Halfway up seven-story Corlew Hall in the heart of the MTSU campus, university President Sidney A. McPhee made his way to Caleb Wilson's new room for the next year.
McPhee was in the midst of helping some students move in amid 90-plus-degree heat Friday (Aug. 22). It was the first day of the two-day "We-Haul," the first New Student and Family Programs Week of Welcome event where the campus and Murfreesboro communities reach out and assist new and returning students and their families with the move in to 10 campus residence halls, Scarlett Commons and Womack Lane Apartments. To see We-Haul photos on Facebook, visit https://www.facebook.com/mtsublueraiders.
The president knew this stop was different. He found Wilson, a freshman from Old Hickory, Tennessee, and a graduate of Goodpasture High School who has an ever-present smile on his face, in a wheelchair. In 2013 Wilson received a spinal-cord injury after being run over by pickup truck.
McPhee posed for photographs with his parents, Rodney and Ila Wilson of Old Hickory, and Ruth "Nana" Johnson, Caleb Wilson's grandmother. The visit capped the hectic day for one of the newest accounting students in the Jones College of Business.
"I thought he was personable," Wilson said of the drop-in by the president. "He popped in and asked how we were doing."
By early next week, Wilson will be meeting with Sandy Stephens, a member of the Health and Human Performance faculty and underwater treadmill research specialist.
McPhee helped freshman Macie Mussleman of Collinwood, Tennessee, and her parents, Matt and Deanna Mussleman, move in her items.
"It's nice to be able to carry in things like this," McPhee said to Macie Mussleman as they were walking up steps just outside Corlew. "(Being at MTSU) will be a great experience for you."
Mussleman said McPhee's assistance was "pretty unique and special." He complimented her fifth-floor room with a view.
Junior Destiney McAdams of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, is majoring in nutrition with a dietetics concentration, in Human Sciences in the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences.
Last year, McAdams, who was joined by her mother, Leslie Henderson and grandfather, Gary Henderson, both from Oak Ridge, arrived too late for We-Haul help.
"They were so willing to help and so nice," McAdams said of 2014's many movers, a combination of campus organizations and on- and off-campus ministries.
Junior community and public health major Blake Collinsworth of Clinton, Tennessee, represented CRU, a campus ministry that had nearly 20 people moving in students.
"Our mission is to get the students connected, grow spiritually and impact lives," he said.
Transplanted New Jersey sophomore Sarah Larson now calls Tellico Plains home. A music business major in recording industry, she is a singer and owner of an acoustic Gibson guitar she carried into Rutledge Hall on the west side of campus.
"It does get cooler, right?" she asked at noon when temperatures reached the 90s with very little breeze.
Larson and her father, John Larson of Trenton, New Jersey, carried in a carload of items. A relative was bringing another truckload.
"I toured three colleges, but this was my number one (choice)," she said. "The price was much better, and the music business program here is excellent. I knew I would be much more successful and more at home here than at the other ones. This campus is very friendly."
At the AO (Alpha Omega) tent near the Stark Agribusiness and Agriscience Center, everyone was being fed hamburgers, hot dogs, pizza and cold water to drink. Military Science also was grilling up food outside Forrest Hall.
This marked the second year for junior education major Abby Skeen of Lebanon, Tennessee, to assist with We-Haul. She invited students to attend "MTSU Day" at 9:15 a.m. Sunday at Belle Aire Baptist Church
MTSU fall semester classes will begin Monday, Aug. 25.