Herd Media
Arts and Entertainment,  Campus Life

From Parton to Grant: A year of celebrity visits at Lipscomb University 

From the rhinestone fashion of Dolly Parton to the tunes of Amy Grant, Lipscomb University has become a stage for stars. With a slew of A-listers, the spotlight shines bright on Lipscomb’s leadership, students, faculty, and staff. The spotlight is progress towards the university’s strategic plan, “Impact 360”. One of the goals of the plan states, “Expand our engagement, influence and impact by forging deep connections with communities, organizations and alumni.” The goal has enhanced Lipscomb’s national reputation through celebrity partnerships and the platform they provide.

Dolly Parton and the Makers: My Life in Rhinestones 

The top headline of 2023 was the announcement of Lipscomb’s partnership with Dolly Parton. At the 2023 Convocation, Lipscomb president Dr. Candice McQueen announced the temporary installment of a Dolly Parton fashion exhibit. This exhibit is based off of Parton’s latest book, “Dolly Parton Behind the Seams: My Life in Rhinestones”. The country music legend, alongside President McQueen, opened the doors to the collection at the end of October 2023.  

“I’m going to open up my archive to bring some of my favorite gowns, and suits that are featured in the book to Lipscomb,” Parton said in an announcement video at convocation. “I will be a part of the Bison Herd this fall. The Lipscomb Fashion and design team and I have been working behind the seams to create a one-of-a-kind fashion exhibition inspired by my new book.” 

According to the bi-weekly “McQueen’s Memo”, about 8,000 people from 40 different states and 10 countries viewed Parton’s fashion archive on campus. During the period from Aug. 22 to Dec. 10, Lipscomb’s media monitoring services tracked the temporary museum’s coverage in 420 online and broadcast stories according to the president’s memo. The total reach/viewership amounted to 1,041,490,470, with a total ad equivalency of $10,352,985.91. The reach gives Lipscomb its largest non-athletic media coverage event in university history, as stated in McQueen’s Memo. The coverage included ABC News, CBS News, People Magazine and Billboard. 

Amy Grant and Friends at Lighting of the Green 

On Nov. 28, Amy Grant hosted the 19th annual “Lighting of the Green”. The night featured performances from Amy Grant, Drew and Ellie Holcomb and Corina Gill. Alongside them was the Lipscomb Academy and Lipscomb University choirs, the Gospel Choir and Sanctuary. McQueen’s Memo reported that approximately 4,000 people attended the event, setting a record crowd. 

Bisons Weekend Fall of 2023 

Bisons Weekend, Lipscomb’s edition of homecoming, featured a few prominent guests on campus. New York Times columnist, former constitutional litigator and Iraqi War veteran David French spoke on The State of the Union: Religious Liberty in America. He also shared several experiences and perspectives with Lipscomb alumni and friends that weekend.  

The Don R. Elliot Presidential Lecture Series featured Daniel Pink. Pink has written seven New York Times bestsellers. He was an executive producer and co-host of a National Geographic TV series “Crowd Control”. From 1995-1997 he was the chief speech writer for Vice President Al Gore. His forward-thinking ideas and writings have reshaped how organizations approach innovation, motivation, timing and talent.  

Under President McQueen’s leadership, the sighting of celebrities on campus will undoubtedly continue. According to Impact 360, Lipscomb University will continue to seek “engagement, influence, and impact” through these community partnerships and collaborations.

Photos are a courtesy from Lipscomb University and Forrest Maners