MC recognizes graduating veterans and veteran dependents with cords and coins

MC recognizes veterans and dependents in Class of 2019 with cords and coins

May 22, 2019

Maryville College held its fourth annual Cord and Coin Ceremony for graduating seniors on May 1.

Held annually since 2015, the ceremony recognizes graduating veterans and dependents who have been a part of the College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA).

Paul Dortmund ’20, a student veteran, was emcee of the ceremony, which was held in Lawson Auditorium of Fayerweather Hall and attended by several MC faculty and staff members and administrators, alumni who are also veterans, and graduates’ family members.

Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart welcomed attendees to the annual event, and Col. Don Nalls was the featured speaker. Nalls, a veteran of the U.S. Army and graduate of the U.S. Army War College, is a certified financial planner and principal of Nalls Sherbakoff Group, LLC, in Knoxville.

The Maryville College Lads vocal ensemble, directed by MC voice instructor and United States Air Force veteran Alan Eleazer, sang two songs, including the Armed Forces Medley.

Dr. Dan Klingensmith, interim vice president and dean of the College, presented red, white and blue honors cords to be worn at graduation to Jeremiah Babb ’19, Jessica Callihan ’19, Kristie Maples ’19, Larry Talbert ’19, Benjamin Teaster ’19, Thomas Vineyard ’19 and Michael Westerfield ’19.

Lt. Col. Ted Higgs, an instructor in the College’s Languages and Literature Division, presented specially designed Maryville College Challenge Coins to the veterans, as well as to dependents, including Paula Buckingham ’19, a two-year SVA president.

A tradition that dates back to World War I, challenge coins are frequently issued to members of the military to prove membership in a specific unit when challenged and to enhance morale. The coin designed for Maryville College has the Anderson Hall tower and founding date on one side and, on the other side, an eagle flying against an American flag backdrop that is encircled by the names of the five branches of military service.

In addition to a cord and coin, each the seven graduating veterans was presented with a “quilt of freedom” by Dennis Taylor, U.S. Army veteran and local Quilts of Valor (QOV) operator, and Anna Martak of the QOV’s Friendsville chapter. Established in 2003, the QOV Foundation seeks to “cover service members and veterans touched by war with comforting and healing Quilts of Valor.”

MC is military-friendly school

Maryville College continues to be recognized for its support and commitment to veterans, active-duty service members, guardsmen, reservists and their family members in the pursuit of a college education. In 2018, the College earned not only the Military Friendly® School designation for the third year, but recognition at the bronze level. It participates in the Yellow Ribbon program at the highest level, and was the first private institution named as a TN VETS campus. It also is a TN Strong Act campus, accepts Military Federal Tuition Assistance and provides a unique opportunity for service members who have earned less than 100 percent toward their Post-9/11 benefits to attend with a remaining contribution by our MC Heroes Scholarship, covering up to 100 percent of tuition.

For more information about enrolling at Maryville College as a veteran, contact Jim Humphrey, assistant admissions director for transfer and veteran recruiting, at 865.981.8015 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 2018 semester is 1,154.