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Committee selected to prepare for 125th anniversary

By Todd Brison
On September 19, 2012

East Tennessee State University President Dr. Brian Noland has recently put together a committee named Committee 125, a group that will help create a vision for ETSU's 125th anniversary.
The committee members, who are volunteering their services, plan to decide what steps the university should take between now and 2036.
"We don't just want to plan for that far away," said Jeremy Ross, associate vice president for University Advancement. "But the next five, 10, 15 years out."
Noland and those involved in this process are calling this visionary process a "what if" period in ETSU's history.
"In the 1970s we asked, 'What if we had a college of medicine?'" Noland said. "In the early 2000s we asked 'What if ETSU had a college of pharmacy,' and now we have a Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy ... those [and other] questions have yielded results that have changed the face and everything we know about ETSU."
Although the committee makes up former presidents, and community leaders, the six task force groups in the next level of Project 125 will be made up of students, faculty, staff and members of the community.
"We've asked the SGA to nominate students that would be in a position to serve ... and we've got hundreds of other nominations." Ross said. "Not just of students, but from a lot of people."
There is a selection committee that will look at the nominations for the task forces.
Those that are selected will be responsible for going out to collect the data for what issues should be taken care of around the university.
Some of the issues these members will be gathering information about include university enrollment, budgets, and the health science center.
Noland says that although he had some goals coming into the university, but he is hoping that more goals for the school will develop as this committee moves forward.
"I'd like to see us be able to increase the level of financial aid to students across the institution," Noland said. "I like to see us enhance some of the things we're doing in the athletic department, but those are just a handful of things we will see emerge from Committee 125."
The different task forces are academics, health sciences, student life, athletics, extramural resources, and culture and outreach.
Task force members could be chosen as early as the beginning of next week, and the process for university improvement will be open and available for student feedback.
The committee is planning to have electronic surveys and town hall engagement groups throughout the process.
"Our goal is that everyone has an opportunity to contribute, to be involved and be informed," Ross said.
The members that have been appointed to the committee include ETSU former presidents Paul Stanton and Roy S. Nicks, and University of Memphis President Shirley Raines.
The chair of the committee is Louis Gump, ETSU benefactor and founder of the Roan Scholars Leadership Program.
"This initiative is an opportunity to define an even greater culture of excellence at ETSU," Gump said.
As far as enrollment goes, Noland says the opportunities for ETSU to grow are "boundless." He hopes to set new goals as the university moves down the road, and use the new ways of educating people to its full potential.
"I don't think it's a leap of faith for us to set a goal of 18,000 students," Noland said.
"We'll see what the outcome is whether it be students that are undergraduate or graduate, whether on campus or online."

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