Month: April 2018


Johnson’s History Center renovated for 125th anniversary

KNOXVILLE— Johnson University is celebrating its 125 year anniversary, and one part of commemorating this special occasion was the redesigning of the Phillips-Welshimer building’s History Center.

Director of Human Resources at Johnson University, Leslie Bean became a part of the Quasquicentennial Celebratory Committee. With an education in history and museum studies, Bean lead in the creating ideas for the exhibits for the 125th.

There are three categories of the committee: events, publication, and exhibits. From Cabinet members to staff and faculty, a wide range of people were chosen to be involved.

“They were picking people who could help put things in place to celebrate the 125th,” Bean said.


Bean said the committee began meeting in the summer of 2016, and knew they wanted to do something with the History Center, but nothing was decided then.

“This room was set up before for the 100th anniversary,” said Bean. “So not much had changed over the past twenty-five years.”


The History Center’s established usage and ideal placement meant that it was was overdue for an update.

“As neat and interesting as the artifacts in this room were, they didn’t really tell the story of Johnson,” Bean said. “We wanted a space close to the auditorium where most of the events were being held.”


Bean made plans with Facilities and met with the Committee about the progress. Bean said it took about a year to nail down the plans for this room, and renovations began in October of 2017.

“Jonathan Robinson, and Facilities really helped spearhead all the physical renovations,” Bean said. “Facilities really had a big part in putting this room together.”

Her and Mark Young put together the videography features such as the Smart TV of the History Center.


Inspired by East Tennessee’s History Center, Bean said that they wanted to change the name to reflect the change in the room’s functionality and purpose.

“Traditionally this room was referred to as the Historical Room, and it was in memory of the Johnson’s,” Bean said. “We wanted something more functional, a room that would tell the story of the place…I also wanted a room that could be used for multiple events.”


Having opened for homecoming, and to be used for Senior Saints workshops, Bean hopes that this center is the beginning for future exhibits.

“It will remain as an exhibit space,” Bean said. “But I hope that after we have other projects completed such as the ARK we will be able to have more exhibits.”

The History Center will continue to serve as a functional room designed for multiple uses for Johnson. It is open during the week for anyone to discover Johnson’s history.



SPSU to host night of worship,prayer

KNOXVILLE— Students Promoting Social Unity will host a night of worship from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., April 27 in the PW Gym. The theme of the worship night is “Rise out of the darkness.” This event will count as a chapel makeup opportunity.

The night will consist of worship, a guest speaker, a testimony and time of prayer. Guest speaker, Pamela Laws, will be speaking on the healing power of the cross.

SGA is coming alongside SPSU in hosting this event. The first 100 through the door will receive a wrist band to remember the evening. Refreshments will be served in the Marble Hallway following the event.

This event is a continuation of raising awareness and serves as the third event held on campus. During the 2017-18 year, SPSU has focused on starting the conversation and raising awareness regarding all forms of abuse.

In November, SPSU started the conversation by hosting a panel discussion focused on breaking the silence on abuse. SPSU then hosted a self defense class in February to offer education and raise more awareness on campus.

SPSU invites all the Johnson community to attend and continue to raise awareness.


“Rewarding careers lead to happier lives”

Rita Karnes, Johnson University Tennessee campuses school nurse, has been working for JUTN for 18 years. While following the footsteps of those around her, including her sister and aunt, she became a registered nurse in 1979 and began working for different in-home healthcare companies before being led back to JUTN.

Karnes said that she followed her husband back to JUTN. Both her and her husband graduated from JUTN and felt called to eventually come back to campus to work. Her husband began working as a coach and the Athletic Director, while she picked up secretarial jobs around campus.

“I got out of college after two years, got married, and had kids,” Karnes said. “I wanted a more secure income for my kids, and my sister was a nurse so that really influenced me.

“I worked here [at JUTN] at different jobs for some time, mostly secretarial work, and the pay just wasn’t what I needed in order to do the things I wanted with my kids,” she said.

She said that before she came back to Johnson, she ;had done different home healthcare and was on the road constantly.

“Some days I would drive nearly 200 miles to different patients. I think just being here was low-stress for me because I lived on campus when i took the job in 2000,” said Karnes.

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Rita Karnes in the JUTN nurses’ office located on the main floor of the Eubanks Activity Center.

Karnes mentioned that the main reason she took the job 18 years ago and why she has stayed here for so long is how rewarding the nature of the job is, as well as the community of JUTN.

“You’re here, you’re meeting kindred spirits as far as your faith. The camradery and family you build here and the feeling of closeness and low-stress has been why i have kept this job for as long as I have,” said Karnes.


“With other jobs I have had in in the past I might see someone once a week for a long time and then never see them again and never know what happens to them. Being here is so different from that. Being here has been nice because I get to see people grow and move out of this season, and know how they are doing,” Karnes added. “The low-stress and the low hours of this job have made me love working here, but also this is just a happy place to be.”

Karnes mentioned that she began this job for the low-stress enviroment and because she didn’t need a full-time job because her children were out of the house and she was no longer supporing them as much, and because she still wanted to work just not in a stressful and busy enviroment. She has largely stayed because of the relationships she has built with not only students, but also the staff of JUTN.

According to Karnes, even though she mainly sees students when something is wrong, she enjoys seeing them, even if they are sick, and getting to catch up with them from the last time they spoke.

“This job is honestly just really fun. Part of what is so fun is how rewarding it is. You get to see students come in as little freshmen and then you may not see them for a year or so and then they pop back in here. Usually I only see them when something is wrong, but getting to follow them throughout the four years they are here and watching them grow is so fun. It’s just a very rewarding career all around,” Karnes said.

According to Karnes, although she has enjoyed being here for the last 18 years and getting to know everyone here throughout that time, she is planning to retire December 31, 2018.

“I’m looking at my retirement as the second part of my life,” said Karnes.

According to Karnes, she doesn’t currently have any set plans for after she is finished working at JUTN, and mentions that she will sincerly miss the campus and being here, as well as getting to know the students and watching them grow throughout their time here.

“Retirement for me is all about relinquishing your life. At some point you have to do that. Some do it when they are young, some do it when you are older. I am just to the point where I’m relinquishing to the Lord saying whatever happens to me, I’m depending on You to direct me,” Karnes said.

Currently, Karnes is working with an organization focused on taking animals out of kill shelters and placing them in good foster homes.

“I’m looking forward to having more time to do different things. When I go on trips with the dogs, sometimes I get to take my grandkids with me. With more time I might even get new routes for the trips and meet new people out of that. I’m just excited to see where this new time takes me,” Karnes said.

Karnes mentioned that chosing to retire was easy for her to do. She no longer needs a job like this and is looking forward to starting a new season of life in this context, but thinking about leaving JUTN was a hard thing to think about, even though she says she will not be totally gone once she retires.

“It really is true when people say that if you love your job, you will never work a day in your life. I don’t even feel like I am working, I am just here to help and meet people that share similar interests as me, including the love of God. Being in such a rewarding enviroment has made me so happy… rewarding careers really do lead to happier lives,” Karnes said.

With 18 and a half years working at Johnson, and getting to know so many throughout that time, Karnes says that she is really going to miss being here a few days a week, and that it really wil take some time for her to adjudst to this new season, but she is excited to see where it goes.




Ignite your prayer life

KNOXVILLE — Harvesters will be hosting a night of prayer tomorrow evening beginning at 10:30 p.m. lasting till 6 a.m. the next morning. The event, Ignite, will take place in the Philip-Whelshimer gymnasium.

Ignite poster

Ignite is an annual event, with this years theme centering around Jesus in the Garden.

Bekah Oaks, co-president of Harvesters, said the Harvesters leadership team especially wanted to make Ignite a focus this year because it fits so well with the current chapel theme: Lord, teach me to pray.

“I think Ignite fits perfectly with our theme of ‘Jesus teach us to pray,’ because it is a great way to put tire to road, so to speak,” Oaks said. “We have been hearing about the different ways Jesus prayed all year long, and now is a great opportunity for students, faculty, and staff alike to actually partake in those prayers.”

Each half hour will be focused on a different aspect/way to pray. There will be different prayer stations and worship taking place throughout the night.

Students are welcome to come and go as they please until 1 a.m. curfew. At that point people need to decide if they want to stay for the rest of the night or if they want to leave.

The event offers a variety of ways to pray, interacting with different learning types and personalities. 


Health and wellness fair

KNOXVILLE — Johnson’s Public Health majors will be hosting a Health and Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Thursday in the Gally Commons, private dining rooms 1 and 2. Students, Faculty and Staff are all encouraged to drop by.

The fair will offer information on health and wellness issues while also supporting Johnson’s Public Heath majors. There will be prizes handed out at the door.

The participating Health and Wellness Providers include:

  • Advanced Chiropractic Associates, PLLC
  • Brown Chiropractic Clinic
  • Foothills Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Center
  • Knox County Health Department
  • East Tennessee Regional Health Office
  • Moyers Nutrition Services, LLC, MS, Registered Dietician, Licensed Dietician-Nutritionist, and Consultant Dietician for East TN and KY
  • Humana Go 365
  • Royal Wellness

Public Health students will also have tables set up with information on:


Public Health students preparing a poster for their exhibit.

  • Hand washing
  • This is Public Health – Public & Global Community Health
  • Use and Abuse of Antibiotics
  • Nutrition and Kids
  • Acupuncture
  • Antibiotics
  • Stress Managment
  • Tobacco Prevention

Cindi Norton, professor and program director for Public Health, is excited for the fair, which gives Public Health students hands on experience in organizing exhibits for health and wellness fairs. Norton teaches a holistic approach to health, encouraging others to look at mind, body and spirit.




Now playing: The Hollow, preformed by Johnson’s drama students

KNOXVILLE — Johnson’s drama group will be performing The Hollow, by Agatha Christie at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The performance will be held in the Old Main building.

Tickets are being given away in the Gally Commons hallway during meal times. This will be a free performance, but tickets are required for entry. Thursday’s performance is sold out.


Tickets are available outside the Gally Commons.

The Hollow is a murder mystery that may not be suitable for young children, parents be advised.




Information regarding 2018 Commencement

KNOXVILLE— The Johnson University 2018 Commencement is approaching. All JUTN graduates are advised to review the following information for Commencement on May 5.
For those that have not yet picked up regalia,there will be a second Regalia pick up set from 12-5 p.m. April 16-20. Regalia can be picked up at the back door of the Registrar’s Office.


Rehearsal will take place at 2 p.m. May 4 in the PW Gymnasium. Only graduating seniors and faculty are to attend the rehearsal. Graduates will need to bring their regalia to rehearsal for photos.

Following the rehearsal, there will be a faculty reception held at 3:30 p.m. at the White House for graduates and their immediate family.

Commencement Attire

Graduates are not permitted to decorate or alter their caps or gowns. Graduates that arrive to the ceremony with an altered cap or gown, will be provided and charged for new regalia. This charge will be added to the graduate’s student account.

Men should wear a button down shirt, tie, dark pants, and dark dress shoes. Women should dress modestly and suitably for the occasion.


The Commencement will take place at 4 p.m. May 5 at the Sevierville Convention Center, located at 202 Gists Creek Rd in Sevierville, TN 37876.

Graduates are to arrive at the convention center at 2 p.m. There will be a separate entrance for graduates, marked by signs. Guests are advised to arrive early to avoid traffic delays.

The event will be livestreamed for those who will not be able to attend. To watch via livestream, visit the Johnson University livestream  the day of Commencement.

For additional information or questions contact Registrar at