July 5, 2013
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications
As a finalist in Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine’s “Top Adventure College” tournament earlier this year, Maryville College – and its unique outdoor adventure program, Mountain Challenge – are featured in the publication’s August issue.
Appalachian State University and Brevard College took the “top dog” spots. Big-school finalists included West Virginia University, Georgia Tech and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, while Maryville College, Davidson College and Emory & Henry College earned recognitions as small schools.
The competition, launched April 15, began with 32 Southeastern and mid-Atlantic schools that were selected by Blue Ridge Outdoors for their outdoor clubs and curricula, commitment to the outdoors and environmental initiatives, the quality of their outdoor athletes and programs, and their opportunities for adventure.
Posting a March-Madness-style tournament bracket on its website, winners were determined weekly by online votes. Maryville College made it to the Elite 8 of the competition before being eliminated by Brevard.
“We were pleased, proud and humbled to make it to the ‘Elite 8’ in this contest,” said Bruce Guillaume '76, founder and director of Mountain Challenge. “We out-voted schools like UT-Chattanooga before losing by less than 200 votes to Brevard College in North Carolina. And we received thousands of votes - from Maryville College folks to be sure – but also from banks, businesses, schools and churches in our community.
“There is really no way to express my gratitude for the wide base of support we enjoyed during this contest,” Guillaume added. “I am honored to be part of this community.”
In addition to Mountain Challenge and the Mountain Challenge Fellowship, the magazine cited the College’s orientation program that takes students outside; opportunities for international travel and service; its on-campus facilities that include a 60-foot Alpine Tower, low ropes course and 118-acre College Woods; and its proximity to great outdoor recreational areas.
In a category designated “Playground,” the magazine pointed out that MC’s campus is very close to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Ocoee River, Hiwassee River, Little River, Chilhowee Lake and Tellico Lake.
During the tournament, Guillaume said Maryville College could claim it’s one of the top adventure schools in the South without the magazine’s title, but having Blue Ridge Outdoors’ endorsement will help put the College on the radar screen of outdoor enthusiasts outside of East Tennessee.
“We can make a compelling case. First of all, our location: The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is in our backyard, and we’re no more than 90 minutes from some world-class venues for hiking, running and whitewater recreation,” Guillaume said. “Because it incorporates Mountain Challenge activities in its Orientation program for first-year students, Maryville College is one of few colleges and universities in the United States that supports a curriculum that takes all of its students outside.”
Year-round, Mountain Challenge provides off-campus trips for students to canoe, hike, raft, rock climb and cave. Every Spring Break, Guillaume and his staff members offer a multi-day bicycle trip that ends in destinations such as the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Savannah, Ga.; and Memphis, Tenn.
Guillaume also pointed out that the College has partnerships with non-profits and businesses that help expand opportunities for students to learn, work and play in the outdoors. And with the College’s recent award for renewable energy from the Tennessee Valley Authority and LEEDÒ Gold certification of Crawford House (Mountain Challenge’s headquarters), the College has evidence of its commitment to environmental sustainability and stewardship.
Produced in Charlottesville, Va., and distributed every month from Baltimore to Atlanta, Blue Ridge Outdoors has established itself as one of the country’s top regional outdoor publications for outdoor sports, health and adventure travel.
The August issue should be in newsstands on Saturday. It is free and can be picked up at various buildings on the MC campus, including Crawford House, and at Little River Trading Company in Maryville.
Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state‘s third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for its academic rigor and its focus on the liberal arts, Maryville is where students come to stretch their minds, stretch themselves and learn how to make a difference in the world. Total enrollment for the fall 2013 semester was 1,168.