Second annual Roads Scholars Tour brings Vanderbilt to West Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. ñ From an auto manufacturing plant in Spring Hill to an agricultural center in Milan, from a rural school in Decaturville to a hospital in Jackson, more than 50 Vanderbilt faculty members, senior administrators, staff and student leaders will get a chance to experience Middle and West Tennessee Aug. 20-21. Sandwiched in between will be visits in Memphis to Elvis Presley’s home, the National Civil Rights Museum, Rhodes College and the Memphis Zoo.

Chancellor Gordon Gee will lead the second annual Roads Scholars Tour on a bus ride to locations important to the region’s economy, where history has been made and where Vanderbilt has significant partnerships. Initiated last year with a trip to East Tennessee, the tour was conceived as a way to welcome new faculty and to familiarize them and other members of the Vanderbilt community with Tennessee.

"The tour again will allow us to learn more about Tennessee, to visit places where Vanderbilt is currently engaged, and to create new relationships," Gee said. As a result of last year’s tour, Vanderbilt began a working partnership with a rural school system, increased our visibility in East Tennessee and deepened our faculty’s connection to our host state."

Newly hired and newly tenured faculty members were nominated by their deans to make the trip. Last year’s tour was such a success, especially with faculty, that this year "we have a waiting list of faculty who want to come along," said Gail Williams, assistant director of the Office of Community, Neighborhood and Government Relations.

The tour will begin early on the morning of Aug. 20, when the entourage will board a bus ñ emblazoned with "Vanderbilt Roads Scholars Tour" ñ outside Kirkland Hall for a quick trip down the road to Spring Hill, where they will observe the work at Saturn Corporation, an integral part of Tennessee’s growing automotive industry. From there the group will visit Riverside High School in Decaturville, where Vanderbilt senior Chandni Patel will talk about a local scholarship program, started by Decatur County businessman Jim Ayers, which enabled her to enroll at Vanderbilt.

The first stop in Memphis will be Graceland, the legendary home of Elvis Presley, followed by a tour of the National Civil Rights Museum. The agenda for Aug. 21 includes a trip to Rhodes College, the Memphis Zoo and lunch at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital. The group will stop off at the University of Tennessee West Tennessee Agricultural Center in Milan, before heading back to Nashville.

Rhodes and the Jackson-Madison stops were chosen because of partnerships between Vanderbilt and each of those institutions. Rhodes and Vanderbilt announced this spring an academic partnership offering graduate school opportunities for Rhodes students at Vanderbilt’s School of Nursing and Peabody College, Vanderbilt’s school of education and human development. The alliance also enhances interaction between faculty at the two campuses.

Jackson-Madison is one of a dozen hospitals that make up the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center Affiliate Network, through which community physicians conduct clinical trials, under the direction of VICC physicians-scientists. These hospitals throughout Tennessee and in Kentucky and Georgia provide patients access to some of the most promising investigational cancer treatments in their home communities, gives community physicians the opportunity to participate in clinical trials and broadens the reach of VICC clinical trials, which, in turn, speeds the development of new cancer therapies.

The Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital also provides pediatric critical care services as well as outpatient pediatric clinics in urology and cardiology to Jackson-Madison. Nurses from Jackson-Madison receive pediatric critical training at Vanderbilt and Vanderbilt nurses provide additional training in Jackson.

At Milan the group will tour the West Tennessee Agricultural Museum and observe some of the more than 100 research projects being conducted with a variety of crops.

Media Contact: Elizabeth Latt: (615) 322-NEWS

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