Bryan students will spend break providing disaster relief

October 3, 2018 – Fall Break is quickly approaching, and once again some Bryan students will spend their break serving others. The flooding that resulted from hurricane Florence has significantly impacted many areas along the Atlantic coast, especially in North Carolina. A group of students will be traveling to New Bern, N.C. to assist in flood recovery and disaster relief efforts. The group will leave Dayton, Tenn. on Oct. 13 and return on Oct. 20.

In preparation for the trip, representatives from the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief team will provide flood recovery training. Training will take place on Oct. 7 and will be free for students.  Faculty and staff of the college are also welcome to attend training for a small fee. Those who complete training will be certified in disaster relief with the Tennessee Baptist Disaster Relief organization for three years.  This certification will provide recipients the opportunity to help in future crises.

Students can sign-up for the training through Oct. 6. Sign-ups for the disaster relief trip are available through Oct. 12. Students who want to sign up for the training and trip should contact Michaela Thomas, short term missions coordinator, at or Donald Buttram at

Republican nominee for governor, Bill Lee, visits Bryan College

September 26, 2018 – Bill Lee, the Republican nominee for governor of Tennessee, visited the Bryan College campus on Tuesday, Sept. 25. Lee toured the campus and was then greeted by a crowded room. Dozens of students stood in the spaces around tables to hear Lee speak once seats were full.

Lee, a farmer and businessman, is not a politician. He has never worked for the government or run for political office. “[I] wouldn’t be a likely person to be standing in this spot,” said Lee.  “Except that, God has a way of using our life circumstances to put us in places we might not have envisioned years ago.” Lee continued to share powerful stories of the circumstances that led him to run for governor.

He also shared his vision for the future of Tennessee. He discussed the importance of education and improvements in our public school system. The rural communities in Tennessee were also a key topic during Lee’s talk. Lee stressed the importance of government collaborating with the private sector to ensure successful improvements in Tennessee.

Lee’s faith plays a powerful role in his plans for Tennessee. On, Lee is quoted saying, “When I’m governor, I’ll engage all Tennesseans, including people of faith, support religious liberty, and I’ll always remember that principles come before politics.” Lee plans to implement the first Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, serving as “a single resource for our faith-based and community service organizations who wish to be a part of the solution for Tennessee.”Lee provides an outstanding example for students, showing how faith and work go hand-in-hand.

After Lee addressed the audience, he fielded a variety of questions. Students actively engaged in the event. Many questions posed by Bryan students showed a high level of interest in local and state issues including education, business, and government and private sector collaboration.

The college does not endorse political candidates; however, Bryan welcomes the opportunity to expose students, faculty and staff to engagement with political candidates and representatives.

“William Jennings Bryan referred to his political involvement as ‘applied Christianity’,” said Dr. Kevin Clauson, chair of the department of government and justice at Bryan College. “We as Christians are called to be salt and light in the world, and that includes the political and governmental world.  It is an inspiration and an example to see men and women who follow Christ also applying that Faith to the political realm. The State of Tennessee and the United States of America, founded on so many Christian principles, can gain much from seeing and emulating this kind of endeavor.”

View photos from Bill Lee’s visit.

Bryan students awarded Southeast Bank scholarships

Scholarship recipients (from left to right): Gary Tourner, Christin Williams, Karis Powell, and Tori Burnette with Katie Parks, Southeast Bank

September 24, 2018 – For over 15 years, SouthEast Bank has sponsored Bryan students, investing in the community by allowing students to receive a scholarship. On Sept. 12, 2018, several of Bryan’s students who had received the scholarship had the opportunity to meet with SouthEast Bank representative Katie Park.

Park expressed that SouthEast bank has specifically and consistently chosen Bryan because of how passionate they are about investing in the community and in education. She noted, “As a company, we want to support schools in our network. Our two biggest philanthropic outreaches are education based and community based, and Bryan embodies both of those needs.”

Bryan students Gary Tourner, Karis Powell, Christin Williams and Tori Burnette expressed their gratitude and appreciation to Park and SouthEast Bank for the scholarship. Burnette explained how much joy she felt when she found out she was a recipient of the scholarship and how grateful she was for the opportunity.

As an institution, SouthEast Bank has been committed to investing in education at all levels. Park explained further, “We have local banks in Dayton, so we wanted to develop a relationship with Bryan because it is such a great school.” SouthEast Bank in Dayton is located at 3995 Rhea County Highway, in Dayton, TN.


Written by: Krista Reinhardt ’19, Integrated Marketing Communication

Faculty Friday: Dr. Zeb Balentine

September 14, 2018 – Bryan college welcomes Dr. Zeb Balentine as the new assistant professor of Christian ministry and worship arts and director of campus worship. Balentine earned a bachelor of arts in biblical studies and a minor in pastoral leadership from Central Baptist College in Conway, Ark. He later attended Liberty University where he earned a master of arts and a doctorate in worship studies.

Balentine is passionate about helping shape worshipers and worship leaders for God’s glory. His life was greatly impacted by his college professors. Balentine wanted to have that kind of impact on others, which led to his decision to pursue work in a college setting. The position and culture at Bryan College seemed to be the perfect fit for him.

In the upcoming year, Balentine is looking forward to getting to know and work closely with his students. He is also currently writing a book about worship leadership.

Balentine is originally from Warren, Ark. He and his wife, Michelle recently relocated to Dayton, Tenn., with their three children. Their youngest child was actually born in the car on the way to the hospital. Balentine jokes that he managed to live to tell about it.

Please join us in welcoming Balentine and his family to the Bryan College family. To learn more about Balentine’s experience, visit his faculty profile.

Organist David Friberg to perform free concert at Bryan College

September 12, 2018 – Organist David Friberg will return to Bryan College to perform in concert as part of the Guest Artist Series. The concert will feature Friberg’s extraordinary organ music with some special guests throughout the evening. Dr. Sigrid Luther will accompany Friberg on the piano. The Bryan College Chorale, directed by Dr. Kimberly Keck and the Bryan College Chamber Singers, directed by Dr. David Luther, with also accompany Friberg on a few numbers.

Friberg has a long history with Bryan College. He served as the chairman of the Bryan College division of fine and performing arts, and played a significant role in the development and growth of the music department at Bryan College. Friberg hired Drs. David and Sigrid Luther, who have continued to serve Bryan’s music department since their retirement in 2014.

Friberg is the organist at Second Presbyterian Church. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Chattanooga Music Club, and the MacDowell Music Club. Friberg earned his bachelor of arts and master of arts in organ performance from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC.


More about David Friberg:

Besides being the organist at Second Presbyterian, Mr. Friberg is also the keyboard accompanist for the UTC Master Chorale, and is a choral accompanist at UTC. He is a member of the American Guild of Organists, the Chattanooga Music Club, and the MacDowell Music Club.

He received his B.A. and M.A. in organ performance from Bob Jones University in Greenville, SC and went on to chair the organ department there.  During his years in the Army, he served as organist at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He has also served as the chairman of the Division of Fine Arts at Bryan College in Dayton, TN and as chairman of the music department at Covenant College, Lookout Mountain, GA.

He was privileged to be an artist-fellow in organ and harpsichord at the Bach Aria Summer Institute in Stonybrook, NY.  One of the musical highlights of his life was participating in a Bach Organ Tour of Eastern Germany and playing some of the organs J. S. Bach had played.

Bryan College listed as 2019 ‘Best College’ by U.S. News and World Report

September 10, 2018 – Bryan College was honored by being named to two different rankings released today by U.S. News and World Report, a respected organization that thousands of families depend on to make an educated choice regarding important college and university decisions.

#40 in “Best Value Schools” (Regional Universities South): According to this ranking’s website, “Only those schools ranked in the top half of their 2019 Best Colleges ranking categories [. . .] were considered for the Best Value Schools list. [. . .]The ratio of quality to price accounted for 60 percent of the overall score; the percentage of all undergraduates receiving need-based grants accounted for 25 percent; and the average discount accounted for 15 percent.”

#68 (tie) in “Best Regional Universities South”: According to a recent U.S. News article, this ranking’s methodology takes into account “up to 15 indicators of academic excellence.” These are then “scored, normalized and assigned weights that reflect U.S. News’ judgment about how much the measures matter.” Moreover, “U.S. News chooses to only publish the individual overall ranks of schools placing within the top 75 percent of their categories.”

“We are honored to be ranked a ‘Best College’ by U.S. News and World Report” said Rick Taphorn, vice president of finance and enrollment at Bryan College. “Our faculty and staff continue to work hard to ensure that Bryan provides a high-quality, Christian education at an affordable price.”

Faculty Friday: Dr. Jamie Summerville

September 7, 2018 – Bryan College welcomes Dr. Jamie Summerville as the new professor of mathematics. Summerville earned a bachelor of science in applied mathematics with an emphasis in computer science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky. He earned a master of science in mathematics from Murray State as well. Summerville completed his doctor of philosophy degree in mathematics at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, Miss.

Summerville began his career in higher education as a graduate teaching assistant at The University of Mississippi in 1993. He enjoys working with college students and college level mathematics, which led to many other roles in higher education. In 2004, Summerville was awarded the President’s Teaching Excellence Award at Mid-Continent University, where he served as the department of mathematics chair and later the dean of the Baptist College of Arts and Sciences. He was also part of the writing team for the accreditation Assurance Argument at Hannibal-LaGrange University in 2018.

Summerville loves working with others to see and discover the mathematics in our Father’s world. He is looking forward to working at Bryan College and meeting students who enjoy learning and giving their best. “There are many things that influenced my decision to want to work at Bryan College,” said Summerville. “The people I met, the academic programs, the emphasis on that all truth is in Christ, the emphasis on discipling, and the scenic area are among the top reasons.”

Summerville grew up in a variety of locations including Toledo, Ohio, Big Rapids, Mich., and Wingo, Ky. He was named the Most Valuable Player of his high school baseball team in both his junior and senior years. Summerville said, “my gray hair always causes people to think that I am older than my true age. They are surprised that I can still run, jump and play sports.” Perhaps a friendly baseball game between faculty and students will be in store in the near future.

Please join us in welcoming Summerville, his wife Debbie, and their children to the Bryan College family. To learn more about Summerville’s experience, visit his faculty profile.

Bryan College groundbreaking ceremony held for new Stophel Center

Jackie and Glenn Stophel

September 6, 2018Bryan College hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new Stophel Center on, Wednesday, September 5. Glenn and Jackie Stophel were joined by Bryan trustees, faculty, staff, and students for the commemorative ceremony.

Numerous state and local officials, as well as, friends and family of the Stophels attended the ceremony. Speakers included Senator Ken Yager, whose daughter is a Bryan College alumnus; State Representative Ron Travis; the chairman of the Bryan College Board of Trustees, Delana Bice; and Leslie Stophel Maclellan, daughter of Glenn and Jackie Stophel.

Dr. Stephen Livesay said, “We are thrilled that our vision for the welcome center will soon become reality. With the groundbreaking of the Stophel Center, we are taking great steps in the right direction towards Bryan’s future. We are pleased to honor both Glenn and Jackie Stophel and look forward to welcoming visitors to our campus at the center that bears their name.”

Construction of the Stophel Center is anticipated to be completed by July 2019. The two-story building will encompass 18,000 square feet and will be located at the top of the new entrance, making it the first building to greet arriving guests.

The building will house 25 offices including Admissions, Advancement, Marketing and Executive Offices, as well as, a medium-sized banquet facility. The Stophel Center is among the first of several capital projects funded through Bryan’s ‘2018 to 2020 Making a Difference: Vision to Reality’ initiative and is estimated to cost $3 million.

In April, Bryan College leadership surprised long-time supporters Glenn and Jackie Stophel by announcing that the welcome center will be named in their honor. The announcement came during the 11th annual Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program fundraiser attended by more than 500 friends and supporters of the college.

Mr. Stophel served as a member of the Bryan College Board from 1978 to 1986 and again from 1992 to 2010. He served as Chairman of the Board from 1996 to 2003 and later served as Legal Counsel to the College from 2010 to 2015. Presently Stophel serves as Trustee Emeritus in honor of his valuable service to Bryan College.

Faculty Friday: Alexis Landry

August 31, 2018 – Bryan College welcomes Alexis Landry as the new instructor of Performing Arts on the residential campus. Landry graduated from Bryan College in 2013 and earned two bachelor’s degrees in theatre and piano performance. Following her graduation from Bryan, Landry earned her master’s degree in theatre from Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, La.

Landry’s experience as a student at Bryan, specifically studying under the previous theatre professor, Mr. Bernard Belisle, influenced her decision to work in a college setting. “Mr. Belisle showed me the immense value of being able to mentor, direct and teach college students who already have an interest in theatre and want to pursue it more diligently,” said Landry. “My college professors at Bryan were among the most influential in my life, and I hope to be the same one day for my students.”

Landry’s passion for her field began with her time at Bryan. Her desire to share that passion with current and future Bryan students is clear. “I believe theatre is an important and influential part of our culture in today’s world,” said Landry. “We can use it not only to entertain, but to affect change and impact society. Having the opportunity to train and shape future artists to use their craft, and their Christian faith, in meaningful and innovative ways is definitely something I’m passionate about. Not to mention I get to do it in the very same place where I grew as an artist and performer.”

The decision to return to Bryan College to teach was an easy one for Landry. “I think it is so important for Bryan alumni to have the opportunity to give back and to show current students how much a Bryan education can do for them and their futures,” said Landry. “I learned so much here, and it’s beyond exciting to continue the legacy that I experienced as a student.”

This summer, Landry returned to the Dayton area with a bang. She took on one of the most popular theatre projects in the area. During the annual Scopes Festival, Landry served as the director for Front Page News, a play about the infamous Scopes Trial.

Landry is originally from Appomattox, Va., and she is excited to return to her second home in Dayton, Tenn. Some interesting facts about Landry include that she is left handed, and her favorite animal is much more exotic than a cat or dog. The llama holds a special place in her heart.

Please join us in welcoming Landry to the Bryan College family. To learn more about Alexis Landry’s experience, visit her faculty profile.

Faculty Friday: Meet Dr. Thomas Marshall

August 24, 2018 – Bryan College welcomes Dr. Thomas Marshall, the new dean of engineering, along with the first class of students to the new Vogel School of Engineering. Dr. Marshall comes to Bryan College from an extensive background in industry, academics, and mission most recently serving on the mission field in Central America.  He received his bachelor of science degree in biological engineering from The Ohio State University, master of science in civil engineering from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and his doctorate in environmental engineering from Oregon Graduate Institute. Dr. Marshall later obtained his master’s of divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.  

Dr. Marshall has worked as a tentmaker serving as a church planter, pastor, worship leader and missionary while working as an engineer. Dr. Marshall is a registered professional engineer having engineered over $1 billion worth of water and energy related infrastructure projects around the world, most recently running his own engineering and construction company.  One of Marshall’s most interesting projects was working with the Southern Baptist Convention International Mission Board as an engineer in Nepal. The project was part of earthquake relief efforts and was leveraged to take the Gospel up into the Himalayan Mountains.

Dr. Marshall is the Director of the Engineering the Great Commission Center and has a passion for missional engineering, which he defines as “leveraging the marketplace discipline of engineering to spread the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth.”  He see teaching in higher education as a ministry calling to equip the next generation with a Biblically grounded engineering education to carry out the Great Commission. He is thankful the Lord has led him to and his family to Bryan College, and we are excited for him to lead the engineering program.

Dr. Tom and his wife Sue own and operate a farm and mission center in Mt. Liberty, Ohio and are in the process of relocating to Dayton. They have five daughters. Three are married and two, Hannah and Leah, still live at home. If you see Dr. Tom around campus, you might want to ask him for a music lesson. One of the most interesting facts about him is that he use to be a professional lead guitarist for an Indie band.

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Marshall and his family to the Bryan College family. To learn more about Thomas Marshall’s experience, visit his faculty profile.