MTSU Hosts hundreds During Presidents’ Day Open House

Prospective MTSU students came from as far away as Florida, Missouri, Mississippi, Kentucky and Virginia. One young man, who has grandparents who live in Murfreesboro, came from France.

They also came in numbers for the fifth annual University Honors College Presidents’ Day Open House Monday, Feb. 17. Hundreds of prospective students and their families preregistered for the visit that included tours of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building and numerous other campus facilities.

Austin Jones of Ocean Springs, Miss., who already had visited last spring, said MTSU has “a pretty campus.”

Joined for the event by his father, Steve, Austin Jones said he liked the university’s  “diverse demographic and I’m excited about the opportunity the Honors College will present.” He said he plans to study recording industry.

Austin Jones said he had been notified he will be one of 20 Buchanan Fellowship recipients. The Buchanan, named for the late alumnus and Nobel Prize winning recipient, Dr. James M. Buchanan, is the highest academic award given to an entering MTSU freshman.

Ryan “Lizzie” Harvey, a Provost Scholarship awardee from La Vergne, Tenn., High School, agreed with Jones in that MTSU “scholastically is diverse” and knows “teachers are interested in seeing us strive and seek excellence.” She plans to study psychology at MTSU.

Harvey, joined by her parents Regina and Ron Harvey, said she anticipated the remainder of the day “is sure to be interesting and informative. MTSU always shows the best of its campus. MTSU definitely is a school that is competitive, wide-ranging and has something for everybody.” She added that she and teammate Brydon Leer earned third place in material science during the 2013 Science Olympiad at MTSU.

In the middle of their visit, Andrew Swehla and his father, Jerry, both from Murfreesboro, made a side trip to view the still-under-construction, $147 million Science Building on the south side of campus. Neither was aware MTSU had plans for a new science building, but Andrew Swehla’s eyes sparkled upon hearing the news and more about it from College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer and pre-professional coordinator Jennifer Hendrix.

Andrew Swehla, who plans to be a pre-med major in hopes of being a physician some day, is homeschooled primarily by his mother, Sarah, under the Memphis-based Gateway Christian Schools umbrella.

Eden Ross of Friendsville, Tenn., and a senior at Maryville Christian School, knows all about the Science Building.

“It’s beautiful,” said Ross, who plans to study physics and who was joined by her parents, Robin and Phillip Ross, for her second campus visit. “I think it’s an absolutely beautiful campus — one of the prettiest I’ve been to so far.” She added she is “excited and a little nervous” about coming to MTSU.

Christian Lawrence, a senior at Zion Christian Academy in Columbia, Tenn., said her second visit to campus was “pretty informative” and she learned “what courses I should take for the major (biology) I’m going to be in.” Harriet Lawrence, her mother, also attended.

Justice McGhee of Nashville, a Cane Ridge High School senior who plans to study computer science/computer engineering, said he is undecided on his college choice, “but this (MTSU) is where I want to go.” Joining him for the open house were his parents, Tanya and Anthony McGhee.

Honors College adviser Laura Clippard said attendance at the open house “far exceeded expectations.”

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee spoke of the university’s many virtues and fielded questions from students who attended a breakfast held for recipients of Chancellor, Presidential, Academic Service and Provost scholarships.

Honors College Dean John Vile addressed both the scholarship group and other prospective students and their families attending the open house.

Learning about MTSU's College of Mass Communication

Each scholarship attendee received a copy of “This I Believe,” by Jay Allison. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for admissions and enrollment services, told the scholarship breakfast audience this will be the Summer Reading Program book utilized by incoming freshmen and MTSU staff and students.