mtsu honors college

 Alyssa Puff graduated in December from Hazel Green High School in Huntsville, Alabama. For postsecondary education, she was courted by “Harvard, Vanderbilt and 150 other schools,” her mother, Judy Finley said.

They came to Murfreesboro Monday (Feb. 19) to attend the Honors College Presidents Day Open House at Middle Tennessee State University, where Puff will go to school “because MTSU is what felt right,” she said after considering all schools and their offers.

More than 250 fellow high school students and their families joined Puff for the open house.

For prospective students, the Honors College provides 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.

Andrew Hendricks, 18, of Lebanon, Tennessee, a Lancaster Christian Academy senior and MTSU Presidential Scholarship ($4,000 per year) recipient planning to major in computer science, said he likes the Honors College because of its “class size — they aren’t that large — and more interaction” among students.

Accepting the Honors Buchanan Fellowship (highest academic award a student can obtain), Dara Zwemer, 18, of Lascassas, Tennessee, said the scholarship will allow her “to explore different things.” The Oakland High senior and International Baccalaureate student plans to study psychology.

Taylor Ball of Manchester, Tennessee, a Coffee County Central High School senior planning to study speech pathology, has been ready to attend MTSU “since the second day of her senior year,” Jeanne Ball, her mother, said.

“I heard the undergraduate clinicals are the best here,” said the younger Ball, a Trustee Scholarship ($5,000 per year) recipient. “I have job shadowed with multiple speech pathology facilities (hospitals and schools) and they all have told me that.”

Currently homeschooled, Gabrielle Thornton, 17, of Lyles, Tennessee, just missed out on a Buchanan scholarship, “but I’m happy with the Trustee … and I’m excited because I know there are going to be a lot of new opportunities,” she said. Visiting with father and MTSU alumnus Jeff Thornton and mother Becky, Gabrielle is undecided on a major.

Honors College senior Tatum England provided a student perspective and advice, including “choosing an environment where you can grow.” She is a senior majoring in community and public health and minoring in chemistry, biology and psychology.

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 (Walker Library, aerospace air traffic control and recording industry), a “mad science” physics demonstration with professor Eric Klumpe and mock trial demonstrations.

It also included an option to attend the spring Honors Lecture Series (“American Values,” with Derek Griffith of Vanderbilt University’s Center for Medicine, Health and Society and Gloria Wilson (MTSU Art and Design), who brought “Lest We Forget the Heterogeneity of Blackness: The Art of Pursuing Health Equity in Post-Black America”).

Admissions offers two upcoming MTSU Preview Days Saturday, Feb. 24, and Saturday, March 24.

To register for any preview day or other special events, visit Preview day events begin in the Student Union Building, 1768 MTSU Blvd. To find various buildings and parking, visit

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

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