A campus that has been all too quiet for the past three months will spring to life when Martin Methodist College welcomes 385 new students on the annual M-Day (Move-in Day), set for Saturday, Aug. 18.
Five days later, at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 23, in the Curry Christian Life Center, the entire enrollment, expected to be somewhere around 1,070 students, will take part in Opening Convocation, signifying the official opening of the 2012-13 academic year – the 143rd year in the college’s history.
And, in the mind of President Ted Brown, the just-completed Summer Olympics in London provides a worthy backdrop for the school year about to begin.
In addressing the faculty and staff during the annual planning conference on Monday morning, Brown said that, as he watched the many stories of inspiration that highlighted the Olympic Games over the past two weeks, he made a strong connection to what will occur on the Martin Methodist campus in the coming weeks and months.
"I don’t know about you, but I have found it difficult not to be inspired by the Olympics," he said. "What people go through and the dedication that they exhibit to win those medals is truly inspirational.
"Well, it has occurred to me that we have those same kinds of stories all over this campus," he continued. "Students come to us with enormous challenges; let’s face it, we help many students succeed. There may not be a gold medal at stake – in fact, there is something a great deal more important and more precious, and that is vocation – and we are helping people prepare for a lifetime of productivity and fulfillment. Every day on this campus should be as inspirational as those Olympic stories."
Among the new academic developments that will highlight the 2012-13 year is the beginning of two new academic majors –in the dramatic arts and in business entrepreneurship – and a revised English major with emphasis in three areas: literature, writing and language, and TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).
The Entrepreneurship program has a special significance in reference to the recently approved Martin 2020 long-range plan. In April, the college’s Board of Trustees approved the new strategic plan with its overarching goal as establishing Martin Methodist College as a primary educational resource for the 13-county region of south central Tennessee. A key element in that role is promoting economic development, and an academic major in business entrepreneurship has been eagerly endorsed by economic development leaders across the region, a logical next step following the creation in 2010 of the Giles County Small Business Development Center, a partnership between the Giles County Economic Development Commission, the Giles County Chamber of Commerce and Martin Methodist College.
Also awaiting students as the new academic year begins is the development of the East Campus Athletic Complex, including the RedHawks’ new baseball and softball fields. The 44-acre tract between East College and East Jefferson streets has been the site of earth-moving equipment and new construction for the past several months, and the results include new parking and restroom/concession facilities for the RedHawk soccer field and an indoor practice facility adjacent to the baseball-softball fields that will be used by several RedHawk teams.
But before classes and extracurricular activities begin, the college and community will host a series of events to welcome new and returning students into the Martin Methodist fold, beginning with the 11th annual Martin Pride Days Celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 21, on the Campus Green. Providing the music, which begins at 6:30 p.m., will be a return performance by Burning Las Vegas, the high-energy Nashville-based show band that proved to be a crowd favorite two years ago. Fireworks will follow at 8 p.m. Admission to the celebration will be $7 per person, with all students – kindergarten through college – admitted free of charge. Folks are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets and picnic baskets. (In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held in Martin Hall Auditorium.)
The Giles County Chamber of Commerce will again partner with Martin Methodist College for the annual Beach Party on the Square from 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23, with food, sand volleyball and music by Chris Shrader, a Giles County native who now lives in Nashville and performs several nights a week in the music venues along Lower Broadway.
For more information about these and other events associated with Martin Pride Days and student orientation, contact the Office of Admissions at 931-363-9804.
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