​SCA Meeting Spotlights Historic Sewanee Homes

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

Following an update on the Community Chest fund drive, members and guests at the November Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) dinner meeting took a short tour into the enchanting legacy of historic Sewanee homes and, perhaps best of all, learned how to learn more.

SCA President Brandon Barry announced fundraising letters recently went out to members and past donors, urging them to contribute to the Sewanee Community Chest. Since 1908, the SCA has supported a wide array of community projects and organizations providing books, elderly care, children’s programs, recreational spaces, animal care and more.

The SCA has committed to fund 25 applicants this year and needs to raise $105,140. Send donations to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375 or donate online by visiting www.sewaneecivic.org. See the thermometer display outside the post office to track the campaign’s progress.

Vice President Jade Barry invited nominations for the Person of the Year and Lifetime Achievement awards scheduled for presentation at the April meeting. Send nominations to <sewaneecivic@gmail.com>.

Vice President Barry also called for volunteers to step forward to serve on the SCA board. She and her husband Brandon will rotate off the board in April and Secretary Jesse Bornemann will step down to tend to a new baby.

Contact the board at the above email address to volunteer.

Vice President Barry introduced the evening’s trio of speakers, Mandy Johnson, University Archivist; Mary O’Neill, Visual Resources Librarian; and Meg Binnicker Beasley, Sewanee Trust for Historic Preservation President.

Johnson provided an overview of the Sewanee Historic Houses and Buildings exhibit curated by O’Neill. O’Neill used Charlotte Gailor’s unpublished manuscript “Old Sewanee Homes, 1865-1915,” as the basis for her research. O’Neill added to and updated the information Gailor compiled in the 1950s and 1960s. Two years of research yielded last spring’s stunning exhibit at the Archives featuring 28 homes. O’Neill has now added a digital component, which showcases more than 90 homes from the 1865-1915 era.

“Even locating a house is work,” Johnson stressed. “Houses didn’t have street numbers, streets didn’t have names, street names changed.”

Beasley noted the street leading to The Cross used to be known as University Avenue, while the street that lead to the downtown depot was called Tennessee Avenue.

O’Neill’s expanded online exhibit can be viewed at http://omeka.sewanee.edu/exhibits/show/exhibit_sew...

“Some of the houses have been burned, some torn down, while others still exist,” O’Neill said.

The online exhibit includes a color-coded interactive map www.arch.is/ji4Hz, which indicates each homes status. Clicking on the home’s icon gives the location, date of construction, the name commonly associated with the home, and a link for more information. The exhibit’s driving tour app arcg.is/1a9Pna offers similar data accompanied by audio.

O’Neill thanked Sallie Green and the Lease Office for help with compiling information and Chris Van de Ven (GIS Department) and Molly Elkins, C’18, for help with creating the interactive map and driving tour app. Melissa Williams and Dan Backlund contributed the audio for the driving tour. O’Neill also thanked the many Sewanee residents who provided information about their homes.

“The people who lived in these homes were store owners, tailors, tinsmiths, artists and teachers,” O’Neill said offering historical background.

STHP cosponsored the exhibit. Beasley praised O’Neill’s work as “valuable for generations to come.”

​Greening of the Chapel

On Friday, Dec. 6, members of the Sewanee community are invited to join in the Greening of All Saints’ Chapel in preparation for the 60th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols to be held Dec. 7 and 8. Work begins at 9 a.m. All levels of experience are welcomed and very much needed. We also encourage you to bring any treasures from your garden (dried hydrangea, nandina, and other berries, unusual evergreen clippings, etc.) which can be used to decorate wreaths and garlands. Coffee and pastries will be served throughout the morning, and a light lunch will be available at noon. Ken Taylor, of Taylor’s Mercantile, will direct the day’s activities.

There will be a tour of the decorations for Lessons and Carols at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 8. Meet Ken Taylor in the narthex of All Saints’ Chapel.

​Annual Holiday Studio Tour

Tennessee Craft-South invites the public to its annual Holiday Studio Tour on the mountain at 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, and Sunday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Tennessee Craft-South is the regional branch of Tennessee Craft, the state-wide organization which supports and promotes all handmade crafts in Tennessee.

More than 24 local and regional artists will show their work during the weekend, ranging from textiles, sculpture, jewelry, pottery, and glass to paintings, paper art, cast bronze, metal work, and woodwork. Sewanee artist studios open to the public for the Tour include those of Bob Askew, Pippa Browne, Ben Potter, Claire Reishman and Merissa Tobler. Other Sewanee locations include the American Legion Hall, Locals Gallery, The Frame Gallery, and Local Artists at Clara’s Point. In Monteagle, open studios include those of Christi Teasley and The Gallery in the Monteagle Sunday School Assembly. Light refreshments will be offered at most locations.

There is a group exhibition of many artists’ work in the St. Andrew’s-Sewanee Art Gallery, located in the center of the Simmonds Building at SAS. While most sites host different individual artists showing work, the SAS Art Gallery presents a display from all members of the group, in addition to SAS faculty and students and other members of Tennessee Craft -South. Most works featured in the Studio Tour Exhibition are for sale.

There are six sponsors for the Holiday Studio Tour this year: The Blue Chair, The Lemon Fair, Locals, Mooney’s, Shenanigans, and the Sewanee Inn. Studio Tour brochures are available at each of these local businesses and at all participating studios.

Bright yellow signs mark the tour route, and maps are available at all locations on the tour as well as at all sponsors’ locations, in the Sewanee Mountain Messenger, and on the Tennessee Craft website http://tennesseecraft.org/members/chapters/south/.

​60th Annual Festival of  Lessons and Carols

The 60th annual Festival of Lessons and Carols at the University of the South will be celebrated at three services, two on Dec. 7 (4 p.m. and 7 p.m.), and one on Dec. 8 (4 p.m.).

At once solemn and joyful, the Festival of Lessons and Carols evokes the meaning of the Advent season through the radiant music of the University Choir and selected readings by members of the University and Sewanee community. The service is based on one that has been sung annually since 1918 at King’s College Chapel in Cambridge, England. It features the University Choir under the direction of University organist and choirmaster Geoffrey Ward.

As part of the University mission and the program of education and formation of All Saints’ Chapel, the Festival Service of Lessons and Carols offers students, faculty and staff the opportunity to experience one of the oldest traditions of Anglican music and Advent expectation.

As part of the University’s outreach to others, the public is also welcome to attend; tickets were available by reservation in November. All available spaces were reserved quickly, but it still may be possible to attend a service without a reserved seat. The University expects that some people with tickets will decide not to attend, and will distribute those tickets in advance of each service.

There will be a signup sheet in Convocation Hall beginning at noon, Saturday and Sunday. People who wish to attend a service may add their names to the list for a service that day.

Thirty minutes before each service (3:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., Saturday and 3:30 p.m., Sunday), people from the signup list will be seated with tickets that were not picked up by those who reserved them.

Tickets will be distributed in the order in which people signed up.

Guests must be present in Convocation Hall 30 minutes before the service in order to receive a ticket.

While there are no guarantees, all walkups have been seated during the last six years in which the ticketing system has been used.

Gailor Auditorium will be open and will live-stream each service for anyone who cannot be seated in All Saints’ Chapel, or who is sensitive to the incense used in the Chapel.

Guests with reservations should pick up their tickets in Convocation Hall on the day of the service between noon and 30 minutes prior to each service. Tickets not picked up by 3:30 p.m. (for Saturday and Sunday 4 p.m. services) or 6:30 p.m. (for the Saturday 7 p.m. service) will be released for walk-up guests.

Go to https://www.sewanee.edu/student-life/spiritual-lif...for more information.

For questions not answered here, please contact the Lessons and Carols office at (931) 598-3247 or via email at <lessonsandcarols@sewanee.edu>.

​SUD Approves Budget, Rate Increase; Discontinues Fluoridation

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 19 meeting, the Sewanee Utility Board of Commissioners approved the 2020 budget, which included a three-fourths of 1 percent rate increase. The board also voted unanimously to discontinue fluoridation.

“A big driving factor in the budget is health care insurance,” SUD Manager Ben Beavers said.

SUD’s health care insurance costs increased 15.3 percent. “I was shocked,” Beavers acknowledged. In preparing the budget, he anticipated an 8 percent increase.

The increase in health care insurance premiums will absorb a portion of the 2.5 percent cost-of-living raise SUD employees receive. Employees’ share of the health care premium is 20 percent. In some cases, the raise will effectively be reduced to 1.6 percent.

The rate increase will mean an average monthly bill increase of $0.76 for water only customers; $1.46 for water and sewer customers; and $2.59 for commercial customers.

“The three-fourths of a percent increase is in line with our common practice of small incremental rate increases rather than waiting until we get in a crisis and increasing rates 20 percent,” Beavers said.

The rate increase will not go into effect until 2020. The bill simplification SUD recently implemented removed the charge categorized as “water and sewer repair and replacement” and included that amount in the charge for gallons used. Only the appearance of the bill has changed, not the amount charged for service.

In August, the board gave notice it would vote to discontinue adding fluoride to treated drinking water.

The head operator at the Water Plant recommended SUD discontinue the practice. The board heard public comments at the October meeting.

“The number of gallons of water SUD produces and the number of people drinking that water don’t add up,” said commissioner Randall Henley before the vote.

Commissioner Art Hanson observed that in addition to the chemical “being rough on our equipment and personnel, fluoride is difficult to remove from the ground water, raising environmental concerns. Fluoride is introduced into the ground water in SUD’s spray fields at the Wastewater Treatment Plant.”

Retired dentist Dr. Robert Childress said he was “disappointed” in the decision to discontinue fluoridation. “I furnished you with 40 pages of information.” Childress cited statistics showing communities saved $38 on health care for every dollar spent on fluoridation.

“My concern is public health and those who can least afford fluoride treatments,” said Sewanee resident Rev. James Turrell.

“I’d like to see a risk management analysis of what happens to customers as a result of discontinuing fluoridation,” Childress said.

“We can do that,” said Board President Charlie Smith.

In other business, Beavers announced the position for Wastewater Treatment Plant operator had been filled.

Commissioner Paul Evans introduced a discussion about non-water related sources of income.

“My understanding is anything not water related must be approved by the University,” Beavers said.

Evans noted that over time “SUD’s costs will increase but our revenue from new water customers will likely remain stagnant.”

In October, the board discussed reducing costs by increasing efficiency. The 2020 budget includes $35,000 for leak detection.

The board is seeking nominations for the office of commissioner. No signature petition is required. Persons interested in serving should contact Beavers at (931) 598-5611. Commissioner Hanson is term limited and cannot seek reelection.

By the charter that established the utility, commissioners cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. The board has asked Tennessee Association of Utility Districts attorney Don Scholes for advice on removing the term limit restriction.

The board meets next Tuesday, Dec. 10, two weeks earlier than usual.

​Upcoming Area Holiday Events

CAC Community Meal

Let’s Give Thanks. The Community Action Committee is hosting a Community Meal with food provided by Chef Rick and Sewanee Dining. The food is free and all are welcome. The event will be at noon, Friday, Nov. 22, at St. Mark’s Hall, Otey Parish.

Cowan Holiday Events

There will be a Christmas Open House from noon–8 p.m., on Saturday, Nov. 30. Cowan’s speciality shops and restaurants invite you to Shop Small and enjoy sidewalk sales and door prizes. Santa will be at Nick’s Pizza and Pasta, located on Tennessee Avenue.

The Cowan Christmas Market at Monterey Station will be Dec. 6–7. Browse and buy from more than 50 crafters and specialty vendors. The marketplace is open on Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Santa arrives at 6 p.m., on Friday. The entry fee is one canned food item or a $1 donation to the Christmas Food Drive. For more information go to .

The 55th annual Cowan Christmas Parade will be at 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7. Grand marshals are solo artist Brenda Lee and WZXY radio announcer, Jeff Pennington.Share in the fun of an exciting small town event with floats, bands, antique cars and thousands of smiles. The parade goes down Cumberland Street.

For more information, including entry forms, log on to .

Monteagle Holiday Events

The Town of Monteagle will host an Open House at City Hall Wednesday, Nov. 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature holiday vendors and free refreshments.

Monteagle will hold its Christmas parade Saturday, Nov. 30, at 4:30 p.m. Participants should lineup at The V, the former VFW site, at 3:45 p.m. Trophies will be awarded for the best all-around float and the best representation of the “Grinch” theme.

Come get a picture with Santa and Mrs. Claus at Harton Park after the parade. Hot cocoa and cookies will be provided at the park.

Christmas Bazaar at the Sewanee Senior Center

The annual Christmas Bazaar will be held 9 a.m.–2 p.m., Monday, Dec. 2 through Friday, Dec. 6. A door prize will be given away each day of the bazaar. Tickets are $2 each for a chance to win a Christmas design quilt and $250 in cash. The drawing will be at 1 p.m., Dec. 11. You do not have to be present to win.

Any white elephant contributions for the bazaar will be welcome. Please bring any white elephant items, needlework or other nonperishable items any day before the bazaar begins. Baked items, home-canned foods, preserves, jellies and jams should be brought the week of the bazaar.

Grundy County Christmas Open House

Everyone is invited to attend the annual Grundy County Courthouse Christmas Open House in Altamont. The event will be from 2–4 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 5. Santa will be there with a small gift for every little boy and girl. Local musicians will provide Christmas music and refreshments will be served. There will be horse and buggy rides, weather permitting. The event will conclude with the annual Christmas Tree lighting.

St. James/Midway Community Park

Meet Santa at the Park (Midway Road) at 5 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. Refreshments will be available.

Light Up the Village

The community is invited to the annual Light Up the Village holiday tree lighting. Music will begin in Angel Park in downtown Sewanee around 4:40 p.m., Friday, Dec. 6. The Sewanee Chorale will lead everyone in the Christmas caroling.

The tree lighting at Angel Park will be at 5 p.m. Cookies and hot beverages will be available afterward, and Santa and friends will be posing for photos. Local author Margaret Matens will have a book signing for her latest work, “The Sewanee Angels Save Christmas.”

University Avenue will be closed from Regions Bank to State Highway 41A for the event.

Please bring unwrapped toys and monetary donations for Operation Noel. Donations of money and nonperishable food will also be collected for the Community Action Committee.

In case of inclement weather, the post-tree-lighting activities will move inside to the Blue Chair Bakery and Tavern.

This event is sponsored by the Sewanee Business Alliance.

Mountain Christmas Bazaar

The second annual Mountain Christmas Bazaar will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7. The event will be held at DuBose Conference Center. Booths will be open for business from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

Vendor booth spaces will feature a wide variety of products, including arts & crafts, small businesses, food, and direct sales. This is an opportunity for residents and visitors to shop early, shop small, and support community while doing their Christmas and holiday shopping.

The 2019 highlighted nonprofit is Dependable Laundry (Coalmont, Tenn.), a service that helps provide stable employment opportunities and an empathetic environment to individuals with special needs. Vendors will be asked to donate cleaning supplies (of any kind - laundry soap, washing powders, etc.) to Dependable Laundry as part of their registration. Shoppers are encouraged to also bring an in-kind donation.

Shoppers are encouraged to check out the information desk at the Bazaar for a list of other Christmas activities and events going on in the area that day.

Questions? Interested in being a vendor? Go to <southcumberlandchamber.com/mtnbazaar> for vendor application, or email the South Cumberland Chamber of Commerce Events Team at <scccevents.931@gmail.com> for more information.

The Christmas Revels Brings the Holiday Spirit to SAS

St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School will offer its second annual Christmas Revels Concert on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 7:30 p.m. in McCrory Hall for the Performing Arts on the SAS campus.

The concert, under the direction of SAS music director J.R. Ankney, is a festival of lessons and carols with audience participation. This year’s Revels is centered around the Medieval and Renaissance era, recreating millennium-old celebrations of the feast of Christ’s nativity and the winter solstice.

Close to 100 SAS student and community musicians and readers will be a part of this year’s Revels which will include poetry and songs spoken and sung in middle English, sing-along opportunities, and dance. “Together we will seek the merriment, silence, peace, and serenity of the holiday season,” adds Ankney. “We will revel in the family spirit of SAS that is—for one night—free from commercials, too many Santas, and the hysteria of the season.”

Because last year’s performance was standing room only, this year the school has instituted a reservation system with SAS families receiving first priority. Any remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public on Thursday, Dec. 5. On that date, a reservation link will be available at . Following the concert, there will be a holiday reception in the Spencer Room in the Langford Building.

Winchester Holiday Event

The Downtown Winchester Program invites you to A Merry Little Downtown Christmas, Friday, Dec. 13 and Saturday, Dec. 14. The events start at 4 p.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the events start at 7:30 a.m. For a complete schedule, go to their Facebook page.


​School Board Approves Bonuses, Cell Phone Changes


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

At the Nov. 11 meeting, the Franklin County School Board approved bonuses for all support employees and contract bus drivers. The board also approved a revised cell phone policy for the middle schools and high schools lifting some restrictions.

According to the approved bonus schedule, the 218 full-time support employees will receive $500 bonuses and the seven part-time employees will receive $300. The 40 contract bus drivers will receive a $200 bonus provided the contractor employing the driver chooses to pass the bonus along.

Board member Lance Williams voted against giving the bonuses. “We have no control over what the 24 contractors do with the money. The drivers are not our employees.” Williams also observed the contractors would need to pay taxes on the bonus money received.

The school system will pay the fringe benefit deductions applicable to the bonuses the support employees receive.

Board member Linda Jones, who voted in favor of the bonuses, also had reservations. “I have concerns for the teachers who did not receive raises at the beginning of the year and about dipping into the fund balance to pay for the bonuses.”

Director of Schools Stanley Bean, who proposed the bonuses, said the schools finished the year with a $3.3 million fund balance, significantly above the anticipated $3 million. The bonus package will cost $143,000.

The proposal will go before the Franklin County Finance Committee, and if approved by the Finance Committee, on to the County Commission for a vote.

During the summer budgeting process, the Finance Committee rejected three draft budgets proposed by the school system, objecting to the excessive draw on the reserve fund balance. Raises for support employees and contract bus drivers were removed from the budget, as well as raises for teachers except for salary increases based on degree advancement and step increases based on years of service.

“Some of the county commissioners objected to school system employees not getting raises,” noted board member Christine Hopkins.

Middle school and high school principals recommended the cell phone policy changes.

“It gives principals a lot more flexibility,” said Bean.

At the principals’ discretion, students can use cell phones on school property before 8 a.m. After 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., students may use cell phones only when teachers receive permission from the principal to allow cell phone use in their classroom or if a student receives permission from the principal.

“There are classroom situations where cell phones can do what Chrome Books can’t, for example, take good quality photos,” said Franklin County High School Principal Roger Alsup. “It will be a tough sell, though, for me to allow students to use phones in the classroom.” Alsup cited diabetic students using cell phones to monitor blood sugar as another discretionary use.

Although not covered in this policy, the principals also recommended allowing cell phone use on buses, according to Alsup.

“It would give bus drivers one less thing to keep up with,” said Transportation Director Mark Montoye.

Construction Manager Gary Clardy updated the board on the new middle schools. “We decided not to push to get the gyms ready by the first of the year,” Clardy said. Rigid fire marshal regulations would have required a fire watch for the gyms to be used.

“There was a $100,000 savings,” Bean said.

South Middle School construction has exceeded contingency expenses due to a sinkhole, Clardy said. Excess contingency funds from North Middle School will cover the cost.

All furnishings and equipment will be new, Clardy said. “They’re top of the line. They’ll be up to any school in Tennessee.”

The current furnishings and equipment will be made available to the other county schools, and if unclaimed, will be sold on GovDeals.

​Sewanee Operation Noel

Providing Abundant Holidays for All

In just a few weeks, it will be Christmas. While many are already planning ahead about gifts to buy and food to eat, there are those not so fortunate. In our area, there are children who may not get presents and families that may not have an abundant holiday meal.

Sewanee Operation Noel is a group that was formed many years ago by the Sewanee Volunteer Fire Department to provide help for families in need. They provide food and/or toys during the Christmas season. The S.V.F.D. in conjunction with F.R.O.S.T. (Fund Raising Operational Support Team) organizes the purchasing and distribution of goods.

To be eligible, everyone must fill out an application. Every family needs to fill out a new application whether you have received from us before or not. An application will ensure that we have all the pertinent information so we can provide for everyone in need. The deadline for returning applications is Friday, Dec. 13. Families eligible for Operation Noel must live in the following communities: Sewanee, Midway, Jump Off and on Sherwood Road. Please see page 8 of the Nov. 15, 2019 issue for the application.

If you would like to make a donation of money, non-perishable food items or new toys, please take items to the Fire Hall or Police Department, located behind duPont Library or Print Services located in the old Beta House.

Goods will be delivered the morning of Dec. 23 by the S.V.F.D. and F.R.O.S.T. members.

If you have any questions please call 598-3400 and leave a message.

​Welcome to the New SSO Artistic Director


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

This semester is Mathew Ward’s first as Sewanee Symphony Orchestra Artistic Director, but he is no stranger to the Mountain and its magic.

Ward, who earned his doctorate in orchestral conducting at Louisiana State University, made his first trip to Sewanee the year when he was selected for an orchestral fellowship with the Sewanee Summer Music Festival (SSMF). Ward is one of five new music faculty welcomed to the University this year. He started following César Leal’s departure last spring. Ward is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University.

“I first came to Sewanee in 2018 as an orchestral fellow for violin, and coming back to work with the Sewanee Symphony Orchestra (SSO) has been quite the full-circle moment,” he said.

Ward grew up in southern California and said he accidentally discovered his love of music in elementary school.

“In fourth grade, you either had to choose a string instrument or join the choir. I definitely was not going to sing, so I chose an instrument. My sister played violin and said she could teach me the basics. Even though I wanted to play cello, I decided it was too big and I’d just learn the violin,” he said. “After taking lessons and seeing the work paying off in ensembles, I fell in love with the instrument.”

As a member of the regional youth orchestra, La Primavera Symphony, Ward performed throughout Sydney in Australia. One of the most memorable performances was at the Sydney Opera House.

“The director there kept saying things like, ‘This is so special for you all, because this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. This will never happen again.’ And I thought right then, ‘No, you watch. I’ll be back.’ I realized then that music was something I really wanted to pursue. I did my undergrad and masters for violin and my doctorate for orchestral conducting,” he said.

Ward previously conducted the SSMF’s New Music Ensemble as well as the Louisiana State University’s Symphony Orchestra. He also served as the founding Music Director of the Baton Rouge Civic Orchestra and performed with the Boston Civic Symphony, Boston Opera Collaborative and New England Repertory Orchestra.

Ward is currently working with the SSO to prepare for the Dec. 9 concert, which will honor the 50th year of women at the University.

“Oftentimes, conductors want to push this standard repertoire to young populations, and lots of time that encompasses the same few composers. Those composers are worthy of learning, but the depth of our repertoire is so rich,” he said. “My specialty is American symphonic heritage, and there is so much we have that can be represented. Both of the female composers that we are representing in December are American composers. Exposing young people to repertoire that they might not be familiar with is a great celebration and can be very eye opening to the younger people.”

​Sewanee Village Green: What, Why, How


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

“The village green is the most important part of the village,” said Scott Parker, principal for the Charleston, S.C., based firm Design Works. Charged with creating a conceptual design for the Sewanee Village Green, Parker met with community members at the November Sewanee Village update meetings.

The Sewanee Village Plan assigns a half-acre site to the green at the present location of the Sewanee Market.

“The location is absolutely right,” Parker said. “It will connect the two sides of the village. How the space is designed and what’s happening there speaks to who you are as a community, both the history and how you see yourself in the future.”

Parker acknowledged the importance of tourism, and not just for businesses. “More exposure is better for the University.”

How do towns attract visitors? “When people travel, they’re looking for something unique,” Parker said. “Focus on your own community,” he advised. “What is your brand?”

Resident and business owner Ed Hawkins suggested, “capitalizing on Sewanee’s history,” things like All Saints’ Chapel and The Cross.

“Sewanee is a community of self-reliant people,” said resident Anita Colley. “The community farm has been going on forever. People make candles, goat cheese. Highlight the crafts people.”

Hawkins observed the craft people were “spread out” over a large area. Hawkins suggested a shuttle and emphasized the need for a tourist information facility.

“People need to know the green is the place to go to find out things,” Parker stressed.

The discussion about lighting reinforced the often expressed importance of preserving Sewanee’s “dark sky.”

Resident and business owner Susan Holmes suggested motion activated sidewalk lighting.

“Lighting is critical,” Parker agreed. “Everything should work for pedestrians. That should be the guiding principal.”

In response to a suggestion that the village needed to be “subtly different” from main campus, that the buildings did not need to be stone for example, Parker observed. “The University is the lead story here. The village should pick up on some aspect of the college.”

Parker championed the idea of routing traffic through town via University Avenue to help connect the campus and village.

Addressing safety concerns about the green which will border Highway 41A, Parker said, “It’s important to be able to look down into the green from the highway, but there needs to be some sort of edge so kids aren’t going out into the street. We’re working on that.”

Parker recommended movable tables and chairs on the green that “can be arranged” according to people’s needs and whims. He cited a similar project where movable furniture jumpstarted activity.

“Does the village green need a name?” asked Frank Gladu who oversees the Sewanee Village initiative.

Parker proposed considering “something that speaks to the history of the place.”

“The green is [near] where the old depot was,” Hawkins said.

However, University professor and resident Chris Shelley observed, “The name ‘The Village Green’ tells people exactly what it is.”

​Sewanee Women: ‘Diamonds Are Made Under Pressure’


by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer

The panel discussion Sewanee Women Then and Now featured four current students and five alumnae ranging from the class of 1974 to 2019. Held in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of women students at the University, the panel shined a light on disconcerting moments alongside gratitude, inspiration and awe.

Margaret Barton, C’78, recalled a professor who opened class with “Welcome gentleman and girls.” A woman classmate advised her, “Never accept a date after Wednesday or you’ll look hard up, and always wear full makeup to the library.”

Elise Spainhour was a freshman the second year Sewanee admitted women. “I tried to find out which professors were user friendly and would tolerate women. Some faculty didn’t want women here. I lucked out. I only had ‘one.’” Spainhour went on to emphasize how supportive the all-male political science faculty was when she decided to attend law school. “It was a shock at Vanderbilt to deal with chauvinists. I didn’t get that here.”

As President of the Women’s Dorm Council, Rosemary Drake, C’80, launched plans for an inter-dorm swim meet. The coach in charge of the pool quashed the event, telling Rosemary “I’m not going to have women throwing up and fainting in my pool.” Dean Mary Sue Cushman got things back on track.

Malicat Chouyouti, C’20, started out as an economics major, a male-dominated field. “I was often the only black and/or woman. I experienced the erasure effect. People pretend you don’t exist and seem surprised when you say something…‘Oh, she’s kind of smart.’”

“I’m often the only international student in class,” said Mandy Tu, C’21. “I’m from Burma and have a unique perspective on colonialism. I need to gauge when to say something and when to step back. I haven’t figured out the middle ground.”

“I spent the first two years mad,” admits Maria Trejo, C’20. She stressed the importance of “Theme Houses, where you can be yourself. The Queer and Ally House was the first safe space I encountered. If it hadn’t been for that, I don’t think I would have stayed.”

The dorm was the safe space for early alums like Spainhour and Barton.

“We didn’t have a space for sorority meetings, coffees, and speakers,” said Elizabeth Niven, C’85, who worked to help women realize the dream of the Bairnwick Women’s Center.

An audience member observed women were often “the activists on campus.”

“It takes a lot of brain space to balance activism and academics,” Tu said, acknowledging “the reliance on student initiatives.” As President of the Organization for Cross-Cultural Understanding, Tu launched a Representation Project to ease the experience of international students like herself.

Chandler Davenport, C’19, came to Sewanee as a Posse Scholar from Washington, D.C. She initially found her community among other D.C. Posse Scholars “who had the same culture back home.” Then Chandler encountered women of color “who didn’t come in with a community.” She helped found Black Queen to create a space for those women.

What were the unique take aways for Sewanee women?

Spainhour, currently a Kentucky Circuit judge and senior family court judge, cited “intellectual freedom.”

“Women of Sewanee shaped my spirit and pushed me to do things I never imagined,” said Chouyouti, who serves as a student trustee, a role she never envisioned for herself.

“For every difficult person who said something mean to me or underestimated me, there are five supportive people,” said Tu.

“I’m the only woman in the history department at the school where I teach. I’m not intimidated. I’m used to being the only one,” Davenport insisted. Her advice to current and future students: “Embrace the discomfort. Diamonds are made under pressure.”

​Women of Sewanee Success


by Lee Freeland Hancock, C’81, Special to the Messenger

Women of Sewanee, an independent group of alumni, faculty, staff and community members, announced its first fundraising success at Homecoming Weekend: a $20,000 fund for portraits of women scholars and mentors at the University.

The group launched its fundraiser in early October to honor history professor Julie Berebitsky, recently retired chair of Women and Gender Studies. Berebitsky’s portrait will be the first commissioned with a permanent fund named in her honor. Women of Sewanee (WoS) wants to ensure more portraits of groundbreaking women scholars and leaders are visible in places of honor at the University.

At a Friday reception celebrating Berebitksy’s career, WoS members revealed that more than 200 alumni, students, faculty and staff and community members gave from $3 to $2,000. The group doubled its initial goal, allowing for a permanent portrait fund.

“Women’s and Gender Studies was thrilled with the outpouring of support and recognition for Professor Julie Berebitsky,” said Andrea Mansker, current chair of Women and Gender Studies. “The efforts to commission an oil painting of Dr. Berebitsky that will hang in a prominent location on campus were phenomenal and stand as a testament to Julie’s longstanding efforts to disrupt the patriarchal status quo at the University.”

Terry Papillon, vice president and dean of the college, notably helped by creating a Women of Sewanee restricted account at the University. It allows for future donations to the Berebitsky portrait fund as well as new WoS initiatives at the University.

“I am pleased to see this group so engaged and interested in the well-being of Sewanee’s future,” Papillon said. “I look forward to working with them more on projects that will make Sewanee a continually better place for women.”

Women of Sewanee began in mid-July, as alumnae shared stories in connection with the year-long celebration of the 50th anniversary of women’s admission to the college. Beginning with a few people on a Facebook page, it now has more than 3,100 members. It is open to women affiliated with Sewanee and the mountain community. Members include college professors, staffers and administrators, legal and medical professionals, farmers, journalists, scientists, nonprofit leaders, educators, theatre professionals, political consultants and government experts, stay-at-home moms and others.

“I never dreamed that a simple invitation for women of Sewanee to join together would turn into such a dynamic movement,” said WoS founder Em Taylor Chitty, C’77, a Sewanee native and University of Tennessee teacher.

Future WoS projects include member retreats and student mentoring and a book on Sewanee women. The group also wants to help enhance mental health, Title IX and wellness programs and community outreach initiatives.

“It’s time for us to show the University the power of female organization and collaboration,” said Hayley Shelton, C’04, a Nashville native and human resources consultant. “I look very much forward to working with the University to overcome challenges and illuminate continued issues that female and female identifying students face.”

Others said WoS is fulfilling a desire to expand Sewanee’s community. “We share a passion for this place and its people,” said Patsy Pyle, C’89, a Birmingham native who leads custom tours in Paris. “When women support women, our community will be stronger.”

Contact Women of Sewanee at <womenofsewanee@gmail.com> or Facebook.

Contribute to the portrait fund at www.support.sewanee.edu

. To designate the fund, select “Other,” and in the Program or Initiative field, note “Women of Sewanee Berebitsky Fund.”

​Woodard’s Diamonds and Design Open at New Location


by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer

Jim Woodard and his team at Woodard’s Diamonds and Design spent their final day in the Northgate mall location last month after more than 30 years.

The new store is located at 2011 North Jackson St., in Tullahoma, right in front of the Walmart.

Woodard has been in the diamond business since he was 16-years-old, and he said the store symbolizes a new phase of serving his community.

“When I started working in jewelry, I just really enjoyed the people and serving customers, helping them pick things that were really cool like engagement rings or birthday presents or anniversary gifts. It was so wonderful to be able to help people find something special for someone,” he said.

Woodard’s is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday. With the move complete, and Woodard and his team getting settled into the new location, he said now is a great time to come see what the new store has to offer.

“This is a wonderful season to come in and find something beautiful,” he said. “What I really like is that the things that you purchase from the jewelry store have a pretty long shelf life. When you give a diamond ring, that can be a gift for the next generation and the next and the next.”

Come see Woodard’s Diamonds and Designs at the new location in Tullahoma. For information about stock or with questions from the diamond experts, call (931) 454-9383 or follow them on Facebook.


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