When Founding President Sidney G. Gilbreath was in charge of East Tennessee State University, he oversaw the school’s early curriculum that consisted of courses in English, science, history, agriculture, and education. During his tenure, which spanned from 1911 to 1925, East Tennessee State University opened its library, published its first issues of the school yearbook and campus newspaper, and established
new academic departments.
But Gilbreath’s work wasn’t done after his death. According to folklore, Gilbreath still looks out for the best interest of the school by turning off lights and closing windows as needed around campus. In addition, some say he goes to the school’s theater to enjoy student performances.
Another ghost on campus is experienced on the second floor of Burleson Hall, where English teacher Christine Burleson is believed to watch people pass by through the eyes of a portrait of her father—former dean David Sinclair Burleson—that hangs on the wall. And in Clement Hall, people hear the playful sounds of marbles on the top floors of the building, which is believed to be a ghost that is known by only the nickname Marble Boy.