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A team led by a midstate researcher has discovered a site in France it believes to be the battlefield where Tennessee native Alvin C. York and a few other soldiers captured an entire company of German soldiers during World War I.

Thomas Nolan, director of the R.O. Fullerton Laboratory for Spatial Technology at Middle Tennessee State University, led the research team, which located the battlefield site near Chtel-Chhry, France, on March 8, according to a release issued by MTSU.
A team led by a midstate researcher has discovered a site in France it believes to be the battlefield where Tennessee native Alvin C. York and a few other soldiers captured an entire company of German soldiers during World War I.

Thomas Nolan, director of the R.O. Fullerton Laboratory for Spatial Technology at Middle Tennessee State University, led the research team, which located the battlefield site near Chtel-Chhry, France, on March 8, according to a release issued by MTSU.

Nolan, a native of Louisville, Ky., and his team used geographic information systems (GIS), global positioning systems (GPS) and historic maps to locate the actual location of the engagement. The exact location of the battle has been disputed for decades.

The team unearthed cartridge casings and several German grenades at the site.

Nolen, who has taught at MTSU since 1994, funded the research on his own, the university said. According to the university's release, French officials are considering creating a park at the site.

York was born in Pall Mall, Tenn., in 1887 and, at the age of 30, found himself fighting in World War I. On Oct. 8, 1918, his 17-man company engaged 80 German soldiers. Eight Americans were killed or wounded. York, a sharpshooter, brought down a German machine gunner and then killed six charging Germans with his pistol.

Later, York and the other survivors escorted 132 German prisoners to Allied lines. For his actions in the battle, York received the Congressional Medal of Honor. (The Tennessean, March 16, 2006)

Tennessee State University held a kickoff event last week to open its new Center for Academic Excellence in Intelligence Studies.

TSU is among four schools nationwide to start a federally funded program that trains students in the field of national security and intelligence.

The center will offer courses in the College of Art and Sciences and College of Business that emphasize political economics. Classes, to be taught by TSU faculty, are scheduled to start in Spring 2007.

The three-year grant of $750,000 each year is paid for by federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. (The Tennessean, March 22, 2006)

East Tennessee State University has stripped back its $19 million plan to renovate the D.P. Culp University Center in favor of a less expensive upgrade scheduled to begin next fall.

"The $19 million was our dream, but we just had to scale it down to match the dollars that we have," said Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU vice president for administration and chief operating officer.

ETSU officials had disclosed the original $19.04 million plan to the Tennessee Board of Regents as part of its 2005-06 capital improvements list. Bishop said administrators thought they might be able to give the Culp Center a major overhaul, including aesthetic improvements to the building's exterior, but the concept proved impractical in terms of funding.

So the administration cut the project to about $6.7 million, and it will include renovations to several areas and offices in the building and an upgrade for the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Though student fees would be the source of project's funds, Bishop said, the renovation would require no increase in what students pay to attend ETSU. (Kingsport Times-News, March 13, 2006)

Tennessee Tech University officials announced recently the largest single gift in the university's history -- $2 million from local First National Bank and Millard and JJ Oakley.

Upper Cumberland businessman and shareholder of First National Bank of Tennessee, Millard Oakley and his wife, JJ, believe so strongly in Tennessee Tech University's plan for a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) center that they committed $2 million to the cause.

And they're willing to bet others will do the same. The $2 million donation comes with a caveat: the university must raise at least $2 million more to keep the money. The Oakleys' gift is a challenge donation, meant to spur others to donate to the same cause.

"We're not just raising money for Tennessee Tech," said TTU President Bob Bell. "We're raising funds for the future of our communities, our state and ultimately the future of our country's economy. That's how much of an impact we believe this program will have."

The Oakleys believe it, too. Millard Oakley is a native of the Upper Cumberland region and served in the state legislature, as general counsel for the U.S. House of Representatives Select Committee on Small Business, as Tennessee's state insurance commissioner and other positions. Today, Oakley is a director of First National Bank of Tennessee.

"Ours is a community bank," said Oakley. "The money we make here stays here. Our goal is to help everybody who wants an education to be provided one."

Oakley is an investor in business and real estate and serves on the board of directors for Thomas Nelson Publishers. He also owns a radio station in Livingston.

The Oakleys have a history of supporting education in the community. In 2004, they sponsored, through First National Bank, the Vince Gill fundraising concert that helped TTU raise more than $141,000 for its School of Nursing. They have contributed to Volunteer State Community College and supported the Overton County Library. (Herald-Citizen, March 18, 2006)

The University of Memphis received the Tennessee Board of Regent's Academic Excellence Award for increasing retention, instructional effectiveness and student achievement in Memphis City Schools through its New Teacher Center Partnership.

Also, the U.S. Department of Education awarded $2.9 million to Memphis City Schools for the Striving Readers program. The University of Memphis will implement school-level intervention for this project. (American Association of State Colleges and Universities, accessed March 22, 2006, from the Web site: www.aascu.org)

The University of Tennessee at Martin Student Chapter of the Wildlife Society recently won Tennessee Wildlife Federation's Conservation Organization of the Year.

The student chapter, with approximately 50 members in 2005, hosted the Tennessee Wildlife Federation's Blue Ribbon Panel on west Tennessee waterfowl hunting and initiated a “Hunting 101” program for members, which matched wildlife majors who have never hunted with those who are experienced. (American Association of State Colleges and Universities, accessed March 22, 2006, from the Web site: www.aascu.org)