VIProfile: Carolyn Tumbleson

Devoted to Development

In our beloved community, full of philanthropic causes and charitable citizens, the title Director of Development is a common career path. We are fortunate to be surrounded by endless organizations that provide help in countless areas of need. When introduced to Carolyn Tumbleson, one may however wonder the purpose of a Director of Development within the business college at Middle Tennessee State University.  It is common for money to be raised for general academic funds, as well as, for athletics in a collegiate arena, but why and for what would someone do that inside a specific college?  There’s a lot to learn about the amazing things that Carolyn Tumbleson has set out to do, and her path to get there.

Carolyn’s initial commitment to community and giving back started as she transitioned from a full time pharmaceutical sales representative to a stay at home mom looking for a greater purpose outside of her home.  She found ways to give of herself to the Murfreesboro community in ways that worked into her life as a full-time mom, starting with The Junior League of Murfreesboro, where she gained true insight and training for volunteering. From there, she worked with the Discovery School, where she had a true passion as her children benefitted from their education. She gainedmuch joyfrom her service, and she knew when the time came to get back into the “working world,” it would be in a place that she could feel that same feeling. As that time came, the perfect fit was a position as the Director of Resource Development for the United Way. Here she felt she could touch the lives of so many in Rutherford and Cannon Counties through the multitudes of United Way partners.

Through her work with the United Way, Carolyn met many difference makers in the community, including David Urban, who served on the development committee.   Although it was not in the long-term plan for her, this working relationship turned into a positive one for her career. David, the Dean of the Jones College of Business at MTSU, was impressed with her work product, approach, and her networking abilities.  When he began to look for a Director of Development, she came quickly to mind, and the rest is history.  Now she sits in an office across from him working to build the best business program that MTSU can offer.

With her position, Carolyn hopes to create more valuable experiences for the student in the business college at MTSU.  By raising private funds and creating more partnerships, she is able to offer students on site training, with real life experiences that will certainly prove to be applicable in their future careers.  Through this funding, she can help attract and retain the best faculty, obtain better equipment, and provide more scholarships, as state funding is becoming more and more limited to provide such.  Examples of these opportunities are the Dale Carnegie program, a 15 week business and life skills program that every business major is required to complete, as well as an Ethical Leadership Week within the college, where students have the chance to listen to speakers from within the business profession and participate in ethical exercises.

Tumbleson wants to focus on connecting the community with the college and companies with future employees.  She loves connecting local companies with the college, where they can work with the college to develop internships, scholarships and other programs that can build a pipeline of hand-picked employees. With its first degree awarded in 1947, the Jones College has 23,000 living alumni with 80 percent of them living in the midstate. “There is no other University with a greater economic impact in Middle Tennessee,” she said. She thoroughly enjoys playing a role in making students’ experiences more valuable, and seeing that process come to fruition right here in Murfreesboro.