Alumni Summer College Participants Study Future of Analytics, AI

Jul 09, 2024 at 01:50 pm by WGNS News

MTSU Alumni Summer College Class of 2024 (Above).

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Atlanta, Georgia, businessman and Middle Tennessee State University alumnus Andre Dyer found the recent 2024 Alumni Summer College intriguing and enlightening.

From the Class of 1991, Dyer, a Lawrenceville, Georgia, resident and a diversity, equity and inclusion talent acquisition leader, recently attended the 15th annual Alumni Summer College, where he and more than 70 others learned the latest in analytics and artificial intelligence or AI.


Alumni came from across the state and country to attend this year’s summer college, held June 26-28 and titled “Navigate the Unknown: Exploring the Future of Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.”

Open to alumni and friends, Alumni Summer College is an “edutaining” opportunity for alums to expand their knowledge of interesting subjects that combines interactive classes and tours specifically created with MTSU alumni in mind, said Beth Dye, assistant director of alumni engagement in the Office of Alumni Relations.

An inside linebacker in football from 1986-89 for hall of fame coach Boots Donnelly, Dyer, who earned his degree in business administration/business management in the Jones College of Business, said “AI caught my eye. It’s the deal and is going to be huge. I received an email from Beth and her team and immediately responded because of my interest in AI. I wanted to learn and explore and learned how AI and data co-exist.

“It was a chance to meet people, some of whom remembered seeing me play. I picked up contacts through networking, so meeting people was a plus. … I feel somewhat equipped to  have intelligent conversations about AI — how to utilize these tools and how this is going to impact the world.”

During the first-day dinner, held Wednesday, June 26, in the second-floor atrium of the Miller Education Center on Bell Street, Dyer had a conversation with MTSU College of Liberal Arts Dean Leah Tolbert Lyons.

Dyer and Lyons discussed several topics including “how to drive representation (with minorities for Alumni Summer College),” he said. “I highly recommend it (attending). We’ve got to get the word out. She said, ‘I’m all in and will help in any way I can.’” Dyer added he’s keenly aware of “MTSU being one of the most diverse campuses in the state.”

Classes in data science, analytics and AI were taught by Keith Gamble, MTSU Data Science Institute director; John Wallin, director of the Computational and Data Science doctoral program in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; and Mike Forbes, director of technical systems for Media Arts, and Todd O'Neill, associate professor and program coordinator for interactive media in Media Arts, in the College of Media and Entertainment.

More than 70 people attended summer college this year, said Ginger Freeman, Alumni Relations director.

“We had a great time with past attendees and 25 new attendees this year,” she said. “The classes were interactive and provided insight into different aspects of AI. Some of those attended specifically because of AI and some because their friend recommended coming. So many folks are learning ways to use AI at work and in their everyday lives.”

A field trip to Nashville to visit MP&F Strategic Communications and the National Museum of African American Music completed their studies.

Freeman said they will send surveys out beginning the week of July 8-12 and then start working on a theme for next year.

To learn more about Alumni Summer College 2025 or numerous other events and programs, call 615-898-2922 or visit

Upcoming alumni activities include special discounts with Dollywood, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center and more — plus a save the date for MTSU’s Sept. 21 Homecoming Game against Duke in Floyd Stadium.

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