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;

Hilltop Players Present “Into the Woods”

woods-signage-dateOctober 20, 2016 – Bryan College’s Hilltop Players kick of their 2016-17 theater season with the presentation of the beloved musical Into the Woods. Performances are Oct. 27 through Oct. 29 at 7:30 p.m. in Rudd Auditorium.

“I hope our audiences will be entertained as well as challenged to think beyond the simplicity of fairy tales and begin to further evaluate how we act in the greater community and how those actions affect both ourselves and others,” said Bernie Belisle, the show’s director and theater professor at Bryan.

The show features a talented cast made up of 18 students. Actors in lead roles include: Austin Marsh – Baker; Rachel Liebert – Baker’s wife; Josh Liebert – Jack; Rebekah Runner – Jack’s mother; Grace Loe – Cinderella; Teagan Hughes – the Witch.  

“The show is a challenge to review your world view and see that all actions have consequences. The fairy tales told go beyond the ‘happy ever after’ aspect and begin to address the consequences of the character’s actions,” Belisle said. “Although the world views expressed in this show are not necessarily those that Bryan College ascribes to, they do challenge us to think about our wishes and how they align with Christianity. The characters in the show learn from their mistakes and grow as people as they walk through the ‘woods of life.’”

Into the Woods is a musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and book by James Lapine. The show made its Broadway in 1987 and was later adapted to a live-action film in 2014 by Disney. According to, the show “blends various familiar fairy tales with an original story of a childless Baker and his wife, who catalyze the action of the story by attempting to reverse a curse on their family in order to have a child.”

“It’s a challenging show to produce –  musically, technically, and acting wise,” Belisle said. “It will stretch our young actors as they prepare for performance. It is also a fun show to produce and it will challenge our audiences as well as our participants.”

Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 non-Bryan students/seniors, and $7 for the Bryan College community. You can purchase tickets here.


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bryan College to Appear on Upcoming Episode of The Balancing Act®

balancing-actOctober 18, 2016 – Bryan College will be featured in a segment on an upcoming episode of the The Balancing Act® airing on Lifetime® Television. The episode will air on Oct. 21 at 7:30 a.m. EST and re-air Oct. 28 at the same time.

The segment addresses fears many students have over online education and features Dr. Kathy Estes, Assistant Professor of Business and MBA Program Director at Bryan College and Kristy Wilkerson, an online business student graduating in December 2016. Together with the show’s co-host, Olga Villaverde, they also discuss how Bryan’s program distinguishes itself from other schools by offering affordable tuition, accelerated course schedules, and a support system that gives students the opportunity for personal connections with professors and classmates.

“Going back to school, or even for the first time, can be scary,” said Britney Wyatt, Director of Marketing at Bryan College. “Our goal with this segment is to address those fears that stand in the way of so many potential students. The truth is, you can do it, and our faculty and staff will help you find the confidence and gain the skills you need to complete your degree and walk across the stage.”

The Balancing Act is America’s only one-hour morning show that’s about women, for women, and trusted by women. Celebrating life and all there is to accomplish, The Balancing Act inspires and empowers with entertaining and educational shows, which help place women in the best position to achieve success in every area of their lives.

Bryan College was recently named the no. 2 “Best Online Program” in the state of Tennessee by Bryan’s school of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS) offers three fully online undergraduate programs: an associate of business; bachelor of science in applied psychology, and a bachelor of business administration. The school’s graduate programs include an MA in Christian ministry, an MBA with specializations in either marketing, human resources, or ministry, a master’s of education, and numerous graduate certificates. All online programs are accessible from anywhere in the world and taught from a Christian worldview.

“Education is able to open doors and provide excitement and hope for the future to many adult students,” Dr. Estes said. “I hope this segment helps tear down the barrier of fear and encourages women to pursue a degree.”


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Debate Team Wins Three Awards at Competition

20161001_193849October 17, 2016 – Bryan College’s newly reactivated Debate Team took home three awards during their competition on Oct. 1 in the Smokey Mountain Tournament at Walters State Community College against teams from Berea College, MTSU, Northeastern, and others.

“We have a very talented group who are passionate about building their communication, argumentation, and analysis skills,” said Liz Absher, Debate Coach and adjunct computer science professor. “I expect outstanding results as they gain more experience.”

Bryan captured three out of eight Speaker Awards in the Novice Category. These included:

Victoria Suich – 4th

Spencer Baker – 7th

Emily Webber – 8th

Bryan’s Debate Team members included: Anastastia Capuzzi, Chenoa Gonzalez, Spencer Baker, Emily Webber, and Victoria Suich. Prior to this competition, only two of the team’s members had competed in a college tournament.

Bryan entered two two-person teams and one alternate, who helped during prep time at Saturday’s event. Bryan’s teams finished with a combined 5-3 record.

British Parliamentary Debate consists of two two-person teams that compete in multiple rounds. Each round, a new debate topic is announced followed by 15 minutes of preparation prior to the start of the actual debate. Speakers alternate back and forth from the “Government” team to the “Opposition” team.

The team has plans to compete at Berea College and Belmont University this semester as well as other locations throughout the Southeast next semester.

Bryan’s team is actively recruiting new members for the traveling team. Meetings are held on Tuesdays in Mercer 115 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Interested students are invited to attend or contact Team Coach, Liz Absher, by email at or by text at 423-284-5886.


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bryan Alumnus Receives Prestigious Award for Chaplain Service

screen-shot-2016-10-05-at-3-48-07-pmOctober 5, 2016 – George Vogel ‘58 was recently named the 2015 recipient of the Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Excellence in Chaplaincy, The Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I congratulate Chaplain Vogel for the lifetime of spiritual and pastoral care he has provided to servicemembers and veterans,” said Michael McCoy, Associate Director of the National Chaplain Center, Veterans Health Administration in a statement. “His accomplishments reflect credit upon himself, VA Chaplain Service, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

Criteria for the prestigious award includes more than 20 years of Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Chaplaincy service and demonstrated sense of leadership qualities including organizational stewardship, customer service, interpersonal skills, and more.

Vogel graduated from Bryan College in 1958 with a degree in Bible. He later went on to earn his master’s of divinity and doctorate of ministry at Talbot Seminary, which is now a graduate school of BIOLA University in La Mirada, Calif.

“In addition to the caring faculty and staff at Bryan College, the beauty of the countryside will always remain with me,” Vogel said. “I’ve enjoyed the times I’ve been able to return to campus and see the amazing students carrying out the school’s motto.”

Vogel’s career as a chaplain spans more than 50 years of service to military service members, veterans, and their families. He began his military career as a seaman recruit in the Navy and retired as an Army Brigadier General. Vogel has served with distinction as a chaplain in the Department of Veterans Affairs since 1987 and served as the Chief Chaplain for the VA Healthcare System for the past 26 years in Long Beach, Calif.

“His faithfulness to our God and love of ministry through the years has impacted thousands of veterans and law enforcement men and women,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “He is a true servant of Christ who is making a difference in our world today.”


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Lisa Kelly Named Staff Member of the Summer

img_0577October 3, 2016 – President Livesay recently presented Lisa Kelly, Assistant Registrar for the school of Adult and Graduate Studies (AGS), with the 2016 Staff Member of the Summer award.

“Congratulations to Lisa!” Dr. Livesay said. “She pulled double duty during the summer – training new personnel while performing all the functions of her new job as well. A superior work ethic, a friendly smile, and someone who can answer questions while fixing the student’s “challenge” is a winning recipe for the Outstanding Staff Member of the Summer award.”

From Lisa’s nomination:

“Lisa Kelly has gone above and beyond the call of duty for Bryan College. She transferred to the Registrar’s Office in February of this year, but agreed to continue being the Academic Advisor for her AGS students until a replacement was found. Through multiple circumstances, she has been carrying an additional load for the past seven months. During that time, she also trained Jordan Howell and Josie Watson, our two current AGS Academic Advisors. Lisa has always kept the attitude of “what’s best for the student.” Our AGS students and staff appreciate her hard work and extra effort during this transitional time.”

Please join us in congratulating her on this award and thanking her for her continued service.

Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bryan in Review: Sept. 26 – 30

See what happened on campus this week with this collection of photos, stories, and other highlights from our social media accounts!

Compiled by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bryan Fishing Team Wins Regional Tournament


(L to R) Connor Cohran and Cole Sands

September 27, 2016 – The Bryan College fishing team made a big splash to start their season as they won the FLW College Fishing Southeastern Conference Tournament at Lake Chickamauga, the first major win in school history.

Cole Sands and Connor Cohran reeled in five total bass with a weight of 16 pounds, 3 ounces to seal the victory and qualify Bryan for the 2017 FLW College Fishing National Championship slated for May 31-June 3 on Lake Wheeler in Rogersville, Ala. A total of 203 teams from the Southeast competed in the tournament.

“First off, a win at home is a huge blessing,” Sands said after the victory. “We had a lot of pressure on us for this tournament, and it’s great to start off the season with a big win. It was great having family and friends present and supporting us in such a big moment.”

“It’s a blessing to do what you love,” Cohran said. “It’s great to be a Bryan Lion, and it’s an honor to be a part of this team. It’s an awesome opportunity to qualify for the National Tournament in my first tournament at Bryan. We had some good practice and had some good spots, so that boosted our confidence going out Saturday. The first hour about every cast we had a fish in the boat. We leaned more towards throwing a jig with the top-water not really working.”

In the program’s inaugural season in 2014, Bryan achieved an 18th place finish in the running for Cabela’s School of the Year and followed it up with 6th place finish in 2015.

“Our guys have a lot of confidence and feel like they belong and can compete with any team. You’re supposed to win at home, but it doesn’t always work out that way. This time of the year probably favored us more than in the springtime. You can’t luck up right now, because the lake fishes tough and the knowledge of the lake truly helped us. Hopefully this win brought some notoriety to the college in some areas we may have not reached before. We are extremely thankful for the support we receive from the school, administration, and Bryan College Athletics.”

The top-10 team finishes on Saturday were:

1st:   Bryan College – Connor Cohnran, Dalton, Ga., and Cole Sands, Calhoun, Tenn., five bass, 16-3, $2,000

2nd:  University of South Carolina – Patrick Walters, Summerville, S.C., and Gettys Brannon, Gaffney, S.C., five bass, 16-2, $1,000

3rd:   University of North Alabama – Sloan Pennington, Childersburg, Ala., and Martin McCravy, Killen, Ala., five bass, 15-10, $500

4th:  University of Tennessee – Anthony Thorn, Knoxville, Tenn., and Scott Ellis, Madison, Tenn., five bass, 15-5, $500

5th:  University of Central Florida – Caleb Bundy, Lake City, Fla., and Jake Carter, Clermont, Fla., four bass, 15-5, $500

6th:  Middle Tennessee State University – Austin Wyatt, Gladeville, Tenn., and Mekiah Jack, Mount Juliet, Tenn., five bass, 14-14

7th:  Bethel University – Evan Owrey, Jackson, Tenn., and Kristopher Queen, Catawba, N.C., five bass, 14-9

8th:  University of North Alabama – Lake Blasingame, Killen, Ala., and Triston Crowder, Lawrenceburg, Tenn., five bass, 14-1

9th:  Jacksonville State University – Trevor Brown, Deltona, Fla., and Brandon Padilla, Roswell, Ga., four bass, 13-9

10th:  University of Tennessee-Chattanooga – Patrick Hoskins, Chattanooga, Tenn., and Dillon Falardeau, Chattanooga, Tenn., five bass, 13-6


Keep up with the Bryan Fishing Team on Facebook – Bryan College Fishing Team, Twitter – @BryanAnglers, and Instagram – @bryanbassteam.


Written by Wesley Sanders, Sports Information Director

Bryan in Review: Sept. 19-23

See what happened on campus this week with this collection of photos, stories, and other highlights from our social media accounts!
Compiled by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Bryan in Review: Sept. 12-16, 2016

See what happened on campus this week with this collection of photos, stories, and other highlights from our social media accounts!
Compiled by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator

Pianist Jerico Vasquez Leads Off Guest Artist Series

PR 1094 Jerico Vasquez-5Performance: September 16 – 7:30 p.m.
Rudd Auditorium

September 8 – Renowned concert pianist, Jerico Vasquez, will lead off Bryan College’s Guest Artist Series presented by the Fine and Performing Arts Department. The concert, held in Rudd Auditorium, starts at 7:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

“This piano recital will be a special treat for lovers of Romantic and Impressionist styles of music,” said Dr. Olivia Ellis, Assistant Professor of Music. “The demanding program of Rachmaninoff and Debussy selections will showcase the range and capabilities of the modern piano.”

Known for his “effortless playing” and “exceptionally clear and bright technique,” Dr. Vasquez has performed as a concerto soloist, recitalist, and chamber musician in the United States, Canada, Europe, and the Philippines. He received his bachelor of music at the University of California at Santa Barbara and earned both his master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in piano performance from the University of Texas at Houston. Currently, Dr. Vasquez serves as Artist-in-Residence/Associate Professor of Music and Coordinator of the Keyboard Program at Shorter University.

Dr. Vasquez is a winner of the UCSB Concerto Competition and has received career grants from the Pillsbury Foundation, the Santa Barbara Performing Arts Foundation, and the Léni Fe Bland Foundation. He was also a recipient of Ojai Festival’s prestigious Charlotte and Alvin Bronstein Award, Capitol Record’s Nat King Cole Memorial Award, and the University of California Regents Scholarship. He is a member of Pi Kappa Lambda Music Honorary Society.

The evening’s program will include Claude Debussy’s Préludes, Book 1 and Sergei Rachmaninov’s Sonata No. 2 in B-flat Minor, Op. 36.


Written by Curtis Jolley, Social Media and Communications Coordinator