MTSU President Sidney McPhee receives 2018 American Red Cross Hero Award

Photo courtesy of MTSU News

The Red Cross Heart of Tennessee chapter awarded this year’s American Red Cross Hero Award to MTSU President Sidney McPhee at the chapter’s “Heroes Breakfast,” which drew hundreds of supporters to the Student Union Ballroom on Wednesday.

“This award is less about me and more about the faculty and staff at MTSU,” McPhee told Sidelines. “They are the true heroes, the ones who every day strive to serve our communities through their work on our campus.”

John Hood, the MTSU director of community engagement and support and the honoree at last year’s Heroes Breakfast, presented the award to McPhee, and the university president stated that Hood and other past honorees were a group “of courage, outstanding achievements and noble qualities,” according to an MTSU press release.

“It’s humbling to get a trophy with your name on it that says you are a hero,” McPhee told Sidelines. “I’m the president, so I get the honor of accepting this trophy on behalf of our entire ‘True Blue’ community. I appreciate any opportunity to talk about the good works of our great university.”

The press release states that Kathy Ferrell, an MTSU alumna and executive director of the local Red Cross chapter, thanked MTSU for their participation in the “Bleed Blue Beat WKU” blood drive, which is a blood drive competition between MTSU and Western Kentucky University that takes place at both campuses each football season.

“The true winners of the annual blood drive are the people in Bowling Green, Kentucky, and Middle Tennessee who benefit from the life-saving actions of those who we inspire to donate,” McPhee told Sidelines. “I’m uncertain on the origins of the drive, but I do credit the hard work of Dean Emeritus Gloria Bonner and Diane Turnham, our senior associate athletics director, in sustaining and growing this outstanding tradition.”

The American Red Cross is responsible for providing 40 percent of the blood supply in the U.S., with 80 percent of that supply collected at traveling donation events like Bleed Blue Beat WKU. The blood drive competition took place between Nov. 13 and 15 last year, and, a few weeks later, MTSU was announced as the winner. The university collected 461 pints of blood from donors, while WKU collected 389 pints.

McPhee described MTSU’s relationship with Red Cross as a “friendship.”

“When our campus is called to help, we do our very best to respond,” McPhee told Sidelines. “And, we each value the strengths of the other. Because of that, we each know when best to call upon the other when needs arrive.”

The MTSU Red Cross Club, in conjunction with the local Red Cross chapter, host blood drives throughout the semester, and hundreds of pints of blood are collected from students and faculty during the events.

For more information on the American Red Cross Heart of Tennessee chapter, visit here.

To contact News Editor Andrew Wigdor, email

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