by John Collett, MMC Director of Church Relations
The 151st class of Martin Methodist College students is now assembled, and Martin will be celebrating its Sesquicentennial during all of 2019–20! This milestone is a remarkable achievement of history and service, with Martin having provided church-related, faith-based higher education for over 7 generations.
Celebrations, gatherings, reunions, visits to churches, and ways of renewing our vision and mission will fill the coming academic year. Check out www.martinmethodist.edu/about/sesquicentennial-events.
In my first year as Director of Church Relations, I have witnessed fresh excitement for our college. I have traveled extensively over southcentral and west Tennessee and have made forays into N Alabama. With the vision of President Mark La Branche, MMC has reset its mission “to be the epicenter for education, healthcare, church and community leadership, and workforce development and a national model for church-related higher education in rural America.”
This missional vision is taking hold in the field. Most of our geographic footprint consists of rural space with smaller towns and churches. The refocused Turner Center, under the leadership of Allen Stanton, is striving to cultivate thriving rural communities. Most of our students come from this same geography, although MMC enrolls students from across the county, region, and from approximately 30 other countries.
I have been blessed to visit with more than 100 pastors, dozens of congregations, most of the laity clubs of the Tennessee Conference, and two years of annual conferences for both Tennessee and Memphis, one being in Paducah. I sense enthusiasm for our college when these audiences glean our mission and remember our legacy of educating young adults to become leaders of our communities, businesses, and churches.
Martin Methodist is the only 4-year baccalaureate college in southcentral Tennessee, with the only college of nursing and MBA degree programs. Martin enrolls about 1,000 students, counting part-time, evening, and online. The college offers majors in 30 areas of study, lively residential campus life, an intentional spiritual presence, and a winning athletics program. Martin’s most populated student curricula include teacher education, business education, and health sciences. The college of nursing is stellar and provides nurses for our region and small rural hospitals. Our MBA degree is advancing business acumen across the region. And our college continues to equip students for church-related vocations.
I am exceedingly encouraged by the warm reception and enthusiasm expressed for Martin Methodist. I have discovered enormous goodwill from pastors, laity, alumni, prospective students, and from our members in the Memphis Conference. I find that we need to refresh ourselves on the many blessings of Martin Methodist College and the role our college is playing in the region. Thanks to the vision of Victoria Martin and the gift from the estate of her father, Thomas, in 1870, we continue to reap the harvest. Our college is still changing lives and communities. And the best is yet to come!