Huntsville, Ala. ---- Some 300 graduates will receive degrees during the fall commencement program scheduled at Alabama A&M University Friday, December 13, at the T.M. Elmore Building at 9 a.m., officials say.
Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, the tenth president of Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Murphreesboro, Tenn., will be the speaker. Prior to his arrival at MTSU, McPhee served as executive vice chancellor for the Tennessee Board of
Regents system (TBR) in Nashville. Moreover, he served as the system’s chief academic officer and interim chancellor. McPhee also has served in various senior-level administrative capacities at Oklahoma State University, University of Louisville, University of Memphis and others.
Under McPhee’s presidency, MTSU has experienced significant student enrollment increases, resulting in MTSU’s distinction as the largest undergraduate university in the state and the top choice for undergraduates. In the last 10 years, the University has added 23 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, five of which were new Ph.D. degrees (Public History, Literacy Studies, Computational Sciences; Mathematics and Science Education; and Molecular Biosciences). A new doctoral degree in education was added in 2012.
Additionally, two new colleges (Behavioral and Health Sciences and University College) were established, along with 10 new institutes and centers. In 2011, the Carnegie Corporation, one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most influential foundations, reaffirmed MTSU to a Comprehensive/Doctoral status and recognized the University for community engagement. Since McPhee’s arrival, MTSU has achieved success in raising admission standards, resulting in an increase in high-ability students. MTSU has been the institution of choice for midstate valedictorians and salutatorians in recent years and has enrolled a significant number of National Merit scholars and Achievement scholars.
McPhee’s presidency also coincided with several major improvements in University facilities. During the past six years, the University has been engaged in capital projects, either proposed, under construction, renovation, or competed, totaling more than $600 million. A ten-year, $70 million renovation of all student residential housing was completed in 2011. The College of Education moved into its new $31.7 million building in the summer of 2011 and the $70 million Student Union building opened in the fall of 2012. The University secured private gifts in support of a $6 million baseball stadium, which was completed in 2008. A $19-million expansion of the Health, Wellness and Recreation Center was also completed in 2008.
Dr. McPhee attended Highbury High School in Nassau, Bahamas, and spent one year as a student at The Bahamas Teachers College before transferring to Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where he earned his bachelor’s degree with highest honors, summa cum laude. He received his master’s degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla.; and a doctorate in applied behavioral studies in education from Oklahoma State University. He is also a graduate of the Harvard University Management Development Program and has completed professional development programs at St. Mary’s University of San Antonio, Texas, and Colorado College in Colorado Springs. In 2002, President George W. Bush appointed, and the U.S. Senate confirmed, McPhee to the National Council for the Humanities.
McPhee was named Outstanding American University President of 2002 by the American Football Foundation. In 2003, he was listed by Nashville Post business magazine as one of Tennessee’s 100 Most Powerful Individuals, and in 2004, he was ranked by Business Tennessee magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Powerful African Americans in the State of Tennessee. In 2006, McPhee was listed by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of seven university presidents in the U.S. who is shaping intercollegiate athletics on a national scale.
As an academician, McPhee’s scholarly publications and presentations are extensive. His publications have appeared in local, national and international professional journals. In addition, he is the senior author of a book, Understanding the Campus Culture: An Introduction to College, and has co-authored a chapter for a major college textbook on academic advising. McPhee’s scholarly pursuits include several international visits and presentations in locations such as Beijing, Changsha, Dunhuang, Hangzhou, Hong Kong, Lanzhou, Nanning, Shanghai, and Xian, China; Nassau, Bahamas; Antwerp, Belgium; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Montreal, Canada; Oxford, England; Mekelle, Ethiopia; Agra, Pune, Mumbai and New Delhi , India; Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel; Osaka and Tokyo, Japan; Seoul, South Korea; Penang, Malaysia; Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia; Bangkok, Thailand; and Ankara, Istanbul, and Izmir, Turkey. Most recently, a book of his photographic essays, China: Through the Eyes of An American University President, published in July 2012, was sponsored by the Hanban-Confucius Institute and released internationally.
McPhee also served a four-year term on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors (2003 to 2007) and was re-appointed to the board in 2010. He served a three-year term on the NCAA Executive Committee, chairs the Athlete Well-Being working group, served two terms as president of the Sun Belt Conference athletic league and was chairman of the SBC’s CEO Executive Committee. In May 2005, he was appointed to the NCAA Presidential Commission on the Future of Intercollegiate Athletics. A past member of the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, McPhee chaired its membership council. He is a member of the Murfreesboro Noon Rotary Club and the SunTrust Bank Board of Directors (Nashville) and SunTrust Regional Bank Advisory Board (Murfreesboro). He also served on the Nashville Adventure Science Center Board; the Middle Tennessee Medical Center Board; and the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America’s Middle Tennessee Council. He co-chaired the Tennessee Legislative Retreat Task Force on Higher Education and recently completed a second three-year term as a commission member of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. . Earlier this year, the Nashville Business Journal honored McPhee with its Rutherford County Impact Award and in September, the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International honored Dr. McPhee as a Paul Harris Fellow.
President McPhee is married to Elizabeth McPhee, and they have two adult children, Seneca and Sidney-Anthony.
During the commencement ceremony, two faculty members will receive professor emeriti status: Dr. Horace Rice of the Department of Management and Marketing, and Dr. Earl Gooding, Department of Community and Regional Planning.