition of the 46-acre
“Brown Farm” to expand the College’s dairy
farm. The College Farm property was located just
beyond where Lloyd Beach sits today and spanned
the land between the College Cemetery and
the Thompson-Brown House on Highway 321
(Walland Highway). In the mid-1930s, the existing dairy barn was enlarged,
a modern milking barn was added, and a concrete block silo that was 14 feet
in diameter and 50 feet high was constructed (pictured below in these 1943
photos). The College Farm
property and buildings were
sold in 1975. Alumni, what
do you remember about the
College Farm? Email us at
[email protected]
or send us a letter: FOCUS,
Maryville College, 502 E.
Lamar Alexander Pkwy.,
Maryville, TN 37804.


IN THE LAST ISSUE, we asked alumni to share what they remember about the
College’s Parish Project, which was also known as the Faith Cooperative Parish.
We received responses from several alumni who were involved with the project,
and we plan to include the
information in a future
story. If you have
memories to share, please
contact us!

Chloe Kennedy, Editor
Assistant Director of Communications
Karen Beaty Eldridge ‘94
Executive Director for Marketing and Communications
Suzy Booker
Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Angela Miller
Director of Alumni Affairs and Stewardship
Mary Workman
Publications Manager

Rev. Dr. Emily J. Anderson
Mr. Eric W. Barton
Dr. William T. Bogart 
Dr. Elizabeth A. Bulette
Mr. Hulet M. Chaney
Mr. Jerry Creel
Dr. Bryant L. Cureton, ‘60
Mr. C. Michael Davis, Jr.
Mr. Joseph M. Dawson ‘69
Ms. Jenny Lind Erwin ‘68
Mr. William E. Harmon ‘67
Mr. G. Donald Hickman ‘70
Ms. Diane Humphreys-Barlow ‘70
Mr. J. William Johnson
Mr. Wayne R. Kramer ‘74
Dr. James Kulich
Ms. Sherri P. Lee
Ms. Cheryl S. Massingale
The Hon. W. Neal McBrayer ‘86
Mr. Adriel McCord ‘00
Ms. Virginia K. Morrow
Ms. Judith M. Penry ‘73
Dr. Timothy A. Poole ‘80 
Ms. Ann L. Rigell ’69
Dr. Mary Kay Sullivan
Ms. Kristine Tallent ’96
Mr. Timothy A. Topham ’80
Dr. Kenneth D. Tuck ’54
Ms. Debra Willson
Mr. Charles Wright
Rev. Sharon K. Youngs ’79
Dr. C. Edward Brubaker ’38*
*Honorary member

502 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy
Maryville, TN 37804-5907
865.981.8000 |
subscription price - none
Copyright © 2016 Maryville College.
Contents may not be reproduced in any manner, either whole or
in part, without prior permission of Maryville College.

f o cus

ABOUT THE COVER: Greens harvested at
Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tenn.









Maryville College recently opened a centralized career center
designed to better serve its student and alumni populations
and community partners.

The Scots made it to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament this year,
finishing 12th in the nation and earning several accolades for themselves
and Coach Darrin Travillian.

Several Maryville College alumni are modern-day farmers in
East Tennessee. Read about what they’re doing – and how they
got from MC to the farm.


Almost half of the Knoxville team at software development company
Cirruspath is composed of Maryville College graduates
and student interns, and the company is looking
forward to hiring more.





My official title is president and professor of economics, although most days I do much
more of the former than the latter. But I would like to share some economics as it applies
to Maryville College. Economists are renowned for looking at the world using the idea of
markets, but I want to go a little deeper than that. A market is a way of facilitating mutually
beneficial exchanges, or more colloquially, “win-win” opportunities. To an economist, the
world is filled with such exchanges, and
finding ways to promote them is a positive.
This focus on mutually beneficial trade
reflects another fundamental concept
in economics, which is that everyone
is connected. Those connections can
be obvious and direct, such as when a

It is truly a blessing to see
on a daily basis the many
ways that people directly and
indirectly benefit from
the work of others.


person purchases a product from another person. They can also be far from obvious and
indirect, such as when the weather in Brazil has an impact on how much I pay for coffee.
Formal economic analysis provides a way to systematically analyze these direct and indirect
connections. The famous (and Scottish) Adam Smith, in his book The Wealth of Nations
published in 1776, was perhaps the first to popularize this way of viewing the world.
But Adam Smith was not the first person to come up with the concept. His economic analysis
was based on the work of some French scholars known collectively as physiocrats. Now, at
last, we come to how this topic is connected to Maryville College and this issue of FOCUS.
The physiocrats believed that all value ultimately derived from agriculture, because that was
the one sector of the economy where humans reaped rewards beyond what they could do for
themselves. While the world has changed substantially in the centuries since they worked, the
importance of food production has not. It is fascinating to learn the many ways that modern
technology can be combined with traditional wisdom to yield benefits that benefit others,
both directly and indirectly.
What is especially exciting is that the fruits of the labor of so many people are not limited
narrowly to the products themselves. Many of the businesses profiled in this issue also emphasize
providing opportunities to people who might not otherwise receive them. Bringing the creativity
and hard work of previously excluded people into action is truly a “win-win” example.
The Maryville College strategic plan emphasizes that we do our work “in partnership with
others.” It is truly a blessing to see on a daily basis the many ways that people directly and
indirectly benefit from the work of others. Because our efforts are multiplied through these
mechanisms, promoting such efforts allows us to live out Isaac Anderson’s dictum to “do
good on the largest possible scale.” His inspiring message continues to be the watchword for
our work today. Thank you for being part of the connected world of Maryville College.

Avidly pursuing environmental sustainability goals even before the adoption of a campuswide Sustainability Plan in 2010, Maryville College recently earned a STARS Silver rating
from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education
STARS, AASHE’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is the most
widely recognized framework in the world for publicly reporting comprehensive
information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants
report achievements in four overall areas: operations, academics, engagement and
“To get silver was a huge delight,” said Adrienne Schwarte, associate professor of art/
graphic design and STARS administrator for the College. “I feel a lot of pride in the
institution because, over the past three years and with a lot of work, a large percentage of
the goals we set for ourselves really happened.”
The College’s silver rating reflects improvements made
since 2012, when the College earned a Bronze rating.
According to Schwarte, significant improvements
were made in the areas of renewable energy
sources, increased recycling and campus-wide
tracking of energy consumption. One major
achievement was a nearly 10-percent
reduction in campus energy usage between
2012 and 2014.
The STARS report is the result of more
than a year of work in which students were
heavily involved. Cole Burns ’16 worked
extensively on the project, along with Anna
Brichetto ’17, Jacob Hutson ’16, Dr. Mark
O’Gorman, professor of political science, and Dr.
Dan Ross, assistant professor of mathematics.


On Nov. 12-15, a
group of Maryville
College students
participated in the
Intercollegiate State
Legislature (TISL)
General Assembly, a
“forum for the top
echelon of the
state’s campus leaders to exchange ideas,
express their opinions and learn how
government works,” according to the TISL
website. Sophomore Hannah Kirby ’18
compiled a Maryville College team, which also
included Nick Peterson ’17, David Clifford
’16, Taylor Rigatti ’16, Mark Clifford ’17,
Virginia Johnson ’17, Emma Wolfenbarger
’16, Espy Yanez ’16 and Riley McMillan
’17. The team participated in three of the four
categories at the TISL General Assembly:
Senate and House, Lobbying, and the
Appellate Moot Court Collegiate Challenge.



In March, Maryville College launched a new interactive
online map that gives prospective students, their families
and others who live far away a very realistic look at the
263-acre campus. Maryville College’s 3D map, built on
top of Google Maps, includes a self-guided walking tour
of the College’s historic campus, more than 30
360-degree panoramas of buildings and locations, and
detailed descriptions and photographs of residence halls
and academic buildings. Videos of current students
narrating information about various buildings and points
of interest on the MC campus are available in two virtual
tours – one is based on a traditional campus tour, and the
other highlights the College’s efforts in sustainability.

Visit to view the map.


| SPRING 2016


Student scholarship was highlighted and celebrated during Maryville College’s first-ever Undergraduate
Research Symposium on April 22. More than 35 students from all eight academic divisions presented
original research, case studies and creative projects in various locations on campus.
By hosting the event, Maryville College joined other college and university members of the Council
on Undergraduate Research in promoting the importance of “high-quality undergraduate studentfaculty collaborative research and scholarship” throughout the month of April.
A complete listing of participating students and their presentation titles is available at

More than 35 students from all eight academic
divisions presented their research and projects
during the Undergraduate Research Symposium.

comes to MC
Last fall, Maryville College organized its first
teams for the Hult Prize, a start-up accelerator
for aspiring young social entrepreneurs enrolled
in universities around the world.
Souha Arbi, a sophomore exchange student
from Tunisia, participated in the competition
last year while at her home university of Tunis
Business School and served as a campus director
for the prize at MC. As campus director, Arbi,
along with members and sponsors of MC’s NonProfit Leadership Alliance, raised awareness and
registered 10 teams of MC students.
A team composed of Chase Condrone ’16,
Eric Lipka ’16, Caleb Willis ’16 and Will
Marttala ’16 won the local competition on Dec.
4 and traveled to Boston in March to compete in
the regional round.
Founded in 2009 by Hult International
Business School graduate Ahmad Ashkar and
run by the Hult Prize Foundation in partnership
with the Clinton Global Initiative, the contest
challenges teams of students enrolled at
colleges and universities around the world to
develop innovative ideas for sustainable start-up
enterprises that can solve the world’s biggest
social problems. Winners receive $1 million in
seed capital, as well as mentorship and advice
from the international business community to
launch their new company. Founder Ashkar has
called it the “Nobel Prize for students.”
Grace Costa ’18 has been named MC’s Hult
Prize campus director for the 2017 competition.
For more information, search “Hult Prize” on
the College’s website.

Due to a problem with the ceiling over Cooper
Athletic Center’s swimming pool in January,
College administrators made the decision to
permanently close the pool. In November, the
College announced that the 45-year-old pool
would close mid-March, citing the age and
condition of the pool and the unreliability of its
mechanical systems. Investing in the repair and
improvement of the pool is incompatible with
the College’s proposed long-term master plan
for athletics and student wellness, which calls
for the pool area to be filled in and renovated
to accommodate needed spaces.


focus |



As Maryville College places a greater emphasis on
career preparation through “Maryville College
Works,” the College recently opened a newly
renovated, centralized career center designed to
better serve its student and alumni populations
and community partners.
The Maryville College Career Center, previously
located on the third floor of Bartlett Hall, has
moved to a prominent spot located just inside the
main entrance. The 2,000-square-foot space,
formerly the site of Highland Grounds Coffee Shop
and student activities offices, officially opened on
Feb. 25, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony and
reception. More than 100 MC students, faculty,
staff and board members were in attendance, along
with local business leaders and community partners.
The center’s move to a more visible spot was
intentional, said Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president
and dean of the College. “This is far more

accessible, and we want to remind (students)
every time they walk by that career preparation is
important,” Wells said before the ribbon-cutting
The renovation included updating HVAC
systems; reconfiguring the space to create offices,
a reception area and a conference room; repairing
the floor; adding new furniture; and incorporating
new technology, such as large display screens and
computers for student use.
When designing the new center, it was important
for the space to be “flexible and versatile,” said
Christy McDonald, director of the Career Center,
explaining that the space can be set up to
accommodate workshops, classes and interviews.
There are three laptops in the reception area
for students who want to work with the center’s
technical services specialist to look for jobs online
and do online networking, McDonald said. There

is also space for workshops led by the center’s
career consultant on topics such as interviewing,
resume writing, cover letters, networking and job
search strategies.
“This space is not only for our students, but it
is also for our community,” McDonald said,
adding that area employers are encouraged to
come to campus to hold information sessions
about their company and interview students who
are looking for internships or jobs.
The $95,000 renovation was funded mostly
through donations from four businesses,
including Vanquish Worldwide, for whom the
conference room is named, Clayton Homes, First
Tennessee Bank and 21st Mortgage.
Lawler-Wood was the owner’s representative
for the project, McCarty Holsaple McCarty
served as the architect and designer, and Joseph
Construction was the contractor.

Clockwise from top: The Maryville College Career Center officially opened on Feb. 25, during a
ribbon-cutting ceremony and reception; the center has moved to a prominent spot located just
inside the main entrance of Bartlett Hall; the staff includes Career Consultant Sarah Taylor ’08,
Technical Services Specialist Tom O’Connor and Career Center Director Christy McDonald; a “brag
wall” highlights important partnerships, including employers and graduate schools.


| SPRING 2016



Dr. Terry Simpson,
professor of secondary
education and director
of teacher education,
started a blog titled “From the Desk of Terry
L. Simpson.” Monthly blog posts include
Simpson’s reflections on current topics
related to K-12 education and preparing MC
students for teaching careers. Read his blog at


Dr. Becky Lucas, associate professor of elementary
education, won a 2015 Spread the Spirit award from
Good Neighbors of Blount County in October. The
Becky Lucas (left) receives the Spread the
nonprofit hosted its third annual Spread the Spirit
Spirit award from Good Neighbors
celebration to recognize individuals and organizations
Executive Director Lisa Blackwood.
who have made Blount County a better place because
they saw a need and stepped in to help. Lucas is an ally, activist and advocate for the gay,
lesbian, bisexual and transgender community and founded the Maryville Chapter of PFLAG, an
organization that emphasizes support, education and advocacy. Much of her time and energy
focuses on safe school initiatives, bullying prevention, promoting LGBT inclusive legislation, and
creating opportunities for all community members to move equality forward.

As Dr. William “Bill”
Meyer wrote the
conclusion to his book
Metaphysics and the Future
of Theology in 2010,
he touched on Charles
Darwin’s theory of
evolution, and something
gave him pause.
“I felt we aren’t quite
right in how we make sense
of Darwin’s insight
about evolution via
natural selection
(how life evolves
from earlier forms
of life by natural
means), but I
couldn’t say quite
what it was,” said
the professor of
philosophy and
With that in mind, Meyer began work
on his latest book, Darwin in a New Key:
Evolution and the Question of Value. He read
Darwin’s autobiography and collected works
and major scholarly interpretations of them,
eventually teaching a class on the subject in
which Zachary Gekas ’12 took extensive
notes. In the book’s preface, Meyer thanks
Gekas, who recently received a master’s degree
in philosophy from Fordham University, for
helping him to capture his “emerging analysis



| SPRING 2016

and evolutionary theory IN BOOK

of Darwin in comparison to the predominant
views of most neo-Darwinists.”
According to Meyer, the commonly-held
belief that Darwin’s theories are inherently at
odds with religious conviction is incorrect.
“Darwin was a theist in search of a better
theology. The problem was that the theology
of the time had not caught up to him, and
thus he became increasingly agnostic. If he
had lived another 50 years, I believe, he would
have found the evolutionary philosophy and
theology he was looking for,” he said.
Many scientists and philosophers read
Darwin from a mechanistic standpoint
(nature as a deterministic machine), wherein
evolutionary life exists only to survive and
reproduce; but this reading, Meyer argues,
eliminates the concept of value from existence.
“Modern science has tended to interpret
nature not as an organism but as a machine.
If a meteor were to end all evolutionary
life would it have been meaningless, erased
away like a cosmic etch-a-sketch? Or does
life ultimately achieve lasting value? Is the
evolutionary process one of grandeur, as Darwin
famously remarked, or is it one of vanity and
emptiness––one long train to nowhere?”
Meyer believes Darwin maintained two
strands of thought that were difficult to
reconcile. The mechanistic strand comes from
Rene Descartes and Isaac Newton through
modern science, but the humanistic strand
is most commonly associated with German

“Darwin has a humanistic sense and
talked about beauty a lot. While survival and
reproduction are necessary for existence they
aren’t the goal of life itself. We live in order to
experience value,” he said.
The philosophers who came along decades
later and offered a way to integrate Darwin’s
evolutionary insights with his humanistic
appreciation of beauty and value were William
James and Alfred North Whitehead, according
to Meyer.
In the versions of theism offered by James
and Whitehead, God is affected by the world
rather than being an unchanging constant.
This interpretation allows for evolutionary
change in biological organisms to be
integrated as part of the divine life; organisms
that have evolved maintain value in the divine
life in all of their iterations.
Without God, value cannot exist “because
there is nothing to receive the world,” Meyer
said. “Whitehead said: ‘God does not create
the world, he saves it by receiving all of it into
the everlasting divine life.”
“I would like to introduce people of
religious faith to a different way of thinking
about God in relation to the world. It seems
to me these evolutionary strands of theism
caught up to Darwin a half century after his
death,” he added.
Published in 2016, Darwin in a New Key:
Evolution and the Question of Value is available
from Wipf and Stock Publishers’ Cascade
Books imprint.


SOFER travels to
In August, Dr. Doug Sofer, associate professor of history with expertise
in Latin America, joined members of Westminster Presbyterian
Church, Knoxville on their trip to the Dominican Republic through
Living Waters for the World (LWW). LWW is a mission resource of
the Synod of Living Waters of the Presbyterian Church (USA), which
trains and equips mission teams to share the gift of clean, sustainable
water with communities in need. The purpose of the trip was to
assist in the relocation and repair of a water purification system and
to explore the possibility of further partnerships with MC faculty and
students in future LWW projects.



Dr. Sherry Kasper, professor of economics,
retired at the end of the 2015-2016 academic
year. Kasper, who holds degrees from DePauw
University, the University of Colorado and the
University of Tennessee, began teaching economics
at the College in 1990. She served as chair of
the Maryville College Division of Social Sciences
from 1997 until 2002 and served on multiple
committees at the College during her
tenure. She received the College’s
Outstanding Teacher of the Year award
in 1995.
A scholar who wrote numerous
articles and book chapters throughout
her career, she saw her 177-page
book, “The Revival of Laissez Faire in
American Macroeconomic Theory: A
Case Study of Its Pioneers,” published
in 2002.
“In her years at Maryville College,
Dr. Sherry Kasper fulfilled her
responsibilities as a faculty member
to a very high standard,” said Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president and Dean of
the College. “I have especially appreciated Dr. Kasper’s contribution to the
College as a teacher of economics. She focused on what students needed to
know and how they learned. Dr. Kasper has been masterful in connecting
theoretically and conceptually challenging material to the everyday lives of
students, thereby making it relevant and accessible.”
Kasper’s “Concluding Reflection” and reception were held on May 6.


Dr. Doug Sofer
on the beach in
the Dominican

“Lack of Grace,” a poem by Maryville College Visiting Instructor
of English Christina Seymour, was recently nominated for a
Pushcart Prize. Publication in The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small
Presses, the “most honored annual literary anthology in America,”
is awarded annually for works of poetry, fiction and creative nonfiction
published by literary magazines or small presses during the previous year.
“Lack of Grace,” published in the Cider Press Review, is the first poem in
Seymour’s forthcoming chapbook, Flowers Around Your Soft Throat. The
chapbook, which will be released this year by Structo, is a collection that
“explores death, love, and hope, pacing through death’s shadowy valley and
beginning an ascent of the opposite rim.”
Other recent publications by Seymour include her craft essay, “Times
of Day with William Stafford,” which was released in the latest issue of
Glassworks Magazine. She also recently published a blog post titled “Prosody
and Being Equal to Life” in the North American Review, and her poem,
“Stage-Struck,” is forthcoming from The Briar Cliff Review.
Seymour has taught creative writing, professional writing, literature and
composition at Maryville College since 2014.


| SPRING 2016








In her second season, Maryville College
Head Softball Coach Leah Kelley ’11
was named the 2016 USA South Athletic
Conference Coach of the Year. Kelley
becomes the first Scot head coach to receive
the award in the sport of softball – and the
first MC softball coach to earn a conference
Coach of the Year accolade since Danny Fish
(Great South Athletic Conference) in 2007.
During the 2016 season, Kelley guided MC
to a 25-17 overall record – the most wins
for the MC softball team since 2007 – which
included a 15-5 USA South mark, good for
a second-place finish in the regular season
The USA South also named six other
Scots to the All-Conference list. Jessica
McMahan ’17 earned the coveted FirstTeam All-Conference accolade; Savannah
Cook ’18 and Alexus Murray ’19 earned
Second-Team All-Conference honors; and
Rachel Taylor ’18, Jenna Roberts ’17
and Morgan Corland ’19 each earned
Honorable Mention accolades.

While the Maryville College Fighting Scots are
busy preparing for their 2016 season, former
quarterback Evan Pittenger ’15 already has
started his year on the gridiron.
Pittenger – a four-year starter who graduated
in December 2015 – is now playing professional
football for the Winterthur Warriors in
“Being a four-year starter at Maryville has
really helped me prepare and ultimately helped me receive this
wonderful opportunity,” said Pittenger, who is from Fayetteville,
Tenn. “I was able to step in and play a lot as a freshman and learn
from my mistakes, learn the game better and develop my game each
year. My coaches at Maryville really helped me develop mentally, as
well as physically, which has prepared me well. I have used a lot of the
knowledge I obtained at Maryville over here to help our offense.”
That’s ringing true, as Maryville’s record-breaking quarterback has
already made an impact for the Warriors. Pittenger has led Winterthur
to a 2-1 start to the 2016 season, while continuing his assault on the
statistics column. The former Scot is currently 46-of-83 for 496 yards
with three touchdowns and only one interception. As a dual threat,
Pittenger has amassed 220 yards and a touchdown across the ground.



| SPRING 2016

Maryville College’s baseball program now has a new hitting facility that
not only fulfills a need – it will help provide a first-class experience for MC
“It’s another part of the momentum we’re building in our program and
the positive energy surrounding it,” said MC Head Baseball Coach Cody
Church. “A lot of good things are happening now.”
Previously, the team had one 50-foot batting cage in its locker room,
which took up much of the locker room space and wasn’t regulation length.
Additionally, the single batting cage only allowed one player to hit at a time,
while another player hit on the field.
“The cage made for long nights, because we could only have two people
hit at one time,” Church said.
The new hitting facility allows four players to hit at once in a regulation
space during practice and gives players the opportunity to hit in small
groups throughout the day.
“It’s going to better facilitate student-athlete balance. They’ll have more
balance and more time for study hall,” said Church, noting that his players
also do well in the classroom and had a collective 3.2 GPA last semester.
Church said the facility will also enhance recruiting efforts.
“There’s a lot that goes into the recruiting process,” Church said. “The
first thing that gets people on campus is location, and after that, you need
something to sell. We have something to sell here, both on and off the field.
The hitting facility is another indicator of our ability to invest in our players,
offer positive opportunities and promote their development.”
The planning and construction of the 40-by-80-foot facility, which is
located next to the College’s Alumni Gym, was a team effort led by Church,
Athletic Director Kandis Schram ’85, Associate Athletic Director CJ
Fayton and Physical Plant Director Andy McCall.
Before leaving for the USA South Athletic Conference tournament this
season, baseball players laid artificial turf donated by AstroTurf. (The turf
was previously installed at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale,
Ariz.) A Maryville College alumnus who works with the company helped
facilitate the transfer.
“We’re setting a standard for Maryville College baseball,” Church said.
“We’re building that sense of pride. We have one of the best fields and
playing surfaces in our conference, and we have more fans at our away
games than the home teams. Our fans are unbelievable. All of that creates
energy around our program and generates a lot of excitement for our guys.”
Many generous donors made the construction of the facility possible, and
fundraising for the facility is ongoing. To contribute to the project, please
contact CJ Fayton at 865.981.8498.




Maryville College senior forward Spencer
Shoffner ’16 received several accolades after his
final season with the MC men’s basketball team.
Shoffner was named the 2015-16 USA South
Athletic Conference Player of the Year and
garnered First-Team All-Conference honors.
Shoffner was also named to the
Second-Team All-South Region for his stellar
senior campaign with the Scots and was named
to First Team All-South District by the National
Association of Basketball Coaches.
The Oak Ridge, Tenn., native tallied 499
points during the season – the most he’s had in
any season with the Scots – while leading the
USA South with 20.0 points per game. Shoffner
shot an impressive 47.1 percent (165-of-350)
from the floor, while bucketing 55-of-155 (35.5
percent) from beyond the arc. This sharp shooter
finishes his Maryville College career with 1,312
points, which ranks him as 15th on the Maryville
College all-time scoring list.
This 6-foot-2 senior forward also held high
standings in the USA South season scorebook in
steals. Shoffner ranked second within the league,
posting an impressive 53 steals, averaging 2.12
per game. That tally ties him with his previous
season best, which he set last season.

earn accolades AFTER
Following a stellar season for the No. 12 Scots that took
the team to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA
Tournament, MC Head Women’s Basketball
Coach Darrin Travillian was named the USA
South Athletic Conference Coach of the
Year. Travillian is currently the winningest
coach – both by percentage and total
victories – in Maryville College women’s
basketball history. The sixth-year head
coach has a record of 140-32, surpassing
Wes Moore’s 129 wins earlier this season.
He holds a .814 winning percentage, while
becoming the fastest coach to 100 victories
last season within the program.
His squad has won the USA South
Regular Season Title in each of the four
years within the league, as he has been
named the South Region Coach of the Year
Tournament bound: Abby Navarro, Lecretia Robbins,
by the WBCA in 2014 and 2015. He’s now
Coach Darrin Travillian, Lauren Biliter, Delaney Lowery
a two-time Great South Athletic Conference
Coach of the Year and a two-time USA South Coach of the Year. Travillian also broke Wes Moore’s
record for most 20-win seasons by a head coach in MC women’s basketball history, while tying the
mark set for most consecutive 20-win campaigns in a row with MC’s 26-4 record this year.
Travillian led his team to the Sweet 16 of the
NCAA Tournament this season – a first for the Scots
in 21 years.
Senior forward Mackenzie Puckett ’16 leaves
MC as one of the most decorated athletes in MC
history. She earned Third-Team All-American from
Women’s D-III News and picked up All-American
Honorable Mention nods from
and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.
Puckett was also named to the FirstTeam All-South Region list after earning USA South
Player of the Year honors. Puckett garnered First
Team All-Conference accolades, while being named
the Most Valuable Player of the USA South Athletic
Conference Tournament. She’s earned eight total
All-American honors during her MC career.
Puckett leaves Maryville with 1,561 career points, while shooting at a 45.6 percent clip (590of-1,293) in her four years. She has also managed a 31.2 percent effort from beyond the 3-point
line, while knocking down 307-of-392 (78.3 percent) from the charity stripe. This talented senior
forward had 77 career double-digit scoring efforts in 115 total games played. She mustered 25
games of 20 or more points, while having nine games scoring 25 or above. Puckett also tallied nine
career double-doubles. She managed 611 rebounds in her career, while adding 212 assists, 178
steals and 150 blocks for the Scots.
Senior guard Jordan Ballard ’16 earned the USA South Athletic Conference Women’s
Basketball Play of the Year behind her thrilling near-half-court jumper as the shot clock sounded.
Sophomore guard Madison Maples ’18 and junior forward Allyson Friermuth ’17 earned USA
South All-Conference accolades.


| SPRING 2016



Farm Fresh
Alumni pursue agriculture

It’s late spring in East Tennessee. The browns and grays of the winter landscape
have been replaced by lush green foliage, and the dogwood and redbud trees
have already made their grand appearances throughout the region. Local farms
are welcoming the offspring of cows, chickens, goats, pigs and other livestock,
and area farmers’ markets are starting to sell spring produce. Many Maryville
College students and alumni play an important role in the area’s agriculture.
In the next few pages, read about these modern-day farmers in East Tennessee –
and how they got from MC to the farm.

explores sustainable agriculture


For her Senior Study, biology major Hannah Cummings ’16
decided to focus on sustainable agriculture – specifically, the
effectiveness of companion plants in preventing pests from
destroying vegetable crops. “I wanted to find a sustainable option
besides pesticides,” said Cummings.
To conduct the experiment last summer, Cummings planted
green beans in two locations: the Crawford House Garden at
Maryville College and the Blackberry Farm resort in Walland,
Tenn., where she also worked as an intern. Cummings planted
heirloom beans of two varieties, including Black Valentine beans
and a commercial variety called Blue Lake Bush green beans.
To ensure that the beans were in a typical garden environment,
Cummings also planted other traditional garden plants, such as
banana peppers, cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes.
She then planted French marigolds, Tagetes patula, as a
companion plant to test the effectiveness of the marigold at
deterring pests by measuring the yields of the green beans with
and without marigold companions. “In any experiment you want
to have replicates, so the second plot at Blackberry allowed me to
replicate the experiment to verify results,” said Cummings, who is
from Knoxville.
Cummings found that the average number of green beans
harvested was higher in both varieties when companion planted with
marigolds, and the Blue Lake Bush bean variety showed the greatest
response to companion planting. The Blue Lake Bush variety, when
planted with marigolds, produced the most beans overall.
“According to the results shown, companion planting with
French marigolds could have a measurable effect on the amount

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harvested for crops such as green beans. Because the plants did not
show a significant difference in leaf damage between control and
varieties planted with marigolds, it is proposed that the marigolds
benefited the plants in some other way,” Cummings wrote in
her Senior Study, adding that the marigolds perhaps benefited
the plants by reducing harmful fungus in the soil or root-knot
For both her internship and her experiment, she was able to
work with John Coykendall, the master gardener at Blackberry
“This experimental project is a perfect fit for what we do here at
Blackberry Farm,” Coykendall said. “Her work goes hand-in-hand
with our approach to sustainable farming, and we have benefited
by observing first hand, from beginning to end, the results of her
companion planting.”
Cummings said her Senior Study “definitely” influenced her
plans for a career. “Working at Blackberry Farm made me realize
that my true passion lies in the realm of botany – particularly
agriculture,” she said. “My Senior Study really hammered home
how invaluable research is to new developments in agriculture.”
She added that her advisor, MC Professor of Biology Dr. Drew
Crain, was instrumental in the success of her project.
“Dr. Crain not only worked the whole summer with me, but he
connected me with Blackberry Farm to get the internship,” she
said. “He also showed me how to tend to most of the plants in my
garden, and he taught me how to can the beans that we harvested.
I collected the data, but he and John Coykendall are the reason
my thesis was successful.”

Clockwise from top: For her Senior Study, Hannah Cummings planted
green beans at two locations, including the Blackberry Farm resort in
Walland, Tenn.; Dr. Drew Crain, MC professor of biology (left) and John
Coykendall, master gardener at Blackberry Farm (right), assisted
Cummings with her research; Crain (left) and Cummings work together to
can the beans harvested during Cummings’ project.

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Liles Acres Organic Farm: Developing sustainable
solutions to food and energy production 

Russell and Sheri Liles never planned to be organic farmers.
The couple had lived more than 10 years in a home on the outskirts of
Maryville when they purchased adjoining property at an auction in 2004,
then one choice slowly started leading to the next.
Russell Liles ’81 always wanted to be a beekeeper, so the couple bought
two hives. They soon discovered that they needed something to attract
those bees, so they planted apple trees. After a couple of years, they decided
to buy some free-range chickens due to a mutual interest in the fowl.
Now, more than 10 years later, Liles Acres Organic Farm grows a
number of flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables that it sells directly to
consumers at the Maryville Farmers’ Market, in addition to a number of
local businesses and nonprofits. It also produces hand-spun, blended yarn
from its community of angora rabbits, llamas, pygora goats and one alpaca.
Liles Acres also functions as a teaching farm and offers educational classes
and tours. The farm hosts community clubs, families, school groups and
youth organizations throughout the year.
Sheri, who has more than 12 years of teaching experience from preschool
to college, leads the lessons. In these lessons, she likes to stress the farm’s
sustainable solutions for both food and energy production.
Russell installed the city’s first solar panel about 10 years ago. Less than
one year ago, he also built a hydroponics system that runs off of solar
energy and utilizes rainwater harvesting techniques. 
In addition to these practices, the organic farm has seven composting
bins and recycles kitchen waste for institutions including Maryville College.
The farm also doesn’t use herbicides or pesticides.
Russell, a business administration major at the College, said he would
have been an environmental studies major if it had been offered when he
was a student. “The College didn’t have a major like environmental studies
or minor like sustainability studies when I was there. Sustainability wasn’t
‘in’ back then. It wasn’t even part of the conversation.”
When he came to the College in 1977, he was a chemistry major. He
completed chemistry courses under Dr. Bob Naylor and math courses under
Dr. Bill Dent ’57.
“I don’t know why I chose business,” Russell said. “It seemed like a
logical choice, because more jobs would be available to me. I would have
loved to be a biology or chemistry major, but times were different in the
1970s. Science jobs weren’t widely available.”
Russell’s change of majors turned out to be a fortuitous one, as well.
He credited the change with helping him analyze balance sheets, evaluate


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companies and make good purchases in the stock market.
“I bought my first stock at Maryville College,” he said. “I was able to
make enough money to buy property. If I didn’t get anything but this seven
acres and a house about 2.5 miles from the College, my entire experience
would have been worth it.”
However, he said he gained far more in his four years on campus. “The
College gave me all of the skills to run a small business — Maryville Picture
and Frame — from 1984 to 1991. Not to mention, I’m still running a small
business with this farm.”
The College has helped in a number of other ways, he said. “I was told
by somebody there, I can’t remember who, that ‘If we teach you to think
in any way, your four years at Maryville College will be worth it.’ Looking
back, I couldn’t agree more. I’ve done so many different things in my life
and had so many experiences where I can see how much I was prepared
Russell can see this influence in two seemingly unrelated events: installing
the solar panel and volunteering in Managua. “In life, you learn by doing.
It’s fun. I learned a lot about DC electricity from the solar panel, and I had
to teach myself.
“Sheri and I have also done mission trips in Nicaragua,” he continued.
“Once we even drove a 24-passenger bus full of fellow Highland
Presbyterian Church members to a little village near Managua, Nicaragua,
called Las Parcelas. I was prepared for these experiences at the College
where they emphasized multiculturalism and stressed the importance of
dedicating a life of creativity and service to the peoples of the world.”
The couple also are dedicating themselves to the people of Maryville,
including the College’s next generation of students. They allow students
to tour the farm, and they bring their llamas to campus for “Llama Day”
to raise awareness and money for Heifer International. They have also
provided internships to students, including Ben Davis ’16.
“I want to work in sustainability, and I’ve been inspired by my time at
this place-based farm,” said the environmental studies major. It’s the best
type of agriculture in this country, culturally and environmentally. They
bring the community together and sell directly to citizens. A lot of the U.S.
is missing this, but it’s here in Maryville.”
Learn more about Liles Acres Organic Farm at

In addition to producing
hand-spun, blended yarn
from their community of
animals, Sheri and Russell
Liles, pictured at left, grow
a wide variety of produce
and flowers on their farm
and offer educational
classes and tours. Below,
Russell Liles and intern
Ben Davis ’16 inspect
bee hives.

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Hellbender Hops: Producing locally grown hops
Six years ago, Trent Gilland ’04 decided to try something new.
Gilland, a math major who had worked for six years as a data analyst for
Family Dollar, decided to produce hops, an essential ingredient in making
beer, on an acre plot in Townsend, Tenn. At the time, he and his wife,
Megan, were still living in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C., but Gilland
had family connections to Townsend – his grandfather worked for the Little
River Lumber Company, and several relatives live in Blount County.
“I just loved the idea of agriculture,” Gilland said. “I had no experience,
except a backyard garden. I conducted research, figured out who’d talk to
me and gathered anecdotal and empirical data.”
The alumnus traveled to Townsend to check periodically on the cone-like
flowers and was surprised when they thrived that first year. After Gilland left
Family Dollar in 2011, the couple moved to Townsend and planted more
hops each year until the entire acre was covered in 2014.
Gilland’s business — Hellbender Hops, which is named after a
salamander native to Townsend —  is currently growing three hop varieties:
Cascade, Chinook and Mt. Hood. Hops, which are the flowers of a
climbing bine native to the temperate regions of North America, Europe
and Asia, have been cultivated for brewing use for more than 1,000 years.
Brewers require the oils and resins from the yellow lupulin glands at the
base of petals.
Once the bines mature and reach about 20 feet tall, Gilland and some
friends will pick, dry and pack the flowers in one-ounce and one-pound
bags. Gilland later sells his hops to a Knoxville home brew retailer and
is working with several area breweries and farmers to bring hops to East
Tennessee on a larger scale.
“I love the lifestyle,” he said. “I’m here to deliver the best possible
homegrown product, and my customers can take pride in it because I do.
It’s more than just labor. They’re getting my blood, sweat and tears.
“I don’t think anybody who knows me would have guessed I’d be doing
this,” Gilland said, noting that the couple also grows blackberries and rye
grass. The farm also has four beehives and about 30 chickens.
“It’d be odd not to have chickens on a farm,” Gilland said. “They have
good manure. They’re low maintenance, and they’re therapeutic, too. It’s
the perfect combination.”
He said his experiences at Maryville College prepared him for the
venture. “Our education there was about applying things. It never
occurred to me that what I learned in Sutton (Science Center) wouldn’t be
connected to content outside my realm. If you didn’t know an answer, you
found the answer like we did in our senior theses.”
Gilland credited his MC math professors — including Dr. Maria Siopsis,
Dr. Jennifer Bruce and Dr. John Nichols ’65 — with helping him better
understand the world around him. “Math is about application and logic. In
other words, it’s life. It’s all around us, and everybody uses math every day.
It’s the only degree used with every breath, every heartbeat.
“We don’t have to see it as numbers and symbols, or patterns that we
call calculus, statistics or trigonometry,” he said. “Math is me figuring out
how fast my plants are growing, or evaluating the cost effectiveness of using
my own well water and fertilizer. It’s also about helping me get to where I
need to be with this business. It’s about balancing my checkbook, creating
receipts and doing my own tax returns.”


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Gilland was prepared in other ways, as well. “I was personally and
profoundly changed while at the College. It’s like (the Apostle) Paul said,
‘When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought
as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.’ As a child
in Charlotte, N.C., I hadn’t seen a lot, my world was small. I belonged
to some clubs, played football in high school and wrote in the school
newspaper. Each group stuck together, so it was fairly homogenous.
“I discovered a network of people here,” he said of Maryville. “We came
from all different backgrounds. Business, mathematics, physical education,
science. We were a heterogeneous group who were brought together
because we occupied the same place of the world. That’s the only reason
our paths crossed. We became fast friends. We lived, worked, grew and
matured together. To this day, my friends from Maryville College are the
closest people in my life, except for a handful of people I’ve known longer.”
Gilland remains in touch with all of them and visits with them whenever
they come to town.
“(My Maryville College experience) was one of the defining moments
of my life, one that has prepared me for my first and second careers and my
life, in general.”
Follow Hellbender Hops on Facebook at

Below: Trent Gilland, right, and wife Megan own
Hellbender Hops in Townsend, Tenn. Dressed up as
settler-era farmers for a Christmas card photo, they
are standing in front of a “setoff house” that
Gilland’s grandparents lived in while working for the
Little River Lumber Company in the 1930s. It now sits
on their property and is used as a barn.

Center right: The first plants on Hellbender Hops’ current one-acre hop yard in 2012,
when poles were installed for the trellis system. Right and above: Each season, hop
bines will grow up to 20 feet before August, when the cones (the flower of the plant)
are harvested and dried. Left: Dried hops are added to a pin (5-gallon cask serving
vessel) in order to “dry hop” the beer inside for added flavor and aroma.

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Nolens’ Shamrock Farms: Alumni turn

agricultural interest into family business
When Kyle Nolen ’04 and Laura Robertson Nolen ’03 met at
Maryville College, they had no idea where their lives would take
them, but now the couple operates a sustainable farm on the side
of their hectic work and family lives.
History for teacher licensure major Kyle, a native of Erin, Tenn.,
thought his career path would align with his major.
“I thought I would be teaching school and coaching, since
I played on the baseball team,” he said. But after graduation,
he found a job working in the insurance business – something
he’s been doing ever since. He has spent the last six years as an
insurance agent at Farm Bureau, which ties into his agricultural
interests, and is also a Certified Financial Planner™.
Laura, a biology major and chemistry minor from Jamestown,
Tenn., earned her MBA from the University of Tennessee and
went on to work as a product manager for healthcare products at
Siemens, which allowed her to utilize her business and biology
Though Laura planned to return to work after the birth of the
couple’s child, Emma, four years ago, she decided to stay home.
That’s when the idea for the farm became a reality.
Both Laura, with her background in biology, and Kyle, who had
grown up on a farm that raised cattle and tobacco, had an interest
in agriculture.
“That’s how the farm ramped up,” Laura said. “I was able
to do the labor-intensive work while at home with Emma and
Kyle had his full-time job.” (Laura also works for the UT MBA
program as an adjunct faculty member and for Arkis Biosciences as
a marketing specialist.)
But even the farm has
turned out differently from
the couple’s original plan.
What started as a simple
garden for the production
of the family’s produce
turned into a much larger
enterprise called Nolens’
Shamrock Farms at their
home in Corryton, Tenn.
There, the Nolens have
experimented with various
types of sustainable farming
practices and currently raise
Angus cattle, keep honeybees
and offer custom-raised pork by special order.
“I started with honeybees in 2008 – everything started as hobbies
and a way to feed ourselves with our own food in our garden, which
led to bees in the garden,” said Kyle. “Then we experimented when
we had land with pigs, chicken and cows for our own food, and we
had an opportunity to lease a farm at the same time.”
As friends and acquaintances expressed interest in what they
were doing, the Nolens have grown their business. “Dinner guests

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would eat our honey, pork and beef and ask how they could get
it,” said Kyle.
“The emphasis when we began was more on concerns about
where our food was coming from. Our passion for knowing what
we were eating grew as others were questioning the same,” he
That questioning has led to sustainable farming practices. For
example, the cattle the Nolens raise are fed a grass-only diet with
no supplements or antibiotics unless an animal’s life is at risk, in
which case, once well, the animal is no longer part of the herd.
“They get grass and hay their whole life, some minerals and
their mother’s milk. That’s it,” said Kyle. The bees are also kept
away from chemicals as much as possible.
While Kyle has focused on sustainable agriculture, Laura has
utilized her biology and business background and has taken an
interest in the efficiency of agriculture to reduce business costs.
She would like to experiment with replacement genetics and
eventually get to a place where the couple sells some of their
animals as replacement heifers (animals that are meant to take the
place of cows that are too old to breed) or breeding bulls. Laura
has developed skills to artificially inseminate cows with semen from
bulls located anywhere in the world, and the couple hopes to find
a combination that works well with their cows to produce quality
replacement heifers that can be sold to other farmers to improve
their own herds.
Though their paths have diverged from their plans when they
left MC, the Nolens attribute their success to lessons learned
during their time at Maryville.
“In my insurance world and in explaining farming to a world
that is removed from the farm, my teaching background at
Maryville taught me to communicate with people as I would have
in the classroom. Whether explaining complex insurance contracts,
communicating what I’m doing on the farm, or talking about
humane and sustainable practices, this training has been very
helpful,” said Kyle.
“As a history major, we were taught to always question the
telling of history and to question and review primary sources. As it
relates to food systems, we question what people say and examine
the research and the impacts that the conventional system has on
the exploitation of the environment, people and animals so that we
see how we fit into the bigger picture,” he added.
Laura attributes her willingness to take on new challenges to her
liberal arts education.
“In my biology classes, we had to dig around in animals and
do dissections, and in liberal arts you get thrown into a lot of
situations that you are uncomfortable in,” she said. “You get used
to feeling fear and doing it anyway. It taught me to keep learning –
and don’t be afraid of what’s in front of you.”
To follow Nolens’ Shamrock Farms on Facebook,

Kyle and Laura Nolen, pictured above with their 4-year-old
daughter, Emma, operate Nolens’ Shamrock Farms in
Corryton, Tenn., where they raise Angus cattle, keep
honeybees and offer custom-raised pork. It started as a
simple garden for the production of the family’s produce.

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Special Growers providing more than herbs
For most of his professional life in consulting, Kent Davis ’90 has been
concerned with the kind of growth associated with the business world –
sales, profits and acquisitions.
These days, in a new venture called Special Opps, he’s still concerned with
those upward trends, but he’s also monitoring the kind of growth that involves
plants, soil, water and sunlight. “It’s taken off so well, it’s kind of consumed us,”
Davis said last February, standing in the middle of a greenhouse filled with 500
herb plants growing in ground boxes and hydroponic trays. “I’m a laborer here
on Saturdays pitching in to do any odd job required, but I spend about 10 to 15
hours a week taking care of purchasing, bills, taxes, payroll and legal filings.”
Davis, the father of a special-needs son, started the 501(c)3 non-profit six
years ago, along with wife Gloria and some other parents of special-needs
young adults. They recognized that there were very limited opportunities for
their children after they left high school. “We decided to build a business
around them,” he said. “The mission of Special Opps, Inc., is to provide
vocational training and employment opportunities for disabled young adults
leaving high school.”
Special Opps began as a garden located off Home Avenue in Maryville,
where four young adults and parent volunteers grew vegetables and other
produce to sell at the Maryville Farmers’ Market. But it didn’t take Davis,
who handles business development for the non-profit, too long to figure out
that the model was destined to fail. “We looked pitiful,” Davis said,
remembering their offerings at market when compared to the stands of large
farms. “We just couldn’t compete.”
What the parents soon got behind was a business model that involved
growing only herbs and making them available, wholesale, to local restaurants
for gourmet and specialty entrees. Special-needs students and young adults
would be trained to plant, water, harvest and prepare the herbs for delivery.
“With herbs, there was no competition,” Davis explained. “Everything would
be fresh. Our herbs would hit restaurants’ kitchens within two hours of being
freshly cut.” As perennials, herbs are economical, as well, because repeated
cuttings can be made from one plant without replanting, he said.
In 2010, the herb-growing operation took on the name “Special
Growers” and moved to acreage owned by Vulcan Materials Company off
Duncan Road in Maryville. They started with 10 above-ground garden
boxes. A year later, they received the donation of a greenhouse frame, and in

2012, volunteers and supporters came together to erect it. With the
greenhouse open, Special Growers could operate year-round.
Always looking to grow and try new things that may boost productivity or
efficiency, Special Growers partnered with Innovative Garden and Hydroponic
Supply in 2015 to add a hydroponic system. It doubled their winter volume.
“We sell basil, parsley, chives, thyme, cilantro, dill, mint, rosemary and
micro-greens to smaller, independent, boutique-type restaurants,” Davis
said. “In the winter, we sell to Blackberry Farm, RT Lodge, Foothills Milling
Company and Foothills Milling Bakery. In the summer, we plan to add
restaurants from Knoxville, including Knox Mason and other specialty
restaurants in Market Square.”
The chefs have served as mentors to Special Growers management and
employees, advising them on which herbs to grow, when to grow them and
how to price them. “We’ve had chefs tell us ‘If we don’t get [the herbs] from
you, we don’t use them in our dishes,” Davis said.
About 40 percent of the non-profit’s budget comes from sales; 60 percent
comes from donations. Davis’s goal for the next five years is to have enough
restaurants buying herbs to generate 100 percent of the non-profit’s working
budget and reserve donations for capital expenditures.
Support for Special Growers has come from numerous people and
partners, including a lease agreement with Vulcan Materials Company for the
three-acre garden. The United Way of Blount County funds the salary of
their Garden Manager – a master gardener who oversees the planting,
cultivation and harvesting.
Volunteers and interns have included students from Maryville College and
local high schools, scouting troops, churches and local businesses. As part of
their curricula, about 60 special education students from local high schools
come to the greenhouse and gardens weekly to help harvest, prep and
package the restaurant orders.
Special Growers currently employs 18 young adults with disabilities. Davis
would like to see the number grow to 50+. “We train them to be
independent workers. They do everything here and can have the selfsatisfaction of doing a job well and earning a paycheck,” he
said. “We’re giving the community a model of what these
young adults can do if a work setting is conditioned to their
unique needs.”

O T H E R M O D E R N - D AY F A R M E R S
TOM BOWERS ’65 grew up working on his Walland, Tenn., farm. In 1919, his
grandfather purchased the then-250-acre farm, which later operated as a dairy farm after
his father purchased it in the 1940s. Bowers began his freshman year at Maryville College
in the fall of 1960 and majored in education with a minor in biology. He lived at home
and continued his work on the farm, but he was still active on campus – he was captain of
the baseball team and played football for two years. During his senior year, he met MC
sophomore Charlotte McNeilly ’66. The two married in 1963 and later built a house on
the Walland property.
For the next 40 years, Bowers continued to operate the farm as a dairy farm, until he
decided it was time for a change. “I’d worked for 40 years, seven days a week, and it was time to
slow down,” he said. In 2005, the couple sold the dairy cattle and milk tanks and decided to focus
on Angus beef cattle. Today, on his now-300-acre-farm, he keeps about 50 cows, which he sells at
livestock yards. Active in his church, he serves on several boards and is vice president of the Blount
County Mutual Fire Insurance board. He and Charlotte enjoy spending time with their children,
Brad Bowers and Kristi Yates, and grandchildren.

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BURNSPAR FARM is the creation of
Gerald Burnette ’83 and Kim Spargo ’87, who
are primarily interested in various forms of animal
husbandry. On their Maryville farm, they have
llamas, goats, sheep, feather-legged and cleanlegged chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and guinea
pigs. The couple sells eggs, livestock and poultry
year-round, when available, directly from their farm. 
They also produce enough produce and fruit for
Spargo to can 200 to 400 jars per year, depending
also on the generosity of friends who donate produce
for a percentage of completed jars.
They are currently completing “The Barn Hotel,”
their livestock barn, made entirely by their own
hands, except for the foundation wall. 

Farm consortium explored


(Right) Basil plants grow with
the help of hydroponics. (Below)
Kent Davis ’90 assists son Brad,
left, and Zach McMurry in the
Special Growers greenhouse.

When Bruce Guillaume ’76 visits other colleges and universities to learn about
their sustainability efforts, he realizes that Maryville College leads the pack in
many areas. But he also realizes one big deficiency: The College isn’t operating
a farm on its campus.
“At schools like Warren Wilson and Berea, farming is an important part of the
educational experience. Students are involved in the entire operation – planning,
planting, harvesting and selling. We have orchards and a
community garden on our campus, but a consortium of
production farms could allow our students to have bigger
experiences.” Not one to be deterred, Guillaume, who
founded and directs Mountain Challenge and has been
instrumental in leading many of the College’s wellness
and environmental initiatives, is organizing a consortium
of local farms to provide those type of experiences
alongside James Dulin, general manager of Metz Culinary
Management (the College’s food services provider).
Dr. Mark O’Gorman
So far, Liles Acres Organic Farm (see page 12) is on board;
and Adrienne Schwarte
Rocky Park Organic Farm is, also. Located in Friendsville, Tenn.,
took their ENV101:
Rocky Park is owned by Jim and Phyllis Kirksey. With the vision and
Environmental Issues
expertise of agriculturalist Hector Marroquin and architect Daliana
and Foundations of
Mendez, the Kirkseys have made their 20-acre farm a place where
Sustainability class to
all-natural food is produced for the local community and people are
Rocky Park Farm on
taught about sustainable agriculture.
April 29.
“The folks at the farm are interested in exposing our students to
food diversity, how to improve yields, marketing a farm, measuring all kinds of
outputs and many other things yet to be defined,” Guillaume said.
Rocky Park already sells produce to Metz. The farm is participating (along
with Liles Acres) in a composting program that has student intern Ben Davis ’16
delivering appropriate food waste from the dining hall to composting bins. Classes
have toured the farm’s greenhouses and gardens, and internships and classroom
projects that collect and analyze data needed by farm operators are being explored.
To Guillaume, a farm consortium just makes sense.“The bottom line is:
Good food helps define good health. And locally grown and produced food
also helps small local farmers and our local communities.”
More information on the College’s farm consortium is available at

Before Bob Schmidt ’78 opened MAPLE LANE
FARMS , many in Blount and Loudon counties had
never heard of “agri-tainment.”
Sadly, Schmidt died on April 4 after suffering two
strokes, but an issue of FOCUS centered on farming
could not go to press without acknowledging his
enormous contributions.
“He built a farm that provided vegetables, fruit,
flowers and beef to the local community, but he also
created a destination that attracted tens of thousands of
visitors each year,” said Angela Miller, director of alumni
affairs and stewardship.
A native of New Jersey, Schmidt bought Maple Lane
Farms in Greenback in 1985. Adding features like “pick
your own” strawberry and pumpkin patches, hayrides

and country fair rides for children, he was motivated by
a vision of families visiting the farm and having a good
time together. In 1999, Schmidt added a 10-acre corn
maze. Country music singer Luke Bryan kicked off his
Farm Tour at Maple Lane Farms last fall to a sold-out
crowd of 15,000 fans.
Considered a leader in the industry for his successes
in agri-tainment, agri-business and agri-tourism,
Schmidt served on state and local associations related to
 “As an alumnus, he supported the College in unique
ways – donating pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks
for Homecoming Weekend decorations and making the
Anderson Hall tower the theme of his 2012 corn maze,”
Miller said. “He will be missed.”

focus |

S P R I N G 2 016


METZ CULINARY MANAGEMENT has been Maryville College’s food
service provider since 2014. Headquartered in Dallas, Pa., the family-owned,
family-operated company specializes in providing dining management solutions
for healthcare, educational and corporate accounts. It was named a “Top 5”
company to watch by Food Management magazine and was listed at No. 16 on the
magazine’s list of the top 50 food service management companies. Metz serves 24
colleges and universities nationwide, including Maryville College. Some statistics
about Metz Culinary Management at MC are presented below.

Number of pounds
of chicken tenders
served per week


Number of offerings
at the salad bar

Number of meals
served daily in the
Margaret Ware Dining Room



Number of eggs
scrambled for omelets per day


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S P R I N G 2 016

Cost for public to have an
“all you can eat” lunch in the
Margaret Ware Dining Room

Capacity of the
Margaret Ware
Proffitt dining rooms

The College received information printed below between July 1, 2015 and
Dec. 31, 2015. Class notes received after Dec. 31, 2015 should appear in the
next issue of FOCUS. Notes have been edited for space; to view full notes
or submit a class notes item, please visit

C L A S S notes

Thelma Richardson McDaniel
wrote that she left Maryville
in 1945 to attend the
University of Iowa, since she
had taken all the courses in
her field of drama/theatre
that were available at the
time. She received a BFA
from Iowa and a master’s
degree in education from
Eastern Michigan University,
where she taught in the
drama department. She
also attended the University

of Michigan, where she

October, they celebrated the

completed 40 hours of

marriage of William Lawson

graduate work in drama/

Roberts, the first of their four


grandsons to marry.



Mary Gene Lawson Roberts

Ruthellen Crews has moved

and husband Charlie

from Florida to live full time in

Roberts ’50 continue to


enjoy retirement. They have
downsized to a smaller home
and live next door to their


daughter and her husband,

Carol Corbett has moved to

Dawn and Rob Bailes. In

Sacramento to be near her


With the help of Dan
Greaser ’60, Britton
Leitch ’04 and other board
members of the Smoky
Mountain Scottish Festival
and Games, the College held its firstever Tartan Day celebration on April 3.
The event included Celtic music,
highland dancing, demonstrations by
highland games athletes and
opportunities to research clans.
National Tartan Day is celebrated on
April 6. See the video and photos at

donated TO MC

Many Maryville College alumni will recognize David Campbell’s
pen and ink drawings of MC buildings. Former MC President
Dr. Gerald Gibson featured several of the drawings on his annual
Christmas cards.
Now, the original artwork has found a permanent home on the
MC campus. In December, G. David Campbell ’49 and Peggy
Cummings Campbell ’50 donated 10 framed original drawings

to the College, and they now hang on the third floor hallway of
Fayerweather Hall. The drawings, all of existing campus buildings
except for Baldwin Hall, which was torn down in 1968, include:
the Samuel Tyndale Wilson Center for Campus Ministry, Thaw
Hall, Gibson Hall, Fayerweather Hall, Anderson Hall, Carnegie
Hall, Willard House, the Clayton Center
for the Arts, and Bartlett Hall.

The Campbells
donated 10 drawings
to MC President Tom
Bogart in December.

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alumni events HELD
The annual Florida reunion was held in Tampa, Fla., on Jan.
16. The event, hosted by Ronald “Dock” Jennings ’55,
Marilyn Baumgartner Jennings ’57, Jim Demer ’55 and
Linda Demer, included the
following alumni: Suzanne
Burton Abbott ’57, Janet
Kilgard Barbour ’62,
Virginia S. Brown ‘65,

daughter and son in Palo
Alto since her partner, Carl
Lindsay ‘50, passed away in
January 2015.

Betty Hammers Wiley was
presented a plaque of
appreciation for over 50
years of community service
in Loudon County, Va., in
October 2015 by the County
Board of Supervisors. She
feels her years at Maryville
instilled in her the goals of

service, opportunities for
helping others, seeing needs
to be met and giving her the
confidence of leadership to
meet them, as well as realizing
her own personal talents and

Donna French Neel shared
that her son, David, died of
pancreatic cancer in March
2014. She and husband
Robert are thankful for the
years they had with him. They

Betty Cutler Boggs ’56,
Elizabeth Lee Burke ’65,
Ruthanne Campbell Chase
’61, Jim Cummings ’56,

For the third year, Stian Jordalen ’94 (right) presented

Rolfe Duggar ’54, Sarah

the Mary Kay Sullivan Award to a young musician in

Pledger Fechter ’55,
Rosemary Lee Potter ’60, Paul Grice ’72, Lynda Luck
Stansbury ’71, Aaron Walker ’07, Carol Lee Lacy Wathen

Vaksdal, Norway, as a part of the community’s winter
music festival. Stian established the award in 2014 to

’57, Kathy Kerns Vousden ’56 and spouses.
The Blackstone Restaurant & Brewery was the site of
the kickoff for the alumni chapter forming in Nashville
on Jan. 28. Alumni attendees included: Alice Brank ’07,
Lynn Gillespie Chater
’71, Natasha Lumb
Corrieri ’06, George
Corrieri ’07, Jennifer
Francescon Childs ’06,
Kyle Duke ’97, Allison
Higginbotham ’09,
Ashlin Grosshans Jones
’05, William Jones ’05,
Leslee Hay Kirkconnell
’84, Neal McBrayer ’86, Sheri Trotter Moran ’81,
Brickey Nuchols ’06, Allen Phelps ’09, Susan Pogue

help young musicians pursue higher education and

’13, Ann Rigell ’69, Thomas Russell ’07, Jeannie Frey

named it in honor of his MC professor and mentor.

Settlemire ’96, Dwane Settlemire ’96, Lindsey Laughner

Stian, who is chairman of his local chamber of

Sexton ’05, Jennifer Phillips Triplett ’07, Aaron Triplett

commerce, also was recognized for supporting local

’07, Katie Stubblefield Woodard ’06, Lee Xixis ’07,

engagement/local initiatives. Last year, he opened a

Stamatia Xixis ’05 and spouses. More Nashville chapter
events are in the works, so stay tuned for info on the MC
Alumni Facebook page for details as they emerge!

new store, Petersens Handleri, an old-style general
store specializing in gourmet and local food, in


focus |



enjoy their quiet place in
Washington and say they have
slowed down as they have
gotten older. Donna feels that
God has blessed them richly.
Joe Gilliland worked for
newspapers in Arkansas
and Tennessee from 19591980 and for the Nuclear
Regulatory Commission from
1980-1999 and has since
retired. He was married to
Joan Frei Gilliland ‘54 in
1955 until her death in 1997.
He was married to Janet
Whitmore Gilliland ‘56 in
1999 until her death in 2005.
He is currently married to Lois
Speaker ‘55 since 2009.

Philip Muir and wife Margaret
Wilkinson Muir ’57 are
“busily retired” with church,
managing a family fruit
orchard and singing in a
community chorale. They are
also “generally in excellent
health, for which we thank
Martha Jane Hussey Fraelich
shared the following thoughts
with her alumni friends in the
fall: “As our hearts turn to
Homecoming time, may we
be thankful for our years of
new learning, teachers, staff
and friends that have enriched
our lives through the years.”
Adlai Boyd has engaged in
five careers since graduating
from MC: assistant minister
of education at three large
churches; dean of students
of two small church colleges;
director of special education
and training at the Western
Carolina Center; director
of training at Temple
Woodhaven, while earning his

Ph.D. in psychology; executive
director of an organization
operating group homes for
adults with developmental
disabilities; and associate
professor and chair of the
University of South Florida’s
Department of Child and
Family Studies. He retired in
1997 to his mountain home
in Montreat, N.C. He has
also served on MC’s National
Alumni Board.

Jay Bollman moved back to
Oregon on Feb. 1, 2015 with
his wife, Louise Pratt Bollman
’59. Beaverton is their new
home, and their son, Ken, is
only 12 minutes away.

their 56th wedding anniversary.
Their health is generally good,
and they continue to be
active in the local community
and church activities. They
have three children and three
grandsons. Bill is a Centurion,
a graduate of the Colson
Center for Christian World
View and is active in teaching
with the Discovery Institute
and adult Christian Education.
They are looking forward to a
Rhine River cruise with friends
in 2016.


Jeremy DeBary ’10
to Emily Lester
July 23, 2011
Mollianne Reese ’12
to Will Hubbs
Jan. 1, 2015


Cody Midgett ’13
to Callie Keasler
May 15, 2015

Reda Kay continues to pursue
her art, painting mysterious
landscapes using bold and

Allie Horvath ’15
to Cole Burns ‘16
July 17, 2015

James Barber wrote that he lost
his wife, Barbara Godshalk
Barber ’58, on May 16, 2015,
after an illness. The couple
would have been married 57
years in August 2015. They
met in Anderson Hall in 1954
in Margaret Cummings’ Bible
class. Barbara taught preschool and third grade, and
James served four pastorates
from 1961-1999. “We had a
good life together,” he said.



OCT. 31, 2009
July 18, 2015

Mary Bundy Boozer has been
happily married for 55 years
to Alec Boozer. She is retired
from teaching elementary
school, working at Macy’s
and in customer service for
Southern Living. She is active
in McCalla Bible Church and
in neighborhood activities.
She said she is praising God
for His blessings every day.
Bill Lynch and wife Mary Newton
Lynch ’59 recently celebrated


muted color in oil, acrylic and
mixed media on canvas and
board. Her art work can be
seen at and miyagallery.
Margaret Reynolds Popken
is still happily engaged in
her real estate practice. In
her spare time, she is part
of a 40+ year conversation

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group called Penny University.
She said Santa Cruz is a rich
cultural experience, so life
is always new and exciting.
This summer it was whales
that held her attention. She is
looking forward to the future.




OCT. 31, 2009
August 1, 2015

Fred Morrison was awarded
the Richard Caswell Award on
Aug. 15, 2015. In a ceremony
at the North Carolina Museum
of History, he was recognized
for 45 years of service to the
State of North Carolina.

Thank you for your support of Maryville College on
Tartan Tuesday, MC’s first 24-hour giving challenge!
“With 329 donors, we exceeded the 300-donor
challenge – securing $30,000 in challenge gifts – for
a grand total of $94,040.06 raised in only 24 hours,”
said Meghan Fagg, Assistant Director for the
Maryville Fund. “All gifts benefit the Maryville Fund,
which supports MC’s most pressing needs and
makes highly personalized, transformational
experiences possible for MC students. You made a
powerful statement about what the Maryville
College community can do when it comes together!”


focus |


Margie Stevenson Ribble
wrote that her husband, Clay
Crowder, passed away in
August 2015.
Zaida Brown Gilmour spends
summers at her little blue
house in Montreat, N.C.,
a place where many of
her family members have
been gathering for almost
a century. She spent her
childhood summers there
with her grandmother. A
brother and many cousins
have summer homes there,
and one lives there year
Robert Burkhardt was
diagnosed with ALL leukemia
in January 2015, spent three
months in hospital and rehab,
and achieved full remission
in October. He and wife
JoAnne celebrated their
61st wedding anniversary
in June 2015, and they are
still involved in marriage
and family counseling and
support. He is still preaching
and teaching, and he also still
does ballroom dancing and

Raymond Donaldson and his
wife just sold their home of 34
years in Maryland and will be
living in New York temporarily
until their new home in
Maryland is built in mid-2016.

Barbara Berg Rago and husband Steve Rago ’64 recently
celebrated their 50th anniversary with a ceremony and reception attended by many of
their friends and family members. They have three sons
and five grandchildren who
participated in the ceremony.

Richard Boyd attended his 50th
class reunion in October 2015.
He said it was a wonderful
event and missed all who
couldn’t make it.
Jerry Kerns said that he and
wife Marilyn “took down our
professional shingles” Jan. 31,
2013, after gradually reducing
days worked in their private


psychotherapy practices over
a three-year period. They
manage 80 acres of farm and
forest land, as well as maintain
over an acre of perennial
gardens. Their home is on a
ridge top in Southern Indiana
in an area called “The Little

Stanford Long wanted to share
with his alumni friends that
he is still living in his home in
New Ipswich, N.H., and has
been since 1997.

Alice Junkin Landolt wrote that
all three of her children are
married and have children,
“which means we have 11
grandchildren, whom we
thoroughly enjoy.” She is
involved in her church as a
volunteer, helping out from
home administratively.
Richard Mahler has been retired
since 2007. He spends most
of his time collecting antique
books and documents, restoring and doing fine book bindings, private press production,
reading, furniture and miniature design and construction,
metalworking, graphic design
and photography.

rail travel, they took the train
from New York to Montreal and
then took the 23-hour VIA compartment train to Halifax. They
very much enjoyed the week
of driving around Nova Scotia
and Cape Brenton Island.
Carol Fisher Mathieson
continues teaching music as
emeritus professor at CulverStockton College and serves
on the boards of such arts
organizations as the Canton
Area Arts Council, Muddy River
Opera Company, Quincy Civic
Music Association and Lewis
County Playhouse. She still
sings regularly, gives Opera
Insight lectures, writes program
notes for regional symphony
orchestra and concert series
performances, and directs the
C-SC Opera Workshop.

Carolyn Clark White retired
in 2010 and has enjoyed
traveling with her husband
of 46 years. She is happy to
spend time with her children
and grandchildren.

David Russell is now the
associate pastor of global
and local partnerships at
Fellowship Church in Knoxville.



Gordon Tinley and wife Janna
Eerenberg Tinley ‘71 made
two trips at the end of the
summer. The first was a sibling
get-together in El Paso, Texas,
where his older sister lives. In
September, they visited parts
of Canada. Since Janna likes

Carol Newill is busy in
retirement, serving as guest
faculty at the Johns Hopkins
Bloomberg School of Public
Health, helping graduate
students in epidemiology and
in education and research on
Autistic Spectrum Disorder.

She has increased her
activities in environmental
work, and she finally has
found time for water aerobics,
bird-watching and foreign


JULY 12, 2015

Geoffrey Lang is now on
the board of trustees of
Wake Technical Community
College, appointed by
Gov. Pat McCrory. He is
vice president and general
manager of global technology
and operations for MetLife.
Prior to MetLife, he worked at
IBM for 22 years and at RBC
Bank in Raleigh. He serves
on the boards of the Raleigh
Chamber of Commerce, the
Cary Chamber of Commerce,
the Regional Transportation
Alliance and Wake County
Habitat for Humanity.

Janet McGill moved to Brevard,
N.C., in May, as her mother,
Joy Corrigan McGill ’40, was
going into a local assisted
living center. She said it is
different from Evanston, Ill., but
she is adjusting. She still has a
garage full of books that she
has yet to find shelf space for.

Nicole Geerlof Robinson ’06
and husband Trevor,
a daughter, Kiera Raine,
Feb. 4, 2015
Cori Cain Johnson ’07
and husband Mark,
a son, Luke Edward,
Oct. 20, 2015
Amy Hoover Hunt ’08
and husband Alex,
a daughter, Eloise Olivia,
July 1, 2015
Rachel Rushworth-Hollander ’08
and husband
Chris Hollander ‘09,
a daughter, Rowling Marie,
July 20, 2015
Adam Duggan ’13
and wife Jelica,
a son, Benjamin Silas,
Aug. 5, 2015
Houston Davis ’14
and wife
Kasi Roach-Davis ’12,
a daughter, Hattie Ruth,
Sept. 25, 2015

focus | S P R I N G






Elspeth Robertson Blakeman
retired from the San Antonio
Public Library on Oct. 31, 2009,
after working 28 years with
the library. She was diagnosed
with stage 4 cancer last year on
July 10. She and her husband
moved from San Antonio to
Cleveland, Miss., in August
2014, and she has been having
treatment for cancer since late
September 2014.



Grace Riley Price completed
her master’s degree at the
University of Georgia in 1981.
She is currently in a private
practice setting in Canton,
Ga., that specializes in
substance abuse treatment.
She has contracts with two

JUNE 11, 2015


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Robert Bishop, under the
pseudonym Robert Lane,
has published the Jake Travis
series of novels. His first
book, The Second Letter,
was the Gold Medal winner
of the Independent Book
Publishers Association’s 2015
Benjamin Franklin Award for
Best New Voice: Fiction. His


Don’t tell Brandon Bruce that liberal arts graduates aren’t suited for
the tech industry.
Bruce, chief operating officer and co-founder of
software development company Cirruspath, has an
office full of Maryville College graduates and interns to
counter the argument.
“At Cirruspath, we hire problem solvers and creative
thinkers who want to be part of a fast-growing software
startup,” he said. “We’ve hired 14 fantastic Maryville
College graduates and student interns, which is about
half of our Knoxville team, and we look forward to
hiring more.”
Bruce, a native of Los Olivos, Calif., started
Cirruspath five years ago with college friend Ryan
Huff. At the time, he was working as a regional advancement officer
and grants coordinator at Maryville College. (His wife, Dr. Tricia
Bruce, joined the MC faculty as a sociology professor in 2007, and
continues to teach there.)
Cirruspath is the developer of Cirrus Insight, a customer
relationship management (CRM) application that integrates
Salesforce software with third-party services like Gmail and Outlook.
Currently utilized by approximately 100,000 salespeople in 4,000
businesses and organizations around the world, Cirrus Insight is
one of the highest-rated applications of all time on the Salesforce


accountability courts in her
community and also provides
post-critical incident debriefing sessions for local
law enforcement after a use
of deadly force. She is still
married to Phillip, and they
have two children, Zack and

Engineering is handled by a team of 21 in Irvine, Calif.;
marketing, sales and support is handled by a team of 35 based in
When he interviews
potential employees, Bruce
said he looks for evidence of
critical thinking and an ability
to articulate an opinion yet be
open to new ideas. Because
of their liberal arts education,
Maryville College students
have these skills, he said.
“Having worked there, I got to know a lot of Maryville College
students and know the quality of the College’s academic programs,”
he said. “I know almost all of the professors and most of the staff,
so we benefitted from what we as an Internet business would call a
‘network effect.’”
The MC alumni and students employed by Cirruspath include:
Geoffrey Bokuniewicz ’14, Allen Brady ’13, James Buckley ’14,
Erika Collins ’14, Maxwell Davison ’13, Susie Davison ’16,
Wyatt Dryja ’14, Daniel Gomez ’10, Ariana Hansen ’16, Jake
Holt ’12, Joshua Loomis ’15, Kevin Nolan ’10, Nathan Phipps
’13 and Kegan Rinard ’14.
Look for the full-length feature story and video at


FOCUS on Alumni
K. C. CROSS ‘90

To view K. C.’s complete
profile, see past profiles or
recommend future profiles,

Major at MC: Business and Economics
Senior Thesis Topic: “Human Resources and the Job Interview”
Current Town/City of Residence: Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Occupation: President and CEO of Cross Senior Care; owner and operator of 10 skilled nursing,
rehabilitation and senior living centers in the Southeast

Family: Wife, Tabatha; daughters, Savannah, Hayley, Peyton, Karlee and Madison; son, Julian
Describe your career path since graduating from MC.

What has been your most exciting/enjoyable professional experience to date?

I earned my master’s degree in long term care administration and
became a licensed nursing home administrator in 1993.
I started Cross Senior Care in 2001, and I presently own 10
skilled nursing facilities, two independent living communities and
a medical staffing and billing agency. I am also the landlord for
an acute inpatient drug treatment center.

Acquiring facilities that were providing low quality of care and services to
the patients they served and improving the operations and care from one star
CMS rating to five star; receiving multiple awards from U.S. News & World
Report for “Best Nursing Homes” in the U.S.; and receiving American
College of Health Care Administrators’ Leadership Award for the last eight
consecutive years.

third standalone novel, The
Cardinal’s Sin, was released
in September. His books are
available on Amazon and
Barnes & Noble. Learn more

Paul Matthew Heinze has been
working 31 years with special
needs students in Citrus
County, Fla., and has been
married for 30 years to fellow
alumna Dottie Carson Heinze
’84. He says, “Thanks MC!”

John Michael Hester and wife
Deb Nason Hester ’82 were
almost empty nesters but “our
youngest has gotten her MSW
from UPENN and has moved
back in for a while to help kill

some student debt (at what
she owes, I could have gone
to Maryville three times back
in the day!) We miss everyone
and maybe, just maybe, we
can get back there soon. I
hear the mountains calling!”

William Ramsey recently led the
Blue Ridge School to a Virginia
Independent School State
Basketball Championship and
was named Coach of the Year
for Scrimmage Play, Virginia
Independent Conference
and Virginia Association of
Independent Schools
Division II.

Jon Allison has joined the
leadership core team at

CareSource as executive vice
president, external affairs.
Jon, a former partner with
the law firm Carpenter, Lipps
& Leland LLP, has more than
20 years of experience in
legislative and regulatory
affairs, policy development,
public relations and law.
He founded and led the
Ohio statewide Medicaid
expansion coalition of
more than 150 diverse
organizations. From 20032006, he was the chief of staff
and senior adviser for Ohio
Gov. Bob Taft.

Mark Smelser is in his third year
working as a Kingsport City
Police Officer. He and wife
Tiffany just celebrated their
20th wedding anniversary.

They have three children,
Hannah, 18, a freshman at
Liberty University; Porter, 15;
and Nevan, 9.

Funmilayo Ngozi Eke
Harmon, an international
gospel recording artist,
released her debut album,
“Unconstrained.” Her music
is available on iTunes and
CD Baby. Her website lists
tour information: www.

Kimberly Flanders McCuiston
has joined the faculty of
Francis Marion University in
Florence, S.C., as an assistant
professor of education. She
holds a Ph.D. in education/

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Paige Wroble ’01, a vocalist with the Airmen of Note,
and Jesse Neace ’03, a baritone with the U.S. Army
during the pregame festivities
for Super Bowl
50 on Feb. 7.
The two former
MC music
majors joined
the Joint Armed
Forces Chorus
to sing
“America the

literary studies from the
University of Tennessee,
an M.A. in curriculum and
instruction from Tusculum
College, a B.A. in English from
MC and an A.A. in elementary
education from Pellissippi
State Community College.

Courtney Lowe Whitehead
has been named assistant
principal at Carpenters
Middle School in Blount
County, Tenn.
Christopher Moore recently
earned his Ph.D. in
quantitative methods in
education from the University
of Minnesota. He works

as a data scientist in the
Minneapolis Public Schools.

Sarah Berkemeier was named
“Resident Services Employee
of the Year” at Home Forward.
She has been a resident
and community services
coordinator for over four
years, serving low-income
public housing residents in
Multnomah County, Ore. In
January 2015, Sarah, husband
Jesús and daughter Aurelia,
3, traveled to visit Jesús’
family and celebrate 10
years of marriage in Merida,
Venezuela, where the couple
met in September 2002.

Josh Kinnetz ’02 and his wife, Jenny Krueger, were featured in The
Washington Post, after the couple had to deliver their baby–on their
own– during a blizzard.
According to a Jan. 25 Washington Post story,
Kinnetz and Krueger, who live in Olney, Md., had
planned to have their second child delivered at home,
with the aid of midwives; however, Winter Storm
Jonas was scheduled to arrive in the Washington,
D.C. area the day after their baby’s due date.
Given the severity of the forecast, the midwives
told the couple they weren’t sure if they’d be able to
get to their home if Krueger went into labor.
“I think we all had a little bit of denial. We
thought we’d get through the storm, it wouldn’t be a problem,”
Krueger told The Washington Post. Krueger is a veterinarian, and
Kinnetz teaches AP World History and Sociology at Sherwood
High School and coaches varsity soccer at Northwest High School.
Around 3 p.m. on Jan. 23, as the snowdrifts piled higher,
Krueger’s water broke, and contractions began. Kinnetz, Krueger
and their three-year-old daughter, Arabella, were on their own.
With midwives on the phone, coaching the couple, and emergency
medics on standby, Krueger gave birth to a healthy, 7-pound,
10-ounce baby boy shortly before midnight.

“It was intimate and peaceful,” Kinnetz told The Washington
Post, adding that the couple hopes their son, Bodhi, will get a kick
out of his birth story someday.
“We’re both into winter sports. We feel sure he’ll
like skiing and snowboarding,” Krueger told the



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When Maryville College alumnus Ben Wicker
’03 started thinking about ideas for his next
tattoo, he recalled a project he’d heard about
called “Ineradicable Stain: Skin Project,”
which consisted of 2,095 participants who
each tattooed a single word of a short story
written by Shelley Jackson.
He wanted to create a similar project but
wanted to find a poem, song or other written
piece that would have meaning to him and
other participants. Maryville College’s alma
mater immediately came to mind.

assigned to three people for the three times
the chorus is sung. By claiming a phrase,
participants agreed to get a legible tattoo
of the phrase and submit a high quality
photograph of the tattoo once it is finished.
“I didn’t want to limit people, because
tattoos are such a personal thing; they’re such
a permanent thing,” Wicker said. “I wanted
people to be able to be creative with it and get
something that they wanted. I just said it had
to be legible, and it had to be something
people were willing to take a picture of.”
For many participants, which include

residence life at MC, said he is organizing the
project as a dedicated alumnus of the College.
“This is just me trying to find a neat way to
bind people together in their appreciation of
the College,” he said.
Wicker’s wife, Nicole Williams Wicker
’03, also participated in the project – she
selected the phrase “and true,” which is
tattooed on the top of her foot.
To date, 22 of 39 participants have gotten

For the “MC Alma Mater Tattoo Project,” led by Ben
Wicker ’03, 39 participants signed up to get a tattoo
featuring a phrase from the College’s alma mater. Once
the project is complete, Wicker hopes to create an
exhibit to display photos of the tattoos.

In the initial stages of the “MC Alma Mater
Tattoo Project,” Wicker created a Facebook
page and survey to find out how many people
would be interested. He then did some
research to make sure he had the correct
version of the MC alma mater, separated the
song lyrics into 39 phrases and distributed a
participant sign-up sheet – which began filling
up immediately.
Wicker said he broke up the lyrics so
that almost every phrase contains a word
that carries some weight or meaning. Each
participant claimed a single phrase, and
phrases from the chorus, such as “float
forever” and “hail to Maryville,” were

both MC alumni and students, the specific
phrase they accepted carries a personal
significance. Wicker, who has the phrase
“wake the echoes” tattooed on his upper arm,
along with a drawing of the Anderson Hall
tower, said he chose the phrase because of the
meaning it had for him.
“When I think about ‘wake the echoes,’
I think about the thousands of people who
have come before me and the rich history
of this place,” Wicker said. “I think of the
Anderson Bell ringing on special occasions
and the celebration we all have several times
each year.”
Wicker, who is also the assistant director of

their tattoos. Once the project is complete,
Wicker said he hopes to create an exhibit to
display photographs of the alma mater tattoos
in sequential order of the song lyrics. To
follow the project, join the Facebook page
“Orange & Garnet, Float Forever – the MC
Alma Mater Tattoo Project.”
The project has garnered media attention,
too – a Highland Echo story about the
project was featured in USA Today College,
and several media outlets reported on the
project, including the Knoxville News Sentinel,
Knoxville CBS affiliate WVLT-TV and
Syracuse University’s The Daily Orange.

focus |






Ann Little Rigell ’69
Jason Brooks ’97
Vice President
Martha Cook ’65
Recording Secretary
Ross Hamory ’70
Chair – Resource Development
Eric Weatherbee ’06
Chair – Marketing & Promotions
Janet Helwig Fortney ’82
Chair – Educational Programming
Adlai Boyd ’57
Lynn Ramsey Cole ’68
Alan Cropper ’69
Ed Hawkey ’70
Marcia Kilby Rethwilm ’89
Dan Rineer ’65
Sue Van Aken ’83
Pat Dobbin Chambers ’65
Steve Dockery ’68
Diane Hall Edwards ’68
Evan Giordano ’08
Mike Garrett ’63
Tonya Briggs Gossett ’00
Colber Prosper ’08
Stephanie Fugate Teague ’95
Jeff Coghill ’70
Sarah Winbigler DeYoung ’74
Kyle Duke ’97
Susan Spence Hill ’83
Christian Kaijser ’89
Marissa McInnis ’04
Marquita Porter Smith ’03
Staci Kerr Stalcup ’98
Clint Wight ’97

Brian Wendel ’10
Blount County Chapter President
Wade Knapper ’04
Knox County Chapter President
Robbie Champion ’09
MC in DC President


focus |


Eddie Mendence ’05, who teaches English 10
at Maryville High School, received the 201415 Don Jenkins Teacher of Excellence in
English/Language Arts Award. It is the
Tennessee Council of Teachers of English’s
(TCTE) Teacher of the Year Award. He accepted the award in
September, during the TCTE annual conference in Nashville.
Penny Blackford Ferguson ’69, his coworker and mentor,
introduced him. This is the fifth time in 23 years that Maryville
High School’s English department has had a state award winner.

Cori Cain Johnson and husband
Mark recently relocated to
Kingsport, Tenn., where Cori is
a senior account executive over
membership with the Kingsport
Chamber of Commerce. Mark
and Cori recently purchased
their first home and welcomed
their first child in October 2015.

Joshua Noah was ordained
as a teaching elder in the
PCUSA on July 18, 2015 by
the Presbytery of GiddingsLovejoy and currently serves
as solo pastor of Grace
Presbyterian Church in Crystal
City, Mo. (outside of St. Louis).
Margaret Daum Hall, after 12
years as an employee of a
large firm, opened her own
financial advisory office in

Jonathan Young has been
named interim principal at
Carpenters Middle School in
Blount County, Tenn., where
he previously served as
assistant principal.
Brandon James Tindell
is currently an attorney
practicing with Leibowitz
Law Firm, PLLC in Knoxville,

Rodney Massey wrote to say he
attended MC as a freshman
in 2007 and still considers
Maryville one of the crowning
achievements in his life. He
said he is honored to have
attended this college.
Kylie Baumgart Beukema
is working at St. Anthony
North Health Campus in
Westminster, Colo., as a family
medicine resident physician.

April in Montevallo, Ala.

Valerie Ryan Smith graduated
with a master’s degree
in youth development
leadership from Clemson
University in December 2015.

Adam Mabe recently
completed his OB/GYN
residency and fellowship and
moved with his wife, Marriah
Wogomon Mabe ’05, to Oak
Ridge, Tenn.

Katie Fair has started law
school at Lincoln Memorial
University’s Duncan School
of Law, Class of 2018, in
Knoxville, Tenn. She hopes
to practice criminal or
immigration law.

It’s a small world! Dallas Flint ’08 shared that
during the summer, she took the trip of a
lifetime to backpack Europe for a month with
an old friend. While she was hiking a trail
through Cinque Terre, Italy, she struck up a
conversation with a friendly couple behind
them on the trail. It just so happens that they
were also Maryville College alumni! Lisa
Wilson Xiques ’77 and Pete Xiques ’78 were
in Italy with friends, took a cooking class in
Tuscany and planned to end their trip in Cinque Terre. No one Dallas met in Europe had
heard of Maryville College, so to have met fellow alumni was really something special.


C L A S S notes

Jean Teffeteller Lambert
Jan. 27, 2016, in Maryville, Tenn. She and
her husband, Harold Lambert ’50, received
the Maryville College Medallion – the
College’s highest award – in 2004. Devoted
to her family and community, she was a
proud member of Maryville First United Methodist Church
and often volunteered at the Welcome Table. Survivors
include her husband; children Kathy Lambert Howard,
Randy Lambert ’76 and Sherry Lambert Miller; seven
grandchildren, including Wes Lambert ’12 and Jason
Lambert ’08; seven great-grandchildren and their families.

Jim Stewart
Dec. 10, 2015, in Portland, Ore. He served
as Maryville College chaplain from 1976
until 1979. He later worked in technology,
as well as in conflict resolution for both the
Catholic Archdiocese of Portland and the
Presbytery of the Cascades, retiring in 1995. Survivors
include his wife, former wife, children and grandchildren.

Graeme Sieber ’57
Dec. 13, 2015, in Maryville, Tenn. A founding
member of Maryville College’s Board of Church
Visitors, he was a long-time Presbyterian pastor
in Pennsylvania and Tennessee and director of
Bachman Home, a treatment center for troubled
adolescent boys. Once called “that hippie preacher,” he
focused on social justice, peacemaking, civil rights, LGBT
issues and affordable housing. Survivors include his wife
Millie Beard Sieber ‘57, daughter Beth Sieber Ford ‘83,
son Robert and two grandchildren.

Howard “Monk” Tomlinson
Jan. 4, 2016, in Houston, Texas. He came
to Maryville College in 1959 as the offensive
line coach under Coach Boydson Baird and
was named head football coach in 1964. He
became head track coach in 1960 and rebuilt
the program. After he left MC in 1971, he
held football coaching positions at several
universities, including Tennessee Tech University, Northeast
Louisiana University, Tulane University and University
of North Carolina. Survivors include wife Shirley, two
children, two granddaughters and one great-grandson.

1937 Darline Andrus Penhalurick

June 16, 2015

1938 Constance Johnson

January 2015

1939 Lucile Gillespie Weiss July 24, 2015

Virginia Partridge Reed
March 23, 2015
G. Irma Souder Baker Nov. 9, 2015

1940 Lucile Wilson Cureton

Dec. 16, 2014
Ruth Woods Pearson June 19, 2015
Sara Lee Hellums Kramer
Dec. 7, 2015

1941 Harold Austin

Nov. 11, 2015

1942 Doris Smith

Sept. 1, 2015

1943 Helen George Furgerson

May 21, 2015
June 22, 2015
Aug. 21, 2015

Mary Knight Schellenger
Anne Clarke

1944 James Manning Aug. 3, 2015

Ralph Heischman Aug. 10, 2015
Carl Miller
Nov. 5, 2015

1945 Muriel Weber Clark Aug. 17, 2015

Nancy Russell Lynn Aug. 14, 2015

1946 Juanita Hinson Percival

Sept. 29, 2015

1947 Gwendolen Rees-Jones Shell Aug. 30, 2015

Alma Lancaster Grubbs

Dec. 18, 2015

1948 Edward Beeler Thompson

July 29, 2015

1949 R. Delmas Watson

Nov. 15, 2015
Nov. 10, 2015

Margaret Temma Weaver

1950 Doris Florence Corbitt July 5, 2015

C. Edward Cutshaw
July 10, 2015
Walter Dean
Nov. 4, 2015
Edward Heerschap Jan. 18, 2015
Walter Menges Nov. 21, 2015
Muriel Headrick Smith
July 27, 2015
Edward Vanderslice Nov. 4, 2015

focus | S P R I N G

2 0 1 6 31


Eugenia “Genie” Varker Martin ’79
Feb. 10, 2016, in Burlington, N.C. She
was a minister of the Presbyterian Church
(USA) and served as pastor of Springwood
Presbyterian Church. She also served at
First Presbyterian Church of Burlington,
Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church in
Asheville and Rock Forge Presbyterian
Church in West Virginia. She was chair of
the Maryville College Board of Church Visitors in 2012. Survivors
include husband Jack; three children, including April Martin ’08;
two siblings and their families.

Richard Ferrin
April 1, 2016, in North Carolina.
He served as Maryville College’s
ninth president from 1987 until
1992. During his five-year tenure,
the College experienced remarkable
growth: enrollment grew by 28
percent, operating revenues increased
78 percent, and the quality and number
of faculty increased. International
programs and exchange agreements
were developed, unrestricted gifts to
the College increased from $385,000 a
year to $1.2 million annually, and nearly $18 million was raised by
the College. He also led the College’s $22 million “Vision 1994”
capital campaign, and the College’s board of directors expanded
during his leadership.
The founding president and CEO of World Education Group,
LLC, Dr. Ferrin spent more than 45 years in higher education
leadership, beginning with The College Board. He served as dean
of Kansas Wesleyan University and Whitworth College, and he
served as president of Penn Foster College, Salem International
University and the Knoxville Museum of Art. He conducted trips
to several Asian countries, leading successful efforts to increase
access to U.S. higher education while instituting cross-cultural,
student and faculty programs around the world. He served on
higher education advisory boards in Singapore and South Korea,
as an honorary professor at universities in South Korea and Japan,
and as a board member for numerous community and educational
organizations in the U.S.
Survivors include wife Wendy, two sons, two daughters, one
stepson, three siblings, six grandchildren and their families.

1951 William Menges

Lincoln Shimomura

Nov. 2, 2015
July 8, 2015

1952 Harriet Brown

Nov. 22, 2014
Billy Grinstead
Nov. 5, 2015
Marianna Brogden Heerschap June 7, 2013
Wesley Miles
July 18, 2015
Mary Pribble
Aug. 11, 2015

1953 Gertrude Singleton Baker

Nov. 5, 2015
Clyde McCampbell July 8, 2015
George Roberts July 15, 2015

1954 Elvira Pierce Winsor Nov. 23, 2015
1955 Kenneth Wilkinson

Dec. 11, 2015

1957 Nancy Halliburton Hall

July 26, 2015
July 12, 2015

Meredith Hall

1958 Dolores Berry Gau April 8, 2015
1959 Alice McCombe Block Oct. 28, 2015

Carol Morgan Brigham

Sept. 8, 2015

1960 Douglas Bunker Dec. 1, 2015
1963 Sally Hinn Musson Nov. 4, 2015
1964 Philip Brown

June 21, 2015

1966 Theodore Putnam Aug. 23, 2014
1969 Stephen Dorner July 14, 2015
1971 Paul Shirk

Oct. 20, 2015
Mary Brackbill Woehl Nov. 4, 2015

1980 John Rhodes

June 29, 2015

1985 Susan Whitehead Allen

July 13, 2015
G. John Varney Aug. 10, 2015

1996 Janet Vaden Carver Oct. 31, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: With only a few exceptions, the College received information printed above between July 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015. Obituaries and death
notifications received after Dec. 31, 2015 should appear in the next issue of FOCUS. Full obituaries can be viewed online at


focus |


What does the Maryville Fund do?

“Your Maryville Fund gift
provides me and every
Maryville College student
an exceptional lifetransforming experience.
When you give to the
Maryville Fund, you are
enabling the College to put
its mission into practice.”

Music Education with
Teacher Licensure major
Member of
Off Kilter and
MC Concert Choir

The Maryville College mission is to prepare

students for lives of citizenship and leadership, challenging each one
to search for truth, grow in wisdom, work for justice and dedicate
a life of creativity and service to the peoples of the world.  You can
be a leader in putting the mission into practice by giving at the
President’s Circle level of $1,000 or more to the Maryville Fund. 

To make a President’s Circle
level contribution or donate to
the Maryville Fund, please visit or contact
Meghan Fagg, Assistant Director for
the Maryville Fund, at 865.981.8191. 

502 East Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, Tennessee 37804

in toh MC
wit ia

Send yo
dress to


JUNE 6-10

Enjoy fellowship with alumni, parents, friends, students and MC
employees while working on campus improvement projects!




JUNE 12-17

MC’s weeklong summer youth theology program is designed for rising 10th, 11th and
12th graders of any faith background. It emphasizes personal growth, as well as developing
leaders for the church, school and community.



The hands-on environmental program is a one-of-a-kind, credit-bearing, introductory
college experience for high school students entering their junior and senior years, and recent
high school grads. It takes place mostly in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.



This year’s Homecoming will include something for everyone: reunion gatherings,
a “Decade Bash,” athletic competitions, musical performances, a parade and more.
Watch for details!


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