Criminal Justice Program Sees Quick Growth

A student actively investigating the staged crime scene for a criminal justice class.
Freshman Desmond Sales, investigates the permanently staged crime scene on campus.

April 12, 2018 – Among several fields of study seeing exciting changes and growth lately, the criminal justice program at Bryan College is growing by leaps and bounds.

Two years have passed since John Sterling, associate professor of criminal justice and director of college safety and security, was hired to help the college establish a vibrant and relevant criminal justice program. According to Sterling, the program’s purpose is “promoting realistic and relevant training that will accomplish the mission of the college to train leaders for Christ, and also making available to the law enforcement community people who are well trained, people of character, people with integrity.”

And this encompasses more professions than that of a street cop: students in the criminal justice program are also those interested in going into courts, corrections, fish/game/wildlife, etc. “Our goal is to promote integrity within the discipline and to prepare students to be a success as they enter this profession,” Sterling says.

This semester criminal justice students have had the opportunity to learn under a guest instructor who is a special agent with the Department of Homeland Security and a digital forensics expert. He has presented several classes on digital forensics and cyber-crime, a topic on which a new class will be offered this coming fall. These students also have an opportunity few others at their level of education have: the chance to get hands-on forensics experience exploring a permanently staged crime scene set up in an unused dorm room on campus. They have to determine the need for a search warrant and specify facts in an affidavit that must be approved to show probable cause, searching for evidence in the room and digitally on the computer, picking up pieces of evidence in the crime scene.

“This level of instruction is simply not generally available at institutions at this level,” notes Sterling. “We are definitely competitive. I expect great things!”

There is also an online criminal justice degree being offered through the School of Adult and Graduate Studies.

Written by Chloe Ann Townsend ’13, advancement writer and editor.

Pendergrass recognized as Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year

Janice Pendergrass holding her award for Ambassador of the YearApril 2, 2018 – Mrs. Janice Pendergrass, director of advancement at Bryan College, was honored Monday, March 26 with the award for Ambassador of the Year. The award was presented at the 2018 Dayton Chamber of Commerce banquet.

The award recognizes the dedication and outstanding contribution Mrs. Pendergrass made to the revitalization of the Leadership Rhea County program. Mrs. Anna Johnson, who presented the award, said Mrs. Pendergrass “spent countless hours creating a schedule, making phone calls, making personal visits, planning a budget and much more. It was her commitment to this project that made it a success.”

Bryan College has long known of Mrs. Pendergrass’s dedication and kindness. As the director of advancement, she works tirelessly with focus and dedication to ensure that events and projects exceed expectations.

“Janice Pendergrass is well deserving of the Ambassador of the Year award,” said Chuck Baker, vice president of advancement at Bryan College. “We were blessed and excited to see her recognized for her work in the community. As we have come to expect, she led the effort to develop and implement the Leadership Rhea County program for the Chamber with excellence. She is a true role model of commitment, dedication and service and we could not be more proud of her accomplishments.”

Mrs. Pendergrass joined the Dayton Chamber of Commerce as an Ambassador in 2016 with the desire to gain a better understanding and knowledge of all that Dayton has to offer and build a network of business professionals with whom to share ideas and projects, and to glean wisdom.

“It is such an honor to be named Ambassador of the Year,” said Mrs. Pendergrass. “It’s my privilege to serve the Dayton Chamber of Commerce as an ambassador.  I love Dayton and am proud to call it my hometown.”

Bryan College Offers Two Free Spring Concerts

March 26, 2018 – The Bryan College Performing Arts Department is pleased to announce two upcoming spring concerts in early April that will be free and open to the public.

Night at the MoviesThe first of these, “A Night at the Movies,” will feature the Bryan Piano Ensemble students accompanying classic silent films starring such staples as Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin. Audience members are encouraged to wear their favorite 1920s-inspired costume or attire. “The students are adding their own creative touches to this event by incorporating original music, borrowing their favorite classical themes, and more. You will be sure to laugh often and enjoy this event!” remarked Dr. Olivia Ellis. “A Night at the Movies” will take place Friday, April 6, from 7:30-9 P.M.

Community OrchestraThe second concert features the Bryan College Community Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. The performance will include selections in a wide variety of styles, including sacred works, classical transcriptions, and contemporary pieces that feature each of the ensembles, as well as works arranged for the combined groups. In addition to instrumental works, this concert will also feature Ms. Grace Loe, soprano, as a guest artist. Both of these ensembles are directed by Dr. Vaughn Cardona, who said, “This will be a fun evening with a wide variety styles; something for everyone’s taste!”  The Community Orchestra and Wind Concert will take place Monday, April 9, from 7:30-9 P.M.

Both events are free and open to the public! Any questions may be directed to

11th Annual Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program Dinner April 19

Larnelle HarrisMarch 14, 2018 – In less than one month the Eleventh Annual Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program Dinner will be held at the Chattanooga Convention Center at 6 P.M. on Thursday, April 19, 2018. This annual dinner benefits and honors the Bryan Opportunity Scholarship Program (BOSP), which makes Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., accessible to academically qualified Tennessee students with significant financial need.  Since Bryan College’s first BOSP dinner in 2008, this program has enabled 243 low-income Tennessee residents to receive a Bryan education.

The evening’s special guest singer Larnelle Harris has been honored with 5 Grammy Awards, 11 Dove Awards, 3 Male Vocalist of the Year Awards, a Silver Bell Award for Distinguished Public Service, a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Arts in the state of Kentucky, and is a member of 3 halls of fame. Dinner attendees will enjoy the “larger-than-life stage presence” of the majestic tenor, accompanied by the Bryan College Chamber Singers.

Director of Advancement Janice Pendergrass says, “I’m so excited to have Larnelle Harris coming as our featured guest this year. I love his passion, his stage presence, his majestic tenor voice, and his authentic personality. I pray that his enthusiasm in worshipping Christ will be contagious and that we will all leave a little more intentional about our worship and our service to Christ. And yes, I pray that as our enthusiasm for Christ deepens that our support of students receiving a biblical worldview education broadens. I pray that through this event, Bryan will become even more empowered to educate students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.”

Bryan encourages you to attend this year’s BOSP dinner and enjoy the fellowship and program. Investing in the lives of Tennessee students who just need a little help to pursue their dreams is more than generosity: it is a legacy. For more information and to register, go to or call 423.775.7323 .

Bryan students are making a difference during spring break

A group of Bryan students pose with their faculty mentor on the 2017 Costa Rica Break for Change Trip.This week, 30 Bryan students and five faculty and staff members are spending their spring break serving around the world through Bryan’s Break For Change ministry. Student teams, led by their faculty or staff mentor, partner with ministries around the world that make a difference in their local community.

Grand Goave, Haiti 

In partnership with The Hands and Feet Project, our student team is led by one of our business professors and has the chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus with believers committed to being the “best last resort” for Haiti’s 800,000 orphans. The team will also work with Haiti Made to grow future possibilities for Hands and Feet graduates and sustainable solutions for the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere.           

Detroit, Michigan

The student team will be ambassadors for Christ to people from the Middle East without leaving our borders. They will learn how to relate the Gospel to Muslim perspectives, and participate in creative approaches to evangelism with other university students.

Opelousas, Louisiana

In partnership with Hope for Opelousas, the team joins a movement of hope among youth through educational support and tutoring, neighborhood outreach through painting and construction, and intentional relationships. The students will gain firsthand understanding of the Hope For Opelousas motto: “love changes everything.”

Houston, Texas

The YMCA International Services is a “front lines” care provider and advocate for refugees, recent immigrants, and victims of human trafficking. The Bryan team will spend time with key leaders in this organization and join them in serving the voiceless and vulnerable.

San Jose, Costa Rica

The Bryan team will be engaged with churches affected by the training ministry of Seminario Esepa, participating in street evangelism and construction, and experiencing how God is working in Latin America.

Meet the Donors: George and Doris Vogel

The Vogel School of Engineering is named for alumnus Brigadier General George B. Vogel ’58, who – along with his wife, Doris – provided a substantial gift for the new school. This fascinating couple’s lives have been characterized by lifelong service to God and country. Here is your chance to learn more about the donors who did so much to make the Vogel School of Engineering a reality.

George B. and Doris Vogel have been married for over 60 years. Gen. Vogel originally hailed from Philadelphia, Penn., and attended the Philadelphia Bible Institute (now known as Cairn University) before transferring to Bryan College for his last year. Doris was a star basketball player in the high school they both attended growing up, and they officially began dating while both attending Philadelphia Bible Institute, where Doris is in the Cairn Highlanders Hall of Honors for her achievements on the basketball team. They married in 1957, and Doris was by her husband’s side when he transferred to Bryan for his final undergraduate year. (They drove down to Dayton, Tenn., on their honeymoon, camping along the way!)

Thinking back on his time as a Bryan Lion, Gen. Vogel remarks, “I was impressed with the interest that the faculty and administration had for me as an individual.”

He graduated from Bryan in 1958 with a Bachelor of Arts in Bible, and moved west to earn his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from the Talbot School of Theology in California – the state where he and Doris have lived ever since. He says he has gained “a deeper understanding of the Scriptures, as well as a deeper respect for people” through earning his degrees, as well as working with people from all varieties of geo-economic classes and backgrounds.

During seminary he took a class in military chaplaincy, which sparked his interest in the field into which God would soon lead him. Gen. Vogel remembers God’s divine planning when reflecting on his career history: “I started in the National Guard when I was a pastor, went on active duty for five years, and stayed in the National Guard Reserves with almost 36 total years of service. I was a pastor of a congregational church in Los Angeles, then I was an army chaplain, then I went to work for the V.A. [the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] in 1987. I’ve been working as a chaplain for the V.A. ever since.”

Gen. Vogel explains that during this time Doris “graduated from Philadelphia General Hospital as an RN, followed by Philadelphia Bible Institute, and eventually received a bachelor’s degree when the school became accredited. She worked in a hospital setting while I went to seminary. During my time in the pastorate she worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District, teaching licensed vocational nurses at night. After I left the active military, Doris worked 15 years as a nurse in alcoholic rehabilitation. When she retired from nursing, she was the owner/manager of a party goods store in Mission Viejo, Calif.” She also volunteered for several years at the V.A. hospital – a great support to her husband throughout their lives with her compassionate heart and business sense.

Gen. Vogel’s current position as Chief of Chaplain Service at the Long Beach Veterans Affairs Medical Center “is about bringing a spiritual dimension to the lives of the patients in the V.A. Hospital and to their families,” he explains. This includes short- and long-term patients of all kinds, including those in hospice care and in the large spinal cord injury ward (the largest of its kind in the 155 hospitals in the V.A.). Vogel was named the 2015 recipient of the Department of Veterans Affairs Under Secretary for Health’s Award for Excellence in Chaplaincy, The Lifetime Achievement Award. In May of 2015 he was honored with the honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Bryan College in recognition of his lifetime of ministry and service to his God and his country. “I feel really fortunate that at my age and time of life I am still healthy enough to do the work and my mind is relatively active, and I’m just blessed. That’s why I’m able to do these things,” he says.

“Bryan College provided a strong foundation for my career and service to my country,” Gen. Vogel reflects. “It was a life-changing experience that prepared me for my future. Doris and I are grateful for the work that continues on Bryan College’s campus. It’s an honor to be able to provide the funding for the School of Engineering and it’s very humbling to have it bear our name.”

Did You Know?

George and Doris have an adult daughter, Deborah, and a teenaged granddaughter, Ella.

George was one of the first 500 individuals to become a licensed marriage and family therapist for the state of California, a licensure that he still maintains to this day through regular study and testing.

Doris was one member of the McClelland Sisters singing trio in the Philadelphia area in the early 1950s.

The Vogels met William Jennings Bryan, Jr., on the bowling greens in Laguna Beach, Calif.

Bryan College Announces Dr. Douglas Mann As New Provost And Vice President Of Academics

Dr. Mann, Provost and Vice President of Academics (Photo by Kaitlyn Becker Johnson.)

Bryan College proudly announces the addition of Dr. Douglas Mann as Provost and Vice President of Academics.

A Bryan College alumnus, Dr. Douglas Mann – who holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Georgia, an M.A. in Christian Thought, Emphases in History and Theology from Trinity International University, and a B.A. in History and Bible from Bryan College – holds a long history with Bryan College and looks forward to bringing his extensive experience to his alma mater.

With a career in higher education spanning over two decades, Dr. Mann most recently held the position of Administrative Dean for Graduate Programs, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Additionally, Dr. Mann has extensive experience both in teaching and administrative roles and holds years of senior leadership and planning experience, including key decision-making for academic programs, academic relations, academic budgets and facilities planning, and policy.

“Bryan College has been an important part of both my personal and professional life. My parents met at Bryan. I met my wife Susi while a student at Bryan. My own views on the value and place for Christian Higher Education were shaped as a student at Bryan as the faculty and administration poured their lives into my education,” said Dr. Mann. “I am excited to serve the students, faculty, and administration at Bryan as we all seek to further the mission of ‘Educating students to become servants of Christ to make a difference in today’s world.’”

As Provost and Vice President of Academics at Bryan College, Dr. Mann will provide leadership and direction for students, faculty, and staff as well as assist with many of the upcoming efforts included in the College’s ‘2018 Making a Difference: Vision to Reality’ initiative.

“We are very excited to welcome Dr. Mann back to his alma mater as our new Provost and Vice President of Academic here at Bryan,” remarked President Stephen D. Livesay.“Dr. Mann has significant professional experience in higher education both in teaching and in administration. He knows Bryan well and will be able to quickly adjust to his new role in leading our academic team. But more than all of his qualifications and experience is our shared mission of placing ‘Christ above All’.”

Bryan College Expresses Appreciation For Billy Graham’s Ministry

 To the question “Where is Heaven?” Billy Graham once responded, “Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to him soon!” Yesterday morning Mr. Graham joined Jesus at home in Heaven. While we are saddened to lose such an amazing, God-fearing man, we are overjoyed to know that he is at peace with his Lord and Savior.

Bryan College’s third president, Dr. Judson Rudd, had the honor of delivering the commencement address at Mr. Graham’s graduation from Wheaton College in 1943 and had many interactions with him thereafter. Upon hearing of his death, Mary Frances Rudd Carlson, daughter of Dr. Rudd, recalled memories of her parents spending quality time with Mr. Graham and taking her to his Chattanooga Crusade as a child. She remembers the welcoming presence of Mr. Graham when Dr. Rudd arrived late during the Crusade at Warner Park Field House. “One evening Daddy got there late, as usual, and was standing around wondering where he might find a seat,” recalled Ms. Carlson. “Billy Graham came along getting ready to go on the stage and saw Daddy and took him on the stage with him so that he would have a seat.” This memory is just one illustration of Mr. Graham’s kindness and desire for everyone to hear the Word of God.

In 2002, Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, helped to gift Bryan College with the iconic clock in the Triangle in honor of former Bryan College trustee Wilma “Billie” Barrows. Ms. Barrows was the wife of Cliff Barrows, the long-time music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and mother of two Bryan College alumni, Betty Ruth Barrows Seera and William Barrows.

“All of us owe much to a man whose life had a singular focus, the message of the gospel—the only hope for a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ,” said Bryan College president Stephen D. Livesay.  “Billy Graham always preached with an open Bible, quoting many passages, allowing the Holy Spirit’s words to convict hearts.  I am confident that God honored his word through Dr. Graham’s ministry, and I rejoice in a life well-lived, a wonderful example for all of us to emulate.”

Bryan College will forever be deeply grateful for the ministry of Mr. Graham and the impact he had on the world for Christ. His never-ending efforts to bring people together in the body of Christ are an example for us all.

Remembering Christopher Nitzband: November 22, 1994 – February 9, 2018

Christopher Nitzband went home to be with the Lord on Friday, February 9, 2018. Christopher was from Blount County and graduated from Alcoa High School in 2013. He was a senior at Bryan College, pursuing an ambitious double major in Liberal Arts with a Classical Studies focus and in Philosophy & Culture, with minors in Greek and Biblical Studies. He had recently been accepted to graduate school.  We remember this outstanding young man as an accomplished and devoted academic and truly remarkable friend.

Christopher stood out on the Bryan College campus in both academics and in person. Known for his academic tenacity, his professors described him as the ideal student, always in pursuit of knowledge. He could often be found in the Christian studies office reading, studying and drinking coffee. He had a great joy and love for learning. He got excited about and loved the process of research. Dr. Peter Held recalled a conversation with Christopher in which he expressed that he just could not understand why students would cheat and circumvent the learning process, an attitude Dr. Held highlighted in his recommendation letter to Harvard on behalf of Christopher.

His love for academics and the academic process was evident in not only his work but in his actions and passionate conversations with friends and professors. Described as a philosopher, theologian and poet, Christopher had a love for words and a talent for languages. His friends noted that he sometimes talked over their heads, but he always took time to explain his terms, thoughts and ideas. Numerous classmates and friends recalled times when Christopher explained obscure concepts and academic references with a vigorous passion they’d seldom seen from professors, much less a fellow student. “Christopher was a person who could passionately debate his argument with you, call you a heretic, and then become your closest friend,” said Christopher’s friend Jeremy Eastwood as he recalled an event early in their friendship.

His love for academics did not overshadow his love for people. He was known for his ability to interact with new students and served as one of Bryan’s student orientation leaders. He put his out going personality and sense of humor to good use by making others feel welcome, and he truly cared about people. He was always willing to listen and make sure people knew they were not alone. He would spend time getting to know people, challenging them in ways no one ever had, and was not afraid to say something they did not want to hear. He was a dedicated and caring friend to both students and professors. “Christopher was one of the deepest friendships I’ve had since coming to this school… he was not just my student. He was my brother in Christ, one of my true friends,” said Dr. Sam Youngs, Assistant Professor of Christian Studies.

Described by friends as witty, intellectual, good-humored and an all-around great friend, Christopher left his mark on numerous individuals. His love of corny jokes always led to a brilliant smile and memorable laugh, both of which will be deeply missed. Dr. Paul Boling was right when he added, “This is a loss not only for us as friends and teachers, obviously a huge loss for his family, but the future loss of his contribution to knowledge.”

Together we mourn the loss of this brilliant and caring young man. We will forever remember him as a scholarly gentleman who was loving, smart and always impeccably dressed.

Bryan College Saddened by Passing of Student

February 12, 2018 – Bryan College leadership is saddened by the death of one of their students, Christopher Nitzband. The senior from Maryville was a Philosophy major and had recently been accepted into graduate school. Christopher was known for his ability to interact with new students and served as one of Bryan’s Student Leaders. He put his outgoing personality and sense of humor to good use by making others feel welcome.

Bryan College President Stephen Livesay said, “We are saddened by the passing of Christopher. We mourn his loss; however, we also celebrate the joy that he gave to so many. We are keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers during this very difficult time. We’re also supporting our Bryan College family and those who knew Christopher best in prayer, and we have counselors available on campus. We will be coming together to mourn, remember and most importantly, celebrate the life of Christopher Nitzband.”