Get answers to your college questions at fall Pellissippi Preview

Students walking on Hardin Valley Campus in fall leaves
Prospective students are encouraged to join Pellissippi State for its fall open house in person Oct. 2 or on Zoom Oct. 20.

Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has two opportunities this October to check out the school from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available. 

Pellissippi State’s open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held in person 9:15-11:15 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. An online version will be held 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, for those who would rather learn about the college via Zoom. 

Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages and is free to attend. 

Pellissippi State will kick off the Oct. 2 in-person event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at 9:15 a.m. before letting prospective students browse the departments that interest them until 10:30 a.m. Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions about the college’s academic programs as well as the student services available at Pellissippi State. 

Pellissippi Preview also will feature a presentation on academic programs, services and financial aid at 10:30 a.m. Participants will get hands-on information about one of the questions Pellissippi State advisers and recruiters hear the most: “Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?” They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors. 

All those who attend Pellissippi Preview in person will be entered in a drawing for one of two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation. The drawing will be held at 11:15 a.m. to close the event.  

“You are sure to get all your questions answered,” said Enrollment Services Coordinator Sarah Davis. “We hope to see you there.”  

To RSVP for Pellissippi Preview in person or online, visit www.pstcc.edu/prsvp. To request accommodations for this or any campus event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. 

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All4Knox offers free substance misuse and prevention trainings at Pellissippi State

All4Knox logo with interlocking red and blue diamondsLearn about substance misuse and prevention during Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies week at Pellissippi State Community College, Sept. 27-30. 

The programming, which touches on everything from suicide prevention techniques to human trafficking, is sponsored by All4Knox, a joint effort of Knox County and the City of Knoxville with support from Metro Drug Coalition, the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office and Knox County Health Department. 

All sessions are free and open to the public. Pellissippi State encourages all individuals to wear masks in indoor spaces. 

“Our goal for this week is for our community to understand the purpose of substance misuse and prevention,” said Courtney Niemann, director of prevention for Metro Drug Coalition. “By providing an array of speaking sessions, we want individuals to have resources and education on the substance misuse epidemic in our community.” 

Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies will kick off at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, with speaker Cory Henry in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus. Henry has been free of substances for more than seven years and now works at Faith Promise Church. Jason Goodman, director of Recovery Support Services for Metro Drug Commission, also will share about The Gateway, a recovery community center that will provide additional support and ongoing recovery to those transitioning from addiction treatment back into the community and to those who are seeking recovery but need someone to walk beside them as they navigate a path free from substance misuse. 

Sessions planned for Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 28-30, will touch on a variety of topics, including: 

  • Mindfulness – Offered at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Magnolia Avenue Campus and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the Hardin Valley Campus, mindfulness is a set of skills and practices that anyone can learn. Mindfulness can be beneficial for helping people deal with difficult emotions and stressful situations by cultivating curiosity, compassion and acceptance of whatever arises in the present moment. Using a combination of groundbreaking neuroscience, mindfulness-based techniques and discussion format, Mindful Recovery Groups are open to all people seeking a better sense of balance in their lives. 
  • Metro Drug Coalition’s community meeting – At noon Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Amanda Ainsley and Asheton Casey of MDC will offer a comprehensive presentation on substance misuse from the perspectives of crisis intervention, prevention work, advocacy and recovery. Topics include addiction and the brain, substance facts and statistics, and how to connect with resources. 
  • Building Strong Brains Adverse Childhood Experiences training – 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus. This training mobilizes the Tennessee community in having a shared understanding, based in science, of the architecture of a young child’s brain, how interactions shape this brain architecture, how adversity negatively impacts the developing brain, and how children thrive in safe, stable, nurturing environments. 
  • Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) – Offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, this internationally renowned suicide prevention training educates participants on identifying signs and risk factors common to individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts, techniques to engaging with this individual, and available resources within the community to help. 
  • PrEP – At noon Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, leaders will discuss how to access PrEP, a daily pill taken to protect you from HIV. The session will include answers to common questions and additional resources available in the greater Knoxville community.  
  • One family’s addiction story – At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, Sharon Hajko will share about her son, Justin Hajko, who she describes as the “daredevil of the family” who “thrived on adventure” until the disease of addiction changed all their lives. 
  • Narcan training – At 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists will provide an opioid training that addresses harm reduction, reducing stigma and increasing public awareness. These specialists are located throughout the state and serve as a point of contact for overdose prevention through the distribution of naloxone. 
  • Opening Up About What’s Getting You Down – This first session in the CHASCO Lunch and Learn series will be held noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. Speakers include Schylar Long, Student Government Association parliamentarian for Pellissippi State, and Amy Rowling, violence prevention educator for the Knox County Health Department and facilitator for the Tennessee Building Strong Brains Initiative, who will present on how trauma affects the brain and nervous system, resiliency and self-care. 
  • Human trafficking – At 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus, the Community Coalition Against Human Trafficking will address the basics of human trafficking including prevalence and types of trafficking in our community, the common misconceptions surrounding human trafficking and how you can combat them in your neighborhood. 
  • Harm Reduction: Safer Sex and Drug Use – Offered at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus. Did you know there are ways to reduce the risks associated with sex and drug use? This workshop will introduce attendees to the concept of Harm Reduction and provide a variety of strategies you can employ to improve your overall health and wellness. Presented by Positively Living & Choice Health Network, Knoxville’s premier public health nonprofit and home of East Tennessee’s largest syringe service exchange and medical clinic specifically focused on HIV prevention and care for people living with HIV. 

Sessions on the Hardin Valley Campus will be held in the Goins Auditorium in the Goins Administration Building. The Hardin Valley Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road. 

Sessions on the Magnolia Avenue Campus will be held in the Magnolia Community Room. The Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. 

All sessions will have a virtual option as well. You can find those links on each event in the Pellissippi State calendar. Click on the date on the calendar to bring up all sessions on that date, then click on the session you want to access the webinar link. 

For more information about Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies week, contact Courtney Niemann at cniemann@metrodrug.org. To request accommodations for a disability for any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. 

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Pellissippi State marks Hispanic Heritage Month with lectures, music, stories

Three students from Venezuela
Pellissippi State graduates Kelvin Gonzalez and Alejandra Alvarez, from left, and former student Gabriel Gonzalez, right, were among the Latinx students who shared their experiences with prospective Latinx students and their families during Pellissippi State’s Latinx Family Visit Nights in early spring 2020. All three students photographed here are originally from Venezuela.

Celebrate the rich and beautiful complexity of Latino and Hispanic culture with a variety of events hosted by Pellissippi State Community College.  

“A key component of our college’s mission is to foster the academic, social, economic and cultural enrichment of our community. As our Hispanic community in East Tennessee continues to grow and thrive, I feel that it is important that we highlight and celebrate the contributions of this very important sector of our population,” said Associate Professor Larry Vincent, co-chair of the college’s Hispanic Heritage Month Committee. “Being a Venezuelan citizen and a native Spanish speaker, I have always cherished the opportunity to share my culture with my friends and neighbors in East Tennessee.” 

All are free and open to the public, and all but one will take place on Zoom this year: 

  • Tuesday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m.
    “Is ‘Latin’ a Flavor? Food Diversity in Latin America”
    Doug Sofer, associate professor of history at Maryville College 
  • Thursday, Sept 16, 6-7:30 p.m.
    “Why Don’t People Just Wait in Line?”
    A role-play workshop about how and why people seek life in the U.S., co-presented by Pellissippi State alumnus Luis Mata and Associate Professor Katie Morris 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2 p.m.
    “Crime Shows and Latino Representation on TV”
    Assistant Professor Mauricio Espinoza from the University of Cincinnati 
  • Thursday, Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m.
    Kukuly Uriarte and her salsa, jazz band Candela in the Hardin Valley Campus Courtyard, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville. Refreshments available. 
  • Tuesday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m.
    “Don’t Take My Boy: Yellow Journalism and the Zoot-Suit Riots of 1943”
    Pellissippi State History Instructor Leslie Coffman 
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5, 6-6:45 p.m.
    “Connecting Campus and Community Using Spanish-Language Conversation Tables”
    Pellissippi State Adjunct Instructor Raúl Rivero and colleagues 
  • Thursday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m.
    Latino and Hispanic Pellissippi State students and staff share their stories 

Zoom links are available at www.pstcc.edu/events/hispanic-heritage. 

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Live music returns to Pellissippi State this fall

Eric Reed headshot
Eric Reed Trio, featuring the jazz composer-pianist, will kick off live music events at Pellissippi State with a concert at 7 p.m. Sept. 9.

Pellissippi State Community College welcomes back live music to its Clayton Performing Arts Center this fall after a year of virtual concerts. 

Knoxville Jazz Orchestra Presents: Eric Reed Trio in Concert will kick off The Arts at Pellissippi State for 2021-2022. The free concert will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 9, on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. 

Reed is an influential fixture in music as a pianist, composer, arranger, bandleader and champion of young musicians. He will be joined at Pellissippi State with Rob Linton on bass and Jack Roben on guitar. 

Next up is Knoxville Opera, which will present select previews from its upcoming 2021-2022 season and offer a master class to those who attend at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 15.  

All concerts at Pellissippi State are free and open to the public. The college recommends wearing masks in indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. 

The Arts at Pellissippi State is an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances and fine arts exhibits. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State this season, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. 

To request accommodations for a disability at any campus event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. 

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Pellissippi State art exhibit features black-and-white prints made with mezzotint technique

A mezzotint print by artist Jacob Crook
Artist Jacob Crook uses the mezzotint technique to create haunting images of vacant interiors and nocturnal landscapes.

Mezzotint prints created by artist Jacob Crook are on display at Pellissippi State Community College through Sept. 24, and the public is invited to enjoy the show. 

The free exhibit is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pellissippi State encourages the wearing of masks in indoor spaces. 

Crook, assistant professor of art and printmaking coordinator at Mississippi State University, works primarily in the intaglio printmaking technique of mezzotint, invented in 1642. This process achieves tonality – a range of tones in a work of visual art – by roughening a metal plate with a metal tool called a rocker. The rocker has a beveled, serrated, curved edge with many tiny teeth that create innumerable tiny indentations and burrs that hold ink during the printing process. Ink is rubbed into the varieties of textures and the excess wiped away, gradually revealing the image. 

“The fully rocked areas that are left alone produce a rich, velvety blank print, and areas that are scraped and burnished to varying degrees of smoothness will hold less ink, producing lighter value,” Crook explained. “Essentially the image is created in a reductive manner by ‘erasing’ the roughened areas to create areas of light.” 

Mezzotint of an empty alley
Nightrise IV is just one of the mezzontint prints by Jacob Crook on display at Pellissippi State through Sept. 24.

Crook’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among others. His works also are displayed in academic institutions and private collections. 

“The quality of light cast into a space has the potential to bring poetry to the prosaic, magic to the mundane and beauty to the banal,” Crook said. “The light spilling through these nocturnal landscapes and vacant interiors serves as a sort of spotlight, transforming the scenes into empty stage sets, either soon to be entered or perhaps long abandoned, suggesting the possibility of untold narratives that are just out of reach.  

“My intent is not to tell a story directly, but to set the stage in such a way that viewers are compelled to consider the moments before and after the one presented based on their own associations with the imagery,” he added. 

To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu. 

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COVID-19 boosters available at Pellissippi State this Monday

Pax gets his COVID-19 vaccine
Pellissippi State’s mascot, Pax, and Nursing adjunct instructor Pakesta Washington encourage anyone in the community who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine to drop by the Hardin Valley Campus on Aug. 30 for a Vaccinate and Educate Fair.

Pellissippi State Community College will offer COVID-19 boosters for immunocompromised people at its Vaccinate and Educate Fair next week. 

The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, outside the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. 

Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will be administering both the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, which was granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 23, and the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Pellissippi State also will offer boosters of Pfizer for those who had their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least eight months ago.  Please bring your original vaccine card. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as outlined in this Aug. 18 media statement. This includes people who have: 

  • Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies 
  • Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy 
  • Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy) 
  • Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) 
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection 
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory 

Pellissippi State is working with the nonprofit Faith Leaders Initiative and New Directions Healthcare to offer the Vaccinate and Educate Fair for the community. Education stations will provide information about COVID-19 including handouts explaining what the COVID-19 virus is, how vaccines work to combat it and why common myths about COVID-19 and vaccinations are untrue. Free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones will be available for the entire family. 

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TBR honors Richard B. Ray, Blount Memorial Hospital for support of higher education 

Richard Ray at lectern, accepting Regents' Award on Aug. 17, 2021
Richard B. Ray of Knoxville, a co-founder of tnAchieves, accepts the Regents’ Award for Excellence in Philanthropy at Pellissippi State on Aug. 17.

Richard B. Ray of Knoxville, a co-founder of tnAchieves, and Blount Memorial Hospital were honored this month by the Tennessee Board of Regents for their longstanding support of education. Both were nominated by Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. 

Ray received the 2021 Regents’ Award for Excellence in Philanthropy at a Ribbon Cutting Celebration for Pellissippi State’s Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Aug. 17, while Blount Memorial’s chief executive officer Don Heinemann and board vice chair David Pesterfield accepted the 2021 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy at a Blount Partnership event Aug. 25. 

Established in 2001, these awards honor individuals, companies and organizations who go “above and beyond” to donate their resources, finances, and personal time to TBR’s 40 community and technical colleges. 

Wise nominated Ray, co-founder and chief financial officer of 21st Mortgage Corporation, for his commitment to tnAchieves, the college scholarship and mentorship program that pairs volunteer mentors with incoming college students who receive the Tennessee Promise scholarship.  

Not only did Ray found KnoxAchieves, the precursor to tnAchieves, with fellow Knoxville businessmen Randy Boyd, Bill Haslam, Mike Ragsdale and Tim Williams in 2009, but Ray is one of only four tnAchieves volunteers across the state who has served as a mentor every single year. Over the past 12 years, Ray has mentored over 60 students. He drives from his home in west Knoxville to the Carter community in east Knox County to meet with his mentees, and he volunteers every year to teach budgeting at tnAchieves’ Summer Bridge Program at Pellissippi State, which helps incoming students start on a more college-ready level, both academically and socially. 

“Rich Ray was the first in his family to graduate from college,” Wise writes in nominating Ray for the award. “Growing up in east Knoxville, Rich worked his way through the University of Tennessee. He remembers the challenges of working to pay tuition and navigating higher education without a mentor to guide him. Rich says, ‘If you are the first in family to ever go beyond high school, you need someone to tell you it is possible, that you can do it.’” 

Ray and his wife, Jane, also have supported Pellissippi State since 2017, with gifts to the Student Opportunity Fund, which helps the Pellissippi State Foundation assist students in crisis, and to support the expansion of the Strawberry Plains Campus library. The couple also has committed a planned gift to Pellissippi State to continue their support of community college students into the future. 

“Jane and I have been fortunate to contribute to wonderful organizations, but we do focus on education,” Ray said when accepting the award from Regent Danni B. Varlan on Aug. 17. “We firmly believe that to have a better quality of life for our kids in Tennessee, they must be better educated. That begins with K-3 and continues all the way through getting their degrees either at a university or a community college or developing a trade at TCAT, so thank you for this recognition. I appreciate it.” 

Blount Memorial Hospital chief executive officer Don Heinemann, second from left, and hospital board vice chair David Pesterfield, third from left, accept the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Philanthropy on Aug. 25, 2021
Blount Memorial Hospital chief executive officer Don Heinemann, second from left, and hospital board vice chair David Pesterfield, third from left, accept the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy on Aug. 25, from Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., left, and Regent Danni B. Varlan.

Wise nominated Blount Memorial Hospital for the Chancellor’s Award for its longstanding support of Pellissippi State students. In 2001 the hospital established the Blount Memorial Nursing Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a Nursing student from Blount County. The hospital later funded the Nursing simulation lab at the college’s Blount County Campus, helping establish the college’s Nursing program in 2010. More recently Blount Memorial pledged $100,000 to help build the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the Blount County Campus, which is now underway and is scheduled for completion in 2022. 

While Blount Memorial sponsors clinical rotations for Pellissippi State’s Nursing students, last year Pellissippi State helped the hospital train 61 of its medical-surgical nurses in COVID-19 patient care, allowing the hospital to use the Nursing simulation lab on the Blount County Campus to practice scenarios based on actual COVID-19 cases. These COVID-19 trainings were just the beginning of what Pellissippi State and Blount Memorial envision being a year-round partnership, including the possibility of launching a nurse residency program. 

Blount Memorial’s support of Blount County and its people, however, dates to its founding in 1947, when local physicians and philanthropists partnered with ALCOA Inc. to realize the dream of a community hospital. 

“Blount Memorial Hospital is committed to care for the health and well-being of any individual who needs assistance, regardless of their ability to pay,” Wise writes in nominating Blount Memorial for the award. “This ethos permeates the organizational culture, from the greeter at the welcome desk to the most skilled surgeon. As healthcare challenges increase, so does Blount Memorial’s commitment to care for all who need assistance: every child, every senior, every hurting or sick individual, regardless of circumstance.” 

 “It’s truly an honor for Blount Memorial to receive the Chancellor’s Award,” said Heinemann, the hospital’s CEO. “Our work with Pellissippi State is something we’ve cherished over the years, and we’re committed to continuing our efforts to support Pellissippi State students who are planning careers in health care. As we saw just in the last year, our collaboration with Pellissippi State helped us ensure our team was prepared to handle the influx of COVID-19 cases in our community. In a pandemic – or any other time – that’s a win-win for us.” 

Fall classes are now underway at Pellissippi State. For more information about the college or the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. 

To apply to be a tnAchieves mentor for the Class of 2022, a commitment of about one hour per month, visit www.tnachieves.org/mentors 

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Pellissippi State’s new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science opens ahead of fall semester

Ribbon cutting for Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science, outside the lobby doors
Pellissippi State Community College Student Government Association President Caitlandt Southall, center with ceremonial scissors, cuts the ribbon for the new Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 17. Joining her on the front row, from left, are Tennessee Higher Education Commission Executive Director Emily House, Regent Danni B. Varlan, Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor Flora W. Tydings, former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, Crissy Haslam and Meg Counts of Pilot Company.

Pellissippi State Community College students in math, science and teacher education courses will return to classes next week in a state-of-the-art new building. 

Denark Construction completed the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus this summer, and a Ribbon Cutting Celebration was held Tuesday, Aug. 17, to celebrate.  

“We made a strategic decision that if we’re going to teach science, mathematics and teacher education, as well as have the ability to offer new programs like Water Quality Technology, we had to make this investment,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are really grateful for our partnership with BarberMcMurry Architects in thinking about what this space might look like, not only for teaching and learning inside the classroom, but for the kind of collaboration that is necessary outside the classroom for our students to be successful in working with each other and with their faculty and staff.” 

The new 82,000-square-foot building has been under construction since May 2019. It includes 18 classrooms, six computer labs, nine science labs and a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education programs. 

“As I walked around inside the Haslam Center, I was impressed with the meaningful use of space and the attention to detail to better serve our students,” said Pellissippi State alumnus Carlos Gonzalez, who is finishing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a certificate in teaching at Maryville College. “For example, the Teacher Education Center and the state-of-the-art equipment in the labs — having these resources will keep students competitive in today’s society.” 

Opening the new building allows Pellissippi State to transform its Hardin Valley Campus, Wise added, by thinking about the spaces those programs have vacated and other ways to use them to support other college programs and initiatives. 

Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, for whom the building is named, was on hand Tuesday to tour the new building. As governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, Haslam was key to establishing Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee, and the Haslam Family Foundation and Pilot Company were “Campaign Leaders” for Pellissippi State’s new math and science center, donating between $500,000 and $1 million toward the $27 million project. 

“I was thinking, driving out here, if you were going to pick a perfect location for a community college, you might pick this one,” Haslam said. “You’re strategically located between Oak Ridge and everything that is happening there, Blount County and Knox County. And if you’re going to find a really critical discipline that you want to make certain you have the room to grow and expand, it would be math and science.” 

Exterior of the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science
The Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Class will welcome its first students to class when the college’s fall semester starts Monday, Aug. 23.

Haslam told the audience that he had talked last night with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and others about how to leverage the area’s assets of ORNL, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee, among others. 

“Among the key tactics to make that happen is the success of Pellissippi State,” Haslam said. “You all feel like I do: that the key to success is giving more folks a chance for education. We’re struggling with a lot of things in this country – a whole lot of things that are dividing us – and to me, the best answer for all of those problems comes back to more opportunity out of great public education. So thank you to all of you who serve, work out here and have been a part of making this happen. I truly am honored by it and always will be.” 

Following the ribbon cutting, Pellissippi State held an open house so that guests could tour the new building. Pellissippi State’s fall 2021 classes start Monday, Aug. 23, as many students return to campus for the first time since March 2020. 

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Pellissippi State offers COVID-19 vaccines at on-campus health fair, open to community

Pax and Nursing student
Pellissippi State Nursing adjunct instructor Pakesta Washington and the college’s panther mascot, Pax, encourage anyone in the community who has not received a COVID-19 vaccine to drop by the Hardin Valley Campus on Aug. 30 for a Vaccinate and Educate Fair.

Still need a COVID-19 vaccine? Pellissippi State Community College will offer free vaccinations, no appointment necessary, at a walk-in Vaccinate and Educate Fair on its Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.  

Mark your calendars now for the health fair, which will be held noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, outside the Bagwell Center for Media and Art. Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will be administering both the two-dose Pfizer and one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines, courtesy of Winbigler Medical.  

Pellissippi State is offering Pfizer as an option so that children ages 12-17 may be vaccinated, so bring the whole family. Those who choose the Pfizer vaccine will be scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine noon-2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, also on the Hardin Valley Campus. 

Pellissippi State is working with the nonprofit Faith Leaders Initiative and New Directions Healthcare to offer a fair not only for faculty, staff and students, but also for the community after seeing the success of a similar event at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center in East Knoxville this summer. 

“Pellissippi State and New Directions Healthcare wanted to offer this fair to help the public understand the COVID-19 virus, encourage vaccination and answer questions for students, faculty, staff and our neighbors,” said Angela Lunsford, dean of Nursing for Pellissippi State. “With the Delta variant now showing up in Tennessee, we want to stress the importance of vaccination. COVID-19 is never going away, and we must protect our community by increasing the number of vaccinated people. Wearing masks for the rest of our lives is not the answer; getting vaccinated is the answer to this now endemic virus.” 

Education stations staffed by Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will provide information about COVID-19 including handouts explaining what the COVID-19 virus is, how vaccines work to combat it and why common myths about COVID-19 and vaccinations are untrue. 

The event will have the feel, however, of a celebration, with free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones available for the entire family. 

For more information about the Vaccinate and Educate fair, contact Cynthia J. Finch of the Faith Leaders Initiative at 865-254-4793 or CONNECT Ministries at 865-851-8005. 

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Centro Hispano and Pellissippi State partner for open house on Division Street Campus

Division Street campus exterior
Centro Hispano and Pellissippi State invite the community to an open house 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, to check out the nonprofit’s new space on the college’s Division Street Campus, 3435 Division Street, Knoxville.

Centro Hispano, the leading resource for and about East Tennessee’s Latino community, is expanding its services onto Pellissippi State Community College’s Division Street Campus. 

Centro Hispano and Pellissippi State invite the community to an open house 3-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 19, to check out the nonprofit’s new space. Pellissippi State’s Division Street Campus is located at 3435 Division Street, Knoxville. 

The open house will include music, food and tours of the coeducational space, which includes not only classrooms for Centro Hispano students to receive instruction from Centro Hispano staff and volunteers, but also a dedicated classroom for children of Centro Hispano students as Centro Hispano and Pellissippi State seek to serve entire families. 

“This collaboration is vital because it paves the road for so many Latino adults and their families to become acquainted with spaces of higher education,” said Centro Hispano President and CEO Claudia Caballero, who is Honduran-American. “We want people to see the pathway to higher education and have the opportunities to build relationships with staff at Pellissippi State.” 

Caballero added that moving Centro Hispano classes onto the Division Street Campus also can help foster a sense of belonging by taking the unknown out of Pellissippi State. 

“We want to walk into these spaces and see ourselves [Latinos] here,” she said. “We are home in East Tennessee, and we want to feel a sense of belonging here at Pellissippi State.” 

Pellissippi State’s mission is to provide a transformative environment fostering the academic, social, economic and cultural enrichment of the individual and the community. That mission is guided by a set of institutional values including Community and Civic Engagement and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

Pellissippi State’s partnership with Centro Hispano was underway before the pandemic. The Division Street Campus has been closed since March 2020, but will reopen on Aug. 2, said Division Street Dean Esther Dyer. 

“At Pellissippi State, we take our obligation to serve our community to heart,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “This partnership with Centro Hispano allows us to serve a growing Latino population by providing new opportunities for learning on our Division Street Campus and by illuminating new pathways to postsecondary education. I can’t wait for these classes to begin in a few weeks.” 

By providing Centro Hispano with a larger learning space, Pellissippi State can help Centro Hispano provide not only workforce development classes for the Latino community, but also children’s programs. 

“A Centro team member has always wanted a post-secondary degree, but life, raising children and working a full-time job made it seem impossible to achieve,” Caballero said. “Because of this partnership with Pellissippi State, she can do it all. Her story reflects that of many, and we hope that this project serves as a model for other communities across the Southeast.” 

Classes will begin in Centro Hispano’s new space the week of Aug. 23. For more information on Centro Hispano programs at Pellissippi State, contact info@centrohispanotn.org or call 865-522-0052. 

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