Campus, community show support for injured ETSU president

Nathan Baker • Nov 20, 2013 at 9:01 PM

Two days after being injured in a crash, students, faculty and staff are standing behind East Tennessee State University President Brian Noland as he recovers from serious injuries.

Noland, expected to be discharged from Johnson City Medical Center in the next few days, was struck when the driver of a flatbed tow truck ran a stoplight Monday afternoon at the intersection of West Watauga Avenue and West Market Street.

ETSU Chief of Staff Jane Jones issued a statement Wednesday morning stating the university president has “full range of motion” and thanking people from within the college community and the region for an “outpouring of support” on behalf of Noland and his wife.

“Dr. Noland and his wife have both said they received an overwhelming amount of support,” ETSU Communications Director Joe Smith said Wednesday afternoon. “They’re very humbled and wanted to express appreciation for the way the community and the campus is embracing them at this time.”

In about 24 hours, an online “Get well soon” card posted Tuesday afternoon on ETSU’s Internet course website garnered more than 50 comments wishing Noland a speedy recovery.

Student Government Association President Michael Wallace said many students are feeling the weight of Noland’s absence from the Johnson City campus.

“We’re all eager to have him back with us soon,” Wallace said. “He meets with our Executive Committee quite often, and we hope he’ll be joining us again soon.”

Jones asked that well-wishers not visit the president at the hospital or his home, at the request of the Nolands.

Personal cards and letters can be taken to the president’s office on the second floor of Dossett Hall, and all will be delivered to the family.

Noland, 45, has been president at ETSU since January 2012. Dr. Wilsie Bishop, ETSU’s chief operating officer and vice president for health affairs, is assuming the university’s leadership while Noland he is recuperating.

The crash happened around 5 p.m. Monday, as Noland was traveling north on West Watauga in a 2010 Acura MDX when the light turned green and he proceeded through the intersection.

A 1997 Freightliner F50 driven by Jackie L. White, Oak Dell Court, was traveling west on West Market and ran the red light, police said. The truck, owned by Larry & Terry’s Inc. of Elizabethton, struck a tree and a sign at Carver Park. Noland’s SUV also struck a utility pole.

White was cited with a red light violation and given 10 days to address his driver’s license status.

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