For MTSU nontraditional student Corbitt Huseth, the scholarships and financial assistance he received thanks to MTSU donors was critical in him being able to balance family and a graduate assistantship.
He earned his degree in exercise science in fall 2017 and is working on finishing his master's over the summer while continuing as a graduate teaching assistant in MTSU's underwater treadmill lab, which provides treatment for those with spinal injuries. He hopes to start on his Ph.D. this fall.
"The fact that I did receive (a scholarship), financially was a huge impact on me," he told donors at MTSU's sixth annual 1911 Society Luncheon earlier this month. "It allowed me to work less, study more, and it allowed me to spend more time with my family. ... It also allowed me to continue to work in the underwater treadmill lab, which changes lives on a daily basis."
Huseth along with two other MTSU top scholars publicly gave thanks earlier this month to the newest members of the 1911 Society, which celebrates individuals and families who have created gifts to the university through their estate plans.
University President Sidney A. McPhee, development officers, several MTSU deans and other top administrators joined the students April 6 at Stones River Country Club to express their appreciation for the latest group of dedicated Blue Raider donors.
The 1911 Society is named in honor of MTSU's founding year, with new members receiving a framed rendering of Kirksey Old Main.
Also recognized at the luncheon were members of the Signal Society, which honors annual donors who have supported the university in 20 or more years. This group is named for Middle Tennessee Normal School's first newspaper/magazine, The Signal, which was originally published in 1912. New Signal donors receive an engraved medallion reflecting their years of support.
Huseth, a 29-year-old Memphis, Tennessee, native, spent five years in the Marine Corps infantry, with three deployments that took him to the Middle East and the Asia Pacific area, before returning to the States to start a family -- with a wife and now two small children -- in Middle Tennessee.
"I just wanted to let them know ... that they are making a huge difference in the lives of individuals who are disabled," he said.
This year's new 1911 Society members included Dana J. Clegg, Dan and Zita Elrod, William Langston, Dorothy W. Potter, and George Vernardakis. Old Main Society members (donation milestone) recognized include Jean Gould and Roscoe (Rocky) Strickland III.
Signal Society members recognized at this year's luncheon for 40-plus years of giving were Race and Leigh Bergman, John and Barbara Ellington, Kenneth and Peggy Gerdes, Bart Gordon, Leo Harris, Dean and Janice Hayes, Bob Lamb, Wallace and Carolyn Maples, William Morris, Robert A. and Marie Parks, Earl and Linda Roberts, M. Wayne and Velma Rollins, Joyce and Jesse Waller, Andy and Cherry Womack, John and Katherine Woodfin.
MTSU junior psychology major Samantha Eisenberg is on schedule to graduate in May 2019. The Kingston, Tennessee, native shared that she took a break -- "a gap year" -- between graduating high school and entering college to give her some time to decide what she wanted to study before coming to MTSU.
But because of that break, many schools she applied to withdrew any scholarship offers or financial assistance, she said. She's grateful that MTSU recognized that she came from a middle class family making just enough income that paying for a college education would be challenging.
MTSU scholarships helped meet that challenge while propelling her from "a shy, small-town girl into somebody really coming into her own in that leadership niche that everybody said I always could have with the right opportunity."
MTSU senior biology major Conner Moss, a Murfreesboro native, is set to graduate in May from the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the University Honors College. He said he was fortunate to receive the Paul Martin Scholarship as well as Honors College funding for undergraduate research.
"Coming from a family of six and being one of four boys, I knew that paying for college was not going to be easy," he said. While working part time, he received scholarships and funding throughout his four years at MTSU that "has helped tremendously and allowed me to spend more time on my academic pursuits and to reach my career goals."
Moss also received the Phillip and Marilyn Mathis Research Award and CBAS funding that allowed him to present his research at the American Chemical Society National Conference.
"More importantly, I'm extremely grateful that people who I've never met are willing to invest in a student's future," he said. "It encouraged me to push through the tough times and it inspired me."
After graduating from MTSU, Moss hopes to attend medical schools and "looks forward to being able to give back to MTSU one day."