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Photos by Charlie Warden & Jess Vodden

A Founders Week wordmark

ETSU celebrated its inaugural Founders Week, October 9-13, 2023, commemorating our founding on October 10, 1911. The week included a variety of events that underscored the university’s mission and its ongoing commitment to improve the lives of the people of this region.

A special event was held every day of Founders Week. Those events included the ETSU Elevates Pitch Competition; ETSU Remembers, a ceremony held in memory of faculty, staff, and students who passed away during the prior year; ETSU Heroes, honoring the impactful and extraordinary service of people across the ETSU community; a ribbon-cutting at the newly renovated Gilbreath Hall; and President Brian Noland’s annual State of the University address.

Bank of Tennessee Field


The ETSU Board of Trustees approved a proposal to name ETSU’s football field at the William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium the Bank of Tennessee Field. The naming recognizes the invaluable contributions made by the Bank of Tennessee in supporting ETSU Athletics and the Be GREAT program, which fosters comprehensive development for student-athletes.“We’re excited to continue this partnership with Bank of Tennessee,” said ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander. “I want to thank Mr. William B. Greene, Jr. and Dr. Linda Latimer for their continued support of ETSU Athletics and our entire region.”Greene said that the Bank of Tennessee is “thrilled for the opportunity to have the naming rights of the field and to continue to support our regional university. ETSU has a massive impact on where we live, and we look forward to continuing our long-standing partnership.”

Celebrating Continued Excellence


Students sitting on the ground in the woods, studying nature.

The Go Beyond the Classroom QEP expands opportunities for students to gain real-world, hands-on experience.

ETSU is celebrating a milestone that occurs only once every 10 years: reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The reaffirmation announcement was made at the SACSCOC annual meeting on Dec. 5, 2023. ETSU received full reaccreditation status with no findings or recommendations.

As part of the process, ETSU was required to develop a plan to enhance educational quality and student success for the next decade. Driven by the institutional mission to improve the quality of life for people in the region and beyond and the university’s commitment to preparing students for lifelong success, ETSU’s faculty and staff decided to focus the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) on expanding opportunities for students to gain real-world, hands-on experience while making an impact in the community. Dubbed Go Beyond the Classroom, the plan will intensify ETSU’s focus on community-engaged learning. 

The Future of Nursing


The ETSU Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement hosted a two-day summit last fall that brought together key state and regional stakeholders to discuss and plan ways to strengthen the nursing pipeline across the region and the state. 

The Appalachian Highlands Center for Nursing Advancement serves the region and the state of Tennessee by collecting and disseminating data and developing a strategic statewide plan to address nursing workforce needs. It was created in October 2021 thanks to a generous investment from Ballad Health to create a center dedicated to bringing the region’s academic nursing, clinical nursing, and school systems together to increase the pipeline of opportunity and augment the supply of nurses and nursing support in the Appalachian Highlands.

Summit attendees represented a wide variety of organizations and interests, including ETSU, Ballad Health, the Tennessee Nurses Association, the Tennessee Board of Nursing, the Tennessee Hospital Association, and the National Forum of State Nursing Workforce Centers.

A Groundbreaking Exhibit


A photo of the Crafting Blackness exhibit, including sculptures and works of art hanging on the wall.

Last fall, ETSU hosted the Crafting Blackness panel and exhibition, the first of a series that will eventually be published as a book of essays about the African American Craft History in Tennessee since 1920. It is a significant and unprecedented project initiated by Tennessee Craft with Karlota Contreras-Koterbay of ETSU’s Tipton and Slocumb Galleries.

The ETSU Department of Art and Design’s Slocumb Galleries, along with Tennessee Craft and other partners, presented Crafting Blackness Initiative’s Black Bodies Making Form exhibition series and panel. The exhibitions were co-curated by Contreras-Koterbay and ETSU Advancement Director and Umoja board member Karen LeBlanc Sullivan and featured influential and contemporary Black craft artists from Tennessee. This unprecedented project is touring across Tennessee until 2027, culminating with blockbuster exhibitions and publications.

Acrobatics and Tumbling

A photo illustration of a female leaping into the air while participating in acrobatics.

Upon approval by the ETSU Board of Trustees, ETSU Athletic Director Dr. Richard Sander announced the addition of a women’s Acrobatics and Tumbling program to the university’s Athletics Department. The sport is currently recognized as an emerging sport by the NCAA and is expected to achieve NCAA Championship Sport status by 2024. 

Fifty-three other colleges currently offer the sport. ETSU has marked out a strategic roadmap for the program, with plans to hire a head coach this spring. Recruitment initiatives will kick off in the summer, and limited competitions are slated for spring 2026. ETSU’s participation in its first championship season is anticipated for spring 2027. This initiative will create 28 new athletic opportunities for ETSU’s female athletes.

Read more incredible stories in the Winter 2024 Edition of ETSU Today. #BucsGoBeyond

ETSU Today | Winter 2024

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