Internationally acclaimed Irish folk band to perform at Jackson State

Irish folk group Brock McGuire Band will return to Jackson State Community College on Oct. 13 for a free concert open to the public. The performance begins at 6:30 p.m. in Ayers Auditorium.

The internationally recognized band first played on campus last September during Jackson State’s International Week. Because the performance appealed strongly to students and staff, Brock McGuire Band played there again in April during its spring U.S. tour.

Prior to the upcoming concert, the band will conduct two master classes for students in music appreciation and humanities. The band did the same before its previous two visits.

“These master classes add so much more depth to the educational experience for our students,” said Mary Wadley, Jackson State professor and International Education sponsor. “They have the opportunity to see and experience different cultures instead of just reading and hearing about them third hand.”

Brock McGuire Band is a multi-award winning folk group led by two of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians — button accordionist Paul Brock and fiddler Manus McGuire. Band members also include multi-instrumentalist Dave Curley and pianist, composer and arranger Denis Carey.

Accolades for the group include “Instrumental Band of the Decade” from Irish American News and a 5-star “Top of the World” award from the prestigious world music magazine Songlines.

Brock McGuire Band’s fall 2016 U.S. tour includes other stops in Tennessee, as well as Arkansas, Louisiana, Alabama, Florida and North Carolina.

For more information regarding this performance or other opportunities in international education at Jackson State, contact Wadley at 731-424-3520 ext. 50252 or

FAFSA Frenzy to begin at JSCC

From October 4 through January 12, Jackson State Community College will participate in a statewide financial aid drive better known as FAFSA Frenzy. The financial aid office will host a number of dates and times for new and returning students to receive assistance with filling out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

According to financial aid officer Jacob Moore, the application should take no more than 30 minutes to complete. “Students should bring tax returns, W2 forms, amounts for child support paid or received, and any other relevant financial documents,” said Moore. “Dependent students should also bring a parent.”

Dates and times for FAFSA Frenzy can be found on the JSCC website at The event will take place in the college’s Student Center located by the new Jim Moss Center for Nursing.

For more information, contact the JSCC financial aid office at (731) 425-2605.

Bagels and Bluegrass Set for October 15 at JSCC

The 15th Anniversary of the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour is set for Saturday, Oct. 15 at Jackson State Community College. The event includes bicycle road tours varying in length from 14 to 100 miles. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Jackson State scholarship fund and Friends of Chickasaw and Pinson Mounds State Parks.

The routes on the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour are designed for beginners to advanced riders. There is a 14-mile family fun ride, 32-mile, 62-mile and 100-mile routes. The 100-mile century route will take cyclists through Chickasaw and Pinson Mounds State Parks. For completing this route, cyclists will receive a commemorative patch.

Registration begins at 6 a.m. in the lobby of the Gymnasium at Jackson State. There will be a welcome ceremony beginning at 7:45 a.m. and cyclists will begin the tour at 8 a.m. The fee for the ride is $25 in advance and $30 the day of the event. Families can participate together on the 14-mile family fun ride for $35 per family.

The registration fee includes a bagel breakfast, lunch from Chik-Fil-A, t-shirts for the first 100 registrants, and a goody bag. Each registered rider is also eligible for a special door prize drawing. Registration form, maps, and more details are available at

Dr. Kent Jones, a cycling enthusiast, first organized Bagels and Bluegrass out of his passion for the sport. Eventually, he focused the event on raising much-needed funds for two causes near and dear to him, Jackson State Community College and our area state parks. Though Dr. Jones no longer rides, he remains actively involved in the planning of this annual event.

For more information about the Bagels and Bluegrass Bicycle Century Tour event, call 731-616-7474.

Cuban-born author to speak at Jackson State

Marisella Veiga, a Cuban-born author, poet and journalist, will speak Sept. 28 and Sept. 29 at Jackson State Community College.

Veiga wrote “We Carry Our Homes with Us: A Cuban-American Memoir” about her family’s flight from Cuba and their exile and resettlement in the American Midwest. Her writings have appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including the Washington Post, Poets & Writers and Art in America.

She will speak to students and guests at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 28, and at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Sept. 29, in room 108 of the Nursing Building. The auditorium can seat up to 120 people. The event is free, and the public is invited to attend.

Her memoir explores the transition from Cuba to Minnesota in the early 1960s as her family adjusted to a new culture, language and climate in order to escape communism. It was published in April and will be available for purchase.

Born in Havana, Veiga was raised in St. Paul and Miami. She lives in St. Augustine, Fla., where she is an adjunct instructor at Flagler College. She is a nationally syndicated columnist, celebrated cook and winner of several awards for fiction and nonfiction writing.

Veiga’s visit coincides with Hispanic Heritage Month, which is from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 this year.

For more information about this or other events pertaining to international education at JSCC, contact Mary Wadley at (731) 424-3520 ext. 50252 or

JSCC athletic director reinstated

After having his duties reassigned on August 25, former athletic director Steve Cornelison has been reinstated effective immediately. Former president Bruce Blanding had made the decision to reassign Cornelison based on what was deemed as personal differences.

“Steve has been, and continues to be, a valued member of the Jackson State family,” said Horace Chase, interim president. “He has a very successful track record with the college’s athletic program and his reinstatement is an action we feel is well-justified.”

Cornelison has been employed by the college since 1998. He has led the athletic program since 2002.

Chancellor Announces Interim President for JSCC

Horace Chase, Jackson State Community College’s vice president of financial and administrative affairs for 17 years, has been appointed interim president of the college until the conclusion of a search for a successor to retiring President Bruce Blanding.

Dr. Blanding, who has led the campus since February 2004, announced in April his plans to retire, effective January 31, 2017. He asked Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor David Gregory to move up his retirement date and to consider releasing him from his duties for the remainder of his tenure. Gregory approved the request, citing his nearly 13 years of distinguished service to the college, the TBR system and the state.

Following discussions with JSCC leaders, Gregory asked Chase to serve as interim president until a new president is selected. The search for a new president began Thursday with a public forum and the inaugural meeting of a presidential search advisory committee, both of which occurred on the Jackson campus.

Chase began his career at Jackson State in March 1990 as an internal auditor and nine years later, assumed the role of vice president of financial and administrative affairs. Before coming to JSCC, he was as an auditor at Brandon, Smith and Jones, a certified public accounting firm in Memphis, and a senior accountant at LeMoyne-Owen College.

He received a bachelor’s degree in professional accounting from Mississippi State University and a master’s in business administration from the University of Tennessee at Martin. He received his CPA licensure from the State of Tennessee.

Chase is a past chair of the Community Colleges Council of the National Association of College and University Business Officers and has served for 12 years as an accreditation evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

He has one daughter and two grandchildren.

“We are fortunate to have such a strong team in place at Jackson State and to have Vice President Chase ready and willing to lead. I’m confident that the faculty and staff will help him through a seamless transition for our students, whose education is always our mission and focus,” the chancellor said today (Friday).

“Our focus is going to continue to be on student success and I’ll be relying on the support of our quality faculty and staff, along with the leadership of the other vice presidents, to help assure we provide for the educational needs of our students,” Chase said.

He also said he will not be a candidate for the college’s presidency.

The chancellor also thanked President Blanding for his years of service, which includes prior work at the Tennessee Colleges of Applied Technology and other community colleges before his arrival at Jackson State in 2004. “I am grateful to President Blanding for his past leadership at several institutions that are part of the Tennessee Board of Regents system and most particularly his role at Jackson State over the last decade,” Gregory said.

The 16-member search advisory committee — composed of three members of the Tennessee Board of Regents and campus and community representatives — will review potentially dozens of applicants and nominees, then select three to five finalists who will be invited to the campus for further interviews and meetings with faculty, staff, students and the public.

After those meetings, the chancellor will recommend a candidate to the full board for its consideration. The board expects to appoint a new president by the end of the year.

At the meeting on campus Thursday afternoon, the search committee’s chair, Regent Barbara Prescott, told her colleagues on the committee that “presidential searches are one of the most important responsibilities of the Board of Regents and the chancellor. You all know the importance of leadership,” she said.

The committee reviewed its timeline, the procedures for selecting finalists and the criteria for a new president approved by the Board of Regents in June. In addition to the published criteria, Gregory said the committee is looking for “a leader who can inspire people, who has vision, who has a great passion not only for education but for the success of students.”

The committee will work with the executive search firm Greenwood/Asher & Associates to help identify a broad range of highly qualified candidates.

Dr. Betty Asher, a partner in the firm, told the committee that JSCC is ready for its next phase of excellence in serving students. “I don’t know of many community colleges across the country who are as poised for the future as you are. You are in a very elite group of community colleges working very hard on student success initiatives,” she said.

Earlier Thursday, Asher led a public forum on the campus in which community members expressed their views on what values and qualities the next president should possess.