category: Campus News

Gift honors legacy of retired Carson-Newman professor

Carson-Newman University recently received an initial gift from Professor Emeritus of Religion and Greek Dr. Robert M. “Bob” Shurden to go toward helping establish the “Dr. William L. Blevins Graduate Scholarship in Counseling.” Pictured left to right are Dr. William Blevins, retired C-N professor; Dr. Kim Hawkins, chair of C-N’s Education and Counseling Department; and Shurden.

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(Sept. 20, 2018) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman University announced it has received seed funding to honor one of its former longtime, beloved professors, Dr. Bill Blevins. The gift, made possible by Professor Emeritus of Religion and Greek Dr. Robert M. “Bob” Shurden, is the first step toward establishing an endowed “Dr. William L. Blevins Graduate Scholarship in Counseling.”

A minimum of $30,000 is required in order to endow a scholarship, said Vice President for Advancement Scott Faulkenberry. “We are so appreciative of Dr. Shurden being our first donor in this endeavor. It now paves the way for others to join him in helping make this a reality.

“For a colleague to step forward to honor Dr. Blevins like this shows not only how much he is revered, but sets the stage for something exciting to happen.”

Blevins is a 1959 alumnus. He joined C-N’s religion faculty in 1966, rising through departmental and divisional ranks before transitioning to Counseling. The Benham, Kentucky, native and noted author is a founding partner of the Knoxville Counseling Center and led Jefferson City’s Barnabas House Counseling Center for many years. Following his retirement in 2011, the University dedicated the “William Blevins Institute for Spirituality and Mental Health” in 2012 and later named him its 2016 Distinguished Alumnus.

The idea to honor Blevins came from Dr. Kim Hawkins, chair of C-N’s Education and Counseling Department. “Dr. Blevins is known and beloved by an untold number of students and their families,” said Hawkins. “I wondered how we could preserve and extend his legacy, and my first thought was with a scholarship named in his honor.”

Hawkins’ idea and enthusiasm proved instantly contagious, quickly earning Shurden’s support.

“I’m really excited about this,” said Shurden, who retired in 2000. “I was just so proud and honored that Kim approached me to ask if I would be the sponsoring donor. I was delighted to do it.”

The retired prof credits Blevins for recruiting him to Carson-Newman’s Religion Department in 1979, an area that Blevins was chairing at the time. Throughout their tenure, their respect and friendship grew.

“He is a phenomenal teacher, writer, mentor and counselor,” Shurden said. “He’s just the whole package. But beyond that he’s just the best personal friend I’ve ever had.”

Faulkenberry said that Blevins’ impact on Carson-Newman cannot be overstated. “The prospect of helping future graduate students while honoring a C-N legend is rife with potential,” said the C-N Advancement VP. “We want to encourage members of the Carson-Newman community, alumni and those who know Dr. Blevins to join us in helping make this endowed scholarship come to fruition.”

Those interested in making a gift in honor of Blevins may do so online at:, or contact the Office of Advancement at 865-471-3459.

A special reception will be held during Homecoming, Saturday, Oct. 13, to publicly announced the Blevins scholarship initiative and celebrate the legacy of Dr. William Blevins. The public is invited to the gathering, which will be held from 1-2 p.m. in Henderson Humanities Building, Room 221.

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