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June 23, 2024

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Ascension Foundation Gala Set for Feb. 24 at MTSU

The Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation will host their annual Society Gala on Saturday, February 24 starting at 6 p.m. in MTSU’s Student Union Ballroom with acclaimed sports commentator Jim Nantz as keynote speaker.

Jim is a three-time Emmy Award winner and five-time National Sportscaster of the Year, who joined CBS in 1985. Just before this year’s gala, Jim will call his seventh Super Bowl!

Mike and Beth Ussery

The Sixteenth Annual Society Gala expresses gratitude to donors contributing $1,000 or more within the calendar year to the Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation. During this event, the Foundation will recognize philanthropists Beth and Mike Ussery (recipients of the Dr. Liz Rhea Philanthropist Award) and Dr. Christopher Dunlap (honored with the ASTR Foundation Physician Champion Award).

Beth Ussery is recognized for her impactful philanthropy, particularly through dedicated support for Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford. Beth is deeply committed to charitable efforts, all while fulfilling her roles as a devoted wife and mother to their three children, Marshall, Patrick and Anne Elizabeth.

Mike Ussery, with a BBA from Notre Dame and an MBA from Middle Tennessee State, currently serves as President and COO at National Healthcare Corporation. He actively contributes to the community, holding positions on the Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and Foundation Boards, Christy-Houston Foundation Board, and Middle Tennessee State University Foundation Board.

The Dr. Liz Rhea Philanthropist Award, named after a true exemplar of generosity, Dr. Liz Rhea, is awarded to individuals who represent the spirit of giving towards Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and Foundation. Beth and Mike Ussery’s significant contributions and impact make them deserving recipients of this honor.

Dr. Christopher D. Dunlap

Dr. Christopher D. Dunlap, Program Director of the UT Nashville Family Medicine Residency Program and a Family Medicine physician at Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital in Murfreesboro. Dr. Dunlap joined Ascension in July of 2013 as the founding program director of the University of Tennessee Nashville Family Medicine Residency Program.

The Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation Physician Champion Award recognizes the physician(s) who have gone above and beyond in their relationship with Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital and Foundation.

The Ascension Saint Thomas Rutherford Foundation is incredibly grateful that these leaders have chosen to share their gifts with our Ministry.

For more information on the Foundation or to join the Rutherford Society, contact Gina DeJean at 615- 396-4809 or visit


About the Author

Michael Aldrich

Michael Aldrich is Nashville Parent's Managing Editor and a Middle Tennessee arts writer. He and his wife, Alison, are the proud parents of 4-year-old Ezra and baby Norah.