Bryan Students Graduate with Lower Debt, Says Ranking

Lowest Debt BurdenDecember 15, 2015 – In a recent ranking released by Christian Universities Online, Bryan College placed an astounding no. 2 in “Top 50 Christian Colleges & Universities with the Lowest Debt Burden 2016.”

According to Christian Universities Online, this newest ranking “seeks to provide useful data to parents and students who are endeavoring to make an informed decision in choosing the best Christian institution to meet their needs.”

“Understanding that the long term impact which student loan debt can have on a graduate, this ranking attempts to highlight schools that have done an excellent job in caring for their students not only academically, but also financially,” the ranking’s website says.

Vice President of Finance and Enrollment Rick Taphorn noted, “Bryan College is an institution that not only provides students with an excellent education from a biblical worldview, but also does so while empowering students to graduate with a lower debt than many other Christian colleges and universities. We are honored to receive this ranking, which reflects this fact.”

This ranking’s methodology took into account public data from U.S. News & World Report and required schools to be members or member eligible of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). Bryan has been included in Christian Universities Online’s “Most Affordable” ranking for two consecutive years.

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206;

Advancement Receives New VP, Chuck Baker

February 5, 2016 – Today marks the first full week for the advancement department’s new vice president, Chuck Baker.

Chuck BakerChuck Baker has an extensive career portfolio that includes over 20 years working in various executive leadership roles at Unum in Chattanooga, Tenn. After retiring from Unum, he became the president and CEO of a local ministry dedicated to aiding children of families in crisis, Bethel Bible Village, where he served until accepting the position of vice president of advancement at Bryan.

He is a graduate of Carson Newman College and the Mahler’s Advanced Management Skills Leadership Program and currently is a member of the Chattanooga Rotary Club, in addition to being a former board member of the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga and Bethel Bible Village.

“I’m so thrilled to welcome Chuck Baker to the advancement department,” said director Janice Pendergrass. “He’s greatly respected by many of my friends, both for his work at Bethel Bible Village and for his personal character. Just from conversations at gatherings we’ve both attended, it is obvious Chuck has a huge heart for students and for Christ.”

Bryan College president Dr. Stephen D. Livesay added, “Chuck is a good friend of Bryan College, having served for several years in many voluntary roles including chairman of the President’s Roundtable.  He has a love for our Lord, a heart for ministry and has provided exceptional leadership both at Bethel Bible Village and at Unum.  I am excited about the leadership he will bring to Bryan in his new role as vice president of advancement.”

“I am excited to be part of Bryan College and look forward to working with Janice and our advancement team,” said Baker. “I believe the future is bright for Bryan. I’m proud to be part of such a great, Christ-centered college.”

Chuck and his wife, Cynthia, reside in Chattanooga, Tenn., and have one grown son.

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423.775.7206;

Holocaust Survivor Magda Herzberger to Speak at Bryan

February 4, 2016 – Bryan College is deeply honored to host Magda Herzberger, an 89-year-old survivor of three different death camps in 1944-1945, who is coming to speak on campus in a variety of settings and events from Feb. 29 – March 3.

Magda HerzbergerThe chapel service at 10 A.M. on Monday, Feb. 29, will begin Herzberger’s visit, followed by another speaking session and Q&A time with book signing at 7 P.M. on the second floor of the college library. She will also have a poetry recital at 7 P.M. on March 2. The community is invited and encouraged to attend and learn from this woman’s incredible story of perseverance and hope.

She will also speak in several classes over the course of her stay in Dayton, Tenn., granting students what may very well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to interact with a survivor of the atrocious Holocaust. Her books will be available for purchase for the duration of her stay.

Dr. Stephen D. Livesay, Bryan College’s president, remarked, “We are honored to have a survivor of the holocaust minister to the Bryan and Dayton communities. We need to be reminded of the reality of that horrific time and the lessons to be learned. Magda Herzberger is an exceptional woman who will challenge and inspire.”

Herzberger was 18 when she was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944, soon after transferred to Bremen, and finally was forced on the death march to Bergen Belsen, where she was rescued when the camp was liberated in April 1945. After WWII she was admitted to medical school and married her now-husband, Eugene Herzberger, in 1946. She has written several books, including Surviving Hard Times, Survival, Dreamworld, and The Waltz of the Shadows, and is also an accomplished poet, composer, and lecturer.

Anastasia Capuzzi, a junior history major from Northumberland County, Penn., knows Herzberger personally and was responsible for suggesting the survivor as a guest speaker. “Knowing Magda has changed my life and made me realize how blessed we are to live each day surrounded by comfort and security,” Capuzzi said. “Our moral obligation to people like Magda is to make her story known so that people never forget the horrors of the Holocaust. Her story is a story of hope, and I know it will touch everyone!”

According to her website, “Through her books, poetry, music, and public speaking engagements, it is Magda’s goal to keep the memory of the Holocaust alive, to instill love for poetry in the hearts of people, and to show the beauty of life.”

Director of the Center for Leadership & Justice, the Honors Program, and the Justice & Mercy Initiative Col. Ron Petitte (U.S.A., retired) is thrilled for the event to take place. He noted, “The Nazis’ attempts to obliterate God’s people in the Second World War, to include the horrors of the concentration camps, can only lead me to consider the survival of a remnant of His people, as a magnanimous act of God, Who, in His grace, saved Magda Herzberger, as He did others.”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423.775.7206;

*Edited on 2/5/16 to include Capuzzi quote and further information on engagements.


Bryan Recognizes Alumni’s Remarkable Generosity

February 2, 2016 — At halftime of the Bryan Lions Men’s Basketball game on Saturday, Jan. 30, against fellow Appalachian Athletic Conference foe, Tennessee Wesleyan, Bryan Athletics took time to recognize two Bryan alumni who have been instrumental in supporting Bryan College and personally investing in the student-athletes.

BlantonsIn January of 2015, Summers Gymnasium underwent significant aesthetic and practical changes that added new energy to the space. The renovations were made possible through the generous giving of Don and Connie Blanton’76, who saw a need for a gym “facelift.”

Visitors to the gym now enjoy improved bleacher seating and 104 additional stadium seats. Along with new areas that serve as space for filming of games, branded tile flooring was added in the top area of the gym above the bleachers with the Bryan Lions Athletics Logo. Scores tables were added courtside to improve game-time efficiency, and new seating was added for the benches to enhance player experience.

The Bryan College Board of Trustees welcomed Don as a new board member in 2013. He is an acclaimed speaker in the financial and investment services industry, founding his own company, MoneyTrax, in 1994. Don is the president of MoneyTrax and is considered to be one of the top trainers in the industry.

Over the years, the Blantons have been greathearted donors to the school and specifically the athletic department. Revamps of the facilities, including the soccer field and Summers Gymnasium, have allowed an environment for the athletes and fans to be proud of.

Don and Connie have an incredible love for God and heart to further His Kingdom. Their passion for Bryan has given alumni, friends, students, and athletic teams the opportunity to stay in their home in Atlanta, Ga.

Their faithful donations, extraordinary support, constant prayer, and encouragement of Bryan College earned them the honors of Alumni of the Year in 2012.

After appreciating the Blantons at the game, Bryan College Athletic Director, Taylor Hasty said, “Don and Connie Blanton have blessed us in so many ways by giving to our new gym and other projects as well. I am so grateful for how they have reached out directly to our athletes, developing relationships, and seeking to further the Kingdom of God in all that they do. It is so wonderful to have alumni like the Blantons that support our college and our student athletes.”

Written by Wesley Sanders ’15, sports information director.

Hilltop Players present “An Evening with Anton Chekhov”

January 28, 2016 — Bryan’s Hilltop Players will present a series of short farces by brilliant writer Anton Chekhov in a dessert theatre production running Feb. 2-6.

Anton ChekhovDirector Bernie Belisle is excited about the performance, giving out the invitation, “Enjoy a fun evening watching six one act plays centered around Russian comedic writer Anton Chekhov as you feast on premium brownies and ice cream.”

“An Evening with Anton Chekhov” will feature six unique farces, including “The Sneeze,” “The Audition,” “The Brute,” “The Governess,” “A Defenseless Creature,” and “The Marriage Proposal.” Belisle is not the only director for this evening’s performances; students Caleb Julin and Andrew Warren have also stepped into director roles.

Cast members include Christopher Maye as Ivan Cherdyakov, Matthew Smith as General Brassilhov, Teagan Hughes as Mrs. Cherdyakov, and Shelbi Metts as Mm. Brassilhov in “The Sneeze”; Rachel Liebert as Nina Mikhailovna Zarechnaya and Caleb Julin as the director’s voice in “The Audition”; Kaitlyn Couch as Mrs. Popov, Caleb Morgan as Luka, and Cooper Ferguson as Mr. Grigory Smirnov in “The Brute”; Crystal LaPlue as Mistress and Grace Loe as Julia in “The Governess”; Austin Marsh as Mr. Kristunov, Josh Liebert as Potchatkin, and Lexi Rae Wheeler as a woman in “A Defenseless Creature”; and Brandon Lawrence as Stepan Chubukov, Jeremy Eastwood as Ivan Lomov, and Heather Knight as Natalia Stepanova in “The Marriage Proposal.”

“An Evening with Anton Chekhov” will be presented in Brock Hall on Tues. – Sat., Feb. 2 – 6, at 7 P.M.

Secure Your Ticket Today!

  • Non-BC Students: $9
  • Adults: $12

Tickets sales are now available at the Box Office (Rudd 303) or online via credit card.

Billingsby Scores 1000th Career Point

1.28_BballBillingsbyJanuary 28, 2016 — The last time the Lady Lions were on the hardwood was over a week ago when Reinhardt University (Ga.) traveled to Summers Gymnasium for an Appalachian Athletic Conference contest where a buzzer-beater gave the Lions a 68-66 win. Since then, Bryan was scheduled to battle two other AAC schools but wintry weather conditions led to postponements for both games. Despite a longer than expected break, the Lady Lions showed no rust in their game as they picked up a compelling 70-53 victory over Bluefield College (Va.) last night.

Two players to highlight from Bryan are former Rhea County Golden Eagle standout, Amber Levi (FR/Dayton, Tenn.), and the current leading scorer for the Lions team, Megan Billingsby (JR/Dickson, Tenn.). Levi led all scorers and matched her career-high with 25 points, shooting 7-for-13 from the floor, 4-for-7 from behind the arc, and 7-for-8 from the foul line. She also collected four rebounds.

Billingsby produced her third double-double of the season, putting her in a tie for 7th in the AAC in total double-doubles. She was the second highest scorer of the night with 16 points, while finishing 6-for-9 for the game and 4-for-6 from the free throw line. She entered the game with 995 career points with the Lions, hoping to reach the notable 1,000thpoint milestone. Billingsby drilled the first shot of the game for the Lions to put them on the scoreboard. Her next bucket came in the start of the second quarter when she collected a missed shot from Levi and scored from in the paint, putting her at 999 career points. The Rams traveled back down the court and sent up a three-point shot, but Billingsby guarded the inside for the easy rebound. The Lions moved the ball back down to the other end of the court, giving way to a missed shot from Maebry McNeese (SO/Joelton, Tenn.). What happened next was fitting, because Billingsby did what she does best and scooped up the missed basket and went strong from down low for her 1,001st career point. She continued to help off the glass, tallying 10 rebounds for the contest.

Kaylee Smith (FR/Dunlap, Tenn.) was the only other Lion close to double-digit scoring, chipping in eight points after shooting 3-for-4. She aided Bryan with four rebounds.Cheyenne Shaver (FR/Grimsley, Tenn.) had a quite night in the scoring department, but she helped the Lions dominate the boards with 10 of her own. Bryan outrebounded Bluefield 38-28.

The Lions maintain an impressive 17-3 overall record, and the AAC win over Bluefield boosts their conference record to 9-2. According to the updated 2016 NAIA Div. II Women’s Basketball Coaches’ Top-25 Poll released Tuesday, Jan. 26, the Lady Lions rank just shy of the top-25, securing the 27th spot. Milligan College (Tenn.) is the only fellow AAC School ranked above Bryan, landing in 21st.

Head Bryan Women’s Basketball Coach, Jason Smith, explained it was essential to come out strong against Bluefield, especially after having over a week off from play. Smith said, “We needed a good road win, and our girls delivered. Amber was special tonight, and Megan gave a solid performance in reaching an extraordinary accomplishment in over 1,000 career points. I thought the key to our second half surge was defensive rebounding and attacking the basket offensively.”

The school from right down the road, Tennessee Wesleyan, travels to Dayton, Tenn. on Saturday, Jan. 30, as the Lady Lions tipoff against the Bulldogs at 2pm.

The away game at Union College (Ky.), originally scheduled for Jan. 20, has been moved to Feb. 1 at 5:30pm. The home game against Truett-McConnell College (Ga.), which was scheduled for Jan. 23, is now going to be played on Feb. 8 at 5:30pm.

For the full story, click here.

Written by Wesley Sanders ’15, sports information director.

Chilly Week Opens Spring Semester

Don StubbsJanuary 22, 2016 – Amid chilly winds and snowy weather Bryan College’s spring semester commenced this week. Students returned from their winter break over the weekend and began school on Wednesday, only to have most of the day’s classes cancelled due to an onset of freezing rain during chapel. The weather evened out on Thursday and Friday, but students are buzzing with excitement at the forecast of more snow this weekend, to open their 2016.

The Bryan chapel’s Engage Conference featured the topic “Why the Church?” and challenged students to think strategically and missionally about their futures and daily living. According to the Chapel at Bryan College official blog, the conference addressed questions such as “How can we get involved in a way that renews our passion for following Christ?  What can we do to move past our frustrations and criticisms? How can we immerse ourselves in ways that bring health to the Church and open ourselves to the Spirit’s work?” Speakers Luke Thomas (Legacy Church, lead pastor) and Don Stubbs (Off The Wall Ministry, founder and executive director).

In his beginning-of-semester address to faculty and staff, college president Dr. Stephen D. Livesay praised the admissions team, relating particularly exciting news: just this academic year to date (a little over one single semester), there have been more new student applications than in all of the 2014 or 2015 years, separately.

Vice President of Academics Kevin Clauson commented, “We are excited to welcome both new and returning students to campus as we begin the spring semester. The semester should be a great one, and we look forward to a solid finish culminating with graduation in May. We also look forward with great anticipation to many new projects and programs in the coming months, which will enhance our campus.”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423-775-7206;

TBCA Names Bryan’s Taylor Hasty NAIA Coach of the Year

Taylor HastyJanuary 19, 2016 — Bryan College’s Athletic Director and Head Baseball Coach, Taylor Hasty, has been honored as the 2016 NAIA Coach of the Year by Tennessee Baseball Coaches Association announced on Saturday.

Hasty was recognized by the TBCA for his outstanding contribution to the game of baseball and rewarded him for excelling in the game of baseball in Tennessee through dedication and hard work.

After looking at previous seasons and finding success in teams, Executive Director of TBCA, Pat Swallows explained, “We try to select a school that is doing the right thing in the way they go about running their program. After selections are made, the executive board then votes on it. Taylor made a great impression, and I’m glad to congratulate him and Bryan on their accomplishments. We are happy to be able to recognize both.”

Hasty is heading into his 8th season as the Head Coach of the Bryan College baseball program. He took the helm in June of 2008, making him the third person to hold the post since baseball was reinstated at Bryan in the fall of 2002. Last season, Hasty led the Lions to another berth in the NAIA Opening Round and to a record number of wins as the 2015 team broke the 2012 41-win record with 44 of their own.

The Lions recorded 39 wins in the regular season, which was good enough for a 3rd place finish in Appalachian Athletic Conference play and a runner-up finish in the AAC Tournament.  The team headed to Daytona Beach, Florida for NAIA Regional play where they were seeded 3rd and slated to play host team Embry-Riddle University (Ga.) in the first game of the tournament.  For the second year in a row, the Lions won 2 games at the national tournament before falling short of the championship game.  The five postseason wins for the Lions brought the final record on the year to 44-18, the second time the program has been over 40 wins and the 5th straight winning season.

“This is such an honor for me and for our program here at Bryan,” Taylor Hasty remarked.  “I cannot even begin to express how grateful I am to our staff and our players for their commitment and hard work year after year.”

The cold weather is a sign that baseball season has arrived. The Lions have their first action of the season on February 5-6th as they host 25th ranked University of Rio Grande (Ohio).

For the full Bryan Lions Baseball schedule, visit

Written by Wesley Sanders ’15, sports information director.

Software Donation Aids Professor in Origins Research

Origins Research Donation'January 15, 2015 – On January 3 Bryan College received a donation of nearly $10,000 in computer software to aid in the origins research of Dr. Neal Doran, professor of biology.

The donor, a business owner and retired scientist residing in Gainesville, Fla., is interested in furthering studies in creationism. He prefers to remain anonymous.

According to Dr. Doran, the donated software has two components: a professional statistics package and Geographical Information Systems (GIS), which “allows the visualization and analysis of geographic, biological, and geological data.”

Dr. Doran elaborated, “The first director of Bryan’s [former] Center for Origins Research (CORE), Dr. Kurt Wise, pioneered an approach to understanding the Global Flood through what is called Catastrophic Plate Tectonics (CPT). Dr. Wise then planned to map the world’s global geologic column to further understand the tectonic, geological, and paleontological relationships within the world’s rock layers that resulted from the Flood and its aftermath. The donated software directly aids this goal.”

Passionate about the role Bryan College has played in origins research over the past 20 years while keeping God at the center of serious and exciting scientific questioning, Dr. Doran hopes to aid Bryan in continuing this legacy and clarifying origins study.

“My research goals involve understanding both global and southeastern U.S. fossil record patterns,” Dr. Doran stated. “On the large scale, I want to understand the nature of global stratigraphic (or geologic) column and, on a local level, to understand the biological and geological origin of the coal in our region of the country. The software donation will aid both.”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423.775.7206;

*Editor’s Note: Article edited on 1/26/2016 to clarify that the donation was not made to the separate entity CORE, but rather directly to Dr. Neal Doran. 


Third Annual Rhea County Evening with Bryan Opens 2016

Evening with Bryan January 14, 2016 – On Tuesday, Jan. 12, the Bryan Scholarship Fund’s Rhea County regional volunteers hosted the first Evening with Bryan dinner of 2016, sponsored by First Bank of Tennessee, on the upper floor of the Bryan College library.

This dinner, the first of 10 such events to be held this year, enabled donors and friends of the college to see firsthand the incredible difference their contributions have made to students. Lebron Purser of the Dayton Rotary Club emceed the event.

Michael PalmerAttendees heard Michael Palmer, a beloved Bryan communications professor, talk on the importance of communication, community, and empathy in every aspect of life. Robinson Manufacturing’s human resources director Nathan Snyder ‘91, spoke to the significance of his own time at Bryan, particularly the relationships formed with coaches, professors, and peers. He encouraged the faculty present that the relationships they foster with their students last a lifetime. To close, he said, “What’s true of what I’ve talked about is true about the people I see here now. I see them investing in and being a part of the student body, being passionate about caring about the students.”

College president Stephen D. Livesay thanked First Bank for sponsoring the evening and in doing so supporting the students of Bryan. He said, “On behalf of them, thank you so much,” he said, and continued, “The thing that I like about Bryan College is that I believe that Bryan College, through all her agencies, is that which fully prepares young people in a completeness – in a way that is going to make them truly successful in the game of life.”

1.14_EWB3Bryan Scholarship Fund Director David Holcomb expressed the school’s joy at and appreciation of donors and volunteers who “are seed for the Scholarship Fund, who believe in the idea of gathering people together to see the worth of Bryan College and how they can get involved”; he noted that “it is a pleasure to have First Bank as one of our partners.”

The next Evening with Bryan event will be held in Knoxville, Tenn., on Feb. 28. For more information contact David Holcomb at

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of public information, 423.775.7206;

Bryan Graduates 110 Students at Fall Commencement

December CommencementDec. 22, 2015 – On Friday, Dec. 18, new graduates of the School of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) and the School of Arts and Sciences celebrated as Bryan College conferred 110 degrees on them, with 22 candidates for the Master of Business Administration degree, 87 for Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degrees, and 1 for the Associate of Science degree.

Vice President of Academics Kevin Clauson said, “In the Christmas Season, and front of a capacity crowd, it was truly a blessing to experience these graduates receiving their diplomas. We thank parents, spouses, children, grandparents, other relatives, and friends who supported their graduates financially, emotionally, and in so many other ways.”

Bryan College President Stephen D. Livesay said, “The Scripture says in the Proverbs that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And I pray that as you go forth from this place – as you continue in your quest for learning – as you continue in the vocation that God has called you to – that you would remember that in all of our learning, the foundation is that which is, indeed, the fear of the Lord.”

After Dr. Vaughn Cardona led the audience and graduates in singing “Amazing Grace” and himself performed Mendelssohn’s “If with All Your Hearts,” Dr. Livesay introduced commencement speaker Dr. Lisa Hurst.  Dr. Hurst, an AGS adjunct instructor as well as president and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, told the Class of 2015 that they have inspired her personally because of their firm faith: “The inner strength I’ve seen in each of you to persevere has made this journey so special.”

Dr. Hurst expressed it best when she encouraged the graduates, “Be the best you in the role the Lord has for you right now; the greater story will unfold wonderfully as you attend to what is right in front of you.”

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206;