Commencement Planned for December 5

Athens State University’s graduation exercises will be held in the Carter Physical Education Gymnasium on Saturday, December 5 with three separate ceremonies.

At 9 a.m., the College of Business will commence with Deborah McGee, Senior Human Resources/Finance executive with PZI International Consulting in Huntsville, giving the address.

McGee has a high degree of business acumen and is proficient in shaping and executing both domestic and global human resources/finance strategies to achieve business goals. In her career, she has a demonstrated ability to be a catalyst for realizing optimal organizational effectiveness through the development and implementation of competitive and innovative human resources strategies, policies and programs focused on talent management, succession planning, change management, leadership development, performance management, and total rewards.

At noon, the College of Education will present diplomas to their graduates with Vicki Hawsey Karolewics, President of Wallace State Community College, serving as the college’s keynote speaker.

A visionary leader with an enthusiasm for innovation, Dr. Karolewics has transformed Wallace State in rural Hanceville, Alabama into one of the top 120 community colleges in the nation as recognized by the Aspen Institute, and among the top 50 colleges in the country for the health care graduates it produces as reported in Community College Week. The Chronicle of Higher Education recognized Wallace State as having among the highest graduation rates of the nation’s two-year colleges. And, when the college joined the prestigious Achieving the Dream initiative in 2012, it was already recognized as being among the most advanced community colleges in the consortium based on her commitment to excellence and positive student outcomes.

At 3 p.m., the College of Arts and Sciences’ graduation ceremony will be held with Tasia Malakasis serving as the keynote speaker.

Malakasis is CEO and president of Belle Chevre, an award-winning creamery located in Elkmont, Alabama, and author of two cookbooks, Tasia’s Table and Southern Made Fresh published by Southern Living. She has been named by Southern Living magazine as one of the 50 People Who Are Changing the South, one of the 75 Most Stylish Southerners, and “The newly minted big cheese” by O, The Oprah Magazine.

Approximately 300 students will march encompassing the graduating classes for the three colleges for the 2015 fall semester.

Athens State’s commencement ceremonies are free and open to the public. For more information call 256-233-8296.

Testing Center Recognized by National Organization

The Athens State University Testing Center has recently been named a Certified Testing Center by the National College Testing Association (NCTA). The Center has been a member of NCTA for approximately one year and has undergone a rigorous application process to gain certification.

“We are very excited to have this recognition,” states Jackie Smith, Athens State Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs. “This is a major accomplishment for the Center and recognizes the high level of professionalism and service that Center Coordinator Brandy McMahan and staff provide.”

The National College Testing Association (NCTA) is a non-profit organization of testing professionals working in post-secondary institutions, in companies with test-related products and services, and in other professional testing venues. It is dedicated to the promotion of professionalism and quality in the administration of testing services and programs, including issues relating to test administration, test development, test scoring, and assessment. The organization maintains a comprehensive set of standards for testing centers administering paper and pencil and computer-based examinations.

The University Testing Center at Athens State University strives to provide professional, consistent, confidential, and quality educational testing services to University students and community members. Students in the College of Education can take all of their Praxis exams through the Center. The Center also administers CLEP and DSST-DANTES exams, the Miller Analogies Test, the IC3® Internet and Computing Core Certification Exam, the Alabama Department of Agriculture exam and the Intuit Quickbooks Certified User exam for students in the College of Business.

For additional information about the Athens State University Testing Center call 256-233-6540 or visit their webpage at

Athens State Taps Two to Serve as Fulbright Scholar Campus Representatives

Athens State University’s Associate Professor of Criminal Justice Quanda Stevenson and Writing Center Director Joy Bracewell have been selected to serve as campus representatives for the Fulbright Scholar Program. The Fulbright Scholar Program is a program of highly competitive, merit-based grants for international educational exchange for students, scholars, teachers, professionals, scientists and artists.  The program was founded by United States Senator J. William Fulbright in 1946.

“We want to make sure that Athens State students are globally prepared for the ever-changing job market after graduation,” said Interim Provost Ron Ingle. “I can think of no other way to immerse them in diverse cultures than by making the world a little more accessible.”

Ingle added, “This is the exact mission of the Fulbright Foundation and we are very happy to let our students know of these types of opportunities. Thanks go to Drs. Stevenson and Bracewell for accepting this responsibility.”

Campus Representatives serve as the Fulbright Scholar Program’s main point of contact on college campus. They are charged with sharing information with faculty and administrators about the more than 800 awards given by the program to over 125 countries.

This year marks the first time Fulbright Campus Representatives have been identified on Athens State University’s campus.

Fiddlers Convention Set for October 2-3

Athens State University will host the 49th annual Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention on Oct. 2-3 at the school’s campus in Athens, Alabama. The musical competitions will be held on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Stage in front of Founders Hall and other locations throughout the campus. A total over $18,000 in prize money will be awarded. Aubrey Haynie and Friends, Tim Graves and the Farm Hands are headlining.

The convention is sponsored annually by the Athens State University Foundation and the Greater Limestone County Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds from the convention fund student scholarships and other university projects.

The convention has historically attracted more than 15,000 people for the two-day event, with more than 200 musicians participating in the musical competition. There are 18 different categories, including several fiddle and guitar categories, harmonica, mandolin, bluegrass banjo, dulcimer, old time singing, banjo, and buck dancing.

The Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention is the home to Alabama State Fiddle Champion. The festival is also the home to the Alabama State Champion categories including Harmonica, Bluegrass Banjo, Dulcimer, Old Time Banjo, Classic Old-time Fiddler, Buck Dancing, Mandolin, Dobro, Old-time Singing, Guitar – Finger Picking, Guitar – Flat Picking, Bluegrass Band, and Bluegrass Old-time Band. The winners in all of these categories shall for that year be known as the Alabama State Champions respectively.

Ross Holmes was named “Fiddle Champion” at last year’s convention. He won the “fiddle off” which traditionally pits the top fiddlers from the junior and senior divisions. This year’s fiddle champ will earn a total of $1,000 in cash and a trophy.

This year’s special guest at the Tennessee Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be Aubrey Haynie and Friends. Haynie has established himself as one of the most talented fiddle and mandolin players in contemporary country music. Haynie has been one of the most sought after session players in Nashville, having appeared on releases by George Jones, Porter Wagoner, Trisha Yearwood, and Bryan White among others, and with tours in the bands of Aaron Tippin and Clint Black padding his resumé, as well. They will be performing on the Alabama Farmers Cooperative Stage in front of Founders Hall on Friday, October 2nd at 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.

Tim Graves and the Farm Hands will also be performing on the Coop Stage on Saturday, October 3 at 5:00 p.m. In just 4 years, The Farm Hands have become the most exciting and talked about band in Bluegrass Music. At the 2015 Bluegrass Music Awards, the Farm Hands were named bluegrass music’s Gospel Band of the Year as well as one of the industry’s highest honors-Entertainer of the Year.

Approximately 150 booths featuring old-fashioned arts and crafts are part of the convention. Convention goers will see everything from traditional artwork to coal-fired metal works. Food vendors will also be on hand to provide anything from a quick snack to a full meal.

Contests begin Friday, October 2 at 7:00 p.m. following the Aubrey Haynie and Friends performance and resume on Saturday, Oct. 3 at 8:30 a.m. with the gates opening at 8:00 a.m. Cost is $10 for Friday, $10 for Saturday and $15 for both days. Children ages 12 and under are admitted free with a parent. Advance tickets are available from the Athens State Business Office located in Founders Hall at 300 N. Beaty Street.

The festival culminates on Saturday night with the naming of the Alabama State Fiddle Champion. Being named Champion is highly competitive and is a coveted prize.

For more information visit

Alabama Center for the Arts to host Athens Voices 2015

The Dairy Barn Arts Center’s 7th Biennial juried exhibition of mixed media art produced by artists that live or work within 30 miles of eight “Athens” communities in the United States. The exhibition will be open to the public at the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur. Gallery goers will view a collection of multi-media works from 48 talented “Athens” artists with a total of 75 pieces representing Athens, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. This year, Athens Voices USA ’15 will tour from the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens, Ohio to the Arthur Butcher Gallery at Concord University in Athens, WV and then to the Alabama Center for the Arts in Decatur, AL. The exhibit will be open to the public Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., and Friday from 8:00 a.m. until noon. Admission is free.

The exhibition features works by local artists representing Athens, Alabama including Gary Anderson, Katelin Harris, and Pamela Keller.

This biennial juried exhibition was created to promote the artistic talent in the Athens, Ohio community and highlight their unique variety of voices. In 2012, Athens Voices was expanded to include any artist who lives or works within 30 of any “Athens” community in the United States.

Jurors Jamey Biggs, Didi Dunphy, and John Sabraw began with images of over 202 works by 74 artists and after five rounds of the jury, the jurors selected the final 64 pieces from 48 artists. Please visit our website after the opening of the exhibition for a complete list of artists and their work in the exhibit.

Visit for more information.

Institutional Scholarship Award Reception Held

Athens State University held its annual Institutional Scholarship Award Reception on July 16th in the Sandridge Student Center Ballroom. 55 students attended with more than 100 friends and family members to celebrate these awards that totaled more than $180,000.

“These scholarship awards are highly sought after and competitive,” said Penny Roberts, Athens State Enrollment Advisor. “The students who were honored that night represent the hard work and dedication that all Athens State students exhibit. The fact that so many attended to cheer on their success speaks volumes.”

The scholarship awards included Academic, Presidential, Phi Theta Kappa, Student Based Awards, Student Leadership Awards and Student Newspaper Awards. There were 23 students honored from the College of Arts and Sciences, 15 from the College of Business, and 18 from College of Education.

Athens State to Increase Tuition Rate Beginning in the 2015-16 Academic Year

At its April meeting, the Board of Trustees of Athens State University approved a tuition increase range of 1% to 5% and authorized the Executive Committee of the Board to meet with University officials in early June to make a final decision on tuition rates for the coming year. The Executive Committee met on Wednesday morning, June 3, to consider the recommendation of the University’s Budget Advisory Committee, a standing committee of the University chaired by the Vice President for Finance and composed of four faculty members and the presiding officer of the staff senate. The recommendation of the committee was to raise tuition by approximately 2.8 percent beginning with the Fall 2015 semester. After a thorough review of the work and reasoning of the committee, the Executive Committee approved the recommended tuition rates.

Mike McCoy, Vice President for Financial Affairs remarked, “The University Budget Advisory Committee felt that a moderate tuition increase was necessary in order to fund the University’s operating budget and to help avoid larger tuition increases in the future. The Committee reviewed historical tuition increases among Alabama public universities and felt that this increase was appropriate and at the lower end of the approved tuition increase range.”

The increase in tuition rate will take effect with the beginning of the Fall 2015 semester. Even with this increase, Athens State University will continue to have the lowest per-hour tuition rate for a college or university in the state of Alabama. The increase will take the tuition rate from $179 to $184 per semester hour for traditional coursework and from $257 to $264 per semester hour for distance learning classes.

“A tuition increase is not something that is taken on without sufficient research and is done at a time of purposeful need,” said Athens State President Bob Glenn. “It is a necessity that every institution faces. What sets Athens State apart from other institutions is that we do it marginally and as infrequently as possible. We are diligent in our efforts to offer the best return on our student’s investment and it is clear that we are successful in doing so.”

Accounting Club Assists Animal Rescue Charities

The Athens State University Accounting Club (Institute of Management Accountants Student Chapter) along with the North Alabama Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (NACFE), conducted their annual Animal Rescue Supply Drive this year with proceeds benefiting Friends of Rescue and the Greater Huntsville Humane Society. Both organizations are non-profit, no-kill rescue groups in North Alabama.

The drive was conducted for one month with collection boxes placed across campus. There was also an Amazon wish list set up to make participation even easier. Contributions to the drive were astonishing with a total of more than 2,215 pounds of dry dog and cat food collected. Also donated were toys, treats, linens, over a hundred cans of food, and other essentials needed by the rescue organizations.

“We have a wonderful campus and community that are always so supportive, helpful, and generous,” said Professor Stacie Hughes. “Everyone helped make this year’s drive the most successful one we’ve ever conducted.”

The Accounting Club and NACFE would like to thank the Athens State and NACFE families for their generosity. They would also like to extend a special thank you to Pet Depot of Florence and Big Heart Pet Brands of Decatur for their substantial donations and to Professor Scott Cox for helping load and deliver more than one ton of donations to Friends of Rescue and the Greater Huntsville Humane Society.

According to a representative with Friends of Rescue, “We were running so low on food and these donations came at the perfect time. They will all go to good use.”

The Greater Huntsville Humane Society was very excited and appreciative for all of the donations as well. “This is so wonderful and will help so many animals,” said their representative.