Bicentennial event planned for Feb. 26 in Nashville

Bicentennial event planned for Feb. 26 in Nashville

Feb. 20, 2019

Nashville-area alumni and friends are invited to celebrate Maryville College’s Bicentennial at a special event scheduled for Feb. 26 at Woolworth on 5th in downtown Nashville. A reception will begin at 5 p.m. (CST), and the program will take place from 5:30 until 7 p.m. (CST).

The event will highlight the College’s historic commitment to integrated education and include a panel discussion about access to education in the 21st century. Sponsors include Stones River Group, Woolworth on 5th and Lipman Brothers, as well as several alumni of the East Tennessee college.

“Maryville College has a lot to celebrate, but its open-door policy at its founding is particularly inspiring,” said Mark Cate, president of Stones River Group. “Celebrating that history in a venue like Woolworth on 5th – a place that was so important in the Civil Rights Movement – will make for a memorable evening.” Cate, a native of Maryville, served as vice president of the College from 1999 until 2007 and continues to be involved in its initiatives. 

The program will feature Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart, the Voices of Praise gospel choir, and Associate Professor of History Dr. Aaron Astor, who will deliver a short presentation on the College’s commitment to diversity and its education policy “for all races and colors without discrimination,” which dates back to 1819.

Panelists for the discussion, “Providing Access to Education: Maryville College’s Enduring Commitment,” will include:

  • Dr. Ernest “Rip” Patton, Jr., civil rights activist and veteran of the Freedom Riders;
  • Dr. Kathie Shiba, Maryville College Professor of Psychology and member of the College’s Diversity Action Team; 
  • Mr. Aaron Solomon, Maryville College junior and president of the College’s Black Student Alliance; 
  • Mr. Larry Ervin, Maryville College Director of Multicultural Affairs; and 
  • Dr. Michael Spalding, founder of Nashville-based Equal Chance for Education.

Tennessee Court of Appeals Judge W. Neal McBrayer, an alumnus and member of the College’s Board of Directors, will moderate.

“An educated and engaged citizenry is essential to our democracy; our colleges and universities fill an important roll in producing just such citizens,” McBrayer said. “I am proud that, since its founding 200 years ago, my alma mater has been committed to segments of our society that have been overlooked or disregarded. But challenges remain for many deserving students seeking a postsecondary education.  In moderating the panel discussion, I hope to highlight and explore some of the possible solutions to those challenges.”

Maryville College was established in 1819 by Rev. Isaac Anderson, a Presbyterian minister who saw a great need for trained ministers and churches in the new frontier. Anderson was a vehement opponent of slavery, and among his earliest students were African-Americans and Cherokee. William H. Franklin, the College’s first African-American graduate, earned a diploma from the College in 1880. Today, Maryville College serves approximately 1,200 undergraduates and is a nationally-ranked institution known for successfully joining the liberal arts with professional preparation. Read more on the college’s history and bicentennial

For more information on the Feb. 26 event, visit maryvillecollege.edu/bicentennial or call 865.981.8305.


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 2018 semester is 1,154.