Trevecca’s students make up the bulk of the body of the University, but faculty members and staff are a driving force that keeps that body running smoothly and efficiently. This year, several faculty and staff members are retiring from Trevecca. Here are their stories.
Enrollment Systems Consultant
A graduate of Trevecca in elementary education, Patty Cook was a student with Trevecca’s president, Dr. Dan Boone. After graduating, Cook moved to Princeton, Fla., to work as a first-grade teacher; six years later, she came back to the Hill to work in admissions.
Over the course of her time at Trevecca, Cook has seen the campus transform, being in one of the first campus offices to get a computer in 1980. She has helped enroll hundreds of students that called Trevecca home—including one student Cook had taught as a first grader.
After 39 years of service in Trevecca’s admissions office, Cook will be retiring at the end of June. Patty has worked in several capacities in admissions, beginning as a secretary, then later growing into the role of assistant director and director of admissions.
After retirement, Patty says she is looking forward to not hitting the alarm button in the morning and having no schedule.
Dr. Mary Ann Meiners
Professor of Economics
Dr. Mary Ann Meiners interest in economics was preceded by a desire to help in developing poorer countries. That interest was clarified from a summer reading assignment in high school on The Ugly American, a political novel depicting U.S. diplomatic failures in Southeast Asia. Meiners says the book made her not want to be an ugly American and challenged her to listen to the needs of others.
Meiners earned her doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University and says she never thought she would go into teaching, but encouragement from professors helped lead her into higher education. She began her teaching career at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) but says God led her to Trevecca.
Meiners came to the Hill in 1990, which was her first exposure to Christian higher education. As an economist and Christian, Meiners says one of the greatest joys over her time at Trevecca has been reading Scripture and letting that inform her understanding of economics.
“Twenty-nine years later, I really can see how Scripture has informed that understanding,” she said.
Meiners is retiring at the end of the semester but plans to keep her hand in teaching with the hopes of serving as an adjunct next spring.
Dr. Steve Pusey
Dr. Steve Pusey has served as the university’s provost since 2006, after beginning his Trevecca career as vice president for academic affairs in 1992.
Prior to his work at Trevecca, Pusey spent more than a decade at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill., serving as a professor of history as well as a program coordinator and director, department chair and dean of the School of Graduate and Adult Studies.
Pusey’s last day is set for June 30. He will be honored with Trevecca’s Lyla Mackey Diakonos Award at Trevecca’s Commencement Convocation on Saturday.
Pusey said one of the highlights of his career has been watching the University grow and change.
“Trevecca has grown from a narrowly focused, small institution to a much more broadly expansive institution,” he said. “But we’ve done all of that while maintaining our mission. I don’t think we’ve sacrificed who we are as an institution.”
Director of Institutional Research
Donna Tudor, like many staff and faculty on campus, was a student at Trevecca. She made her way back to the Hill after working as an account supervisor for JC Penney in Dallas, Texas.
Tudor was Pusey’s second hire, initially returning to Trevecca to work in institutional research and teach in the degree-completion program.
Over the past 26 years, Tudor has served as director of institutional research as well as the registrar and as the director of institutional effectiveness.
She has served as an institutional effectiveness evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), visiting other campuses for the commission as a peer evaluator of their work. She created, tended and improved the systems used on campus to assess student learning outcomes in programs and administrative units.
Director, Library services/Associate professor, Library & Information Science
After graduating from Greenville College, Ruth Kinnersley took her first job as a librarian at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Ill. While working at Olivet, Kinnersley met her husband, Randy Kinnersley, who was teaching accounting at the university.
The couple relocated to Lubbock, Texas, where Randy pursued a doctorate, and Kinnersley worked at the city library, training librarians across 28 counties throughout the state.
Ruth’s husband was recruited by Trevecca to teach, which led to the couple’s next move: Nashville in 2001. Ruth took a job in Trevecca’s Waggoner Library, working as the public services librarian then advancing to director in 2003.
Ruth taught the first cohort of students in the master’s in library and information science Program (MLIS) at Trevecca, where she has continued teaching ever since.
After 18 years of library service, Ruth is retiring along with her husband, a professor at Western Kentucky University. Over the course of those 18 years, Ruth has developed relationships with librarians across the globe, providing library training in Africa and Central America.
Ruth and her husband, who are members of Grace Church of the Nazarene, plan to spend their retirement traveling internationally with the church and using those global connections to serve others.
Administrative Assistant for Athletics
Fran Parham began her Trevecca story as an 18-year old freshman in 1969. Nearly 40 years later, she returned to campus to work in the athletic department.
Fran met her husband, Roxroy Parham, one of the University’s first international students, as a freshman at Trevecca. A native of Belize, Roxroy was sponsored by T.E. Jones, former pastor of Trevecca Community Church (TCC).
The couple married shortly after at TCC, once known as College Hill Church, where the couple still attends regularly.
Parham’s oldest son, Roxroy Jr., attended Trevecca as an undergraduate, and their daughter, Elicia Canaday, works on campus in the accounting department.
Former Trevecca athletic director, Alan Smith, who was a Trevecca classmate of Parham’s, contacted her about a position in the athletic department in 2003.
“My first response was no because I didn't know anything about athletics,” she recalled. “I was the kid in school that was the last chosen in sports [who always] became scorekeeper.”
Despite Parham’s protests, Smith was confident she could do the job. Parham agreed and has been a part of the Trevecca’s athletics department ever since. Over the past 16 years, she’s seen changes to nearly every sports program as well as a few additions and relaunches, such as soccer, golf and cross country and track and field programs.
Parham plans to stay active in Trevecca athletics. She is planning to come back for the upcoming basketball season to work the games.
Dr. Corlis McGee
Professor of Economics
Dr. Corlis McGee, a 1975 Trevecca graduate, has devoted her career to Christian higher education. She plans to retire at the close of the academic year, after a combined 15 years as a professor at Trevecca as well as more than four decades of service to various Nazarene higher education institutions.
Prior to returning to Trevecca in 2017, McGee previously taught at Trevecca for 13 years, including three years as the chair of the Department of Business. She returned to the University in 2017 after serving as the president of Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, Mass., for 12 years.
In addition, McGee previously served as the rector (president) of European Nazarene College in Buesingen, Germany; the dean of graduate studies at Point Loma Nazarene University and the vice president for academic affairs and dean at MidAmerica Nazarene University.
As she reflects on her retirement, McGee says she’ll miss the daily interactions with students and fellow faculty members the most.
“I’ll miss the contact with students and my colleagues,” she said. “I’ve been privileged to serve at several Nazarene institutions and I’ve been enriched by my experience at each of the institutions.”
Describing her return to Trevecca two years ago as coming “home,” McGee was grateful to return to the University that had shaped her and played an instrumental role in her career.
“I’m really indebted to Trevecca where I got my start and for faculty mentors, Dr. Gerald Skinner and Becky Niece, who encouraged me as a student, as a young professional and throughout my professional career,” she said. “It was a special opportunity to come back and spend a couple of years here.”
McGee expects to remain involved with the University and the city after she retires.
“I’ll teach some adjunct classes in the MBA program,” she said. “And I’ll probably be a bit more involved with a few non-profits. And I’ll probably travel.”
While she is looking ahead to the future, McGee is grateful for the past and her Trevecca experience.
“I am deeply grateful for the privilege of serving in Nazarene higher education and to be back here at Trevecca,” she said.