category: Alumni

Carson-Newman honors Dr. Mary Brandes with university medallion

Dr. Mary Brandes '71

(Oct. 21, 2021) JEFFERSON CITY, TN – Carson-Newman University honors 1971 alumna Dr. Mary Tibbetts Brandes with the 2021 Founders’ Day Medallion on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 9:30 a.m. in the sanctuary of Jefferson City’s First Baptist Church. The award is one of the most prestigious accolades given by the University.

“It is truly an honor to recognize our friend Dr. Mary Brandes with the University’s Founders’ Day Medallion,” said C-N President Charles A. Fowler. “Dr. Brandes’ love for Christian education and heart for Carson-Newman is certainly worth celebrating. Her enthusiasm for her alma mater is quite contagious. Over the years she has been a committed advocate and staunch supporter of the University, its students and Christ-centered mission. We are truly blessed to call her our own.”

Mary’s devotion to Christian education has been felt not only with her support of Carson-Newman, but also of The Kings Academy in Seymour, Tennessee, where her late mother Pauline “Polly” Enix Tibbetts attended, as well as Northside Christian School in St. Petersburg, Florida, where she was the first teacher hired and where she later returned to serve as head of the school.

Mary’s journey to Carson-Newman as a student was a journey first traveled by her mother who attended, but did not graduate due to caring for siblings and raising a family, while helping support her husband Linton Tibbetts.

Wanting to finish what her mother started, Mary enrolled at Carson-Newman. An education major, she credits her time at C-N as a time when she became much more aware of God’s plan for her. She describes entering C-N as a shy freshman and graduating confident and equipped for her profession. Since then, almost 20 family members have followed her to C-N.

Her love for her alma mater is manifested in many ways, including her involvement in C-N’s Women of Vision organization and the support of projects across campus benefiting students.

In 2017, Carson-Newman awarded Mary with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. 

Married to Russ Brandes, they have three grown children, Jeff ’99, Tyler, and Polly, as well as 11 grandchildren.

Scheduled during Carson-Newman’s Homecoming week, the University’s Founders’ Day Service is an occasion for the campus community to remember the men and women of years past who labored and sacrificed to make C-N the institution it is today. The medallion recipient is described as “someone who consistently demonstrates exceptional loyalty and extraordinary commitment, dedication, and service to advance the University, its goals, and objectives.”

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts-based university affiliated with the Tennessee Baptist Convention. The University is located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. Carson-Newman offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

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