​‘Guilt and Forgiveness’ Lecture

Eleonore Stump will speak on “Guilt and Forgiveness” at 7 p.m., Monday, March 27, in the School of Theology’s Hargrove Auditorium.

Stump will consider the conflicting views about forgiveness on the part of the respondents in Simon Wiesenthal’s book “The Sunflower: On the Possibility and Limits of Forgiveness.” She will argue that those respondents who are convinced that forgiveness should be denied the dying German soldier are mistaken. She will also argue in support of the attitude that rejects reconciliation with the dying German soldier that, in some cases of grave evil, repentance and making amends are not sufficient for the removal of guilt, and that reconciliation may be morally impermissible, whatever the case as regards forgiveness.
Eleonore Stump is the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, where she has taught since 1992. She has published extensively in philosophy of religion, contemporary metaphysics, and medieval philosophy. She is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division; and she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering incorporates her Gifford Lectures (Aberdeen, 2003), Wilde lectures (Oxford, 2006), and Stewart lectures (Princeton, 2009).
This lecture is made possible by the Arrington Fund. A reception and book signing will follow the lecture.

​Civic Association Struggles with Ballpark Challenge

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“Baseball is still huge in middle Tennessee,” said Dixon Myers in his overview of the Sewanee ballpark’s history and the desperate need for renovation, prompting a charged discussion among Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) members at the March 8 meeting. The array of problems ranges from nonfunctioning restrooms to dugouts with clogged drains and leaking roofs. “The dugouts need new roofs now,” said SCA immediate past president Kiki Beavers, stressing the urgency. “Baseball season begins April 1.”
Myers’ involvement with the University Office of Civic Engagement dates back to 1991. In 2003, he spearheaded renovation of the ballpark. He emphasized the importance of historical perspective when advocating changes. Dating back to the 1940s, the Sewanee ballpark hosted youth leagues. Pete Green, who worked for Physical Plant Services and served as Little League commissioner, oversaw maintenance of the ballpark throughout the 1990s. A shift to interest in soccer and desperate need for refurbishing the ballpark prompted a fundraising campaign that earned $75,000. In the early 2000s, the ballpark gained a full size soccer field, soccer storage building, new restrooms, onsite water and sewage, concession stands, grandstands, and a playground.
“Unfortunately, for the last 15 years there’s been no consistent maintenance,” Myers said.
While community volunteers mow the ballpark, the park’s diverse facilities and uses pose far more maintenance challenges than a simple playground, Myers pointed out. He also cited difficulty stemming from lack of leadership coordinating volunteer efforts and uncertainty about the University’s role.
“More than 100 children played soccer last year,” said Mary Heath, who assists with the youth soccer program. “We need working restrooms,” said Heath. With the soccer restrooms unusable due to vandalism, children urinated and defecated outside the facility at the end of the season when the baseball restrooms were locked.
Ed Hawkins said the Sewanee ballpark was ineligible for state funding because Sewanee was not a municipality, and the Sewanee Business Association had slacked off in its support due to lack of administrative oversight of spending.
Sarah Marhevsky suggested formation of a nonprofit ballpark entity eligible for grant funding.
Myers emphasized the need for collecting data on the number of users and usage trends as well as information about how neighboring municipalities budgeted for and administered ballpark maintenance. He proposed the University could levy a tax on the lease fee designated for ballpark needs and assign someone from Physical Plant Services to oversee maintenance.
The SCA approved a motion by Beavers to allocate $3,000 to refurbish the dugouts.
SCA President Lynn Stubblefield said the University had also committed $3,000 to the project, estimated to cost $6,000 total.
Hawkins proposed a community fund drive for ballpark repair, but SCA Parks Chair Stephen Burnett cautioned the effort might draw funds from the Community Chest, which was still $13,000 short of reaching its goal.
“We need to present the University with a unified long-term plan,” Burnett insisted. A study committee will put out a call for volunteers to serve on a ballpark maintenance committee at a later date. Making “immediate repairs” are Burnett’s first priority.
The SCA spearheaded and funded the recent renovation of Elliott Park in partnership with the University of the South. Through this year’s Community Chest budget, it will sustain 26 community projects and programs. To donate to the Community Chest visit or mail to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee TN 37375.
At the meeting on April 19, the SCA will announce the recipient of the 34th annual Community Service Award.

​Middle School Debate Continues

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“If there were a way to build two new middle schools without hamstringing funding for programs and staff, I’d vote for it,” said Sewanee school board representative Adam Tucker at the March 13 meeting of the Franklin County School Board. “I’m concerned funding for programming and staff will suffer, not just at the middle schools, but county wide.”
Tucker’s comment framed much of the discussion.
Confronted with the problem of the county’s two aging middle schools, the board investigated the cost of three options. Renovating the middle schools would cost roughly the same amount as building a new consolidated middle school, $35 million. Building new middle schools on the existing sites would cost $55 million.
Tucker presented funding figures for a fourth option, building two new schools, but not concurrently. With an estimated cost of $26 million each and a 15 percent property tax increase over 15 years, construction of the second school would need to be delayed for five to seven years. No property tax increase would mean delaying construction of the second school 11-13 years.
Building two new middle schools concurrently would require a minimum 20 percent property tax increase over a 25-year period. Funds available with the retirement of the debt for the new high school might make possible renovating the schools or building a new consolidated school without a tax increase.
“Renovating the schools is just throwing good money after bad,” said board member Lance Williams. “The middle schools suffered from design issues from day one.”
“Renovating won’t change the infrastructure,” agreed board member Chris Guess. Most of the money for renovation would pay for erecting a shell over the existing structures with very little spent on interior design.
Board member Sara Liechty expressed concern about the cost of heating and cooling unusable space in the poorly designed middle schools and inadequate wiring hampering technological needs.
“Renovation is out of the question,” Tucker said.
“I asked the teachers if they were willing to put up with no improvements,” countered board member Linda Jones, “and they said, ‘yes.’ It’s been overwhelmingly demonstrated to me that two small schools is what’s best for middle school age students.”
Jones also dismissed concern about disruption during the renovation process. “The kids don’t even remember it,” Jones said attesting to her personal experience as an educator in a school under renovation.
Portables to house students during renovation would add approximately $1 million to the cost.
Commenting on the drive to allow parents to use vouchers to enroll their children in private schools, Hopkins said, “We could spend a lot of money and then see enrollment decline. I want to do what’s best for students, but I’d hate to see a major tax increase.”
Dispelling rumors, Guess insisted teachers would not lose their jobs if a consolidated school were built.
“I want to see the cost savings devoted to programming and staff if we vote for building one consolidated school instead of two new schools,” said Tucker.
“We don’t have any control over that,” said board member Gary Hanger. “There are no guarantees.”
“In a perfect world, I would vote for two new schools,” said Williams. “The only way we’ll find out is to send it to the county commission and see what they say.”
“The board’s job is not to decide about funding, but to make the best decision for the students,” said school board chairman Cleijo Walker.
Sewanee resident Lisa Rung presented the board with information supporting the small school concept and a petition signed by 35 Franklin County residents advocating keeping the middle schools separate, even if that meant postponing building a second school until a later date.
“I was disappointed in the citizen response to the survey last fall,” said Hopkins. Only 103 people responded to a BOE (Board of Education) survey soliciting opinions about middle school solutions. “I’ve been surprised by the lack of constituent feedback,” Hanger said.
The board meets next on Monday, April 3 for a working session at the BOE Office in Winchester.

​After Military, Dr. Val Finds Home at Mountain Medical

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

When Dr. Michelle Val joined Mountain Medical Clinic after leaving the Army as a Lt. Colonel, the primary care facility was already in the midst of an overhaul.
There are new floors and décor, local art on freshly-painted walls, and other renovations to add space and make patient flow easier. Val, who started in November, said the clinic is also in the process of adding three new staff members.
“We’re trying to best expand our services to meet the needs of the community,” she said, “and becoming more involved in the community.”
A West Point graduate, Val’s medical career was in the military prior to bringing her skills to Monteagle, a place she hopes to stay for a long time.
“This is an area that not only met our dreams of being in a small-town atmosphere and beautiful area, but it was one we could make a difference in,” she said. “I preferred to find a community where I could retire into and not move again, a place for my kids to call home.”
She and her husband, a West Virginia native whom she met at West Point, have five children, ages 9 to 19.
Val hails from Philadelphia originally, but said the South became home because she spent much of her military career in family medicine here, including her residency at Fort Benning in Georgia, and serving as officer in charge at Joel Health Clinic at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.
“Family medicine is where we have the most interactions with soldiers and the hands-on ability to make a difference,” she said. “I had a wonderful time doing that, serving soldiers, family members and retirees.”
In addition to assignments at Fort Sill in Oklahoma and Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, she also served a year in Iraq as brigade surgeon for the 555th Engineer Brigade. Val earned a Bronze Star for her service providing medical care during the Brigade’s construction efforts in the war-torn country.
She noted that there are some significant differences between family medical care in the military and in private practice. In private practice, patients are typically older and a little sicker, she said, with concerns about affording health insurance and medications.
“Many of the issues on the military side relate to continued deployments, possible skeletal injuries, just the wear and tear that comes from that type of lifestyle,” she noted.
Stacey Walker, a medical assistant at Mountain Medical, said the clinic is fortunate to have Val as a caregiver.
“The patients really love her and she’s good to work with,” Walker said.
In addition to Val, nurse practitioners Anne Porcher Burnett, a Sewanee graduate, and Jennifer O’Neal, a Pelham native, also provide patient care at the clinic.
Mountain Medical is part of the Southern Tennessee Regional Health System. For more information or to make an appointment, call (931) 924-8000.

​Historian Presents Goodstein Lecture on Southern Women

Historian Catherine Clinton will present the 18th annual Anita S. Goodstein Lecture in Women’s History at 7 p.m., Thursday, March 30, in Gailor Auditorium on the campus of the University of the South. Her talk on Southern women will be followed by a reception, and the public is invited.

Catherine Clinton, Ph.D., is the Denman Endowed Professor in American History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is a pioneering historian of the American South and the Civil War.
Clinton is the author or editor of 25 books, including “The Plantation Mistress: Woman’s World in the Old South;” “The Other Civil War: American Women in the Nineteenth Century;” “Southern Families at War: Loyalty and Conflict in the Civil War South;” and “Harriet Tubman: The Road to Freedom.”
Her books “Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War” and “Mrs. Lincoln: A Life” are among several that have been History Book Club selections. Clinton also has written history books for children and served as a consultant to Steven Spielberg’s film “Lincoln.” In 2015-16, she held the position of president of the Southern Historical Association.
Clinton earned a B.A. from Harvard, an M.A. from the University of Sussex, and a Ph.D. from Princeton. She has taught previously at the Citadel, Wesleyan, Brandeis, and she holds a research position at Queens University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she taught from 2006-2014.

​Journalism Panel Discussion March 29

Five journalists will present “Speaking Truth to Power: The Future of Journalism in a Post-Truth, Fake News World,” a panel discussion hosted by the University of the South. The event will be at 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 29, in Convocation Hall. The public is invited.

Panel participants are Michael Cass, Allan Holmes, Paul Reyes, Neil Shea and Emily Siner.
Cass, currently the communications adviser and speechwriter for Mayor Megan Barry in Nashville, covered politics as a reporter for the Tennessean for 15 years; Holmes is the project manager for business and politics at the Center for Public Integrity; Paul Reyes is the editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review; Neil Shea, who teaches nonfiction at Sewanee’s School of letters, writes for National Geographic, American Scholar and the Virginia Quarterly Review, among others; and Emily Siner is a reporter and assistant news director for Nashville Public Radio.
The panelists will speak about the current crisis in journalism and the necessity of maintaining the integrity of the Fourth Estate, and will discuss the possible future of the media as well as their own views about what news is most significant right now.
The discussion is sponsored by the Departments of English, Politics, History, and American Studies; the Center for Speaking and Listening; the Center for Teaching; the School of Letters; University Lectures Committee; the Sewanee Review; Career and Leadership Development; the Office of the Dean of the College; and The Sewanee Purple.

​Book Signing for ‘Nashville’

On Wednesday, March 29 at 2 p.m., Michael Cass, C ’93, will sign copies of “Nashville: The South’s New Metropolis” at the University Bookstore. Cass authored this book about the city’s economic and cultural growth with former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean.

Cass is a speechwriter and communications adviser for Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. He held the same position in the final year of Mayor Karl Dean’s administration after covering Metro Government, higher education and other topics as a reporter for The Tennessean from 1999 to 2014.
A native of Macon, Ga., Cass started his journalism career at The Augusta Chronicle and The Macon Telegraph. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from The University of the South and a master’s in mass communication from The University of Georgia.

​Dedication Set for Denny Cove, State Park’s New Addition

by Kevin Cummings, Messenger Staff Writer

Project partners will host a dedication ceremony on Friday, March 17 to celebrate Denny Cove, a new 685-acre section of South Cumberland State Park.
Visitors have lauded the cove for its rock climbing opportunities, raw beauty and 70-foot waterfall. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation and other projects partners will hold the dedication event at 2 p.m., followed by optional hiking and climbing demonstrations at 3 p.m.
“Denny Cove is special not only for its climbing and recreation, but its significant natural and cultural resources,” said Zachary Lesch-Huie, Southeast regional director of Access Fund. “Climber or not, you go out there and it’s just an inspiring part of our landscape here, home to important flora and fauna.”
Access Fund is a national climbing advocacy group that was heavily involved with other conservation organizations in purchasing Denny Cove from a timber company.
“The project brought together all these interests and values, creating an amazing coalition of climbers, conservation groups and the state,” Lesch-Huie added. “Ultimately that diverse coalition is what ensured we could protect this place forever.”
There are more than 150 climbing routes for various skill levels along the bluffs of the cove, with ratings ranging from 5.7 to 5.14.
“I’ve climbed at Denny Cove quite a lot and needless to say it’s fantastic. Beautiful orange rock, great scenery, and top-notch climbing—it’s the kind of climbing area locals and out-of-town visitors will love to keep coming back to,” Lesch-Huie said. “There’s an enormous variety of climbing routes there, and whatever your ability level, there’s always a good, challenging route to try.”
The acquisition of Denny Cove helped make South Cumberland State Park—which covers more than 30,000 acres in Franklin, Marion, Grundy and Sequatchie counties— the largest state park in Tennessee.
Currently, Denny Cove is only open on weekends and trails are still under construction, said Park Ranger John Ball.
“We still have a lot of work to do to complete the trails, but it is walkable,” Ball said. “It does get rough and pretty technical the closer you get to the waterfall.”
Ball noted that trail work began in August 2016, with Access Fund and the Southeastern Climbers Coalition hosting work days to clear the trail corridor every weekend until October. After the initial work, the park began hosting trail work the first and third Saturday of each month.
The trail distance from the parking lot to the waterfall is 1.5 miles, a three-mile round trip, Ball noted. Other site improvements so far include an access road and a 100-space gravel parking lot. Future plans include doubling the number of climbing routes, building restrooms, offering primitive camping, and continuing trail development, according to officials.
Denny Cove is off U.S. Highway 41 in Marion County, about two miles south of the Foster Falls entrance. The parking lot gate is open around 7:30 a.m. on weekends and closes 30 minutes after sunset.
Project partners that helped make the park addition possible include Lyndhurst Foundation, Land Trust for Tennessee, Riverview Foundation, Access Fund, Southeastern Climbers Coalition, Friends of South Cumberland State Park, Open Space Institute, The Conservation Alliance, Tennessee State Land Acquisition Fund, Tennessee Heritage Conservation Fund, Stone Summit Climbing and Fitness, High Point Climbing and Fitness and River Rocks.

​Make a Difference Day: Life-Changing Improvements

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“Sure, I can do that,” said Michael Church, owner of Triad Machine, when asked if he could make a frame and sign for the metalwork sculpture mounted on the front of Monteagle Elementary School (MES). Church’s easy-going enthusiasm echoed that of the more than 300 volunteers who turned out at the Plateau’s eight elementary schools to tackle school improvement projects at the March 4 Make a Difference Day (MADD) event sponsored by the South Cumberland Community Fund (SCCF).
“It’s a great way to give back to the community,” said Kai Koopman looking up from firming soil around a lettuce plant in the new vegetable garden at Sewanee Elementary School (SES). Participation far surpassed expectations. Like Church and Koopman, many of the volunteers had no parent-student connection with the school where they served.
“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” said MES principal Janet Layne. She estimated more than 50 community members helped with the three projects: refurbishing the metalwork sculpture, establishing and relocating raised beds, and constructing a 900-foot trail, complete with a bridge crossing the creek, from the school to the ballpark.
SES principal Kim Tucker said 60 people registered, but throughout the morning people kept wandering up from the street offering help. In addition to planting vegetable and herb gardens, SES volunteers readied a bed for azaleas and hydrangeas, replaced the pea gravel in the reading nook, created a fairy garden, and planted a border of flowers lining the front sidewalk —“104 flowers” said a young boy who counted them.
The most ambitious endeavor, the MES ballpark trail, required easements and liability waivers. MES parent Nate Wilson handled legal details, material acquisition, and prep work, arranging for volunteer Geary Rose to bush-hog the route.
Armed with rakes and shovels, some volunteers spread gravel while others assembled and leveled the bridge. Remnants of a former bridge showed where the trail crossed the creek when kids used that route to the ballpark 50 years ago—a history footnote Wilson uncovered when researching the project.
The MADD event grew out of SCCF’s 2015 Make a Difference grant program that invited schoolchildren to propose how they would use $1,000 to spend in their community.”We funded four of those projects, and it was very successful,” said SCCF Executive Director Laura Willis. “This year we wanted to find a way to involve more schools, more students, more parents, and more community members. And it worked. It was truly a Plateau-wide event!”
The SCCF paid for the supplies needed by the eight MADD schools as well as for snacks, T-shirts for participants, and publicity at a price tag totaling more than $13,000.
“We are especially grateful to our board member and capacity building chair, Bonnie McCardell, whose enthusiastic leadership was the driving force behind Make a Difference Day,” Willis said.
People gave a variety of reasons for participating. Lisa Summers who helped in the fairy garden said her granddaughter Julie Sells came home from school one day and announced, “’Nanny, we need to sign up!’ Who could say no to that.”
“It’s nice to see such a wide range of people,” said SES parent Sarah Marhevsky commenting on the large number of University and St. Andrew’s-Sewanee students volunteering.
A number of the volunteers commented on the importance of setting an example for the children.
“The kids need to see us doing it,” said MES parent Jerry Layne pausing from raking gravel on the ballpark trail.
Marhevsky shared Layne’s sentiment. “It’s a way to model for the kids.”
“Most of the students who signed up to volunteer are ones whose parents volunteer,” said University professor Jim Peterman, who oversees the AmeriCorps VISTA service program, partners with SCCF in coordinating the event.
The greatest difference made by the MAAD community volunteers may well be the longest lasting one. The joy of giving back is learned.

​STRHS Sewanee Achieves Status as Accredited Chest Pain Center

Southern Tennessee Regional Health System Sewanee(STRHS Sewanee) has received Chest Pain Center Accreditation from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC), the accrediting arm of the American College of Cardiology. SCPC is an international not-for-profit organization focused on transforming cardiovascular care by assisting facilities in their effort to create communities of excellence that bring together quality, cost and patient satisfaction.

Hospitals receiving SCPC accreditation have achieved a higher level of expertise in dealing with patients who arrive with symptoms of a heart attack. They emphasize the importance of standardized diagnostic and treatment programs that provide more efficient and effective evaluation as well as more appropriate and rapid treatment of patients with chest pain and other heart attack symptoms. They also serve as a point of entry into the healthcare system to evaluate and treat other medical problems, and they help to promote a healthier lifestyle in an attempt to reduce the risk factors for heart attack.
To become an Accredited Chest Pain Center, STRHS Sewanee engaged in rigorous evaluation by SCPC for its ability to assess, diagnose and treat patients who may be experiencing a heart attack. This means that processes are in place that meet strict criteria aimed at:
Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment; treating patients more quickly during the critical window of time when the integrity of the heart muscle can be preserved; and monitoring patients when it is not certain that they are having a heart attack to ensure that they are not sent home too quickly or needlessly admitted to the hospital.
“Earning Chest Pain Center accreditation is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our clinical team, our community partners and the SCPC, who have been working collaboratively to ensure our hospital is prepared to provide high quality care to patients when heart attacks strike,” said Rob Followell, CEO. “STRHS Sewanee’s top priority is to provide quality healthcare close to home, and this accomplishment demonstrates one of the many ways we continually work to enhance and improve our service.”
STRHS Sewanee addresses the entire continuum of care for the heart patient, including important areas such as dispatch, Emergency Medical System, emergency department, quality assurance plan, and the STRHS Sewanee community outreach program. By becoming an Accredited Chest Pain Center, STRHS Sewanee has enhanced the quality of care for the cardiac patient and has demonstrated its commitment to higher standards.
Part of LifePoint Health, STRHS Sewanee is one of many facilities recently pursuing SCPC accreditation, demonstrating the company-wide commitment to enhancing quality and ensuring excellent service and care in the emergency department. With this designation, STRHS Sewanee joins the group of 24 LifePoint facilities that earned accreditation in 2015. The partnership between LifePoint Health and SCPC for collaborative training and hospital accreditation demonstrates the organizations’ common focus on high quality medical care for patients.
“People tend to wait when they think they might be having a heart attack, and that’s a mistake,” said Rob Followell, CEO). “The average patient arrives in the emergency department more than two hours after the onset of symptoms, but what they don’t realize is that the sooner a heart attack is treated, the less damage to the heart and the better the outcome for the patient. With our new accreditation, we hope to bring greater awareness to the importance of timely care and help even more people in Sewanee and the surrounding area.”

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