MTSU, Honors College celebrate high school scholars with special events

Feb 28, 2023 at 05:03 pm by WGNS Radio News

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — From new and prospective Middle Tennessee State University students answering U.S. presidents’ quiz questions to them visiting the MTSU President’s House to conclude their daylong visit recently, it was a day to acknowledge academic excellence.

MTSU celebrated Presidents Day by hosting high school scholars for three events — a Buchanan Fellows Breakfast for students who have been offered University Honors College Buchanan Fellowships for the Class of 2027, an Admissions-led Honors Open House and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee recognizing nearly 130 top scholarship recipients during the annual President’s Celebration of Scholars.


Out of school for the Presidents Day holiday, more than 200 students from Tennessee and as far away as Texas attended recruiting events on campus Monday, Feb. 20. It’s an additional way for them to view campus, talk to faculty and administrators and become more committed to attending MTSU.

Celebration of Scholars

Wearing a “Middle Tennessee” sweatshirt, Tori Surges, 18, of Cincinnati, Ohio, made MTSU her first college visit while on fall break in 2022. Planning to study recording industry, she “walked in Bragg (John Bragg Media and Entertainment Building) and I knew this is where I wanted to be. I’m very particular in what I’m interested in.” She has a 3.6 GPA and scored 25 on the ACT.

Attending the Celebration of Scholars with her mother, Megan Walsh, and grandmother, Betty Clarke, Surges received the Presidential Scholarship. “I’m really excited,” Surges said. “Students have a lot of opportunities here.”

Makiah Hall, 17, a senior at Florence High School in Florence, Alabama, said she has accepted the True Blue Scholarship offer and plans to study nursing in the School of Nursing. “The day has been good,” she said of her first-time visit to campus.

McPhee shared about CUSTOMS new student orientation starting in May; the Summer Reading Book, “Life in the Transitions,” by author Bruce Feiler; and Convocation, scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 26, for new students, their families, alumni and visitors.

Honors Open House

Nine days after attending the True Blue Preview on campus, Alexa Ball of Danville, Illinois, and stepfather Rolla Dolph again drove 375 miles one way to attend the open house.

“I had already signed up for both events,” said Ball, 18, a senior at Bismarck-Henning High School, who plans to major in nursing. “We took a tour (Feb. 11). I enjoyed the campus in general. I have an interest in student organizations.” She has a 4.0 GPA and scored 1290 on the SAT. 

Alumnus, lawyer and part-time Municipal Court Judge Greg Smith (Class of ’85) encouraged six Clarksville, Tennessee, students to attend with their parents.

“I’ve worked with three to five kids per year in the past,” said Smith. “I find out what drives their interest. If they are considering MTSU, I recommend and make sure they visit.”

Buchanan Fellows Breakfast

Honors Dean John Vile and his staff invited 20 seniors who have been offered the Buchanan Fellowship, the top scholarship awarded to incoming freshmen and named for the late alumnus, James Buchanan (Class of ’40), an American economist who won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1986.

With older sister Emma Beard about to graduate in May from MTSU, Will Beard of Clinton, Tennessee, accepted the Buchanan offer and plans to double major in audio production and music industry.

“I wanted to come to MTSU even before I got the Buchanan, but the Buchanan (scholarship) sold it,” said Will Beard, 18, a senior at Anderson County High School. “This is where I want to go. This was definitely my first choice.” Along with Emma Beard, who has majored in French and Global Studies and minored in Spanish, parents Lara and John Beard joined him at the breakfast.

Will Beard attended Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU last summer, “where I met some of the School of Music professors. What attracted me to MTSU is the great audio production and music programs.”

He and six others who attended the breakfast accepted the Buchanan scholarship offer. The others and all MTSU scholarship recipients have until May 1 to decide.

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