Ferrum College receives $100K gift
Michael Christian's donation to establish first-year experience center
Ferrum College alumnus Michael Christian donated $100,000 to his alma mater, which will establish the Michael T. Christian ’63 Center for First-Year Experience at the school.
The center — intended to connect incoming first-year students to professors, mentors and classmates — will be located in the college’s library and will be part of the Carter Center for Academic Success.
“I made some friends at Ferrum who were serious students,” Christian said in a statement. “As a result I became serious about succeeding in college and beyond.”
Approximately 25% of Ferrum College’s population are first-generation college students, Wilson Paine, president for institutional advancement and external relations, said in a statement. “The Michael T. Christian ’63 Center for First-Year Experience is designed to make sure our first-year students won’t feel lost as they begin their college journey,” Paine explained.
After graduating from Ferrum Junior College, Christian earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and commissioned into the U.S. Army as a second lieutenant. He was later discharged as a captain. Following his service, he was executive vice president of Nations Bank (now Bank of America) and served as president and CEO of three community banks.
“I attribute much of my success to Ferrum,” Christian said in a statement. “What I gained there is worth much more to me than the monetary donation I made to the school.”
Christian has also chaired two United Way campaigns and was chairman of the board for Tusculum College. He has also served on the board of directors for the Nashville branch of the Federal Reserve Bank and the Tennessee Bankers Association.
“We are immensely grateful to Mike for his contribution to the Center,” Paine said. “Every day, he lives by our motto ‘Not Self, But Others,’ and is a true champion for Ferrum College students.”