Curtis Jolley Awarded Staff Member of the Fall

Bryan College’s Staff Member of the Fall is Curtis Jolley, graphic designer. This award is given to someone who has demonstrated outstanding service, as nominated by their supervisors and colleagues.

Curtis has worked at Bryan for nearly three years, where his diverse skills have been highly valuable. He began in social media, then transitioned to graphic design where he makes incredible graphics for events around campus, serves as photographer and videographer, and designs Bryan’s alumni magazine, Bryan Life.

Dr. Adina Scruggs, Associate Vice President of Academics and Curtis’s supervisor, said of Curtis, “The word ‘serve’ comes to mind. He really seeks to help others in all that he does.”

Other staff members of Bryan have also noted his willingness to help. Chuck Baker and Janice Pendergrass of Advancement stated, “Curtis is a talented, creative designer who pays attention to details in his design work. He always has a positive attitude. When asked for a product or design, rather than telling you how difficult or how time-consuming it could be to produce, he affirmatively finds a way to make it happen. The end result is a high-quality product delivered on time. His recognition is well deserved.”

Curtis has also been described as customer-focused, dependable, humble, and a man of his word.

Bryan College is grateful to Curtis for his dedication and service.

Hendrich receives full-tuition scholarship in Bryan College essay competition

Savannah Hendrich, recipient of the 2018 Great Commoner Essay Competition Scholarship

December 14, 2018 – Miss Savannah Hendrich from Maryville, TN was awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Bryan College. Hendrich is the 2018 winner of the Bryan College Great Commoner Essay Competition.

Hendrich expressed her excitement about attending Bryan, and her gratitude to God for the opportunity. Her decision to attend Bryan was heavily influenced by the Christian focus of the college. “I love that Bryan puts Christ first and is very missions-minded,” said Hendrich. “As I have been pursuing pre-med, I am encouraged that Bryan College will help me to work to share the Gospel wherever I am. Bryan College’s close-knit community is also very important to me. It is comforting to know that I will be in an environment that seeks to honor Christ and grow closer to Him, even among academic pressure and busy schedules. Together, we can grow closer to Christ. I am also excited that Bryan College views science from the perspective of Creationism. I have been very interested in the scientific proof for Creationism, and how it points to God’s glory, since I was young. I really like Bryan’s surrounding town, Dayton. Because of its beauty, small-town feel, and rich history, I am excited to be a part of this community.”  

The essay contest was first held in 2016 and takes place each year on the Bryan College campus. Students are given an essay prompt and have two hours to write their essay. Submissions are then read and judged by a panel of Bryan College faculty. This year’s prompt called on the historic martyr, Patrick Hamilton, and his role in the Scottish Reformation. Students were asked to consider the role faith in Christ plays in the lives of high schoolers and their own development in their formative college years.

“Savannah has the ability to think deeply, express herself thoroughly, and, like Mr. Bryan himself, to do it in a manner that moves her audience,” said Dr. Raymond Legg, professor of English and essay competition judge.

Hendrich was one of eighty seven high school seniors who competed in this year’s competition. The competition was held as part of a two day scholarship event during which students and their families get to experience life at Bryan College. Students toured the school; visited with faculty, staff and students; spent the night in the dorms and interviewed or auditioned for other available scholarships.

The event is by invitation only and students must be accepted to the college and meet specific GPA and entrance exam requirements. Hendrich is the third recipient of the Bryan College Great Commoner Essay Competition scholarship.

Bryan College 2018 Giving Tuesday a huge success

November 30, 2018 – For three years, Bryan College has participated in the global giving event called Giving Tuesday. The 2018 event was the most successful Giving Tuesday campaign at Bryan College to date. This year’s campaign was an extension of the college’s annual Gifts for the King fundraiser benefiting the Bryan College Scholarship Fund.

The success began early with preliminary donations in the weeks leading up to the event totaling $30,000. The momentum continued on Giving Tuesday. The college set a goal of raising $15,000 the day of the event. A generous donor committed to matching up to $15,000, providing potential for another $30,000 to be raised.

The match offer proved motivational, and early in the day the campaign had already surpassed the $8,500 mark. By lunch time, donors had stepped up to surpass the initial $15,000 goal securing the entire match commitment and bringing the campaign total to just over $61,000.

This year, students made a huge impact on the campaign. Students readily dropped cash donations at a table set up by the Advancement Department, knowing their contribution would directly benefit other students through scholarships.

A record number of donors also contributed this year, and at the end of the day the total left the college in awe. Thanks to students, alumni, friends, faculty and staff, $73,100 were raised for student scholarships.

The college is grateful for all those who donated, prayed and worked very hard to make this campaign so successful.

Bryan College students host Math Carnival at Rhea County Academy

November 14, 2018 – Students from a Methods of Teaching Math class led by Dr. Saynes hosted a Math Carnival at Rhea County Academy (RCA). As a class, they spent several weeks preparing various math activities to complete with the students. Each student chose a grade specific activity which could be played with RCA students at the Math Carnival. The Education students also had the opportunity to meet with teachers at RCA during the planning process to ensure they were planning activities that were appropriate for the various grade levels.

The purpose of the night was to help students experience math in a new way. Education students wanted to show RCA students and their families that math can be fun!  One of the required readings for the course is Learning to Love Math by Judy Willis, which encourages teachers to help students make positive connections with math.  The activities played during the Math Carnival not only helped students make positive connections but were also games that could be played at home.  The hope being that parents would encourage their children to continue playing these games when they go home.

Education students enjoyed participating in this event. It was a great way to apply what they had been learning in the classroom in a practical way. Katey Scott and Laura Dodson worked with the 4th grade class at RCA. They had a great time playing math games with the students. Laura said, “It was a great experience to get to teach these students how fun math can be.”  Kayla Brown was excited to come back to class to share that one of the students even commented, “I didn’t know math could be this fun!”

The teachers at RCA were also very appreciative of all the work that went into the Math Carnival. Mrs. Tran, a kindergarten teacher at RCA, said, “It was a great success, and the families really enjoyed it.”  Kayla Green complemented the Education students on their knowledge of the skills students were learning at the various grade levels and reinforcing those skills in their games. In the future, the Education Department hopes to continue to be able to do Math Nights at local schools in an effort to serve our community in a new and engaging way.


Written by: Laura Dodson, Education Major

Bryan College online graduate programs receive top honors locally and nationally from online publications

Official Badge: Online Masters Best MBA in Marketing Degree Programs 2019November 12, 2018 – Several of Bryan College’s online graduate programs received recognition from and as the top programs both in the state of Tennessee and nationally. named Bryan’s Human Resources and Sports Management online graduate programs as top in the state, and listed the college’s online Masters in Business Administration (MBA) program as one of the best value, fully accredited programs in Tennessee, behind the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. made its selections by first evaluating the programs’ accreditation. Bryan College’s School of Graduate Studies received reaffirmation of accreditation from the International Accreditation Council for Business Education (IACBE) in April 2018.

When selecting which programs are the best in each state, factored in a program’s entrance exam requirements, class delivery formats, philosophy of teaching, reputation, and related clubs or centers for networking and support for each accredited program in the state.

Both of Bryan’s Human Resources and Sports Management MBA programs are fully accredited, completely online, and offer accelerated formats, which provide students with the opportunity to graduate in as little as 14-months.

Based on these factors, Bryan College’s online MBA in Human Resources program and the online MBA in Sports Management program were selected as the best in the state of Tennessee. also named Bryan’s online MBA program as one of Tennessee’s best programs for its value, coming in second behind the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s online MBA program.  The online MBA program at Bryan is affordable, costing $1,080 less than the state average for IACBE-accredited online MBAs at private business schools.

“We are very thankful for this recognition,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “It is an honor to provide students with convenient and flexible faith-based programs that guarantee our students are as prepared as possible to find a career in their field of study.” selected Bryan College as one of the Best MBA in Marketing programs in the nation for 2019. Bryan College earned the 25th spot out of the only 50 colleges across the country that made it to the final list. The top-ranked programs were selected based on curriculum, program flexibility, affordability, and graduate outcomes.

“In addition to this award, our research found Bryan College’s marketing program to also be ‘Best For Marketing Strategists’. This speaks to the amazing work that Bryan’s program is doing and demonstrates to our 100,000 monthly visitors that the program provides quality education to help students with their career aspirations.” said Barbara Montgomery, Program Recognition Manager at

“Bryan College is honored to be recognized for our graduate coursework in marketing.  Bryan’s MBA with a marketing specialization was created in response to marketplace needs in the ever-changing environment of business. We continue to adapt our curriculum to ensure our students are well prepared for the current market.” said Dr. Adina Scruggs, Dean, School of Adult and Graduate Studies.

Bryan College celebrates Dr. John Anderson’s 100th birthday at Homecoming 2018

November 9, 2018 – On October 6, over 200 Bryan College alumni and friends were joined by more than 20 family members to help Dr. John Anderson celebrate his 100th year of life. The birthday celebration took place during the Red & Gold Gala dinner, a signature event that takes place every year at Homecoming. Students from as far back as the 1950s joined in at Homecoming to celebrate Doc. There was plenty of cake and singing, and even balloons.

Dr. Anderson, also known as Doc, arrived at Bryan College in 1955, when the college was only 25 years old. He remained at Bryan for nearly 40 years teaching Greek and Bible. Dr. Anderson played a key role in the process of Bryan College receiving accreditation, which became official in 1969. Dr. Anderson retired from Bryan College in 1984. His dedication to the college remained, and he returned to Bryan three more times to teach Greek. He taught his last class in 2005 at the age of 87.

Dr. Anderson was married to his wife, Harriet, who also worked for the college for approximately 20 years as an assistant librarian. She was active in the Bryan Women’s Auxiliary. The couple was married for over 40 years before she passed away in 1988. They had three children, John Anderson, who passed away in 2014, Anita McMillan, and James Anderson.

Dr. Anderson attended Moody Bible Institute and earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Illinois. He earned his Master of Theology and Doctor of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Dr. Anderson served in the US Navy for three and a half years, spending 22 months overseas.

Bryan College is proud to call Dr. Anderson a Bryan Lion and have had the opportunity to celebrate the 100th birthday of this amazing man.

Bryan College Debate Team building strong foundation for spring 2019

The Bryan College Debate Team enjoys some fun photos after a day of debate competition.

November 7, 2018 – The Bryan College Debate Team has been off and running since the beginning of this 2018 fall semester. The team has hosted an on-campus exhibition debate, welcomed new members, and competed in three tournaments to date.

Per tradition, the team hosted a debate exhibition on campus early in the semester. Thanks to the support of eleven Bryan professors, there was standing room only in the Rhea County Room as over 100 students were in attendance.

Organized by Team Captain, Emily Webber, and Teaching Captain, Spencer Baker, and supported by the Debating Lions, the exhibition focused on the academic exercise of civil discourse. The Debating Lions tackled the topic of Automation Is The Future.

Volunteers from the audience made the final two rounds interesting, showing that debate is a little harder than it may appear. The resolutions reached were Freshmen Should Never Date and This House Believes That Thanos Did Nothing Wrong.

Always happy to add members to the roster, this semester has been no exception. The current team line-up of Walker Frizzell, Alex Daniels, Glorianna Sapp, J.C. Donoghue, Emily Baker and Spencer Baker and Emily Webber has been augmented by Jack Dunn and Alexis Wall. Accompanying the team on their first competition of the year, Abigail Ryan, Bryan alum and van driver extraordinaire, gave Coach Liz Absher the opportunity to concentrate on tournament details.

Walters State Community College, Tennessee Tech, and Cleveland State Community College all hosted tournaments this semester. Every single tournament brought stiff competition, even in the Novice category. Emily Webber secured a 6th place speaker award at Walters State. The nationally ranked Morehouse College team outgunned all the competition at Tennessee Tech but provided some great practice for the Debating Lions.

The Cleveland State tournament drew strong teams from the likes of Tulane, Mississippi State, Covenant College, Carson-Newman, and Middle Tennessee State University. Held during Bryan’s Fall Break, this tournament really tested our commitment to compete. Bryan’s own Spencer Baker captured the Championship Speaker Award and the team of Baker and Webber advanced all the way to the final round. They faced a strong team from Berea College and finished in 2nd Place.

The team’s success during this fall semester foreshadows great things to come during the spring semester.

Written by Elizabeth Absher, debate team coach; adjunct instructor of computer science
Edited by Britney Wyatt, director of marketing

Alumni Feature: Eric Bachtold ‘13

Major: Master of Arts in Christian Studies (now Christian Ministry)

If not for Bryan College, our moving to Ireland to plant churches may not have ever happened.  As we look to our past, we usually have 20/20 vision, as it is clear to see why we are where we are.

I have always loved the state of Tennessee.  I remember as a kid my family going on vacations to the Smoky Mountains, traveling the winding roads in the mountains, completely different than the flat farm ground in central Illinois.  As I got older, I started to have the interest to move down there but wasn’t sure where exactly. Before my wife and I were married, I applied for a few jobs; however, nothing worked out.  As time moved on, my wife Rachel and I talked about moving to Tennessee, and she was interested in leaving our small town of Fairbury, IL.

In the fall of 2010, I heard that we had friends of the family that lived in Dayton, TN and taught at Bryan College.  Just the thought of going down and visiting them sounded like fun. I started to research Dayton and what exactly Bryan College offered.  I had previously received my bachelor’s degree and started to think about going back to school to get my master’s in the ministry field. As I continued to researched, I felt like the desire God put on our hearts to move to Tennessee was a trigger for me to go and get my master’s degree in Christian Studies.

Just a few months later, my wife and I decided to visit Bryan College.  We clearly heard God’s call to pick up and move. I began attending Bryan during the summer of 2011.  During this program, I loved how we had the small group setting as we went through many different topics.  From Old Testament and New Testament theology to other religions and cultures, this schooling really opened my eyes to different things that strengthened my faith with better understanding of God’s Word.  

One of the classes that really stuck out was on Apologetics.  I enjoyed learning more about how to defend our faith and how to share the Gospel without making arguments.  This helped me realize how I need to accomplish 1 Peter 3:15, “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.  But do this in gentleness and kindness.”

This smaller classroom setting allowed me to ask questions more easily and hear other classmates thoughts.  I also enjoyed that not everyone in the classroom was Baptist like myself. With different denominations represented, it allowed me to hear their views on different theological questions.    

The semesters at Bryan quickly went by, and I graduated in 2013.  Once I received my degree, I wasn’t certain what God intended for me.  Though I did not to step into a ministry field, I was still thankful that I had more understanding about doctrine, theology and the Word itself.  

In 2014, my wife and I started raising a family with our first child born, Ean Wayne. With this, we thought it would be helpful to move back to our hometown in central Illinois as I also had received a job offer.   Then in 2016 we had our first daughter Rylee Jean. Then in 2018 we welcomed our third child, Ela Marie. As our family is growing, we are thankful to have the opportunity for our children to visit their cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents often.

However, when everything was feeling comfortable and relaxing, our lives took a turn when I found an organization that was looking for someone to move to Western Europe to help plant churches.  As I read this over, I felt God was calling me to use the gifts and schooling that I had received and move. This organization is the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism. ABWE sees the spiritual need in the country of Ireland.  Ireland currently has less than 1% of evangelical Christians and very few non-Catholic churches throughout the country. Fifty percent of the population is under the age of 30 and atheism, Islam and Hinduism are continuing to grow with this younger generation.  

As I found this need, God stirred my heart and passion to go to Ireland.  As my wife and I prayed upon this decision, the move to Ireland became as clear as our move to Tennessee.  We know God is calling us there. We will be working alongside Irish Baptist Pastors in planting churches. This will be done by using our gifts and abilities to gain relationships in the community in which we will live.   From after school events with children, to weekend outings and discipleship, we hope the love of Christ will be seen in us. We will also be able to use our hobbies and talents to volunteer at community events, such as wood working groups and pro-life organizations.  

Looking back, it seems clear that God sent us to Tennessee and Bryan College to prepare us for our next move.  We will be leaving our family and friends and moving to a country to help fulfill the Great Commission. If you would be interested in hearing more of our story and partnering with us financially and/or in prayer, please see our contact link below.  


Evan & Rachel Bachtold

Bryan College ranked first best online college and fourth best college in Tennessee by Best Online Colleges Tennessee 2018 badgeOctober 11, 2018 recently named Bryan College as the best online college in their Best Colleges in Tennessee 2018 rankings. Bryan finished ahead of the 15 accredited online schools ranked and countless other online schools in the state that did not make the list. Bryan College was also named fourth Best College in Tennessee behind Vanderbilt, Rhodes College, and Baptist Memorial College of Health Sciences.’s rankings are based on academic quality, affordability, and online competency. Their rankings reflect the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and College Navigator, both of which are hosted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

“We are very thankful for this recognition,” said Dr. Stephen Livesay, President of Bryan College. “To be able to provide students with a variety of faith-based services and programs, as well as student groups and sports, in order to create a sense of community on campus is the greatest blessing.”

“These rankings are a great honor for Bryan,” said Dr. Douglas Mann, Vice President of Academics at Bryan College. “They recognize the hard work our faculty and staff have put into creating academically challenging and high quality programs for students.”

Bryan earned the number one online college ranking because of the opportunities for discounted or free tuition, making it one of the most affordable online colleges in Tennessee. Both online and on-campus students who complete their bachelor’s degrees at Bryan can earn their master’s degrees at the college for free. - Best Colleges - Tennessee 2018 badge“Additionally, online undergraduates pay a discounted per-credit tuition rate compared to their on-campus peers. Bryan also offers several free student services and resources, including academic tutoring and counseling,” wrote.

Through Bryan’s adult degree-completion programs, students can earn online bachelor’s degrees in business administration, psychology, or criminal justice. Coursework for these programs is offered fully online through accelerated, six-week sessions.

Online students can also earn credit based on life experiences.

Bryan College provides undergraduate students with 25 majors to choose from, including biology, Christian ministry, music, and several pre-professional programs, earning the school its fourth place ranking.

Like other respected colleges in Tennessee, Bryan is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges

Bryan College scored a 67.14 for the first place online college ranking and a 66.19 for the fourth place college ranking.

Kettenring recognized as 2018 Staff Member of the Summer


Dr. Clauson and Dr. Mann with Rhonda Kettenring.

October 10, 2018 – Rhonda Kettenring, administrative assistant to the vice president of academics, was recognized as the 2018 Bryan College Staff Member of the Summer. Kettenring was nominated based on her diligence, graciousness, and dedication to the Bryan College mission and purpose. Dr. Stephen Livesay bestowed the award.

Kettenring’s professional qualities were recognized during the presentation. Her organizational and administrative skills are excellent. Both her current and former supervisor identified her ability to work efficiently and effectively.

However, it was her other qualities that clearly set her apart. Dr. Kevin Clauson, former vice president of academics, highlighted Kettenring’s “sense of compassion that embodied both truth and grace.” Kettenring’s sweet spirit is obvious to anyone who crosses her path. She is always willing to serve others and does so with a beautiful smile.

“What I do want you know about Rhonda and what you will see from the first moment you meet her,” said Dr. Douglas Mann, vice president of academics, “is that she seeks to love everyone with the love of Christ… Her own gifts of mercy and grace point everyone she meets to Christ.” Her passionate love for God and dedication to others is evident.

Kettenring is an inspiration to campus and a shining example of glorifying Christ. She has been with Bryan College for seven years, including five years in her current role. Please join us in congratulating Mrs. Rhonda Kettenring.