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For Mann family, C-N is the road most traveled, has made all the difference

Carson-Newman University President Charles A. Fowler (left) welcomes the Mann family to campus on Move In Day. Parents and C-N alumni, Buzzy and Becky Mann, join their youngest son Andrew (center) as he prepares for his freshman year. Andrew is a graduate of Kingsport’s Dobyns-Bennett High School and is the seventh member of his family to attend Carson-Newman.

Carson-Newman faculty and staff often tout the school’s campus community. As a Christ-centered, liberal arts-based university, the familial feel is a C-N hallmark. Students are known by name and are not simply a number.

However, it’s hard not to think in such terms when it comes to the Mann family. In the days leading up to this fall semester, Becky, and her husband Buzzy, drove their youngest son Andrew to campus from Kingsport – a drive not unfamiliar. Andrew’s enrollment marked the seventh member of their family to attend Carson-Newman.

Both Becky and Buzzy finished in 1984. Their twin sons, Adam and Austin, graduated in 2014. Both twins’ spouses are C-N alumnae. For those counting – that’s six.

As number seven, Andrew’s C-N journey began along with other freshmen during Friday’s Move In Day on campus. While standing outside of Butler Hall amid the morning’s activities, the couple quickly reminisced. Buzzy, an Oklahoma native, earned his place in C-N’s Athletics Hall of Fame with wrestling, while Becky, who grew up in Kingsport, served as a resident assistant for Burnett Hall.

“Over there,” the two turned and pointed across the street, “is where we shared our first kiss. Third parking spot in front of the Fite Administration Building.”

“We actually met the first week of school,” Becky said. “We were in an orientation group together.” The two continued their friendship until they started dating their senior year. The couple graduated, were married and life continued. But three years later they were drawn back to their alma mater when Becky became resident director and Buzzy served as graduate assistant wrestling coach while pursuing his master’s degree.

Though the couple’s love runs deep for Carson-Newman, they’ve made it a point to let their sons choose where they attended college.

“You know, we told them that college is about finding where God wants you,” Becky said. “It cannot be where somebody else has gone. It has to be where God’s calling you. Because anywhere else is not going to work.”

Becky says she and her husband have the same hope for Andrew as they had for their older sons – encouraging him to take advantage of every part of his time at Carson-Newman: friendships, learning, interaction with professors, and building their faith.

Having walked the same campus decades earlier and possessing a trove of memories of her time as a student, Becky is excited for the journey that lies ahead for her youngest.

“My hope is that he will fall in love with the Lord more and more every day,” she said. “And that through his relationships there and what he’s learning in classes, that it will prepare him for the adventure that God has ahead of him in making a difference in our world.”

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