MTSU Honors College Open House


One student flew from Colorado. Most of the high school students came from Tennessee. The rest came from surrounding states in the South and Midwest.

With sunny, mid-70 degree weather prevailing outdoors for Presidents’ Day when most were out of school for the holiday, nearly 640 people attended the MTSU Honors College open house Monday (Feb. 20).

For prospective students, the Honors College fosters the academic excellence and nurturing environment of a small, select, private liberal arts college within the setting of a major university. It also provides expert faculty, unique curricular and extracurricular experiences and “Collage,” an award-winning arts and literary magazine.

Attending a mock trial demonstration by MTSU students for the roomful of visitors and their parents, Cate Farone “loved it (courtroom atmosphere). If I come here, I’m definitely going to be on the mock trial team.”

Farone, 18, of Murfreesboro, is a Father Ryan High School senior. Monday marked her “first official college visit,” though she has literally grown up with parents — researchers and faculty members Tony and Mary Farone — who each have worked more than 20 years on campus.

Cate Farone has been awarded a Buchanan scholarship, the top award an MTSU undergraduate student can receive, by the Honors College.

“Coming today, I definitely want to come here,” added Cate Farone, who had an opportunity to talk with senior Connor McDonald, Student Government Association vice president and political science major — the field she wants to pursue. “He was very interesting and helpful. I want to be a lawyer and he told me about the law school process.”

Visiting with her mother Zeinab Ali, Antioch High School senior Sunaya Ali of Nashville said she “didn’t know what the Honors College had to offer and details regarding the thesis,” she said.

Ayuub Ali, an older brother, is a junior majoring in business in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business. Sunaya Ali, 18, said she is undecided on a major.

Making his first visit to campus and alone because his parents work schedule prevented them from coming, Juan Escobar, 17, another Antioch High senior from Nashville, has received a Provost Scholarship, but he’s “looking at a couple of options (with other schools),” he said.

“I met a friend (Natenael Belete) who used to go to my high school,” added Escobar. “He told me some good things about it (the university). The Honors College has smaller classrooms, giving you a sense of community.”

Farone said she liked “how diverse it is here,” referring to people from “different backgrounds and parts of the country and the world coming together at MTSU.”

Honors College Dean John Vile was more than pleased with the turnout.

“The Student Union ballroom was filled,” he said. “It’s been a great day.”

Admissions joined the Honors College in hosting the event. All of the university’s colleges, Housing and Residential Life and the MTSU Parent and Family Association shared information with the visitors.

The visit included tours (library, aerospace air traffic control, recording industry, Center for Innovation in Media, electronic media communication mobile production lab and more), “mad science” physics and mock trial demonstrations and option to attend the spring Honors Lecture Series (“Rhetoric in Contemporary Culture,” with Keel Hunt of The Strategy Group, who brought “Political Speech: How Candidates Win and Leaders Lead” to the classroom).

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