It’s the end of April, which means it’s the end of the 2019 spring semester and the 2018-19 school year – a year filled with construction, new events and loss.
When the year began nearly 250 days ago, nobody could have envisioned all the ups and downs of the next seven-plus months — both for the university and the students.
“I think it’s been, really, a year for me that’s different,” said Noland. “It just felt different because we didn’t have the Culp [Center]. This was a different year because the way things move on campus had been impacted by space, so we celebrated differently and gathered differently.”
Fall brought the Judah and the Lion’s fall concert that was moved to the Mini-Dome after President Trump announced a rally in Johnson City. ETSU football had an incredible season that ended in a SoCon title. In spring, Scotty McCreery packed Freedom Hall for the spring concert.
This year also brought the loss of Dr. Angela Radford Lewis, Chris Dula and nearly 40 other people associated with the university. Noland also said he’ll “always remember” this year after losing “two friends in Chris Dula and Angela [Radford] Lewis.”
Additionally, ETSU came to the brink of needing a new president after Noland was courted by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville to be their chancellor but then withdrew his nomination for chancellorship.
As for the year’s defining moment? That was an easy choice for Noland.
“We did something in January that was spectacular,” Noland said. “It was the Festival of Ideas … and I’m really hopeful that that Festival of Ideas can become part of the permanent fabric of this university.”
As for what to look forward to next year, Noland pointed to the completion of construction on the Culp Center and the James C. and Mary B. Martin Center for the Arts as two things he’s excited for. During the ETSU Board of Trustees meeting on Thursday afternoon, Noland said construction on both the Arts Center and the Culp was on-time, with both scheduled to be completed in Spring 2020. He also mentioned the Culp is under budget, as the renovations were projected to cost $45 million.