Reception today for retiring Dr. Lucas

Sandra ClarkBlount, Our Town Youth

After 21 years of service to Maryville College, education professor Dr. Rebecca Lucas is scheduled to retire in August. A drop-in retirement celebration for Lucas will take place from 4:30-6:30 p.m. today (4/26/23) in the Morningside Room at RT Lodge, 1406 Wilkinson Pike, located in the Maryville College Woods. Friends and former students are invited to attend.

She will teach the educational technology course this summer (June 1-Aug 17) and then “turn in my Maryville College laptop,” Lucas said. “I have no idea what’s next for me, but I’d like to try something new and different. I’ve looked at opportunities with educational technology companies and social justice organizations. All I know is that I’m not ready to go home. I want to work and continue to serve in some way.”

Lucas did undergraduate work at Western Kentucky University and completed her doctorate at the University of Tennessee in 2000. She moved to Maryville before hearing about a job at Maryville College. She wanted a small-town vibe and a strong school system for her three children: Noah, 8 at the time; Caleb, who was 6; and Abi, 2.

She replaced the late Dr. Marcia Keith, the division chair in education, who had recently retired, at the beginning of the 2002-03 academic year.

Dr. Lucas told writer Steve Wildsmith this story from her early days as a teacher:

And then, she said, there was Christy, a “very rough, defiant, traumatized middle schooler.”

“I couldn’t get her to do any work in my class,” she added. “We spent many afternoons talking about her dreams of escaping a terrible home situation. One afternoon, she was painting her nails bright red in class at the end of the day. The next day she was dead. I was watching Nashville news that evening and heard reporters talking about a knife fight that had left one teen dead.

“It was Christy, who had been fighting an adult woman over a man and died on the sidewalk. I attended her visitation, which was held in the back of a small grocery store. Christy was laid out in what looked like a refrigerator box. Her perfectly painted red nails were scuffed, and her hands were still bloody. I loved that girl.”

Steve Wildsmith, assistant director of communications at Maryville College, provided information for this story.

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