The ninth annual AngelFest will begin Friday, Oct. 4, at 4:30 p.m. with several children’s activities. Joseph’s Remodeling Solutions is sponsoring three full hours of children and family activities during AngelFest in the Angel Park at Sewanee. Activities include make and take art, science fun, two bounce houses, inflatable wrecking ball, snow cones, cotton candy, wildlife to pet and hold, face painting, Animal Harbor pets, Red-tailed Hawk animal ambassador, and a lot more. There will also be a crafters and farmers market this year.
Headlining the AngelFest will be the Eaglemaniacs. They will take the stage on the pavilion at 7 p.m. The Eaglemaniacs is comprised of a group of professional studio musicians who passionately perform the music of the Eagles and Don Henley with exceptional musical precision.
The Reverse Raffle will also take place at this year’s AngelFest. Tickets are $100 each. The grand prize of up to $5,0o0 will be awarded during the evening’s festivities. Proceeds from the raffle will go to Housing Sewanee and Sewanee Angel Park. Tickets will be for sale up to the drawing. Tickets can be purchased at several of the local Sewanee merchants and on the web at
There will be plenty of food and refreshments available. University Avenue will be closed to traffic to ensure everyone’s safety. The Sewanee Business Alliance along with the AngelFest sponsors offers all of this free to the community.
For more information, please visit
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
A recent study by The United Way of Tennessee found that one in three Tennessee households struggled to afford basic necessities in 2017, including housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a smartphone. And, according to the ALICE report, the numbers in our area are not good.
ALICE stands for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed and represents households that work and earn more than the Federal Poverty Level but make less than the basic cost of living for the county.
For locals, that statistic isn’t surprising or new. Food banks on the Mountain have been operating for years, working tirelessly to help meet the needs of area residents.
“This fundraiser serves the three food pantries on our Plateau—the CAC in Sewanee, Morton Memorial in Monteagle and the Grundy County Food Bank in Tracy City. Combined, these food pantries served more than 5,000 families last year distributing more than 340,000 pounds of food,” said Rich Wyckoff, Monteagle-Sewanee Rotary Club member.
Of Tennessee’s 2.5 million households, 39 percent strugggled to meet basic needs, and in Grundy County specifically, more than half of the households were reported as having struggled to meet basic needs that year. In Marion County, the rate is 40 percent.
John Noffsinger, Morton Memorial attendee and member of the Hunger Walk planning committee, said it’s these numbers that spurred the organization to take action in 2015. Last year through The Hunger Walk, more than 200 area residents came together to raise thousands of dollars to support local food banks. In 2017, the group raised $17,000 for area food banks.
“Through this cause, the community has become aware of the food insecurity faced by one in five children in our area, and once people become aware of the hunger issue, they then have an appreciation about how they themselves have been blessed. I believe then the community comes together as Jesus would want his followers to do and we all help those less fortunate,” he said. “Through this cause, the community is able to unite through their giving and their walking to support the one in two families on the Plateau who are in financial hardship and face food insecurity.”
The ALICE study reported that in Tennessee, 38 percent of families with children under the age of 18 have a monthly income that is below the ALICE threshold. And of the demographic groups in the state, people of color, women, LGBTQ+ folks, senior citizens and people with disabilities are more likely to live in households that fall below the threshold.
“From the beginning, the Scriptures tell us that we are indeed our brothers keepers. All through the Bible, in fact, we are reminded that we are all connected. What I do affects my neighbor, and what my neighbor does affects me. We live in an area of the state and in fact an area of the country where the need is profound,” said Rev. Jodi McCullah with Morton Memorial United Methodist Church. “It’s through the work of this cause that we are able to see how powerful and effective a strong community response can be.”
The Hunger Walk will be held at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 28. The walk begins at Angel Park in Sewanee. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Registration is free for children under 12, $15 for students and $25 for adults.
The seventh annual Fire on the Mountain Chili Cook-off & Car Show will be held on Saturday, Sept. 28, at Hannah Pickett Park. The Park is located at 16 Dixie Lee Ave., behind Monteagle City Hall.
The Tracy City Street Rodders will host a car show with more than 100 cars participating. The car show is from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., and is free to the public. There is a fee to enter a car in the Car Show.
The chili cook-off will be open for tasting at noon. The public can sample all the entrant’s chili for $5. Chili cook-off teams will represent some of the surrounding areas, as well as the mountain’s finest restaurants, businesses and community groups. There are two categories of awards for the chili contest. The first award is “Judged Best Chili” and the second is “The People’s Choice.” The chili can be made on site or brought to the event. Each first place will receive $250 and a trophy.
There will be local arts and craft vendors as well as food and drinks for sale. The car show will have a DJ providing music and prizes throughout the day.
For more information about the car show and to download the rules and application for the chili cook-off, go to <www.south cumberlandchamber.com> or contact the chamber office at (931) 924-5353. Contact Fred Baggenstoss at (931) 235-1760 for any questions concerning the car show.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 24 meeting of the Sewanee Utility District Board of Commissioners, SUD manager Ben Beavers updated the board on the hot and dry weather’s impact on the water supply. The board also discussed the uncertainty surrounding the use of Lake Dimmick in a drought emergency and the upcoming vote on discontinuing fluoridation.
“They’re saying it’s going to be dry for the next two weeks,” Beavers said. “We’ve gone into ‘abnormally dry,’ which is the last step before it’s an official drought. It’s going to cost us in electricity, but we’ve still got plenty of water. For the year rainfall is five inches above normal. We’re not in a deficit.”
SUD pumps water from Lake Jackson into Lake O’Donnell and from there to the water plant. Lake Jackson is down six and one-half feet and O’Donnell two to two and one-half feet. Irrigation use for September was already nearly double than in August, Beavers said. On the plus side, SUD plans to do lagoon maintenance at the sewer plant since the lagoon levels are low. “The water evaporates almost as fast as it comes in,” Beavers explained.
Commissioner Randall Henley asked about progress on negotiations with the University on use of Lake Dimmick during a drought emergency.
“The University has been silent on the issue,” said Board President Charlie Smith.
If SUD had permanent emergency access to Dimmick it could drop tap fees by half, Beavers stressed. The greatest portion of the tap fee is dedicated to maintaining an adequate water supply. Providing history on use of Lake Dimmick, Beavers said following the drought of 2007, SUD entered into a $10,000 per year contract with the University to draw water from Dimmick in a drought emergency. In addition to the annual fee, SUD would have been charged for the water withdrawn. In September of 2013 the board decided the $10,000 per year fee was excessive and canceled the contract.
In the past year, Beavers talked with Vice President of Risk Management Eric Hartman who directed him to the Sustainability Committee to pursue the question about guaranteed access to Dimmick in a drought emergency. The Sustainability Committee has not yet responded.
“The entity most impacted by the high tap fees is the University,” Beavers said.
Revisiting the subject of discontinuing fluoridation, Beavers distributed literature provided by retired dentist Bob Childress. Smith said according to consultation with Childress, fluoride most impacted the developing tooth during the early childhood years.
Commissioner Art Hanson noted the research in the literature the board received cited studies from more than 50 years ago.
“I’m curious to know what the current research shows,” Smith said.
At the Oct. 22 meeting, the board will vote on discontinuing fluoridation. SUD welcomes input from SUD customers and encourages interested customers to attend the meeting.
SUD continues its search for a field crew employee to train for the sewer plant operator position.
For details see the SUD website at www.sewaneeutility.org.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
News about the Community Chest and changes to Sewanee Classifieds topped the agenda at the Sept. 19 Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) dinner meeting followed by some intriguing tips on “growing” happiness from John Coffey.
The 27 applications received by the Sewanee Community Chest were under review, said President Brandon Barry. A budget and award announcements are expected at the November meeting. The Community Chest is devoted to supporting organizations that promote the common good, serving three counties on the South Cumberland Plateau. Community Chest funds meet basic needs in the community: food, books, elder care, children’s programs, recreational spaces, animal care and more. “The Community Chest is what keeps this a great community,” said Vice President Jade Barry. Donations are accepted at SCC, P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN 37375.
Participating in the SCA sponsored email forum Sewanee Classifieds costs $10 a year. The service is free to dues paying SCA members. New this year, the Classifieds subscription fee or SCA membership dues must be received by Oct. 1 for an individual to continue using the forum. For those paying after Oct. 1, use privileges will be reinstated when payment is received. To pay dues, subscribe online at www.sewaneecivic.org/classifieds
An associate professor of psychology, Coffey linked research on happiness to everyday experience. People often believe things like buying a house or getting a promotion will make them happy, Coffey insisted. Far more conducive to increasing happiness are living close to green space, even a houseplant, and having a strong sense of community and strong relationships. Coffey cautioned, though, that while social media allegedly made people “more connected,” it actually stifled happiness by prompting “social comparison.”
Coffey gave several illustrations highlighting the importance of strong relationships: the effect of losing a good friend is equivalent to wrecking a $200,000 car; having good social relationships is better for your health than quitting smoking 15 cigarettes a day; and people with adequate social relationships have a 50 percent greater chance of survival.
Turning to the effect of money and income on happiness, Coffey said happiness did not increase with higher earnings once basic needs were met, with $75,000 per year household income being the threshold beyond which more money did not equal more happiness. On an international scale, wealth did not correlate with happiness, Coffey noted. The top five countries on the happiness list were social democracies that offered universal health care, welcomed immigrants, and offered far more vacation time than the United States. The United States was 19 on the list. An obsessive work ethic correlated with a shorter life span and worse health, Coffey said, while having good health had the happiness impact of giving someone two million dollars.
Coffey listed several ways money could increase happiness: spending money on experiences like vacations and concerts, rather than material things; using money to buy back time like paying for house cleaning to allow more time for happiness promoting activities; and spending money on others.
Coffey’s five tools for promoting happiness: engage in intentional random acts of kindness; cultivate optimism by writing down the good things that happen and why they’re important; express gratitude and write gratitude letters; build structure into your day with routines and rituals; and savor the past, be mindful of the present, and anticipate the future.
“Planning a vacation and anticipating a vacation is where we see a lot of the happiness,” Coffey pointed out. For the most part growing happiness “doesn’t cost a thing.”
The 2019 hunting season in Sewanee begins Sept. 28 and runs discontinuously until Jan. 11, 2020. This year marks the 17th year of organized hunting on the Domain after a resolution passed by the University trustees in 2001 requested that the deer herd be controlled.
The program has continually evolved in response to herd populations, community input, and ever-expanding datasets on the impacts of the herd on the ecological and human community.
The current hunt is organized around the 2016 White tailed deer management plan, http://www.sewanee.edu/media/offices/domain-manage.... This document outlines both the population and habitat goals, and the steps involved to reach those goals. In general, our goal is to bring the population down to what the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency feels is a sustainable population (approximately 25-30 deer per square mile) in a way that maximizes safety, minimizes impacts to the non-hunting members of our community, and maximizes student-led monitoring of the ecological and social impacts.
This year there are minor changes to the hunting areas. Areas on both sides of the water tower trail have been reopened to full season hunting after being limited for the last two years. As was the case last year, limited hunting will be allowed during Homecoming in zones away from heavy recreational activity. There will be no hunting on Breakfield Road during Homecoming to ensure ample hiking opportunities for guests. As always, all trails and firelanes remain open to recreational use during the season and hunters maintain a 100-yard safety zone around all recreational trails.
This invitation only hunt is open to all approved University faculty and staff, as well as their direct relatives. The hunt is also open to approved students. All participants must complete the Tennessee Bowhunter Safety Course (or other state equivalent), undergo a background check by the Sewanee Police Department, and participate in all mandatory meetings. All hunters are required to possess a valid TN hunting license and follow all TWRA rules and regulations at all times.
As in previous years, there may be a surplus of animals available for local families. If you are interested in picking up a field-dressed deer for processing, please email
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Decades before folk art dealer Mathew Arnett began collecting quilts from Gee’s Bend, the Freedom Quilting Bee cooperative brought prosperity and dignity to impoverished black women from Gee’s Bend and other rural Wilcox County, Ala., communities. None of the above would have come to pass without Sewanee resident Rev. Francis Walter’s hands-on work during the 1960s struggle for black civil rights.
In 1965, Walters answered a calling to Selma, in Wilcox County, to take up the work of civil rights activist Jonathan Daniels. Before Walter and Daniels ever met, Daniels died from a gunshot wound received shielding a young black woman as they tried to enter a whites-only store.
White landowners were evicting black tenant farmers who registered to vote. Walter and a fellow civil rights worker set out one afternoon to interview rural Possum Bend residents to find out if they were being evicted and if they needed housing. The road they traveled dead ended at the Alabama River. At a nearby cabin, stunning colorful quilts draped across a clothesline caught Walter’s eye. The quilts reminded him of the Op Art in vogue at the time.
The quilt maker ran into the woods and hid when Walter went to the door. Walter returned with a local black civil rights leader and the fearful quilt maker came out to talk. He asked if she sold quilts and for how much. The going rate: $5 with the white-woman buyer supplying the scraps and thread.
“Black women all over the county were making quilts,” Walter said. A friend suggested selling the quilts in New York City. One quilter he talked with about buying quilts directed him to nearby Gee’s Bend where he met the quilter Minder Coleman.
Walter explained he was paying $10 for quilts and planned to sell them in New York. Anything the quilts brought in above the initial purchase price would also go to the quilters.
“Minder knew an opportunity when she saw one,” Walter said. She asked what day Walter would be coming by and had all the local quilters display their quilts in their yards.
Walter bought 70 quilts. A friend in NYC coordinated an auction in Greenwich Village and sent back the cash. The success of the effort sparked an idea in Walter’s mind: the woman should form a quilting cooperative.
An attorney friend drew up articles of incorporation and the quilters met in a church to elect officers. For a while the quilters operated out of one another’s homes or abandoned houses. Walter headed up the Selma Interreligious Project (SIP), a multi-faith coalition of civil rights activists. With SIP’s help, Walter secured grant funding to build a sewing factory.
The architect husband of a supporter designed the building and local black laborers constructed it with locally made brickcrete blocks. Called the Martin Luther King Sewing Center, the facility included a childcare wing. The state of Alabama opposed blacks operating childcare programs. Finally an SIP worker ushered in approval for the center’s childcare program along with several others in the Selma area likewise operated by blacks.
A NYC connection arranged for sale of Freedom quilts at Bloomingdale’s. The department store wanted standardized sizing and patterns. The quilters were frustrated, but complied, welcoming the income. The center began to produce other items as well. The Sears and Roebuck craft division contracted for pillow shams, which brought in steady revenue and were far less labor intensive than quilts.
What did the quilters spend their money on? Graduation rings and deep freezers were top on the list according to Walter. Many used the income to pay for their children’s college education. They also built a home for an impoverished man and his son living in a hovel adjoining the sewing center property.
Sharing the good fortune was second nature to them. Asked about the name, the Freedom Quilting Bee, Walter said, “Everything was ‘freedom.’ The tent city that sprang up to shelter the evicted was called Freedom City. At demonstrations the song ‘Oh, Freedom’ rang out,” said Walter.
The Freedom Quilting Bee’s impact resonated far beyond impoverished Wilcox County, but the women didn’t always reap the benefits. A cousin suggested to Walter the women copyright their designs, an idea he dismissed. A few years later at a conference he saw a woman wearing a dress with fabric patterned after one of the Freedom quilts. It was seeing an illustration of a quilt from Gee’s Bend that prompted folk art dealer Arnett to travel there and pursue acquiring quilts for his collection.
Rennie Miller, retired following a career in management, hopes to revive the cooperative, according to Nancy Callahan, author of the book “The Freedom Quilting Bee.” Miller is the daughter of one of the original members. Her mother’s earnings from Freedom helped to finance her education.
by Bailey Basham, Messenger Staff Writer
Each month, upwards of 225 families receive food assistance from The Grundy County Food Bank. Diana Foster, who serves on the board at the food bank, has been involved for nearly 10 years. She said the need for food assistance in the area became more apparent to her when she retired.
“It is a huge need in the community,” Foster said. “The majority of our people are so thankful for the help they receive. Being able to help your neighbors just makes you feel good.”
Food insecurity is often coupled with health issues, such as diabetes and heart disease, and people of color, children, the elderly and those living in rural areas are statistically more likely to need food assistance. Compared to an average of 15.4 percent food insecure nationwide overall, rural areas are more highly affected.
The Grundy County Food Bank, which is one of several local organizations working to address the need of hunger in the community, distributes every Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Members are able to come once a month to receive food for their families.
“We provide food to our clients. Our food comes from Wal-Mart programs, and we buy from the Chattanooga Food Bank. We also get food from donations,” Foster said.
The Grundy County Food Bank is new to The Hunger Walk partnership this year. Aside from supporting The Hunger Walk, which is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 28, Foster said the food bank is always in need of volunteers to help unload food shipments and distribute food to clients.
“Our families have a dire need, and we always need help. We are just hopeful that being a part of The Hunger Walk this year will help us to serve more of our community,” Foster said.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
All Sewanee leaseholders may soon have the option of subscribing to fiber optic internet service. A partnership between Ben Lomand Connect, Duck River Electric, and the University of the South would make the cutting-edge technology available.
“Once the agreement is signed all three parties are ready to move forward,” said interim Duck River President and Chief Executive Officer Charles McDonald. Laying infrastructure could begin as early as October.
Duck River would provide the connection to the home and Ben Lomand would take over from there and go inside the house, said Patrick Jordan, who oversees IT and system operations at Duck River. In some instances, the infrastructure would be underground and in other instances, overhead.
Ben Lomand Operations Manager Chad Dees said the one Gbps (gigabytes per second) service would be active as opposed to passive. When providers offer a passive connection, the one-gigabyte is split among 8-32 customers substantially reducing speed. Both uploading and downloading would occur at the one Gbps speed with the new fiber connection.
Among the benefits to customers and the community, Dees cited telemedicine, entertainment, telecommuting, and e-learning. Jordan noted the new technology would also enable Duck River to control home thermostats during peak usage for customers who subscribed to the service.
Providing background on the project, Eric Hartman who heads up University Risk Management, said the Board of Regents’ Committee on Innovation found a need for effective connectivity on the Domain. The University explored several partnerships with several providers.
Duck River recently completed a 330-mile fiber optic loop connecting the 16 counties it serves, said McDonald. The system gives Duck River real-time information during outages and allows for technology that reduces the number of customers who lose power, Jordan explained.
Duck River decided to lease unused portions of its fiber optic network to providers such as Ben Lomand.
“When you’re looking for someone to partner with, it makes perfect sense to look to another co-op who shares your vision,” said Ben Lomand General Manager Lisa Cope.
Cope cited concern for the community and exceptional customer service as basic principles of co-ops. Ben Lomand offers 24-7 network support and boasts a 90 percent first-call resolution rate.
Hartman said the University’s portion of the cost was $725,000. The University planned to pay for 15 percent of that based on the University’s ownership of 15 percent of the 555 leaseholds. The remaining cost would be divided among the other 472 leaseholders.
“We haven’t made a decision about how the cost will be spread out and over how many years, whether monthly, quarterly or annually,” Hartman said.
Subscribing to the Ben Lomand connection would be optional, Hartman stressed, offering residents another service provider in addition to Charter and AT&T. No landline will be needed for the Ben Lomand service.
The three-phase project would take 12-18 months to complete. Phase one would begin in downtown Sewanee and spread north and east through central campus and take six to eight months. Phase two, would encompass the west side of the Domain and phase three the south side. Phases two and three would take three to five months each.
Cope spoke enthusiastically about the partnership suggesting it provided a nationwide model for extending fiber optic connectivity to rural areas.
“It seems very optimistic we will move forward,” Hartman said.
Making arrangements with leaseholders and informing them about overhead versus underground connections would fall to Ben Lomand.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
At the Sept. 9 Sewanee Community Council meeting, a long discussion about locating a new cell tower near the water tower off Breakfield Road led to a suggestion to erect the tower in a nearby wooded area. “We would consider it,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell. More than 30 community members attended the meeting. A proposal to bring 1 Gbps fiber optic internet service to all leaseholds, partially funded by the leaseholders, also prompted much discussion. [See “Fiber Optic Service to Every House Proposed.”]
Strong community objection to locating a cell tower behind the football stadium and an “adverse affect” ruling by the State Historic Preservation Office prompted a search for another site. According to Eric Hartman, vice president of risk management and institutional effectiveness, the water tower location would require a taller tower, 285 feet as opposed to 185 feet. Verizon, the primary service provider who would use the new tower, said mounting equipment on the water tower walk-around, height 130 feet, would not provide adequate propagation. Likewise, locating the tower further down Breakfield Road would not provide adequate propagation. Verizon also rejected the former convenience center as a possible location due to liability concerns from toxic chemicals revealed in a bore sample. Close proximity to the airport ruled out other possible locations.
Many community members expressed health concerns about the water tower site, pointing to World Health Organization data indicating cell towers “are not guaranteed to be safe.” The nearest residence, the Malde home, would be 1,000 feet from the tower.
“The University is not going to put any of our neighbors at risk unnecessarily,” insisted McCardell. “There are enough other communities that have erected towers who have decided there is no risk or insignificant risk.”
At 285 feet, the tower would require a light, Hartman said, “likely red.” He also noted the height might not be sufficient and an additional tower might be needed for satisfactory propagation.
One community member pointed to decreased property values for leaseholds near the tower and asked if the University would provide compensation.
“We haven’t discussed that,” Hartman said.
In response to the suggestion to move the location from near the water tower into the nearby woods, Hartman said, “I don’t know if Verizon is interested in pushing it further into the woods.” But Hartman stressed the service provider was committed to “trying to make it work.” Hartman noted the Environmental Protection Agency objected to tree cutting due to concerns about bats.
No contracts have been signed with Verizon or the company that would own the tower, Hartman said. He estimated the rent the University charged at $1,000 per month, but said nothing had been negotiated.
McCardell insisted the conversation was ongoing and invited additional questions and comments.
In other business, Sewanee Community Funding Project chair Pixie Dozier announced $20,000 was available for improvements and amenities “to enhance the community and improve the quality of life.” Applications are available at various locations throughout the community and online by emailing <email@example.com>. The deadline for applying is Nov. 1.
Election officer Charles Whitmer announced a special election would be held to fill a vacant District 4 seat. Candidates must reside in District 4 and submit a nominating petition signed by 10 District 4 residents before Oct. 4. Nominating petitions are available at the Lease Office, the “Blue House,” on University Avenue. Voting will take place at the Lease Office, through Oct. 25. Only District 4 residents can vote in this special election.
Fiber Optic Service for Every House Proposed
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
Eric Hartman described the proposal to bring fiber optic internet service to all leaseholders as “led by Ben Lomand, powered by Duck River, and supported by the University of the South.” Hartman, head of University Risk Management, addressed Sewanee residents and the Sewanee Community Council at the Sept. 9 meeting.
Ben Lomand would provide the service, Hartman explained, and Duck River’s infrastructure would deliver the service. Subscribing to the fee-based service would be optional.
Beyond the installation expenses Ben Lomand and Duck River will pay for, “the cost is $725,000,” said Vice-Chancellor John McCardell. “The University is in for about 15 percent of that, or about $100,000. The remaining 85 percent needs to be covered in some way.”
The 15 percent figure is based on the fact that of 555 total leaseholds, 15 percent are University properties.
McCardell proposed a possible payment model in which residents and businesses would be assessed $12.50 per month and nonresidents $50 per month for 10 years.
“We’re not looking for a specific decision,” McCardell said, “We’re simply asking your opinion about what is a fair spreading of this cost over a period of time.”
Council representative Eric Keen noted some leaseholders would “use the service more than others and not all need it.”
McCardell stressed the discussion was about “laying the infrastructure,” not about whether individuals chose to “avail themselves of the service.”
No vote was taken. No other objections were raised.
Suggestions from council members and residents for proportioning the cost included basing the share each leaseholder paid on property values and offering a discount to leaseholders who paid up front as opposed to over time. Opinions varied on whether residents and nonresidents should pay the same amount.
Ben Lomand was ready to begin construction immediately, Hartman said.
Constituent Input Invited
University of the South regents Joseph DeLozier, C’77, and Margaret McLarty, the chair and vice chair of the Vice-Chancellor Search Committee, have named the following members to serve on the committee:
Robert Skirving, H’15, chancellor of the University ; John Bauerschmidt, H’07, bishop of Tennessee; Mary Ellen Fagan, C’20, student in the College; Jay Fisher, C’79, deputy secretary of the Board of Trustees; John Ford, former regent; Reid Funston, C’86, regent; Marichal Gentry, C’86, College staff member; Virginia “Fairlie” Herron, C’92, alumni trustee; Benjamin King, School of Theology faculty member; Andrea Mansker, College faculty member; Thelma “Nikki” Mathis, T’08, diocesan trustee; Jon Meacham, C’91, former regent; Deon Miles, College faculty member; Katherine Nielsen, regent; and Ruth Sanchez, C’86, College faculty member.
Storbeck/Pimentel & Associates has been retained to assist the Search Committee.
The Search Committee invites input from various University constituents as it determines the qualities and characteristics for the next vice-chancellor. A vice-chancellor search survey and several upcoming meetings will provide opportunities for participation.
All University constituents are invited to share their thoughts about the characteristics and qualities desired in the next vice-chancellor by taking this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/SewaneePresidential.... The survey is anonymous and will require about 10 minutes to complete. Results will be shared with the Search Committee and the search consultants. Please complete the survey by Friday, Sept. 27.
Various University constituents are invited to participate in the following open forums taking place on campus on Monday, Sept. 23, and Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Monday, Sept. 23, 3:30–4:30 p.m., open forum for College faculty, Gailor Auditorium; 5:30–6:30 p.m., open forum for College students, Gailor Auditorium; 7:30–8:30 p.m., open forum for community members, Convocation Hall.
Tuesday, Sept. 24, 9–10 a.m., open forum for University staff, Convocation Hall; 3–4 p.m., open forum for School of Theology faculty, Hamilton Hall Room 223, 4–5 p.m., open forum for School of Theology students, Hargrove Auditorium.
The search consultant and members of the Search Committee will join the trustees and regents during their meeting on Oct. 10 and 11.
Based on the information received through the survey and constituent meetings, the Search Committee will compile a vice-chancellor profile and requirements to begin the search process. Over the winter months, the Search Committee will continue its work in anticipation of an election of the 17th Vice-Chancellor by the Board of Trustees in early spring.
Anyone with a question about the search may direct it to <firstname.lastname@example.org>. One of the committee members will respond.
The University of the South will celebrate Foundation Day on Friday, Sept. 20. Sylvia Earle, arguably the world’s best-known oceanographer, will be the speaker at Foundation Day Convocation and will receive an honorary degree. The convocation, which will be held at 4:30 p.m., coincides with Family Weekend and will include the conferral of two additional honorary degrees and the induction of new members into the Order of the Gown.
John Lewis Ford, former dean of campus life at Emory University, and the Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Clayton Matthews, former bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development, also will receive honorary degrees during the convocation.
Only students receiving (or giving) gowns and families of new OG members will have tickets for admission to the Chapel. All others are invited to watch convocation in Guerry Auditorium or via the live stream https://new.sewanee.edu/parents-families/convocati..
Oceanographer Sylvia A. Earle is explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society, and a former (and first woman) chief scientist of NOAA. She first used scuba gear as a teenager, and has since led more than 100 expeditions and spent 7,500 hours underwater. Her research concerns the ecology and conservation of marine ecosystems and development of technology for access to the deep sea. Earle founded Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, a foundation that works to establish Hope Spots, protected places in the ocean where exploitation is prohibited, around the world. She is the recipient of more than 150 national and international honors and awards, including being named Time magazine’s first Hero for the Planet.
John Lewis Ford served for 12 years as senior vice president and dean of campus life at Emory University. Previously, he was the Robert W. and Elizabeth C. Staley dean of students and a professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University. His early work with community service projects to lessen economic disparities in access to health care led to efforts with students and faculty colleagues on problems of feeding and housing homeless people. Later in his career, Ford co-led Emory’s Journeys of Reconciliation with students, faculty, and staff to explore how historic racial, religious, and ethnic conflicts in other countries continue to challenge community-building and the search for social justice.
The Rt. Rev. Dr. Frank Clayton Matthews was called in 1998 to become the bishop for the Office of Pastoral Development, a ministry of the presiding bishop’s office. He remained in that post under three presiding bishops until his retirement in 2017. During that time, he worked closely with the chancellors of the Episcopal Church on diocesan mediations and conflict resolutions, interventions, and all Episcopal elections. Bishop Matthews continues to serve as the managing director of the College of Bishops, an authorized school for education and formation of bishops of the Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Canada, Wales, Scotland, Tanzania, Mexico, Guatemala, Australia, Cuba, and others.
by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
“We’ve all internalized negative messages,” said Beverly Daniel Tatum, speaking about people’s unwillingness to talk about race and racism. In a conversation format presentation, Tatum led the audience into a complex and at times painful awareness of where those negative messages come from and how to “unlearn” them.
Cassie Myer, director of the Dialogue Across Difference Programs, moderated the conversation with Tatum. President emeritus of Spellman College, honored as a leader in race relations and higher education, and author of the book, “Why Are all the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?”, Tatum introduced audience members to themselves by asking them to recall their earliest moment of racism. For most, the circumstance occurred between the age of three and eight, prompted feelings of “discomfort,” and was never discussed with an adult—even though children are normally “chatty” at that age—because the child sensed the adults’ discomfort.
“Many people learn at a very early age that this is something they don’t want you to talk about.”
Tatum cited a Washington Post story by the father of a young white man involved in the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville. According to Tatum, the father insisted he did not share the son’s racist views, but confessed, “we were silent on the subject and other ideas filtered in.”
Pointing to the change in demographics since the 1950s when the United States was 90 percent white and 10 percent “other,” Tatum said in 2000, the United States was 50 percent white and 50 percent “everybody else.” Nonetheless, due to the practice in public education for children to attend neighborhood schools, “Most students come to college from a racially isolated environment.” Tatum dismissed the assumption that “learning to connect across lines of difference” will happen automatically by putting the students together in classes and residence halls.
“We need to provide structures for that to happen…to create the opportunity for students of different backgrounds to engage with each other in a sustained way that allows for the exchange of experience and stories.”
Tatum said the first step was creating “opportunities for same experience support.” Interaction and conversation with those of shared circumstances fulfilled a basic need for safety and belonging, Tatum stressed. She drew the analogy of a hungry person being unable to focus on other things until the hunger need was gone.
From the white student perspective, the shared experience group offered an opportunity to overcome “white fragility.” Engaging in dialogue about race in an all-white group provided an opportunity to reflect on experiences without having to worry about inflicting pain on people of color, Tatum suggested. “Most white people lack stamina for talking about race and racism…engaging in dialogue about race is painful and hard. To build up your stamina you need to practice and sometimes that practice is best done with other white people.”
However, Tatum insisted, “It’s not an either-or. It’s a both-and.”
Asked about her vision for Sewanee and other colleges 20 years from now, Tatum said, “For one thing, [colleges] will more accurately reflect the demographics of the nation…or they’ll find themselves with a shortage of students.”
Tatum pointed to “affirming identity” as key to accomplishing that goal. She gave the illustration of persuading Spelman College to modify its baccalaureate service to include scripture from non-Christian faiths like Islam and Baha’i. People look for themselves first in a group photograph, Tatum said, and if they have been digitally removed, the question “What’s wrong with this picture?” quickly becomes “What’s wrong with me?”
Paraphrasing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Tatum said social change required empathy for the circumstances of others. She argued listening was the path to empathy, and empathy in turn led to action.
“It takes constant effort and vigilance to get beyond the inertia of past habits and practices.”
Ben Lomand Connect, the University of the South, and Duck River Electric Membership Corporation propose a partnership to deliver a fiber-to-the-premises solution to leaseholders on the University of the South’s Domain. The project is led by Ben Lomand, powered by Duck River, and supported by the University of the South.
Community Council Meeting Information
The University will share details related to the project at the next Sewanee Community Council meeting at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9. Discussions will include details on benefits and expenses for the project and possible cost-share options between the University and the community.
Additional Gathering for Further Details
Ben Lomand and Duck River Electric will also host an informational meeting in Convocation Hall at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12. Anyone seeking additional information is welcome to attend.
The Sewanee Arts and Crafts (SACA) Fair will be Saturday, Sept. 21, in Shoup Park, on University Ave. The fair, which will happen rain or shine, will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The event is free and open to the public and is sponsored by SACA. There will be art and crafts for sale including clay, glass, paintings, wood and much more.