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ETSU president returns

Published: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Updated: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 21:01

East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland resumed his presidential duties Jan. 16 after having taken two months off to recuperate from a car accident.

Noland spoke at a press event Jan. 16 about his experience recuperating from the car accident that injured one of his vertebra and what ETSU affiliates can expect moving forward.

“[Jan. 16 marked] the beginning of my third year at ETSU,” Noland said. “... In a two-year time period, it’s amazing the amount of construction that has occurred across this campus, and I want to thank Bill Rasnick and his entire team in facilities for the work that they’ve done. ... We’ve opened an expanded CPA, a new baseball stadium,  greenspace in the center of campus, new intramural fields, Culp renovations that include a full storm of enhanced dining services, a veterans lounge for our students, a fountain in the center of campus honoring the legacy of the first African-American students who desegregated ETSU, a study facility for our students at Quillen and new facilities in Kingsport and Sevierville. That’s in two years. That’s a pretty exhaustive list of facilities.”

Noland said that there are several projects that are underway to improve the student experience at ETSU.

“In the coming months, you’re going to see us explore new programs, like engineering, digital marketing and programs in the other sciences. You’re going to see us put in place efforts to deepen student engagement and engagement with the community. You’re going to see us move forward with some things in respect to logo. We had focus groups across campus this fall. We’re going to bring forward some additional proposals for the community’s consideration, and then, we will move forward with the launch of logos in 2014.”

According to a police report, Jackie White, 34,  collided with Noland when she ran the traffic light at the intersection of West Market Street and Watauga Avenue.

Noland sustained the injury to his vertebra when he struck a utility pole at the scene of the accident.

“A lot of people have asked me questions about the intersection,” Noland said. “Is it the best intersection in the world? I don’t know. But the reason that I was in an accident wasn’t because of a poor intersection. It was because someone poorly followed traffic laws. If an individual hadn’t run a red light, it wouldn’t matter if I was at that intersection or another.”

Noland said that he is in the process of learning how to carry out his professional responsibilities with his current physical limitations.

“I’m not the most patient person in the world. I just want to rip this [neck brace] off,” Noland said. “I’m in it 24-7. I’ve felt better, but I’m fortunate to be here. A millimeter and a half and I would be in a very different position than I am. So, I have nothing to complain about. I’m just having to learn how to be patient.

“Staff is having to learn how to put up with me.”

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