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Construction underway for 'Randall O'Brien Veterans Center'

Campus News | May 24, 2019

Carson-Newman University Director of Physical Plant Ondes Webster, at left, and Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Ross Brummett survey the progress being made in the development of the “Randall O’Brien Veterans Center.”

(May 24, 2019) JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Progress is now well underway for Carson-Newman University’s new “Randall O’Brien Veterans Center,” which will open later this year.

The center’s name is in honor of former University President Randall O’Brien, who retired Dec. 31, 2018.

Masonry work is transforming an exterior portion of the University’s Baker Building, which will house the center on its first floor, adjacent to ROTC. Inside, walls are coming down and new framing going up.

The center will provide space for students, faculty and staff who are also veterans to meet, relax and socialize. It will house comfortable seating areas, study areas, a billiards table, a TV and other amenities.

Other elements of the location will honor University members’ and alums’ military service, including a display case with memorabilia reflecting O’Brien’s service during the Vietnam War and containing unit patches collected from C-N student and alumni veterans. Also included will be a flag that flew over Iwo Jima during World War II.

Crews are turning these dreams into reality following Senior Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Ross Brummett’s announcement of the vision in December 2018, immediately following O’Brien’s last chapel address.

Brummett selected three veterans from faculty and staff for a working group to oversee the center’s completion: Director of Bands Pat Bivens, Deputy Director of Public Safety Boyd Hodges and Coordinator for Students with Disabilities David Humphrey. Also participating is Military Affairs Coordinator Kelli Blanton and Director of Physical Plant Ondes Webster.

“We wanted to draw from the expertise of our colleagues who are veterans,” Brummett said. “Working with some initial conceptual drawings by then-ROTC Senior Cadet Antonion Masnas and previous Military Affair Coordinator, LTC Tracy Davidson, we began in earnest to discuss every aspect of the center. It’s truly going to be a terrific space for our student veterans to gather once opened.”

The center reflects the University’s commitment to better serve a growing student veteran population and always be a friendly and welcoming campus.

“We are truly honored to recognize Dr. O’Brien by providing this new space for our veteran students, faculty and staff,” Brummett added. “We welcome everyone’s contributions and their participation in the dedication ceremony later this year.”

Those who would like to support the center’s development may donate at: cn.edu/veterancenter

Founded in 1851, Carson-Newman is a Christian liberal arts university located in Jefferson City, Tennessee, among the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. The University has over 2,500 students and offers 50 undergraduate majors, as well as associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees.