C-N president says pandemic won’t affect mission

Tom KingFarragut, Jefferson

Carson-Newman University President Dr. Charles Fowler says part of his welcome to East Tennessee in the summer of 2019 included a quick lesson on how to pronounce “Appalachia.”


“After my speech an elderly lady came up and said she had some advice, saying how I had mispronounced Appalachia,” he explained. “Here’s what to remember about saying Appalachia correctly she told me. Just think about saying that someone is throwing an ‘apple at cha.’”

Charles Fowler

Fowler was the speaker at yesterday’s Rotary Club of Farragut virtual meeting. He joined us from his Jefferson City office.

Fowler became C-N’s 23rd president on July 1, 2019, the unanimous choice of the school’s Presidential Search Committee and Board of Trustees. Before coming to C-N, Fowler was senior pastor of Germantown Baptist Church in West Tennessee.

This Harley Davidson motorcycle-riding president walked into a leadership job that drastically changed after seven months when COVID-19 hit.

“Even with the pandemic, there are lots of good things happening here,” he said. “We’ve had a planning group working on this virus issue and our classes will start Aug. 19. We’re starting out with in-person classes and may have to move to virtual classes. We have flexibility built into our plans.”

He also said of the 2020 football season and fall sports: “We’re waiting to see what athletics will look like. Nothing firm yet. Right now we won’t have any games or fall sports before Sept. 26.

“Pandemic or no pandemic, I’ve committed that we are not going to change our mission. Our plan is to grow and expand the circle of influence we have,” he said.

Fowler is a native of Corinth, Mississippi, and taught at Union University, Mississippi State University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He and wife Sandra have two adult daughters.

If you’re interested in exploring membership in the Rotary Club of Farragut, email tking535@gmail.com or call 865-659-3562. Tom King has served at newspapers in Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and California and has been the editor of two newspapers.

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