The Office of Alumni Engagement at Freed-Hardeman University is beginning a new blog series titled “Stories from Beyond the Tassel: An FHU Blog Series.” Currently, Chris Ramey, director of alumni engagement, is assembling a stable of writers who will participate in the series. The first blog, written by Katie Powell Bell, a 2008 FHU graduate, will be released near the end of February.
Seeking to increase alumni engagement, Ramey has actively looked for ways to connect with the greater FHU community. “Living through the past 12 months of a pandemic,” he said, “has taught me the value of connecting online. I understand the elements of touch and face-to-face interaction cannot be replicated, but if our alumni can identify with the journey of another, then we have created something of value, something worth sharing.”
Unofficially, the series began last year with publication of a blog by Mandy Garrett Bates, a 2001 FHU alumna, in November 2020. “When we posted Mandy’s article last year, I was ecstatic with the response it received. Alumni and others praised it and shared how they had personally connected to her role as the mom to a special needs child,” Ramey said. “I knew then we had to use the talent in the FHU alumni community to continue to share life experiences and allow for more connectivity.”
Bell, her husband Taylor and their two children, Annie and Ollie, live in Jackson, Tennessee. She is vice president of publicity for the EPIC Agency in Nashville. A preacher’s daughter (Dr. David Powell of the FHU Bible faculty is her father.) and a preacher’s wife, she holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations from FHU and a master’s degree from Lipscomb University.
Writers scheduled to contribute blogs in the coming months include the following: Dr. Cory Calendine, a 1996 FHU alumnus, a founding partner of the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee; Emily Beaird Lansdell, a 1993 FHU alumna, Columbia, Tennessee, director of marketing and communications for Highland Corporation; and Dr. Nicholas Darby, a 2011 FHU alumnus, a partner at Florence Medical Associates’ outpatient clinic in Florence, Ala.
Calendine is a board-certified orthopedic surgeon specializing in hip replacement, partial and total knee replacement, arthroscopy and robotic-assisted joint surgery. A founding partner of the Bone and Joint Institute of Tennessee, Calendine serves patients throughout the Nashville region as chief of orthopedic surgery for Williamson Medical Center. He and his wife Jennifer have two children, Avery and Caden.
Lansdell is a communications professional with more than 20 years of writing and consulting experience, much of it spent in marketing and public relations for non-profit organizations including Christian education. She holds a baccalaureate degree from FHU and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Memphis. She and her husband Charlie have two sons, Canon and Rush.
A two-term FHU Student Government president, Darby earned a Doctor of Medicine degree from University of Alabama Birmingham. He also holds a Master of Science in human environmental sciences. He completed his residency at Cahaba-UAB Family Medicine where he was the chief resident. He and his wife, the former Andrea Chambers have a daughter, Vivian.
Blogs will be posted to FHU social media accounts and can be read any time at https://www.fhu.edu/blogs/alumni. Additional contributors will be announced in the coming months.