ETSU Today

Winter 2024


president Brian Noland shakes hands with recent graduate

This past fall, we welcomed the largest class of first-year students in the history of East Tennessee State University. Celebrating this historic occasion compelled me to reflect upon what it means to be a Buccaneer. 

In today’s world, it is easy to become cynical, overwhelmed, and distracted. Amid the noise, it can be challenging to find meaning. So, we must periodically remind ourselves of who we are and what we stand for.

ETSU was founded in 1911 with a singular mission: to improve the quality of life for people of our region and beyond. This is a university community that lives by the principles that people come first, education should be hands-on, and all of us should work toward a purpose greater than ourselves.

This is a place where anyone, regardless of where they came from, can grow, succeed, and compete with the best. Some of our students come from challenging backgrounds, and we all struggle from time to time. But we are adept at turning obstacles into opportunities for growth, and we do not shy away from hard work.

At ETSU, we are invigorated by new ideas but do not rest on theory. We roll up our sleeves, get out into our communities, and put those ideas to work. We earn prestigious awards and play at an elite level — but elitism doesn’t enter our vocabulary.

Our campus is a rich tapestry of diversity, with students hailing from every U.S. state and nearly 60 countries. We have first-generation students. Students from underprivileged backgrounds. Students who are veterans of wars. Parents who are pursuing a degree while raising their children. And some of the brightest scholars from around the world.

Bucs work hard. Bucs give back. And Bucs go beyond.

Throughout these pages, you will find stories of these values in action. I hope you will be reminded, as I am, of why you are proud to be a Buccaneer. Godspeed, and go Bucs!

president brian noland's signature

Brian Noland
ETSU President

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ETSU By The Numbers

East Tennessee State University has a proud tradition of military service and excellence. Each year, for more than a decade, ETSU has received the prestigious Military Friendly® designation, a badge of honor that signifies our sustained efforts to provide the best possible education and resources to our military-affiliated students and their families. Through our Military and Veteran Services Center, we provide numerous avenues of support for active-duty service members, reservists and National Guard members, veterans, and their families.

military-affiliated vector illustration

951 military-affiliated students

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Alums include 17 generals and flag officers

27% military student increase

27% increase in military-affiliated students since 2021

ROTC Highlights

ETSU's Buccaneer Battalion is the top performing ROTC program in Tennessee and among the best in the nation. Here's a look at some of their accomplishments. 

Routinely places in top 3 of local and national endurance events:

1st place Mountain Man Half-Marathon heavy ruck run (team)

1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishes in 2022 Mountain Man Half-Marathon run

1st place in 2022 Pistol Ultra 50K relay race

1st place in 2021 Charlotte, North Carolina, Spartan 5K

131 total 2023 Cadets (largest ETSU ROTC enrollment in past 20 years)

17 National Scholarship recipients

4 contracted Cadets were awarded Advance Designee Scholarships.

2nd best performing 7BDE ROTC program (38 total host programs, and 6 extension programs with 20+ cross-town relationships) during Cadet Summer Training 2022

10 Cadets attended Air Assault training last summer

2 Attended Project Go (language learning in Jordan / San Diego)

2 attended Nurse Summer Training Program (NSTP) at Fort Sam Houston / JBLM

3 attended Cadet Leader Training (on-the-job training), 1 in Alaska, 2 at Fort Liberty, including 1 with a Special Forces unit

Military-Affiliated Student Resources

Campus Conversations with President Brian Noland

In this episode of Campus Conversations, President Noland sat down with Col. Dan Bishop, ETSU’s Director of Veteran and Military Affairs. Col. Bishop shared the resources ETSU provides to veteran and military-affiliated students and families across our community — and how he once broke a tank in an attempt to take it airborne.

Check Out ETSU's Military-Affiliated Student Resources



ETSU Research Expenditures



in Fiscal Year 2023



in Fiscal Year 2022







ETSU undergrads enjoy tremendous research opportunities.

ETSU Today
Winter 2024

Sign up to receive physical copies of future editions of ETSU Today! In each edition, you will explore stories about ETSU's vibrant community of students, faculty, and researchers. Want to know more?

Students getting hands-on learning opportunities is at the core of ETSU’s approach to education.

ETSU has taken extraordinary steps to make the institution more affordable, and the U.S. New & World Report places ETSU in the top 10% in the nation when it comes to graduating students with the least amount of debt.

ETSU is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream, and readers of the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine named ETSU the 2023 Top Adventure College.

Read more on ETSU News.

Read the full digital PDF of the current issue of ETSU Today



Brian Noland

Fred Sauceman

Jess Vodden

Jeanette Henry Jewell

Cody Ryans
Briar Worley

Melissa Nipper
Lorraine Vestal

Pamela Ritter
Whitney Goetz

Ron Campbell
Matthew Carroll
Dakota Hamilton
Larry Smith
Charlie Warden

Kevin Brown
Karen Crigger
Lee Ann Davis
O.J. Early
Yasmeen Elayan
Mike Ezekiel
Jennifer Hill
Rachel Howard
Melissa Nipper
Jonathan Roberts
Fred Sauceman
Joe Smith

Romario Briscoe
Kevin Call
Amerrica Duggan-Torbert
Sherry Martinez
Lindsey Mumpower
Cody Ryans