East Tennessee State University celebrated the successes of its newest graduates this past weekend during commencement ceremonies held on Saturday, May 6. Students from their Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies joined over 2,000 other university graduates in the celebration of their accomplishments.
Students within Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies come from numerous backgrounds and interests, as evidenced by the most recent graduating class of eleven. “This was our largest graduating class since we launched the degree in 2010,” said program director Daniel Boner. “The students within this group are very talented and their diverse interests represent all aspects of our program well. I have no doubt that we’re going to see more from each of them.”
Students come from all over the globe to study bluegrass, old time, Celtic, and country music in Johnson City. In fact, the program has the highest percentage of out-of-state students campus-wide, with nearly 70 percent of those enrolled coming from outside of Tennessee. The program currently boasts over 40 student bands, which have a wide range in scope. At any of the over 150 collective appearances made by these bands each semester, onlookers can hear classic and modern country songs, bands which focus on the music of the 1920s, Scottish jigs and reels, or traditional and contemporary bluegrass music.
11 students earned a Bachelor of Arts in Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies and joined the over 40 graduates from the university with the degree. Faculty and staff from the Department of Appalachian Studies, in which this program is housed, would like to congratulate (as pictured above left-to-right) Colton Powers, Diggs DeRusha, Tiffany Boucher, Ben Watlington, Keegan Luckey-Smith, Henry Johns, Rheva Myhre, Mason Nolen, Ashley Griggs, Mitch Walker, and Brandon Ladd.
We hope that any other university programs that feature bluegrass music will send us information on their graduates as well.