More Than A Vacation Celebrates 30 Years!

by Monica Hoel

MTAV, as it is more casually known, is the epitome of a lifelong learning event.

For 30 years, alumni have made their way back to the E&H campus to keep their minds sharp as a wasp’s sting. 

The event started in 1994 as a way to revive a 1960s “summer alumni college.” But this event that began in 1994 has been far more free-ranging than those original programs. 

Participants have danced, painted, met local artists, and attended Barter Theatre. They have explored the region with trips to Floyd, Saltville, Jonesborough, West Jefferson, and Big Stone Gap. They’ve learned history related to the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, enslaved persons, and college founders. They’ve discussed novels and poetry with E&H faculty members like Dr. John Lang and Dr. Dan Leidig and Dr. Kathleen Chamberlain. They’ve done magic, hunted ghosts, met Santa, donned Elvis sideburns, hiked, biked, scavenger hunted, and spit many watermelon seeds.

And participants have become friends who are always excited to welcome new folks to the MTAV family. It’s hard to explain, but somehow living together in a residence hall and having a shared learning experience seems to create some pretty great bonds of friendship. They’ve celebrated anniversaries, mourned losses, and watched kids grow up. And every year there are new participants who join the fun – and join the family.

Because pearls are the traditional anniversary gift for 30 years, and because the group has picked up many pearls of wisdom along the way, the 2023 event used Minnie Pearl as a sort of icon for the annual event. A dinner celebrating Minnie featured some truly great hats – and even a speaker who formerly worked with Sarah Colley Cannon (the real woman under the straw hat). This year’s group also learned to salsa dance while hearing about study abroad to Cuba, sipped and painted, visited the Abingdon Muster Grounds, checked out the Wier Dam, shopped at HollerHouse, sang at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, had dessert at Blackwell Chapel Store, ate fresh Lynnhaven Fancies Oysters, and learned about the handprints of enslaved people that can be found in the bricks that build some of our E&H campus buildings.

And that’s only some of the memories made this year.

Enjoy a conversation with two participants about why it has succeeded!

E&H Lifelong Learning events happen online year-round, and we’ll be back on campus next July for MTAV. Watch the Events page for more opportunities to stay sharp as a wasp!

 

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  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/2112-basketball-showcase-honoring-coach-bob-johnson"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,352,325/10543_bob_johnson.rev.1638380928.webp 1x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,352,325/10543_bob_johnson.rev.1638380928.jpg 1x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/68/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,352,325/10543_bob_johnson.rev.1638380928.jpg" alt="Coach Bob Johnson, former Emory & Henry men's basketball head coach." width="345" height="225" data-max-w="352" data-max-h="325" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/2112-basketball-showcase-honoring-coach-bob-johnson">Basketball Showcase Honoring Coach Bob Johnson Launches Dec. 18</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Andrew Hart is organizing a basketball showcase aimed at honoring his former coach, Bob Johnson. But the rest of the story is that every team in the event has a connection to Coach Johnson.</span> <a href="/live/news/2112-basketball-showcase-honoring-coach-bob-johnson" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>