MC celebrates International Education Week with announcement of scholarships

MC celebrates International Education Week with announcement of scholarships

November 15, 2011
Contact: Karen B. Eldridge, Director of Communications

As Maryville College observes International Education Week with special presentations, shows and ethnic-inspired dishes in the dining hall, the campus community also is celebrating the recent establishment of two scholarships that will give the four-year, private liberal arts college a greater international perspective.

One will help Maryville College students study abroad; the other is already financing a portion of an international student’s study at the College.

The Tuck International Study Endowment, recently established by 1954 alumnus Dr. Kenneth D. Tuck and his wife, Sara, will provide support for Maryville College students who participate in Maryville College-sponsored study abroad programs or programs offered through other colleges whereby students receive Maryville College credit.

The Dr. Joe Copeland Endowed Leadership Scholarship at Maryville College, established by Dr. Wayne Freeman and named for the seventh president of Maryville College, is providing funding for a student of financial need from a third-world country.

Maryville College President Dr. William T. “Tom” Bogart thanked the donors and applauded the scholarships, explaining that they help the College meet important educational goals for students.

“One of the five overarching objectives of the Maryville College education is ‘intercultural understanding,’” the president explained. “This demands a broad and rigorous program of international education that includes providing opportunities for students to spend time abroad and bringing international students to campus.

“Study abroad programs offer students a hands-on opportunity to put the knowledge they learn in the classroom into real-life situations. Furthermore, the students who go abroad bring back new perspectives to the College, which contribute to richer classroom conversations and sharing of cultural knowledge in residence halls,” he said. Bogart added that international students give all Maryville College students the chance to learn about a different culture without leaving campus.

“In establishing these scholarships, Dr. Ken Tuck and Dr. Wayne Freeman are providing experiences that will have ripple effects across our campus and across the world,” Bogart said.

Studying abroad popular option among students

For the past five years, approximately 25 percent of every graduating class at Maryville College has studied abroad, according to Kirsten Sheppard, director of international education at the College. She said the College would like to increase that percentage.

Citing a survey of all 2011 freshmen in which 85 percent expressed an interest in studying abroad during their time abroad, Sheppard said students are very interested in having an international experience, but the recent economic downturn has made study abroad financially out of reach for several students and their families.

“In order to meet the objectives of the educational goals of the College, immediate attention needs to be given to ways that the College can make study abroad more affordable for students,” said the director. “Students face significant barriers when contemplating study abroad, from finances to fear of leaving home, and scholarships like the Tuck International Study Endowment will give access to students who may not otherwise be able to participate on an international study program.”

Tuck also wants MC to send out Ambassadors

In 1950, when Ken Tuck was planning for life after graduation from Moneta High School in Moneta, Va., enrolling at Maryville College, roughly 300 miles away, seemed almost as impossible as enrolling at the University of Geneva in Switzerland.

“My view of the world was limited growing up,” said Tuck, who graduated from the College in 1954 and went on to a distinguished career in ophthalmology in Roanoke, Va., that spans nearly 50 years. “I was a serious student in high school and from my reading, I developed a longing to see more of the world.”

Maryville College was, actually, a great place to begin his international exploration.

“When I was at Maryville College in the early 1950s, students were from all over the East Coast. Mixing and mingling with them was a broadening experience for me.”

Tuck’s profession and his involvement with Rotary International have taken him abroad numerous times. Through an annual partnership program between Rotary clubs in the United States and the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, he also has been very involved in selecting young eye surgeons from developing countries for study in the U.S.

Tuck was able to provide his daughters with international experiences when they were in college. When grandson Peter Coats attended Maryville College from 2004 until his graduation in 2009, Tuck made it possible for Coats to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the College for travel-study.

“I’ve always believed in international study,” Tuck explained. “And when Peter declared an international business major, I thought a good part of his education should be to know what the world was like, first-hand.”

Tuck saw, first-hand, the impact studying abroad had on his grandson and was so convinced of its value that he wanted to ensure that others had the same opportunities, so he and wife Sara established the Tuck International Study Endowment.

“Maryville College does a great job of preparing students who want to make a difference. If they travel and study abroad, they’ll have a greater understanding of the problems of the world and will be better prepared to address those problems.”

Funds from the Tuck endowment are intended to be used toward expenses beyond tuition, room and board. The scholarships are likely to cover costs such as air travel, books and additional cultural or educational activities offered through the study abroad program that are not covered in basic tuition.

There are no funds set aside for the purchase of Maryville College apparel from the College Bookstore prior to departure, but Tuck, who also serves on the College’s Board of Directors, hopes scholars from the College take a lot. He wants his scholarship recipients to see themselves – and be seen – as Maryville College Ambassadors.

“The international component of a Maryville College education is not only important for students’ development,” he said, “it’s an opportunity for the world to know about the College.”

Freeman helped people help themselves

In more than 90 years on this earth, Dr. Wayne Freeman has held different positions within the field of agronomy, published extensively on his research and volunteered for various nonprofits, but a common thread can be found among his work: a desire to help people become self-sustaining.

Freeman, a native of Smith County, Kansas, who now resides in Maryville’s Asbury Place, earned his undergraduate degree in agronomy from Kansas State University and then a doctorate in plant breeding from the University of Illinois. Following years of research in corn breeding, he took a job with the Rockefeller Foundation in 1961 as a seed specialist overseeing initiatives in India.

“The foundation wanted to start a company in the private sector. Prior to this, there was some seed production – mail-order vegetable seeds, but no field crop seeds,” Freeman explained.

As a result of Freeman’s work with India’s National Seeds Corporation and the All India Coordinated Rice Improvement Project (AICRIP), high-yield plant varieties were introduced to farmers. Both rice and wheat production in the country increased exponentially, allowing India to feed its own growing population.

Internationally, the advances became known as the “Green Revolution.”

“This was food,” Freeman said. “It was the salvation of India. Had improvements not been made, millions would have starved to death.”

After 15 years in India (most of it spent in Hyderabad), Freeman and wife Eleanor moved to Nepal, where he led research on rice, wheat, corn and cropping systems. They stayed there until 1992, when they moved their permanent residence United States.

With ties to East Tennessee through his wife, Freeman made Gatlinburg the family’s U.S. base in the 1970s. Joining Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church in 1985, he met fellow member and Maryville College President Emeritus Dr. Joseph Copeland and wife Glenda, who had retired to the mountain community in the late 1970s.

Freeman said he was impressed by Copeland’s leadership and vision.

With a desire to honor his friend and continue his work to help developing countries become self-sustaining, he established the Dr. Joe Copeland Endowed Leadership Scholarship at Maryville College.

“What do we need in the world now?” Freeman asked during a recent interview. “Educated leaders! The real problems are in third-world countries, and we need leaders there.”

Mathiang Gutnyin is this year’s recipient of the Copeland scholarship. A Sudanese refugee, Gutnyin hopes to someday return to the new Republic of South Sudan to help his countrymen and others.

That’s the idea of the scholarship, Freeman said.

“I hope scholarship recipients like Mathiang will go back and provide leadership in those countries. Citizens of these countries have vision. They need the training, and Maryville College can provide a good foundation.”

Donations to endowments accepted

President Bogart said he encourages others – alumni, parents and friends – who value international education to make donations to the Tuck and Freeman endowments.

“These donors have generously given to establish the scholarships, so funds are being awarded to students already, but we would love to increase the value of the endowments, enabling more students access to an international experience. It will be vital to their success in the 21st century.”

To donate, contact Holly Jackson-Sullivan, vice president for advancement and community relations, at 865.273.8884 or

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 offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.