Activity book celebrates College Bicentennial

Activity book celebrates College Bicentennial

Nov. 15, 2019

As part of Maryville College’s Bicentennial celebrations, a special activity book was created for second-grade students in Blount County. This book shares the history of the College, beginning with its founder, the Rev. Isaac Anderson.

Sponsored by Calloway Oil Company and E-Z Stop Food Marts, the activity book was illustrated by Mary Bristol, the multimedia communications specialist for the City of Maryville. Dr. Beth Gowan Gotcher ’07, a teacher at John Sevier Elementary School, was the content consultant for the project.

“As a Maryville College alumna, the College holds a special place in my heart,” Gotcher said. “Working on the activity book was a wonderful and memorable experience. During my time at Maryville College, I served as an (Admissions) Ambassador and learned some of the rich and honored history of the College. Researching and writing the activity book allowed me to revisit the history and even learn new some facts myself.

“It was a privilege to get to work on this project to share that history with our community,” Gotcher continued. “My goal was that a new generation would develop an understanding and appreciation for the College right in their backyard, and hopefully some will become future Scots!”

Activity books were distributed to local elementary schools, Blount County EZ Stop locations and the Blount County Public Library in August. Copies will be available at the Dec. 6 performance of Handel's “Messiah” at the Clayton Center for the Arts.

While a goal of the activity book was to introduce the College to new students and their families, it also was developed as an educational tool. Gotcher and the College’s Marketing & Communications staff worked to ensure that the book was something second-grade teachers could use in their classrooms.

“In pitching the idea of this book to local educators, we heard that the state of Tennessee has college- and career-readiness standards for second graders, so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to give students a basic idea of what a college is and how it prepares students for careers, while coupling those lessons with the Maryville College story,” said Karen Eldridge, the College’s executive director for marketing and communications. “We’re thankful to all of those who made this book possible.”

The activity book includes illustrations of Anderson and the first campus and information about some of the College’s earliest students, including Mary Wilson, who graduated from MC in 1875 and became the first woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from a college in Tennessee. Pages also contain a word search of college-themed vocabulary, a fill-in-the-blank exercise of extracurricular activities and a matching game of campus buildings with their uses.

Coloring contest included

The last page of the activity book is an illustration of a picture frame with instructions for students to draw themselves in their future career and write a few sentences explaining what profession they were interested in and why. Pages that were completed and mailed back to the College before Oct. 1 were entered into a contest.

“We received several creative and thoughtful drawings,” Eldridge said. “It was inspiring to see how many second graders aspire to work in jobs that will help people.”

The contest was judged by Maryville College students majoring in art and design. The winner was Hannah Sullivan of Prospect Elementary School. She received a basket of Maryville College merchandise and rode in the College’s Homecoming Parade Oct. 19.

Written by Caroline Lamar, Bicentennial Events and Projects Assistant.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”