A ‘formal’ welcome: Bogart inauguration activities include celebrations with clergy, community, students

Thomas Sykes, left, and Owen Miller, center, enjoy a conversation with Dr. Tom Bogart, newly inaugurated Maryville College president.

Photo by Leslie Karnowski

Thomas Sykes, left, and Owen Miller, center, enjoy a conversation with Dr. Tom Bogart, newly inaugurated Maryville College president.

The community celebrated with teas, receptions and picnics as part of the official activities of the inauguration of Maryville College president Dr. Tom Bogart April 13-17, welcoming the Bogart family officially to Blount County.

The Chilhowee Club held a coffee for Mary Bogart, introducing her to the history of the club and offering an opportunity for members to get to know the family.

Diane Cserbak, president of Chilhowee Club, which is a General Federation of Women’s Club organization, said the coffee at the club on April 15 was a special time for members and for Mary Bogart, as her daughter and mother were able to attend as well.

“There were three generations of her family there -- her mom Cindy Denney; her daughter, Elizabeth; and Mary,” Cserbak said. “It must have been a real joy to her.”

A tour of the club house was also interesting to the first lady, who confessed to being a history buff.

“Mary was very taken by the history of the Chilhowee Club,” said Cserbak. “I quickly escorted her through the series of portraits of club presidents from 1891 on located in the dining room.”

Cserbak said Mary enjoyed seeing the name of club presidents who had streets named after their families. “She expressed that she is a history buff, and that she loves unearthing historical kinds of information in any place she’s living,” Cserbak said.

The club president said Mary Bogart enjoyed meeting the club members who turned out for the event. “The gals who showed up were a nice mix of Maryville College faculty, board members’ wives, local women and members of the Chilhowee Club who came to celebrate the beginning of her tenure as first lady of Maryville College,” Cserbak said.

Area clergy also took part in the inauguration celebrations. A reception for Dr. Bogart and area ministers was held at New Providence Presbyterian Church on April 14.

The Rev. Dr. Emily Anderson, pastor of New Providence and a Maryville College board member, said she and the staff at New Providence were happy to be a part of the church community welcoming Dr. Bogart.

About 35 clergy attended the reception. “We were delighted to see so many clergy who were excited about being there and supporting Dr. Bogart and the college,” Anderson said. “Since New Providence has a long-term relationship with the college, it was very gratifying and encouraging to see other churches’ support of the ministry of the college.”

A community celebration of worship with a service entitled “With Heart and Hands and Voices” was held after the reception.

Anderson said Bogart’s faith is important to him. “Maryville College is one of the few colleges that really gets it regarding what it means to be a church-related college and takes seriously the idea that faith and learning be intertwined,” she said. “In other communities, clergy may feel left out or unwelcomed by a college or community, Maryville College has really embraced the church and faith community, engaging people both with their heart and their minds. Maryville College understands that to be a piece of the whole.”

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