Bryan College Enactus Takes Second in League at Expo

The Bryan College Enactus team won second place in their league at the Enactus 2019 National Exposition in Kansas City, Missouri earlier this month. The five-member presentation team consisted of Peter Urban, Keeley Holliday, Daniella Banda, Nathan Ecarma, and Anthony Tejeda. Tomas Aleman Hogue provided audiovisual support. Also in attendance were project managers Ethan Shaw, Emily Brown, and Mac Raughton. Bryan’s win places the team among the top 32 out of 404 national teams. This is their second time winning at Nationals, continuing a two year streak that began in 2018.

The Bryan Enactus students presented a live, multimedia summary of the entrepreneurial-based projects they developed and implemented through the 2018-19 year. They were judged by a panel of business leaders on how successful they were at using business concepts that empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities.

This year’s presentation centered around projects divided among two initiatives: Global Entrepreneurship and Community Wellness. The Global Entrepreneurship Initiative focuses on increased economic stability and united families in a nation where half of the people are living in abject poverty, and the rampant orphan crisis is largely fueled by lack of employment. Bryan’s Enactus team focuses on meeting these objectives via product development, new product lines, marketing improvements, and skill-specific internships. For every Haitian employed, 6-10 others see a rise in their standard of living.

The Community Wellness Initiative focuses on creating patterns of healthy eating, exercise, and sustainable use of resources in Dayton and Rhea County. This is accomplished through multiple projects throughout the city and school: the local community garden, Dayton City School’s annual Field Day, and a campus-wide paper recycling program.

In addition to capturing second in their league, Bryan College was also nominated for an Enactus Excellence award in the category of ‘Leveraging Resources’. This is the first time the team has been nominated for an award outside of the area of competition since winning Rookie of the Year in 2009.

“I am very proud of this year’s Enactus team,” said Benton Jones, Bryan College Enactus advisor and interim head of the Department of Business and Economics. “They have continued to take on more impressive projects and to become more competitive. The quality and breadth of projects this year impressed the judges, who are active professionals within their own industries.”

Congratulations to the Bryan College Enactus team on their win!

Enactus meets Tuesdays at 7 pm, and welcomes students from all sports, majors, and interests. For more information contact Abigail Brown, Enactus Graduate Assistant, at

About Enactus
Enactus develops college students into leaders who use business to solve community challenges, creating sustainable improvements in the lives of the people their projects’ serve, and in turn, the lives of the students themselves. As the largest experiential learning platform in the world devoted to social entrepreneurial action, Enactus has more than 72,000 student participants on over 1,700 campuses in 37 countries. For more information visit

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.

Debating Lions Brings Home State Championship

On Saturday, February 9th, the Bryan Debate Team competed at Carson-Newman University for the annual Tennessee Intercollegiate Forensics Association (TIFA) Tournament. TIFA represents Tennessee’s State Championships for one-person and two-person debate.

Bryan’s Debate Team is currently comprised of Spencer Baker, Emily Webber, Alex Daniels, and Jack Dunn. Chris Absher of Lee University joined Baker, Webber, and Daniels to complete two, two-person teams for the Varsity level NPDA debate. Dunn competed in the Novice division as a ‘Maverick,’ giving all speeches normally presented by a two person team in each round.

From left to right: Alex Daniels, Spencer Baker, Jack Dunn, and Emily Webber

Competition was tough in the championship tournament, but the Debating Lions held their own, capturing three of the top four speaking awards and two of the top four debate awards.

Awards were presented to:

1st Place Speaker Award and State Champion – Spencer Baker
2nd Place Speaker Award – Chris Absher
4th Place Speaker Award – Emily Webber

1st Place Varsity Debate and State Champions – Spencer Baker/Emily Webber
4th Place Varsity Debate – Alex Daniels/Chris Absher

Coach Liz Absher noted the team’s dedication to their work before competition even began; the night before the tournament, the team gathered in the hotel to practice on the topic ‘The US Should Stay Out of Venezuela.” Their practice paid off – the resolution for the Round 3 of the tournament the following day was, “The US Should Intervene in Venezuela.”

“I am so thankful for a team that will practice rather than play,” Ms. Absher said of her team, “and for the Lord helping us pick a relevant practice topic!”

The semifinal round of competition saw both Bryan Varsity teams pitted against each other. “The great thing going into that debate was that we knew there would be a Debating Lions team in the finals. After the completion of that semi-final round, one of the judges reported to me that it was one of the best rounds she had ever seen, and congratulated me on the speaking skills of our students,” reported Ms. Absher.

For the championship round, the teams were given the resolution “Tennessee Should Pass House Resolution H493 (Sensible Enforcement of Cannabis Act)”. The entire team aided in the fifteen-minute prep period, and Baker and Webber won the round.

In the Novice Division, Dunn claimed a win in two of four preliminary rounds, holding his own as a single person team and coming short of the semifinals by only one round. Regarding Dunn, a sophomore, Ms. Absher remarked: “He has a bright debating future!”

Other teams competing included UTK, MTSU, Carson-Newman, Tennessee Tech, Vols State, University of Memphis, Pellissippi State, and Walter’s State.

In addition to their multiple awards, the Debating Lions will host Bryan’s first-ever debate tournament Saturday, March 2nd, at 7:30 pm.

The Bryan Debate Team meets on Monday evenings from 6-8:30 pm in Mercer 117. All students are welcome to observe and/or join the team. For more information, contact Coach Liz Absher at

The team with Coach Liz Absher

Bryan College ENACTUS team helps transform lives for a better world


Bryan College 2018 ENACTUS team at regional competition
ENACTUS team from left to right: Back row: Daniel Vonthin, Peter Urban, Logan Parsons, Cooper Ferguson, Tomas Aleman
Front row: Maebry McNeese, Abigail Brown, Shania Rogers, Michaela Thomas

April 16, 2018 – The Bryan College Enactus team recently presented a live, multi-media summary of the entrepreneurial-based projects they developed and implemented throughout the year at the Enactus United States Chicago Regional Competition. They were judged by a panel of business leaders on how successful they were at using business concepts, which empower people to transform opportunities into real, sustainable progress for themselves and their communities.

“Competition encourages creativity, motivates excellence and rewards results,” says Alex Perwich, President, Enactus United States. “Enactus students are transforming lives and enabling real human progress through entrepreneurial action, while developing key business and leadership skills that will differentiate them from their peers.”

Bryan College’s Enactus presentation team was named Regional Champions and will compete in the National Exposition in Kansas City in May. The team was led by Abigail Brown, a senior management major from Adams, TN and Logan Parsons, a senior marketing major from Crossville, TN, Tomas Aleman, a freshman Management major from Seville, Spain, and Maebry McNeese, a senior marketing major from Nashville, TN. The presentation team included Abigail Brown, Shania Rogers, a senior Management and Marketing major from Halls, TN, Daniel Vonthin, a senior Marketing major from Wetzlar, Germany, Cooper Ferguson, a senior Film major from Cleveland, TN, and Peter Urban, a freshman Management major from Fillmore, Indiana. Michaela Thomas, a senior Leadership major from La Follette, TN provided audio-visual support.

Benton Jones, assistant professor of business, served as the advisor for the Bryan College Enactus team. Mr. Jones said “I am very proud of this student-led group for developing meaningful, impactful projects which benefit residents of Rhea County, students at Bryan College, and citizens of Haiti. Seeing them showcase these projects in such an esteemed venue was quite an experience. Being recognized for their excellence in community impact, project management, and presentation skill reinforces their desire to serve their communities.”

Bryan College’s Enactus team (formerly known as Students Incorporated for Free Enterprise, SIFE) has been a source of community organization and entrepreneurial project at Bryan College for over a decade.

Debate Team Racks up More Awards

Debate TeamFebruary 9, 2018 — Four debate team members and Debate Coach Liz Absher recently traveled to the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville to compete in a two-day tournament.

This tournament featured one-on-one style IPDA debate. While new to most of our team, they forged ahead with great can-do attitudes. Other teams represented Union University, UTK, UTC, and Middle Tennessee State University. Approximately 60 debaters in 4 divisions competed.

In the Junior Varsity Division Spencer Baker and Emily Weber captured the 2nd and 4th place Speaker Award, respectively.  To put these awards in to perspective, Bryan College received 2 of the 5 speaker awards presented at the tournament in this division! Emily finished 7th in debate while Spencer claimed the #3 spot. Emily servers as the team captain and Spencer is the resident professor. Both Emily and Spencer had impressive preliminary round records of 6 and 1, respectively.

In the Novice Division Alex Daniels was only a few speaker points away from entering Quarterfinals. That is a fantastic outcome for his first time at bat in IPDA debate and only his third  tournament. First time debater Glorianna Sapp garnered a winning ballot in two of her rounds. Her finish is even more astonishing when considering that she had attended only two team meetings.

The team looks forward to other team members traveling to the Tennessee State Championship Tournament on February 17th at MTSU. They welcome students who are interested in debate to travel with the team to the tournament in order to observe “live” rounds.

The Bryan Debate Team meets on Thursday evenings at 6:30 in Mercer 111.

Written by Debate Coach Liz Absher.

Rachel Pacurari Awarded Staff Member of the Fall

Pacurari and LivesayFebruary 7, 2018 – Last week Bryan College President Stephen D. Livesay awarded the Staff Member of the Fall Award to Director of Counseling Services Rachel Pacurari. Supervisors and colleagues nominate staff members who have modeled exemplary service to the college. Nominees display characteristics that enhance the Bryan College mission.

One individual who nominated this year’s recipient said, “Rachel is an exceptional counselor and mentor to many. Since she is an RD’s wife, her role does not end when she returns home. She is constantly pouring herself out for students. I have seen her commitment to students and Bryan’s counseling center firsthand. Rachel has a confidence about her that is rooted in Jesus Christ. I have grown to deeply respect her as a leader, counselor, mom, and wife. She is an amazing model of living out emotionally healthy spirituality for many young women. One of the main reasons I believe she should be recognized for such an award is her faithfulness to those in need.”

“I am incredibly honored by this gracious reward,” Pacurari commented. “I am blessed to work alongside many wise and godly individuals who help carry me and support the counseling ministry at Bryan. To God be the glory for all that is done through counseling services.”

Bryan College is grateful to Rachel for her dedication, service, leadership, and compassion.