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Scotch Tasting to benefit scholarship endowment

staff report • Apr 26, 2013 at 8:52 AM

JOHNSON CITY — East Tennessee State University’s Appalachian, Scottish and Irish Studies (ASIS) Program will hold a Scotch Tasting to benefit the Thomas G. Burton Scholarship Endowment from 7 to 9 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at the Carnegie Hotel.

This event will feature single-malt selections from each of Scotland’s major Scotch-producing regions, plus a special surprise Scotch to conclude the evening. Wellington’s restaurant will provide a selection of heavy hors d’oeuvres.

Guests will enjoy music by the ETSU Celtic Pride Band and the gift of a Glencairn Whisky glass.

Tickets to the Scotch Tasting are $80 per person or $140 per couple. A portion of the ticket cost is tax-deductible. For tickets, call Kevin Masters, by Tuesday, April 30, at (423) 979-6718 or email kevin@wellingtonsrestaurant.com. Suggested dress is business casual.

The Carnegie Hotel is offering a special rate for Saturday evening accommodations and Sunday breakfast for out-of-town guests or those who would just like a special evening and night at the Carnegie.

The Burton Scholarship endowment was created to honor the founder and first director of the ASIS Program, Dr. Thomas Burton, and to financially assist student participants in the ASIS study abroad course in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The idea for a studies program examining the cultural and historical connections of Appalachia with Scotland (and later Ireland) developed in the early 1980s, when Barbara McDermitt, then a doctoral student at the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh, began studying this connection in the area of storytelling.

McDermitt worked with Burton, who taught in the then-Department of English (now Literature and Language) at ETSU, and subsequently invited him to Edinburgh to share his knowledge of folklore with faculty and students at the School of Scottish Studies.

There, Burton and McDermitt, together with the Edinburgh faculty, discussed the possibility of establishing an Appalachian-Scottish studies program.

The Appalachian-Scottish Studies Program officially began in 1988 with the inaugural five-week program of study held at ETSU. In 1989, ETSU and the University of Edinburgh entered into a formal agreement that provided for the exchange of faculty and students, the exchange of research materials, and the shared use of research facilities. The program was later extended to include study in Ireland.

ETSU students study abroad in Scotland and Ireland during odd-numbered years.

In addition to the University of Edinburgh, ETSU has formal exchange agreements with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow and the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland. The ASIS Program has also developed new partnerships with Scotland’s Orkney College and the University of the Highlands and Islands, as well as the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland.

Burton directed the ASIS Program from 1988 until his retirement in 1996. Part of his legacy is the Appalachian, Scottish and Irish Studies Collection, which is housed in the ETSU Archives of Appalachia. This extensive collection focuses on the various components of the academic studies program examining the history and culture of Appalachia, Scotland and Ireland, and the interrelationships of the three locales.

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