Money from the heart: C-N project gets boost from medical expense dollars
Carson-Newman University recently dedicated two “smart classrooms” that will be used in its Religion Department. Pictured at the dedication are, left to right, Dr. Paul and Imogene Brewer, Dr. Bill and Carolyn Blevins, and Gracie and Earl Stroup, all of whom are C-N alumni.
(May 1, 2014)– Combined, Imogene '52 and Dr. Paul Brewer '51 and Carolyn and Dr. Bill Blevins (both '59) invested 139 years on Carson-Newman University’s faculty. Thanks to the support of several East Tennessee Baptist church groups and individuals, the University’s Religion Department Advisory Board has recognized that rich heritage while providing new technology to serve students and professors.
Advisory board member and 1971 alumnus Earl Stroup’s contribution to the campaign came from the heart, figuratively and literally. It became an easy decision for him and his wife Gracie '72, a physical education alumna.
“We had been praying, about my heart procedure, paying for it and also the C-N project, so it all seemed to fit,” said the retired educator and member of Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church. “We are so pleased it serves God, helps students and honors people who mean so much to so many.”
Sitting in his first board meeting two years ago, Stroup saw that a departmental wish list included “smart classrooms.” In place of a blackboard, the interactive system allows instructors to project notes, images or a variety of media on a screen. Akin to something of a smartphone for class, notes can be saved, emailed or circulated electronically, which connects current information delivery methods to classroom instruction.
Stroup, who concluded his public school career in administration, took an immediate interest in the project. He began raising interest among churches, friends and contacts, including members of two Jefferson City FBC Sunday school classes: the Toomey Class, which he teaches, and the Blevins Class, led by Bill Blevins.
In the midst of the effort, Stroup learned he needed a coronary stent. He had the procedure done, which was a success. Their insurance company initially balked at covering the procedure, so he and Gracie cashed in an IRA to pay for it.
When the insurance company changed course and covered the operation, it seemed appropriate to put money where his heart was.
“You know, sometimes you do not have to read between the lines to get the meaning,” the longtime high school English teacher said, with a broad smile. “It was just clear, and it’s very fitting to dedicate the rooms in the Blevinses’ and Brewers’ honor. They’ve had a big influence on my life.”
At a recent ceremony, C-N President Randall O’Brien thanked representatives from First Baptist Jefferson City, First Baptist Kingsport, First Baptist Knoxville and Central Baptist - Fountain City, all of which helped provide funds for the upgrade. He prayerfully dedicated the rooms to God’s glory and to honor the couples that have invested their lives at Carson-Newman.
Room 218 honors the Brewers, who served the University for a combined 66 years. She served as a catalogue librarian for almost three decades, while he taught philosophy, led that department and also served as Humanities chair. Their contribution to the project is representative of their support over several decades.
Bill and Carolyn Blevins were shocked to learn that Room 220 recognizes their commitment to C-N, reflected in their collective 73 years of teaching, leadership and support. She taught religion and directed the Honors Program and he taught religion and chaired the department before moving to establish C-N’s Graduate Counseling Program more than 15 years ago.
"Most of the students of Carson-Newman University, if not every one, will pass through one of these two classrooms, because everyone does six hours, three hours of Old Testament and three of New,” said Dr. David Crutchley, Religion Department chair. “This is an incredible offering, as it will touch and imprint the lives of those who will pass through this sacred space.”