All in the family at Honors open house: McDonald sister joins brothers as MTSU Buchanan Scholars

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Delanie McDonald, left, her mother Lorrie and brother Connor gather in the MTSU Student Union. Delanie McDonald accepted the MTSU Honors College's Buchanan Fellows offer. Connor and older brother Collin McDonald (not pictured) both attend MTSU with Buchanan scholarships. (MTSU photo by Marsha Powers)

When 17 year old Delanie McDonald enrolls at MTSU this fall, she will be part of a rare occurrence for the University Honors College.

In what is believed to be an Honors College first, McDonald will join older brothers Collin and Connor as Buchanan Fellows in college at the same time.

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The Buchanan Fellowship, limited to 20 students per year, is the highest award given to an entering MTSU freshman. The program is named in honor of the late Dr. James M. Buchanan, an MTSU alumnus who earned a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science.

More about the McDonald Family:

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An aspiring missionary pilot, Collin McDonald chose aerospace maintenance as his career path and has set his sights on a cross-country trip following in the footsteps of Cal Rogers in 1911, and it will be the basis for his Honors thesis.

Connor McDonald is a junior political science major and senator in student government, with ambitions of being an attorney some day.

Delanie McDonald intends to pursue public relations, but admits she has a strong interest in photography -- and she and others who braved a cold, rainy day to attend the open house thoroughly enjoyed physics and astronomy professor Eric Klumpe's "Mad Science" demonstration.

Having previously visited campus, she called the event -- a mixture of academic and admissions booths combined with various tours and mock trial and "mad science" demonstrations -- "a really good experience that I enjoyed."

Neither Lorrie nor husband David McDonald attended MTSU. They graduated from Tennessee Tech and the University of Georgia, respectively. But they are sold on an MTSU Honors College education.

"I'm always helping sell the campus," Lorrie McDonald said. "The Honors College is a small college within a big college. The boys had Dr. Klumpe in class. He had them (and other students) over to his house, and did this on several occasions. You don't see this happening just anywhere."

David McDonald said it is "amazing how the entire (Honors) staff is interested in their students succeeding."

Jiwood "Elina" Park, 17, a junior at Cascade High School in Wartrace, Tennessee, who plans to pursue microbiology in college, liked how the open house "had a lot more to offer. It was very in-depth." She was among more than 100 people attending Klumpe's physics demonstration in the Student Union Building's Parliamentary Room.

"The Honors College Open House was an educational and fun day," said Laura Clippard, the Honors staff member who organizes the event. "Students had the opportunity to talk to academic advisers, financial aid, housing, and we had some really cool tours associated with aerospace and also with media and entertainment."

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