Before honoring a veteran student adviser Friday with a new car in what will become an annual tradition, East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland detailed plans to overhaul aspects of the campus this summer.
During a ceremony at the school’s amphitheater Friday afternoon, Noland announced that a green space would be created in the middle of campus, that the Mini Dome would be improved for games and other aspects of campus would be modernized this summer and fall.
“What I hope we can do as an institution and as a community is to build upon the foundation of excellence that we have on campus and push the institution forward,” he said in an interview after presenting Tim Dills, senior academic adviser in the ETSU College of Business and Technology, with a new car for his contribution to student success during his career.
“Over the course of the summer we’re going to begin the work of returning the core of campus to a lawn to celebrate occasions such as today, but to literally return the heart of the campus to our students,” Noland said.
In the fall, Noland said modernization of the amphitheater will begin.
“It’s the most widely recognized and well-known portion of the institution,” Noland said of the amphitheater. “When you look at postcards from the ’60s and the ’70s this is what they show.”
Noland said work has already begun on improving the Dome, specifically the roof. The building’s seating and concessions will also be improved to enhance the game day experience as part of an overall campus re-visioning effort that will kick off in a few weeks.
“The whole goal is when students return for the fall and we play our first men’s and women’s basketball game in the Dome, it looks different, the experience is enhanced and we’re able to attract our fans from across the region back home to campus,” he said.
Dills was the inaugural recipient of the Bert C. Bach Servant Leadership Award. This honor included the keys to a 2012 Honda Civic donated by Johnson City Honda.
“It was quite a shock,” Dills said after being presented with the award and car keys. “I had been told to be here for the ceremony but no one would tell me why.”
Dills received his B.B.A. degree in 1984 and his M.B.A. in 1987 from ETSU. He joined the College of Business and Technology in 1992.
Noland said in his remarks that Dills has helped thousands of students with advisement over the years. Dills said he enjoyed seeing students go from freshmen to graduation.
“I’m very thankful for what I do and I enjoy working with the students,” Dills said.
The award Dills got was named in honor of ETSU’s Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Bert Bach.