Bahamas Governor-General Sir Cornelius A. Smith, right, congratulates MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a native of The Bahamas, for his 20 years as the university’s top leader. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

By ANDREW OPPMANN

Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)–Middle Tennessee State University’s senior administrators used its time in this island commonwealth leading up to the Bahamas Bowl to recruit potential study-abroad students and meet with the nation’s top leaders.

MTSU took full opportunity of the visibility afforded to its football team’s invitation to play the University of Toledo to brag that The Bahamas is its third-largest provider of international students. About 50 from here attended MTSU this fall.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee hosted about 30 high school counselors from The Bahamas for an informational luncheon Tuesday, Dec. 14. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Provost Mark Byrnes answers questions from prospective students Wednesday, Dec. 15, at a reception sponsored by MTSU in Nassau, the capital of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

About 30 high school counselors turned out for a luncheon Tuesday hosted by President Sidney A. McPhee, a Bahamas native and a graduate of R.M. Bailey Senior High School in Nassau.

Also, Provost Mark Byrnes and Robert Summers, vice provost for international affairs, hosted receptions on Wednesday and Thursday for about 70 students interested in studying abroad.

“Playing in the Bahamas Bowl gave MTSU a remarkable opportunity to tell our story to students looking to study at an American university,” McPhee said. “We were pleased with the attendance at all three of our recruitment events.”

It also afforded the nation’s top two leaders, Governor-General Sir Cornelius A. Smith and Prime Minister Philip Davis, a chance to congratulate McPhee for completing his 20thyear as MTSU’s president.

The Bahamas’ formal head of state is Queen Elizabeth II, who is represented by Smith as governor-general. Davis, as prime minister, is the head of government, as well as a member of the House of Assembly who commands a majority of its votes.

Bahamas Governor-General Sir Cornelius A. Smith, right, congratulates MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, a native of The Bahamas, for his 20 years as the university’s top leader. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Smith hosted a Christmas luncheon on Thursday for McPhee and his delegation, which included Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron; Smyrna Mayor Mary Esther Reed; Trustees Board Chairman Stephen Smith; board members Pam Wright and Tom Boyd; and businessman Jonathon McGuire. Davis invited the delegation to the Prime Minister’s office on Wednesday.

“We hate to see our best and brightest leave the islands,” Davis told the delegation, “but we are proud of his accomplishments at your university.”

The game, the first of this year’s run of holiday bowl games, was set to be televised on ESPN at 11 a.m. CT Friday.

— Andrew Oppmann (Andrew.Oppmann@mtsu.edu)

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis, center right holding banner, joins MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, center left of Davis, and his delegation to the Bahamas Bowl for a ceremonial photo Wednesday, Dec. 15. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)