Cumberland University


Cumberland to Honor Dr. & Mrs. Bert Coble


Dr. H. Bert Coble directs the Bert Coble Singers during a recent performance at St. Mark's Square in Venice, Italy. A new choral suite planned for CU's June & Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center will be named in honor of Coble and his wife, Sue.

Cumberland University will honor long-time Lebanon residents Dr. H. Bert and Sue Coble as part of a fine arts expansion slated for inclusion in the ongoing Campaign for Cumberland, according to University administrators.

Currently in its "quiet phase," the $50 million capital campaign will include funds for an expansion to the June & Bill Heydel Fine Arts Center on the CU campus. The planned expansion will include a choral suite named in honor of the Cobles, Cumberland University Vice President for Advancement Dr. Garvin S. Maffett said.

"Dr. and Mrs. Coble's role in advancing the Cumberland University School of Music and the Arts during the 1970s and 1980s proved to be incredibly important to this institution," Maffett said. "Our goal is to raise $50,000 toward construction and furnishing of the Dr. Bert and Sue Coble Choral Suite as a gesture of the University's appreciation for their steadfast commitment to Cumberland, our students and to the entire Wilson County community."

A professor Emeritus at Cumberland University, Dr. Coble led the CU School of Music and the Arts from 1972 until 1988. A native of Madison County, Dr. Coble has also served as choir director at numerous churches in Middle Tennessee. An active member of the Lebanon Rotary Club, Coble was president of the Lebanon club from 1990-1991 and was governor of Rotary District 6780 from 1995-1996.

Already, the Coble Choral Suite initiative has garnered support from the Cobles' fellow Rotarians.

"Bert has been a member of the Lebanon Rotary Club for many, many years, and we were happy to be able to help honor him and Sue," Ralph Mallicoat, Lebanon Rotary President, said.

Mrs. Coble, a former teacher at Lebanon's Byars-Dowdy Elementary School, is also an active Rotarian and often assisted Dr. Coble with his initiatives at Cumberland University. Together, the couple has taken their passion for music across the United States and around the globe via the Bert Coble Singers -- a touring choir directed by Dr. Coble that has performed in some of the world's most renowned locales.

In fact, it was during the recent Cumberland University Alumni & Friends Tour of Italy with the Bert Coble Singers that Maffett made a surprise announcement regarding plans for the Coble Choral Suite at Cumberland.

"It is with so very much love for this great University that Sue and I feel humbled and grateful at the thought of a choral rehearsal hall named for us. I continue to be 'dedicated to choral excellence,' the theme around which we built our program at Cumberland, and I am proud of the work Dr. Brian Kilian is doing to carry on this tradition," Coble said. "I thank Drs. Eaton and Maffett for their part in this, and Sue and I pray for their continued success at Cumberland University."

CU President Dr. Harvill C. Eaton noted, "Words could never express what Bert and Sue Coble have meant to this institution. Their passion for the University, its students and music has touched so many lives, and I'm happy that we can honor them for their many, many years of distinguished service."

Cumberland University alumni and friends of Dr. and Mrs. Coble are encouraged to help bring the plan to fruition by making gifts or pledges toward the Coble Choral Suite. For more information, please contact Mr. Jonathon L. Hawkins, Director of Campaign Planning & Operations, at 615.547.1239 or via e-mail at