Alumni Feature: Olivia Kezer ‘17

April 3, 2017 – Major: Business Administration; Minor: Communications.

When Olivia Kezer first arrived at Bryan College as a freshman, she quickly knew she had found her home for the next four years. She also soon discovered opportunities on campus to foster her spiritual gifts and grow deeper to God.

“A wise teacher once told me that picking a college is less about picking where you’re going to get a degree because you can get a degree in a given subject pretty much anywhere; what you’re actually choosing is who you’re going to grow with and who is going to influence you for four years,” Kezer said. “I can think of no other place I would want to grow or be influenced than at Bryan with the people here.”

During her freshman year, Olivia became involved with Student Government Association (SGA) and fell in love with the group’s sense of community and opportunities to learn new skills. She eventually worked her way up to becoming SGA President her senior year and has continued to foster relationships with students and staff around campus.

“Being on SGA has taught me what servant leadership truly looks like, how to endeavor to handle conflict and confusion with grace, and how to be strong in my convictions,” Kezer said.

After graduation, Olivia hopes to work for a non-profit organization in a business administration role.

“Community may be a buzzword at Bryan, but that’s only because it’s true,” Kezer said. “I have found forever friends and mentors here who have walked alongside me and helped me grow in ways I’m absolutely positive wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”


25 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the South

25-Best-Christian-Colleges-and-Universities-In-The-South-2017-223x300July 8, 2016 – Christian Universities Online has ranked Bryan College in the top 25 Best Christian Colleges and Universities in the South. This is Bryan College’s first ranking for the year 2017, and it comes in the wake of receiving two other rankings, for #2 Best Online Program in Tennessee and #9 Best College Deals.

Bryan College has made the list alongside much larger schools such as Liberty University and Carson Newman University, despite any size dissimilarity. Christian Universities Online says the schools that made the list “are the best of the best when it comes to overall quality, affordability, and student satisfaction.”

“I think it’s unique,” says Bryan College sophomore, Hannah Ledford. “It’s different because it’s smaller and more intimate with a family aspect, a quality that a lot of bigger colleges don’t have. It’s the best hybrid between the two.”

Senior Olivia Kezer, the 2016-17 Student Body President, also commented, “People recognize and appreciate the things that make Bryan distinct. They see the community, the education, the professors’ open door policy, and the school’s commitment to its motto–all clear testaments to the heart of the college. These things, tangible and intangible, are reasons why BC stands out. It’s a special place for so many reasons, and it’s exciting to see those reasons recognized by others.”

The college is honored to receive another ranking and looks forward to continue to live out its mission statement “Educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world” in the years to come.

Written by Drew Morrison, Communications Coordinator


Dr. Lawrence new assistant biology professor

Specimens in the biology lab
Specimens in the biology lab

The 2014-2015 school year sees the addition of a new member to the family of faculty at Bryan College: Dr. Alice D. Lawrence, assistant professor of biology.

No stranger to Bryan, Dr. Lawrence has taught dual enrollment classes for the college for several years as a science faculty member with Grace Baptist Academy in Chattanooga, Tenn., and her son is currently a Bryan student.  She received her B.S. in biology from Bob Jones University; her M.S. in library and information science from the University of Tennessee; and her Doctor of Philosophy in biomedical science/microbiology and immunology from the University of South Carolina.  Since 2008 she has worked as an adjunct biology instructor at Chattanooga State Community College, as well as head librarian and science faculty with Grace Baptist Academy.  She has taught environmental science, general biology, and microbiology.

Dr. Lawrence looks forward to coming on board as a professor this year.  “I am very excited about teaching full time at Bryan in the fall,” she said.

“The more I learned about this ministry over the last couple of years (first as an adjunct instructor and then as a parent),” she continued, “the more I appreciated the impact that Bryan College makes on students’ lives.  Each visit to campus left me with a deeper desire to be part of God’s work in this special place.  I’ve already begun getting to know some of the students who will be in my classes in the fall, and I can hardly wait for the new year to begin!”

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206; chloe.nardone@bryan.edu.


Bryan to offer four new majors

NewMajorSmallFour new majors have been approved for the academic catalog starting Fall 2014, according to the academics office. Dr. Kevin L. Clauson, interim academic vice president, said, “The new majors are in keeping with the ‘spirit’ of the liberal arts at Bryan College, and with our desire to offer students flexibility to acquire a more well-rounded education, since these majors allow for the addition of other majors, minors, or options.”

The first of these will provide students with the opportunity to receive a Bachelor of Arts in music, which is a more general major when compared to the current and more professional-oriented B.S. track. This new major will enable students “to pursue a music focus (especially as a second major),” according to the proposal. It further states that it “provides more possibilities for students in other majors to also pursue a concentration (major) in music.”

In addition, the business department will see the addition of three new majors: economics/finance, management, and marketing. According to Social Science Division Chair Dr. William Lay, these majors offer students “a much wider range of elective credits than possible with the Bachelor of Science with a major in business administration.”

These majors are designed to complement other B.A. majors, enabling students to add an economics/finance, management, or marketing component to their degrees. For example, students with a degree in politics and government will be able to add an economics major to round out their politics degree; those majoring in history can add a management major to enable them to manage a historical museum.

Dr. Lay states that while these majors are not intended to take the place of a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, it does provide greater marketability for students who love and want to major in another discipline.

These new majors have no additional cost beyond their addition to the academic catalog. They have been approved to be offered in the upcoming Fall 2014 semester.


High-schoolers return from Italy fine arts trip

Students explore Florence
Students explore Florence

May 31 saw the return of the 10 high school students who participated in the first-ever Bryan College Dual Enrollment Italy Tour, along with several Bryan faculty and staff and one parent who accompanied the group.

Although the idea for a dual enrollment trip was in the works for five years, concrete planning for the actual tour did not begin until September 2013.  Coordinator for Strategic Support Anna Adams said that it was an honor to offer to high-schoolers Bryan’s vision of “not just leaning in the classroom, but being able to integrate what they’re learning with actual life” and “giving the students the opportunity to learn about fine arts and then to see the very fine arts they’re learning about.”

Students spend the day in Venice
Students spend the day in Venice

Led by Anna Adams, Professor of Music Dr. Mel Wilhoit and his wife Sue (adjunct), Campus Visit Coordinator Amanda Peckman, and Vice President of Spiritual Formation Matt Benson, the tour lasted from May 14-31.  During the two-week period the students stayed at Bryan’s longtime partner Saints Bible Institute in San Lorenzo, Italy.  They saw everything from the wonders of Rome, Venice, and Florence, to the delights of less well known cities such as Valvezone and Pordenone.

Tom and Karen Viets, parents of attendee Jenna Viets, said, “Our daughter had the time of her life.  She saw and learned a lot and formed relationships that mean so much to her.  Grinning from ear to ear, she summed it all up with ‘it was magical.’”

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206;chloe.nardone@bryan.edu.


Alumna performs at Carnegie Hall

Caitlin Thomas '12 performs in John Purifoy's "Chronicles of Blue and Gray" at Carnegie Hall
Caitlin Thomas ’12 performs in John Purifoy’s
“Chronicles of Blue and Gray” at Carnegie Hall

Knoxville native and Bryan College alumna Caitlin (Hawkins) Thomas ’12 has recently had the incredible opportunity to perform at the world-famous Carnegie Hall in New York City on June 8.

After her graduation from Bryan with a degree in vocal performance, Caitlin discovered the Knoxville Choral Society, auditioned, and was soon accepted and assigned to the soprano section.  Rehearsals for the fall concert, featuring patriotic anthems and local composer John Purifoy’s new 40-minute work “Chronicles of Blue and Gray,” began immediately.

“Chronicles” consists of a series of Civil War-era poems, letters, and speeches (such as the Gettysburg Address) – alongside original lyrics – set to music.  The song that particularly captured Caitlin was a duet titled “Letter to Sarah.”

“The touching words of Captain Sullivan Ballou from the battlefield to his wife were perfectly set to John’s beautiful music,” she explained. “As soon as it finished, I knew I had to audition for this song. It wasn’t at all about ‘being a soloist.’  I sincerely just wanted the chance to sing this piece.”

She did have that chance, receiving the soprano part in the duet.  They performed the song at the November 2012 premier of “Chronicles” at the Tennessee Theater.  Almost a full year had passed when composer John Purifoy contacted her to tell her that Distinguished Concerts International – New York was offering her the chance to sing the duet at Carnegie Hall on June 8.

Reflecting on the performance, Caitlin said, “Carnegie Hall was everything I dreamed: beautiful, historic, and thrilling.  But when I stood on stage I realized that’s what it was.  A stage.  A stage where I had the opportunity to sing a piece I loved for a God I loved even more, and that’s what excited me.  Yes, Joan Sutherland and I might have put our feet in the same spot but ultimately I was there to do what I did in Rudd or around my house every day.  I was there to sing.”

Caitlin and her husband, Kyle Thomas ’12, live in Knoxville, Tenn., where she is a second year graduate voice student at the University of Tennessee.

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206;chloe.nardone@bryan.edu.


Heidi Daniel softball’s first NAIA first-team All-American

Heidi Daniel is softball's first NAIA first-team All-American
Heidi Daniel is softball’s first
NAIA first-team All-American

Through hard work and excellent performance, rising senior Heidi Daniel of Gallatin, Tenn., has earned the honor of becoming the Bryan softball team’s first NAIA first-team All-American in college history. Nationally she ranked in the top 50 in seven categories and 13th in total bases per game and 16th in hits per game. Daniel had a team-best 45 RBIs, 14 doubles, three triples, and eight home runs in the 2014 season.

“I have only been in the Bryan softball organization for two years,” remarked Daniel, “but the progress the team has made in two years is remarkable. This was the best season in the history of the program. I believe much of that falls back on Coach Stinson [head softball coach]. We had a very good recruiting class come in, along with a great group of seniors. There were nine seniors and eight of them started the program. Much of the respect goes to those girls for sticking it out.”

When asked about her own accomplishment, Daniel commented, “As far as my season goes, I didn’t do many things different. I just went out and played ball.”

Athletic Director Taylor Hasty ’06 said, “I am so proud of Heidi Daniel and her hard work throughout the year leading to this great honor. She is such a quality young woman and is very deserving of this award. It is an honor for her, her teammates and for Coach Stinson as well.”

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206; chloe.nardone@bryan.edu.


Dr. Kevin Clauson appointed interim academic VP

6.9_KevinClauson2
Dr. Kevin L. Clauson

Dr. Kevin L. Clauson has been appointed interim vice president of academics, succeeding Dr. Bradford Sample, who has served as Bryan’s chief academic officer for five years.

Dr. Kevin L. Clauson A member of the Bryan community for over five years, Dr. Clauson has served in the capacity of professor of government, justice, and law, as well as the director for the Center for Law and Public Policy. Having earned a B.A. in international affairs, a B.S. in chemistry, and an M.A. in political science (all from Marshall University), and a J.D. in law from West Virginia University, he went on to play several significant roles at other small liberal arts colleges around the nation. Additionally, Dr. Clauson has extensive senior leadership and planning experience, including key decision-making for academic programs, academic relations, academic budgets and facilities planning, and policy. He is currently a member of the Cabinet and acts as a representative of the college to outside groups.

In a letter to college faculty Dr. Clauson said that he views his new duty “summarized as enhancing academic integrity, maintaining biblical orthodoxy, and helping to institute new programs” that will expand “the influence and reputation of the college.”

“I am convinced that we can move forward by emphasizing our distinctives and creating new ones,” he commented. “Bryan College exists in the midst of a volatile higher education environment. Working together, we must ‘seize the moment’ and make ourselves relevant and yet grounded in old truths.”

President Stephen Livesay said, “Dr. Clauson has significant professional experience in higher education both in teaching and in administration. I appreciate his godly character, his knowledge of Christian higher education, and his desire to serve our Lord. He knows Bryan well and will be able to quickly adjust to his new role in leading our academic team.”

Written by Chloe Ann Nardone ’13, assistant director of marketing, 423.775.7206; chloe.nardone@bryan.edu.


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