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Methodist Conference Endorses Martin merger with UT

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The University of Tennessee Southern will retain the religious character of Martin Methodist College, though the schools have merged.

Minutes from a recent Tennessee United Methodist Conference meeting made that clear,

A resolution presented by The Honorable Connie Clark, Rev. Dr. Mark LaBranche, and Dr. Roy Nicks was approved by the conference. Clark is a Tennessee Supreme Court Justice, LaBranche, former president of Martin, was named University of Tennessee Southern Chancellor, and Nicks is former president of East Tennessee State University,

Several questions were asked and answered according to minutes of the meeting from the United Methodist Conference web site.

“Yes, there will still be a religion department and pre-ministry degree,” was the partial answer to one question.

“Any new programs have to get approval. They are taking everything with them as it relates to programming.”

The Wesley Foundation, another well known Methodist church program, also will continue on the University of Tennessee Southern campus.

“Pulaski First United Methodist Church will house it temporarily,” was part of the response.

“The college recognizes the responsibility to find a location once a director has been hired,”

Scholarships give by individual United Methodist churches to Martin also will continue to be honored, according to the minutes,

“A letter was sent to every individual and church that offers a scholarship. Endowment is staying with the college. It will be administered by a board and will be used for United Methodist students,” was the reply.

Representatives from both institutions of higher learning have indicated that others were not approached about the merger,

“Martin Methodist College had not had conversations with other colleges,” according to the minutes.

“Input was given by other colleges and individuals. There is a 14 county area that has no other 4-year college. The closest UT institution is 70 miles away. Alabama is drawing away students from areas covered by Martin.

“Middle Tennessee State University initially resisted action and wanted Martin to be an extension of MTSU. That was not entertained.”

The name of what was described as a “new partnership,” University of Tennessee Southern was selected after surveying many people. It represents the region,” according to the minutes.

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